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The Life of Elijah

as revealed in the scriptures

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Some of the statements in this article are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly. All the ideas expressed here, right or wrong, are my own.

1 Kings 17:1.

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead [on the east of Jordan, Numbers 32:40, Deuteronomy 3:13], said to Ahab [the king of the northern kingdom of Israel], “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word”.   

Elijah appears suddenly in our Bible (about 865BC) as a full-grown man who marched into the king’s palace past all the guards without being stopped, and proclaimed a drought on the land which would not end until he received word from the LORD to say so.   We know now that it lasted three and a half years.

Why no rain?  The people of the land thought they were worshipping the living God, but they were actually following a god called Baal (the Boss) in their minds.  This is very easy to do!  The difference between the two gods is that the real God loves humans and gave His Son to be our Saviour before we needed Him, while the false one hates God and hurts and kills humans as a means of getting at Him!  There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas, especially in religion.  But, like modern Laodiceans, they did not recognise their condition.

Lateral thought:

To show how easy it is to follow one God or the other, let us imagine that we are standing at the foot of the cross.  What do we see?  Do we see the Gift of God given before we asked for it, or do we see a Payment made to an offended god? [or a broken law?]  “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: YET we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”.  Isaiah 53:4.

The Israelites at that time believed that their god arbitrarily controlled the elements, and therefore the crops.  They were told, and accepted, that he was the one who gave them their life-sustaining food.  If they were obedient he blessed, if not, he cursed.  But it was Satan who was masquerading as a god and causing the troubles!   He has studied the secrets of nature, and he uses all his power to control the weather.  When he was able to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment.  Then, to confuse the issue even further, he saves some while destroying others, for he will do whatever suits his plans.

Satan has a great understanding of the weather, but only that of a creature, not a Creator, so he also encourages men and women in actions which will cause droughts and famines, floods and pestilences, global warming etc. because he wants to hurt the Son of God by harming His creatures. He delights in killing as Jesus told us, for he is a murderer.  John 8:44.  Then he tells the people that these misfortunes are the result of not worshipping the living God! 

Or of not worshipping Him correctly. 

It is true that the living God shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer, as they allow Him.  (Job 1:8-11.)  However, because of the great apostasy in Israel at that time, Satan had a free hand.  But, while Elijah came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message also offered the spiritual remedy to all who desired to be healed, which was illustrated by the special ointment available from his homeland of Gilead.  See Jeremiah 8:22.

1 Kings 17:5-6.

So he [Elijah] went and did according to the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. 

After he left the astonished and disbelieving king, Elijah was told to go and live beside a small stream down a wild ravine in a desolate area of his homeland where the birds would bring him food, and no one could find him.  He was apparently not married so this was not a problem.  He believed that the LORD had told him that his bread and water would be sure, so he obeyed.

1 Kings 17:7-10.

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, get you to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain you”. So he arose and went to Zarephath.

He watched unconcerned as that stream began to dry up.  Then his faith was rewarded when he was told to leave his country and travel right across Israel to a foreign place on the coast of the Mediterranean to find help.  He was fully protected while he did this and no one accosted him even though there was a death decree hanging over his head.  Satan’s drought was not only affecting the land of Israel but also Judah and many other surrounding countries, but Elijah understood that the LORD knew that, so when told to ask a foreign woman for help he obeyed.  As Jesus told us, there was no faithful widow in Israel who would have looked after him as a prophet, which is why he had to go abroad.  Luke 4:24-26.  (This is similar to another occasion when Jeremiah was told that there was not one faithful woman in all Judah whom he could marry!  See Jeremiah 16:1-4.)    

1 Kings 17:13-16.

And Elijah said to her [his host], “Fear not; go and do as you have said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it to me, and after make for you and for your son.  For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth’.”  And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Elijah. 

This woman was not an Israelite. She had never had the privileges and blessings that the representative people of God had enjoyed; but she was a believer in the true God and had walked in all the light that was shining on her pathway. And now, when there was no security for Elijah in the land of Israel, God sent him to this woman to find a place of safety in her home. While he stayed with the woman of great faith their food and drink were fresh every morning, as it is written, “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness”.  Isaiah 3:22-23.

So he was taught of God’s continual sustaining power. 

When one day the son of the widow fell sick and died Elijah did not hesitate. but called on the LORD for his recovery, although he had a query in his mind as to why the LORD had done this. 

1 Kings 17:17.

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 

His first thought was that God had killed the boy as a punishment. 

Verse 20. 

And he cried to the LORD, and said,  “O LORD my God, have you also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?” 

He had not yet fully accepted that it is sin (helped on by Satan) which kills.  Romans 6:23.

1 Kings 17:21-22.

And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the LORD, and said, “O LORD my God, I pray you, let this child's soul come into him again”.  And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 

But then he received instructions on what to do to save him, and so an inkling of the character of God as a Saviour began to form in his mind.  He needed to apply the remedy three times to ensure that he realised who was doing the healing (and therefore who had caused it), and to firm up his new understanding of the character of his God – one of mercy only, and not of affliction.  It is Satan who brings suffering. 

We are told this in the words of the Son of man, “And again, ‘I will put My trust in Him’.  And again, ‘Behold I and the children which God has given Me’.  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same [flesh and blood]; that through [His] death He might destroy HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH, THAT IS, THE DEVIL; and deliver them who through fear of death [and punishment] were all their lifetime subject to bondage”.  Hebrews 2:13-15.

Through the long years of drought and the ensuing famine, Elijah prayed earnestly that the hearts of the people of Israel might be turned from idolatry to allegiance to God, asking if there was anything he could do to help the process.  Patiently the prophet waited, while the hand of Satan rested heavily on the stricken land.  When at last the time had come that the Son of God would be able to relieve the drought Elijah was told to return to Samaria and tell the king. 

1 Kings 18:1.

And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will [be able to] send rain upon the earth [for many of the people are now in a mood to listen to Me]”. 

On his way to the palace he met with Obadiah, the servant of both God and Ahab, and was able to convince him to recall Ahab to the capital, for he was still searching for Elijah.  Then, when accused of being the cause of the drought, he answered calmly that it was the monarch’s own fault.  Standing in conscious innocence before Ahab, Elijah made no attempt to excuse himself or to flatter the king.  Nor did he seek to evade the king's wrath by the good news that the drought was almost over.  He had no apology to offer.  Indignant, and jealous for the honour of God, he cast back the imputation of Ahab, fearlessly declaring to the king that it was his sins, and the sins of his fathers, that had brought upon Israel this terrible calamity.

1 Kings 18:17-18.

And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Are you he that troubles Israel?”  And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you, and your father's house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and you have followed [the ways of] Baalim [the gods of force]”.

Then according to the command of the LORD he asked for a confrontation on Mount Carmel with eight hundred and fifty of the leading false prophets and workers of Baal.

Verse 19.

“Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel to mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves [his priests] four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table” [i.e. who are supported by her].

When the day came, there were many onlookers gathered at the mount and around it to see what would happen.  It was then that Elijah was given the opportunity to ask them who they wanted as their God, and if they chose the living God would they be obedient to His advice.

Verse 21.

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long halt you [undecided] between two opinions?  If the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal [the god of force], then follow him’. And the people answered him not a word [for they didn’t really know the difference, selfishness was so ingrained in them].  

The challenge was to cause fire to appear on a stone altar on which lay the pieces of a bullock laid out as a burnt offering.  The false prophets were given the first opportunity to call on their god to light the fire on their altar as proof that he existed.  Of course, Satan would have loved to do it, but in those circumstances he was powerless because of the presence of the LORD and a host of loyal angels.  His acts of “magic” cannot be performed in the presence of the living God, because as a rebel unless he wants to be hurt by the energy field around the Son of God, he has to keep a safe distance away.  He would like everyone to believe that God held him back by the use of force, but the Saviour God never uses such a method. 

Elijah knew of God’s protection for he had explained it all to his servant Elisha, who in turn passed it on to his servant.  God restrains no one by force, He just protects His own from the actions of others, as He had for Elijah.

2 Kings 6:15-17.

And when the servant of the man of God [this was Elisha] was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host [a foreign army] compassed the city both with horses and chariots.  And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! How shall we do?” And he answered, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them”.  And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray you, open his eyes, that he may see”.  And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire [angelic transport] round about Elisha. [Read on to see how God saved them.] 

The trial on Mt. Carmel continued with the false prophets displaying all manner of conduct, none of which made any difference.  Elijah mockingly suggested that maybe their god was asleep, or otherwise engaged!  Even after they offered their own blood in sacrifice nothing happened.  This went on from sunrise to midday, and then until near the time of the proper afternoon offering at 3pm, while Elijah watched carefully for deception. 

Only then did Elijah begin to build up his altar from one which had been used before for the living God.  He invited the people, including his opponents, to come and watch to see that he was not using trickery as he placed the pieces of the bull on it.  After that he asked them three times to pour four barrels of water over the whole setup, which caused it to fill up a trench he had dug around the site.

Then at 3pm he prayed a simple prayer.  The living God answered it and fire from heaven ignited and consumed the wood, the sacrifice, the stones, and the water in the trench. 

1 Kings 8:39-40.

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, “The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God”.  And Elijah said to them, “Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape”.  And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.  

That’s when Elijah made his horrible mistake!  Full of zeal for the honour of his LORD, and responding to the feelings of the people, he wanted the false prophets dead.  The anger of the people had already been aroused against the leaders in transgression because of their sufferings; and when Elijah gave the command, “Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape,” they were ready to obey.  They seized the prophet/priests, and took them to the brook Kishon, and there, before the close of the day that marked the beginning of a decided reform, the ministers of Baal were slain.  Not one was permitted to live.  Eight hundred and fifty men who had chosen to work for another god were slaughtered.  No one took any notice of their pleas for mercy, or their cries of agony as they died.  In fact, the slayers of these helpless and unarmed men exulted in their fiendish work, for they were imbued with blood-lust. 

It is not written in our record, but the followers of Baal may have had wives and children there to join in their expected victory – these too would have been slain as was the custom of the time.  For example, this was how they treated the “troubler of Israel” in the early conquest.

Joshua 7:24-25.

And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them to the valley of Achor.  And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us?  The LORD shall trouble you this day”.  And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. 

After the experience of Jericho and the cold-blooded slaughter there when they disobeyed the express word of the LORD (Joshua 6:21), it had become a custom among the people of God to claim that He wanted His enemies killed, and to action that claim. 

The Captain of the LORD’s host had told Joshua that he would be able to overcome “the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour”, which was fair in the stress of battle.  Joshua 6:2.  But Joshua changed that into “Shout; for the LORD has given you the city.  And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.  And you, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest you make yourselves accursed, when you take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated to the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD . . . And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword”. [Including the dogs and the canaries?]  Joshua 6:16-19.

So Elijah ignored the pricks of conscience and did the dirty deed!

After that he suggested that the king might like to have a meal while he went off to pray for rain.  Although he did not get an answer to his first prayer, he tried again, and again.  God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon Him; for should He do this, we might take it for granted that we have a right to all the blessings and favours He bestows upon us.  Instead of searching our hearts to see if any evil is entertained by us, any sin indulged, we could become careless, and fail to realize our dependence upon Him, and our need of His help.  Not until the seventh time did Elijah begin to suspect that maybe he was out of harmony with the Son of God through the killing of the Baal prophets and rephrased his prayer. 

Then it was that a small sign was given.

1 Kings 18:42-45.

So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea”.  And he went up, and looked, and said, “There is nothing”.  And he said, “Go again” seven times.  And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand”.  And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, Prepare your chariot, and get you down, that the rain stop you not”.  And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. 

The living God who had promised to give the rain was not able to do so until His messenger came into a greater understanding of what he was asking for.  He was appealing to Him who sits on the Mercy Seat for mercy for the people, the creatures, and the land.  But he had not had any mercy for the false prophets!

1 Kings 18:45-46.

And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.  And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah [supplying the power for an act of kindness]; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. 

Elijah then showed his concern for the safety of one of the chief instigators of all these problems!  Finally, tired out from all his activities and stress of the day he fell asleep outside the city wall.

1 Kings 19:1-2.

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time”.

As he was awoken from his sleep with those words ringing in his ears, Elijah saw something horrible!  He saw that Jezebel thought that he was like her!  He realised that there was no difference between what he had done in the name of the LORD and what Jezebel was proposing in the name of her god! 

Verse 3.

“And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there” [it was the border of their country].

Horrified and sick at heart, he ran “for his life”.  But there was no way he could save himself – that was his God’s job as we have seen.  That’s why he gave up after another day’s journey and asked to be executed as a murderer.

Verse 4.

“But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, ‘It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers’.” 

“Not better than his fathers” was right.  He had behaved exactly as they had.  Even the prophet Samuel had taken a sword and slain a prisoner of war in cold blood.  “And Samuel said, ‘As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women’.  And Samuel hewed Agag [an unarmed prisoner] in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal”.  1 Samuel 15:33. 

Poor God!  He who is mercy and love was being shown as nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer by His own people! 

Gideon, too, had done the same.  See Judges 8:18-21.

Elijah had seen “the beast” at work in the slaughter of the prophets, and was filled with self-loathing, for he had been a part of it.  (The “beast” is made up by the actions of unrestrained unregenerate sinners (e.g. the mob mentality), or even those of misguided Christians.  Later he knew that he had had the zeal of a Jehu. (1 Kings 19:16-17; 2 Kings 9:23-24.) 

When faced with such a situation our Saviour can only tell us to go ahead and do what we are determined to do, hoping that after the action we will come to our senses and cling to Him for a different way.  (This is why He is often quoted as commanding such and such an action which is totally out of character for Him.) 

But afterwards He really does “take our sins” into Him as it is written, “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows [of His own choice]: yet we did esteem [thought] Him stricken, smitten [punished] of God, and afflicted.  BUT He was wounded for our transgressions [mistaken or deliberate], He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed”.  Isaiah 53:4-5.

Discouraged and ashamed, it was this realisation, dim though it was at first glimmer, which had made Elijah run.  Exhausted now he fell into sleep.  Knowing the frailty of human nature, the Son of God sent an angel with warm food and drink for His emotionally shattered servant, after which he slept again, and on awakening, was then fed a second time.   

1 Kings 19:8.

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat [food] forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. 

Why Sinai?  That was where the Ten Commandments had been written by the finger of the LORD and given to Moses and the people.  Now their true meaning was to be explained to His bitterly ashamed prophet, for they are the transcript of His character in human terms. 

1 Kings 19:9-14.

And he came there to a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What do you here, Elijah?” [What’s your excuse for leaving your post of duty?]

And he said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and slain Your prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away”. [I have been trying to defend Your honour, and save myself.]

And He said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD”. [So he did so.]  And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD;

but the LORD was not in the wind:

and after the wind an earthquake;

but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 

And after the earthquake a fire;

but the LORD was not in the fire:

and after the fire a still small voice. [And that’s where the LORD was, for He does not use force of any kind, only persuasion.]

And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave [for he had run back inside fearing destruction.  He didn’t want to die, anymore than had the false prophets!] 

And, behold, there came a Voice to him, and said, “What do you here, Elijah?” And he said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and slain Your prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away”. 

The first time he had made this statement it was an excuse for his behaviour.  Now he repeated it as an accusation against himself.  “I had it all wrong”, he admitted.  Slowly but surely, he was learning the character of his God. 

He had also thought that he alone in Israel was a worshipper of the true God.  But He who reads the hearts of all revealed to the prophet that there were many others who, through the long years of apostasy, had remained true to Him. Elijah was told, “Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him”.  Verse 18.

After that experience, he was directed to anoint Hazael as the future king of Syria (at that time he was king Benhadad’s trusted servant, but would murder him to gain the throne, 2 Kings 8:7-15), and also another man named Jehu (not the prophet of the same name) who would kill many heirs to the throne of Israel that he might become king of that country.  Last of all, he was to anoint Elisha who would take over his work.  

(It is interesting to note that as a prophet of Israel he was used to warn a man of another nation of his potential to  commit a terrible sin.)

For several years after the call of Elisha (possibly ten), Elijah and Elisha laboured together, the younger man daily gaining greater preparedness for his work.  Elijah had been God's instrument for the overthrow of gigantic evils.  The idolatry which, supported by Ahab and his heathen wife Jezebel, had seduced the nation, had been given a decided check and the death decree withdrawn.  Baal's prophets had been slain.  The whole people of Israel had been deeply stirred, and many were returning to the worship of the true God.  As Elijah's successor, Elisha, by careful, patient instruction, must endeavour to guide these folk in safe paths.  His association with Elijah, the greatest prophet since the days of Moses, prepared him for the work that he was soon to take up alone.  It was Elisha who would later have the job of repeating that information to the other two when he anointed them again.

What we often do not see in the anointing of Hazael and Jehu was the fact that the rituals were warnings to them of their future behaviour – behaviour which the LORD wanted them to overcome.  It is written, “And he [Elisha] settled his countenance steadfastly [looked hard at Hazael], until he was ashamed [Hazael lowered his eyes]: and the man of God wept.  And Hazael said, ‘Why weeps my lord?’ And he answered, ‘Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: their strong holds will you set on fire, and their young men will you slay with the sword, and will dash their children, and rip up their women with child’.  And Hazael said, ‘But what, is your servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?’ And Elisha answered, ‘The LORD has showed me that you shall be king over Syria’ [and then you’ll do them].”  2 Kings 8:11-13. [None of us know what we are capable of unless God tells us, Jeremiah 17:9.]

Unfortunately, both men fulfilled God’s sad predictions and caused havoc among the people.  Jehu especially proclaimed that he was doing God’s work, although he thought that He was a Baal!  “And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said to them, ‘Ahab served Baal [the god of force] a little; but Jehu shall serve him much’ [because he thought the living God also wanted His enemies dead]. 2 Kings 10:18.  Over a period of time, among many other things, he killed Jehoram the son of Ahab who had taken over the kingdom after his brother had died, then one of his men shot Ahaziah the king of Judah, and after that Jehu caused Jezebel to be thrown out a window to her death.  He threatened the minders of Ahab’s other children (seventy in total!) until he got them murdered too.  Then he killed many of the brethren of the king of Judah!  All this was done in the name of the living God.  See 2 Kings 9 and 10.

While this was building up, Elijah was trying to tell the people that he had learnt that God does not hurt, punish or destroy anyone, at any time, for any reason, but few took any notice.  No wonder the Son of God has had a hard time getting His people to see the truth about His Father.  Most see the anointing of these men as God’s endorsement of their behaviour, instead of recognising that they were liars, traitors and murderers in their own right, and that God was trying to save them from the results of their condition.   

We next hear of Elijah when Ahab wanted the vineyard of his next-door neighbour.  While Ahab was acting like a spoilt child, his wife Jezebel hatched a plot to have Naboth and his sons executed as traitors and thus allow the king to take over the vineyard. 1 Kings 21 and 2 Kings 9:26.  Elijah was asked by God to meet Ahab in the vineyard and proclaim his impending fate. 

1 Kings 21:19-20

And [God said] you shall speak to him, saying, “Thus says the LORD, Have you killed, and also taken possession?” And you shall speak to him, saying, “Thus says the LORD, in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your blood, even yours”.

And Ahab said to Elijah, ‘Have you found me, O my enemy?’ And he answered, ‘I have found you; because you have sold yourself to work evil in the sight of the LORD’.”  

This pronouncement had an effect upon the king.

Verses 27-29.

“And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly [he repented of his actions].  And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘See you how Ahab humbles himself before Me?  Because he humbles himself before Me [I’ll be able to protect him], I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house’.”  

So his repentance changed God’s word!  As He had hoped.

Ahab reigned for twenty-two years altogether, then his son Ahaziah took over but only lasted two years before succumbing to a disease brought on by an accident.  While he was sick he rejected God as his Doctor and sent instead for help from the god of a nearby country. 

2 Kings 1:3-4.

But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that you go to inquire of Baalzebub [the boss of the flies] [1] the god of Ekron?  Now therefore thus says the LORD, You shall not come down from that bed on which you are gone up, but shall surely die”.  And Elijah departed. 

It was this king that sent the three squads of fifty soldiers to bring Elijah in for questioning (and torture?). 

2 Kings 1:9-15.

Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty.  And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of a hill [conversing with the Son of God].  And he [the captain] spoke [harshly] to him, “You man of God, the king has said, Come down”.  And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I be a man of God [beware, for if you approach me with anger in your heart], then let fire come down from heaven, and consume you and your fifty [for I am sitting with my God]”. 

And [as they came near Elijah] there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.  

11 Again also he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty.  And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, thus has the king said, Come down quickly” [he had the same attitude]. 12 And Elijah answered and said to them, “If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume you and your fifty”.   

And [as they came near Elijah] the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty [also].  

13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty.  And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah [right up close], and besought him, and said to him, “O man of God, I pray you, let my life, and the life of these fifty your servants, be precious in your sight. 14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in your sight” [What he was saying was “please”].

15 And the Angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him: be not afraid of him”.  And he arose, and went down with him to the king.  

Most of us misread this scripture.  If we believe that God protected Elijah by deliberately zapping the soldiers then we are worshipping Baal, the god who uses force in religion.  On the other hand, if we understand that the two groups of fifty chose, even after they had been warned, to move into an area where they would be affected and destroyed by the force field around God (aka “the glory of God”) then we are looking at the God of love.  We can then realise that He did not deliberately destroy them, but warned them to stay away so they could be safe.

This is proved by the fact that when, centuries later, two of His disciples suggested to Jesus that He should call down fire on the heads of some people who had rejected Him, He was very upset, and told them that they were actuated by the wrong spirit, the spirit of destruction.

Luke 9:52-56.

And [He] sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.  And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem [they were jealous].  And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “LORD, will You that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?”  But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”.  And they went to another village. 

He also said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen My Father [in action]”. 

See John 14:9.







Here’s a thought from an article written by one of my friends.

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They [Christ’s disciples] saw in the distance a reminder of Elijah’s slaughter of the priests of Baal.  Who’s to say they wouldn’t have suggested taking the Samaritans to the brook Kishon and dealing with them in a similar fashion, had they adequate manpower?  They apparently saw nothing objectionable in that solution. But it would be far easier to command fire from heaven to consume the offenders—another of Elijah’s apparent remedies. 

Scripture presents these destructive acts clearly, raising no doubts in the disciples’ minds or in ours that they occurred exactly as God intended. Yet the disciples “were surprised to see that Jesus was pained by their words.”   Jesus clearly saw the matter in a different light.

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It is no part of Christ's mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, who seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretence of zeal for righteousness, men who are working with evil angels sometimes bring suffering upon their fellow men in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can accept no rival in the heart, nor agree to partial service; He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the whole heart under the constraint of love.

Ahaziah was succeeded by his brother, Joram (aka Jehoram) who reigned for the next twelve years in Israel.  (Don’t confuse him with his brother in law, another Jehoram who became king of JUDAH five years after Joram began his reign.  Jehoram of Judah had married Athaliah, Joram’s sister. See note 1.)

After all that time and those experiences, his work was done and Elijah was now ready for translation, God’s gift His people.

2 Kings 2:1-7.

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.  And Elijah said to Elisha, “Tarry here, I pray you; for the LORD has sent me to Bethel” [There’s no need for you to come].  And Elisha said to him, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you”.  So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets [trainee Bible teachers] that were at [the school at] Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said to him, “Know you that the LORD will take away your master from your head today?”  And he said, “Yea, I know it; hold you your peace”.

[It was obviously common knowledge that Elijah was leaving.]

And Elijah said to him, “Elisha, tarry here, I pray you; for the LORD has sent me to Jericho” [Elisha was being tested regarding his determination to stick with the prophet of God regardless of how routine the work seemed to be].  And he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you”.  So they came to Jericho.  And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said to him, “Know you that the LORD will take away your master from your head today?” And he answered, “Yea, I know it; hold you your peace”.

And Elijah said to him, “Tarry, I pray you, here; for the LORD has sent me to Jordan”.  And he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you [even though now he thought it might be dangerous]”.  And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two by Jordan.  

Not through a secret rapture, but by a very public display was Elijah to be rewarded for his faith.  This was the prize that the LORD had intended all of His people to have.  But He had only been successful with one other follower! 

Enoch, of the seventh generation from Adam, had previously accepted the gift and responded in his life till he could be taken from this sinful earth into heaven.  Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5-6.  It is not by works, but by an attitude of heart that we can be translated without seeing death.

But during the translation a great blessing was given to Elisha.

2 Kings 2:9-14.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over [the river], that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken away from you”. [God loves giving gifts.]  And Elisha said, “I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me”.

And he said, “You have asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if you [are close enough so that you] see me when I am taken from you [without being hurt], it shall be so to you; but if not, it shall not be so [for I’m going to meet the LORD]”.  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by [past] a whirlwind into heaven [the whirlwind housed the LORD, Job 38:1; Ezekiel 1:4].  And Elisha saw it, and he cried, “My father, my father, [I see] the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof”.  And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes [possibly his cloak], and rent them in two pieces [as an illustration of what the power of God can do].

He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah [now]?”  And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and there: and Elisha went over [clad in the prophet’s robe].

By tearing his cloak in half at the sight of the LORD, he showed that there is a change of nature at the beginning of each Christian life (dying with the LORD as a “sinner”), and then by picking up Elijah’s cloak he illustrated being clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness (being reborn as a “saint”). 

Thereafter there comes to the reborn a lifetime of growth in understanding, overcoming temptation in the power of God, and using practical help to his or her fellow men and women.  This is called “sanctification” or, “training the heart”.  And finally, after his or her individual part in the work of God on earth is done, there should be a removal to heaven in a blaze of glory, in the hope that others would seek to do the same. 

He had learned all this from God through his teacher, Elijah.

However, even though they had watched Elijah disappear from beside Elisha, but not seeing the “chariot”, there were many among the spectators who thought that maybe he had been transported somewhere else in the country

2 Kings 2:15-18.

And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him [Elisha], they said, “The spirit of Elijah does rest on Elisha”.  And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. And they said to him, “Behold now, there be with your servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray you, and seek your master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley”.  And he said, “You shall not send [I know where he is]”.  And when they urged him till he was ashamed [wearied], he said, “Send”.  They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said to them, “Did I not say to you, Go not?” 

Unfortunately, the misunderstanding that ALL should die of their sins and await a resurrection has overshadowed the truth that Elijah and Elisha had learnt, and Christians have still failed to press on to the ultimate prize in helping others.  

Philippians 3:13-15.

Paul wrote;  “Brothers [and sisters], I count not myself to have apprehended [there always appears more to learn]: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [in your present understanding], be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded [if you still want to commit known sin], God shall reveal even this to you”.

The truth of God’s mercy was illustrated later by Elisha.  After having received twice the power of Elijah (twice the mercy), he was visiting a school of the prophets in the vicinity of Jericho when some of the elders of that city came to him with a request. 

1 Kings 16:33-34.

And Ahab made a grove [near Jericho in which to worship Baal and his wife]; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. In his days did Hiel the Bethelite [re]build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in [the death of] Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in [through the life of] his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. (Some five centuries earlier in Joshua 6:26),

Although they had rebuilt the city against the express command of the LORD Elisha listened to them, for he had understood from Elijah that his God was merciful to everyone.  Their problem was that the springs of that area had become undrinkable and soured the ground around the city.  Why had they rebuilt the city in the same place?  Because it had been the centre of the worship of Ashtoreth, Baal’s wife, the queen of heaven, and was the place where many degrading religious rites, which they still enjoyed, had taken place.  So they were active anti-Christ believers.    

2 Kings 2:19-22.

And the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, I pray you, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees: but the water is nought, and the ground barren” [Can your God help us?].  And he said, “Bring me a new cruse [bowl], and put salt therein”.  And they brought it to him.

And he went forth to the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, “Thus says the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from there any more death or barren land”.  So the waters were healed to this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spoke.

From my library:  (The old English in the scriptures has been changed.)

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The healing of the waters of Jericho was accomplished, not by any wisdom of man, but by the miraculous interposition of God. Those who had rebuilt the city were undeserving of the favor of Heaven; yet He who “makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,” saw fit in this instance to reveal, through this token of compassion, His willingness to heal Israel of their spiritual maladies. Matthew 5:45. 

The restoration was permanent; “the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spoke.” 2 Kings 2:22.  From age to age the waters have flowed on, making that portion of the valley an oasis of beauty. 

Many are the spiritual lessons to be gathered from the story of the healing of the waters. The new cruse, the salt, the spring--all are highly symbolic. 

In casting salt into the bitter spring, Elisha taught the same spiritual lesson imparted centuries later by the Saviour to His disciples when He declared, “You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13. The salt mingling with the polluted spring purified its waters and brought life and blessing where before had been blighting and death. When God compares His children to salt, He would teach them that His purpose in making them the subjects of His grace is that they may become agents in saving others. The object of God in choosing a people before all the world was not only that He might adopt them as His sons and daughters, but that through them the world might receive the grace that brings salvation. When the Lord chose Abraham, it was not simply to be the special friend of God, but to be a medium of the peculiar privileges the Lord desired to bestow upon the nations. 

The world needs evidences of sincere Christianity. The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society. Cities and towns are steeped in sin and moral corruption. The world is full of sickness, suffering, and iniquity. Nigh and afar off are souls in poverty and distress, weighed down with a sense of guilt and perishing for want of a saving influence. The gospel of truth is kept ever before them, yet they perish because the example of those who should be a savor of life to them is a savor of death. Their souls drink in bitterness because the springs are poisoned, when they should be like a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. 

Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate, infuse it, that it may be preserved. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. They are not saved as masses, but as individuals. Personal influence is a power. It is to work with the influence of Christ, to lift where Christ lifts, to impart correct principles, and to stay the progress of the world's corruption. It is to diffuse that grace which Christ alone can impart. It is to uplift, to sweeten the lives and characters of others by the power of a pure example united with earnest faith and love.

Of the hitherto polluted spring at Jericho, the Lord declared, “I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.” The polluted stream represents the soul that is separate from God.

Sin not only shuts away from God, but destroys in the human soul both the desire and the capacity for knowing Him.

Through sin, the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted; the faculties of the soul are degraded. There is an absence of pure religion, of heart holiness. The converting power of God has not wrought in transforming the character. The soul is weak, and for want of moral force to overcome, is polluted and debased. 

To the heart that has become purified, all is changed. Transformation of character is the testimony to the world of an indwelling Christ. The Spirit of God produces a new life in the soul, bringing the thoughts and desires into obedience to the will of Christ; and the inward man is renewed in the image of God. Weak and erring men and women show to the world that the redeeming power of grace can cause the faulty character to develop into symmetry and abundant fruitfulness.

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The work of Elisha as a prophet was in some respects very different from that of Elijah.  To Elijah had been committed messages of condemnation and judgment; his was the voice of fearless reproof, calling king and people to turn from their evil ways.  Elisha's was a more peaceful mission; his it was to build up and strengthen the work that Elijah had begun; to teach the people the way of the Lord.  Inspiration pictures him as coming into personal touch with the people, surrounded by the sons of the prophets, bringing healing and rejoicing by his miracles and his ministry.

Although Elisha did not have the faith to hang on to the gift of God as Elijah had, the following story shows that the Son of God did not give up trying to show that death was totally against His desire.  As it is written, to die we have “to give up [be separated from] the [Holy] Ghost”.  Matthew 27:50.

2 Kings 13:14-21.

Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died [it was a long illness before he gave up the Ghost] . . .  And Elisha died, and they buried him .  .  .  And [some time after] the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.  And it came to pass, as they were burying a man [carrying him to burial], that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast [lowered] the [dead] man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.  

As He says in another place: “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways [his choice], says the LORD GOD.  Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. [Take My power and] cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the LORD GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live you”.  Ezekiel 18:30-32.

The last we hear of Elijah in the Old Testament is this:  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse”.  Malachi  4:5-6.  Here the Spirit describes the character of the work to be done in the last days.

Jesus told us that this promise had a partial fulfilment with John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:7-15.

And as they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, “What went you out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?  But what went you out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment?  Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.  

“But what went you out for to see? A prophet?  Yea, I say to you, and more than a prophet.  For this is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, which shall prepare Your way before You’. [Malachi 3:1.]

“Verily I say to you, Among them that are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence [enthusiasm], and the violent [enthusiastic] take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied [in a certain way] until John.  

“And if you will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come.  He that has ears to hear, let him hear”.  

However, the prophecy says, “before the coming of the GREAT and dreadful day” so there needs to be another “appearing” of an Elijah in the future.  Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears he will “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” as John the Baptist connected the Old Testament times with the New.

In the New Testament we are told that the real Elijah turned up on the Mount of Transfiguration talking with Jesus about His impending death on the cross.

Luke 9:29-31.

And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering.  And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah: who appeared in glory, and spoke of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.  

Both Elijah and Moses had lived in this world and also tasted of the glories of heaven, so they were well fitted to encourage Him in His chosen path.  There are only two men mentioned in the Bible as being translated, Enoch and Elijah, but Moses was first person to be resurrected from death, so he made a good companion to Elijah. 

A few in every generation from Adam have resisted Satan’s every deception and stood forth as noble representatives of what it is in the power of Christians to do and to be – Christ working with their human efforts, giving them the power to overcome sin. 

Enoch and Elijah are the correct representatives of what all of us might be through faith in Jesus Christ if we choose to be. 

Satan was greatly disturbed because these two noble, holy men had stood untainted amid the moral pollution surrounding them, perfected righteous characters, and accepted the gift of translation to heaven.  As they had stood forth in moral power in noble uprightness, overcoming his temptations, he could not bring them under his dominion, the dominion of death. 

Therefore he triumphed that he had power to overcome Moses with his temptations, and that he could mar his illustrious character and lead him to the sin of taking glory to himself before the people which belonged to God. 

However, Christ resurrected Moses soon after his death and took him to heaven. This enraged Satan, and he accused the Son of God of invading his kingdom by robbing the grave of his lawful prey. Jude says of the resurrection of Moses, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil [when] he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing [condemning] accusation, but said, The LORD rebuke you”.  Jude 1:9.

Lateral thought:

If those two could come back and visit the earth, then any other human who was in heaven could do the same.  It is written in the Bible that Enoch has been taken there, making three people that we know about by name.  But there was also a special resurrection at the time of Christ’s appearance from the tomb.  “Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the Ghost [at 3pm on Friday].  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection [early Sunday morning], and went into the holy city [Jerusalem], and appeared unto many”.  Matthew 27:50-53.

Enoch had prophesied of these during his lifetime, and he tells us that there were to be “ten thousand” of them!  In a statement which can apply to the second coming as well as the third, one of Christ’s followers wrote, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, ‘Behold, the LORD comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him’.” Jude 1:14.

The very last comment on Elijah in the Bible is found in James 5:17 where we are told that “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are . . .”  This underlines the fact that anyone who trusts the LORD and understands Him can be translated without seeing death.  They just have to hang on to His gift. 

Sadly, the only statement on this matter in the last days refers to not one, but 144,000 Christians who will experience this all together. 

Revelation 14:

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1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him a hundred forty-four thousand, having His Father's name [character] written in their foreheads [in their minds].  

2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth [for it tells of their experiences with Him].

4 These are they which were not defiled with women [religious systems]; for they are virgins [with eyes only for God].  These are they which follow the Lamb wheresoever He goes.  These were redeemed [translated] from among men [not from the grave], being the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

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Sadly, because that experience is available to individuals before that!    




Note 1

Although Elijah’s work was mainly with the northern kingdom of Israel, at one time he was asked to write to one of the kings of Judah.  The quote below is the record of that.

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2 Chronicles 21:

1 Now Jehoshaphat [king of Judah] slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David.  And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

2 And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and [another] Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel [the Judah part]. 3 And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn.

4 Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brothers with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel [i.e. Judah]. 5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 6 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD. 

7 Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as He promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.

8 In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king. 9 Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots [but could not regain the kingdom]. 10 So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah to this day.  The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.

11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.

12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, “Thus says the LORD God of David your father, Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,

13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also have slain your brothers of your father's house, which were better than yourself: 14 behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite your people, and your children, and your wives, and all your goods: 15 and you shall have great sickness by disease of your bowels, until your bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day”.  

16 Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: 17 and they came up into Judah, and broke into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.

18 And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. 19 And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases.  And his people made no burning for him [state funeral ceremonies], like the burning of his fathers.

20 Thirty-two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired.  Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.

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Although it is written, “The LORD smote him”, we should know by now that it is when the LORD of life is rejected that the “law of sin” can operate, and sickness and death is the result. 

But it is written, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death”. Romans 8:2.

So the “LORD smote him” means that He could no longer protect him and give him life – so he died a horrible death – the death of an unregenerate sinner.  BACK




[1] He was called that because he was believed to save from certain flies that caused much suffering and diseases with their bites (like mosquitoes). 



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