And when he saw that
That her design and resolution were to take away his life; the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions read, "and he was afraid"; or frightened; he that had such courage as not to be afraid to meet Ahab, and contend with four hundred and fifty priests of Baal, and in the face of all Israel, who at first were not inclined to take his part, is now terrified at the threats of a single woman; which shows that the spirit and courage he had before were of the Lord, and not of himself; and that those who have the greatest zeal and courage for religion, for God, and his worship, his truths and ordinances, if left to themselves, become weak and timorous; and whether this is the true reading, or not, it was certainly his case by what follows:
he arose and went for his life;
fled to save his life, at a time when he was much wanted to encourage and increase the reformation from idolatry, and to preserve the people from relapsing who were converted; and through the miracles that had been wrought by him, and for him, he had great reason to trust in the Lord: or "he went unto", or "according to his own soul" F13; according to his own mind and will, not taking counsel of God, or any direction from him; and so Abarbinel interprets it:
and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah;
to the tribe of Judah; for though it was in the inheritance of Simeon, yet that was within the tribe of Judah, ( Joshua 19:1 Joshua 19:2 ) , or to the kingdom of Judah, over which Jehoshaphat reigned, and so might think himself safe, being out of the dominions of Ahab, and reach of Jezebel; but yet he did not think so, his fears ran so high that he imagined she would send some after him to search for him, and slay him privately, or make interest with Jehoshaphat to deliver him up, there being friendship between him and Ahab; for though this place was eighty four miles from Jezreel, as Bunting F14 computes it, he left it:
and left his servant there;
he took him not with him, either lest he should betray him, or rather out of compassion to him, that he might not share in the miseries of life that were like to come upon him.