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The Israelite king Omri had allied himself with the Phoenician cities of the coast, and his son Ahab was married to Jezebel , daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre and Sidon. Jezebel, with her Tyrian courtiers and a large contingent of pagan priests and prophets, propagated her native religion in a sanctuary built for Baal in the royal city of Samaria. This meant that the Israelites accepted Baal as well as Yahweh, putting Yahweh on a par with a nature-god whose supreme manifestations were the elements and biological fertility, celebrated often in an orgiastic cult.

Elijah was from Tishbe in Gilead. Later Elijah meets prophets of Baal in a contest of strength on Mount Carmel to determine which deity is the true God of Israel.

Elijah - Wikipedia

Sacrifices are placed on an altar to Baal and one to Yahweh. The drought thereupon ends with the falling of rain. Elijah flees the wrath of the vengeful Jezebel by undertaking a pilgrimage to Mount Horeb Sinai , where he is at first disheartened in his struggle and then miraculously renewed.


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In a further narrative, King Ahab has a man named Naboth condemned to death in order to gain possession of his vineyard. Elijah denounces Ahab for his crimes, asserting that all men are subject to the law of God and are therefore equals. The true question is whether Yahweh or Baal is God, simply and universally. The theme of the later prophets, that morality must be at the heart of ritual worship, is also taught by Elijah, who upholds the unity of law and religion against the despotic cruelty of a king influenced by a pagan wife.

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2. Elijah was a Man Who Heard God

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Old Testament Bible Stories -Elijah

Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Ahab, under the influence of his queen Jezebel, allowed her to foster the worship of the fertility god Baal in Samaria—the capital that Omri had built—and in all Israel, even…. Such must have been the view of the prophets, whose fallen were the first martyrs to…. The literary prophets also have been viewed as being….

King Ahab had a wife named Jezebel. She did not believe in God. She killed the prophets of God. Jezebel wanted to kill Elijah. God told Elijah to hide from Jezebel. Elijah hid by a stream of water.

Who Was Elijah & Why Is His Bible Story Still Important Today?

He drank from the stream. God sent birds to bring food to Elijah. Then the famine came. There was no water in the stream. Elijah had no water to drink or food to eat.

Historical setting

God told Elijah to go to a city. He would meet a woman there. The woman would give him food and water. Elijah met the woman. Her husband was dead.


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She lived with her son. Elijah asked her for some water and bread.

1 Kings 16

She said she did not have any. She had only a little flour and oil to make bread for her son. Elijah told her to make some bread for him first.