1 Kings 19

1 And Ahab declareth to Jezebel all that Elijah did, and all how he slew all the prophets by the sword,
2 and Jezebel sendeth a messenger unto Elijah, saying, `Thus doth the gods, and thus do they add, surely about this time to-morrow, I make thy life as the life of one of them.'
3 And he feareth, and riseth, and goeth for his life, and cometh in to Beer-Sheba, that [is] Judah's, and leaveth his young man there,
4 and he himself hath gone into the wilderness a day's Journey, and cometh and sitteth under a certain retem-tree, and desireth his soul to die, and saith, `Enough, now, O Jehovah, take my soul, for I [am] not better than my fathers.'
5 And he lieth down and sleepeth under a certain retem-tree, and lo, a messenger cometh against him, and saith to him, `Rise, eat;'
6 and he looketh attentively, and lo, at his bolster a cake [baken on] burning stones, and a dish of water, and he eateth, and drinketh, and turneth, and lieth down.
7 And the messenger of Jehovah turneth back a second time, and cometh against him, and saith, `Rise, eat, for the way is too great for thee;'
8 and he riseth, and eateth, and drinketh, and goeth in the power of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God -- Horeb.
9 And he cometh in there, unto the cave, and lodgeth there, and lo, the word of Jehovah [is] unto him, and saith to him, `What -- to thee, here, Elijah?'
10 And he saith, `I have been very zealous for Jehovah, God of Hosts, for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant -- Thine altars they have thrown down, and Thy prophets they have slain by the sword, and I am left, I, by myself, and they seek my life -- to take it.'
11 And He saith, `Go out, and thou hast stood in the mount before Jehovah.' And lo, Jehovah is passing by, and a wind -- great and strong -- is rending mountains, and shivering rocks before Jehovah: -- not in the wind [is] Jehovah; and after the wind a shaking: -- not in the shaking [is] Jehovah;
12 and after the shaking a fire: -- not in the fire [is] Jehovah; and after the fire a voice still small;
13 and it cometh to pass, at Elijah's hearing [it], that he wrappeth his face in his robe, and goeth out, and standeth at the opening of the cave, and lo, unto him [is] a voice, and it saith, `What -- to thee, here, Elijah?'
14 And he saith, `I have been very zealous for Jehovah, God of Hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, Thine altars they have thrown down, and Thy prophets they have slain by the sword, and I am left, I, by myself, and they seek my life -- to take it.'
15 And Jehovah saith unto him, `Go turn back on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus, and thou hast gone in, and anointed Hazael for king over Aram,
16 and Jehu son of Nimshi thou dost anoint for king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel-Meholah, thou dost anoint for prophet in thy stead.
17 `And it hath been, him who is escaped from the sword of Hazael, put to death doth Jehu, and him who is escaped from the sword of Jehu put to death doth Elisha;
18 and I have left in Israel seven thousand, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that hath not kissed him.'
19 And he goeth thence, and findeth Elisha son of Shaphat, and he is plowing; twelve yoke [are] before him, and he [is] with the twelfth; and Elijah passeth over unto him, and casteth his robe upon him,
20 and he forsaketh the oxen, and runneth after Elijah, and saith, `Let me give a kiss, I pray thee, to my father and to my mother, and I go after thee.' And he saith to him, `Go, turn back, for what have I done to thee?'
21 And he turneth back from after him, and taketh the yoke of oxen, and sacrificeth it, and with instruments of the oxen he hath boiled their flesh, and giveth to the people, and they eat, and he riseth, and goeth after Elijah, and serveth 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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 KINGS 19

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