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I Kings 18 contains an extended dialogue between Obadyahu (Obadyah in the translations) and Elijah. Verse 12, (NIV) states:

I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth.

What is the intent of the statement "Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth"? Is this a non sequitur or what? What is the purpose of the statement in the context of the dialogue?

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Obadyah is trying to convince Elijah not to disappear on him. There is an implication that he had done so in the past; at least that others had reported Elijah’s whereabouts to Ahab only to have the prophet vanish before the king’s agents arrived, likely with a poor outcome for the reporter.

But since Obadyah is an official of Ahab’s government, perhaps Elijah would be okay with him being punished. So he’s telling Elijah, “Yes I work for Ahab, but I’m faithful to God” (when so many weren’t, especially those associated with the king) “and so am on your side; please don’t get me killed.”

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+1, but specifically why "since my youth"? Wouldn't "I am a worshipper of the LORD" be sufficient? What does the "youth" add here that warrants mention? – Eli Rosencruft Oct 23 '12 at 10:48
Emphasis. It’s one word in Hebrew, and an easy way to emphasize what he’s saying. – J. C. Salomon Oct 23 '12 at 18:39

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