Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 17:7

It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   Cherith;   Elijah;   Minister, Christian;   Readings, Select;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Rain;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Elijah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Farming;   John the baptist;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Widow;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Achan;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Kings, 1 and 2;   Zarephath;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ahab;   Haggai;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elijah;   Famine;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Rain;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The brook dried up - Because there had been no rain in the land for some time, God having sent this drought as a testimony against the idolatry of the people: see Deuteronomy 11:16, Deuteronomy 11:17.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-17.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 17:7". 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 it came to pass after a while,.... Or "at the end of days"F24מקץ ימים "in, vel a, fine dierum", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. , perhaps a year, which sometimes is the sense of this phrase, see Exodus 13:10,

that the brook dried up; through the excessive heat, and for want of supplies from the springs and fountains with which it was fed, and for the following reason:

because there had been no rain in the land; from the time Elijah prayed and prophesied; of this drought mention is made in profane history: Menander, a Phoenician writer, speaksF25Apud Joseph. Antiqu. l. 8. c. 13. sect. 2. of a drought in the times of Ithobalus (the same with Ethbaal the father of Jezebel), which lasted a whole year, and upon prayer being made there were thunder, &c.

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 17:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-17.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(7) And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

Perhaps this drying of the brook was for the exercise of Elijah. And when our friends, like Job's, deal deceitfully by us, as a brook, (Job 6:15) or when all creatures comfort fail; how sweet is it to live upon the full and never-ceasing fountain? Jesus is all this to his people! God the Father is a fountain, and the Holy Ghost also: See Zechariah 13:1; Jeremiah 2:13; John 7:37-39.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-17.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

A while — Heb. at the end of days; that is, of a year; for so the word days is often used.

Dried — God so ordering it, for the punishment of those Israelites who lived near it, and had hitherto been refreshed by it: and for the exercise of Elijah's faith, and to teach him to depend upon God alone.

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 17:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-17.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE DRY BROOK

‘The brook dried up.’

1 Kings 17:7

I. This is one of the benedictions of disaster: that it sets us face to face with the realities of life.—We come into an irresistible recognition of the fact that there is something more valuable than money, and more precious than pleasure. Day by day we are busy doing our day’s work, occupied with the small interests which crowd our time, set upon transitory purposes, taken up with matters of the moment. And these things seem the only realities there are. God is out of sight and out of mind. Heaven and hell are theological expressions. Prayer is of no practical value. But we can put our hand on the round face of the gold sovereign. We can be absolutely sure of the existence of a sovereign. That, anyhow, is real.

And then comes trouble. And what a change that makes! What a reversal of all our valuations! Can money help us? Can society console us? O Baal, hear us! But there is no voice, nor any that answers. And here is the drought and the famine, and the brook is dried up because there is no rain in the land. Then we begin to think. And we remember God. And we change the emphasis of our life, and put it in a better place. And the dry brook teaches the lesson which it taught in Ahab’s day, the lesson of the supremacy of God, the lesson of the infinite seriousness of life.

II. But Elijah knew that lesson.—There was no need to teach that to Elijah. Let the other brooks dry up; but this brook Cherith at Elijah’s feet, surely God will keep that full of water. Morning and evening came the ravens, bringing breakfast and supper to the hungry prophet, and he drinks the water of the brook. God is taking care of Elijah. The hot sun glares out of the sky, but the deep valley is in the shadow. The famine tightens its hold upon the starving people, but Elijah neither thirsts nor hungers. And he paces up and down in his solitary valley, safe and satisfied, and rejoices, like Jonah, to imagine the fearful execution of the sentence of the indignant God.

But by and by the drought touches Elijah. ‘The brook dries up.’ Here is one of the hardest things to understand in the hard problem of pain. I mean this strange impartiality. If the brook had dried up in front of Ahab’s palace, that would have been right. We could see plainly enough what that was for. But when the brook dries up at the feet of the only good man in the whole country, that is quite a different matter. ‘There was no rain in the land,’ and that affected Elijah’s brook just as it affected Ahab’s. Sometimes there is a pestilence in the land, and the saint suffers like the sinner. All the time there is trouble in the land, of one sort or another, and the trouble touches the good just as it touches the bad. There is no difference. And we wonder why. No doubt but Elijah, standing on the bank of the dry brook, wondered why.

III. The dry brook taught Elijah the lesson of fellowship.—Out goes Elijah into the suffering world. Hungry and thirsty he takes his journey across the country. He knows now what starvation means. A great pity begins to take possession of his heart. He thinks now about that great famine in quite another way, and wants it ended. And presently he is standing on the top of Carmel, and looking up into the hot sky, and praying God for rain.

It is essential that whoever would be a helper of men must first have fellowship with men. He must go out among them and know them. He cannot stay apart in any pleasant seclusion, having no experience of the hunger and thirst which devours the life of man; he must himself bear our sicknesses and carry our sorrows. We must first love him before he can be of help to us. And we can love him only when he first loves us.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Elijah must have felt it trying to his faith to see the brook vanishing before his eyes. The ravens brought him food, it is true, but when one blessing is being withdrawn from us we do not always comfort ourselves with those we have. It is easy for us to forget God’s mercy on one side when it is veiled in trouble or loss on another.’

(2) ‘The prophet, like the people, suffers from the famine. The great and powerful, and the holy and noble, are one with the rest of humanity, and are not exempted from the sorrows and troubles which press upon the obscure, the lowly, and even the sinful. It is a beneficent law; for it saves men from the inhumanity of power and pride, and, as it were, forces us to suffer with, and so to have sympathy with our brethren.’

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-kings-17.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 17:7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

Ver. 7. That the brook dried up.] So will all human helps and comforts fail, in time, those that confide in them. Only God is an inexhaustible and ever-springing fountain.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". 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

After a while, Heb. at the end of days, i.e. of a year; for so the word days is oft used, as in Exodus 13:10 Leviticus 25:29 Numbers 9:22 Jude 17:10 1 Samuel 1:3 27:7. And this seems to be a convenient time for the drying up of the brook, which was gradually dried up; and so this agrees well with 1 Kings 18:1,

in the third year; of which See Poole "1 Kings 18:1".

The brook dried up; God so ordering it, partly, for the punishment of those Israelites who lived near it, and had hitherto been refreshed by it; partly, for the trial and exercise of Elijah’s faith, and to teach him to depend upon God alone, not on any creature, for his support; and partly, to show his own all-sufficiency in providing for his people.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-17.html. 1685.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

ELIJAH AT SAREPTA

1 Kings 17:7; 1 Kings 18:19.

"The rain is God’s compassion."

-MOHAMMED

THE fierce drought continued, and "at the end of days" even the thin trickling of the stream in the clefts of Cherith was dried up. In the language of Job it felt the glare and vanished {Job 6:17} No miracle was wrought to supply the Prophet with water, but once more the providence of God intervened to save his life for the mighty work which still awaited him. He was sent to the region where, nearly a millennium later, the feet of his Lord followed him on a mission of mercy to those other sheep of His flock who were not of the Judaean fold.

The word of the Lord bade him make his way to the Sidonian city of Zarephath. Zarephath, the Sarepta of St. Luke, the modern Surafend, lay between Tyre and Sidon, and there the waters would not be wholly dried up, for the fountains of Lebanon were not yet exhausted. The drought had extended to Phoenicia, but Elijah was told that there a widow woman would sustain him. The Baal-worshipping queen who had hunted for his life would be least of all likely to search for him in a city of Baal-worshippers in the midst of her own people. He is sent among these Baal-worshippers to do them kindness, to receive kindness from them-perhaps to learn a wider tolerance, and to find that idolaters also are human beings, children, like the orthodox, of the same heavenly Father. He had been taught the lesson of "dependence upon God"; he was now to learn the lesson of "fellowship with man." Traveling probably by night both for coolness and for safety, Elijah went that long journey to the heathen district. He arrived there faint with hunger and thirst. Seeing a woman gathering sticks near the city gate he asked her for some water, and as she was going to fetch it he called to her and asked her also to bring him a morsel of bread. The answer revealed the condition of extreme want to which she was reduced. Recognizing that Elijah was an Israelite, and therefore a worshipper of Jehovah, she said, "As Jehovah thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but (only) a handful of meal in the barrel, and a little oil in the cruse." She was gathering a couple of sticks to make one last meal for herself and her son, and then to lie down and die. For drought did not only mean universal anguish, but much actual starvation. It meant, as Joel says, speaking of the desolation caused by locusts, that the cattle groan and perish, and the corn withers, and the seeds rot under their clods.

Strong in faith Elijah told her not to fear, but first to supply his own more urgent needs, and then to make a meal for herself and her son. Till Jehovah sent rain, the barrel of meal should not waste, nor the cruse of oil fail. She believed the promise, and for many days, perhaps for two whole years, the Prophet continued to be her guest.

But after a time her boy fell grievously sick, and at last died, or seemed to die. So dread a calamity-the smiting of the stay of her home, and the son of her widowhood-filled the woman with terror. She longed to get rid of the presence of this terrible "man of God." He must have come, she thought, to bring her sin to remembrance before God, and so to cause Him to slay her son. The Prophet was touched by the pathos of her appeal, and could not bear that she should look upon him as the cause of her bereavement. "Give me thy son," he said. Taking the dead boy from her arms, he carried him to the chamber which she had set apart for him, and laid him on his own bed. Then, after an earnest cry to God, he stretched himself three times over the body of the youth, as though to breathe into his lungs and restore his vital warmth, at the same time praying intensely that "his soul might come into him again." His prayer was heard; the boy revived. Carrying him down from the chamber, Elijah had the happiness of restoring him to his widowed mother with the words, "See, thy son liveth." So remarkable an event not only convinced the woman that Elijah was indeed what she had called him, "a man of God," but also that Jehovah was the true God. It was not unnatural that tradition should interest itself in the boy thus strangely snatched from the jaws of death. The Jews fancied that he grew up to be servant of Elijah, and afterwards to be the prophet Jonah. The tradition at least shows an insight into the fact that Elijah was the first missionary sent from among the Jews to the heathen, and that Jonah became the second.

We are not to suppose that during his stay at Zarephath Elijah remained immured in his chamber. Safe and unsuspected, he might, at least by night, make his way to other places, and it is reasonable to believe that he then began to haunt the glades and heights of beautiful and deserted Carmel, which was at no great distance, and where he could mourn over the ruined altar of Jehovah and take refuge in any of its "more than two thousand tortuous caves." But what was the object of his being sent to Zarephath? That it was not for his own sake alone, that it had in it a purpose of conversion, is distinctly implied by our Lord when He says that in those days there were many widows in Israel, yet Elijah was not sent to them, but to this Sidonian idolatress. The prophets and saints of God do not always understand the meaning of Providence or the lessons of their Divine training. Francis of Assisi at first entirely misunderstood the real drift and meaning of the Divine intimations that he was to rebuild the ruined Church of God, which he afterwards so gloriously fulfilled. The thoughts of God, are not as man's thoughts, nor His ways as man's ways, nor does He make all His servants as it were "fusile apostles," as He made St. Paul. The education of Elijah was far from complete even long afterwards. To the very last, if we are to accept the records of him as historically literal, amid the revelations vouchsafed to him he had not grasped the truth that the Elijah-spirit, however needful it may seem to be, differs very widely from the Spirit of the Lord of Life. Yet may it not have been that Elijah was sent to learn from the kind ministrations of a Sidonian widow, to whose care his life was due, some inkling of those truths which Christ revealed so many centuries afterwards, when He visited the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and extended His mercy to the great faith of the Syro-Phoenician woman? May not Elijah have been meant to learn what had to be taught by experience to the two great Apostles of the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision, that not every Baal-worshipper was necessarily corrupt or wholly insincere? St. Peter was thus taught that God is no respecter of persons, and that whether their religious belief be false or true, in every nation he that feareth Him and doeth righteousness is accepted of Him. St. Paul learnt at Damascus and taught at Athens that God made of one every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth, that they should seek God if haply they might feel after Him and find Him, though He be not far; from every one of us.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/1-kings-17.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.After a while — Margin, At the end of days. He probably dwelt by the brook Cherith a year. See note on 1 Kings 18:1.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-17.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 17:7. After a while — Hebrew, at the end of the days; that is, of a year, as that phrase is often used. The brook dried up — For want of rain, and God so ordering it for the punishment of those Israelites who lived near it, and had hitherto been refreshed by it; and for the exercise of Elijah’s faith, and to teach him still to depend on God alone, and not on any natural means for support and preservation.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-17.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Some time. Literally, "after days," (Haydock) which some explain of a year; others, of half that time, or less, as the torrent would not be long supplied with water.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-17.html. 1859.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
A. M. 3095. B.C. 909. after a while. Heb. at the end of days. the brook
Isaiah 40:30,31; 54:10
Reciprocal: Genesis 4:3 - in process of time;  1 Kings 18:1 - in the third year;  2 Chronicles 18:2 - after certain years;  Jeremiah 14:3 - pits;  Joel 1:20 - the rivers

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-17.html.