1 Kings 19:4

4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

1 Kings 19:4 Meaning and Commentary

1 Kings 19:4

But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness
Of Paran, which began near Beersheba, and was the wilderness of Arabia, in which the Israelites were near forty years; this day's journey carried him about twenty miles from Beersheba southward, as the above writer reckons:

and came and sat down under a juniper tree;
Abarbinel supposes that Elijah chose to sit under this tree, to preserve him from venomous creatures, which naturalists say will not come near it; and Pliny F15 indeed observes, that it being burnt will drive away serpents, and that some persons anoint themselves with the oil of it, for fear of them; and yet Virgil F16 represents the shade of a juniper tree as noxious; hence some interpreters take this to be a piece of carelessness and indifference of the prophet's, where he sat:

and he requested for himself that he might die;
for though he fled from Jezebel to preserve his life, not choosing to die by her hands, which would cause her prophets to exult and triumph, yet was now desirous of dying by the hand of the Lord, and in a place where his death would not be known:

[it is] enough, now, O Lord, take away my life;
intimating that he had lived long enough, even as long as he desired; and he had done as much work for God as he thought he had to do; he supposed his service and usefulness were at an end, and therefore desired his dismission:

for [I am not] better than my fathers
that he should not die, or live longer than they; but this desire was not like that of the Apostle Paul's, but like that of Job and of Jonah; not so much to be with God and Christ, as to be rid of the troubles of life.


FOOTNOTES:

F15 Nat. Hist. l. 24. c. 8.
F16 "Juniperi gravis umbra----" Bucol. Eclog. 10. ver. 76.

1 Kings 19:4 In-Context

2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.
4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!”
6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.