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The Widow of Zarephath

The Widow of Zarephath

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Published by glennpease
From Mothers of the Bible
From Mothers of the Bible

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Published by: glennpease on May 10, 2012
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05/03/2013

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THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH.By Mrs AshtonBaal has almost triumphed in Israel, Aha,bis yet alive and unreformed ; Jezebel, his impi-ous consort, is still mad upon her idols ; theprophets lire prophesying lies ; the priests arebearing rule by their means, and the people lovefo have it so. Desolating drouth and faminefrom Jehovah afflict the tribes who have wan-dered so grievously, and extend into all the sur-rounding country. Distress and death are inmany households, and even ignorant idolatersbegin to tremble at the displeasure of the He-brew God, though neither they nor Israel areprepared to propitiate him by repentance andobedience.Twilight is beginning to gather over the inhab-itants of a small town in the borders of Sidon,and with the twilight a deeper gloom than anynight could bring. Gaunt figures move languid-ly about ; despairing tones fall sadly on the ear ;262 THE MOTHERS OF THE BIBLEanimation, vigor, joy, seem to have fled fromevery countenance ; even childhood has lost its" birthright of gladness," and moans take theplace of songs. ature around sympathizes withthis universal dreariness. ot a green thing isto be seen. The parched, baked earth gives asound under every footstep ; the rain of theland is powder and dust. o placid lake, no
 
sparkling rill, refreshes the eye ; no murmur of flowing waters is heard. Men have ceased tolook upward with hopeful glances, and the ques-tion has not been put for a long time, "Are thereany signs of rain ? " Every morning the sunlifts his undimmed eye as if to gaze in mocking joy upon the scene, and sends his scorching rayspitilessly down through the long hours, not oncehalting in his course, nor seeking for a momenthis pavilion of clouds ; and his parting look, ashe sinks to his rest at night, red with his fierymarch, but promises another morrow like thisday, only more terrible. From the hill-sides isheard the sound of lowing herds and bleatingBheep, and groups of men come slowly and sadlyfrom a vain search for greener pastures and waterTHE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH. 263wherewith to stay the thirst of their sufferingcattle. Lord God Ahiiighty, who can stand be-fore thy judgments !As the twilight deepens, a female form is seen,with wan countenance and languid steps, emergingfrom a small cottage. She wanders slowly on,gathering dried sticks in her hand, when she issuddenly accosted by a stranger with the earnestrequest, *' Bring me, I pray thee, a little waterin a vessel, that I may drink." The tone is oneof distress, and she looks up to see from whomit comes. A man of dark, stern aspect, clothedin skins, with a staff in his hand, stands beforeher, evidently worn and weary with long travel,and suffering from want. A glance is sufficientto inform her whence he comes, though she hasnever before seen him. one in all that regioncan be ignorant of the minutest particulars of 
 
the appearance of Elijah, the terrible prophet of Jehovah, for whom Ahab has searched everykingdom and country, that he might destroy him.Why is he here, so far from his friends, and inthe land of his deadliest foes ? Comes he peace-ably, or with further denunciations of vengeance264THE MOTHERS OP THE BIBLE.against the followers of Baal? She kno^vs not — asks , not. Moved by his need and by an un-seen influence, she returns at his request to bringhim a portion of the precious beverage whichstill remains to her. As she is about to enterthe house, he again addresses her. " Bring me,I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand."This is beyond her power. She now speaks, andthe whole story of her own woes finds utterancein few but expressive words. '' As the Lordthy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handfulof meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse ;and, behold, I am gathering two sticks that Imay go in and dress it for me and my son, thatwe may eat it and die." Despair is in her tonesand her countenance. She seems to expect nodeliverance ; but Elijah has now for her wordsof cheer. " Fear not : go and do as thou hastsaid ; but make me a little cake first, and bringit unto me, and after make for thee and thy son.For thus saiih the Lord God of Israel, The barrelof meal shalt not waste, neither shall the cruseof oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth

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