1Kings 19

 

וַיַּגֵּד אַחְאָב לְאִיזֶבֶל אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֵלִיָּהוּ וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר הָרַג אֶת־כָּל־הַנְּבִיאִים בֶּחָרֶב׃   19:1

1Kin. 19:1   And Ahab related to Jezebel all that Elijah had done and about how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

וַתִּשְׁלַח אִיזֶבֶל מַלְאָךְ אֶל־אֵלִיָּהוּ לֵאמֹר כֹּה־יַעֲשׂוּן אֱלֹהִים וְכֹה יוֹסִפוּן כִּי־כָעֵת מָחָר אָשִׂים   19:2 אֶת־נַפְשְׁךָ כְּנֶפֶשׁ אַחַד מֵהֶם׃

1Kin. 19:2   Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, “So will the gods do and also more, for by this time tomorrow I will make your life like the life of one of them.”

וַיַּרְא וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל־נַפְשׁוֹ וַיָּבֹא בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע אֲשֶׁר לִיהוּדָה וַיַּנַּח אֶת־נַעֲרוֹ שָׁם׃   19:3

1Kin. 19:3   When he considered, then he arose and went for his life, and he came to Beer-sheba, which is of Judah's, and left his servant there.

וְהוּא־הָלַךְ בַּמִּדְבָּר דֶּרֶךְ יוֹם וַיָּבֹא וַיֵּשֶׁב תַּחַת רֹתֶם (אֶחָת) [אֶחָד] וַיִּשְׁאַל אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ לָמוּת וַיֹּאמֶר   19:4  רַב עַתָּה יְהוָה קַח נַפְשִׁי כִּי־לֹא־טוֹב אָנֹכִי מֵאֲבֹתָי׃

1Kin. 19:4   And he went into the wilderness a journey of a day and came and sat down beneath one broom tree, and he begged himself to die and said, “It is enough.  Now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

The word in parentheses, translated as one, was given a feminine spelling by the scribe when it should be masculine to agree with the gender of the masculine bloom tree that it modifies.  The correction is in the brackets.

וַיִּשְׁכַּב וַיִּישַׁן תַּחַת רֹתֶם אֶחָד וְהִנֵּה־זֶה מַלְאָךְ נֹגֵעַ בּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ קוּם אֱכוֹל׃   19:5

1Kin. 19:5   And he lay down and slept beneath one broom tree. Then behold this:  An angel laid a hand on him and said to him, “Arise, eat.”

וַיַּבֵּט וְהִנֵּה מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו עֻגַת רְצָפִים וְצַפַּחַת מָיִם וַיֹּאכַל וַיֵּשְׁתְּ וַיָּשָׁב וַיִּשְׁכָּב׃   19:6

1Kin. 19:6   And he looked, and behold, near his head were cakes baked of hot stones and a cruse of water, and he ate and drank, then turned back and lay down.

וַיָּשָׁב מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה שֵׁנִית וַיִּגַּע־בּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר קוּם אֱכֹל כִּי רַב מִמְּךָ הַדָּרֶךְ׃   19:7

1Kin. 19:7   Then the angel of the Lord returned a second time and laid a hand on him and said, “Arise, eat, for the journey is too long for you.”

וַיָּקָם וַיֹּאכַל וַיִּשְׁתֶּה וַיֵּלֶךְ בְּכֹחַ הָאֲכִילָה הַהִיא אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה עַד הַר הָאֱלֹהִים חֹרֵב׃   19:8

1Kin. 19:8   So he rose and ate and drank, and went by the strength of that meal forty days and forty nights until the mount of God, Horeb.

וַיָּבֹא־שָׁם אֶל־הַמְּעָרָה וַיָּלֶן שָׁם וְהִנֵּה דְבַר־יְהוָה אֵלָיו וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מַה־לְּךָ פֹה אֵלִיָּהוּ׃   19:9

1Kin. 19:9   When he came there to a cave then he lodged there, and behold, the word of the Lord was with him, and He said to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?”

וַיֹּאמֶר קַנֹּא קִנֵּאתִי לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת כִּי־עָזְבוּ בְרִיתְךָ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־מִזְבְּחֹתֶיךָ הָרָסוּ   19:10 וְאֶת־נְבִיאֶיךָ הָרְגוּ בֶחָרֶב וָאִוָּתֵר אֲנִי לְבַדִּי וַיְבַקְשׁוּ אֶת־נַפְשִׁי לְקַחְתָּהּ׃

1Kin. 19:10   And he said, I have been very zealous for the Lord, God of hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant; they have thrown down Your altars, and they have slain Your prophets with the sword, and I am left by myself, and they seek my life, to take it.”

וַיֹּאמֶר צֵא וְעָמַדְתָּ בָהָר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וְהִנֵּה יְהוָה עֹבֵר וְרוּחַ גְּדוֹלָה וְחָזָק מְפָרֵק הָרִים וּמְשַׁבֵּר   19:11 סְלָעִים לִפְנֵי יְהוָה לֹא בָרוּחַ יְהוָה וְאַחַר הָרוּחַ רַעַשׁ לֹא בָרַעַשׁ יְהוָה׃

1Kin. 19:11   And He said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.”  And behold, the Lord passed and a great and strong wind was rending mountains and breaking up rocks before the Lord; the Lord was not in the wind.  And following the wind was an earthquake; the Lord was not in the earthquake.

וְאַחַר הָרַעַשׁ אֵשׁ לֹא בָאֵשׁ יְהוָה וְאַחַר הָאֵשׁ קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה׃   19:12

1Kin. 19:12   And following the earthquake was a fire; the Lord was not in the fire.  And following the fire was a still small voice.

וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ אֵלִיָּהוּ וַיָּלֶט פָּנָיו בְּאַדַּרְתּוֹ וַיֵּצֵא וַיַּעֲמֹד פֶּתַח הַמְּעָרָה וְהִנֵּה אֵלָיו קוֹל וַיֹּאמֶר מַה־לְּךָ   19:13 פֹה אֵלִיָּהוּ׃

1Kin. 19:13   And it happened, when Elijah heard, that he wrapped his face in his robe and went forth and stood at the entrance of the cave, and behold, a voice was by him, and it said, “Why are you here, Elijah?”

וַיֹּאמֶר קַנֹּא קִנֵּאתִי לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת כִּי־עָזְבוּ בְרִיתְךָ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־מִזְבְּחֹתֶיךָ הָרָסוּ   19:14 וְאֶת־נְבִיאֶיךָ הָרְגוּ בֶחָרֶב וָאִוָּתֵר אֲנִי לְבַדִּי וַיְבַקְשׁוּ אֶת־נַפְשִׁי לְקַחְתָּהּ׃

1Kin. 19:14   And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, God of hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, they have thrown down Your altars, and they have slain Your prophets with the sword, and I am left by myself, and they seek my life, to take it.”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלָיו לֵךְ שׁוּב לְדַרְכְּךָ מִדְבַּרָה דַמָּשֶׂק וּבָאתָ וּמָשַׁחְתָּ אֶת־חֲזָאֵל לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־אֲרָם׃   19:15

1Kin. 19:15   And the Lord said to him, “Go, turn again to your journey to the wilderness of Damascus.  When you arrive, then you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Aram,

וְאֵת יֵהוּא בֶן־נִמְשִׁי תִּמְשַׁח לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־אֱלִישָׁע בֶּן־שָׁפָט מֵאָבֵל מְחוֹלָה תִּמְשַׁח לְנָבִיא   19:16 תַּחְתֶּיךָ׃

1Kin. 19:16   and Jehu son of Nimshi to be king over Israel, and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-mecholah to be prophet in your place.”

וְהָיָה הַנִּמְלָט מֵחֶרֶב חֲזָאֵל יָמִית יֵהוּא וְהַנִּמְלָט מֵחֶרֶב יֵהוּא יָמִית אֱלִישָׁע׃   19:17

1Kin. 19:17   “And it shall be, who will be escaping from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and who is escaping from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death.”

וְהִשְׁאַרְתִּי בְיִשְׂרָאֵל שִׁבְעַת אֲלָפִים כָּל־הַבִּרְכַּיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־כָרְעוּ לַבַּעַל וְכָל־הַפֶּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא־נָשַׁק   19:18 לוֹ׃

1Kin. 19:18   “But I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bent to Baal and every mouth that has not given kiss to him.”

וַיֵּלֶךְ מִשָּׁם וַיִּמְצָא אֶת־אֱלִישָׁע בֶּן־שָׁפָט וְהוּא חֹרֵשׁ שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂר צְמָדִים לְפָנָיו וְהוּא בִּשְׁנֵים הֶעָשָׂר   19:19 וַיַּעֲבֹר אֵלִיָּהוּ אֵלָיו וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אַדַּרְתּוֹ אֵלָיו׃

1Kin. 19:19   So he departed from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat as he was plowing. Twelve yokes of oxen were before him and he was on the twelfth, and Elijah passed over to him and cast his mantle to him.

The phrase cast his mantle appears no where else in the bible.  Apparently at the time of Elijah, the prophetic mantle was distinctive and may have signified the God-given power it represented.

וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת־הַבָּקָר וַיָּרָץ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֶשְּׁקָה־נָּא לְאָבִי וּלְאִמִּי וְאֵלְכָה אַחֲרֶיךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֵךְ   19:20 שׁוּב כִּי מֶה־עָשִׂיתִי לָךְ׃

1Kin. 19:20   And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me give a kiss to my father and to my mother, then I will go after you.”  And he said to him, “Go, return, for what have I done for you?”

The translation and meaning of Elijah’s response to Elisha’s request is puzzling in both the Hebrew and English.  The main problem is with the question Elijah asks.  It has led to two schools of thought among the sages.  For one, the phrasing is thought to be a sign of annoyance, maybe disappointment, by Elijah that God’s chosen successor to him would hesitate because of family ties.  On the other hand, it might also be interpreted that Elijah is giving Elisha leave to say goodbye to his family and then return.  In this interpretation, the latter sentence in the verse would be translated as “Go, return, for what I have done for you.”  That is, cast my mantle to you.  I believe the latter interpretation is the correct one.  Elijah was not stupid.  He knew that Elisha was his successor.  So read the last part of the verse as the statement I quote in these remarks rather than as the question in the translation.

וַיָּשָׁב מֵאַחֲרָיו וַיִּקַּח אֶת־צֶמֶד הַבָּקָר וַיִּזְבָּחֵהוּ וּבִכְלִי הַבָּקָר בִּשְּׁלָם הַבָּשָׂר וַיִּתֵּן לָעָם וַיֹּאכֵלוּ וַיָּקָם   19:21 וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ וַיְשָׁרְתֵהוּ׃

1Kin. 19:21   So he returned from being after him and took the yoke of oxen and slaughtered it, and with the apparatus of the oxen he boiled the flesh of them.  And he gave to the people and they ate.  Then he rose and went after Elijah and served him.

 

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