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Elijah Begins His Ministry

After Jeroboam died, there were many kings of Israel, but none so wicked as Ahab. He married a heathen woman, named Jezebel, and worshiped gods and built temples for them which provoked the anger of the Lord against Ahab more so than against all the kings of Israel that were before him.

There was a prophet named Elijah. The Lord told him to say to Ahab: "There shall not be dew nor rain upon the land these years except as I say." The Lord then told Elijah to get up and go eastward and hide himself by a brook named Cherith. There he should drink of the water of the brook and the ravens would come and feed him. Elijah did as the Lord commanded him and went and sat by the brook. In the morning the ravens brought him bread and meat and also in the evening.

After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. Then the Lord said to Elijah: "Go to Zarehath and there you will find a widow, whom I have commanded to take care of you."

Elijah arose and went to Zarehath. When he came to the gate of the city the woman met him and she was gathering sticks. Elijah called to her and said: "Bring, I pray you, a little water in a vessel that I may drink, and a little morsel of bread in your hand."

"As the Lord liveth," replied the woman, "I have not a cake but only a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse. I am gathering sticks that I may go in and prepare it for me and my son that we may eat it and die, for we are near starving to death." Elijah said to the woman: "Have no fear, but go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me, and afterwards make for yourself and your son."

The woman was astonished at the words of the prophet, because there was not enough to do this but Elijah looked at her and said: "The barrel of meal shall not waste nor shall the cruse of oil fail until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth." And the woman went and did as Elijah commanded her, and she and her son had enough to eat for many days. The meal did not give out nor did the oil fail, just as the prophet had said.

Now it happened that the son of the woman fell sick and died and his mother was sore distressed. She cried out to Elijah and begged him to help her.

Elijah said to her: "Give me thy son." Then she took him and carried him into the loft, which was the prophet's room, and laid him upon the bed. And the prophet prayed to the Lord that the son might be spared.

After that Elijah stretched himself upon the child three times, saying: "Lord, I pray you, let this child's soul come into him again." The Lord heard the voice of Elijah and the soul of the child came into him again and he was alive.

Elijah took the child and brought him down into the house and gave him to his mother, saying to her: "See, your son lives."

The woman fell on her knees before Elijah and cried out in her joy: "Now I know you are a man of God and the word of the Lord is in your mouth."