THE PROPHET WHOSE PRAYER RAISED A BOY TO LIFE
I Kings xv: 33, to xvii: 24.
FTER Jeroboam and Nadab, his son Baasha reigned as
king of Israel. But he did as Jeroboam had done before
him, disobeying the word of the Lord and worshipping
idols. Therefore the Lord sent a prophet to Baasha,
saying, "Thus saith the Lord to Baasha, king of Israel,
I lifted you up from the dust and made you the prince
over my people Israel. But you have walked in the way
of Jeroboam, and have made Israel sin. Therefore your
family shall be destroyed, like the family of
When Baasha died, his son Elah became king; but while
he was drinking wine and making himself drunk, his
servant, Zimri, came in and killed him, and killed also
all his family, and all the house of Baasha, so that
not one was left.
Zimri tried to make himself king, but his reign was
short, only seven days. Omri, the general of the
Israelite army, made war upon him, and shut him up in
his palace. When Zimri found that he could not escape,
he set his palace on fire and was burned up with it.
After this there was war in Israel between Omri and
another man, named Tibni, each trying to win the
kingdom. But at last Tibni was slain, and Omri became
Omri was not a good man, for he worshipped idols, like
the kings before him. But he was a strong king, and
made his kingdom great. He made peace with the kingdom
of Judah, for there had been war between Judah and
Israel ever since Jeroboam had founded the kingdom.
Omri bought a hill in the middle of the land, from a
man named Shemer; and on the hill he built a city which
he named Samaria, after the name of the man from whom
he had bought the hill. The city of Samaria became in
 Jerusalem was in Judah, the chief city and
capital. Before the time of Omri the kings of Israel
had lived in different cities, sometimes in Shechem,
and sometimes in Tirzah; but after Omri all the kings
lived in Samaria; so that the kingdom itself was often
called "the kingdom of Samaria."
After Omri came his son, Ahab, as king of Israel,
reigning in Samaria. He was worse than any of the
kings before him. Ahab took for his wife Jezebel, the
daughter of the king of Zidon, on the coast of the
Great Sea; and Jezebel brought into Israel the worship
of Baal and of the Asherah (see Story 43), which was far more wicked than even the
worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. And
Jezebel was so bitter against the worship of the Lord
God of Israel that she sought out the prophets of the
Lord everywhere, and slew them; so that to save their
lives the prophets hid in caves among the mountains.
You remember that when Joshua destroyed and burned the
city of Jericho, he spoke a curse, in the name of the
Lord, upon any man who should ever build again the
walls of Jericho (See Story 37). In
the days of Ahab, king of Israel, five hundred years
after Joshua, the walls of Jericho were built by a man
named Hiel, who came from Bethel, the place of the
idol-temple. When he laid the foundation of the wall
his oldest son, Abiram, died; and when he set up the
gates of the city his youngest son, Segub, died. Thus
came to pass the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua.
In the reign of King Ahab a great prophet suddenly rose
up, named Elijah. He came from the land of Gilead,
beyond the river Jordan, and he lived alone out in the
wilderness. His clothing was a mantle of skin, and his
hair and beard were long and rough. Without any
warning, Elijah came into the presence of King Ahab,
and said, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom
I stand, there shall not fall upon the ground any dew
or rain until I call for it."
And then he went away as suddenly as he had come. At
the Lord's command he hid himself in a wild place by
the brook Cherith, which flows down from the mountains
into the river Jordan. There he drank of the water in
the brook, and every day the wild birds, the ravens,
brought him food.
ELIJAH WAS FED BY THE BIRDS
It came to pass as Elijah had said, that no rain fell
 land, and there was not even any dew upon the
grass. Every day the brook from which Elijah drank
grew smaller, until at last it was dry, and there was
no water. Then the Lord spoke to Elijah again, and
said, "Rise up, and go to Zarephath, which is near to
Zidon, by the Great Sea, on the north of the land of
Israel. I have commanded a widow woman there to care
So Elijah left the brook Cherith and walked northward
through the land until he came near to the city of
Zarephath. There, beside the gate of the city, he saw
a woman dressed as a widow picking up sticks. Elijah
said to her, "Will you bring to me some water, that I
She went to bring him the water, and Elijah said again,
"Bring me also, I pray you, a little piece of bread to
And the woman said to Elijah, "As sure as the Lord your
God lives, I have not in the house even a loaf of
bread; but only one handful of meal in the barrel, and
a little oil in a bottle; and now I
 am gathering a few
sticks to make a fire, that I may bake it for me and my
son; and when we have eaten it, there is nothing left
for us but to die."
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, and he said
to the woman, "Fear not; go and do as you have said;
but first make me a little cake, and bring it to me,
and afterward make for yourself and your son. For thus
saith the Lord, the God of Israel, 'The barrel of meal
shall not waste nor the bottle of oil fail, until the
day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.' "
And the widow woman believed Elijah's word. She took
from her barrel the meal and from her bottle the oil,
and made a little cake for the prophet, and then found
enough left for herself and for her son. And the
barrel always had meal in it, and the bottle held oil
every day. And the prophet, and the woman, and her son
had food as long as they needed it.
After this, one day the son of the widow was taken very
ill, and his illness was so great that there was no
breath left in him. The boy's mother said to Elijah,
"O man of God! Have you come here to cause my son to
And Elijah said to her, "Give me your son."
And Elijah carried the boy up to his own room, and laid
him on the bed. Then he cried to the Lord, and said,
"O Lord God, hast thou brought trouble upon this woman,
by taking away the life of her son?"
Then he stretched himself upon the child's body three
times, and cried to the Lord again, "O Lord God, I pray
thee, let this child's soul come into him again!"
And the Lord heard Elijah's prayer, and the child
became living once more. Then Elijah carried the
living boy back to his mother; and she said, "Now I am
sure that you are a man of God, and that the word of
the Lord which you speak is the truth."
ELIJAH BRINGS THE BOY TO HIS MOTHER