Wednesday, 6 March 2013
By the 9th century BC, the Kingdom of Israel, once united under King Solomon, was divided into the northern Kingdom of Israel and southern Kingdom of Judah, which retained the historic seat of government and focus of the Israelite religion at the Temple in Jerusalem. Omri, King of Israel, continued policies dating from the reign of Jeroboam, contrary to the laws of Moses, that were intended to reorient religious focus away from Jerusalem: encouraging the building of local temple altars for sacrifices, appointing priests from outside the family of the Levites, and allowing or encouraging temples dedicated to the Canaanite god, Baal.
Omri achieved domestic security with a marriage alliance between his son Ahab and princess Jezebel, a priestess of Baal and the daughter of the king of Sidon in Phoenicia. These solutions brought security and economic prosperity to Israel for a time, but did not bring peace with the Israelite prophets, who were interested in a strict deuteronomic interpretation of Mosaic law.
As King, Ahab exacerbated these tensions. Ahab allowed worship of a foreign god in the palace, building a temple for Baal, and allowing Jezebel to bring a large entourage of priests and prophets of Baal and Asherah into the country. It is in this context that Elijah is introduced in 1 Kings 17:1 as Elijah "The Tishbite". He warns Ahab that there will be years of catastrophic drought so severe that not even dew will fall, because Ahab and his queen stand at the end of a line of kings of Israel who are said to have "done evil in the sight of the Lord."
Monday, 4 June 2012
Zephyranthes is a genus of 71 species in the Amaryllis family (subfamily Amaryllidoideae). There are numerous hybrids and cultivars. Common names for species in this genus include fairy lily, rainflower, zephyr lily, magic lily, Atamasco lily, and rain lily.
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Elijah ( /ɨˈlaɪdʒə/; also Elias /ɨˈlaɪ.əs/; Hebrew: אליהו, Eliyahu, meaning "Yahweh is my God"; Arabic:إلياس, Ilyās), was a prophet in the Kingdom of Samaria during the reign of Ahab (9th century BCE), according to the Books of Kings.
According to the Books of Kings, Elijah defended the worship of Yahweh over that of the more popular Baal, he raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and ascended into heaven in a whirlwind (either accompanied by a chariot and horses of flame or riding in it). In the Book of Malachi, Elijah's return is prophesied "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord," making him a harbinger of the Messiah and the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible. Derivative references to Elijah appear in the Talmud, Mishnah, the New Testament, and the Qur'an.
In Judaism, Elijah's name is invoked at the weekly Havdalah ritual that marks the end of Shabbat, and Elijah is invoked in other Jewish customs, among them the Passover seder and the Brit milah (ritual circumcision). He appears in numerous stories and references in the Haggadah and rabbinic literature, including the Babylonian Talmud.
In Christianity, the New Testament describes how both Jesus and John the Baptist are compared with Elijah, and on some occasions, thought by some to be manifestations of Elijah, and Elijah appears with Moses during the Transfiguration of Jesus.
In Islam, the Qur'an describes Elijah as a great and righteous prophet of God, and one who powerfully preached against the worship of Ba'al.
Elijah is also a figure in various folkloric traditions. In Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania, he is known as "Elijah the Thunderer" and in folklore is held responsible for summer storms, hail, rain, thunder, and dew.