1 Kings 19

Elijah Flees from Jezebel

1 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and 1how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "2So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time."
3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to 3Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and 4he requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers."
5 He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was 5an angel touching him, and he said to him, "Arise, eat."
6 Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.
7 The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you."
8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food 6forty days and forty nights to 7Horeb, the mountain of God.

Elijah at Horeb

9 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, 8the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
10 He said, "9I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, 10torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And 11I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
11 So He said, "12Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And 13a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire 14a sound of a gentle blowing.
13 When Elijah heard it, 15he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, 16a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
14 Then he said, "17I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
15 The LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, 18you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram;
16 and 19Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and 20Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.
17 "It shall come about, the 21one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu 22shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death.
18 "23Yet I will leave 7,000 * in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not 24kissed him."
19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve * pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth *. And Elijah passed over to him and threw 25his mantle on him.
20 He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, "Please 26let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow * you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?"
21 So he returned from following him, and took the pair of oxen and sacrificed them and 27boiled their flesh with the implements of the oxen, and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he arose and followed * Elijah and ministered to him.

1 Kings 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

Elijah flees to the wilderness. (1-8) God manifests himself to Elijah. (9-13) God's answer to Elijah. (14-18) The call of Elisha. (19-21)

Verses 1-8 Jezebel sent Elijah a threatening message. Carnal hearts are hardened and enraged against God, by that which should convince and conquer them. Great faith is not always alike strong. He might be serviceable to Israel at this time, and had all reason to depend upon God's protection, while doing God's work; yet he flees. His was not the deliberate desire of grace, as Paul's, to depart and be with Christ. God thus left Elijah to himself, to show that when he was bold and strong, it was in the Lord, and the power of his might; but of himself he was no better than his fathers. God knows what he designs us for, though we do not, what services, what trials, and he will take care that we are furnished with grace sufficient.

Verses 9-13 The question God put, What doest thou here, Elijah? is a reproof. It concerns us often to ask whether we are in our place, and in the way of our duty. Am I where I should be? whither God calls me, where my business lies, and where I may be useful? He complained of the people, and their obstinacy in sin; I only am left. Despair of success hinders many a good enterprise. Did Elijah come hither to meet with God? he shall find that God will meet him. The wind, and earthquake, and fire, did not make him cover his face, but the still voice did. Gracious souls are more affected by the tender mercies of the Lord, than by his terrors. The mild voice of Him who speaks from the cross, or the mercy-seat, is accompanied with peculiar power in taking possession of the heart.

Verses 14-18 God repeated the question, What doest thou here? Then he complained of his discouragement; and whither should God's prophets go with their complaints of that kind, but to their Master? The Lord gave him an answer. He declares that the wicked house of Ahab shall be rooted out, that the people of Israel shall be punished for their sins; and he shows that Elijah was not left alone as he had supposed, and also that a helper should at once be raised up for him. Thus all his complaints are answered and provided for. God's faithful ones are often his hidden ones, ( Psalms 83:3 ) , and the visible church is scarcely to be seen: the wheat is lost in chaff, and the gold in dross, till the sifting, refining, separating day comes. The Lord knows them that are his, though we do not; he sees in secret. When we come to heaven we shall miss many whom we thought to have met there; we shall meet many whom we little thought to have met there. God's love often proves larger than man's charity, and far more extended.

Verses 19-21 Elijah found Elisha by Divine direction, not in the schools of the prophets, but in the field; not reading, or praying, or sacrificing, but ploughing. Idleness is no man's honour, nor is husbandry any man's disgrace. An honest calling in the world, does not put us out of the way of our heavenly calling, any more than it did Elisha. His heart was touched by the Holy Spirit, and he was ready to leave all to attend Elijah. It is in a day of power that Christ's subjects are made willing; nor would any come to Christ unless they were thus drawn. It was a discouraging time for prophets to set out in. A man that had consulted with flesh and blood, would not be fond of Elijah's mantle; yet Elisha cheerfully leaves all to accompany him. When the Saviour said to one and to another, Follow me, the dearest friends and most profitable occupations were cheerfully left, and the most arduous duties done from love to his name. May we, in like manner, feel the energy of his grace working in us mightily, and by unreserved submission at once, may we make our calling and election sure.

Cross References 27

  • 1. 1 Kings 18:40
  • 2. Ruth 1:17; 1 Kings 20:10; 2 Kings 6:31
  • 3. Genesis 21:31
  • 4. Numbers 11:15; Jeremiah 20:14-18; Jonah 4:3, 8
  • 5. Genesis 28:12
  • 6. Exodus 24:18; Exodus 34:28; Deut 9:9-11, 18; Matthew 4:2
  • 7. Exodus 3:1; Exodus 4:27
  • 8. Exodus 33:21, 22
  • 9. Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14
  • 10. Romans 11:3, 4
  • 11. 1 Kings 18:22
  • 12. Exodus 19:20; Exodus 24:12, 18
  • 13. Ezekiel 1:4
  • 14. Job 4:16; Zechariah 4:6
  • 15. Exodus 3:6
  • 16. 1 Kings 19:9
  • 17. 1 Kings 19:10
  • 18. 2 Kings 8:8-15
  • 19. 2 Kings 9:1-10
  • 20. 1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:9, 15
  • 21. 2 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 13:3, 22
  • 22. 2 Kin 9:14-10:25
  • 23. Romans 11:4
  • 24. Hosea 13:2
  • 25. 1 Samuel 28:14; 2 Kin 2:8, 13, 14
  • 26. Matthew 8:21, 22; Luke 9:61, 62; Acts 20:37
  • 27. 2 Samuel 24:22

Footnotes 8

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives us a further account of Elijah, of his being obliged to flee for his life through the threats of Jezebel, 1Ki 19:1-4, of the care the Lord took of him, providing food for him, in the strength of which he went to Horeb, 1Ki 19:5-8, of the Lord's appearance to him there, and conversation with him, 1Ki 19:9-14, of some instructions he gave him to anoint a king over Syria, another over Israel, and a prophet in his room, 1Ki 19:15-18, and of his finding Elisha, and throwing his mantle over him, who left his secular employment, and followed him, and became his servant, 1Ki 19:19-21.

1 Kings 19 Commentaries

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.