7th King of Israel: Ahab (875-854) reigned 22 years. (1 Kings 16:29-22:40) 2nd king of 4th dynasty. Ahab was the worst king in Israel.
V. 31… sinned more.
Married Jezebel, the daughter of Ebaal, the king of Sidonians.
V. 32… Built Temple of Baal and set up altar there for Baal.
V.33… Made wooden image Did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger.
V. 34… Hiel was allowed to build Jericho, and as per God’s word to Joshua (Joshua 6:26), Hiel lost his sons.
1 King 17: Elijah’s primary prophetical ministry was to tackle the Baal worship that Ahab has introduced into Israel. Followed by the announcement of doom on the Omri dynasty.
Elijah announces a Drought (V. 1)
V.1 There shall not be dew nor rain … The Canaanite God Baal has the authority over rain and fertility. Absence of rain means absence of which must periodically submit to the god of death Mot during dry season, and will be revived at the monsoon season. Elijah’s God is an eternal and only God who can stop and rain and bring the rain.
Elijah in Cherith (Vs. 2-6)
Hiding place for Elijah: God ordered Elijah to go and stay in Cherith Brook that He would feed him with Ravens. Cherith’s exact location is not known but said to be on the east of river Jordon at halfway mark between sea of Galilee and Dead Sea. This area was not under Ahab’s control. It seems the place was inhospitable area where there is no normal food supply. God is nevertheless able to provide for Elijah. Bread and meat in the morning, and… in the evening (V. 6). Israelites in the wilderness had manna and meat once a day, but Elijah received it twice.
Elijah in Zarephat (Vs. 7-15): Zarephath… The city located on the Mediterranean coast in Phoenicia, a heartland of Baal worship in Sidon. People might have thought that Jehovah did not have any authority over this city or region. But God-Jehovah did have authority over any land and especially all the places where Ball was worshipped. In fact, it turned out to be the place where Elijah demonstrated the power of God through his first miracle. …make me a SMALL cake from it FIRST…(v. 13) …she and he and her household ate for many days…(V. 15 Woman responded to Elijah’s request in faith and received an unfailing provision until the famine was over. God can take care of people not only in Israel but also on the Phoenician coast.
Elijah resurrects widow’s Son (Vs. 16-24): Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?…(V. 18) The widow has come to an understanding that the God of Elijah is almighty to do things; so she blames God’s prophet for reminding God of her sin. Also, she confesses through this statement that sin has it’s consequences.
Elijah concurs with her atleast on one part that it is God’s doing. Where there is only one true God, everything must in the end lie in HIS power.
Impartation of life prefigures Christ’s resurrection of Jairus’s daughter (Matt. 9:18–25), his resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:38–44), his own resurrection (John 10:18), and his role as “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25–26) who gives spiritual life to us in anticipation of the resurrection of the body (John 5:28–29). – ESV Study Bible.
This chapter starts with the power and the authority of God of Israel over Baal and make Baal inactive in Israel, and ends with the power and the authority of God of Israel over Canaanite region where God of Israel was active and Baal was inactive.
It is very interesting to know that Elijah has been living only a few miles from Jezebel’s hometown, Sidon; but God has protected him from Ahab.