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Elijah The Prophet

            The accounts of Elijah the prophet in the Bible and his story as told by Louis Ginzberg in his Legends of the Jews describe some of the same events but in very different manners. Throughout the Bible, Elijah is portrayed as a faithful servant of God, and the two work together, God heeding Elijah's words and vice versa. Ginzberg, however, often shows a more adversarial nature of the events, with God often manipulating Elijah in a contest of power. As such, Ginzberg's God is more human-like in his motivations and ensuing actions. Elijah, on the other hand, is portrayed by Ginzberg as a devout, altruistic prophet, almost Christ-like in his ability to perform miracles and his attention to the poor and suffering. By drawing this contrast in his depictions of the two characters, Ginzberg often shows a less holy, more power-hungry God and idealizes Elijah. A comparison of the representation of some of Elijah's stories in the Bible and then in Ginzberg reveals this discrepancy. .
             Story One - The Promise.
             Kings 1:17 begins with a declaration by Elijah stating that there "will be no rain or dew for the next two or three years until I say so."(1 Kings 17:2) Ginzberg explains this statement as illustrating a promise between God and Elijah that "fulfillment should attend whatever imprecation might in his wrath escape him against the godless for their unholy speech (196)." Therefore, when Elijah announces the drought it consecrates a promise between the prophet and God. Ginzberg insinuates that each of the ensuing incidents is God's attempts to escape his previously stated promise. .
             Story Two - The River and the Ravens.
             In the Bible, after the drought starts, God instructs Elijah to "leave this place, and go east and hide yourself near Cherith brook (1 Kings 17:3)." God assures the prophet that the brook will supply him with water to drink, and the ravens will bring him food. Ravens are noted for their greediness, so one interpretation of this event could be that God intended to show his compassion for Elijah by having the ravens, of all creatures, bring him food, so that he might learn to trust in God to provide for him in his time of need.

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