Reading The Text: Haftarah Ki Tisa Part Five

Feb 17th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
“Obadiah went toward Ahab and told him, so Ahab went toward Elijah.” It doesn’t say that Obadiah went to Ahab, but rather that he went toward Ahab. This implies that all Obadiah did was turn in the direction of Ahab but Ahab was there. It was as if ,when the verse earlier described Ahab is going alone, Ahab did not go very far from Obadiah. This supports our original suggestion that the reason Ahab went on this quest, and took Obadiah with him, was because he was convinced that something great would appear in the merit of Obadiah. He never went too far. Obadiah only had to turn around and go toward Ahab, and the King was there.

When “When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, you uglifier of Israel?” It is clear that Ahab does not like Elijah. He blames Elijah for all of Israel’s suffering. The verses continue: “H said to him, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house, when you forsook the Commandments of God and follow the Baal idols! And now, send forth to gather all of Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and also the 450 prophets of the Baal and the 400 prophets of the Asheirah, who eat at Jezebel’s table. Ahab sent among all the children of Israel and he gathered the prophets to Mount Carmel.”

Ahab doesn’t argue with Elijah. The one who accused Elijah of making the people of Israel ugly obeys Elijah immediately. It is clear that Ahab was convinced that something great would happen this day. From the moment he had that mental message to go out and look and to take Obadiah with him, he knew to not go too far from his servant, he knew that this indeed would be a great day. He had no need to argue with Elijah. The truth would be proven.

Elijah mentions that 450 prophets of the Baal in 400 prophets of the Asheirah who eat at Jezebel’s table. I thought there was a drought! I thought there was a famine! It seems that Ahab’s house had plenty of food.

As we said before, Obadiah had food to feed and sustain the prophets of God he was hiding. No wonder, when Ahab went to look for food, he did not go to look for food for himself but for his animals so that he would ‘not be cut off without animals’. This changes the entire scene. We are not speaking of the King himself suffering thirst and starvation. The King had plenty.

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