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Ki Tisa Haftorah in a Nutshell

Ki Tisa Haftorah in a Nutshell


I Kings 18:20-39.

In this week's haftorah, Elijah the Prophet demonstrates the worthlessness of the Baal, just as Moses chastised the Israelites for serving the Golden Calf, as discussed in this week's Torah reading.

The background of this week's haftorah: King Ahab and Queen Jezebel ruled the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and encouraged the worship of the Baal deity as well as other forms of idolatry. To prove that G‑d alone is in control and provides sustenance, Elijah decreed a drought on the kingdom—no rain fell for three years. When Ahab then accused Elijah of causing hardship for the Israelites, Elijah challenged him to a showdown. He, Elijah, would represent the cause of monotheism, and 850 idolatrous "prophets" would represent their cause. Ahab accepted.

The haftorah begins with Elijah, the Baal prophets, and many spectators gathering atop Mount Carmel. Elijah rebuked the people of Israel, uttering the famous words: "How long will you hop between two ideas? If the L-rd is G‑d, go after Him, and if the Baal, go after him."

Elijah then stated his challenge: "Give us two bulls and let them [the Baal prophets] choose one bull for themselves and cut it up and place it on the wood, but fire they shall not put; and I will prepare one bull, and I will put it on the wood, and fire will I not place. And you will call in the name of your deity, and I will call in the name of the L-rd, and it will be the G‑d that will answer with fire, he is G‑d."

The people agreed to the challenge, and the prophets of the Baal were first. The prophets' entreaties to their god went unanswered. Elijah taunted them: "Call with a loud voice, for you presume that he is a god. [Perhaps] he is talking or he is pursuing [enemies], or maybe he is on a journey; perhaps he is sleeping and will awaken..."

As evening approached, Elijah took center-stage. He built an altar, laid his offering upon it and surrounded it with water. "Lord, the G‑d of Abraham, Isaac and Israel," he declared. "Today let it be known that You are G‑d in Israel and that I am Your servant, and at Your word have I done all these things. Answer me, O L-rd, answer me, and this people shall know that You are the L-rd G‑d..."

A fire immediately descended from heaven and consumed the offering, as well as the altar and the surrounding water. "And all the people saw and fell on their faces, and they said, "The Lord is G‑d, the L-rd is G‑d."

This is a synopsis of the Haftorah that is read in Chabad synagogues. Other communities could possibly read more, less, or a different section of the Prophets altogether. Additionally, specific calendrical conditions can cause another Haftorah to be read instead of this one.
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Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via March 16, 2017

To Anonymous No, it's 850, as it says in the verse "And the prophets of the Baal four hundred and fifty and the prophets of the Ashera four hundred who eat at Jezebel's table." Reply

Anonymous March 15, 2017

850 or 450 Isn't it 450 prophets? Reply

Simcha Bart for March 8, 2016

The Exodus took place in 2448 on the Jewish calendar corresponding to 1313 BCE. The Temple construction was from 2928 through 2935, 833 BCE – 827 BCE. You can find a timeline here and a general overview of Jewish history and their Hebrew dates here . Reply

Lawrence Iowa March 4, 2016

Chronology Discrepancy Thanks for posting. Would you consider possibility that your dates are wrong?

What dates do you have for Exodus an Solomon's 4th Year Temple Construction? Reply

Simcha Bart for Los Angeles March 2, 2016

This occurred about 15 years into Ahab's reign - approximately 3036 on the Jewish calendar or 722 BCE.

The third year of the verse is referring to the third year of the famine, not the third year of Ahab's reign. Ahab's reign began in the Jewish calendar year 3021 - 737 BCE. Approximately 13 years later the famine began, and in the 3rd year (not after 3 complete years) the rains came down again. Reply

Lawrence Iowa March 1, 2016

Elijah, King Ahab, Famine Chronology; Sabbath Year 883 BC/BCE Jehoshaphat Third Year 1 Kings 18.1. Ahab takes throne 890 BC/BCE Great Famine occurred during third through sixth years of King Ahab's reign, 887-884 883 Sabbatical yr rains begin.

1422 BC/BCE Sabbath Year 1 Year before entering Land end of Exodus 1421 BC/BCE. 1422-883=539/7=77 Sabbath Years later.

Sabbatical Year is the third year of Jehoshaphat when he sent princes, priests, and Levites to teach in Judah, the Law . 2 Chronicles 17.7-12. This was a time of great revival for both kingdoms; for the prophet Elijah in the Northern Kingdom gathered the people of Israel together in the mid-summer of 884 BC. The Sabbatical Year was coming and the rain would provide and opportunity for an early fall sowing for the sixth year crop. Reply

Lawrence Iowa February 27, 2016

Chronology Ki Tisa Haftarah 1 Kings 18 "18 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”

What year was this? Reply

Justin seattle wa February 22, 2016

cool Reply

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