Elijah

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Elijah (Elias)
BirthplaceTishbe, Gilad

Elijah

(ēlī`jə) or

Elias

(ēlī`əs) [both: Heb.,=Yahweh is God], fl. c.875 B.C., Hebrew prophet in the reign of King AhabAhab
, d. c.853 B.C., king of Israel (c.874–c.853 B.C.), son and successor of Omri (1.) Ahab was one of the greatest kings of the northern kingdom. He consolidated the good foreign relations his father had fostered, and Israel was at peace during much of his reign.
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. He is one of the outstanding figures of the Bible. Elijah's mission was to destroy the worship of foreign gods and to restore exclusive loyalty to God. His zeal brought about a temporary banishment of idolatry (see JezebelJezebel
, in the First Book of Kings, Phoenician princess who was the wife of King Ahab and the mother of Ahaziah, Jehoram, and Athaliah. She encouraged worship of Baal, including the worship of Asherah and persecuted the prophets of her day. Jezebel was the bitter foe of Elijah.
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). Incidents in his life include his raising the widow's son from the dead; his contest of faith with the priests of Baal, resulting in his triumph and their death; his being fed by ravens; his experience of the still, small voice on Mt. Horeb (Sinai); and his departure from earth in a chariot of fire enveloped in a whirlwind. His disciple was ElishaElisha
, in the Bible, prophet who functions as a model of the Mosaic prophetic office after Elijah, whose work he continued; he is believed to have lived in the 9th cent. B.C. Elisha initiated the political programs outlined to Elijah on Mt. Horeb.
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. Unlike other great prophets, Elijah and Elisha left no written records. In Jewish tradition, Elijah is the eschatological herald of the Messiah. John the Baptist and Jesus were asked if they were the incarnation of Elijah, who appeared at the Transfiguration. The prophet is prominent in the Qur'an. Mendelssohn composed an oratorio, Elijah.

Elijah

transported to heaven in fiery chariot. [O.T.: II Kings 2:11]

Elijah

traditionally represented at ceremony by empty chair. [Judaism: Wigoder, 172]

Elijah

breathes life back into child. [O.T.: I Kings 17:18]

Elijah

Old Testament a Hebrew prophet of the 9th century bc, who was persecuted for denouncing Ahab and Jezebel. (I Kings 17--21: 21; II Kings 1--2:18)