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Notes and References
Two Northern Dynasties
1) Omrides (for Omri)
“…one can see that Omri must have been one of Israel’s greatest, most energetic, and most foresighted kings. “– Anchor Bible Dictionary
Omri is one of very few Biblical kings known and named outside the Bible. [Omri appears in the famous Mesha stele, an inscription from Moab, and some Assyrian inscriptions.]
2) The house of Jehu (who assassinates the last of the Omrides)
Two best-known cities of Phoenicia are Sidon and Tyre.
The northern kingdom (as well as Phoenicia, the southern kingdom, Ammon and likely Moab) are threatened by king Ben-Hadad of Aram (capital at Damascus).
Omri stablizes by tolerating Canaanite religion, though this backfires on him.
“…the domestic policy set into effect by Omri did not achieve its desired goal, but that it rather conjured up new tensions, tensions which eventually contributed in no small way to the downfall of the Omride dynasty.”-Anchor Bible Dictionary.
How to Pronounce Baal
Baal has a glottal stop in the middle, like “uh oh” or how some people say “kitten” or “mountain”
Baal=Ba’al= “bah……all”. NOT Bale (as in Christian Bale, whom some are tempted to worship) or Ball (as in basketball, another common idol of our day)
Luke 4:25-27 “the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
“How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1Ki 18:21 KJV)” Or idiomatically, “How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision?” (from the NET Bible) or “How long will you waver between two opinions? (from the NIV)The Phoenician priests offered sacrifice and prayed and did all kinds of things for most of the day with no response. And Elijah mocks them mercilessly because there’s no response. He says, “Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.” (NET)
“the suggestion that Baal is away on a trip or deep in sleep comes precariously close to the truth as viewed by the prophets. ” (NET Bible notes)
“In pouring water on the altar, Elijah heightens the challenge of the contest and makes a mockery of the pagan practice of pouring water upon the ground to bring rain. Thus a magical ritual is transformed into a divine miracle, highlighting the power of God over nature and His response to the prayer of the prophet.”- Michael Fishbane, JPS Bible Commentary: Haftarot, 139.
On the Ugaritic background of Elijah’s challenge, see John Tvedtnes, “Elijah: Champion of Israel’s God” Ensign, July 1990.
“…in contrast to the theophany in Exodus 19–20, God was not present in any of these natural elements;…This deviation from tradition appears in a different light once we recognize that Baal too was understood to appear through wind, earthquake and fire.” [Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books “Prophets and Prophecy”]
“a still small voice.” This is where we get that familiar phrase from, in the scriptures. Now, the Hebrew is hard to pin down here, so some translations read differently, such as ” a sound of sheer silence” (NRSV); “a sound of a gentle blowing.” (NASB) or things closer to the KJV like “a gentle whisper (NIV)” or ” soft murmuring sound (JPS)”
Elder Holland Devotionals
Clip is from “However Long and Hard the Road.” I also recommend “A Robe, A Ring, and a Fatted Calf”, “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence” , and especially “For Times of Trouble.” See list here.
Joseph Smith and the Bow
As cited in the Ensign.
As the story goes, a certain prophet sat under a tree “amusing himself in some way.” Along came a hunter and reproved him. The prophet asked the hunter if he always kept his hunting bow strung up. “Oh no,” said he.
“Because it would lose its elasticity.”
“It is just so with my mind,” stated the prophet; “I do not want it strung up all the time.”