Baal was the greatest of all the gods of ancient Semitic nations especially those of Phoenicians. Statue, representing the god, made of gold, was 100 feet high. It had four faces. 400 priests were appointed to look after this statue, which also had Ashtoreth goddess as his wife.
In Samaria, the capital of Israel, a temple and alter of Baal was constructed, which later on was known as Baalbek; the city of Baal. In Semitic and Hebrew languages Baal means master, owner, lord and ruler, a husband is also called Baal by Arabs. Watching the royal interests and inclinations towards Baal people started offering sacriﬁces in the name of Baal openly.
Inﬁdelity and straying had reached its peak in the Israelites when God, sent Elias to guide and preach the righteousness. He resided in Galahad. He was from the linage of Aaron. In Bible he has been mentioned as Elijah.
Elias preached monotheism to Israelites and denounced all the sins. He told them that worshipping Baal as compared to God is wrong because these idols can neither beneﬁt them nor can cause any harm to them so they should turn towards that God, who is their and their ancestor’s Lord and the Lord of all the creatures of the earth and in the heavens.
The people of his nation had gone so far away on the wrong path that they had no mind to pay attention to Elias’s teachings rather they arrogantly and adamantly insisted in doing what they were practicing. Elias invited the king Ahab towards the monotheism and preached him to forsake the sinful acts and deeds otherwise he, being the king of those people would be even more responsible for the sins and God may inﬂict His punishment upon them and the nation would suffer the calamity of drought. But Ahab refused to pay heed to Elias’s preaching and ignored him arrogantly.
For more than three years, Israel did not receive any rain; the nation was facing the famine of its worst kind. People were hunger struck. They started to die of starvation and the situation grew very grave. This led Ahab to consider what Elias had told him, so he sent for him. He apologized-to him for his arrogance and requested him to pray to God for rain. All the priests and Baal-worshipper considering it their defeat opposed the king’s request. Elias suggested that he would offer sacriﬁce in the name ' of God and they should offer their sacriﬁce in the name of Baal. Whose sacriﬁce would be accepted, prayer for rain would be submitted to that deity only.
In those times, it was the custom to place the sacriﬁcial offer on a high place and if ﬁre from heaven would burn it, it was considered to be a sign of acceptance of the sacriﬁce and if ﬁre did not burn the sacriﬁcial offering, it meant non-acceptance 0l the sacriﬁce by the heavenly powers. About 900 people from the Baal side gathered on the mount Carmel. On one side Elias was standing alone with his sacriﬁce and on the other side a mob of people was present there. Both the parties slaughtered their sacriﬁcial animals and placed them on the peak of the mountain. The divine ﬁre appeared and burnt the sacrificial offering of Elias made in the name of God.
Seeing the irrefutable proof of truth and righteousness Of Elias, the king trembled and repented. He regretted his insolence and apologized to Elias, asked for his forgiveness and ordered to kill the priests who had misled him. Elias prayed to God for his Mercy. His prayer was accepted and it rained and the drought was over.
Jezebel, the wicked queen of Ahab, could not take the killing of the priests and she turned an enemy of Elias and swore to avenge the killing of priests from Elias. She conspired with the aid of idolaters and trapped Ahab in her snare of conspiracies so well that Elias was forced to take refuge in the valley of Siena.
Elias supplicated to God, “Children of Israel have forsaken their covenant with Thee, destroyed Thy Alters and slain Thy prophets. I alone have survived so far and now they are after my life. (Kings, 2: 12-15)
Jezebel wedded her daughter with Jehoram, the ruler, of Jewish state of Jerusalem, which resulted in spreading of idolater beliefs and traditions in that part the country as well. Elias wrote a letter to Jehoram and told him not to leave the path of his ancestors otherwise he would suffer a disastrous end.
It is written in the Old Testament;
“And, there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying; Thus saith the Lord of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah. But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel and hast make Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab. And also slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people; and thy children and thy wives and all the goods. And thou shall have sickness disease of my bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the disease day by day.”
(2 Chronicles, 21: 12-15)
Jehoram did not pay any attention to this advice and arrogantly followed his desires. Finally the fate predicted by Elias seized him. Intruders overran his empire; his wives were made prisoners and taken away. He himself suffered from intestinal disease and finally died because of the same.
Elias kept on striving to accomplish the mission of spreading the word of God patiently and with perseverance. After Jehoram, son of Jezebel came into power. But he, too, opted to follow the path suggested by his mother. Elias invited him towards the path of God but he refused and attempted to harm Elias, like his father.
When Elias ﬁnally resolved that the Israelites were in no mood to come to the straight path, he submitted to God that these people were Thy creatures, they have gone astray and are not listening to Thy prophet, now it is up to you, whether you show them the right path or punish them.
God’s punishment seized them and the entire family of Jezebel was killed. According to the Old Testament, when the people of Elias were subjected to punishment of God, Elias was taken to heavens.
The holy Quran, in this context tells:
“So Elias was also among those sent by Us. Behold he said to his people, “Will ye not fear God? Will ye call upon Baal and forsake the Best of creators; God, your Lord and Cherisher of your fathers of old? But they rejected him. And, they will certainly be called up for punishment, except the sincere and devoted servants of God, And We left his name among generations to come in later times. Peace and salutations to such as Elias. Thus, indeed, do we reward those who do right.'
(S: 37, V: l23-I31)
Searching, Please wait..