Haftarah Pinchas: Reading the Text II
“Then Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and all that he had slain – all the false prophets – with the sword (I Kings 19:1).” “Where’s Elijah?” was on the minds of all as Ahab returned home, none more than the king. Ahab agreed to the contest. Ahab involved Jezebel’s prophets. Jezebel had wisely remained in the background. She saw the rain, figured out what happened, (although I suspect that her spies filled her in long before her husband returned home), she knew that she had a battle on her hands if she were to keep Ba’al worship the religion of the kingdom. She did not know what to expect of her husband, that is, until she realized that Ahab entered the city without Elijah running before him. Ahab would continue to be insignificant. She would confront Elijah, ignoring her husband, as we will see in the following verse.
“Then Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done.” Ahab did not return to Jezebel inspired by the experiences on Mt Carmel. He did not rush in all excited about the miracles. he did not speak of Elijah’s victory over Ba’al, nor of the proof of God’s power. He did not speak of the fact that Elijah ended the drought. He spoke of what “Elijah had done,” not what God had done, not of what he witnessed and experienced. He told a story about Elijah. Jezebel listened and smiled; she was now certain that she had won the war.
Oh yes, Ahab also told Jezebel, “all that he had slain – all the false prophets – with the sword.” Elijah killed Jezebel’s prophets. It was war against her, not Ahab. But where was Elijah now?
He hesitated at the approach to Jezreel. He was not ready for a direct confrontation with Jezebel. The queen was unconcerned about the wonder working prophet who hesitated. The king hadn’t learned a thing. The prophet wasn’t ready for her. She fought back…