"Great Catch of Fish," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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1 Kings 17:1-16 (or 17:1-24) Commentary
by Roger Nam
Elijah and a Phoenician widow find themselves in serious trouble.
Ancient Near Eastern histories were written by elites, for elites. With limited literacy and restricted access to writing resources and technologies, only royalty had the capabilities to write lengthy historical narratives. For this reason, ancient historiography served to support and legitimize royal rule. But biblical historiography is different in this respect.
In the midst of the narratives of Israel's kingship, the books of 1 and 2 Kings contain numerous accounts outside of the royal elite sphere. Such a chapter occurs in 1 Kings 17 about a disenfranchised prophet and a foreign widow in the midst of national calamity.
This passage centers on a few key themes as follows.
The chapter begins with a declaration of an absence of rain for an undisclosed number of years (1 Kings 17:1,7). Such a pronouncement comes as a punishment to King Ahab because he "did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him" (1 Kings 16:30). As king, Ahab incorporated Baal and Asherah ...
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The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 052: Elijah
November 04, 2012
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's readings are: 1 Kings 17:1-16 (or 17:1-24), and Luke 4:24-26.