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One Kings Nineteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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1 Kings 19:1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

Jezebel. Jezebel, the wife of king Ahab, was the pagan daughter of the king of Sidon, and had induced Ahab himself to follow Baal and to make Baal worship essentially Israel's national religion (1 Kings 16:31-33). When Elijah slew all her prophets—Jezebel herself had previously killed most of the Lord's true prophets (1 Kings 18:13)—she became his bitterest and most dangerous enemy.

1 Kings 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, 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.

1 Kings 19:3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

went for his life. Elijah was not a coward (note his one-man confrontation with King Ahab and then with the 450 false prophets), nor was he afraid to die (note 1 Kings 19:4), but he was discouraged that he still seemed to have no chance of turning Israel back to God, even after his singular victory at Mount Carmel. Jezebel and her religious system seemed as entrenched as ever.

came to Beer-sheba. Elijah had been at Carmel and Jezreel, far to the north in the kingdom of Israel, then fled 150 miles to the southernmost part of the kingdom of Judah, and Beersheba, and then even deeper into the Negev wilderness, putting as much distance between himself and Jezebel as possible, finally reaching Mount Sinai (or Horeb) itself.

1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

1 Kings 19:5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

1 Kings 19:6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

1 Kings 19:7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

1 Kings 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

1 Kings 19:9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

1 Kings 19:10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

1 Kings 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

1 Kings 19:13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

1 Kings 19:14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

1 Kings 19:15 And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:

wilderness of Damascus. God sent Elijah back again, past Samaria and Jezreel (where Jezebel was) all the way to Syria and its capital, the ancient city of Damascus. He had thought that he was the only believer left in Israel and therefore had to escape Jezebel at all costs, yet God had assured him otherwise and now sent him right back through her land again.

1 Kings 19:16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

Elisha. This verse introduces Elisha as Elijah's successor, and also Jehu and Hazael, the next kings of Israel and Syria. All of these were, in effect, to be anointed to their callings by Elijah, although Hazael was actually anointed by Elisha and Jehu by Elisha's servant (2 Kings 8:13-15; 9:1-6).

1 Kings 19:17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.

1 Kings 19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

seven thousand. In spite of Elijah's great victory at Carmel, and the excited cry of conversion by the people (1 Kings 18:39), the people still feared to rebel against Jezebel and her Baalite state religion. Elijah therefore fled for his life, convinced he was the only true believer in Israel (1 Kings 19:10). Nevertheless, God always in every age has His “seven thousand” who are at least open-hearted to the truth when they hear it.

1 Kings 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

1 Kings 19:20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?

1 Kings 19:21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.