Updated: May 2, 2022
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Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the elohim do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow." Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.
But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked [one] (one) he prayed that he might die: "It is enough; now, Yahweh, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." [Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep one. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat." He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel Yahweh came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you."] He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount ha-elohim. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He answered, "I have been very zealous Yahweh, elohe of hosts; for the Israelites sons of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away."
He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain Yahweh behold, Yahweh is about to pass by passover." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before face Yahweh, but Yahweh was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but Yahweh was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but Yahweh was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence whisper small. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He answered, "I have been very zealous Yahweh, elohe of hosts; for the Israelites sons of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away." ס Then Yahweh said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus."
This is one of the two Old Testament selections that can be read aloud on the second Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 7), Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If chosen, it will be followed by the singing of both Psalm 42 and Psalm 43. Those two song include the verses that say, “My soul is athirst for lelohim, athirst for the living le-el; when shall I come to appear before the presence of elohim?” and “Give judgment for me, elohim, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.” Those will precede a reading from Paul’s letter to the true Christians of Galatia, where he wrote: “Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.” All will accompany the Gospel selection from Luke, where it is written: “When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear.”
I wrote and posted my views on verses one thorough four in 2021, when this was an optional Old Testament reading selection for Proper 14, Year B. At that time, I wrote that I saw Elijah dying and being resurrected, as the meaning of him “falling asleep under a broom tree.” As my views from that time have not changed, I welcome everyone to read the commentary entitled Death under a Juniper tree. Because the selection today (including the ‘optional verses’) is much longer, I will put more attention to evaluating those not written of before.
Please take note of the twelve times is written the proper name “Yahweh,” which I have restored in bold type. When verse one is shown to state: “Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword,” this must be realized as Ahab telling his foreign-born wife-queen that all the false prophets she brought into Israel (the Northern Kingdom) worshiped other “gods” and called lesser “gods” their “lords.” That makes “lord” a generic name, one so beneath the dignity of Yahweh that it shines the light of of false prophet on all who call “Yahweh” “Lord.” To not speak His proper name is to deny Him one’s submission of commitment. They externalize an unseen "Lord" (in no way welcomed to displace the soul that "lords" over their body, enthroned in a Big Brain), within coming to know Yahweh by name, within one's soul-flesh.
In that regard, look and see how I have restored the Hebrew (in italics) that says “elohim, ha-elohim, and elohe of hosts.” These have been translated as forms of “God” (improperly capitalized), when this is Elijah speaking to Yahweh about the inner elohim that allowed him to call upon Yahweh, so He would light an altar fire (with wet wood), when the other “gods” called upon by Jezebel’s false prophets could do nothing. One needs to come to a firm understanding of what “elohim” means; and, stop letting the false prophets of English translators mislead one’s soul.
You will also need to take note of the strikeouts that I have placed in the NRSV translation, where I have removed the paraphrases (in places) and replaced it with the truth. These changes (which are by no means all) are necessary to realize, in order to begin to see the depth of meaning that comes from this Scripture selection.
When we read that Elijah received a message from Jezebel that said, “So may the elohim do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow,” the use of “elohim” must be seen as Jezebel having prayed to her “gods” to avenge Elijah's having killed 450 of her priests to Ba’al (a god over many lesser gods). This forces one to read early in the Old Testament books, to see how “elohim” was reference to spirits created by Yahweh, a third of which refused to obey Yahweh’s command to serve Adam-man, as the only true priest, the Son of Yahweh. Thus, when Elijah heard of Jezebel’s prayer for vengeance, he ran in fear, believing there was nothing he could do to avoid being killed by Jezebel’s “elohim.”
To find that Elijah went to Beersheba, a name that means “Well of the Oath,” this should be understood as being where Abraham and Abimelech swore an oath. It is also where Hagar met with “malak elohim” ("angel gods"), when she and Ishmael were dying in the wilderness (the desert of Beersheba). It also is where Jacob saw “malak elohim” ascending and descending a ladder between earth and heaven. Thus, this place in Judah – a word meaning “Praised” or “Let Him Be Praised” – should be seen as holy ground that Elijah ran to, for protection.
To read, “[Elijah] came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked [one] (one) he prayed that he might die,” the strikethroughs needs to be seen, along with the addition of the correct text that says, “[one] (one) he prayed.” In the NRSV translation, they have taken the two presentations of “one” (from “[e·ḥāṯ] (e·ḥāḏ)”), where the first is within brackets and the second is within parentheses; and, they have condensed that to say “solitary.” The enclosures both say “one” is spiritual and silent, therefore unstated and immaterial. It is a known state of being; and, this should be related to the place being holy, where angel elohim are present. Thus, “[one] (one)” is a statement of Elijah’s soul (“[one]”) and his inner “elohim” (“(one)”) are “under broom tree.” That then becomes metaphor for Elijah making contact with Yahweh’s “malak elohim.”
It is here that I have seen Elijah requested Yahweh to let him die, because he knew he had angered Jezebel, because he slew so many of her priests. The influences of evil brought into Israel by Jezebel had equally angered Elijah, such that when he proved them powerless to call upon false gods [elohim] to light a fire for sacrifices, he acted in evil ways, the same as Jezebel planned for him. His death would be granted by Yahweh; but he would then encounter the “malak Yahweh” and be resurrected.
This death and resurrection needs to be seen as parallel to the death and resurrection of Jesus, making the “broom tree” be the “crucifix” where Elijah hung in death. This makes sense of Peter saying (more than once), “They hung him on a tree,” rather than specifically stating “a cross.”
In verse six, where the NRSV translates this: “Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat." He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water," one can see the stone that Jacob laid his head on as the “cake on coals.” The “jar of water” is like the sponge soaked in vinegar, which was raised to Jesus’ lips, prior to his death. This says Jacob likewise died, in the sense that his soul left his body when he saw the stairway to heaven, with angels coming and going from earth [symbolizing reincarnation]. In death Jacob saw spirits leaving the world and returning to it. As such, Jacob, Elijah and Jesus would have their souls leave their bodies in death, where the metaphor is “falling asleep.” This is how Jesus could speak the truth when he said, “Lazarus is only sleeping,” when he was dead.
When we read, “The angel Yahweh came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you,” there was no prior mention of “Yahweh,” when Elijah first encountered “an angel.” To read “a second time,” the actual Hebrew text states: “and returned angel Yahweh second and touched him”. This literal translation says Elijah’s soul “returned” (after he “laid down”), but his soul returned with a “second” soul with his. This “second” soul was Jesus, which is the “angel” (“elohim”) made by “Yahweh” (the “Yahweh elohim” that is Adam-Jesus). This says the soul of Elijah died of self and was reborn as Jesus in his soul, the new Lord over his flesh.
When verse eight begins by saying Elijah “rose up,” this is not a statement that he got off the ground he was sleeping on and stood. It says his soul was “made to stand,” so the fear he had possessing him prior was replaced by the strength of an inner Lord. To then see that Elijah was instructed to “eat because the journey ahead is too great,” this becomes synonymous with the transfiguration the disciples of Jesus experienced when the soul of Jesus entered each of their souls in the upper room, when their fears were also strengthened. That eaten is spiritual food, which means the inner guidance of Jesus' soul within.
The parallel is then the “forty days and forty nights on the mountain ha-elohim Horeb.” This relates to the time Jesus spent training his disciples to become Apostles; and, Jesus also spent this time preparing Elijah for what was ahead. Jesus becomes the “mountain” that was Elijah’s strength; and, the name “Horeb” means “Dryness, Arid,” which says the self-will of Elijah’s soul had become evaporated, in submission to the Spirit of divine Baptism. The “forty days and forty nights” were not a time to debate and question the ”food and drink” given to Elijah’s soul.
The metaphor of “a cave” must be seen as not a physical-world hole in the ground, but the inner self of Elijah. He ceased looking without and looked within. His within was his “cave,” where “the word of Yahweh” was in “him.” Jesus' soul was the Lord speaking that "word." The question Yahweh asked Elijah was, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” In this, the name “Elijah” must be known to mean “Yah Is God.” When “God” is seen to be a statement of “elohim” (from “Eli”), with YAH being from “jah,” his name means “Yahweh elohim.” Thus, by Yahweh stating that name, His question was, “What does My Son do when in the flesh?”
It was here that Elijah’s response was, “I have been very zealous Yahweh elohe of hosts,” which was a statement that admitted Elijah had been just like Jesus was, when he would enter the Temple in Jerusalem, find it being desecrated by vendors and animals, such that his zealousness caused him to act out to let others know they were sinning. By saying he was one of the “Yahweh elohe of hosts,” Elijah knew he was not the first zealot for Yahweh on earth as a priest. Yahweh had the wherewithal to raise an army of Yahweh elohim in bodies of flesh and in pure spirits (angels). Elijah then said his zealousness was due to the altars of Yahweh being torn down by those supposed to be “sons of Israel” (means “sons” of Yahweh, living up to the name that means “Who Retain Yahweh as His elohim on earth”). The false prophets of Jezebel had killed all the true prophets, except Elijah. Here, Elijah repeated his request to be killed by Yahweh, because he had been too zealous.
When Yahweh then told Elijah “to stand” tall as “the mountain” that was Jesus within his soul, he said Elijah wore “the face of Yahweh” (from “lip̄·nê Yahweh”). Elijah then “beheld” that change, realizing Yahweh had “passed over” his soul in the flesh, granting his wish for death. That death had been raised, by the “face of Yahweh” coming upon him as Jesus resurrected. This was not with great fanfare, such as loud winds, great earthquakes and large fires would make mere mortals fear as the wrath of gods. Instead, the presence of Yahweh was like a “thin whisper.”
Once Elijah knew he was reborn as the Son of Yahweh, he returned to the physical realm (after forty days and forty nights) prepared to return as a priest of Yahweh, with no fears. When he “wrapped his cloak around his face,” Elijah would no longer seek to be known as a prophet of Israel. He was Jesus reborn. When Yahweh asked him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah,” “here” meant Elijah was back in the material realm, where Ahab and Jezebel were destroying the values of the nation called Israel. Elijah answered Yahweh the same as he had before, but this time knowing his life had already been taken by Yahweh. With His Son’s presence guaranteeing his soul would no longer face death, Elijah proceeded without any reason to fear.
It is then at the end of verse fourteen that a samekh is written, indicating the end of a section of importance. Verse fifteen is then beginning a new section, which says Yahweh then led Elijah to do His Will. His first duty was to anoint Hazael King of Syria [not read today], while on his way to the wilderness of Damascus. In that, the name “Damascus” means “The Beginning Of Salvation.” The name “Hazael” means “God Has Seen.” The name “Syria” means “Elevated.” Therefore, Yahweh told Elijah to reconsecrate the land, because the love of Yahweh still lives in the wilted land that had fallen under the evil worshipers that were Ahab and Jezebel.
As an Old Testament possibility on the second Sunday after Pentecost, in Year C 2022, the element of ministry is shown in the acts of Elijah. To be a true priest of Yahweh, one must be Jesus resurrected, as nothing less will save a soul. Elijah shows he acted alone, because of his faith in Yahweh, with great success. His zealousness led him to become the arm of justice upon the face of the earth; but Elijah then felt like a sinner for having acted harshly. Elijah symbolizes each disciple’s need to ask Yahweh to take one’s life, due to one’s self-made failures, in order to go deep within one’s soul and speak to Yahweh in Judgment. When the “angel Yahweh” is resurrected in one’s soul (Jesus), one has been returned to everlasting life. The realization that no harm can be done to one’s soul ever again is what leads one boldly into ministry.