2 Kings 1:10 MEANING

2 Kings 1:10
(10) And Elijah answered and said.--So Syriac and LXX. Heb., and spake.

If.--Heb., And if a man of the god I (truly be). This "and" closely connects the prophet's reply with the captain's demand. All the versions except the LXX. omit it, with some Hebrew MSS.


Let fire come down from heaven.--A phrase found only here and in 2 Chronicles 7:1. Ewald considers this a mark of the later origin of this tradition about Elijah. The words "come down" are at any rate appropriate, as repeating the captain's bidding to the prophet.

Consume.--Eat, or devour. (Comp. 1 Kings 18:38.) Here, as there, Jehovah is represented as vindicating His own cause by the means most adequate to the necessities of the time, viz., a manifest miracle.

Verse 10. - And Elijah answered... let fire come down. The LXX. render, καταβήσεται πῦρ - "fire will come down;" and so some moderns, who are anxious to clear the prophet of the charges of cruelty and bloodthirstiness which have been brought against him. But there is no need of altering the translation, Elijah undoubtedly "commanded fire to come down from heaven" (Luke 9:54), or, in other words, prayed to God that it might come down, and in answer to his prayer the fire fell. The narrative may be set aside as an embellishment of later times, having no historical foundation, by those who (like Ewald) deny that miracles are possible; but, if it be accepted, it must be accepted as it stands, and Elijah must be regarded, not as having merely prophesied a result, but as having been instrumental in producing it. We must judge Elijah, not by the ideas of our own day, but by those of the age wherein he lived. He was raised up to vindicate God's honor, to check and punish idolatry, to keep alive a faithful remnant in Israel, when all the powers of the earth were leagued together to destroy and smother true religion. He was an embodiment of the Law - of absolute, strict, severe justice. The fair face of mercy was not revealed to him. Already, at Carmel, he had executed the Divine vengeance on idolaters after an exemplary fashion (1 Kings 18:40). Now, Ahaziah, the son of the wicked Jezebel, had challenged Jehovah to a trial of strength by first ignoring him, and then sending a troop of soldiers to arrest his prophet. Was Elijah to succumb without an effort, or was he to vindicate the majesty and honor of Jehovah? He had no power of himself to do either good or harm. He could but pray to Jehovah, and Jehovah, in his wisdom and perfect goodness, would either grant or refuse his prayer. If he granted it, the punishment inflicted would not be Elijah's work, but his. To tax Elijah with cruelty is to involve God in the charge. God regarded it as a fitting time for making a signal example, and, so regarding it, he inspired a spirit of indignation in the breast of his prophet, who thereupon made the prayer which he saw fit to answer. The judgment was in accordance with the general tone and tenor of the Law, which assigns "tribulation and anguish to every soul of man that doeth evil" (Romans 2:9), and visits with death every act of rebellion against God. There came down fire. Josephus says that the "fire" was a flash of lightning (πρηστήρ), and so the commentators generally.

1:9-18 Elijah called for fire from heaven, to consume the haughty, daring sinners; not to secure himself, but to prove his mission, and to reveal the wrath of God from heaven, against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Elijah did this by a Divine impulse, yet our Saviour would not allow the disciples to do the like, Lu 9:54. The dispensation of the Spirit and of grace by no means allowed it. Elijah was concerned for God's glory, those for their own reputation. The Lord judges men's practices by their principles, and his judgment is according to truth. The third captain humbled himself, and cast himself upon the mercy of God and Elijah. There is nothing to be got by contending with God; and those are wise for themselves, who learn submission from the fatal end of obstinacy in others. The courage of faith has often struck terror into the heart of the proudest sinner. So thunderstruck is Ahaziah with the prophet's words, that neither he, nor any about him, offer him violence. Who can harm those whom God shelters? Many who think to prosper in sin, are called hence like Ahaziah, when they do not expect it. All warns us to seek the Lord while he may be found.And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, if I be a man of God,.... As I am, and thou shalt know it by the following token, though thou callest me so jeeringly:

then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty; this he said not in a passion, and from a private spirit of revenge, but for the vindication of the honour and glory of God, and under the impulse of his spirit, who was abused through the insult on him as his prophet:

and there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty; a flash of lightning, which destroyed them at once; the Lord hearkening to the voice of his prophet, in vindication of him in his office, and of his own glory.

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