All the Reasons Why You Don’t Want a Career in Prophecy

Just after his moment of glory, the prophet Elijah finds himself alone and deserted.

A Mughal miniature of the prophet Elijah.

A Mughal miniature of the prophet Elijah.

Atar Hadari
Observation
Feb. 22 2019
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


This week’s haftarah (prophetic reading) from 1Kings 18:20-39 offers one of the greatest miraculous action sequences in the entire Hebrew Bible. But it is also set within a larger story of the conflict between the less-than-high-minded king Ahab and the less-than-entirely-stable prophet Elijah—a conflict that illustrates some essential patterns of the prophetic relationship with God, the kings who may not always serve Him, and Israel. At the end of this larger story, not read in the synagogue but essential to understanding the whole, it becomes clear that much more than king-vs.-prophet is involved here. Elijah confronts the Lord, and the response he receives tells you all the reasons why you don’t want a career in prophecy.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

More about: Ahab, Elijah, Hebrew Bible, Religion & Holidays