Melachim Alef 17

1 7 And Eliyahu HaTishbi, who was of the inhabitants of Tishbe-Gil`ad, said unto Ach’av (King Ahab of Israel), As Hashem Elohei Yisroel liveth, before whom I stand [ministering, as minister], there shall not be tal nor matar these shanim [ahead], except according to my word.
2 And the Devar Hashem came unto him, saying,
3 Get thee from here, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself in the Wadi Kerit, that is near the Yarden.
4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the orevvim (ravens) to feed thee there.
5 So he went and did according to the Devar Hashem; for he went and dwelt in the Wadi Kerit, that is near the Yarden.
6 And the orevvim brought him lechem and basar in the boker, and lechem and basar in the erev; and he drank of the brook.
7 And it came to pass at the ketz yamim (end of days), that the brook dried up, because there had been no geshem in the land.
8 And the Devar Hashem came unto him, saying,
9 Arise, get thee to Tzarphat, which belongeth to Tzidon, and dwell there; hinei, I have commanded an isha almanah there to sustain thee.
10 So he arose and went to Tzarphat. And when he came to the gate of the ir, hinei, the isha almanah was there gathering sticks; and he called to her, and said, Bring me a little mayim in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her, and said, Bring me a morsel of lechem in thine hand.
12 And she said, As Hashem Eloheicha liveth, I have nothing baked, but an handful of meal in a pot, and a little shemen in a jug; and, see, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in, cook it for me and beni, that we may eat it, and die.
13 And Eliyahu said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said; but make me thereof a little loaf first, and bring it unto me, and after that make for thee and for thy ben.
14 For thus saith Hashem Elohei Yisroel, The pot of meal shall not be used up, neither shall the jug of shemen fail, until the Yom that Hashem sendeth geshem upon ha’adamah.
15 And she went and did according to the Devar of Eliyahu; and she, and he, and her bais, did eat [many] yamim.
16 And the pot of meal was not used up, neither did the jug of shemen fail, according to the Devar Hashem, which he spoke by Eliyahu.
17 And it came to pass after these things, that the ben haisha the ba’alat habais, became choleh; and his sickness was so severe, that there was no nashamah left in him.
18 And she said unto Eliyahu, Mah li valach (what have I to do with thee), Ish HaElohim? Art thou come unto me to remind me of my avon, and to slay beni?
19 And he said unto her, Give me thy ben. And he took him out of her kheyk, and carried him up into the aliyyah (upper room), where he abode, and laid him upon his own mittah (bed).
20 And he cried out unto Hashem, and said, Hashem Elohai, hast thou even brought evil upon the almanah with whom I sojourn, by slaying her ben?
21 And he stretched himself upon the yeled shalosh p’amim, and cried out unto Hashem, and said, Hashem Elohai, let this yeled’s nefesh return to him again.
22 And Hashem heard the voice of Eliyahu; and the nefesh of the yeled returned to him again, and he came alive.
23 And Eliyahu took the yeled, and brought him down out of the aliyyah into the bais, and delivered him unto his em; and Eliyahu said, Look! Thy ben liveth.
24 And the isha said to Eliyahu, Now by this I have da’as that thou art an Ish Elohim, and that the Devar Hashem in thy mouth is emes.

Melachim Alef 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

Elijah fed by ravens. (1-7) Elijah sent to Zarephath. (8-16) Elijah raises the widow's son to life. (17-24)

Verses 1-7 God wonderfully suits men to the work he designs them for. The times were fit for an Elijah; an Elijah was fit for them. The Spirit of the Lord knows how to fit men for the occasions. Elijah let Ahab know that God was displeased with the idolaters, and would chastise them by the want of rain, which it was not in the power of the gods they served to bestow. Elijah was commanded to hide himself. If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes us to go: when we cannot be useful, we must be patient; and when we cannot work for God, we must sit still quietly for him. The ravens were appointed to bring him meat, and did so. Let those who have but from hand to mouth, learn to live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of the day, in the day. God could have sent angels to minister to him; but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by the meanest creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest. Elijah seems to have continued thus above a year. The natural supply of water, which came by common providence, failed; but the miraculous supply of food, made sure to him by promise, failed not. If the heavens fail, the earth fails of course; such are all our creature-comforts: we lose them when we most need them, like brooks in summer. But there is a river which makes glad the city of God, that never runs dry, a well of water that springs up to eternal life. Lord, give us that living water!

Verses 8-16 Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, and some, it is likely, would have bidden him welcome to their houses; yet he is sent to honour and bless with his presence a city of Sidon, a Gentile city, and so becomes the first prophet of the Gentiles. Jezebel was Elijah's greatest enemy; yet, to show her how powerless was her malice, God will find a hiding-place for him even in her own country. The person appointed to entertain Elijah is not one of the rich or great men of Sidon; but a poor widow woman, in want, and desolate, is made both able and willing to sustain him. It is God's way, and it is his glory, to make use of, and put honour upon, the weak and foolish things of the world. O woman, great was thy faith; one has not found the like, no not in Israel. She took the prophet's word, that she should not lose by it. Those who can venture upon the promise of God, will make no difficulty to expose and empty themselves in his service, by giving him his part first. Surely the increase of this widow's faith, so as to enable her thus readily to deny herself, and to depend upon the Divine promise, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase of her meal and oil in the kingdom of providence. Happy are all who can thus, against hope, believe and obey in hope. One poor meal's meat this poor widow gave the prophet; in recompence of it, she and her son did eat above two years, in a time of famine. To have food from God's special favour, and in such good company as Elijah, made it more than doubly sweet. It is promised to those who trust in God, that they shall not be ashamed in evil time; in days of famine they shall be satisfied.

Verses 17-24 Neither faith nor obedience shut out afflictions and death. The child being dead, the mother spake to the prophet, rather to give vent to her sorrow, than in hope of relief. When God removes our comforts from us, he remembers our sins against us, perhaps the sins of our youth, though long since past. When God remembers our sins against us, he designs to teach us to remember them against ourselves, and to repent of them. Elijah's prayer was doubtless directed by the Holy Spirit. The child revived. See the power of prayer, and the power of Him who hears prayer.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 KINGS 17

This chapter begins with a prophecy of Elijah, that there should be want of rain for some years to come, and he is directed to go first to the brook Cherith, where he should be fed by ravens, 1Ki 17:1-7, and afterwards he is sent to a widow at Zarephath, where he, she, and her son, were supported for a considerable time with a handful of meal, and a little oil in a cruse miraculously increased, 1Ki 17:8-16, whose son falling sick and dying, he restored to life, 1Ki 17:17-24.

Melachim Alef 17 Commentaries