Haftarah Ki Tisa Part One
I Kings 18:1-39: “It happened after many days that the word of God came, to Elijah, in the third year, saying,’ Go, be seen by Ahab; I shall give the gift of rain upon the face of the land.”” God does not command Elijah to appear to Ahab, He commands Elijah to “be seen” by Ahab. What is the difference?
“Elijah went to be seen by Ahab, and the famine was severe in Samaria. Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the household… And Ahab said to Obadiah, ‘Go through the land to every spring of water and to all the streams; perhaps we may find grass and keep horses and mules alive, and we shall not be cut off without animals.’” How interesting that at the very moment that Elijah went to appear to Ahab, the latter summons Obadiah to join him in a search for water! Was this coincidental? I think not. I believe that the moment Elijah went out to be seen by Ahab that somehow Ahab received some type of mental message that the time had come for him to go and look. He assumed that he should go out to look for water. He did not know that he was going to look for that, or more accurately, for him, Elijah, the one for whom he had been searching for so long.
Why did Ahab summon Obadiah the one who was in charge of the household? I believe that the verses that follow explain Obadiah was chosen: “Obadiah feared God greatly. When Jezebel had been cutting down the prophets of God, Obadiah took 100 prophets and hid them, fifty to a cave, and sustained them with bread and water.” It seems to me that Ahab knew that Obadiah feared God, perhaps even suspected what Obadiah was secretly doing to save the prophets of God, and believed that Obadiah’s merit would help him find whatever it was for which he was looking.
We are beginning to get a hint of Ahab’s character: As wicked as he was, he picked up on the mental message that it was a time to look. He sensed Obadiah’s merit and believed it would help.
“Ahab said to Obadiah, ‘Go through the land to every spring of water and to all the streams; perhaps we may find grass and keep horses and mules alive, and we shall not be cut off without animals.”” I assume that if there was a famine, described by the verse as “severe in Samaria,” that everyone was out looking for water. Why did Ahab believe that Obadiah and he would be successful in finding something that no one else could find? Was this related to the mental message he received to go out and look? Was there a feeling deep inside that today, this time, he would find something. It seems that Ahab was prepared, or actually being prepared, to find something, something great. He was being prepared for the miracle on Mt. Carmel.
“They divided the land between them that they may traverse it; Ahab went alone in one direction and Obadiah went alone in another direction.” What a powerful image! The King, Ahab, goes alone in his search. He does not summon any of his many soldiers. He does not go out with any one of his thousands of servants. He goes out alone. It is as if he was convinced that it was he who would find something. Another indication that Ahab sensed that today something would happen.
“Ahab went alone,” perhaps alone here does not only mean that he went by himself, but it is stressing that Ahab went with out his wife Jezebel. Ahab suspected that it was Jezebel and her sins that were holding back the rain.
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