Jehu the prophet (not the king) predicts the downfall of King Baasha's house, and it happens just two years after his death and his son's succession. Zimria assassinates him and takes power for 1 week. Israel's army makes its commander Omri king. The people set up another guy, but Omri defeats him. [This sounds like a military dictatorship, now!] Omri reigns 12 years, and Ahab takes the throne after him for 22 years. He marries a princess of Sidon and builds her a temple to Baal and Asherah in Samaria. An ancient curse from Joshua's day comes true when he allows Jericho to be rebuilt (vs 34; Joshua 6:26).
The prophet Elijah announces to Ahab that there will be no rain unless he (Elijah) permits it. He hides east of the Jordan. God sends him to Sidon (Jezebel's land!) and a widow lodges him. Though her pantry is down to its last meal, her flour and oil miraculously don't run out for a long time. Her son almost dies, but Elijah prays and God revives him.
God prompts Elijah to confront Ahab. He goes through Obadiah, a faithful prophet of God in Ahab's court, hiding and providing for 100 prophets out of Jezebel's sight, while she subsidizes 850 pagan prophets. Elijah calls Ahab, the prophets and all Israel to Mount Carmel. He calls Israel to decide between Yahweh and Baal, as Joshua did long ago, but they don't answer. They want it both ways. He proposes two bulls be readied for sacrifice, and the god that lights the fire himself is the true God. The Baal prophets call on him all day, but no answer. When it is Elijah's turn, he repairs Yahweh's altar, pours tons of water all over the sacrifice, prays two sentences, and God answers with fire that consumes the sacrifice and all the water. Elijah takes the opportunity to have the people kill all Jezebel's 850 pagan prophets. Elijah warns Ahab that rain is coming, and it does. Elijah running beats Ahab in his chariot back to town.
How this is about Jesus
Jesus is our king, never deposed - His kingdom is stable, unlike Israel's in chapter 16
Jesus is our daily bread, never exhausted, like the widow's food in chapter 17
Jesus is the living water that Israel was longing for in the famine
- Ahab almost always listens to Elijah. He is weak-willed. It's his wife that's the bigger problem.
- Elijah called for people to give God their first, best and only, and trust Him for the rest. He asks the widow with only one meal left, to make it for him (instead of for her son!), and God will supply. He does. He has Israel pour what little precious water they have on the altar to Yahweh. When they do, it rains.
- Like Abraham with Isaac, we must relinquish to God what is precious to us.