Bible Book List

1 Kings 17-18 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

IV. The Story of Elijah[a]

Chapter 17

Elijah Proclaims a Drought.[b] Elijah the Tishbite,[c] from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab: “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word.” The word of the Lord came to Elijah: Leave here, go east and hide in the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the wadi, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there. So he left and did as the Lord had commanded. He left and remained by the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the wadi.

After some time, however, the wadi ran dry, because no rain had fallen in the land. So the word of the Lord came to him: Arise, go to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow there to feed you. 10 He arose and went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called out to her, “Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.” 11 She left to get it, and he called out after her, “Please bring along a crust of bread.” 12 She said, “As the Lord, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a few sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Afterwards you can prepare something for yourself and your son. 14 For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” 15 She left and did as Elijah had said. She had enough to eat for a long time—he and she and her household. 16 The jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord spoken through Elijah.

17 Some time later the son of the woman, the owner of the house, fell sick, and his sickness grew more severe until he stopped breathing. 18 So she said to Elijah, “Why have you done this to me, man of God? Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt and to kill my son?” 19 Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” Taking him from her lap, he carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He called out to the Lord: “Lord, my God, will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times and he called out to the Lord: “Lord, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child.” 22 The Lord heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child’s body and he lived. 23 Taking the child, Elijah carried him down into the house from the upper room and gave him to his mother. Elijah said, “See! Your son is alive.” 24 The woman said to Elijah, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God, and it is truly the word of the Lord that you speak.”

Chapter 18

Elijah Ends the Drought.[d] Long afterward, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: Go, present yourself to Ahab, that I may send rain upon the earth. So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.

Now the famine in Samaria was severe, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, master of his palace, who greatly revered the Lord. When Jezebel was slaughtering the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them away by fifties in caves, and supplied them with food and water. Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all sources of water and to all the wadies. We may find grass and keep the horses and mules alive, so that we shall not have to slaughter any of the beasts.” Dividing the land to explore between them, Ahab went one way by himself, Obadiah another way by himself. As Obadiah was on his way, Elijah met him. Recognizing him, Obadiah fell prostrate and asked, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He said to him, “Yes. Go tell your lord, ‘Elijah is here!’”[e] But Obadiah said, “What sin has your servant committed, that you are handing me over to Ahab to be killed? 10 As the Lord, your God, lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent in search of you. When they replied, ‘He is not here,’ he made each kingdom and nation swear they could not find you. 11 And now you say, ‘Go tell your lord: Elijah is here!’ 12 After I leave you, the spirit of the Lord will carry you to some place I do not know, and when I go to inform Ahab and he does not find you, he will kill me—though your servant has revered the Lord from his youth! 13 Have you not been told, my lord, what I did when Jezebel was murdering the prophets of the Lord—that I hid a hundred of the prophets of the Lord, fifty each in caves, and supplied them with food and water? 14 And now you say, ‘Go tell your lord: Elijah is here!’ He will kill me!” 15 Elijah answered, “As the Lord of hosts lives, whom I serve, I will present myself to him today.”

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and informed him, and Ahab came to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is it you, you disturber of Israel?” 18 He answered, “It is not I who disturb Israel, but you and your father’s house, by forsaking the commands of the Lord and you by following the Baals. 19 Now summon all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, as well as the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20 So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and had the prophets gather on Mount Carmel.

21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him. 22 So Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the Lord, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. 23 Give us two young bulls. Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. 24 You shall call upon the name of your gods, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. The God who answers with fire is God.” All the people answered, “We agree!”

25 Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you. Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire.” 26 Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called upon Baal from morning to noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one answering. And they hopped around the altar they had prepared. 27 When it was noon, Elijah taunted them: “Call louder, for he is a god; he may be busy doing his business, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears according to their ritual until blood gushed over them. 29 Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice. But there was no sound, no one answering, no one listening.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” When they drew near to him, he repaired the altar of the Lord which had been destroyed. 31 He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the Lord had said: Israel shall be your name. 32 He built the stones into an altar to the name of the Lord, and made a trench around the altar large enough for two measures of grain. 33 When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood. 34 He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it over the burnt offering and over the wood.” “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he said, and they did it a third time. 35 The water flowed around the altar; even the trench was filled with the water. 36 At the time for offering sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came forward and said, “Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord! Answer me, that this people may know that you, Lord, are God and that you have turned their hearts back to you.” 38 The Lord’s fire came down and devoured the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and lapped up the water in the trench. 39 Seeing this, all the people fell prostrate and said, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” 40 Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Let none of them escape!” They seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and there he slaughtered them. 41 Elijah then said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink, while Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, crouched down to the earth, and put his head between his knees. 43 He said to his servant, “Go up and look out to sea.” He went up and looked, but reported, “There is nothing.” Seven times he said, “Go look again!” 44 And the seventh time the youth reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Elijah said, “Go and say to Ahab, ‘Harness up and go down the mountain before the rain stops you.’” 45 All at once the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and a heavy rain fell. Ahab mounted his chariot and headed for Jezreel. 46 But the hand of the Lord was on Elijah. He girded up his clothing and ran before Ahab as far as the approaches to Jezreel.


  1. 17:1–19:21 The central section of 1–2 Kings tells the story of the dynasty of Omri. That dynasty begins and ends in civil war (1 Kgs 16:21–22; 2 Kgs 9–11). Most of the story is set during the reigns of Ahab of Israel (1 Kgs 16:29–22:40) and his son Joram (2 Kgs 3:1–9:26) and focuses particularly on the interaction of the king with various prophets, especially Ahab with Elijah and Joram with Elisha. The story of Ahab itself contains two large complexes, a series of narratives about Elijah (1 Kgs 17:1–19:21) and a series about hostility between Ahab and the prophets (1 Kgs 20:1–22:38).
  2. 17:1–24 The story of Elijah is in three parts. The first (chap. 17) describes how Elijah proclaimed a drought on God’s authority and how he survived during the drought. The second (chap. 18) describes how he ends the drought by bringing the populace back to exclusive worship of the Lord. The third (chap. 19) describes Elijah’s despair at the failure of his prophetic mission and his consequent attempt to resign from the prophetic office.
  3. 17:1 This verse introduces the enigmatic figure of Elijah the Tishbite. (The name “Elijah” means “the Lord is my God.” The meaning of “Tishbite” is unknown; it may refer to a place or to a social class.) His appearance before Ahab is abrupt and involves several matters that will unify the whole Elijah story. His claim to “serve the Lord” (lit., to “stand before the Lord”) points forward to 19:13, where he refuses to do so; the center of narrative tension on this level is the question of the prophet’s autonomy in God’s service. His proclamation of a drought points forward to 18:41–45 where he announces the drought’s end; the center of narrative tension on this level is the struggle between the Lord and the Canaanite fertility god Baal for the loyalties of Israel. His claim that the drought is due to his own word of power (“except at my word”) points forward to 17:24 where the widow acknowledges the divine source of the word Elijah speaks; the center of narrative tension on this level is the gradual characterization of the prophet as one who receives a divine word (vv. 2, 8), obeys it (v. 5), conveys an effective divine word of threat (v. 1) or promise (vv. 14, 16), and even speaks an effective human word of entreaty to God (vv. 20, 22).
  4. 18:1–45 The story of the conflict with the prophets of Baal (vv. 21–40) is embedded in the story of the drought and its ending (vv. 1–20, 41–45). The connection between the two stories is found in Canaanite theology, in whose pantheon Baal, “the Cloud Rider,” the god of rain and storm, was recognized as the one who brings fertility. Worship of many gods was virtually universal in the ancient world; the Israelite requirement of exclusive worship of the Lord (Ex 20:3) was unique. The people of Israel had apparently become comfortable worshiping both Baal and the Lord, perhaps assigning mutually exclusive spheres of influence to each. By claiming authority over the rain (17:1; 18:1), the Lord was challenging Baal’s power in Baal’s own domain. The entire drought story in chaps. 17–18 implies what becomes explicit in 18:21–40: this is a struggle between the Lord and Baal for the loyalties of the people of Israel.
  5. 18:8 Elijah is here: the Hebrew hinneh ‘eliyahu involves a pun. The sentence means both “Elijah is here,” informing Ahab that the prophet has been found, and “Behold, Yhwh is my God” (the meaning of the name “Elijah”).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Proverbs 2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

The Blessings of Wisdom[a]

My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure my commands,
Turning your ear to wisdom,[b]
    inclining your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you call for intelligence,
    and to understanding raise your voice;
If you seek her like silver,
    and like hidden treasures search her out,
Then will you understand the fear of the Lord;
    the knowledge of God you will find;
For the Lord gives wisdom,
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He has success in store for the upright,
    is the shield of those who walk honestly,
Guarding the paths of justice,
    protecting the way of his faithful ones,
Then you will understand what is right and just,
    what is fair, every good path;
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
    knowledge will be at home in your soul,
11 Discretion will watch over you,
    understanding will guard you;
12 [c]Saving you from the way of the wicked,
    from those whose speech is perverse.
13 From those who have left the straight paths
    to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 Who delight in doing evil
    and celebrate perversity;
15 Whose ways are crooked,
    whose paths are devious;
16 [d]Saving you from a stranger,
    from a foreign woman with her smooth words,
17 One who forsakes the companion of her youth
    and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 For her path sinks down to death,
    and her footsteps lead to the shades.[e]
19 None who enter there come back,
    or gain the paths of life.
20 Thus you may walk in the way of the good,
    and keep to the paths of the just.
21 [f]For the upright will dwell in the land,
    people of integrity will remain in it;
22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land,
    the faithless will be rooted out of it.


  1. 2:1–22 Chapter 2 is a single poem, an acrostic of twenty-two lines, the number of consonants in the Hebrew alphabet. In vv. 1–11, the letter aleph, the first letter of the alphabet, predominates, and in vv. 12–22, the letter lamed, the first letter of the second half of the alphabet. A single structure runs through the whole: if (aleph) you search…then (aleph) the Lord/Wisdom will grant…saving (lamed) you from the wicked man/woman…thus (lamed) you can walk in the safe way….
  2. 2:2–3 Wisdom…understanding…intelligence: various names or aspects of the same gift.
  3. 2:12–15 As in 1:8–19, there is an obstacle to the quest for wisdom—deceitful and violent men. Cf. also 4:10–19. They offer a way of life that is opposed to the way of wisdom.
  4. 2:16–19 A second obstacle and counter-figure to Wisdom, personified as an attractive woman, is the “stranger,” or “foreigner,” from outside the territory or kinship group, hence inappropriate as a marriage partner. In Proverbs she comes to be identified with Woman Folly, whose deceitful words promise life but lead to death. Woman Folly appears also in chap. 5, 6:20–35, chap. 7 and 9:13–18. Covenant: refers to the vow uttered with divine sanction at the woman’s previous marriage, as the parallel verse suggests. She is already married and relations with her would be adulterous.
  5. 2:18 Shades: the inhabitants of Sheol.
  6. 2:21–22 Verses 21–22 echo the ending of Wisdom’s speech in 1:32–33, in which refusing Wisdom’s invitation meant death and obedience to her meant life. The same set of ideas is found in Ps 37 (especially vv. 3, 9, 11, 22, 29, 34, and 38): to live on (or inherit) the land and to be uprooted from the land are expressions of divine recompense.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 Corinthians 9 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 9[a]

Paul’s Rights as an Apostle. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? Although I may not be an apostle for others, certainly I am for you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

My defense against those who would pass judgment on me[b] is this. [c]Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only myself and Barnabas who do not have the right not to work? Who ever serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating its produce? Or who shepherds a flock without using some of the milk from the flock? Am I saying this on human authority, or does not the law also speak of these things? It is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is God concerned about oxen, 10 or is he not really speaking for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope, and the thresher in hope of receiving a share. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed for you, is it a great thing that we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?

Reason for Not Using His Rights. Yet we have not used this right.[d] On the contrary, we endure everything so as not to place an obstacle to the gospel of Christ. 13 [e]Do you not know that those who perform the temple services eat [what] belongs to the temple, and those who minister at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel.

15 [f]I have not used any of these rights, however, nor do I write this that it be done so in my case. I would rather die. Certainly no one is going to nullify my boast. 16 If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! 17 If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

All Things to All. 19 [g]Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win over those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became like one outside the law—though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ—to win over those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. 23 All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

24 [h]Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. 25 Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. 26 Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. 27 No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.[i]


  1. 9:1–27 This chapter is an emotionally charged expansion of Paul’s appeal to his own example in 1 Cor 8:13; its purpose is to reinforce the exhortation of 1 Cor 8:9. The two opening questions introduce the themes of Paul’s freedom and his apostleship (1 Cor 9:1), themes that the chapter will develop in reverse order, 1 Cor 9:1–18 treating the question of his apostleship and the rights that flow from it, and 1 Cor 9:19–27 exploring dialectically the nature of Paul’s freedom. The language is highly rhetorical, abounding in questions, wordplays, paradoxes, images, and appeals to authority and experience. The argument is unified by repetitions; its articulations are highlighted by inclusions and transitional verses.
  2. 9:3 My defense against those who would pass judgment on me: the reference to a defense (apologia) is surprising, and suggests that Paul is incorporating some material here that he has previously used in another context. The defense will touch on two points: the fact of Paul’s rights as an apostle (1 Cor 9:4–12a and 1 Cor 9:13–14) and his nonuse of those rights (1 Cor 9:12b and 1 Cor 9:15–18).
  3. 9:4–12a Apparently some believe that Paul is not equal to the other apostles and therefore does not enjoy equal privileges. His defense on this point (here and in 1 Cor 9:13–14) reinforces the assertion of his apostolic character in 1 Cor 9:2. It consists of a series of analogies from natural equity (7) and religious custom (1 Cor 9:13) designed to establish his equal right to support from the churches (1 Cor 9:4–6, 11–12a); these analogies are confirmed by the authority of the law (1 Cor 9:8–10) and of Jesus himself (1 Cor 9:14).
  4. 9:12 It appears, too, that suspicion or misunderstanding has been created by Paul’s practice of not living from his preaching. The first reason he asserts in defense of this practice is an entirely apostolic one; it anticipates the developments to follow in 1 Cor 9:19–22. He will give a second reason in 1 Cor 9:15–18.
  5. 9:13–14 The position of these verses produces an interlocking of the two points of Paul’s defense. These arguments by analogy (1 Cor 9:13) and from authority (1 Cor 9:14) belong with those of 1 Cor 9:7–10 and ground the first point. But Paul defers them until he has had a chance to mention “the gospel of Christ” (1 Cor 9:12b), after which it is more appropriate to mention Jesus’ injunction to his preachers and to argue by analogy from the sacred temple service to his own liturgical service, the preaching of the gospel (cf. Rom 1:9; 15:16).
  6. 9:15–18 Paul now assigns a more personal motive to his nonuse of his right to support. His preaching is not a service spontaneously undertaken on his part but a stewardship imposed by a sort of divine compulsion. Yet to merit any reward he must bring some spontaneous quality to his service, and this he does by freely renouncing his right to support. The material here is quite similar to that contained in Paul’s “defense” at 2 Cor 11:5–12; 12:11–18.
  7. 9:19–23 In a rhetorically balanced series of statements Paul expands and generalizes the picture of his behavior and explores the paradox of apostolic freedom. It is not essentially freedom from restraint but freedom for service—a possibility of constructive activity.
  8. 9:24–27 A series of miniparables from sports, appealing to readers familiar with Greek gymnasia and the nearby Isthmian games.
  9. 9:27 For fear that…I myself should be disqualified: a final paradoxical turn to the argument: what appears at first a free, spontaneous renunciation of rights (1 Cor 9:12–18) seems subsequently to be required for fulfillment of Paul’s stewardship (to preach effectively he must reach his hearers wherever they are, 1 Cor 9:19–22), and finally is seen to be necessary for his own salvation (1 Cor 9:23–27). Mention of the possibility of disqualification provides a transition to 1 Cor 10.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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