Imagens da página

must be awaked, and they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when mid-day was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded."

Elijah now commanded the people to draw near, while he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down; and he took twelve stones, one for each tribe, and with these stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, round which he made a deep trench. When he had put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid it on the wood, he desired the people to pour water over it, that they might more clearly see the miracle about to be wrought: and they poured water over it. “And he said, Do it a second time. And they did it a second time. And he said, Do it a third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar: and he filled the trench also with water.”

“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said ; LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the

Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.”.

As Elijah ended this prayer, “the fire of the LORD* fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, the LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.”

According to the law, the punishment of the idolatrous priests followed. Elijah said unto the people, " Take the prophets of Baal, let not one of them escape.” And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. After this act of necessary severity, the mercy of the LORD was manifested by a supply of rain.

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink: for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” “And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And Elijah said, Go up again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not”

* Lightning.

“ And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah ; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”

Thus ended the drought, which had lasted three years and six months. Nothing proves more clearly the hardened pride and wickedness of Ahab and his queen Jezebel, than their continued im penitence under so awful a proof of the divine displeasure. Far from humbling themselves before God, Ahab remained cruel and idolatrous as he was before; and Jezebel carried her daring impiety to such a height, as to threaten the life of Elijah, for having slain her priests. She sent a messenger unto him, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of them, by to-morrow about this time.”

From the rage of this wicked queen Elijah fled into the kingdom of Judab, to Beersheba. There he left his servant, and going on a day's journey into the wilderness, he sat down under a juniper tree, and wearied in spirit with the long struggle he had borne, he prayed sorrowfully that he might die. “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life: for I am not better than my fathers.” Faint and oppressed he lay down and slept.

And as he lay and slept, “ behold, an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.”

“And he looked, and behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.”

“And the Angel of the Lord came a second time and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights, unto Horeb the mount of God.”

“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there: and behold the word of the LORD came to him: and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah ?”

“And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts : for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left: and they seek my life, to take it away.

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountain, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the Lord was not in the wind : and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

“And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out,

and stood in the entering in of the cave. And behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah ?”

“And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altar, and slain thy prophets with the sword ; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life to take it away.”

“ And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jebu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael, shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."

Elijah, comforted and encouraged, returned to Israel. We have no account of the anointing of Hazael, nor was Jehu anointed until twenty-two years afterwards; the command being probably only prophetic, as regarded these two kings, to be accomplished in its due time: but Elisha, who was to succeed Elijah as prophet, was immediately called to his sacred office. Elijah found him as he was ploughing, and passing by, cast

« AnteriorContinuar »