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Elijah

The Bible

Bible Usage:

Dictionaries:

  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: Yes
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: No
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: No
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

  • H452 Used 68 times

 

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Elijah

Whose God is Jehovah.

1. "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings 17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the name given to the prophet.

Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by Elijah (1 Kings 17:2-24).

During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for his work (comp. Galatians 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord, he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to his prayer (James 5:18).

Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave. Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here, Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; comp. 2 Kings 8:7-15; 9:1-10).

Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings 1:1-16). (See NABOTH.) During these intervals he probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where. His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and the account of the destruction of his captains with their fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at this time on Mount Carmel.

The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven (2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets, and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither" when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which fell from him as he ascended.

No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John 1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias?" Paul (Romans 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people. James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8). He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matthew 11:11, 14), the forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8; Matthew 3:4)."

How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may, the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed to be Elijah (Matthew 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35; Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples. They were sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."

2. The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chronicles 21:12-15 is by some supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning (comp. 1 Chronicles 28:19; Jeremiah 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah; while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to the throne (2 Chronicles 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2 may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the beginning of Jehoram's reign.


Hitchcock's Names Dictionary
Elijah

God the Lord, the strong Lord


Naves Topical Index
Elijah

1. The Tishbite, a Gileadite and prophet, called Elias

History of:

Persecuted by Ahab
1 Kings 17:2-7; 1 Kings 18:7-10


Escapes to the wilderness, where he is miraculously fed by ravens
1 Kings 17:1-7


By divine direction goes to Zarephath, where he is sustained in the household of a widow, whose meal and oil are miraculously increased
1 Kings 17:8-16


Returns, and sends a message to Ahab
1 Kings 18:1-16


Meets Ahab and directs him to assemble the prophets of Baal
1 Kings 18:17-20


Derisively challenges the priests of Baal to offer sacrifices
1 Kings 18:25-29


Slays the prophets of Baal
1 Kings 18:40


Escapes to the wilderness from the fierceness of Jezebel
1 Kings 19:1-18


Fasts forty days
1 Kings 19:8


Despondency and murmuring of
1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14


Consolation given to
1 Kings 9:11-18


Flees to the wilderness of Damascus; directed to anoint Hazael king over Syria, Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be a prophet in his own stead
1 Kings 19:9-21


Personal aspect of
2 Kings 1:8


Piety of
1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14; Luke 1:17; Romans 11:2; James 5:17


His translation
2 Kings 2:11


Appears to Jesus at His transfiguration
Matthew 17:3-4; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30


Anti-type of John the Baptist
Matthew 11:14; Matthew 16:14; Matthew 17:10-12; Mark 9:12-13; Luke 1:17; John 1:21-25


Miracles of:

Increases the oil of the widow of Zarephath
1 Kings 17:14-16


Raises from the dead the son of the woman of Zarephath
1 Kings 17:17-24


Causes rain after seven years' drought
1 Kings 18:41-45; James 5:17-18


Causes fire to consume the sacrifice
1 Kings 18:24; 1 Kings 18:36-38


Calls fire down upon the soldiers of Ahaziah
2 Kings 1:10-12; Luke 9:54


Prophecies of:

Foretells a drought
1 Kings 17:3


Foretells the destruction of Ahab and his house
1 Kings 21:17-29; 2 Kings 9:25-37


Foretells the death of Ahaziah
2 Kings 1:2-17


Foretells the plague sent as a judgment upon the people in the time of Jehoram, king of Israel
2 Chronicles 21:12-15


2. Called Eliah, a Benjamite chief
1 Chronicles 8:27

3. A post-exile Jew
Ezra 10:21


Smith's Bible Dictionary
Elijah

(my God is Jehovah) has been well entitled "the grandest and the most romantic character that Isr'l ever produced." "Elijah the Tishbite,... of the inhabitants of Gilead" is literally all that is given us to know of his parentage and locality. Of his appearance as he "stood before" Ahab (B.C. 910) with the suddenness of motion to this day characteristic of the Bedouins from his native hills, we can perhaps realize something from the touches, few but strong, of the narrative. His chief characteristic was his hair, long and thick, and hanging down his back. His ordinary clothing consisted of a girdle of skin round his loins, which he tightened when about to move quickly. (1 Kings 18:46) But in addition to this he occasionally wore the "mantle" or cape of sheepskin which has supplied us with one of our most familiar figures of speech. His introduction, in what we may call the first act of his life, is the most startling description. He suddenly appears before Ahab, prophesies a three-years drought in Isr'l, and proclaims the vengeance of Jehovah for the apostasy of the king. Obliged to flee from the vengeance of king, or more probably of the queen (comp. (1 Kings 19:2) he was directed to the brook Cherith. There in the hollow of the torrent bed he remained, supported in the miraculous manner with which we are all familiar, till the failing of the brook obliged him to forsake it. His next refuge was at Zarephath. Here in the house of the widow woman Elijah performed the miracles of prolonging the oil and the meal, and restored the son of the widow to life after his apparent death. 1 Kings 17. In this or some other retreat an interval of more than two years must have elapsed. The drought continued, and at last the full horrors of famine, caused by the failure of the crops, descended on Samaria. Again Elijah suddenly appears before Ahab. There are few more sublime stories in history than the account of the succeeding events

with the servant of Jehovah and his single attendant on the one hand, and the 850 prophets of Baal on the other; the altars, the descending fire of Jehovah consuming both sacrifice and altar; the rising storm, and the ride across the plain to Jezreel. 1 Kings 18. Jezebel vows vengeance, and again Elijah takes refuge in flight into the wilderness, where he is again miraculously fed, and goes forward, in the strength of that food, a journey of forty days to the mount of God, even to Horeb, where he takes refuge in a cave, and witnesses a remarkable vision of Jehovah. (1 Kings 19:9-18) He receives the divine communication, and sets forth in search of Elisha, whom he finds ploughing in the field, and anoints him prophet in his place. ch. 19. For a time little is heard of Elijah, and Ahab and Jezebel probably believed they had seen the last of him. But after the murder of Naboth, Elijah, who had received an intimation from Jehovah of what was taking place, again suddenly appears before the king, and then follow Elijah's fearful denunciation of Ahab and Jezebel, which may possibly be recovered by putting together the words recalled by Jehu, (2 Kings 9:26,36,37) and those given in (1 Kings 21:19-25) A space of three or four years now elapses (comp. (1 Kings 22:1,51; 2 Kings 1:17) before we again catch a glimpse of Elijah. Ahaziah is on his death-bed, (1 Kings 22:51; 2 Kings 1:1,2) and sends to an oracle or shrine of Baal to ascertain the issue of his illness; but Elijah suddenly appears on the path of the messengers, without preface or inquiry utters his message of death, and as rapidly disappears. The wrathful king sends two bands of soldiers to seize Elijah, and they are consumed with fire; but finally the prophet goes down and delivers to Ahaziah's face the message of death. No long after Elijah sent a message to Jehoram denouncing his evil doings, and predicting his death. (2 Chronicles 21:12-15) It was at Gilgal

probably on the western edge of the hills of Ephraim

that the prophet received the divine intimation that his departure was at hand. He was at the time with Elisha, who seems now to have become his constant companion, and who would not consent to leave him. "And it came to pass as they still went on and talked, that, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." (B.C. 896.) Fifty men of the sons of the prophets ascended the abrupt heights behind the town, and witnessed the scene. How deep was the impression which he made on the mind of the nation may be judged of from the fixed belief which many centuries after prevailed that Elijah would again appear for the relief and restoration of his country, as Malachi prophesied. (Malachi 4:5) He spoke, but left no written words, save the letter to Jehoram king of Judah. (2 Chronicles 21:12-15)