“Though they dig
Shall my hand take them.
Though they climb up
I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves
On the top of Carmel,
I will search out.
I will take them.
Though they hide
From my sight
At the bottom of the sea,
I will command
The sea serpent.
It shall bite them.
Though they go into captivity,
In front of their enemies,
I will command the sword.
It shall kill them.
I will fix my eyes
Not for good.”
The punishment for these northern idol worshippers would be severe. They might try to hide in Sheol, the afterlife shadowy existence, but Yahweh would find them. If they tried to get to heaven, he would take them out of there. If they tried to hide on Mount Carmel, Yahweh would still find them. If they went to the bottom of the sea, a sea monster would get them. Even if they went into captivity, their captives would kill them with the sword. No matter what, Yahweh was going to keep his eyes on them, so that nothing good would happen to them. Quite the opposite, something harmful would happen to them.
Yahweh utters his voice
Of the shepherds wither.
The top of Carmel
Amos used the same phraseology as the prophet Joel, in chapter 3 of his work, that Yahweh would roar and speak from Zion and Jerusalem. However, instead of being a refuge, here Yahweh had a warning about the pastures of the shepherds withering away, while the mountain top of Mount Carmel would dry up.
“How graceful are your feet in sandals.
O queenly maiden!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels.
They are the work of a master hand.
Your navel is a rounded bowl
That never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of wheat,
Encircled with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,
By the gate of Bath-rabbim.
Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,
Your head crowns you like Carmel.
Your flowing locks are like purple.
A king is held captive in the tresses.”
This description of the female lover is not exactly the same as in chapters 4 and 6. Here she has graceful feet in her sandals with rounded thighs like jewels. Her navel was like a round bowl with mixed wines. Her belly was like a heap of wheat with lilies. Her two breasts were like fawns or gazelles. He seemed to know a lot about her body. Her neck was like an ivory tower. Her eyes were like the pools in Heshbon that was on the east side of the Jordan River. Heshbon had been the chief city of King Sidon of the Amorites as found in Numbers, chapter 21. These pools must have been famous as it became Israelite territory. This town also became known as Bath-rabbim. Her nose was like a high tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus. I am not sure how this is a compliment. Her head was like Mount Carmel. Her locks were purple here and not like a flock of goats as earlier described. Nevertheless, the king was held captive by them anyway.
“Then she called to her husband, and said. ‘Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so that I may quickly go to the man of God, and come back again.’ He said. ‘Why go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.’ She said. ‘It will be all right.’ Then she saddled the donkey. She said to her servant. ‘Urge the animal on. Do not hold back for me unless I tell you.’ So she set out. She came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant. ‘Look, there is the Shunammite woman. Run at once to meet her. Say to her. ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is the child all right?’ She answered. ‘It is all right.’ When she came to the man of God at the mountain, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi approached to push her away. But the man of God said. ‘Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress. Yahweh has hidden it from me. He has not told me.’ Then she said. ‘Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say? Do not mislead me?’”
The Shunammite woman called her husband and asked him to bring a servant and a donkey. She was going to see the man of God at Mount Carmel. He wanted to know why she was going today since it was not the Sabbath or a new moon. She did not tell him that his son had died. She simply said that it would be okay. She set out quickly on the donkey until she got to Mount Carmel, which is on the northern coast. Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to greet her to find out if everything was all right. She said yes, but when she got to Elisha, she grabbed his feet. Gehazi wanted to protect his master, but Elisha knew that Yahweh had hidden sometime from him. She responded that she did not want to be tricked about having a son. Elisha knew that she was in distress.
“He went up from there to Bethel. While he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying. ‘Go away, baldhead! Go away, baldhead!’ When he turned around, and saw them, he cursed them in the name of Yahweh. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel. Then he returned to Samaria.”
Obviously Elisha was bald as some small boys taunted him. Elisha turned around and cursed them in the name of Yahweh. Then two female bears came and mauled 42 boys. Wow! This is some opening miracle, killing 42 boys for jeering at his bald head. He was really sensitive. No wonder, Elijah was more liked than him. Then Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally to Samaria.
“Elijah said to King Ahab. ‘Go up, eat and drink. There is a sound of rushing rain.’ So King Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. There he bowed himself down upon the earth. He put his face between his knees. He said to his servant. ‘Go up now, look toward the sea.’ He went up and looked. He said. ‘There is nothing.’ Then he said. ‘Go again seven times.’ At the seventh time he said. ‘Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea.’ Then he said. ‘Go say to King Ahab. ‘Harness your chariot. Go down before the rain stops you.’ In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind. There was a heavy rain. King Ahab rode out and went to Jezreel. But the hand of Yahweh was on Elijah. He girded up his loins and ran in front of King Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”
Elijah told King Ahab to go home and eat and drink, because the rain was coming. Elijah himself went to the top of Mount Carmel. There he bowed himself to the earth with his head between his knees. He sent his servant to look at the sea 7 times. On the 7th time he could see a cloud rising in the sea. Then there was a heavy rain. However, King Ahab was heading towards Jezreel. Elijah ran in front of him. Thus the story continues with Elijah and King Ahab now that the drought is over.