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1 Kings 17:18-24

Context
17:18 She asked Elijah, “Why, prophet, have you come 1  to me to confront me with 2  my sin and kill my son?” 17:19 He said to her, “Hand me your son.” He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him down on his bed. 17:20 Then he called out to the Lord, “O Lord, my God, are you also bringing disaster on this widow I am staying with by killing her son?” 17:21 He stretched out over the boy three times and called out to the Lord, “O Lord, my God, please let this boy’s breath return to him.” 17:22 The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer; the boy’s breath returned to him and he lived. 17:23 Elijah took the boy, brought him down from the upper room to the house, and handed him to his mother. Elijah then said, “See, your son is alive!” 17:24 The woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a prophet and that the Lord really does speak through you.” 3 

1 tn Heb “What to me and to you, man of God, that you have come.”

2 tn Heb “to make me remember.”

3 tn Heb “you are a man of God and the word of the Lord is truly in your mouth.”

sn This episode is especially significant in light of Ahab’s decision to promote Baal worship in Israel. In Canaanite mythology the drought that swept over the region (v. 1) would signal that Baal, a fertility god responsible for providing food for his subjects, had been defeated by the god of death and was imprisoned in the underworld. While Baal was overcome by death and unable to function like a king, Israel’s God demonstrated his sovereignty and superiority to death by providing food for a widow and restoring life to her son. And he did it all in Sidonian territory, Baal’s back yard, as it were. The episode demonstrates that Israel’s God, not Baal, is the true king who provides food and controls life and death. This polemic against Baalism reaches its climax in the next chapter, when the Lord proves that he, not Baal, controls the elements of the storm and determines when the rains will fall.



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