Wednesday, August 4, 2010

1 Kings, Chapter 17

Elijah the proto-Jesus.

Elijah is a prophet and he predicts to king Ahab that god is going to send a drought to Israel. Elijah himself is going to be fine, because god has told him to go to a brook (in other versions it's a wadi, a dry riverbed common to the Middle East, along with droughts. God has also promised that the ravens will feed him. Uh-huh. Indeed, the ravens bring him sandwiches twice a day and he drinks from the creek.

Eventually, the water dries up because of the drought, but not to worry! God has ordered a widow to feed Elijah. So Elijah goes along to Zidon, the city where she lives, and finds her gathering sticks in a field. He commands her to get him some water. Rather than throwing the damned sticks in his face and telling him to get his own damned water, she just goes and gets it for him. While she's on her way, he calls out to her to also make him a sandwich. I've broken up with people for less. But this meek example of biblical womanly virtue replies that she only has a handful of meal and oil left and she was gathering sticks so she could bake a last loaf of bread and die along with her son. That right there is the bible's strongest argument for women's liberation.

Elijah the pig tells her not to worry, but to make him a sandwich, then make a smaller sandwich for herself and her son. If she'll do that, god will magically fill the flour barrel and the oil jug forever after. And he does! Just like the loaves and the fishes!

Next, the woman's son falls ill and stops breathing. She accuses him of making the kid sick, proving once again that gratitude is the shortest-lived human emotion, but Elijah hasn't used up his entire bag of tricks. He carries the boy upstairs and lays him on his bed. Then he stretches himself over the boy three times (I really hope this isn't homoeroticism) and cries out to god to save his life. Lo and behold, the boy revives! Can I get a Lazarus over here?

This finally convinces the widow that Elijah is the real thing.

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