Scripture Readings

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Composite 13 - 3 [1] Kings 18, 19 (Vespers, 2nd reading)

The Word of God came to Elijah the Tishbite in the third year of the reign of Ahab, saying, “Go, and show yourself to Ahab; and I will bring rain upon the face of the earth.” And it came to pass when Ahab saw Elijah, that he said to him, “Are you he that troubles Israel?” And Elijah said “I do not trouble Israel, but it is you and your father’s house, in that you forsook the Lord God, and you followed after Baal. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the four hundred and fifty prophets of shame of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of the groves who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
And according to the word of Elijah, Ahab sent to all Israel, and gathered all the prophets on Mount Carmel, and brought Elijah before all of them. And Elijah said to them, “How long will you go limping on both feet? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people answered him not a word.
And Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; and the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty men, and the prophets of the groves four hundred.” And Elijah said, “Give me two oxen, and let you choose one for yourselves, and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; and I will prepare the other bullock and lay it on the wood, and put no fire to it. And you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the Name of the Lord, my God; and the God Who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people answered and said, “The word that Elijah has spoken is good; let it be so.”
And Elijah said to the prophets of shame, “Choose for yourselves one bullock and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire to it.” And they took the bullock and prepared it; and they called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, and said, “Hear us, O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice, nor an answer. And they ran about the altar which they had made.
And it was noon, and Elijah the Tishbite mocked them and said, “Call with a loud voice, for your god is (musing), or he has gone to another place, or perhaps is sleeping and you must awake him.” And they cried with a loud voice, and cut themselves with knives and flogged themselves many times with whips, even to the shedding of their own blood. And they prophesied until the evening; and it came to pass that it was the time of the offering of the scarifice, but there was no voice.
And Elijah spoke to the prophets of shame, saying, “Stand by for the present, and I will offer my sacrifice.” And they stood aside and were silent. And Elijah said to the people, “Come near to me”; and all the people came near to him. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel, as the Lord had said to him, “Israel shall be your name.”
And he built up the stones in the name of the Lord, and repaired the altar that had been broken down; and he made a trench for water that would hold two measures of seed round about the altar. And he piled the cleft wood on the altar which he had made, and divided the whole burnt-offering, and laid on the wood and around the altar. And Elijah said, “Fetch me four jars of water and pour it on the whole-burnt-offering, and on the wood.” And they did so. And he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time. And the water ran round about the altar, and the trench was filled with water.
And Elijah cried aloud to heavan and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, hearken unto me, hearken unto me this day by fire, and let all this people know that Thou alone art the Lord God of Israel and that I am Thy servant and that I have done all these things for Thy sake; for Thou hast turned back the hearts of this people to follow Thee.”
Then fire fell from the Lord out of heaven and devoured the whole-burnt-offerning, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and the water that was in the trench; the fire licked up everything. And all the people fell upon their faces, and said, “Truly the Lord God, he is God!” And Elijah said to the people, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Behold, there is the sound of the coming of rain; prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain overtake you.” And Elijah went up on Mount Carmel, and bowed himself down to the ground; and he put his face between his knees and prayed to the Lord. And the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab wept and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran before Ahab to Jezreel.
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had slain the prophets with the sword. And Jezebel sent to Elijah, saying “By this time tomorrow I will make your life as the life of one of them.” And Elijah heard and was afraid; and he rose and departed for his life. And he came to Beersheba, in the land of Judah.
And he left his servant there and went a days journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he asked, concerning his life, that he might die, and said, “ Let it be enough, O Lord; now take away my life from me; for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under the tree. And behold, an angel of the Lord touched him and said to him, “Arise, eat and drink.” And Elijah looked, and behold, at his head there was a cake of barley and cruse of water. And he arose, and ate and drank, and lay down again and slept.
And the angel of the Lord returned a second time, and touched him, and said to him, “Arise, eat and drink, for the journey will be too much for you.” And he arose, and ate and drank. And he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Mount Horeb.
And he entered there into a cave, and lodged there. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And Elijah said, “I have been very jeolous for the Lord God Almighty, for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thee; they have thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I alone an left ; and they seek my life to take it.” And the angel said, “Go forth tomorrow, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.”
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountain, and broke in pieces the rock before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire the voice of a gentle breeze, and the Lord was there. And it came to pass when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his mantle and went out and stood before the cave.
And behold, a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And Elijah said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord God Almighty, for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I alone am left; and they seek my life to take it.”
And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way, and you shall come on the way of the wilderness of Damascus; and you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria; and you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.”