Saturday, August 13, 2016

Analysis of 1 Kings 17:8-16

I.    Introduction
            1 Kings 17 and 18 contain the account of Elijah as a prophet who, to use Provan's words, bursts onto the scene with a vengeance to address the house of Omri.[1] The message of these two chapters is that Yahweh controls life and death, fertility and infertility. Therefore, he is the one and true God as Elijah's name אֵלִיָּהוּ proclaims (Yahweh is God).[2] The subject of this paper focuses on verses 8 to 16 of the 17th chapter. This passage highlights Yahweh not only as a living transcendent God in his sovereign control over all things, but also personal in his gracious care to save and to provide.

II. Tabling the text in English (ESV) and Hebrew[3]
Before going into the exegetical details provided in the two tables below, I’d like to point out a text critical issue. In verse 11, the author uses an unusual form of impv 2fs  לִקְחִי of לָקַח instead of the usual form in verse 10 קְחִי.[4] Out of all five occurrences of impv 2fs of לָקַח in the OT,[5] only 1 Kings 17:11 uses לִקְחִי. BHS proposes an emendation[6] that לִקְחִי was קְחִי לָהּ in the original manuscript. This is a case of dittography followed by writing the ל too close to קְחִי. With the proposed emendation, verse 11 becomes, “… and he said to her, ‘please bring to me…’” While this is plausible considering there are 19 occurrences of וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ in the OT, my only question is why verse 10 does not have לָהּ since verse 11 follows the same pattern as that in verse 10, …וַיִּקְרָא אֵלֶיהָ וַיֹּאמַר.
Then the word of the Lord came to him,
“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there.
After God asked him to go east to the brook of Cherith in the wilderness, Elijah’s next destination is a Sidonian city, within the heart of Baalism about 50 miles northwest of Cherith,
Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
The means by which the Lord provides Elijah in Zarephath is no less strange and questionable than that during the episode at Cherith; from one of the city’s lowliest and poorest.[7] כּוּל  is in Pilpel which means to provide, give sustenance necessary for physical survival such as food and water (DBLH meaning 3). צָוָה is in Piel which in this context means "to ordain."[8]
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks.
Despite questionable means of provision, Elijah obeys the Lord’s command. מְקֹשֶׁשֶׁת is קָשַׁשׁ in Polel ptc fs which means to collect pieces or sticks of wood for household fire (DBLH meaning 2).
And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
Instead of waiting for the widow to take action first, Elijah takes the initiative to ask for food and drink perhaps implying the urgency of his hunger and thirst. “That I may drink” is cohortative, literally “let me drink.”
12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son that we may eat it and die.”
The expression “As the Lord your God lives” is an introduction to an oath (GKC 149a, TDNT) that occurs 43 times in the OT. It is a way of saying, “I’m not lying to you.” A couple of sticks שְׁנַיִם עֵצִים, is literally two trees.
13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said.
There are 30 occurrences of “Do not fear” in the OT. It is a common prelude to God’s saving action.[9]
But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son.
Elijah persuades the widow to take a step of faith after an initial word of assurance that gives a hint that everything will be OK (Do not fear). Against all parental instinct, she is asked to feed him first before her son.[10]
14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’ ”
כִּי is best translated as “for” or “because” to indicate reason. Elijah points out, by the authority of his God, “thus says the Lord, the God of Israel,” why she should not fear and do what Elijah told her to do, namely because his God promises deliverance from famine and continuous provision.
15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
In the midst of a dire need to the point of near death, God gives her the faith to believe his promise through Elijah. Furthermore, “to the miracle of faith, Yahweh adds the miracle of a never-empty jar of meal and a never-failing cruse of oil."[11]

8 וַיְהִי דְבַר־יהוה אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר׃
וַיְהִי is temporal indication introducing a new scene or episode (BHRG most appropriately translated as “and then” since it “anchors an event, state of affairs, scene, episode or narrative to the time line” (BHRG 44.5.1). We may also consider it as a sequence in time (BHRG to respond to the readers’ anticipation of what comes next after the water of Cherith dries up in verse 6. The infinitive construct acts as a complementizer marking reported speech (BHRG 20.1.4).
9 קוּם לֵךְ צָרְפַתָה אֲשֶׁר לְצִידוֹן וְיָשַׁבְתָּ שָׁם
קוּם לֵךְ is a double imperative meant as a command (BHRG to emphasize the urgency of the matter, go at once (cf. Jon 1:2). The wcp וְיָשַׁבְתָּ serves as a consecutive command (BHRG 21.1) as part of קוּם לֵךְ.
 הִנֵּה צִוִּיתִי שָׁם אִשָּׁה אַלְמָנָה לְכַלְכְּלֶךָ׃
הִנֵּה occurs with a verbal clause. It functions to direct the readers to focus on events that are surprising or unexpected for the person addressed or the character(s) in a story (BHRG 44.3.4.i). Here the event is the provision through a widow. The infinitive construct לְכַלְכְּלֶךָ describes purpose (BHRG what the Lord commands the widow for. But it also acts as a complement to צִוִּיתִי (BHRG The Qal perfect צִוִּיתִי is a pre-formative action (BHRG 19.2.3).
10 וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ צָרְפַתָה וַיָּבֹא אֶל־פֶּתַח הָעִיר
The three wci’s refer to sequence of actions in time.
 וְהִנֵּה־שָׁם אִשָּׁה אַלְמָנָה מְקֹשֶׁשֶׁת עֵצִים
The first case of fronting that begins with הִנֵּה + nominal clause (BHRG a widow was there gathering trees (sticks). The function of הִנֵּה is to present someone i.e., the widow as available at the moment of speaking (BHRG The Polel ptc fs מְקֹשֶׁשֶׁת indicates continuous action (BHRG
 וַיִּקְרָא אֵלֶיהָ וַיֹּאמַר
The two wci’s indicate sequence of actions in time.
 קְחִי־נָא לִי מְעַט־מַיִם בַּכְּלִי וְאֶשְׁתֶּה׃
Imperatives with נָא (please) usually means request (BHRG as in the case here, “Please bring me a little water in a vessel.” The cohortative וְאֶשְׁתֶּה is also a request, “and let me drink.” (BHRG
11 וַתֵּלֶךְ לָקַחַת וַיִּקְרָא אֵלֶיהָ וַיֹּאמַר
The three wci’s are another instance of sequence of actions in time. The ESV translates the first wci, “as she was going to bring it” that gives an impression that the first and second wci’s are simultaneous actions which I think is warranted. The infinitive construct לָקַחַת indicates purpose, the widow went to get Elijah what he asked.
 לִקְחִי־נָא לִי פַּת־לֶחֶם בְּיָדֵךְ׃
לִקְחִי is another instance of request-related imperative (see above for text-critical issue associated with this word).
12 וַתֹּאמֶר חַי־יהוה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
 אִם־יֶשׁ־לִי מָעוֹג
כִּי אִם־מְלֹא כַף־קֶמַח בַּכַּד וּמְעַט־שֶׁמֶן בַּצַּפָּחַת
The wci shows sequential action in time where the widow responds to Elijah’s request for bread. Here the preposition אִם is used to introduce a promise with negative certainty after confirmation by an oath חַי־יהוה (GKC 149.a). The wooden translation of
אִם־יֶשׁ־לִי מָעוֹג כִּי אִם־מְלֹא כַף־קֶמַח בַּכַּד וּמְעַט־שֶׁמֶן בַּצַּפָּחַת
is, “There certainly does not exist to me bread except a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.”
 וְהִנְנִי מְקֹשֶׁשֶׁת שְׁנַיִם עֵצִים
 וּבָאתִי וַעֲשִׂיתִיהוּ לִי וְלִבְנִי וַאֲכַלְנֻהוּ וָמָתְנוּ׃
Another occurrence of הִנֵּה with verbal clause where the speaker (the widow) present herself as available at the moment of speaking. As in the previous occurrence, the Piel ptc fs מְקֹשֶׁשֶׁת here also refers to a continuous action. The four wcp’s indicate possibility (BHRG or expectation. The widow expects the meal she is about to prepare and eat with her son to be their last due to the severity of the drought.
 13וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלֶיהָ אֵלִיָּהוּ
The wci shows sequential action in time in which Elijah replies to the widow’s statement.
 אַל־תִּירְאִי בֹּאִי עֲשִׂי כִדְבָרֵךְ
אַל־תִּירְאִי is a negative command (אַל + jussive, BHRG while the imperatives בֹּאִי עֲשִׂי are command-type imperatives (BHRG
 אַךְ עֲשִׂי־לִי מִשָּׁם עֻגָה קְטַנָּה בָרִאשֹׁנָה וְהוֹצֵאת לִי וְלָךְ וְלִבְנֵךְ תַּעֲשִׂי בָּאַחֲרֹנָה׃
עֲשִׂי is another occurrence of a command-type imperative. The Qal imperfect 2fs תַּעֲשִׂי is also a command (BHRG The Hiphil wcp וְהוֹצֵאת is another instance of consecutive command.
14 כִּי כֹה אָמַר יהוה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
כַּד הַקֶּמַח לֹא תִכְלָה וְצַפַּחַת הַשֶּׁמֶן לֹא תֶחְסָר
 עַד יוֹם תִּתֵּן־ יהוה גֶּשֶׁם עַל־פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה׃
The two Qal imperfect 3fs תִכְלָה and תֶחְסָר refer to definite events that will occur in the future (BHRG Note the gender mismatch between the feminine verb תִכְלָה and the masculine noun כַּד הַקֶּמַח (according to AFAT). However, DBLH says כַּד is feminine.
15 וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתַּעֲשֶׂה כִּדְבַר אֵלִיָּהוּ
Two more sequential action wci’s in time showing the widow’s response to Elijah’s command and promise.
 וַתֹּאכַל הוּא־ וָהִיא  וּבֵיתָהּ יָמִים׃
The wci acts as a summary, what happens in the end (BHRG, “And she ate, he and she and her house (for) days.”
 16כַּד הַקֶּמַח לֹא כָלָתָה וְצַפַּחַת הַשֶּׁמֶן לֹא חָסֵר כִּדְבַר יהוה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּיַד אֵלִיָּהוּ׃
The fronting here reactivates previously mentioned entities כַּד הַקֶּמַח and וְצַפַּחַת הַשֶּׁמֶן that serve as the summary of an episode (BHRG 47.2.2.c), the happy-ending to the crisis Elijah, the widow and her son faced through the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise of deliverance in verse 14. The author highlights this reality of completed actions-simple past from the perspective of the narrator, BHRG using the Qal perfect version of the same words חָסֵר and כָּלָה used in imperfect forms in verse 14. Note the double mismatches if we consider כַּד as masculine (following AFAT) and the feminine verb כָלָתָה and  between the masculine verb חָסֵר and the feminine noun צַפַּחַת הַשֶּׁמֶן.

III. Contouring the Text

We may observe a single-center AB-C-B’A’ chiastic pattern in 1 Kings 17:8-16 as shown above. The center of the structure highlights the crisis discussed in the passage. The drought that Elijah pronounced has taken effect throughout the land, not only in Israel but also in its neighbor Sidon, Baal’s home territory. As a storm god, he is unable to take care of even his own people, let alone Israel. His impotence is shown by the severity of famine that the drought brought because of which the widow and her son were at the point of near death. The revelation of her dire need from the fact that she barely has any food left and that she and her son are preparing their last meal (C) is enveloped by Elijah’s remarks. The first is a request for water and bread (B) and the second is a prelude to the Lord’s promise of deliverance by exhorting her not to be afraid and a challenge to her faith to go ahead and provide Elijah what he asks for first (B’).
The outer envelope A-A' consists of the theme of the passage that the center C alludes to. Unlike Baal who doesn’t deliver what the people think he is capable of doing, namely providing them food through the giving of abundance of rain, the Lord God of Israel delivers what he promises to do. And he demonstrates the reality of his faithfulness in actions to both his own people such as Elijah (A) and pagans such as the widow and her son (A’). What I mean by quasi-inclusio is that both A and A’ display an inclusio-like pattern in which a group of words from the beginning of a unit is repeated at the end of that unit to form a frame (e.g., Psalm 8:9) with the middle section showing Elijah’s and the widow’s response using the same formula, “and he/she went.”[12] On the other hand, it is not exactly inclusio because the closing statement does not contain the exact same words as the opening statement. In A the word צִוִּיתִי is inserted between the words that make up the inclusio הִנֵּה־שָׁם אִשָּׁה אַלְמָנָה. In A’ the nouns that make up the inclusio are the same as those in the opening statement: כַּד הַקֶּמַח and צַפַּחַת הַשֶּׁמֶן. The roots of the verbs in the inclusio are the same as that of the opening statement כָּלָה and חָסֵר but the conjugation of the inclusio is perfect unlike that of the opening statement which is imperfect. The change in conjugation is necessary, however, to give a sense of completion in the execution of what the Lord promises to do: to preserve the lives of Elijah, the widow and her son, through the preservation of flour and oil.

IV. Plotting the Text (based on ESV translation)

The pace of the narrative slows down for the first time in verse 12. Prior to this verse, the narrative is full of wci’s: one in verse 8, five in verse 10, and three in verse 11, a total of nine wci’s in four verses. The flow of the narrative moved forward by the wci’s prior to verse 12 is interrupted by off-line materials consisting of fronting in verse 10 and speeches in verses 9-11.  The reduction in pace beginning in verse 12 is intended to highlight the crisis in the passage as a result of Baal’s impotence by showing the effect of the severe drought Elijah pronounced. The pace remains slow in verse 13 up to verse 14. Verses 12-14 are dominated by speech until the story picks up speed again in verse 15 showing the widow’s actions in compliance with Elijah’s commands. There are only five wci’s from verses 12 to 16, an average of one wci per-verse compared to more than two wci’s per-verse from verses 8-11. As the story approaches the resolution of the crisis after verse 12, there are less wci’s since the resolution consists of a promise delivered through a speech and its fulfillment highlighted via fronting in verse 16.
The topic of this text is Elijah and the widow. Though the comments mostly consist of what Elijah and the widow do, it is important to note that this passage is not ultimately about them, but Yahweh. Elijah and the widow are the agents through whom the narrator conveys the message, namely that Elijah’s God is alive and gives life[13] demonstrated by the giving of instructions and promises along with their fulfillment. The provision of food according to his word is the means for the deliverance from death and the sustaining of life.

V. Historical Context
Elijah served when Ahab was king of Israel during which the nation enjoyed a period of prosperity – thanks to the policy of his father Omri.[14] Ahab’s marriage with Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal a Sidonian king (1 Ki 16:31) was part of a mutually advantageous alliance. Sidon offered Israel an outlet for agricultural products and other commercial opportunities in return of reactivation of trade not only with Israel, but also via Israel with the lands of the south. The alliance was also a counterbalance to an immediate threat from Ben-Hadad of Syria.[15] Shalmaneser III of Assyria waged a westward expansion threatening Ben-Hadad who responded by forming a coalition with 32 other kings. A hostility against Israel ensued  after Ahab refused to join Ben-Hadad’s coalition that led to the Syrian invasion of Samaria (1 Kings 20:1-34).[16]
 Theocratic Israel was’t supposed to rely on political alliance for her survival to begin with but solely on the Lord. Her disobedience through Ahab’s marriage with Jezebel  brought the nation into a deeper moral and spiritual decadence. The introduction of Baal and Asherah worship officially replaced the cult of Yahweh with no coexistence allowed.[17] Israel in Ahab’s days resembled anti-Christian North Korea today more than the syncretistic West as evident from Obadiah’s account of Jezebel’s murderous campaign against the Lord’s prophets (1 Kings 18:13).
Elijah’s travel to the northwest crossing Israel’s territory from Cherith to Zarephath covers a distance of more than 50 miles (see map below).[18] Zarephath was an important Sidonian harbor within the very heart of Baalism.[19]
Baal was a storm god responsible to send the life-preserving and crop-enriching rains to ensure the fertility of the land. The Canaanites believed that drought and famine are caused by the periodic death of Baal. Elijah’s God-given mission was to “expose Baal as a nonentity and at the same time reestablish Yahweh as sovereign in the people’s mind.”[20] The specific purpose of the sojourn in Zarephath was to demonstrate Yahweh’s victory over Baal in his own territory,[21]
to demonstrate on Phoenician soil, where Baal is worshiped, that Yahweh has power over things in which Baal has failed. Since Baal worshippers explained the drought as a sign that Baal was dead, he could not help the widow and her son. In the absence of Baal who lies impotent in the Netherworld, Yahweh steps in to assist the widow and the orphan, and this is even done in the heartland of Baal, Phoenicia. It is also done in Jezebel’s native land. Because Yahweh exists and Baal does not, Elijah possesses power Jezebel and her prophets do not.

VI. Literary Context
DeVries lists eleven possible subgenres of prophet stories.[22] He places 1 Kings 17:8-16 under prophet-authorization or word-fulfillment narrative category.[23] However, it may also fall under power-demonstration and prophet-legitimation narrative.[24] In my view, it is a combination of all three. It is a power-demonstration narrative of a prophet in the miracle of continuous provision of flour and oil. But the purpose of this power demonstration is two-fold. First, it shows that Elijah was a genuine prophet. The widow's remark in 1 Kings 17:24 affirming that he was indeed a "man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is true," is a response not merely to Elijah resurrecting her son, but also to the fulfillment of his prophecy that she and her son would be provided for. Second, in agreement with DeVries, it shows the power of a prophet to prevail over an institutional rival, namely Baal that challenges Yahweh's supremacy, though this is more clearly seen in the showdown at Carmel in 1 Kings 18.
Within the context of the twofold purposes of power demonstration discussed above, I follow Cohn for the reason behind the placement of the story in 1 Kings 17:8-16,[25] namely that it is part of "the rise of Elijah's prophetic power." This passage serves as a transition from the Lord's ministry to Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-7) to the Lord's ministry through Elijah that establishes his status as "the man of God." Cohn observes that beginning from Zarephath in verse 9, Elijah "confronts an increasingly more difficult problem which must be solved" consisting of the lack of daily provision of food (verse 12), the loss of life (verse 18) and the national sin of idolatry (chapter 18). As for the significance of the placement of 1 Kings 17:8-16 in the overall structure of 1 Kings, the author intends to convey the message that God never leaves his backsliding people without a prophet. Just as a man of God (1 Kings 13:1-10) confronts Jeroboam who promotes the worship of his golden calves, so Elijah confronts Ahab who promotes the worship of his wife's Baal.  The reason why the author takes three chapters to talk about Elijah is perhaps due to the depth of apostasy the nation plunged into under Ahab, described as one who "did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him" (1 Kings 16:33).

VII. Canonical Context
Jesus quoted Elijah’s encounter with the widow of Zarephath in Luke 4:16-30. In response to the crowd’s amazement at Jesus’ claim that he is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61 he just read from the scroll, he delivered a scathing remark. He compared himself with Elijah in two respects.[26] First, just as Elijah was rejected in his own home country, so was Jesus, “No prophet is welcome is his hometown” (Luke 4:24). Second, just God sent Elijah to perform miracles to Gentiles in their territory, so did he to Jesus defying the crowd’s expectation that he would perform miracles in his hometown as he did in the Gentile town of Capernaum. But Jesus also alluded in this parallel that the crowd, his audience, the people from his hometown Nazareth was equivalent to Israel of Elijah’s days corrupted by Baal worship; one of the reasons why the crowd was enraged. Another reason has to do with the correlation between Jesus’ stopping-short of reading the entire verse of Isaiah 61:2 and the reference to Elijah. Contrary to the crowd’s anticipation that Jesus would include “and the day of vengeance of our God” after “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” he only read the latter. Just as Jonah resented the extension of God’s mercy to Nineveh, Jesus’ audience, desiring the destruction of their Gentile enemies, resented at him bringing up the account of God’s mercy shown to the Sidonian Gentiles to teach them that as the Messiah, Jesus also extends salvation to the Gentiles. Instead of rejoicing and responding in repentance and faith in what he said, the crowd was so infuriated that they tried to kill him.[27]
There is an evangelical implication in the interpretation of Elijah’s ministry in Zarephath in light of the NT reference discussed above. Rebellion against God, refusing to acknowledge and submit to him results in death represented by the severe drought and famine. Sin separates man from God the fountain of life, a reality that affects both Jews and Gentiles. The life that would have continued with the provision of rain is cut-off as a result of sin. Salvation consists of trusting God in his authoritative word. The account of the widow trusting God’s word spoken by his prophet demonstrated by her obedience to it teaches a gospel lesson. Salvation from the effect and the dominion of sin lies in what God says in his promise of what he would do to save his people. The OT revelation of the means of salvation was limited to the imagery such as the one Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2 and the symbolism given in the sacrificial system pointing to the atonement of sin through the shedding of blood that symbolizes someone’s death (e.g., Leviticus 16, cf. Hebrews 9:11-28, 10:1-18). Nevertheless the OT saints were saved the same way as the NT saints, namely by trusting in the same object of their faith according to God’s promise in his word: Jesus Christ the Messiah who is more fully revealed in the NT, particularly in his atoning death on the cross.

VIII. Integrating Text and Life
The reason why Baal worship was so popular among the nations in Elijah’s days was because the people relied on agriculture for their sustenance. As the storm god, Baal was seen as holding the power to provide rain, an indispensable necessity to the survival of the crops. To give the readers an idea how influential the Baalist movement was, even Israel forsook their reliance on and allegiance to the Lord despite the plethora of testimonies of his faithfulness in the past to deliver and sustain his people.
 Though we may not see outward acts of worshipping stones and statues often today especially among those living in modern societies, the threat of idolatry still exists on different objects. Many no longer directly depend on agriculture for a living but the reality is life is not getting easier everywhere. There are still temptations to replace the Lord as the one and only object of our worship, the only one who holds the place of supremacy in our lives with other things such as money, pornography, relationship, career and science since they offer alluring promises of a better life or survival in a highly competitive world.
The account of the Lord’s provision to Elijah, the widow and her son challenges especially Christians with the following questions, “Regardless of your circumstances, will you cling to the Lord, trusting in his sufficiency and faithfulness to provide? Will you compromise your faith and biblical principles in exchange of allegiance to today’s Baals because of what they seem to offer, whether they be illicit sensual pleasures, a husband or a wife, a promotion that allows you to climb up the corporate ladder or a bank account that ensures that you will not be in financial need ever again?” Just as the Baal of Elijah’s days was unable to provide, neither are today’s Baals. On the other hand, God’s people will have what they need, not necessarily what they want.[28] If the Lord was able and willing to provide even for pagans like the Sidonian widow and her son, how much more will he do the same to his people! And no, this is not prosperity gospel. The lesson of God’s providence is not an incentive to greed, envy and worldliness, but to faith. It induces faith as we look back in our lives as well as to biblical accounts such as the Lord’s provision to Elijah, the widow and the son and others such as the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 and discover God’s fatherly providential care in them. It also induces faith by exposure to such forward-looking promises as Rom 8:32, 1 Cor 3:21-23, Phil 4:19 and Heb 13:5-6. And the ultimate goal of all these is to excite joyful praise to God in Christ as Flavel remarks,[29]
The due observation of providence will endear Jesus Christ every day more and more to your souls. Christ is the channel of grace and mercy. Through him are all the streams of mercy that flow from God to us, and all the returns of praise from us to God (1 Cor 3:21-22). All things are ours upon no other title but our being his.

1. Wilhelm Friedrich Gesenius, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, edited by E. Kautzsch and Sir Arthur Ernest Cowley, 2d English ed., (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910).
2. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich. electronic ed., (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964).
3. Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. V (MacLean: MacDonald, 1985). 
4. Richard D. Nelson, First and Second Kings (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1987).
5. Iain W. Provan, 1 and 2 Kings (NIBC; Peabody: Hendrickson, 1995).
6. Paul R. House, 1, 2 Kings (NAC; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995).
7. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997).
8. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997).
9. Christo Van der Merwe, Jackie Naude, Jan Kroeze, Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999).
10. Simon DeVries, 1 Kings (WBC; Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004).
11. Francis I. Andersen, A. Dean Forbes, The Hebrew Bible: Andersen-Forbes Analyzed Text (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 2008).
12. ESV Study Bible (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008).
13. Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008).
14. John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2009).

[1] See Appendix for the divisions within these two chapters.
[2] Iain W. Provan, 1 and 2 Kings (NIBC; Peabody: Hendrickson, 1995), 132.
[3] The words highlighted in yellow and magenta are wci and wcp verbs, respectively, while the words highlighted in green are the cases of fronting in this passage. The abbreviations in the tables refer to the following references from Logos Bible Software:
-          AFAT: The Hebrew Bible: Anderson-Forbes Analyzed Text by Francis I. Andersen and A. Dean Forbes.
-          BHRG: Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar by Christo H.J. van der Merwe, Jackie A. Naudé, Jan H. Kroeze,
-          TDNT: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich and Geoffrey Bromiley (ed),
-          GKC: Genesius’ Hebrew Grammar by E. Kautzsch and A.E. Cowly (ed),
-          DBLH: Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domain: Hebrew by James Swanson.
[4] Christo Van der Merwe, Jackie Naude, Jan Kroeze, Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 18.11. לָקַח behaves like I-nun verbs where the ל assimilates in the impf, impv, coh, juss and infc.
[5] 1 Kings 17:10,11, Isaiah 23:16, 47:2, Jeremiah 46:11.
[6] Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997), 602. Also in Simon DeVries, 1 Kings (WBC; Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 213.
[7] DeVries, 1 Kings, 218. Nelson believes the widow was rich considering she lived in a two-story home to highlight the severity of famine that it struck even the wealthy in Richard D. Nelson, First and Second Kings (Louisville: Westminster, 1987), 110. I’m leaning more towards DeVries’ view since wealthy people usually have reserves of food and drink though it may be argued that the widow ran out of reserves due to a prolonged drought. A stronger support of my view comes from DBLH where it remarks that אַלְמָנָה has an associative meaning  of a class of persons, low in status, meager in resources, and so pitiable that society was to take special effort to help them (also NIDOTTE especially notes 2 and 4).
[8] Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 135.
[9] Nelson, First and Second Kings, 110.
[10] Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 133.
[11] DeVries, 1 Kings, 218.
[12] Nelson, First and Second Kings, 108.
[13] Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 133.
[14] Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 361.
[15] Paul R. House, 1, 2 Kings (NAC; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 211.
[16] Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 362-363.
[17] Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 361.
[18] ESV Study Bible (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 632.
[19] House, 1,2 Kings, 215. Also Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 133, “God has decided to display power in a different way – in what 1 Kings 16:31 implies is the very heartland of the worship of Baal, the region of Sidon. Here is a region, some might have thought, over which Israel’s God could have no authority. It is nonetheless an area badly affected by the drought announced in 17:1 (cf. v.12). The Lord can bring drought to all and can disarm death and sustain life in even this area, as well as in Israel.”
[20] House, 1, 2 Kings, 210-211.
[21] House, 1, 2 Kings, 215.
[22] DeVries, 1 Kings, 206-207.
[23] DeVries, 1 Kings, 207, 215, "a marvelous story demonstrating the power of a prophet to prevail over institutional rivals, enhancing belief in prophetic authority to challenge usurpations of Yahweh's supremacy."
[24] DeVries, 1 Kings, 206-207. The first and third categories are as follows. 1. Power-demonstration narrative: a marvelous story exemplifying charismatic power, offering edifying illustrations of what a model prophet can do. 3. Prophet legitimation narrative: a marvelous story demonstrating the scope and nature of a prophet's empowerment, identifying that prophet is genuine.
[25] House, 1,2 Kings, 214, quoting R.L. Cohn, "The Literary Logic of 1 Kings 17-19," JBL 101/3(1982) 335.
[26] Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. V (MacLean: MacDonald, 1985), 624-627.
[27] Contrary to the attitude of their godly ancestors, as Henry remarks, “Their pious ancestors pleased themselves with the hopes of adding the Gentiles to the church (witness many of David’s psalms and Isaiah’s prophecies); but this degenerate race, when they had forfeited the covenant themselves, hated to think that any others should be taken in.”
[28] House, 1, 2 Kings, 215.
[29] John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2009), 160-161.
[30] Nelson, First and Second Kings, 109.
[31] Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 132.
[32] DeVries, 1 Kings, 215.
[33] House, 1, 2 Kings, 209.
[34] House, 1, 2 Kings, 209.