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[1Ki 19:18 KJV] 18 Yet I have left [me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

It seems like only prophets were being killed:

KJV 1 Kings 19:10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

This is God's response/oracle to Elijah. Are the 7000 prophets or just faithful Jews?

[1Ki 19:18 KJV] 18 Yet I have left [me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

So are these prophets or plain folk?

If plain folk, are they putting themselves in danger? IE: Will they like the prophets be killed?

If prophets, why didn't Elijah know about these 7000?

In other words, aside from the message to Elijah that he is expendable, what is the message to Elijah intended to say?

  • I think that we can draw a parallel here with the Christian Church in a country like old communist Russia. The leaders, who were more on the public arena than the grass-root Christians, got taken first. Likewise, when public Baal devotion was removed by the righteous Jewish authorities, it also probably survived underground, as it were. – Constantthin Mar 24 at 12:29
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We are not told explicitly who these 7000 are; but I suspect that they would be a mixture of prophets and ordinary, faithful, citizens. Here are my reasons:

  1. Jezebel had already killed most of the prophets of God 1 Kings 18:4, 13.
  2. Obadiah, fearing Jezebel's prophetic purge, hid and fed 100 remaining prophets in two caves 1 Kings 18:4, 13.
  3. The total number of prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth numbered 850, 1 Kings 18:19, which were described as "many" v25. It is unlikely that the LORD's prophets outnumbered them after the purge.

Why the Message to Elijah?

Several times (1 Kings 18:22, 19:10, 14) Elijah suggests that he had been very zealous for the LORD and that he (Elijah) was the only one of God's faithful servants left. (This sounds a bit like the whinge, "if it were not for me the truth would die out!") That is, Elijah had a slightly (?) inflated view of his importance and had to be reminded that there were others, 7000 in fact, that were still faithful (had not bowed nor kissed etc). This is further reinforced by God's following instruction to anoint three people, Hazael, Jehu and Elisha - the last of which was to replace Elijah following his rather short ministry. 1 Kings 19:15-18.

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There were 7000 from the tribe of Judah who stayed faithful toThe Most High. The only tribe in the land at that time was Judah, all other tribes had been taken away into captivity, including the majority of the tribe of Judah.

  • That is not true - Elijah ministered before the capture of the northern kingdom of Israel - look at 2 Kings. – user25930 Mar 14 at 20:35
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The 7000 people consisted of ordinary believers and the sons of prophets, 2 Kings 2 and 2 Kings 4:38-41, the latter only becoming prophets when Elisha's growing ministry collaborated with Elijah (being a prophet was a career, where you spoke for God).

So it's pretty clear that the 7000 people weren't linked to Israelites who were already prophets at the time God sent this message to Elijah. They were mostly likely killed at this stage (i.e. the parents of the sons of the prophets) or being protected by Obadiah, but with my theory, the same fate probably extended this group also (Elijah mentions that he's the only prophet left and there's legit reasons out there to not conflate the Obadiah of Kings to the Obadiah who wrote the Book of Obadiah).

"And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel."- 2 Kings 9:7. As another user mentioned, it seems pretty implausible that the surviving faithful Israelites would outnumber Jezebel's 850 Baal and Asherah prophets combined. That body count looks pretty high to me!

As for your question on whether these 7000 ordinary believers/soon to be prophets faced a similar danger to the prophets already killed by Jezebel, it's hard to be certain. This is my personal opinion but I believe that some of them were executed for their faith, as indicated by the verse above which gives an image of mass carnage, but most likely in a sporadic manner. There's no indication that Jezebel "chilled" in her evil throughout her pathetic years on earth.

The whole point of the Book of Kings was to pessimistically recount the sins of the kingdoms of Samaria and Judah that led to their subsequent deportations and capitivities by the Assyrians and Babylonians respectively. Persecution were acknowledged as part and parcel of living in these sinful kingdoms so there's no reason to list every single death of the righteous, unless it's especially shocking to the readers, i.e. Naboth.

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While scripture leaves us to our own reasoning, offering only clues as to the identity of the 7000, behind the narrative lay, I believe, a nugget of encouragement for all believers. As well as a call back to humility. Elijah's pride, as mentioned, may have been a bit inflated, just as ours is so subject to become. How often do some amomng us feel like they're about the only one left who's faithful to the Lord? Confirmation bias blinds them, for they are not acquainted with Christians outside their own shere of contacts. Yet we can deduce that God always has a righteous remnant of faithful believers, and that's encouraging. Even when Rome had so convoluted and corrupted the Gospel, there were pockets of the faithful who were not taken in by the pandmeic deception propagated throughout the R.C. church doctrines. But history doesn't record much about those righteous ones.

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