4:25 But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, 1 when the sky 2 was shut up three and a half years, and 3 there was a great famine over all the land. 4:26 Yet 4 Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 5
1 sn Elijah’s days. Jesus, by discussing Elijah and Elisha, pictures one of the lowest periods in Israel’s history. These examples, along with v. 24, also show that Jesus is making prophetic claims as well as messianic ones. See 1 Kgs 17-18.
2 tn Or “the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. Since the context here refers to a drought (which produced the famine), “sky” is preferable.
4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast.
5 sn Zarephath in Sidon was Gentile territory (see 1 Kgs 17:9-24). Jesus’ point was that he would be forced to minister elsewhere, and the implication is that this ministry would ultimately extend (through the work of his followers) to those outside the nation.