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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Elijah

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Elijah (e-lî'jah), my God is Jehovah. 1. That most renowned prophet of Israel who, with no introduction as to his birth or parentage, or even account of the divine commission given to him, bursts forth in sacred story as the stern denouncer of judgment on apostate Israel, and who, after his marvelous course of miracle and bold vindication of God's authority, is translated without tasting death. He first appears as a messenger from God to Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, probably in the tenth year of his reign. He was sent to prophesy three years' drought in the land of Israel. After delivering this startling and distressing prophecy, he was directed to flee to the brook Cherith, where he was miraculously fed by ravens. When the brook had dried up he was sent to a widow woman of Zarephath, and again the hand of the Lord supplied his wants and those of his friends. He raised the widow's son to life. 1 Kings 17:1-24. After the famine had lasted the predicted period, Elijah encountered Ahab, and then ensued the magnificent display of divine power and of human trust upon the ridge of Carmel. 1 Kings 18:1-46. See Ahab. The reaction from such a mental strain left the prophet in a weak, nervous condition, and in a fit of despondency he fled from Jezebel into the "wilderness" and desired death. In Mount Sinai the downcast man of God was witness of Jehovah's strength and experienced Jehovah's tenderness in a very remarkable vision. 1 Kings 19:9-18. He anointed Elisha to be prophet in his room. 1 Kings 19:1-21. He then retired into privacy, but after the dastardly murder of Naboth he suddenly appeared before the guilty king and announced the judgment of Jehovah against the royal pair. 1 Kings 21:1-29. Several years after occurred the prophecy of Ahaziah's death. 2 Kings 1:1-1 See Ahaziah. The slaughter by fire of the two companies of troops sent to take Elijah must have greatly increased the popular awe of the prophet. Elijah was translated to heaven in a miraculous manner. 2 Kings 2:1-25. The character of Elijah made a deep impression upon the Jews. He was expected to return to earth as the forerunner of Messiah; an expectation encouraged by the remarkable prophecy, Malachi 4:5-6, already referred to. The prophecy was indeed fulfilled, but not in the way they imagined. John Baptist, though not personally Elijah, John 1:21, was to go before the Messiah in the spirit and power of the ancient prophet, Luke 1:17; and thus our Lord himself explained the matter to his disciples. Matthew 17:10-13. There was, it is true, a personal appearance of Elijah with Moses, when the two in glory stood beside the transfigured Saviour on the holy mount, and talked with him of his coming death—a proof how both the law and the prophets pointed to a Redeemer suffering ere he was triumphant. Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36. There are those who believe that the prediction of Elijah's coming has not yet had its full accomplishment; and they expect, before the second appearing of the Lord, that the old stern prophet of Gilead, who never died, will tread the earth again. Such a question, however, cannot be discussed here.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Elijah'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/rpd/e/elijah.html. 1893.

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