TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 'Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.' So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab." 1 Kings 18:1,2
Obadiah had a tough job and an evil boss. His job was to be in charge of the palace in Samaria, where Ahab and Jezebel ruled. What made this especially hard was the fact that Obadiah loved and obeyed God. His boss, Ahab, didn’t.
Because Obadiah loved God, he did a dangerous thing. When Queen Jezebel was killing all the prophets of God, he sneaked one hundred of them away and hid them so they were safe.
The last while had been hard for King Ahab. Three years passed from when Elijah came to him and said there would be no rain. By now the land was completely scorched, the grass yellow, the plants brown and shriveled. This day Ahab sent Obadiah out to look for any patches of grass left where animals could graze....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 4:1-7
TO CHEW ON: "Elisha replied, 'How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?''Your servant has nothing there at all,' she said, 'except a small jar of olive oil.'” 2 Kings 4:2
Elisha became a leader among the prophets like Elijah was before him. One day the wife of a prophet who had died came to Elisha with a big problem. “My husband owed a man some money,” she said. “Now that man says if I don’t pay back the debt, he’ll make my sons his slaves.”
“What do you have in your house?” Elisha asked.
“Only a little oil,” the woman replied.
“Here’s what to do,” Elisha said. “Send your boys out to gather oil containers. Collect as many as you can. Then close the door of your house and fill all those containers with the oil you have.”
How would she ever fill even one container with the little bit of oil she had, the woman wondered. Yet she did as Elisha said. After her sons had collected bottles, jugs and jars of all shapes and sizes from the neighborhood, they began to fill them. And an amazing thing happened. The oil never ran...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 17:1-6
TO CHEW ON: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” 1 Kings 17:3,4
After Jeroboam died his son was king for two years. Then, like the prophet had predicted, Jeroboam’s family was completely wiped out and another man, Baasha, took the throne. In the forty years that followed, Baasha and three more kings ruled, each one more wicked than the last. Finally Ahab became king. He not only copied the evil of past kings but he also married a very evil woman, Jezebel. She brought with her a whole new set of Baal idols.
At this time God gave a prophet named Elijah a message for Ahab. So Elijah went to the palace, got an appointment with the king and told him, “This is what the God of Israel, whom I serve, told me to tell you. There will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years, except at my word.” Then he left.
True to what Elijah said, all dew and rain stopped. It got drier and drier. Soon the situation...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 19:19-21
TO CHEW ON: "Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah." 1 Kings 19:20
One of the jobs God gave Elijah was to find and call the person who would be the next prophet. We don’t know how Elijah knew which person to choose. God probably told him. Neither do we know much about the person he picked – Elisha – except that he was a farmer.
Elijah found Elisha in a field. He was plowing with oxen.
Elijah called him by going up to him and throwing his prophet cloak over Elisha’s shoulders. Our Bible doesn’t tell us if Elijah explained to Elisha what he meant by this. But Elisha knew exactly what Elijah was asking.
1. What did Elisha do? ( 1 Kings 19:20) ________
2. Did Elijah force Elisha to come with him? ________
"And Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah" 1 Kings 19:20 Artist's name – Diana Shimon
For some reason Elisha was ready to follow Elijah. Maybe in the days just before Elijah came, he had been feeling restless about being a farmer. Maybe he had been asking God to show him what he should do instead. Maybe he had heard of Elijah, and wanted...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 9:1-13
TO CHEW ON: "You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel." 2 Kings 9:7
One day after Ahab had died and his son Joram was king, Elisha sent one of the prophets on a special errand. “Take a bottle of oil and go to Ramoth Gilead,” he said. “Find Captain Jehu and secretly anoint him king.”
When the prophet found Jehu at the army barracks he said, “I have a message for you.” They went into the house so they could talk privately. There the prophet poured oil on Jehu’s head and said, “I anoint you king over Israel. You are to destroy all the family of Ahab. This is because Ahab and Jezebel destroyed God’s servants the prophets.” When he was done, the prophet opened the door and ran....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:41-46
TO CHEW ON:"Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 'Go and look toward the sea,' he told his servant. And he went up and looked. 'There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, 'Go back.'" 1 Kings 18: 42,43
God sent the fire to burn Elijah’s sacrifice. Elijah killed all the Baal prophets. But there was more to come. For God told Elijah He would send rain on dry, dusty Israel. Even though the sun was still blazing from the cloudless sky, Elijah was sure that God would keep His promise. “Rain is coming,” he told Ahab.
Then Elijah went to the top of Carmel, got on his knees and began praying for rain. After he had prayed for a while, he sent his servant to check the distant horizon.
“Nothing,” the servant told Elijah when he got back.
Elijah prayed some more. Then he sent the servant to look again.
Again the servant saw nothing – no clouds, no sign of rain.
Five more times Elijah prayed and sent his servant to check the horizon.
- How do you think Elijah felt as he prayed and prayed but...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 10:18-29
TO CHEW ON: “So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit – the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.” 2 Kings 10:28,29
Jehu lost no time getting to work on job the prophet had given him. When Ahab’s son King Joram was recovering from a war injury in Jezreel, Jehu rode there in his chariot and did away with Joram. Next he had Queen Jezebel killed. Finally, he destroyed the worship of the idol Baal.
He did this by tricking all the Baal prophets. He told the people to call them together for a big, big sacrifice. “Ahab served Baal a little,” Jehu said. “I will serve him much. Any Baal prophet who doesn’t show up will be killed.”
When all the prophets had gathered in Baal’s temple, Jehu posted guards outside. “Don’t let anyone escape,” he said. Then he made the sacrifice. And right after that he gave the signal to the guards to destroy every Baal prophet in the temple.
After that was done, Jehu tore down the Baal altar and the temple. In this...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 6:8-23
TO CHEW ON: “’Don’t be afraid,’” the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” 2 Kings 6:16
During the time of Elisha, the kings of Aram and Israel were at war. But because God told Elisha where the Aramaens were, and Elisha told the king of Israel, the Israeli king was always getting away.
“Who of you is telling Israel our plans?” the King of Aram demanded of his soldiers.
“No one,” they replied. “It’s Elisha, the prophet. He knows everything – even what you say in your bedroom.”
“Capture him,” The king commanded. He sent a large force of soldiers on horses to arrest Elisha. They came at night and surrounded Dothan, the city where Elisha was staying.
The next morning when Elisha’s servant got up, he saw the army around the city. “My lord, what shall we do?” he asked Elisha.
“Don’t be afraid,” Elisha replied. Then he prayed, “God, open his eyes.”
In the next instant the servant saw that the hills surrounding the city were full of horses – and these weren’t the enemy’s horses. They were surrounded by chariots of fire. God’s army of angels was all around, protecting Elisha...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 16:1-13
TO CHEW ON: "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." 2 Chronicles 16:9
When Asa had been king for a long time, Baasha the King of Israel blocked the border between Israel and Judah.
1. The last time King Asa was faced with a problem (2 Chronicles 14:11) he had: (choose the correct answer):a] asked for help from Egypt.b] asked for help from God.
2. This time he (2 Chronicles 16:2):a] asked for help from Ben Hadad of Aramb] asked for help from God.
Shortly after that, the prophet Hanani came to him and asked, “Why did you make your own plan instead of asking for God’s help? Didn’t God help you in your fight against Cush? God is always looking out to help anyone who depends on Him. What you did was foolish. From now on you’ll always be at war.”
What Hanani said made Asa so angry, he put Hanani in prison.
After that Asa stubbornly refused to ask for God’s help with anything. A few years later when he got a disease in his feet, he only went to doctors. He ignored God completely....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 5:15-27
TO CHEW ON: “When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, 'Where have you been, Gehazi?''Your servant didn’t go anywhere,' Gehazi answered" - 2 Kings 5:25Naaman offers gifts to Elisha
After he had left, Elisha’s servant Gehazi couldn’t get the thought of Naaman’s gifts out of his mind. My master was too easy on Naaman, he thought. But I’d sure like some of those things.
He ran after Naaman’s carriage, caught up to it and said, “My master has changed his mind. He has visitors and could use some of your gifts.”...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 7:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "Then they said to each other, 'What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.' ” 2 Kings 7:9
What do you do when you have good news?- Make very sure no one finds out.- Write about it only in your journal.- Email, phone, text-message and tell all your friends.
Chances are, you do the last. We all love good news – and love even more to share it with others so they can be happy with us.
Four lepers living outside Samaria didn’t have good news very often. Lately life was even worse than usual because they were starving. Their family members who usually brought them food were locked inside the gates of the city.
Standing guard outside the gates and surrounding the city walls was the army of Aram and King Ben Hadad. He wanted Samaria as his own. He was determined to stay as long as it took to capture the city. He was sure that when the Israeli people and their king...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Hosea 14:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord you God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: 'Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously that we may offer the fruit of our lips.'” Hosea 14:1,2
Hosea was another prophet to Israel at this time. God asked him to do more than just talk to the people. Even his life was an object lesson of what God was like.
“Go marry a woman who won’t be true to you,” God told him.
So Hosea married Gomer, a prostitute. They lived together and had children. But Gomer left Hosea and had affairs with other men.
This made Hosea sad. God told him, “Your wife is just like the Israelites. She left you just like they left me to worship idols.The Israelites going to worship idols
I don’t want you to divorce her. Instead, you are to take her back.”
Hosea paid money and took his wife back into their home. Then God said to him, “Tell the Israelites that what you did is a picture of what I will do for them. Just like you took your wife back even though she...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:25-39
TO CHEW ON: “Answer me, O Lord, answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 1 Kings 18:37
“You go first,” Elijah told the Baal prophets. “Prepare your sacrifice. Put it on the wood. But don’t light a fire under it. Instead, pray to Baal to send the fire.”
The four hundred prophets of Baal did as Elijah said. It was morning when they began to pray. “Oh Baal, answer us!” they shouted, over and over, louder and louder. When nothing happened, they shouted even louder and began dancing around.
When it was noon and still nothing had happened, Elijah began to tease then. “Maybe your god is meditating. He is a god, after all. Or maybe he’s busy, or traveling or sleeping.”
So the prophets yelled at the top of their voices and danced around and even cut themselves. Soon there was chaos, screaming and blood everywhere – but still no fire.
Finally Elijah said to the people watching, “Come here.”
They crowded around as he repaired the ruined altar of God that was on the mountain. Then he dug a deep trench around it. He put...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 2:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, 'Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken from you?''Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,' Elisha replied." 2 Kings 2:9
One day as Elijah and Elisha were walking down the road, Elijah said, “God has told me to go to Bethel. But you stay here.”
Elisha had a strange feeling about this day. Somehow he knew that Elijah wouldn’t be with him much longer. He wanted to spend every minute he could with this incredible man. “No,” he replied. “I want to go with you.”
After spending some time in Bethel Elijah said “Now God is sending me to Jericho. You stay behind.”
But Elisha wouldn’t. He walked with Elijah to Jericho.
After they had visited the prophets in Jericho, Elijah said, “Now God is telling me to go to the Jordan, but you stay here.”
“I will not leave you,” Elisha replied.
When they got to the Jordan River, Elijah took off his robe, rolled it up and struck the water. Instantly it parted and the two men walked to the other side on dry ground.
“What can I do for you before God takes...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 19:1-9aTO CHEW ON: "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. ... he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.' ” 1 Kings 19:3,4No sooner did Ahab get home and tell Queen Jezebel that Elijah had killed her Baal prophets than Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life. “By this time tomorrow, you’ll be dead like them,” she told him by messenger.If Elijah expected Jezebel to believe in God after the contest on the mountain, he saw now that wasn’t going to happen. Her message terrified him. He and his servant took off, running as fast and as far as they could. When they got to Beersheba, Elijah let his servant rest while he traveled another day, far into the desert.As he ran and walked and ran some more, he probably thought of what had just happened. It seemed that Ahab hadn’t learned anything from the three years of no rain and the contest on the mountain. Even though he, Elijah, had done his...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:1 Kings 18:16-24
TO CHEW ON: "Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing." 1 Kings 18:21
Obadiah found Ahab and told him that Elijah had turned up.
“Is it really you, you troublemaker?” Ahab asked when he saw Elijah.
“I’m no troublemaker,” Elijah replied. “You’re the one who is making trouble by ignoring God’s commands and following Baal instead. But it’s time for a showdown. Get all the Baal prophets and gather the people on Mount Carmel.”
When everyone had gathered, Elijah addressed the people. “How long will you go back and forth?” he asked. “It’s time to decide who you’re going to follow. So we’ll have a contest. We’ll prepare two sacrifices. The Baal prophets will put together a sacrifice for Baal and I’ll prepare one for God. Then we’ll each pray to our god. The one that answers by sending fire to burn his sacrifice is the real God. He is the one we should worship."
The people agreed this was a good plan.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know that You are the real...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:2 Kings 4:27-37
TO CHEW ON: "He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord." 2 Kings 4:33
Elisha and his servant Gehazi did a lot of traveling. One day they went to Shunem. A rich woman there invited them for a meal in her house. Then, knowing Elisha often traveled to Shunem, she and her husband fixed up a room for Elisha and his servant. Now every time they came to town, they had a place to stay.
One day Elisha asked the woman, “After all you’ve done for us, what can we do for you?”
“I have everything I need,” she said.
“She doesn’t have any children,” Gehazi said to Elisha after she had left.
“Right,” said Elisha. “Call her back.”
When the woman came, Elisha said to her, “By this time next year, God will give you a son.”
Sure enough, a year later, she had a baby boy. She had never been happier! But one day, when the little boy was with his dad, he got sick. “My head! My head!” he cried. Servants carried him home. But a little while later he died.
Immediately his mother saddled a donkey and went to find Elisha. If anyone...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 17:15-20
TO CHEW ON: "But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, 'Do not do as they do.' " 2 Kings 17:14,15
Israel was in big trouble. It was about thirty years and five kings after Jeroboam II. Shalmaneser king of Assyria had discovered that Israel’s present king Hoshea had secretly made a pact with Egypt. When Hoshea stopped paying the tax that Shalmaneser demanded, he arrested King Hoshea and took him to an Assyrian prison.
Then his army went through the countryside, rounding up the people. When they came to Samaria, the gates were locked. But Shalmaneser had all the time in the world. His army camped outside the city and waited for the people inside to surrender.
The Samaritans hung on for three years. But finally, desperate for food and water, they surrendered. In no time Shalmaneser had rounded up all those people...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Amos 8:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land .... I will never forget anything they have done." Amos 8:4,7
In Israel King Jehu was followed by his son and grandson. They were all evil. Now a new king, Jeroboam II, was ruling Israel. Outwardly everything was going well. Crops had been good. Many people were getting rich. They loved their beautiful homes and their lovely things. Some people were poor. But they didn’t matter, did they?
With that attitude, the rich were secretly cheating the poor. When they sold grain to them, they didn’t put the full amount in the bags, but raised the price. Sometimes they put the sweepings or the garbage from the bottom of the wheat bin into the bag and charged for that too.
God saw this unfairness. He called a shepherd named Amos. He sent Amos to be a prophet to Israel....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 19:9-18
TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to him, 'Go back the way you came. . . .'” 1 Kings 19:15
When Elijah came to Mount Horeb, he found a cave in which to sleep. That night God spoke to him. “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
“I’ve done my best for You,” Elijah replied. “But the Israelites have turned their backs on You. They’ve broken your altars and killed your prophets. I’m the only one left. Now they’re trying to kill me too.”
“Come outside,” God told him. “I want to show you something.”
As Elijah stood outside the cave, a powerful wind came up, shaking the trees and loosening rocks so they came tumbling down. But Elijah didn’t hear God in the wind. Suddenly the earth underneath him began shaking. But Elijah didn’t hear God in the earthquake. Then he saw fires burning around him. But God wasn’t in the fires either.
Finally Elijah heard a quiet voice. He recognized it. It was God. Again God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 17:7-16
TO CHEW ON: "Elijah said to her, 'Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: "The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land." ' ” 1 Kings 17:13,14
After Elijah had lived by the brook for a while, he noticed a change. The hot sun was drying it up. It no longer flowed fast. Soon it was only a trickle. One day there was no water left in the brook at all.
That day God spoke to Elijah again. “Go at once to Zarephath in Sidon. A widow there will feed you.”
So Elijah walked to Zarephath. It was a hundred mile trip through scorching dessert, over rugged hills and through mountain passes. When he finally got to the Zarephath gate he was covered with dust, famished and very thirsty. “Could you please give me a drink...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Obadiah 1-10
TO CHEW ON: "Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever." Obadiah 1:10
Do you have brothers and/or sisters with whom you quarrel? Arguments and quarrels between siblings are common. Bible brothers and sisters had their differences too.
Take Jacob and Esau. Though they were twins, they were always competing against each other. Jacob tricked Esau into giving him the birthright (the inheritance that belonged to Esau as the oldest). Then he tricked Isaac, their father, into blessing him instead of Esau. This made Esau so angry, he threatened to kill Jacob. So Jacob left home.
"Isaac and Esau" Fresco painting by Raphael (1518-1519)
Over the years the descendants of Esau became the nation of Edom. Jacob’s descendants became Israel. But there was no more love between the nations of Edom and Israel than there had been between their great-great-great-... grandfathers....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 12:25-33
TO CHEW ON: "The king made two golden calves. He said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' " 1 Kings 12:28
Jeroboam went to live in Schechem and ruled Israel from there. The prophet had told him he would be a successful king if he obeyed God. Even so, Jeroboam began to be afraid. His people would go back to Jerusalem to worship. What if traveling back to Jerusalem would make them want Rehoboam as their king again?
So Jeroboam made a plan to keep that from happening. Instead of encouraging the people to worship God in the temple in Jerusalem he set up calf idols nearby – one in Dan and another in Bethel. He told the people, "Here are the gods who brought you out of Egypt." Then he chose people who weren’t in the Levi tribe to be the priests. They offered sacrifices to the golden calves.
Jeroboam also invented new festivals. At festival time, the people now went to Dan or Bethel instead of Jerusalem. In no time the people who had chosen Jeroboam as...
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 5:1-14
TO CHEW ON: “Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, 'If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.' ” 2 Kings 5:2,3
Suppose you were a little girl who, one day, was captured by enemy soldiers. They took you far away from home. Alone in a new country, you had to work for the people who captured you. This was what happened to the little Israeli girl who worked for Captain Naaman’s wife.
One day she noticed her mistress was very sad. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“My husband has leprosy,” Naaman’s wife answered.
Now the little girl could have been selfish. She could have thought, this man’s soldiers took me away from my parents. He deserves to be sick. But that wasn’t her attitude. Instead she thought about how she could help Captain Naaman. And she thought of prophet Elisha. He did amazing things. He had even raised a little boy from the dead.
“If only my master could see the prophet who is in Samaria,” she said. “He...
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The Geography of the Bible
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