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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on 1 Kings

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17.1–24 : Elijah and the drought.

The major theme of chs 12–16 has been that God is in control of history, rather than kings or the other gods whom the kings worship. Everything comes to pass just as the prophets say. The Elijah and Elisha cycles, placed at the center of 1–2 Kings, further establish this perspective. In chs 17–18 in particular, the most sinful of Israel's kings, Ahab, is forced to reckon with the most powerful of prophetic interventions, in the person of Elijah. These chapters make clear that Baal is no more a god in any real sense than Jeroboam's calves are. The divinely ordained drought ( 17.1 ) provides the context for showing that it is the LORD, and not Baal, who controls both life and death, both fertility and infertility.

1–3 :

Gilead is the territory east of the Jordan River, often under Israelite control. The exact location of Tishbe and the Wadi Cherith (v. 2 ) is not known.

4–6 :

God is able to provide for Elijah, for he controls not just the rain but the whole natural order, including the ravens. As the Israelites had once been the beneficiaries of God's provision of bread and meat in the wilderness (Ex 16, esp. vv. 8,12–13 ), now Elijah also eats this food, but even more liberally than they had, since he receives each sort of food twice daily.

7–16 :

The region of Sidon on the coast of Phoenicia (modern Lebanon) is the very heartland of Baal‐worship (cf. 16.31 ), yet here too the LORD can bring drought and provide sustenance.

17–24 :

The death of the widow's son provides the ultimate test of the LORD's authority over life and death.

21 :

The purpose of Elijah's stretching action is not made clear. The prayer is in any case the crucial element in the scene (v. 22 ).

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