Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 17:13

Then Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   Elijah;   Faith;   Frugality;   Hospitality;   Minister, Christian;   Miracles;   Oil;   Poor;   Readings, Select;   Self-Denial;   Women;   Zarephath;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Claim's, God's;   Discouragement-Encouragement;   Divine;   Faith;   Fear;   Fear Nots;   First Claims;   Giving;   God;   God's;   Hindrances;   Home;   Ownership, Divine;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Priority of God's Claims;   Prophet's;   Religion;   Sacrificial Giving;   Seven;   Stewardship-Ownership;   Stories for Children;   Tested;   Tests, Spiritual;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Bread;   Self-Denial;   Widows;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Elijah;   Zarephath;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Food;   Oil;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Baking;   Barrel;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Oil;   Zarephath;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ahab;   Haggai;   Zarephath;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Bread;   Feeding the Multitudes;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elijah;   Zarephath;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Baking Bread;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Elisha;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Amittai;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

But make me thereof a little cake first - This was certainly putting the widow's faith to an extraordinary trial: to take and give to a stranger, of whom she knew nothing, the small pittance requisite to keep her child from perishing, was too much to be expected.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-17.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Kings 17:13

Make me thereof a little cake first.

Faith tested

First, take the narrative in its literal sense; then, examine the truths which are suggested by it; and finally, note its mystical import.

I. Literal sense.

1. Here is a test of faith: “Make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.” It was a sharp test. Famine brings out selfishness in hideous shapes (2 Kings 6:28-29). To be asked to give to a stranger a little cake from the “handful of meal” that was left, before she met the cravings of hunger in herself and her son, must have been a searching demand.

2. A woman, too, of Zidon, like the woman in the Gospel, when Jesus came into those coasts; a woman without the privileges of the covenant of Israel and the opportunities of God’s people; a flower in the common hedge, not in the hothouse, but yet a flower--able to respond to the claim of God through His prophet--“Make me a little cake first”; for “he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).

3. It was more than a test of faith; it was a test of trust. This is something more. The prophet’s demand appealed to the will, and not merely to the assent of the understanding. She had to make a sacrifice; it was a trifle in itself--“a little cake”; but when people are starving it was not a trifle; and she had to trust to a promise, from the standpoint of human calculation, least likely to be fulfilled.

4. “She went and did according to the saying of the prophet” (1 Kings 17:15).

II. The truths which the prophet’s demand suggests.

1. God to be served first. God must be loved--to use the language of divinity--“with a love of preference.” As a king, St. Chrysostom says, should be served as a king, so God should be loved as God, that is to say, “preferably to all creatures.” In the same way, the claims of God and His service must stand first. The demand, “Make me thereof a little cake first,” is like that which our Lord gave on the mount, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” It is the law of the first-fruits.

2. God’s commands are to be taken upon trust. His positive commands test not only our obedience, but our confidence in Him. Moral commands are echoed from within, so that not to obey them “is not folly alone, but also impiety” (St. Augustine); but commands of which we do not see the reason, yet which must be obeyed as simply coming from God, are touchstones of trust in Him.

3. How little, after all, God requires of us! “Make Me a little cake.” He gave our first parents licence to eat of every tree in the garden save one--just an acknowledgment of His Sovereignty. He turns the water into wine; we have only to fill the water-pots. His commandments are “not grievous” (1 John 5:3), but we may have made obedience difficult through having abused our powers. God asks little, but makes a large return (Matthew 25:23). “The barrel of meal did not waste,” etc.

III. Its mystical import. When Aristotle in logic, and Plato in philosophy, ruled the day (twelfth century), “Hugo and Richard de St. Victor were the great mystics of the period (Milman), and it is from the former of these I transcribe the mystical interpretation of the subject in hand. The widow of Zarephath represents the holy Church--a widow--waiting for the advent of the Saviour. Elijah came to the woman, when Christ, through the mystery of the Incarnation, came to the Church. The woman was gathering “two sticks”; for the holy Church received the faith of the Cross. The “handful of meal” is said to signify the imperfection of Divine knowledge at the time when Christ came; and the “little oil in a cruse,” the scarcity of grace. But Elijah multiplied both, because Christ, “full of grace and truth,” imparted both to mankind. The woman sustained Elijah; for the faith and holy works of the Church refresh the Lord: “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

IV. Lessons.

1. The leading lesson throughout is one of trust. “Fear not.” The woman of Zarephath affords a striking instance of obedience and submission, not only of the will, but of the judgment.

2. To remember that God should have the first claim upon us and upon our substance, which increases through parting with it, as did the five loaves as they were distributed to others by the disciples’ hands.

3. It is a great mistake to suppose that only the rich should give into the treasury of God. The poor widow’s “two mites” were more to Christ than the large gifts of the rich, because it was her all. (The Thinker.)

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 17:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-17.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Elijah said unto her, fear not,.... That she and her son should die, it would not be the case:

go and do as thou hast said: mix her meal and her oil, and make a cake thereof, and bake it:

but make thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son: which was not said from a selfish spirit of the prophet, but to try the faith of the woman; and besides, as Abarbinel observes, the prophet was not only hungry and thirsty through his journey, and so required to be served first, but it was for the sake of his sustenance, that the Lord would command a blessing on the meal and oil; wherefore, if she dressed it for herself and her son first, there would have been none left for the divine blessing to descend upon.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-17.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

But make, … — This he requires as a trial of her faith, and obedience, which he knew God would plentifully reward; and so this would be a great example to encourage others to the practice of the same graces.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 17:13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go [and] do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring [it] unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

Ver. 13. But make me thereof a little cake first.] Here "the trial of" this poor widow’s "faith, being much more precious than that of gold which perisheth, though it be tried in the fire, is found to praise, and honour, and glory." [1 Peter 1:7]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Make me thereof a little cake first; which he requires as a trial and exercise of her faith, and charity, and obedience, which he knew God would graciously and plentifully reward; and so this would be a great example to encourage others to the practice of the same graces upon like occasions.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-17.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.Make me’ a little cake first — Here was a sore trial of her faith. What! share her last morsel with a stranger?

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-17.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

First. He puts the faith of the widow to a severe trial; and the gospel requires nothing more perfect than what she practised. The true faith, which she then received, was her first and most precious recompense; and we shall soon see, that her guest drew down blessings upon her. (Calmet)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-17.html. 1859.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
Fear not
Exodus 14:13; 2 Kings 6:16; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Isaiah 41:10,13; Matthew 28:5; Acts 27:24
make me thereof
Genesis 22:1,2; Judges 7:5-7; Matthew 19:21,22; Hebrews 11:17; 1 Peter 1:7
first
Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10; Matthew 6:33; 10:37
Reciprocal: Matthew 1:20 - fear not;  John 2:7 - Fill;  John 4:50 - Go;  Revelation 2:20 - that woman

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-17.html.