Elijah in the Lives of the Prophets

Note a few things regarding the story of Elijah in the Lives of the Prophets 21:1-15:

  • (v. 2) At his birth, Elijah is given by an angel “flames of fire” to eat (cf. Rev 11:5; 2 Kgs 1:10-14).
  • (v. 5) He is said to pray for the drought and for the rain (cf. Jas 5:17-18).
  • (v. 4) Elijah’s prayer for drought and rain are referred to as “signs.”

Below is the Greek text from T. Schermann, Prophetarum vitae fabulosae (Leipzig: Teubner, 1907), 93-94 and the English trans. by D.R.A.Hare, “The Lives of the Prophets” (OTP 2:396-97).

καʹ. Ἠλίας Θεσβίτης ἐκ γῆς Ἀράβων, φυλῆς Ἀαρών, οἰκῶν ἐν Γαλαάδ, ὅτι ἡ Θέσβις δόμα ἦν τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν. Ὅτε εἶχε τεχθῆναι, εἶδε Σοβαχὰ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἄνδρες λευκοφανεῖς αὐτὸν προσηγόρευον, καὶ ὅτι ἐν πυρὶ αὐτὸν ἐσπαργάνουν, καὶ φλόγα πυρὸς ἐδίδουν αὐτῷ φαγεῖν καὶ ἐλθὼν ἀνήγγειλεν ἐν Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ χρησμός· μὴ δειλιάσῃς· ἔσται γὰρ ἡ οἴκησις αὐτοῦ φῶς καὶ ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ ἀπόφασις καὶ κρινεῖ τὸν Ἰσραήλ.
(94.) Τὰ δὲ σημεῖα ἃ ἐποίησεν, εἰσὶ ταῦτα· ηὔξατο Ἠλίας καὶ οὐκ ἔβρεξεν ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ πάλιν ηὔξατο μετὰ τρία ἔτη καὶ γέγονε πολὺς ὑετός· ἐν Σαρεφθοῖς τῆς Σιδωνίας
ἐποίησε διὰ ῥήματος κυρίου τὴν ὑδρίαν τῆς χήρας μὴ ἐκλεῖψαι καὶ τὴν καψάκην τοῦ ἐλαίου μὴ ἐλαττωθῆναι· τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς ἀποθανόντα ἤγειρεν ὁ θεὸς ἐκ νεκρῶν εὐξαμένου αὐτοῦ. Προβλήματος γενομένου παρ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν προφητῶν τοῦ Βάαλ, τίς ἂν εἴη ὁ ἀληθινὸς καὶ ὄντως θεός, ᾕρησε γενέσθαι θυσίαν παρά τε αὐτοῦ κἀκείνων καὶ μὴ ὑποθεῖναι πῦρ, ἀλλ’ ἕκαστον εὔξασθαι καὶ τὸν ἐπακούοντα αὐτὸν εἶναι θεόν. Οἱ μὲν οὖν τοῦ Βάαλ ηὔχοντο καὶ κατετέμνοντο ἕως ὥρας ἐνάτης καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτοῖς ἐπήκουεν· ὁ δὲ Ἠλίας καὶ ὕδατος πολλοῦ πληρώσας τὸν τόπον, ἔνθα ἦν ἡ θυσία, ηὔξατο· καὶ εὐθὺς ἐπέπεσε πῦρ καὶ ἀνήλωσε τὴν θυσίαν, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐξέλειπεν· καὶ πάντες τὸν μὲν θεὸν εὐλόγησαν, τοὺς δὲ τοῦ Βάαλ ἀνεῖλον ὄντας τετρακοσίους πεντήκοντα. Τῷ βασιλεῖ Ὀζίᾳ ἀποστείλαντι μαντεύσασθαι παρὰ εἰδώλων προεφήτευσε θάνατον καὶ ἀπέθανεν.
Δύο πεντηκοντάρχων ἀποσταλέντων ἐπ’ αὐτὸν παρὰ Ὀχοζίου τοῦ βασιλέως Ἰσραὴλ ἐπεκαλέσατο τὸν κύριον καὶ πῦρ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ κατέβη κἀκείνους ἀνήλωσε τὸ πῦρ ἐκ προστάγματος κυρίου.
Κόρακες ἔφερον αὐτῷ ἄρτους τὸ πρωΐ, δείλης δὲ κρέα· τῇ μηλωτῇ ἐπάταξε τὸν Ἰορδάνην καὶ διῃρέθη καὶ διέβησαν ξηρῷ τῷ ποδὶ, αὐτός τε καὶ Ἐλισαῖος· τὸ τελευταῖον ἀνελήφθη ἅρματι πυρός.
1 Elijah, a Thesbite from the land of the Arabs of Aaron’s tribe, was living in Gilead, for Thesbe was given to the priests. 2 When he was to be born, his father Sobacha saw that men of shining white appearance were greeting him and wrapping him in fire, and they gave him flames of fire to eat. 3 And he went and reported (this) in Jerusalem, and the oracle told him, Do not be afraid, for his dwelling will be light and his word judgment, and he will judge Israel.
4 The signs which he did are these. 5 Elijah prayed, and it did not rain for three years, and after three years he prayed again and abundant rain came. 6 In Zerephath of Sidon through the word of the Lord he made the jar of the widow not to fail and the flask of oil not to diminish. 7 Her son who had died God raised from the dead after (Elijah) prayed. 8 When the question was posed by him and the prophets of Baal concerning who is the true and real God, he proposed that a sacrifice be offered both by him and by them, and that fire not be placed under (it), but that each should pray, and the one answering him would be God. 9 Accordingly, the (prophets) of Baal prayed and cut themselves until the ninth hour, and no one answered them; and Elijah, when he had filled the place where the sacrifice was with much water, also prayed, and immediately fire came down and consumed the sacrifice, and the water was gone. 10 And all blessed God, and killed the four hundred and fifty (prophets) of Baal. 11 When King Ahaziah sent to obtain an oracle from idols, (Elijah) prophesied death, and he died.
12 When two captains of fifty were sent to him from Ahaziah, the king of Israel, he invoked the Lord and fire came down from heaven, and the fire consumed them at the Lord’s command.
13 Ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the afternoon. 14 With a sheepskin he struck the Jordan and it was divided, and they crossed over with dry feet, both he and Elisha. 15 Finally he was taken up in a chariot of fire.

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