Rotation.org Writing Team
Elijah Super Set
Summary of Activities
Students will view and discuss the animated and dramatic "Elijah" video, which is part of the BBC's "Testament: The Bible in Animation" series for children. It dramatically covers all the Elijah stories in this set. Students will conclude with a fun "Elijah Hair Gel" activity designed to make the stories and Elijah's zeal "stick" in their brains.
What's a "Super Set"?
Scripture for the Lesson
The Elijah passages in this "Super Set" are too numerous and long to read in a single class time. Thus, in the opening of the lesson, we are focusing on learning where they are, and looking at key verses in them. The Video in this lesson closely follows and quotes the scriptures.
- 1 Kings 17:1-24, Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath
- 1 Kings 18:2-46, Elijah, Ahab and the Prophets of Baal
- 1 Kings 19:1-16, Elijah and Still Small Voice
- 2 Kings 2:1-14, Elijah recruits Elisha, Chariot of Fire, the Mantle
See the Bible Background at rotation.org for this set's complete list of objectives. This video lesson does a great job of covering all four stories of Elijah in the set.
About the video in this lesson
The Writing Team looked at many Elijah videos and fell in love with “Elijah” from the BBC’s series: Testament ~The Bible in Animation. We even wrote a detailed outline of it! Here's why:
- It faithfully covers all three Elijah stories in 27 minutes!
- No extraneous details. Wide age range.
- It's "Dragon Ball Z" anime style is dramatic and bold just like Elijah himself. Love his wild prophet hair and appearance.
- Elijah occasionally and powerfully breaks into song!
- The use of Mendelssohn's Elijah Oratorio gives these stories the dramatic soundtrack they deserve. (Elijah as an opera!)
- The video can be viewed on YouTube.
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwJMTcCBoLs
Preparation and Materials
- Read the Bible Background and scripture. The Background has a section discussing Elijah's "hair."
- Print the Outline and Discussion Guide to the Video
- Preview the Video Clip and make preparations to show it on a large screen in your classroom. (Downloading help)
- A tube or two of hair gel (the kind you can spike hair with).
- A "camel's hair" Elijah cloak and staff you can give Elijah for the re-enactments.
The video closely follows the words of scripture, and thus, it is our Bible "reading" for today. In the first part of this lesson, you will take your students into 2 Kings 1. If you have time and they are old enough, also do a quick tour of "where the other parts of today's story can be found."
Welcome your students and explain what they'll be doing today.
Briefly explain who Elijah was, and invite them to open their Bibles to the description of Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8. (Your Bible will translate it as either Elijah was hairy, or had a hairy coat. This fun visual image is the beginning of the memory hooks you're building for this lesson.)
From the Bible Background:
There's a fun debate about Elijah's "hairy" appearance which your kids might enjoy hearing about. It's also a short lesson about translations. 2 Kings 1:8 gives us a short glimpse of what Elijah looked like. The messengers of King Ahaziah (who succeeded Ahab) met a man who had a warning for their king. They described the man as "a hairy man, with a leather belt around his waist.” Ahaziah immediately knew who sent the message. “It is Elijah the Tishbite,” said Ahaziah.
The literal translation is "hairy man," but some translations interpret it as "hair coat." The actual Hebrew does say Elijah was a "hairy" man. The Bible's writers know when their words have two meanings, even funny meanings. Elijah may indeed have been hairy! But "hairy man" may also be an interesting and ancient way of describing God's prophets –because of the camel or goat's hair "mantle" or cloak they would wear as a symbol of their prophetic authority. And it was a mantle they would pass on to the next prophet like we will learn today. Elijah was indeed a hair-raising prophet! Someone you did not want to disobey. Keep an eye on his hair in the video.
Tell your students that you have a fun "hair gel" activity for after the video, so "pay attention" to Elijah's wild hair in the animation and its possible message about Elijah.
Show & Discuss the Video
View the Rotation.org Writing Team Outline for the Elijah video. It includes a detailed description of the video, pause points, follow-up questions, and story background notes.
The video may be difficult to find for purchase as it appears to be out of print. Fortunately, it is available on YouTube (either as seen above or at https://youtu.be/AwJMTcCBoLs. To connect to YouTube in your classroom, or to download a copy of the video for playback on your TV, consult our "how to" articles on the subject.
A fun and interesting point about Elijah and Elisha's hair in the video: At the very end of the video, when Elijah is taken into heaven, and after Elisha picks up the mantle and strikes the water, ELISHA'S HAIR starts to move! Your kids won't notice this the first time, so rewind to about the 26th minute mark and tell them to watch for it. What does it mean? What are they trying to say? How did Elisha catch God's spirit? How do we?
A Spiky Hair Gel Reflection
Elijah's "prophetic hair" in the video is almost a character unto itself. Super memorable and fun. In this reflection, you'll invite everyone to "do their hair like Elijah" (or those who wish to do this), then invite them forward to act out a short scene doing their best dramatic impression of Elijah. (You can chime in with sound effects and some narration/setup.)
When their hair is ready, give them one of the following quotes from the story (see below) to act out in their best "Elijah hair drama-style." Let different "Elijahs" come forward and try to do the lines better (this is a bit of a fun contest, the hams among you will encourage the others). Use this as an opportunity to add story context and reinforce the points of the story.
Tip: Take photos!
Widow: "What have I done to you man of God, I have brought you into my home and the gods have taken their revenge.
Elijah: No, no, give me your son. O Lord God, have you brought calamity even upon this poor widow. Will you Lord spare her child? Lord? (the son revives)
Widow: Now I know that you are man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is true.
Two scenes from Elijah on Mt Carmel:
Elijah challenges the people: How long will you go limping along staggering between different different positions. Two opinions. Two beliefs. If the Lord is God, then follow him. But if Baal, then follow him!
Elijah prays to God on Mt Carmel: Now drench the sacrifice! Again. Again! I am your servant, answer me O Lord, answer me that these people may know you, O Lord, are the true God. O thou who made the angels, thou whose ministers are flaming fires, let them now descend!!! (Blam!)
A scene from Elijah running away to Mt Horeb:
Elijah: The Queen seeks my life to destroy it. What is my life? After all I have done, nothing has changed. Where is the Lord God in Israel? Where is his power? My life is over! Let me die, let me die.
Elijah: (after the angels bring him food, and after God sends then wind, earthquake, fire.) (The still small voice says, "What are you doing here Elijah?) Elijah: Lord, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts, but the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets with the sword. I'm the only one left, and now they seek my life. Take it away! (God tells Elijah to go find Elisha.)
Two scenes with Elisha:
Elijah: The spirit of the Lord God shall rest upon you. ...If you see me as I am taken from you, it shall be so for you, and if not, it shall not be so.
Elisha as Elijah is taken: My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and her horseman!
(Striking the water) Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?!
Note: The Art Workshop lesson in this set uses Elijah's hair to make a mantle
Bold Elijah Summaries!
Following the above "gel hair re-enactments, invite students to step forward in the character of Elijah and "boldly summarize Elijah's message" in their own words. Give them a minute and some suggestions if needed, If they struggle, give them suggestions and invite them to "repeat after you" –acting out the lines you've helped them with.
Some possible summaries:
- Be bold in sharing your faith, but also listen.
- Do not be afraid to invite people to worship God.
- Enjoy worship with your whole heart.
- Tell others what you think is wrong with their bad attitude about God and opinion about worship, but be compassionate.
- Prepare others to take your place, to follow and worship God after you are gone.
For Younger Students: Consult the outline for the two very short parts in the video where there is some scriptural violence.
In place of hair gel, you can create a fun Elijah hair-piece by spraying adhesive on a cheap costume wig to make prophet hair.
Written by the Rotation.org Writing Team
Copyright 2017, Rotation.org Inc.