Elijah, or Elias, was a Prophet in Israel, in 9th century BC. His name is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, Mishnah, New Testament, and the Qur'an. It is believed that he raised the dead and brought down fire from the sky, before finally ascending to heaven in a whirlwind. The book of Malachi prophesizes the return of Elijah “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord," thus, making him a harbinger of the Messiah. Elijah is also a prominent figure in several folklore traditions. He is known as "Elijah the Thunderer" in Serbia and Bulgaria. He is associated with, and held responsible for summer storms, hail, rain, thunder and dew.
Story of Elijah the Prophet
Jerobam the second, ruling Israel, was considered to be one of the greatest kings of the Ten Tribes. He conquered nearly the whole of Syria and made Samaria the greatest city of all the lands conquered by him. The kingdom of Israel prospered and grew stronger under him. However, another nation was also rising in power and affluence, on the eastern side of the river Tigris, known as Assyria. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was so vast that it took a man three days to walk around its walls. Soon, the Assyrians had begun to conquer the lands in their vicinity. Their might also posed an existential threat to Israel.
By this time, Ahab had begun to rule Israel, who allowed the worshipping of a foreign god in his Kingdom. Jezebel, his wife, was a worshipper of Baal, and she persuaded Ahab to build an altar to the foreign God. The Lord sent Elijah the Prophet to Ahab, who was proposed a test by Elijah. He asked Ahab to build two altars; one to Jehovah and the other to Baal. Thereafter, the priests of Baal called upon their God to send down fire. There was no response to their request. Then, Elijah called upon the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to send down fire. On Elijah’s request, the fire came down and burnt up the offering. This incident enraged the people and they killed the priests of Baal.
Later, Ahab acquired the vineyard of Naboth, of Jezreel, by murdering the owner. However, Naboth didn’t want to part with the vineyard, citing that God did not allow him to leave the land. The wicket Jezebel, thus, plotted a scheme to acquire the vineyard for Ahab. She arranged for a feast in Naboth’s neighborhood, through the people living around. False charges of cursing God and Ahab were levied against Naboth, at the feast. Consequentially, he was stoned to death and Ahab acquired his vineyard. However, Elijah denounced Ahab and Jezebel and prophesized that God would punish them. In a little while, Elijah’s prophecy came true and both, Ahab and Jezebel, were killed by King Jehu. Finally, a chariot of fire took Elijah back to heaven.