The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 9—In the Crises Over Heathenism

“Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1. AGP 90.1

This was the first meeting between Ahab, the king of Israel, and the prophet Elijah. The message delivered to Ahab, though very brief, was a most serious one. A sore judgment was to fall upon Israel—a dire famine that was to continue for years. The reason for such a visitation is given as follows: AGP 90.2

“Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” 1 Kings 16:30-33.

This is a very heavy indictment. The course pursued by Ahab was destined to bring greater evil upon Israel than had been brought upon them by any of his predecessors. AGP 90.3

The first great wrong mentioned was that of taking “to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians.” The Zidonians were idolaters. Their chief deity was Baal, the sungod of many ancient heathen nations. Ashtoreth was a goddess of the Zidonians. Baal and Ashtoreth were supposed to personify certain sexual attributes of fertility, and the worship of these idols in the temples was often accompanied by “licentious rites of the most abominable character.” AGP 90.4

Jezebel’s father, Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, was a priest of Baal, and Jezebel appears to have been fanatically devoted to the worship of her father’s sun-god, Baal. On the other hand, she was violently opposed to the worship of Israel’s God, Jehovah. AGP 90.5

Ahab was a descendant of Abraham, the friend of God. He was now king of Israel, God’s chosen people. It was a great sin for him to choose as his wife a heathen woman from among the idolatrous Zidonians, and place her as queen over the people of God. AGP 91.1