Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and
This might be a trial of the prophet's faith, to be sent to dwell in a place belonging to the Zidonians, among whom Jezebel had an interest, being the daughter of their king, ( 1 Kings 16:31 ) , the place is so called, to distinguish it from another Zarephath, ( Obadiah 1:20 ) , Kimchi interprets it, near to Zidon, yet not as belonging to it, but of the land of Israel; though it rather seems to be a Gentile city; it is called, in ( Luke 4:26 ) Sarepta of Sidon; and also by Pliny F26; according to Josephus F1, it was not far either from Sidon or Tyre, and lay between them; it was three quarters of a mile from Sidon; and so Mr. Maundrell F2 speaks of it as in the way from Sidon to Tyre, and which is now called Sarphan; of which he says, the place shown us for this city consisted only of a few houses, on the tops of the mountains, within about half a mile from the sea; but it is more probable the principal part of the city stood below in the space between the hills and the sea, there being ruins still to be seen in that place of a considerable extent; and a traveller into those parts many years before him says F3, that he saw nothing of any building on the shore, but some small houses in the place where formerly the town of Sarepta did stand; and Bunting says F4, there are at this time but eight houses in all the town, though by the ruins it seems to have been in times past a very fair city; and another F5 observes, that it is about three miles from Berytus:
behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee;
not that this was declared to the woman, or that she had any orders from the Lord to support him; but that he had determined it in his mind, and would take care in his providence that he should be supplied by her: this was another trial of the prophet's faith, that he should be sent to a poor widow woman for his support, and she a Gentile; but he that had been so long fed by ravens, could have no reason to doubt of his being provided for in this way.
F26 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19.
F1 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 13. sect. 2.)
F2 Journey from Aleppo p. 48.
F3 Rauwolff's Travels, par. 3. ch. 22. p. 326.
F4 Ut supra. (Travels p. 205.)
F5 Baumgarten. Peregrinatio, l. 3. c. 9. p. 126.