The famine at the time of Elijah (Lk 4:25-4:26)

“In truth!

I say to you!

There were many widows

In Israel

At the time of Elijah.

The heavens

Were shut closed for

Three years and six months.

There came

A great famine

Over all the land.

Yet Elijah was sent

To none of them,

Except to a widow

At Zarephath,

In Sidon.”

 

ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ, ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ, ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν.

 

There are no similar stories in Mark and Matthew.  Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this story about Elijah as found in 1 Kings, chapter 17:1-16.  John the Baptist had been compared to Elijah, a major almost romantic 9th century BCE prophet, whose name appears more than 100 times in the biblical literature.  Elijah also appeared with Moses in the transfiguration of Jesus mentioned later in this work.  Elijah’s influence on the evangelical authors was very important, just like here.  There were a series of stories about Elijah when King Ahab (874-853 BCE) was king of Israel.  Elijah, commanded by Yahweh, went to a northern town near Sidon, probably a Phoenician town.  He provided a widow and her family with a never-ending jar and jug that provided meal and oil for her and her household until the drought came to an end.  Luke pointed out with a solemn pronouncement (ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) that there were many widows (πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν) at the time of Elijah (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου), in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ).  The heavens were closed or shut down (ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς) for 3 ½ years (ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ).  Thus, there was a great drought across the whole land (ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν).  However, Yahweh sent Elijah to none of the Israelite widows (καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας).  Instead Elijah was sent to a widow at Zarephath, in Sidon (εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν).

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The fall of Egypt and her allies (Ezek 30:6-30:6)

“Thus says Yahweh!

‘Those who support Egypt

Shall fall.

Its proud might

Shall come down.

From Migdol

To Syene.

They shall fall

Within it

By the sword.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Repeating what was said in the previous chapter, Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that those supporting Egypt would also fall. The pride of Egypt would be abolished from the northern town of Migdol to the southern town of Syene, near the Ethiopian border. All would die by the sword.

The desolation of Egypt (Ezek 29:8-29:10)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will bring

A sword

Upon you.

I will cut off

From you

Human beings

With animals.

The land of Egypt

Shall be

A desolation

It shall be

A waste.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.

Because you said.

‘The Nile is mine.

I made it.’

Therefore,

I am against you.

I am against your channels.

I will make the land

Of Egypt

An utter waste,

A desolation,

From Migdol

To Syene,

As far as the border

Of Ethiopia.”

Yahweh God said that he was going to bring a sword against Pharaoh and his allies. He was going to cut them off from all human beings and animals. The land of Egypt would be a desolation and a waste. Then they would know that Yahweh was God. Because they had said that the Nile River was his and he had made it, Yahweh was going to be against the Egyptian sea dragon Pharaoh of the Nile River with all its Delta channels. He was going to make the land of Egypt an utter waste, a desolation, from the northern town of Migdol to the southern town of Syene, near the Ethiopian border.