1 Kings 17: 1-16 Analysis
Baal was worshiped as the God of the storms and fertility. A Yahwist who claims to control the rainfall directly constitutes as an assault on the Baalist religion. King Ahab, whom has married Jezebel, a devotee of the Canaanite god Baal in Samaria, has provoked the anger of “the Lord of God of Israel” (Brown, Raymond). By Elijah proclaiming a drought, he issues a direct challenge to the worshipers of Baal. In the passage, Elijah, the Tishbe says to Ahab “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). His word was also a direct challenge to Ahab and the people 's’ disloyalty. Lightning was therefore brought down upon them to demonstrate that the Lord, and the Lord alone, was the only God Israel should ever worship. The drought signified the power of death, however, Elijah’s powerful word was able to overcome death and ultimately give life in the face of mortal illness and famine (17:14, 21, …show more content…
This is a significant step for Elijah because this is the territory of Jezebel and her god. Ironically, the city in Baal’s territory is in dire straights because of a drought. Just as the Lord had ordained the ravens to feed Elijah, the Lord also now ordains the widow to feed him. This Sidonian woman, though she may not know it, is now being used by the Lord for salvific purposes. Thus more irony comes into place in the fact that God has chosen to have a Phoenician, presumably a worshiper of Baal, to feed Elijah. She is also a widow, which in ancient Near Eastern cultures means that she is most likely impecunious. In the Old Testament, the widows are typically associated with the most neediest elements of the society, the orphans and the poor (Job 24:3-4; 31:16-17; Isa 10:2; Zech 7:10). Yet, it is this window in Elijah’s story that lives in a land devastated by a drought who is to feed him, and it is to her that he turns to for sustenance. She who has the scarce means is the most instrumental in God’s plan to provide for others.
Using the same oath formula that was spoken by Elijah in the beginning of the passage, the widow swears that she has little to spare, “As the Lord God lives...” (v. 12). According to Elijah, it is the Lord who gives assurance that the provisions at hand will not be diminished: “The jar flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the