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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 19

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


1 Kings 17-19.— These chapters come from another source, which relates the adventures of the great prophet Elijah. They are rightly reckoned among the finest pieces of prose writing in the OT. They abound in miracle and marvel which ought neither to be rationalised nor explained away, for on their supernatural character the vindication of Yahweh as the God of Israel depends. Rightly therefore does Skinner (Cent.B) declare that the explanation of such a miracle as the feeding of the prophet by “ ravens” ( orebim) is that the neighbouring Arabs brought him food is “ a rationalistic absurdity.” Though the prophet appears throughout as “ a man of like passions with ourselves” ( James 5:17), he is yet clearly represented as one with supernatural powers, which he freely exercises.

In a sense Elijah is the most “ supernatural” figure in the historical books, though this does not make him unhistorical. He moves in an atmosphere of wonder and miracle, appearing and vanishing in the most unexpected manner, and his ascension is only in keeping with the rest of his life. As he is described in Kings, so was he regarded in subsequent ages, a mysterious figure, likely to reappear as suddenly to the world as he did from time to time to Ahab ( Malachi 4:5, Matthew 17:10, etc.), and the forerunner of Messiah.

Verses 1-21

1 Kings 19:1-21 . Elijah’ s Flight to Horeb. His Commission.— Jezebel, it will be noticed, can do no more than threaten Elijah: her power is limited. Elijah escapes to the southern extremity of Judah, to Beersheba, a sacred place of pilgrimage frequented ( Amos 5:5; Amos 8:14) even by N. Israelites. In the desert, under a juniper or broom tree, he received his vision ( 1 Kings 19:5), and went to Horeb, the “ Mount of God.” Horeb is Sinai: the name is employed in the N. Israelite Hexateuchal narrative E and in Deuteronomy. It was supposed to be Yahweh’ s special dwelling-place ( Judges 5:4, Psalms 68:8, Habakkuk 3:3), and is placed in Edom. The theophany ( 1 Kings 19:9) reminds us of the appearance to Moses ( Exodus 20:18-21). It is finely recorded that the message of Yahweh came not in storm or fire, but in “ a still small voice” (lit. a sound of thin silence). Elijah received a threefold commission— to anoint Hazael king over Syria, Jehu king of Israel, and Elieha to be prophet. Elijah himself simply appointed Elisha, and even here nothing is said of his anointing. An unnamed prophet, commissioned by Elisha, anointed Jehu ( 2 Kings 9:1), and Elisha foretold Hazael’ s accession, but did not anoint him. “ Yet have I left” ( 1 Kings 19:18) is a wrong rendering by the AV, though supported by Paul ( Romans 11:4). The LXX has “ And thou shalt leave.” The meaning is that, after all the slaughter by Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha, a faithful remnant shall be left; for 7000 is a round number. It was by casting his mantle on Elisha that Elijah called him, and the mantle at his ascension gave him a double portion of his spirit. Elijah’ s words ( 1 Kings 19:20) show that his action is nothing unless the younger man accepts the call.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/1-kings-19.html. 1919.
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