|Elijah's Intermezzo||Type: Oil |
Dimensions: Width/Height (in inches) 60/48
This painting attempts to visualize the defining elements and actions in the life of the great and penultimately mysterious Prophet, Elijah HaTishbi who lived in the Kingdom of Israel in the ninth century BCE. He first appears unannounced, seemingly coming out of nowhere. He last appears and simultaneously disappears into the nowhere-ness/ somewhere-ness of heaven.
Hence, his life in many ways is an intermezzo, an interlude; between heaven and earth, between matter and energy, between being and nothingness, between somewhere and nowhere. Elijah apprehends God via his mind's inner ear (not via sight, touch, vibration or olfaction) in an analogously mysterious in-between-ness, as residing betwixt and between the underlying interstices of nature's elements, somewhere between, but not within, earthquakes, whirlwinds, and fire. Elijah's epiphany is that although all of nature's elements are God's powerful poetic manifestations, they nevertheless do not constitute his attributes. These divine elemental manifestations are recurrent thematic symbols employed throughout the Elijah story and will be discussed further below.
The name Elijah, in Hebrew "Elyahu" ("ALYHV") can be interpreted as a compound contraction of the words "ELY" and "YAHU" with the middle Hebrew letter "yud" ("Y") being incorporated intermezzo as both the last letter of the first word, and the first letter of the last word), meaning "Yahu" ("Yehova") is "MY God (possessive)".
Alternatively if the Yud (Y) is only used once, the name can be broken down simply into "EL Yahu"; "God is Yahu (Yehova)". Elijah's name thus becomes a statement of fact, or a proclamation that God (El), period, is Yehovah (Yahu), period. This proclamation is in contradistinction to the statement, God is Baal, or if transformed into an analogous name, ELYBaal. It is Baal who is the true God's, YAHU's, arch rival and nemesis of this story. El YAHU (Elijah) proudly picks up YAHU's mantle (literally: to be discussed below) as his name clearly implies.
Elijah is introduced by the name "Elijah HaTishbi (the settler), metoshvey (of the settlement of) "Gilead" (spelled "GLAD" in Hebrew). Later on in the text he is referred to simply as Elijah HaTishbi (e.g. Kings II, 1:8), and throughout Jewish literature he is referred to as either Elijah Ha Tishbi, or "Tishbi", for short, or simply "Elijah the Prophet". These appellations are very different from that of the three major and twelve later prophets in Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) all of whom are identified by their first name followed by their patronymic i.e. name of prophet, son of the name of the father e.g. Isaiah son of Amoz, Jeremiah son of Hilkiah etc.
Why is Elijah the only exception to this rule of Prophet naming? This adds to his mystery. We have no idea who his father is, or for that matter who his mother is. He apparently doesn't have a wife or child although he does have a disciple, Elisha (son of Shefat; meaning Judge in Hebrew), and resuscitates but does not procreate a child, and hence he is a Godfather. Why is he called "HaTishbi", "the settler"? If a geographic place name is employed why not refer to him as "HaGileadi" i.e. as the one from Gilead? Would that not be more appropriate and honorable?
Most likely because "Tishbi" has a dual meaning, and doesn't only mean "settler". The Hebrew root of "Tishbi" is "TSV" which means "settlement"; however it also contains the root word "Shav" (SV) which means "Returns". The word "Toshav" (TSV) is future tense and means "He shall return". Thus when Elijah is referred to as "HaTishbi", he is being referred to as "He who shall return", or simply, "Tishbi", i.e. the returner… who returns endlessly, repeatedly, especially when needed. Because Elijah is recorded as ascending to heaven and not dying on earth, he has entered folklore as one who is alive forever, constantly shuttling between and straddling heaven and earth. The word "TSV", or "will return", also can mean, not only a physical return, but it can be interpreted as a spiritual return i.e. to the proper spiritual path, after one has veered off. Thus, the Hebrew word for "penance" (remorse) is "TeShuVah. A person who veers off course and then returns to the faith is called a "ba'al-TeShuVa", "a master (not ironically the Ba'al in this story) of remorse", a "returnee" to the faith.
In Jewish Folklore Elijah returns to help the impoverished, he returns to everyone's Passover table every year and drinks from Elijah's cup, he returns to sit in Elijah's chair at every circumcision ceremony, and when he finally returns he will solve all the insoluble Talmudic controversies, or as the Talmud states "TYKY" pronounced "TAKU" which is an Aramaic acronym for "Tishbi Yetaretz Kushiot Vabayot" meaning "Tishbi will resolve questions and insoluble problems".
Before he is whisked away in a whirlwind he goes with Elisha to Jericho from Gilgal (spelled GLGL in Hebrew). "And it came to pass when God would take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven that Elisha went with Elijah from Gilgal" (Kings II, 2:1). The word "gilgal" in Hebrew means "revolution", or in kabalistic mystical terminology "reincarnation", and hence Gilgal is a most suitable geographic juxtaposition for Elijah's disappearing ascent.
The settlement of Gilead (spelled GL AD in Hebrew) from whence Elijah comes seems to be linguistically related to the name Gilgal (spelled GL GL in Hebrew). Both share the same root "GL". GL AD means the witness (AD in Hebrew) of Gal (GL). If we transform this name into Gil gal ad or GL GL AD (GL X 2 AD), it means the witness of reincarnation. In this story Elisha, Elijah's disciple, who along with fifty sons of prophets witness Elijah's ascent, and thus theoretically anticipate his reincarnation. Thus there is symmetry to the circle of Elijah's life. He first comes from GL AD and finally leaves from the near proximity of GL GL in the presence of an AD (witness) … the circle turns and turns.
Perhaps because Elijah is referred to as the "Returner", and because he is from "Gilad" ("the witness of his reincarnation") Cabbalists mystically speculate and/or hypothesize that he is an angel, an instrument of God who wavers between mass and energy, who assumes the non corporeal form of the arch angel Sandalfon in heaven, and the physical form of Elijah on earth. His heavenly companion, the other arch angel, Metatron, is the angelic embodiment of Enoch who was similarly whisked away and disappeared into thin and rarified air in the Book of Genesis. Elijah's earthly companion, Elisha, inherits his mantle and hence his earthly spirit and mandate.
Elijah appears during a crucial low-point in the history of The Northern kingdom of Israel. Ahab succeeds his father Omri (no saint) in assuming the reigns of the kingdom for twenty two years. He marries Princess "Jezebel" ("Ezevel" in Hebrew) daughter of "ET- HaBaal" ("The THE-Baal" in Hebrew), King of the Zidonians. The use of two successive "The's" in her father's name, for emphasis, establishes that this family takes their Baal worship very seriously.
It's bad enough that the kingdom is divided between North and South. But the northern kingdom ever since its usurpation by Jeroboam the son of Nevat, after Solomon's death, slips and slides further and further away from the laws of Moses.
Jeroboam mixing theology and politics discouraged the Israelites from making pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, and hence this geographic and theological separation distanced the Israelites from God. Omri purchased Shomron (Samaria) from Shemer (Kings I, 16:24) which subsequently became the capital of the Northern kingdom. Jerusalem remained the sole capital of Judah, the Southern Kingdom.
Upon Ahab's marriage to Jezebel, an altar to Baal is erected in Samaria thus symbolizing that Israel has a new capital, Samaria, and a new Temple, or at least a dedicated sacrificial space, to a new (new-old) God, Baal.
The Israelites under Joshua and the Judges conquered Canaan after many years of bloody battles, and much sweat and sacrifice. But this has now all been seamlessly reversed by a very unholy matrimony. Consequently, with a simple stroke of craftiness Canaan theologically and consequently politically re-conquers Israel, not by a bloody messy war but by a bloodless and blissful marriage.
This situation was not too dissimilar from the Moabite tactics employed in the days of Moses when Kusby bat Tzur (a Moabite princess) and Zimri ben Salu (Israelite tribal prince, specifically from the tribe of Shimon) united. Pinchas the Priest, the grandson of Aaron, zealously slayed this couple, terminating their union, and thereby saving Israel from theological dissolution. The similarity of these circumstances has led to the medrashic comparison of the similarity between Elijah's and Pinchas' zeal, and thus to the speculation that like Pinchas, Elijah must also be a Priest (Cohen). There are other textual hints to Elijah's priestly origins which will be discussed below.
In Israel, during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, Jerusalem and Jehovah are out of sight and out of mind. It is Baal and his consort Ashera under the generous auspices of this royal couple that now rule Samaria via an altar dedicated to them.
In this marital union it is also clear from the text that Jezebel wears the pants in the family, and in contradistinction to the male monarchs before and after Ahab, it is she, the apparent singular Queen, in a monogamously loyal and royal marriage without an accompanying harem of female marital competitors (also atypical) who pulls the strings. It is also crystal clear that it is she who is the real power behind the throne. As will be described below all decisions without exception are made by her.
What does the name "Jezebel" which is pronounced "Ezevel" in Hebrew, and spelled "AYZBL", mean? If we break her name down into its three vowels "Ay", "Zeh" "Bal" it can be translated as "where" (there is) "this" "Baal". Alternatively "Ay" can be an expression of wondrous appreciation as in "wow this is" Baal.
I would proffer multiple other translations. If we listen to the sound of her name "Ezev-El" (without looking at the spelling) it sounds like "Azav El" which in Hebrew means "El (God) has left" or more descriptively, Ezevel kicks EL out.
In contradistinction to parsing her name into its three constituent vowels, her name can also be broken down into its two Hebrew /Phoenician) root components "Ay" and "Zevel". "Zevel" in Hebrew means "manure". "Ay" can mean either: 1) "without", 2) "island of", or 3) "where". Hence three alternative definitions of her name based on this word root parsing include: 1) "without manure", 2) "Island of manure" or 3) "where there is manure". Based on her actions, definitions 2-3 seem the most probable.
"Ahab" ("Achav") in Hebrew means the "brother", "Ach", of his "father", "Av", meaning he walked in the ways of his father Omri in the worship of Baal.
Jezebel with her replacement theology brings the prophets of Baal and Ashera to Israel where they assume theological leadership, replacing and displacing the Hebrew Prophets and the priestly class of Cohanim and Levites. She orders the execution of the majority of Israel's prophets who believe in Jehovah, thereby extinguishing the last viable relic of Judaism, save one…Elijah the Prophet, the remaining obstacle to the complete and utter destruction of Judaism in the northern kingdom, the remaining thorn in Jezebel's backside.
Obadiah, Ahab's not so trusty servant, manages to hide a bevy of prophets in a cave. One senses that it is only a matter of time before they are all caught and executed.
It is at this juncture that Elijah thunderously appears as the force and will of God to challenge, repeal and reverse this dire situation, and as punishment, reprisal, and atonement, Elijah announces the edict of a severe draught and starvation to be inflicted upon Israel.
Once Elijah relates this divine decree he is marked for death. It should be relatively simple to capture and execute a single unarmed Prophet since most of the other prophets were handily and summarily executed.
God now communicates with Elijah, facilitates his physical survival, and directs him on preserving the loyal remnant of Israel by rekindling their ancient faith which never lies far beneath their Baal obsessed surfaces. God instructs him to go east and hide himself by the Cherith brook, a tributary of the Jordon. Not only will he elude capture there, he will physically survive by the forces of nature orchestrated by God.
Elijah will drink the fresh water of the brook, and Ravens, biological instruments of God, encoded with divine instructions will bring him bread and meat for sustenance. The ravens who execute the will of God are capable of flight and are thus just another form of angels i.e. winged messengers of God. They are not too dissimilar from Balaam's talking donkey who is similarly employed as a messenger of God encoded with a divine message and the supernatural ability of speech.
Balaam was the prophet who was hired to curse Israel by Balak, the King of Moab. When that failed, Balak unleashed the Moabite women onto the Israelite men. This plan was foiled, as mentioned above, by Pinchas' zeal. The analogy between Elijah's ravens and Balaam's donkey is yet another parallel between these two similar episodes in Israel's history where carnal seduction as opposed to military might was strategically employed as a tactical weapon waged against them by different native Canaanite tribes.
In this painting the major central character in the top middle of the painting is Elijah. The complete description of his cyclonic whirlwind appearance will be fully described below. Two black ravens are illustrated circling around him providing him with food. The body of water in the middle of the painting is the Jordan which is referred to multiple times in the story. This body of water also includes its tributary, the Cherith brook which Elijah drank from.
Because of the continued drought, the Cherith brook dries up, so God instructs Elijah to go to Zerapath, near Zidon, to derive sustenance from another agent of God, this time a human being, a widow who like the ravens, has been instructed by God to aid in Elijah's physical survival.
When Elijah asks her for food and water, based on God's advice, despite being instructed by God to feed him, she nevertheless hesitates, and says she barely has enough for one more meal for her and her son after which they will both perish.
Elijah tells her that if she makes him a little cake first and then one for herself and her son, then he promises that her solitary jar of meal, and solitary cruse of oil will constantly (supernaturally) be replenished. She did as instructed and Elijah's promise was fulfilled.
Nevertheless, despite her good intentions and hearkening to God, her son falls ill and dies. Understandably she blames Elijah.
Elijah takes the child, and the first thing he does is rebuke God with a healthy dose of classic Abrahamic guts and grandeur howling heavenward: "O Lord my God have you also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn by slaying her son? (Kings I, 17:20). He then stretches out on the child three times and cries out to God to return the life of the child. God listens to Elijah and is humbled by his pleas and returns the life of the widow's child which he had just snatched. The grateful widow now vindicates both God and Elijah saying: "now I know you are a man of God and the words of God in your mouth are true" (17:24).
This portion of the story is illustrated on the right of the painting. The widow is portrayed with her son residing within her pregnant amniotic filled uterus. Her son is illustrated in three chronologically sequential static frames proceeding from the bottom to the top frame. In the lowest frame, he lays supine and stone dead. He is ashen white with enlarged black and fixated pupils. In the next sequential middle frame he is in the midst of the reawakening process, with blood beginning to flow through his veins, and thus color returns to his skin. He begins to sit up, yet his eyes are still closed. Most of his body is still in his mother's womb. In the next sequential upper frame he is illustrated with his hands wrapped around Elijah's fingers attempting to pull himself upright. His body, save for his legs, are outside the amniotic womb. He has been delivered both literally and figuratively. His eyes in this frame are wide open with fire glowing orange pupils signifying that he has been successfully resuscitated.
Lightning rays coursing through Elijah's ethereal body radiate through his priestly benedicting fingertips and are directed into the mouth(s), chest(s) hands and arms of the widow's child in all three illustrated sequential phases inducing his reawakening. This symbolizes the reentrance of his previously departed, divinely lit, and electrically energized soul, into the physical shell of his body transmitted by God through Elijah's hands.
The three serial frames of the child represent the three times that Elijah stretched himself upon him, and also symbolizes the three trimesters of birth. The child is illustrated in the amnion of the widow's uterus symbolizing the similarity between the birthing and re-birthing processes, and thus fuses these two processes in the same image.
The widow is illustrated in this painting with one hand underneath the head of the dead child, and one hand on the shoulders of the revived child as she looks out at her son with fear, wonder and anticipation.
She is also illustrated as a mermaid with a large fish tail. This is because there is a medrash that speculates that the resuscitated widow's child grew up to become the prophet Jonah who was swallowed by a female fish ("daga" in Hebrew). Jonah dies (for the second time) inside the belly of the fish, and once again gets resuscitated by God. Jonah was incarcerated in the female fish for three days prior to being expelled (delivered) onto dry land. Those three days in the fish were equivalent to the three times Elijah stretched out on the child.
This painting symbolically illustrates the similarity between the uterus of the widow and the belly (womb) of the female fish where Jonah resided in different stages of his life. The Jonah story and this interpretation are discussed in greater detail in the description of Jonah: the breadth and depth of turbulence (www.nahumhalevi.com, 2010).
Later on in the Elijah story when his life is once again at risk, he rests under a broom-tree and asks God to kill him: "He asked for his soul to die and he said: It is enough God, take my life because I am not better than my fathers" (Kings I, 19:4). The words Elijah uses are almost identical to the words spoken by Jonah (his Godson) when he too rests under a tree (a gourd), and asks God to kill him. "He asked for his soul to die and he said: It is better for me to die than to live" (Jonah 4:8). It is as though in this respect the temporarily exasperated spirit of Elijah in someway was transmitted and entered Jonah's body along with his physical resuscitation in the hands of Elijah.
Written in blue Hebrew in this painting to the right of the widow are the words she uttered: "The words of God in your mouth are true".
Illustrated to the right of the widow and child are the jar of meal and the cruse of oil that were constantly replenished. They too are being electrified and recharged by Elijah's lightning hand emanations symbolizing their miraculous supernatural replenishment.
As the famine rages on, Elijah with the help of Obadiah presents himself to Ahab where he proposes an experiment to determine who the most effective and powerful God is, Jehovah or Baal. Ahab accepts the proposal most likely because he truly believes Baal will be victorious, and that he will be able to rid himself of this pesky Elijah once and for all.
Elijah recommends that this divine face-off be conducted at Mount Carmel, and should be attended by four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Ashera, in front of the people of Israel, the audience who will both witness and judge the competition.
Elijah proposes that the prophets of Baal bring along two bullocks and choose the bullock of their first choice to be used for their sacrificial offering. Elijah will take the bullock they reject for his sacrificial offering. Each bullock will be cut into pieces and placed on separate altars dedicated to Baal and God, respectively. The prophets of Baal will call out to Baal; Elijah will call out to God. The divinity that answers in fire is the true God.
All parties agree. The games begin. Baal is up first. Despite the prophets' of Baal's best efforts, and self-immolatory practices, the ineffective silent Baal fails the test. Baal, perhaps sleeping at the wheel, as suggested by Elijah, fails to fire up the sacrifice. But if God (Yehova) also fails then it's a stalemate, or a tie in ineffectuality.
Elijah in front of everyone constructs by himself a stone altar heaping twelve stones together symbolizing the unification of the twelve tribes of Israel (as in the days of yore prior to the split of the monarchy into North and South). Elijah's construction of twelve stones is further indirect evidence that he is a Priest. These twelve stones are identical in concept to the twelve stones representing the twelve tribes embedded in the High Priest's Breastplate which was used as a portal (the ephod) to communicate with God. This is precisely how Elijah intends to communicate with God, through the portal of these twelve stones. You can take Israel away from Jerusalem, but now Elijah is taking a piece of Jerusalem back to Israel in Samaria.
Furthermore, these twelve stones are also similar in concept to the twelve stone pillars Moses erected at the base of Mount Sinai, after which he sacrificed a bullock and sprinkled the blood of a bullock on the congregation of Israel establishing a blood covenant between them and God (Exodus 24:4-8) after they had all asserted in one unified voice "Naaseh Venishma" "we will perform God's will and listen to him" (Exodus 24: 7).
Thus the twelve stones erected by Elijah also symbolically hearken back to Moses' twelve stone pillars hopefully evoking a return to Israel's original expressions of faith in God through an eternal unified blood covenant. In both situations twelve stones represent a unified Israel, and the blood of a bullock symbolizes a covenant between God and Israel. Stones and blood are key visual symbols during this demonstration employed by Elijah who figures that if Israel responded to those symbols after being released from Egyptian bondage, they would hopefully respond positively to the same symbols now, and would be delivered from the bondage of Baal. Elijah is trying to reawaken Israel's primal faith, and bring them back to the foot of Mount Sinai to the seminal defining event of receiving the Decalogue from God.
After placing the bullock on the altar with wood, Elijah instructs that four pitchers be filled with water and poured on the bullock thrice i.e. a total of 4 x3 times. This adds up to twelve pitchers of water, again replicating the twelve stones of the Priestly breastplate, and of Moses' twelve stone pillars, and again emphasizing the prior and future unification of the twelve tribes of Israel.
He calls out to God: "Answer me God, answer me!" (Written in Hebrew on the necks of the red horses in the painting; details below). Hungry fire then shoots down and consumes not only the burnt offering but also the wood, the stones and all the water in the trench to the last drop.
All of Israel witnesses this in astonishment and amazement. They fall to their knees and shout out "Jehovah is God, Jehovah is God". These word are inscribed in the blue cosmic background on each the side of the alter at the bottom of this painting. Elijah's simple and direct plea to God, and Israel's response to God's action, left such a strong visual and theological impression in the history of Israel that all these words are incorporated into the Yom Kippur liturgy, and are integral to some of the most important prayers on the holiest day of the Jewish Year.
Elijah by this act rekindled the primal faith of God over Baal in the people of Israel. He now instructs them to kill all the prophets of Baal. Elijah and God win this round. New breath is breathed into the Jewish people and they have just been resuscitated much the same way as the dead corpse of the widow's child; their faith was taken for dead, and now it has been brought back to life. God further asserts his strength. Now that Israel's heart returns once again to God (they have become "Baaley Teshuvim", "returnees to the faith" -They are all Tishbi's now), the punishment of drought and starvation comes to an abrupt halt. Abundant rain irrigates the land.
Illustrated at the bottom of this painting is the alter that Elijah constructed with twelve stones. Each of the twelve stones is inscribed with each of the tribes' names. Together they form the unified twelve stones/tribes of Israel. Atop the alter, in the middle position, is Elijah's sacrificial bullock. Stretched out on the altar to the left of the bullock is the fused image of Baal, Ahab, his father Omri and his son Achazia. This image of Baal is derived from and inspired by archeological artifacts excavated from the Middle East.
Ahab is thoroughly converted to Baalism as was his father Omri before him, and his son Achazia after him. Thus, together, they are all transformed into and fused with each other, and the image of Baal. The names of Baal, Omri, Ahab and Achazia are written in black Hebrew on this figure's bull- horned crown. The crown represents the crown of Israel which based on the beliefs of these kings take on the shape of Baal's crown symbolizing their ideological and theological conversion to Baalism.
If we look at the image of Baal illustrated in this painting, to the left of the bullock, one can discern from his detailed features that he represents male fertility and sexuality, which by deduction must have been the primary underlying theological essence of Baalism. Note his crown headdress. It is shaped like a phallus, including a circumferential constriction roughly two thirds above the crown's base, right above which, is a penile head, capping the apex of his crown.
From right above the crown's base emanate from both left sand right sides, two ascending gothic bullock phallic horns. This gives him a superficial bestial similarity to the sacrificed bullock to his right who shares natural horns with him. The Baal figure is illustrated raising and shaking his black phallic shaped ruling rod. This rod, like the apex of his crown, is capped on both ends with penile heads.
With his other hand he is yielding yet another scepter which is green and tree-like, and is probably an Ashera symbol representing a tree-scepter. Ashera is Baal's female consort. Ashera means tree. This Ashera scepter has multiple phallic branches emanating from its lengthy stem. The inferior portion of the stem, like the apex of his crown, ends with a root-like penile head below a constriction. The superior most portion of this scepter has seven branches. It is possible that this represents an archetypal seven branched menorah. This theory is explored and described in greater detail in the painting "Othniel: Operation Mesopotamian Storm", 2007 (www.nahumhalevi.com).
The Baal figure also has long hair locks and beard locks all ending in phallic curls. One suspects by the near infinite visual phallic displays that Baal worship most likely emphasized phallic /fertility spirituality probably to the exclusion of other things. With human beings being all too human, it is no small wonder why Baal worship proved so competitive with Judaism over the course of many centuries.
To the right of the bullock on the altar is Ashera. Her image was also inspired by archeological relics found in Middle Eastern excavations. Because of Jezebel's beliefs in Baal and his consort, the female goddess Ashera, this illustrated female figure represents the fused image of Ashera and Jezebel. Like Ahab, by virtue of her theological beliefs she is both transformed into and fused with the theological object of her affections, Ashera.
Very recently, the seal of Jezebel has been excavated. This is reproduced in this painting and is illustrated as a medallion hanging from her necklace. Note that it is filled with traditional Egyptian icons and imagery including images of the winged sun god Ra, located beneath the winged lion- sphinx. An ankh (symbol for life) is adjacent to the sphinx's torso above his front paw. Immediately beneath the winged Ra on both left and right sides are circles symbolizing the sun, and in particular the sun god Ra. Beneath the winged sun god Ra centrally to the bottom of the seal is the image of a falcon symbolizing the god Horus ( Hur in Hebrew/Egyptian). At the foot of the falcon's feet is a snake. These classical traditional Egyptian icons indicate that Jezebel included the gods Ra and Horus in her theological pantheon. This is also evidence of the widespread theological and political influence Egypt exerted over Phoenicia and Israel during this time period. There are also crocodile icons to the left and right of the falcon. The meaning of these clearly Egyptian symbols on this seal is unclear.
It is interesting to speculate on the symbolic meaning of the winged lion-sphinx toward the top of the seal. It is possible that this could actually represent the Lion of Judah in which case the seal would imply a certain multi-culturism, and the lion-sphinx could thus represent a sign of Israelite royalty which is polytheistic, and accepts the other deities inscribed on the seal. The ankh, symbol of life often appears on cartouches of Pharaoh's, and is thus another symbol of royalty. It usually implies that the Pharaoh or the god is the giver of life..
It is unclear if the lion has a feather that sprouts from its forehead. If it does this could be a variation of an Egyptian hieroglyph which depicts a human female figure on a throne with a single feather arising from her forehead holding an ankh in her hand. This hieroglyph symbolizes Ma'at, the Egyptian goddess of Justice. It is conceivable that Jezebel saw her self as a goddess, and in her mind a goddess of Justice akin to Ma'at. Alternatively perhaps there is no feather, and this would represent a male lion sphinx. It could also represent the incorporation of Assyrian iconography, or a cherub like image from the temple indicating that the owner of the seal ruled over Israel. One thing the lion-sphinx is not, is a recognizable Egyptian hieroglyph.
Notably absent on the seal are classical Judaic-Temple iconographic symbols such as a menorah, a shofar or a lulav. Classical symbols of Baal and Ashera are also absent.
This seal is presumed to be Jezebel's because the letters of the word "Lezevel" which in Phoenician/Hebrew means "To Jezebel" are inscribed on it. The inscribed alphabetic characters on the seal (and their meanings) are identical for ancient Hebrew, Phoenician, ancient Moabite and a host of other Semitic languages in the region at the time.
Look carefully at the seal. The two red ancient Hebrew letters "L" (to) and "A" ("Aleph"; the first letter of Jezebel's name) are seen immediately above the lion-sphinx. The red ancient Hebrew letters "Y" ("yud") and "Z" ("zyin"), the third and fourth letters of the inscription, are written immediately beneath the winged eagle of Ra. The red ancient Hebrew letters "B" (Bet) and "L" (lamed), the fifth and sixth letters of the inscription, are on the bottom of the seal on the left and right hand sides of the painting respectively.
The letters LAYZBL (To Jezebel) throughout the seal are written from left to right. The letters also appear to be in reverse mirror image. When this seal would be impressed on a clay tablet, for instance, the letters on the tablet would appear from right to left (opposite the direction of the seal), and would appear in reverse mirror image to the seal i.e. as they appear and are read in ancient Hebrew.
Archeologists hypothesize that this is Jezebel's seal because it says "To Jezebel". I would submit that this is indeed Ahab's seal. The seal of Ahab would represent him and mirror his own real life. That is, he makes no decisions. Jezebel makes all the decisions. Thus Ahab's seal would not have his name on it, nor would it simply have the name "Jezebel" on it. Having the inscription read "To Jezebel", not merely "Jezebel", would be Ahab's way of honoring his wife and saying my seal is dedicated to Jezebel, and therefore I abdicate all my authority to her and allow her to make decisions. And if the lion-sphinx indeed does have a feather sprouting from her forehead, and it represents Jezebel as a female lioness posing as a version of the goddess Ma'at, it would still be Ahab's seal. He would inscribe Jezebel on his seal in both image and writ thereby delegating his authority to his wife, the queen goddess of Justice. Hence the seal which we see in the painting may very well be "Ahab's seal" referred to in the text which Jezebel used to seal Navot's fate (Kings I, 21:8; see below).
In this painting, her name "Ezevel daughter of Et Ha-Baal" is written in black Hebrew on her crown. Not to be outdone by her husband, in this painting, Ashera/Jezebel's hands are each grasping two snakes symbolizing that she is simultaneously handling two live phalluses. Thus the three creatures on the altar are each rife with plentiful phallic imagery. The bullock has natural phallic horns (which is why it is the object of worship e.g. the golden calf). The human creatures to the left and right of the bullock have unnatural simulated phallic horns and/or symbols. In this painting Baal/Ahab/Achazia and Ashera/Jezebel are placed on either side of the bullock. All of their upwardly extending hind limbs are intertwined with each other forming a unified trio of false god-human-animal bridged beings, all symbolically going up in smoke and destroyed by the power and fire of God.
Although the Baal and Ashera worship of Ahab and Jezebel anger God, what incites God's greatest wrath are their social sins. It is how they treat their fellow innocent human beings which carry far more moral weight than which gods they choose to worship. The implication, however, is that their theological and social sins are interrelated.
Illustrated in this painting are vines of purple grape clusters (pressed for red wine) wrapped around Baal's/Ahab's right arm, and vines of green grape clusters (pressed for white wine) wrapped around Ashera's/Jezebel's left arm. These clusters represents the "grape vineyard" ("Kerem" spelled "KRM" in Hebrew) brazenly stolen from Navot the Jezreelite who had the misfortune of owning a beautiful vineyard adjacent to Ahab's palace. Ahab desperately coveted this vineyard and despite his offer of exchanging this plot of land for a similar plot or for fair monetary compensation, Navot declines because of family pride; because this vineyard is his inheritance.
Ahab becomes despondent and depressed over this, yet he himself doesn't contrive to cross any moral boundaries to alleviate his dreadful disappointment. In steps Jezebel who flamboyantly reminds Ahab who's king, and who's the subject. There are no ifs ands or buts. What the king wants, the king shall get. Jezebel personally writes letters in Ahab's name, sealed with his seal (see the painting), and orchestrates two false witnesses to testify against Navot (clearly bending the rule of law) maintaining that Navot cursed both God and King and has thus committed an offence punishable by death.
Navot is stoned to death after which Ahab takes possession of his vineyard. Thus Ahab and Jezebel simultaneously break four of the Ten Commandments between man and man: Thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet your neighbor's possessions, and thou shalt not bear false testimony. This doesn't even include the commandments between God and man; especially the one about thou shalt have no other gods before me.
God is infuriated, and sends Elijah to berate Ahab. God tells Elijah to tell Ahab "This is what God says: Have you murdered and also inherited?" (Kings I, 21:19). In this painting, these words are written in red bloody Hebrew on the Bullock's torso on top of the altar. He continues: "And you should say to him thus: In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Navot, they will lick up your blood as well" (21:19). God punishes Jezebel with the same curse: "And also to Jezebel God spoke thus: the dogs will eat Jezebel in the moat of Jezreel" (Kings I, 21:23).
Illustrated at the bottom of this painting are dogs on either side of the altar licking up the blood of Ahab (and father Omri and son Achazia) on the left and of Jezebel on the right. As a result of their great social sins their bodies are licked up by God's fire like the bullock sacrifice, and their blood is licked up by the dogs. This is inspired by God's raining down mortal fire on Achazia's military troops as a retribution for Achazia's sin of praying to Baal-Zevuv (Lord of the Flies) to heal his injuries (more on that later). These dogs, like the ravens who feed Elijah, are animal messengers of God. They are standing in the trench surrounding the stone altar filled with twelve pitchers of water. The fire is illustrated licking up this water.
In this painting written in red Hebrew on the grape clusters wrapped around Jezebel's arms are the words "Vineyard (in Hebrew:Kerem) Navot", and the analogous Hebrew words "Carmel Navee (prophet). Likewise written on the grape clusters wrapped around Ahab's arms are the juxtaposed words "Kerem Navot" and "Carmel Navee".
The Hebrew word for "vineyard" is "Kerem" spelled "KRM". The geographic locale of the ultimate Jehovah –Baal duel orchestrated by Elijah occurs on Mount "Carmel" which in Hebrew is spelled "KRML", pronounced "KRM EL" which in Hebrew means the "vineyard (KRM) of God (EL)". Thus in this painting Ahab and Jezebel are punished and killed by God for the theft of Navot's "KRM" symbolically taking place on "Mount KRM EL", "the mountain of EL (God)".
It is this Hebrew linguistic homology between KRM and KRM EL which inspired the visual juxtaposition in this painting of Ahab (Baal) and Jezebel (Ashera) and the bullock on the altar placed on Mount Carmel (KRM EL) where God's fiery display not only establishes supremacy over Baal and Ashera, but simultaneously exacts justice upon Baal's avatars, Ahab and Jezebel.
The name "NaVot" shares a similar Hebrew root word "NV" with "NaVee" ("prophet"). In a similar linguistic juxtaposition, the words "KRM Navot" meaning "the vineyard of Navot" can also be translated as "Vineyard of the prophets". This implies that Ahab and Jezebel not only stole the possession and inheritance of Navot, one man, by stoning him, but likewise, they also stole the spiritual inheritance of many Hebrew prophets,NaVeeim (and all of Israel who they represent), by brazenly and illegally executing them.
The text is thus linguistically applying the biblical principle of measure for measure justice. Elijah's greatest feat of having his bullock sacrifice accepted by God in fire takes place on Mount "KRM EL", "The Mountain of the vineyard of God". The implication is that the theft of an innocent man's vineyard is equivalent to stealing God's vineyard. A social sin of such gravity against man is equivalent to a sin against God. As mentioned above, the name "Navot" shares the same root as "Navee", "prophet". Hence the single innocent man "Navot" symbolizes and encapsulates the multiple innocent God fearing "prophets" ("Navees") killed by Jezebel and Ahab.
Thus in this painting the portrayal of Ahab and Jezebel with vineyards wrapped around their arms implies that they are destroyed for all their sins; their transformation/conversion into Baal and Ashera, their outright murder of the Naveeim (prophets), and their outright murder and theft of the KRM of Navot on the Mount " Carmel" "KRM EL" "the vineyard of God". This is a classic example of Biblical Justice delivered measure for measure.
Ahab despondently reports back to Jezebel about Elijah's and God's victory on Mount Carmel and about Elijah's ordering of the slaying of Jezebel's loyal prophets of Baal and Ashera. Jezebel (not Ahab) forthright dispatches a messenger to Elijah notifying him that he is a marked man, and that soon he will meet the very same fate that he just meted out on her beloved Prophets.
Elijah is once again forced to flee in order to physically survive. He goes toward Be'ar Sheva in Judah's territory and, and escapes into the desert. He becomes temporarily despondent and sits under a broom tree begging God to take his life. The battle against Baal, however, has not yet been decisively won. Elijah's physical survival is still critical. This time God doesn't send birds or human beings to assist him but an angel (the most responsible messenger in his armamentarium) who awakens Elijah from sleep under the broom tree.
The angel, perhaps a personalized voice message from God encoded in Elijah's dream state mind instructs him to rise and eat. He beholds a baked cake, and a cruse of water supernaturally created either physically or in his dreams. After Elijah eats he falls back to sleep whereupon the angel awakens him again telling him to eat some more, for he has a long journey ahead of him.
With this food (physical and/or spiritual manna from heaven) in his belly he has the strength to walk forty days and forty nights until he reaches the Mountain of God, Mount Horev i.e. Mount Sinai, the source of divine light and instruction, the place where Moses initially confronts the spirit of God in the burning bush, and where many years later, the place where God hands down to Moses the "Asseret Ha Deburut", "The Ten Utterings" otherwise mistranslated and referred to as the "Ten Commandments". These "auditory utterings" were synesthetically visually transmuted by God's fiery finger which carved these transmuted sounds into words on stone.
When Elijah finally reaches this destination he enters a cave whereupon God speaks to him, asking him why he came. Elijah sadly informs God that the children of Israel abandoned his covenant and his altars, and that all his prophets have been killed by sword (ChRV in Hebrew). Only he, Elijah, the repository of God's commandments is the sole surviving true prophet whose very existence is threatened. The implication is that if Ahab and Jezebel are successful in killing him, there will be nobody left to worship God; it will be the end of a glorious journey. The destiny of both God and Israel hang in the balance.
God instructs Elijah to stand on the top of the mountain (Sinai), just like Moses before him had, in order to receive the utterings (Debur/whispers) of God: "And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountain and broke in pieces the rocks before God, but God is not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake (literally a loud noise) came, but God is not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, fire, but God is not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice (an uttering, a whisper). And when he heard it he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave, and behold a "voice" ("KYL" in Hebrew, pronounced KOL, which is different from, but implies "Debur", "a talking voice") came to him (penetrated his mind's ear) and asked what are you doing here Elijah?" (Kings I, 19:11-13).
Elijah repeats verbatim his previous contention. God answers him and charts out a political/ theological plan for him including who to anoint as the next King of Israel and who to anoint as a his prophetic successor, since irrespective of what happens next, someone needs to take the place of some one as vital as Elijah.
It is appropriate at this point to enumerate the multiple parallels between Elijah's and Moses' lives and their analogous encounters with God:
Moses escapes Pharaoh's execution decree, and walks across a desert.
Elijah escapes Ahab/Jezebel's execution decree and walks across a desert.
An angel speaks to Moses through a burning bush.
An angel speaks to Elijah and feeds him in the burning desert.
Moses fasts for forty days and nights purifying himself to receive the uttering voice of God on top of Mount Sinai.
Elijah fasts for forty days and nights walking through the desert en route to Mount Sinai purifying himself to hear God's still and small voice on top of Mount Sinai.
God addresses Moses from the burning bush on Mount Horev calling out his name twice: "Moses Moses".
God addresses Elijah on Mount Horev twice by name (Kings I, 19:10 and 19:13).
Moses apprehends God atop Mount Sinai and hears the Ten Deburut (spoken utterances).
Elijah apprehends God atop Mount Sinai when he hears the still silent voice (utterings of God).
Moses splits the Red Sea with his staff.
Elijah splits the Jordan with his mantle.
Moses has a staff invested with divine power.
Elijah has a mantle invested with divine power.
Moses anoints his successor "Joshua" (in Hebrew "Yeho Shua" meaning "God-Jehovah- will save").
Elijah anoints his successor "Elisha" (in Hebrew "EL Yesha", God –EL-will save").
Moses' most important encounter with God and his revelations occur atop Mount Horev (Sinai).
Elijah's most important encounter with God occurs atop Mount Horev (Sinai).
Moses comes at a particularly low point in Jewish history and takes the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, and illuminates them with Torah thus saving them from theological oblivion.
Elijah comes at a particularly low point in Jewish history and takes the Israelites out of Baal bondage, and re-illuminates them with Torah thus saving them from theological oblivion.
Elijah's epiphany of the subtle profound nature of God is the very clear antithesis of Baalism. He mentally comes step by step to the understanding that God is not in the wind, that he is not in a violent and extremely loud earthquake, and that he is not in fire. He perceives, like Moses, that scary, powerful natural elements although they represent powerful expressions of God, do not in any way constitute God. These forces of nature which instill primal fear are not to be worshipped in and of themselves, as they are in Baalism, where Baal is also known as the thunder god.
Physical forces of nature are not attributes of God. Rather, it is the underlying hidden laws of nature, the unseen fabric and interstices of the universe, which can be heard (sensed) in the still and silent, inner unseen voice within Elijah's mind, and ultimately within the minds' of those that listen and hear, which most approximates the transcendent, unseen and ultimately unknowable God.
In this painting the three sequential sentences: "God is not in the wind", "he is not in the earthquake", and "he is not in the fire" are written in sinusoidal undulating Hebrew letters from right to left in the background of the black thundering and lightning impregnated sky. These three phrases are sequentially painted in blue, for the blue wind, in white yellow for the earth quake, and orange for the fire. These sequential sentences describing Elijah's gradual transcendent ascending apprehension of God (paralleling his physical/spiritual ascent) are painted as an undulating sinusoidal wave impregnating the dark mysterious sky. This sinusoidal waves represents the synesthetic fusion of hearing (sinusoidal auditory waves), seeing (sinusoidal light and particle waves), and space-time cognition (sinusoidal Fourier analysis waves).
In this painting, the Hebrew words "A still silent voice" surround Elijah's ears signifying his inner auditory comprehension of the voice of God. It is for this reason that one of the most cardinal holy Jewish prayers consists of the words "HEAR oh Israel, Jehovah is our God, Jehovah is one". The emphasis on this prime statement and article of faith is on the inner-mind auditory transcendent apprehension of God, in contradistinction to the visual appreciation of God, no matter how visually enticing his beautiful manifestations might be. In a nutshell, this statement alludes to the supremacy of Jehovah (inner- auditory) over Baal (external- visual).
Illustrated in the mid background of this painting is the mountainous terrain of Israel. The most important events in the Elijah story all occur on mountain tops: Mount Horev and Mount Carmel. Inscribed in green Hebrew letters on both sides of Elijah's chariot on the mountains, are the words: "The mountain of God, Horev", "They split (the waters) and they both passed in the dry land (Horeva)", and "Mount Carmel".
The words "Horev" and "Horeva" share similar Hebrew roots. "Horeva" means "dry and desolate land". These words imply a certain sense of mystery and grandeur. Thus Mount Horev despite or because it is a physically dry and desolate mountain is the Mountain of God. When Elijah and Elisha part the waters with their mantle, dry (Horeva) land appears. This dry land which is supernaturally visualized likewise implies a certain element of mystery akin to the Mountain of Horev.
After the death of Ahab, his son Ahazia takes over the reigns of kinship and almost immediately falls ill. He then sends messengers and says: "go inquire of Baal-Zebub (Lord of the Flies) the god of Ekron whether I shall recover from this sickness" (Kings II, 1:2).
Not surprisingly the son of Ahab and Jezebel is entirely ensconced in Baal worship. God is no where in his thoughts or vocabulary. This of course incenses God who alerts Elijah via an angel to greet the messengers of Ahazia and to inquire of them: "is there no God in Israel that you go to inquire of Baal Zebub the god of Ekron (Kings II 1:3). " Therefore says God: the bed that you ascended you will not descend from, for you will surely die".
When the messengers convey this to Ahazia, he identifies Elijah as the source of the message. Like his parents before him, he summons Elijah to come before him, no doubt in order to execute him.
Once again Elijah is perched atop a mountain (unnamed), close to God. Thrice Ahazia sends a captain with a regiment of fifty soldiers to command Elijah to descend the mountain and give himself up. Twice Elijah refuses and he retorts: "If I be a man of God fire shall descend from the heavens and consume you and the fifty". Fire then comes down and devours the captain and his fifty soldiers (Kings II, 1: 10, 12).
It is for this reason that in this painting Ahazia is fused along with his father and Baal and symbolically placed on the altar. Just like fire came down and consumed Elijah's bullock, fire comes down twice and consumes Ahazia's soldiers who represent Ahazia. He and the bullock are consumed by the fire of God which is directed downwards.
The captain of Ahazia's third regiment seeing what had happened to the first two regiments, begs Elijah for his life. Elijah capitulates and descends the mountain after an angel explains to him that his life is no longer at risk, and that he no longer has to fear Ahazia. Elijah now approaches Ahazia face to face, and directly tells him that because he has abandoned God, and embraced Baal, like his parents, he shall surely die, and he does, on the spot.
It is the final chapter in the Elijah story that is filled with one of the Bible's greatest supernatural phantasmagoric imagery. Somehow it is known in advance by Elijah, Elisha and the sons of the prophets, that Elijah will be taken away in a whirlwind. When the sons of the prophets remind Elisha about this, he tells them to hush.
Prior to this climactic event Elisha and Elijah go to the Jordon, and Elisha promises not to leave Elijah alone, perhaps to prevent him from being whisked away. As they both stand on the banks of the Jordan River with an audience of fifty sons of the prophets standing close by (like the sons of Israel standing at the foot of Mount Sinai) Elijah smites the waters with his magical mantle. The waters part and Elijah and Elisha cross over in dry land (Horeva).
The Elijah story now suddenly and dramatically climaxes in extraordinary mysteriousness: "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that behold, there was a chariot of fire, and horses of fire which parted them asunder, and Elijah ascended in the whirlwind into the heavens (sky)" ( Kings 2, 1:11).
Illustrated in the center of this painting is a much magnified Elijah, the star and hero of this story, ascending heavenward in a fiery whirlwind. No doubt the whirlwind itself catches on fire as its eye erupts from the sparks generated by the fiery chariot and horses. His name "Elijah", is written in Hebrew on his hand on the right of the painting, and the name "Ha Tishbi" is written in Hebrew on his hand on the left of the painting.
Elijah is portrayed as already half matter and half energy, between heaven and earth. He is caught in a state of eternal transformation. He wavers between particles and photons. This intermezzo state is captured in this freeze frame. His eyes and mouth are aglow with the fire of God. He is surrounded by a whirlwind which is also on fire. Emanating from the whirlwind are plumes of fire and smoke aglow from the chariot and horses of fire, offsetting the black sky which represents mysterium ultimatus.
Elijah's legs are no longer visible in this painting. His physical matter, from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head is gradually and sequentially transforming into energy in an ascending manner. It won't be long before his face will likewise transform into particles of light and energy, at which point all visibility will be lost. Joining him on his transformative journey are the angelic ravens that also flitter between mass and energy, who will continue to metaphorically and spiritually sustain him. As he ascends, thunder and lightning illuminate the sky (like they did when the Decalogue was handed down at Sinai) highlighting the mystical ascent of Elijah.
The fire that is illustrated in this painting is bi-directional. It simultaneously both ascends and descends. It ascends upwards to heaven with Elijah. The same fire also descends from heaven to consume Elijah's sacrifice, and to consume Ahazia's soldiers, and to consume Ahab/Baal and Jezebel/Ashera.
Elijah ascends to heaven in the same whirlwind where God does not reside. He is accompanied by the same fire of Horev wherein God does not reside. This all occurs in the background of the quaking of the mountain wherein God does not reside. Elijah now momentarily resides betwixt and between these divine manifestations, but will shortly dissociate from them, and will mysteriously converge with the still voice of God gaining complete and absolute apprehension of the divine as he dissolves particle by particle, wave by wave, into the electrifying energizing oneness of the all.
Like Moses before him, when he glimpses the face of God, or in this case when Elijah synesthetically hears the face of God, his earthly physical existence must ultimately come to an end. Moses dissociates into a mountain on his last day on earth, whereas Elijah dissociates into a whirlwind. Like all the rest of us, they both dissolve into the dust of the heavens above and the earth below, although with far greater sentience, theatrical flair and élan.
The text definitively states that Elijah ascended in a whirlwind. It does not definitively state that he ascends in a whirlwind riding on a chariot of fire driven by horses of fire. This is presumed by inference, but it is not corroborated by the text. This painting leaves this question open with both interpretations possible. It will be resolved upon Elijah's return: TAKU.
Illustrated in the middle of this painting are four purple chariot wheels surrounding a chariot which is obscured by fire from which emanates Elijah's whirlwind twister tail. Also illustrated are two red fiery horses in front of the chariot going in divergent separate directions. They appear to be descending from the sky, and then magically and surreally galloping on the blue domed heavens that surround Elijah's altar which after having been consumed by smoke and fire is captured in the process of similar ascent. The stars and galaxies are fiery orange, red, and yellow symbolizing their genesis as fiery stardust emanating from the impact of the horses' trotting hooves on the galaxy laden heavens.
One can imagine that they are about to accompany and transport Elijah upward. Alternatively as the text states, their sole purpose may merely be to separate Elijah from Elisha who is illustrated to the left of the painting. The whirlwind is a sufficient ascension transporting mechanism in and of itself.
In this painting, Elisha, Elijah's disciple, is illustrated grabbing Elijah's falling purple mantle, as the text states: "And he raised Elijah's mantle that fell from him, he returned and stood at the shore of the Jordan. And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and smote the waters, and said: where is the Lord, the God of Elijah? And when he had also smitten the waters, they were divided hither and thither, and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho some way off saw him they said: The spirit of Elijah does rest on Elisha" (Kings II, 2:14-15).
Elisha is illustrated in this painting wearing a blue garment. He is bald as described later in the text. His name is written in Hebrew on his forearm. A series of closed loop crosswords are written in orange Hebrew on Elijah's mantle.
The primary word from which emanates all other words is "ADRT" (pronounced "aderet" in Hebrew meaning "mantle"). Arising upwards from the first letter of the word, "A", in Hebrew "aleph", on the right is the word "elohim" (ALHYM). Emanating from the same letter "A" downwards is the name "Elisha (ALYSA). Emanating From the last letter of the word, "T" ("tuf") on the left written from top down, are the words "Elijah the Tishbi", with the intervening letter "T" joining these words. The bottom letter "ayin" "Ay" on the right and "Y", "Yud" on the left are connected spelling "AyVD", pronounced "EVED", which means "my servant" in Hebrew. This applies to both Elijah and Elisha, servants of God. Connecting the upper letters in reverse from left to tight is the word "ALHYM" pronounced "Elohim".
The Hebrew word in the center of the word "ADRT" spells "DR" pronounced "Dore" which means "generation". "DR" is the inner middle word within "ADRT" which bridges the first letter" A" ("A" lisha) with the last letter "T" (Alyahu ha "T"ishbi). A generation ("DR") is the bridge which connects Elijah and Elisha, and also implies that the mantle, the "ADRT", of God which was first entrusted to Elijah, has been safely passed down to Elisha, and thus transmitted from one generation to the next.
Elijah, in fact, connects and bridges past and future generations in other ways. Looking backwards into the past from Elijah's perspective, he retro- sequentially evokes the succeeding past generations from Pinchas the Priest (by his zeal), to Moses (as mentioned above), to Levi (Moses' ancestor), and ultimately back to Abraham (by his moral outage), the first monotheist who recognizes God, and from whom all Elijah's ancestors stem from.
If we look forward into the future from Elijah's perspective, he sequentially evokes the succeeding future generations of the Prophet Jonah (his godson) and generations later, Malachi the last Prophet in the Book of Prophets (for an explanation of the Elijah-Malachi connection please see: "Malachi: Hands across time", 2010; www.nahumhalevi.com).
Furthermore, Elijah is continually linking the imaginations of past and future generations by attending past and future Passover Seders, and by sitting in on past and future circumcision ceremonies. His name is evoked at the conclusion of every past and future end of Sabbath Havdalah prayer. His analytical skills penetrated the thoughts of the many scholars over the course of a millenium who authored the Mishna and Talmud, and unifies all past and future generations who study these works. He bridges heaven and earth. He is both and neither particles and photons. He is Elijah here and Sandolfon there. He is both somewhere and nowhere.
Despite the fact that there are many prophets in the Hebrew Bible, it is only Elijah who is uniquely referred to as "The Prophet". Most of the other prophets, no matter how great they are, more typically are referred to by their bonhomie first names e.g. Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Elijah the Prophet is eternally jumping out of, and ascending from, the fiery pages of the Bible yearning and reaching for the still, quiet voice, in multiple languages, across multiple continents and oceans, generation after generation, searing his legacy into the hearts and minds of the many peoples of the earth, not only in the distant past, and in the remote future, but most significantly in the intermezzo of the never, ever ending, eternal present.
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