The other day I was reading 1 Kings 18:30-35 about the duel between Elijah & the pagan priest of Baal and Ashteroth on Mount Carmel. As I read, a fresh thought came to me. Here’s the passage:
“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of YHVH which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of YHVH had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name." So with the stones he built an altar in the name of YHVH, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, ‘Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.’ And he said, ‘Do it a second time,’ and they did it a second time. And he said, ‘Do it a third time,’ and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water.”
Here’s the thought that came to me: Why 4 jars? Why 3 times? Why not 8 jars, 2 times or 12 Jars once?
One thing I know, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit/Spirit of Holiness) is very purposeful. There’s a reason way 4 jars, 3 times.
So on one level, here’s my thought: 4 x 3 = 12 Tribes of Israel.
Although the 10 Northern tribes were in serious default of the Terms of The Covenant by walking in the evil ways of Jeroboam, first king of the 10 Northern Tribes, House of Judah (Judah & Benjamin) wasn’t far behind in becoming corrupted also.
Ask the “why this detail” questions when you study Scripture, keeping in mind: context, what the writer intended and what it meant to the audience of that day.