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1 And Ahab told Iezebel all that Eliiah had done, and withall, how hee had slaine all the Prophets with the sword.

2 Then Iezebel sent a messenger vnto Eliiah, saying; So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them, by to morrow about this time.

3 And when he saw that, hee arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Iudah, and left his seruant there.

4 But he himselfe went a dayes iourney into the wildernesse, and came and sate downe vnder a Iuniper tree: and hee requested for himselfe that hee might die, and sayd, It is enough, now O Lord, take away my life: for I am not better then my fathers.

5 And as hee lay and slept vnder a Iuniper tree, behold then, an Angel touched him, and sayd vnto him, Arise, and eate.

6 And he looked, and behold, there was a cake baken on the coales, and a cruse of water at his head: and hee did eate and drinke, and laide him downe againe.

7 And the Angel of the Lord came againe the second time, and touched him, and sayd, Arise, and eate, because the iourney is too great for thee.

8 And hee arose, and did eate and drinke, and went in the strength of that meate fourtie dayes and fourtie nights, vnto Horeb the mount of God.

9 And he came thither vnto a caue, and lodged there, and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said vnto him, What doest thou here, Eliiah?

10 And hee sayd, I haue beene very iealous for the Lord God of hostes: for the children of Israel haue forsaken thy Couenant, throwen downe thine Altars, and slaine thy Prophets with the sword: and I, euen I onely am left, and they seeke my life, to take it away.

11 And he sayd, Goe forth, and stand vpon the mount before the Lord. And beholde, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong winde rent the mountaines, and brake in pieces the rockes, before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the winde: and after the winde an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

12 And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire, a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Eliiah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entring in of the caue: and behold, there came a voice vnto him, and sayd, What doest thou here, Eliiah?

14 And he sayd, I haue beene very iealous for the Lord God of hostes, because the children of Israel haue forsaken thy Couenant, throwen downe thine Altars, and slaine thy Prophets with the sword, and I, euen I onely am left, and they seeke my life, to take it away.

15 And the Lord sayd vnto him, Goe, returne on thy way to the wildernesse of Damascus: and when thou commest, anoint Hazael to be King ouer Syria.

16 And Iehu the sonne of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to bee king ouer Israel: and Elisha the sonne of Shaphat of Abel Meholah, shalt thou annoint to be Prophet in thy roume.

17 And it shall come to passe, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael, shall Iehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Iehu, shall Elisha slay.

18 Yet I haue left me seuen thousand in Israel, all the knees which haue not bowed vnto Baal, and euery mouth which hath not kissed him.

19 So hee departed thence and found Elisha the sonne of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelue yoke of oxen before him, and hee with the twelfth: and Eliiah passed by him, and cast his mantle vpon him.

20 And he left the oxen, and ranne after Eliiah, and said, Let mee, I pray thee, kisse my father and my mother, and then I wil follow thee: and he said vnto him, Goe backe againe; for what haue I done to thee?

21 And he returned backe from him, and tooke a yoke of oxen, & slew them, and boyled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gaue vnto the people, and they did eat: then he arose, and went after Eliiah, and ministred vnto him.

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Commentary for 1 Kings 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)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.

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.

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, #Ps 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.

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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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