Story Five

THE VOICE THAT SPOKE TO ELIJAH IN THE MOUNT
WHEN King Ā́ hăb told his wife, Queen Jĕź e-bĕl, of all that Ē̇-lī́ jah had done; how the fire had fallen from heaven upon his altar, and how he had slain all the prophets of Bā́ al with the sword, Queen Jĕź e-bĕl was very angry. She sent a messenger to Ē̇-lī́ jah with these words:
"May the gods do to me as you have done to the prophets of Bā́ al, if I do not by to-morrow kill you, as you have killed them!" Ē̈-lī́ jah saw that his life was in danger, and he found that not one man in all the kingdom dared to stand by him against the hate of Queen Jĕź e-bĕl. He rose up, and ran away to save his life. He went southward to the land of Jū́ dah, but did not feel safe even there. He hastened across Jū́ dah southward to Bḗ er=shē-bȧ, which is on the edge of the desert, eighty miles away from Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ. But not even here did Ē̇-lī́ jah dare to stay, for he still feared the wrath of Queen Jĕź e-bĕl. He left his servant at Bḗ er=shḗ bȧ, and went out alone into the desert, over which the children of Ĭś̝ ra-el had wandered five hundred years before. After he had walked all day under the sun, and over the burning sand, he sat down to rest under a juniper-tree. He was tired, and hungry, and discouraged. He felt that his work had all been in vain, that in heart the people were still worshippers of Bā́ al; and he felt, too, that he had shown weakness in running away from his place of duty in fear of Queen Jĕź e-bĕl. Ē̇-lī́ jah cried out to the Lord, and said, "O Lord, I have lived long enough! Take away my life, O Lord, for I am no better than my people!" Then, tired out, he lay down to sleep under the tree. But the Lord was very kind to Ē̇-lí jah. While he was sleeping an angel touched him, and said, "Arise, and eat.”
He opened his eyes, and saw beside him a little fire, with a loaf of bread baking upon it, and near it a bottle of water. He ate and drank, and then lay down to sleep again. A second time he felt the angel touch him, and he heard a voice say, "Arise, and eat; because the journey is too long for you.”
He arose, and ate once more. Then he went on his way, and in the strength given him by that food he walked forty days through the desert. He came at last to Mount Hṓ reb, the mountain where Mṓ s̝es̝ saw the burning bush, and where God spoke forth the words of the Ten Commandments. Ē̇-lī́ jah found a cave in the side of the mountain, and went into it to rest. While he was in the cave he heard God's voice speaking to him, and saying, "What are you doing here, Ē̇-lī́ jah?”
And Ē̇-lī́ jah said to the Lord, "O Lord God, I have been very earnest for thee; for the people of Ĭś̝ ra-el have turned away from their promise to serve thee; they have thrown down thine altars, and have slain thy prophets with the sword; and now I, even I only am left; and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
Then the Lord said to Ē̇-lī́ jah, "Go out and stand upon the mountain before the Lord.”
Then, while Ē-lī́ jah was standing upon the mountain, a great and strong wind swept by and tore the mountains apart, and broke the rocks in pieces; but the Lord was not in the wind. Then came an earthquake, shaking the mountains; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire passed by; but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was silence and stillness, and Ē̇-lí̄ jah heard a low, quiet voice which he knew was the voice of the Lord.
Then Ē̇-lī́ jah wrapped his face in his mantle, for he feared to look upon the form of God, and he stood at the opening of the cave. The voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Ē̇-lī́ jah?”
And Ē-lī́ jah said, as he had said before, "O Lord, I have been very earnest for thee; for the people of Ĭś̝ ra-el have turned away from their promise to serve thee; they have thrown down thine altars, and have slain thy prophets with the sword; and now I, even I only, am left; and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
Then the Lord said to Ē-lí̄ jah, "Go back to the land from which you have come, and then go to the wilderness of Dā̇-măś cus, and anoint Hăź a-el to be king over Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ; and Jḗ hū, the son of Nĭḿ shī, you shall anoint to be king over Ĭś̝ ra-el; and Ē-lí̄ sha, the son of Shā́ phat, of the village of Ā́ bel=mē̇-hṓ lah, in the land of Mā̇-năś seh, west of Jôŕ dan, you shall anoint to take your place as prophet. And it shall come to pass that those who escape from the sword of Hăź a-el, Jḗ hū shall slay, and those that escape from the sword of Hăź a-el, Jḗ hū shall Ē̇-lī́ shȧ slay. But there will be found some, even seven thousand men in Ĭś̝ ra-el, who have not bowed the knee to Bā́ al or kissed his image with their lips.”
Here were tasks that would take all the rest of Ē̇-lī́ jah's life; for, as we shall see, some of them were not completed until after Ē̇-lī́ jah had passed away, though Ē̇-lī́ jah prepared the way for them. But they gave to Ē̇-lī́ jah what he needed most, work to do; a friend to stand beside him, so that he would no longer be alone; one also who would carry on his work after him; and the knowledge that he had not lived in vain, since there were still in the land seven thousand men faithful to the Lord God of Ĭś̝ ra-el.
One of these commands Ē̇-lī́ jah obeyed at once. He left Mount Hṓ reb, journeyed northward through the wilderness, across the kingdom of Jū́ dah, and into the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el. He found Ā́ bel=mē̇-hṓ lah, in the tribe-land of Mā̇-năś seh on the west of Jôŕ dan, and there he saw Ē̇-lī́ sha, the son of Shā́ phat.
Ē̇-lī́ sha was plowing in the field, with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him; for Ē̇-lī́ sha was a rich man's son, and cared for a large farm.
Ē̇-lí̄ jah came to the field where Ē̇-lī́ sha, was at work, and without a word, took off his own mantle of skin, and threw it upon Ē̇-lī́ shȧ's shoulders, and walked away. Ē̇-lī́ shȧ knew well who this strange, rough, hair-covered man was; and he knew, too, what it meant when Ē̇-lí̄ jah cast his mantle upon him.
It was a call for him to leave his home, to go out into the wilderness with Ē̇-lī́ jah, to take up the life of a prophet, to face the danger of the queen's hate, and perhaps to be slain, as many prophets had been slain before. But Ē̇-lī́ shȧ was a man of God, and he did not hesitate to obey God's call. He left his oxen standing in the field; he ran after Ē̇-lī́ jah, and said to him, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will go with you.”
Ē̇-lī́ jah said to him, "Go back, if you wish; for what have I done to you?”
Then Ē̇-lí̄ sha went back to the field, killed the oxen, made a fire with the yokes and the wooden plow, roasted the flesh of the oxen on the fire, and gave them to be eaten by the people on the farm. This he did to show that he had left his farm forever. Then he kissed his father and mother, and left them, and went forth to live with Ē̇-lī́ jah and to be Ē̇-lí̄ jah's helper.
Lesson 34. Elijah on Cannel and Horeb.
(Tell Stories 4 and 5 in Part Fourth.)
1. For how long did no rain fall on the land of Israel? For more than three years.
2. At what place did Elijah call for all the people to meet him after three years? On Mount Carmel.
3. What did Elijah tell them to build on Mount Carmel? Two altars.
4. For whom were these altars? One for God, and the other for the idol called Baal.
5. What came upon God's altar when Elijah prayed? Fire from heaven.
6. What also came in answer to Elijah's prayer? A great rain.
7. Who tried to kill Elijah after this? Queen Jezebel.
8. Where did Elijah go to escape from Jezebel? To Mount Horeb in the wilderness.
9. Who spoke to Elijah there? The Lord God.
10. What did the Lord give to Elijah? A great work to do.
11. Whom did Elijah call to go with him and help him? Elisha.