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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

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 my life, for I am not better than my fathers."

Adam Clarke Commentary

A day's journey into the wilderness - Probably in his way to Mount Horeb. See 1 Kings 19:8.

Juniper tree - A tree that afforded him a shade from the scorching sun.

It is enough - I have lived long enough! I can do no more good among this people; let me now end my days.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-19.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Elijah did not feel himself safe until he was beyond the territory of Judah, for Ahab might demand him of Jehoshaphat 1 Kings 18:10, with whom he was on terms of close alliance 1 Kings 22:4. He, therefore, proceeds southward into the desert, simply to be out of the reach of his enemies.

A juniper-tree - The tree here mentioned רתם rethem is not the juniper but a species of broom (Genista monosperma ), called “rethem” by the Arabs, which abounds in the Sinaitic peninsula. It grows to such a size as to afford shade and protection, both in heat and storm, to travelers.

Requested for himself that he might die - Like Moses and Jonah (marginal references). The prophet‘s depression here reached its lowest point. He was still suffering from the reaction of overstrained feeling; he was weary with nights and days of travel; he was faint with the sun‘s heat; he was exhausted for want of food; he was for the first time alone - alone in the awful solitude and silence of the great white desert. Such solitude might brace the soul in certain moods; but in others it must utterly overwhelm and crush. Thus the prophet at length gave way completely - made his prayer that he might die - and, exhausted sank, to sleep.

I am not better than my fathers - i. e., “I am a mere weak man, no better nor stronger than they who have gone before me, no more able to revolutionize the world than they.”


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-19.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Kings 19:4

It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life.

Elijah’s singular request

These words every way are remarkable. They proceed from a certain state of the mind, which is not common. The words are remarkable, considering the person who uttered them. They were uttered by the bold and brilliant Elijah. If we consider further the time the words were uttered, they are equally remarkable. It was just after the extraordinary manifestation of Carmel. One would have thought, after such a manifestation of the Divine presence and decided triumph, that he never would have been so shorn of courage, and cast down into such deep depression. These words, though spoken in ancient days, and come down to us through many ages; yet they contain certain pictures in human thought and feeling, which are found more or less everywhere. They are true expressions of the human soul in certain conditions, and our business here will be to mention some of the things which are common to all ages, and more or less to all people.

I. The soul’s sigh in the search after solitude. Sometime or other all sigh for solitude; you cannot destroy the feeling, it is planted deeply in the human soul. There are certain circumstances in life which develop this feeling, until it becomes strong and all-powerful, governing the whole soul. It is possible to allow this sentiment to grow wild and overleap its natural limit; but in itself, and within its proper limit, it is right and necessary. Before men can be strong they must be much with God and themselves; before they can be rich and mature, they will have to live much in the garden of their mind to weed and manure it. The conditions under which solitude is sought are various.

1. The soul seeks solitude in the pangs of disappointment. We are born to disappointments--all meet them, only some are more sensitive to their point and bitterness than others. We are often either too confiding, or lofty in our wish, or sanguine in our expectation, that disappointments cannot but come. They come from foes and friends--from prosperity and adversity.

2. The soul often sighs for the solitary in life, when deeply convinced of the vanity and falsehood of society; when the soul sees and feels the faults and follies of the world, it often feels a wish to live in some place where they are not seen or heard.

3. The absence of congenial society not unfrequently turns the face of the soul towards solitude. There may be times when our companions are too numerous, as well as too few. The soul wishes to shake itself from them and be free, and often goes beyond civilisation for this freedom it longs for so anxiously. This is often the case from superior refinement, advanced piety, nobler aspirations than those of neighbours and friends.

4. The soul often sighs for the solitude in life under the influence of religious feeling. The danger is for the thing that is right in itself to become a blind sentimentality.

5. The soul is apt, in a condition of great sorrow, to sigh after solitude.

6. This feeling may and sometimes does proceed from a morbid state of mind.

II. The soul’s time of despondent depression. There is a shade sometime or other to cross every flowery bed, and a gloom to cover every sunny path. There are occasions in the history of most men when life, the most precious and the first to be desired, is a burden. In this state of the soul all power of enjoyment is gone, and all power and courage have taken their departure. The horizon of the soul is obscured with darkness, so that there is neither beauty nor prospect in view anywhere.

1. Sometimes this state of despondent depression comes upon the soul from a sense of its own sinfulness.

2. The thought of our own individual insignificancy has a tendency to the same result.

3. The conscious vanity of the surroundings of our present existence is another depressing element in life.

4. The darkness and uncertainty surrounding human life has a tendency to make us despondent. The simplest things are lost in mystery; the clearest things are covered with uncertainty.

5. Failure in realising our noblest plans and most cherished wishes is another depressing element which often presses us below the level of right standing.

6. The ills that men are subject to is another frequent means of human depression.

III. The soul’s depreciation of itself. Some people constantly depreciate themselves, and they are thought sincere and humble persons, whereas it may be nothing more than a habit, or worse, an affected self-depreciation, that others may have occasion and scope to raise them on high.

1. A sense of self-depreciation takes hold of the mind when it is filled with the conception of the Divine Majesty and His presence.

2. The feeling of self-depreciation pervades the soul in the presence or recollection of some higher examples in matters of life and ambition. An artist of sensitive appreciation of superiority in the presence of a genuine piece of art depreciates to the dust his own performances. A poet with a true poetic sense, when he reads or hears some grand poetry like Paradise Lost, feels very low in his own view. So is it in other things in life.

3. The same feeling takes hold of the mind of man often when comparing himself with the material universe and its different creations in his outward form and physical capacities.

4. This sentiment also proceeds frequently from a review of the past conduct of one’s own life.

5. Self-depreciation is often the depressed language of the soul, when persecuted and cast out of society.

6. Once more, when the ills and miseries of life are calmly and seriously viewed, we ourselves being subjects of the same, the little we have done, or can do to diminish them, tends to self-depreciation.

IV. The soul’s weariness of life, and its special desire to be released from its burden. In many cases life is a burden, but it is a rare thing, nevertheless, to wish to get rid of the burden by being relieved of life. There are cases where it appears almost natural and religious for men to wish to die, which appear almost beyond the suspicion of wrong.

1. When a person thinks that his work is done in this life, and he cannot be of much use any longer.

2. When an individual becomes helpless, and requires the time and attention of others to attend to him, he feels he is in the way, and cannot compensate for the least done to him.

3. When, by his close communion with the Divine and the heavenly, the soul is more at home from the world than in it.

4. When it is submitted, as in the case of Elijah, to the hand and will of God. (T. Hughes.)

The Order of the Juniper tree

Some while ago in passing through Edinburgh we noticed the procession of a friendly society whose banner declared it to belong to the Order of the Juniper tree. Many of us belong to that order, and it may prove useful to consider the suggestive contrast established by these two texts. In the one, the prophet sinks in despair; in the other, he is carried triumphantly into heaven. What has this to do with us? It presents in a dramatic form the experience of God’s people in an ages.

I. The sharp contrast in these texts is worthy of being remembered in days of worldly adversity. Times of misfortune and disaster not uncommonly induce the mood expressed in the first text. Having suffered the wreck of our circumstances, schemes, happiness, and hopes, we court the shade of the juniper tree and pour out bitter lamentations. What is there to live for? We are failures, and the sooner we are out of the way the better.

1. It is only through discipline that we are fit for glorification. Cars of fire, horses of fire, a path beyond the stars, luminous diadems! we are presumptuous enough to think that at any time we are ready for these. But we are not ready. The perfection that qualifies for high places comes only through some form of suffering.

2. Only God knows when we are fit for glorification. “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life.” Are we sure about this enough? When you chastise a child, you find that his opinion and yours wary considerably as to what is enough.

II. We may remember the strong contrast of these texts in days of spiritual despondency. Times of deep depression come in our spiritual history. Wesley’s new life began in glorious experiences in Aldersgate Street, yet within a year of these glowing feelings we find that he suffered sad relapses into darkness and doubt; he even wrote, “I am not a Christian now.” We feel worsted in the spiritual conflict, losing confidence and hope. These sad days of humiliation and despondency need not be lost upon us. They bring home the lesson of our personal unworthiness and helplessness. “I am not better than my fathers.”

III. We may remember the strong contrast of our texts in days when we are disappointed by the results of our evangelical work. Elijah was smitten with despair about God’s cause. The scornful, scorching words of the wicked and wrathful queen unmanned him. All his grand hopes for his nation and race were to expire at the juniper tree. And very often do the strongest and best of men entertain similar misgivings. Yet Elijah was wrong. God works strangely, He works silently, He works slowly, but He works surely. The funeral was not to be that of Elijah. The one thing we must resolve upon is not to reason and question, but confidently to follow out all the lines and leadings of God in spiritual life and evangelical toil It is the fashion with some modem novelists to finish their stories in the most atheistic and despairing manner--the mystery and struggle of life ending in unconsoled sorrows, unrequited sacrifices, uncompensated wrongs, unanswered prayers and strivings; the palpable moral of such treatment being that there is no law, government, or purpose in human life. We know otherwise. We believe in the programme of God, so wise, so true, so good; and in our best moments we are confident that His programme cannot fail. (W. L. Watkinson.)


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 19:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness,.... Of Paran, which began near Beersheba, and was the wilderness of Arabia, in which the Israelites were near forty years; this day's journey carried him about twenty miles from Beersheba southward, as the above writer reckons:

and came and sat down under a juniper tree; Abarbinel supposes that Elijah chose to sit under this tree, to preserve him from venomous creatures, which naturalists say will not come near it; and PlinyF15Nat. Hist. l. 24. c. 8. indeed observes, that it being burnt will drive away serpents, and that some persons anoint themselves with the oil of it, for fear of them; and yet VirgilF16"Juniperi gravis umbra----" Bucol. Eclog. 10. ver. 76. represents the shade of a juniper tree as noxious; hence some interpreters take this to be a piece of carelessness and indifference of the prophet's, where he sat:

and he requested for himself that he might die; for though he fled from Jezebel to preserve his life, not choosing to die by her hands, which would cause her prophets to exult and triumph, yet was now desirous of dying by the hand of the Lord, and in a place where his death would not be known:

it is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life; intimating that he had lived long enough, even as long as he desired; and he had done as much work for God as he thought he had to do; he supposed his service and usefulness were at an end, and therefore desired his dismission:

for I am not better than my fathers that he should not die, or live longer than they; but this desire was not like that of the Apostle Paul's, but like that of Job and of Jonah; not so much to be with God and Christ, as to be rid of the troubles of life.


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 Rightes 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

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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, c take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.

(c) It is so hard to control our impatience in affliction, that the saints could not overcome the same.

Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-19.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Into the wilderness — The vast wilderness of Arabia. He durst not stay in Judah, tho' good Jehosaphat reigned there, because he was allied to Ahab, and was a man of an easy temper, whom Ahab might circumvent, and either by force or art seize upon Elijah.

It is enough — I have lived long enough for thy service, and am not like to do thee any more service; neither my words nor works are like to do any good upon these unstable and incorrigible people.

I am not better — That I should continue in life, when other prophets who have gone before me, have lost their lives.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-19.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

TIRED OF LIFE

‘He requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life.’

1 Kings 19:4

I. The wish for death, the weariness of life, is a phenomenon extremely common, and common because it arises from a multitude of causes; but those causes all run up into this, that, as Scripture expresses it, ‘man is born to sorrow, as the sparks fly upward.’ Rebuke this feeling as you will, you must deal with it as a fact, and as an experience of human life. The sense of failure, the conviction that the evils around us are stronger than we can grapple with, the apparent non-atonement for the intolerable wrong—there are hours when, under the incidents of these trials, even the noblest Christian finds it hard to keep his faith strong and his hope unclouded. Take any man who has spoken words of burning faithfulness, or done deeds of high courage in a mean and lying world, and the chances are that his life’s story was clouded by failure or closed in martyrdom.

II. In this chapter we have God’s own gracious way of dealing with this sad but far from uncommon despondency.—Elijah had fled into the wilderness, flung himself down under a juniper tree, and requested that he might die. How gently and with what Divine compassion did God deal with his despair! He spread for Elijah a table in the wilderness, and helped him forward on his way; only then, when his bodily powers had been renewed, when his faith had been strengthened, does the question come, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’ The vision and the still small voice may have brought home to the heart of Elijah one reason at least why he had failed. He had tried taunts and violence in the cause of God; he had seized heaven’s sword of retribution, and made it red with human blood. He had not learned that violence is hateful to God; he had to be taught that Elijah’s spirit is very different from Christ’s Spirit. And when God has taught him this lesson, He then gives him His message and His consolation. The message is, ‘Go, do My work again’; the consolation is, ‘Things are not so bad as to human eyes they seem.’

III. Those who suffer from despondency, should (1) look well to see whether the causes of their failure and their sorrow are not removable; (2) embrace the truth that when they have honestly done their best, then the success or the failure of their work is not in their own hands. Work is man’s; results are God’s.

Dean Farrar.

Illustrations

(1) ‘No doubt Elijah felt that his work was over, and prayed God to take his life away. And that only goes to show that now he was acting under the influence of a higher will than his own, and that if he had consulted his own inclination he would have stayed to die, for what did it matter by what death he entered into the presence of God? No doubt, also, he needed encouragement, but it was just to find the opportunity of giving it that God sent him out into the wilderness.’

(2) ‘Something may have been due to physical overstrain. There had been the strain of anticipation of that day on Carmel, the nervous tension of the day itself, the destruction of the priests of Baal, whose blood encrimsoned the Kishon River, and all these exhausting fatigues had culminated in the courier-run of eighteen miles ahead of Ahab’s chariot, the token of his willingness to show deference to the head of the nation. All these strenuous efforts were bound to have a natural reaction, in which probably his whole nature was involved, for there is a mysterious union between soul and body. The one reacts on the other, and depressed spirits are often directly attributable to the depressed condition of our physical health. At times, when we are conscious of overstrain, we should be more than ever on our guard against the attack of the great enemy of souls.’

(3) ‘Scripture does not flinch from telling us of the failure of its most representative characters. The Word of God holds the mirror up alternately the weakness or sinfulness of the saints, and then to the redeeming love and mercy of God, that the one may set forth the exceeding greatness of the other. God’s greatest heroes are but men at the best, and if there is a break, though only for a moment, in the union between them and the Lord, they will become weak as others. It is only by the grace of God that they are what they are.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-kings-19.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 4. But he himself went a day’s journey in the wilderness.] As not holding himself sufficiently safe in the land of Judah, because of the great correspondency that was betwixt Ahab and Jehoshaphat. Kings have long hands, and can despatch at a distance.

Came and sat under a juniper tree.] The shadow whereof driveth away serpents, saith Pliny, so that he might the more safely sleep there. The berries of this tree are hot, strong, and effectual to warm the stomach, &c. Talis est zelosus, saith one. Such is the true zealot, of whom that proverb of the Arabians is verified, Praestat granum piperis (vel iuniperi) decem peponibus, One corn of pepper is far beyond ten melons.

And he requested for himself that he might die.] He who so much feared to die by the hand of a woman, lest she and her chimney chaplains should triumph over him and the cause he defended, beggeth now to die by the hand of God, as having no longer joy of this mortal and miserable life. This showed that "Elias was a man subject to like passions" with others. [James 5:17] The holiest saint upon earth hath his qualms, his outbursts, as had Job, Jonah, Peter, Luther, &c. And how many such are there at this day that sit under Elias’s juniper, willing and wishing to lay down that heavy burden imposed upon them by the Almighty!

O Lord, take away my life.] Lest Jezebel take it from me. Little thought Elias now that he should one day be bodily translated into heaven. God of his goodness so provided for his servant, that neither Jezebel, nor death, which devoureth all men, should have power over him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-19.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Kings 19:4

I. The wish for death, the weariness of life, is a phenomenon extremely common, and common because it arises from a multitude of causes; but those causes all run up into this, that, as Scripture expresses it, "man is born to sorrow, as the sparks fly upward." Rebuke this feeling as you will, you must deal with it as a fact, and as an experience of human life. The sense of failure, the conviction that the evils around us are stronger than we can grapple with, the apparent non-atonement for the intolerable wrong—there are hours when, under the incidents of these trials, even the noblest Christian finds it hard to keep his faith strong and his hope unclouded. Take any man who has spoken words of burning faithfulness, or done deeds of high courage in a mean and lying world, and the chances are that his life's story was clouded by failure or closed in martyrdom.

II. In this chapter we have God's own gracious way of dealing with this sad but far from uncommon despondency. Elijah had fled into the wilderness, flung himself down under a juniper-tree, and requested that he might die. How gently and with what Divine compassion did God deal with his despair! He spread for Elijah a table in the wilderness, and helped him forward on his way; only then, when his bodily powers had been renewed, when his faith had been strengthened, does the question come, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" The vision and the still small voice may have brought home to the heart of Elijah one reason at least why he had failed. He had tried taunts and violence in the cause of God; he had seized Heaven's sword of retribution, and made it red with human blood. He had not learned that violence is hateful to God; he had to be taught that Elijah's spirit is very different from Christ's spirit. And when God has taught him this lesson, He then gives him His message and His consolation. The message is "Go, do My work again;" the consolation is "Things are not so bad as to human eyes they seem."

III. Those who suffer from despondency should: (1) look well to see whether the causes of their failure and their sorrow arc not removable; (2) embrace the truth that when they have honestly done their best, then the success or the failure of their work is not in their own hands. Work is man's; results are God's.

F. W. Farrar, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvi., p. 305.


I. Elijah's despondency was partly physical; it was his bodily weariness and discomfort that reacted upon his soul. The practical lesson from this is, that a believer ought, for his soul's comfort and profit, to obey God's material laws; that, for our soul's sakes, it becomes us to care for our bodies. We are to glorify God with our bodies and our spirits, which are His.

II. A second cause of Elijah's despondency doubtless was that his occupation was gone. The same cause tends to much of the religious despondency that exists among ourselves. It is wonderful how hard work will cheer and brighten all our thoughts and views.

III. A third cause which conduced to Elijah's despondency, and which conduces to the despondency of Christians still, is the sense of failure, the feeling that, having done our very best, we have failed in our work after all.

IV. A fourth cause of despondency peculiar to the Christian is the sense of backsliding, the feeling that he is going further from God, and that the graces of the Spirit are languishing and dying. The real reason of the disquiet and depression of many hearts is that they are not right with God; they have never truly and heartily believed in Jesus Christ. Get the great central stay made firm and strong, and all will be well; but if the key-stone of the arch be wrong, or even doubtful, then all is amiss. The great step towards trusting all to God as your Father is to be really persuaded that God is your Father, and that you are of their number to whom He has promised that "all things shall work together" for their true good.

A. K. H. B., Sunday Afternoons at the Parish Church, p. 259.


References: 1 Kings 19:4.—Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 3rd series, p. 63; F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 73; E. Monro, Practical Sermons on the Old Testament, vol. 1., p. 503; G. Calthrop, Temptation of Christ, p. 162; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Genesis to Proverbs, p. 79; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 140; J. Van Oosterzee, The Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 476; G. Bainton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 334. 1 Kings 19:5.—Ibid., vol. xxxi.,p. 36. 1 Kings 19:5-9.—J. R. Macduff, The Prophet of Fire, p. 159. 1 Kings 19:7.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Lent to Passiontide, p. 149.


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-kings-19.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Into the wilderness; the vast wilderness of Arabia. He durst not stay in Judah, though good Jehoshaphat reigned there, because he was allied to Ahab, and was a man of an easy temper, whom Ahab might circumvent, and either by force or art seize upon Elijah.

For himself, Heb. for his life, or his soul, that it might be taken away from his body. Or, with his soul, as it is Isaiah 26:9, i.e. he desired it heartily or fervently. Which he did, not only for his own sake, that he might be freed from his great fears and troubles; but especially from his zeal for God’s glory, which he saw was and would be dreadfully eclipsed by the relapse of the Israelites into idolatry, and by Elijah’s death, if it should be procured by the hands of Jezebel, or of the worshippers of Baal; and therefore he wished to die in peace, and by the hand of God.

It is enough; I have lived long enough for thy service, and am not like to do thee any more service; neither my words nor works are like to do any good upon these unstable and incorrigible people.

I am not better than my fathers, that I should continue in life, when other prophets who have gone before me have lost their lives by Jezebel, or other persecutors.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-19.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. A juniper tree — “A species of the broom plant, Genista roetam of Forskal. The Hebrew name רתם, rothem, is the same as the present Arabic name. The Vulgate, Luther, English Version, and others, translate it wrongly by juniper. It is the largest and most conspicuous shrub of the deserts of Sinai, growing thickly in the watercourses and valleys. The roots are very bitter, and are regarded by the Arabs as yielding the best charcoal. This illustrates Job 30:4, and Psalms 120:4 . Our Arabs always selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind; and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under a bush of retem to protect them from the sun.” — Robinson.

Requested for himself that he might die — Literally, besought his soul to die. See note on 1 Kings 17:22.

It is enough — I have lived long enough and seen sorrows enough. From this some infer that Elijah was now advanced in years.

Take away my life — “Strange contradiction,” says Kitto. “Here the man who was destined not to taste of death flees from death on the one hand, and seeks it on the other.”

Not better than my fathers — With all the Divine power and glory revealed in me, I am still as fallible and weak as they, and deserve to live no longer.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-19.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 19:4. He went a day’s journey into the wilderness — The vast wilderness of Arabia, wherein the Israelites wandered forty years. He durst not stay in Judah, though good Jehoshaphat reigned there, because he was allied to Ahab, and was a man of an easy temper, whom Ahab might circumvent, and either by force or art seize upon Elijah. He requested for himself — Hebrew, for his life, or his soul, that it might be taken away from his body. Or, with his soul, as it is Isaiah 26:9, that is, he desired it heartily or fervently; which he did, not only for his own sake, that he might be freed from his great fears and troubles; but especially from his zeal for God’s glory, which he saw was and would be dreadfully eclipsed by the relapse of the Israelites into idolatry, and by his death, if it should be procured by the hands of Jezebel, or of the worshippers of Baal; and therefore he wished to die in peace, and by the hand of God. And said, It is enough, now, O Lord — I have lived long enough for thy cause, and am not likely to do thee any more service; neither my words nor works are likely to do any good upon these unstable and incorrigible people. I am not better than my fathers — That I should continue, when other prophets who have gone before me have lost their lives.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-19.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Desert. It seems, towards Horeb. (Calmet) --- Tree. Hebrew Rothem, which term the Septuagint retain, "Rathmen." Symmachus has, "a shade." (Haydock) --- Die. Elias requested to die, not out of impatience or pusillanimity, but out of zeal against sin; and that he might no longer be witness of the miseries of his people, and the war they were waging against God and his servants. See ver. 10. (Challoner) --- He does not wish to fall into the hands of Jezabel, lest the idolaters should triumph: but he is willing to die, if God so order it. (Calmet) --- Mathathias entertained the like sentiments, 1 Machabees ii. 7. --- Fathers: that I should live longer than they did. (Menochius) (Ecclesiasticus xxx. 17.) --- If he had been weary of life, why did he flee? His answer to Achab shews that he was by no means timid. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-19.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

himself = his soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-19.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

Went a day's journey into the wilderness - on the way from Beer-sheba to Horeb [a wide expanse of sand-hills, covered with the rotem (Hebrew #7574) (not juniper, but broom shrub), whose tall and spreading branches, with their white leaves, afford a very cheering and refreshing shade]. 'The Rothem, or Retem,' says Robinson ('Biblical Researches,' 1:, p. 299), 'is the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing thickly in the valleys and water-courses. Our Arabs always selected the place of encampment (if possible) in a place where it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind; and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under a bush of retem, to protect them from the sun. Its roots are very bitter, and are regarded by the Arabs as yielding the best charcoal. It was in this very desert, a day's journey from Beer-sheba, which gave the name to one of the stations of the ancient Israelites, that Elijah lay, down and slept beneath a shrub of that name.' [The Septuagint retains the original name, hupokatoo Rathmen, under a Rathman; Syriac, under a terebinth tree.] His gracious God did not lose sight of His fugitive servant, but watched over him, and miraculously ministering to his wants, enabled him, in a better, but not wholly right frame of mind, by virtue of that supernatural supply, to complete his contemplated journey.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-19.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Juniper tree.—A sort of broom, found abundantly in the desert. It has been noted that its roots were much prized for charcoal, the “coal” of 1 Kings 19:6.

I am not better than my fathers.—The exclamation is characteristic. Evidently he had hoped that he himself was “better than his fathers” as a servant of God—singled out beyond all those that went before him, to be the victorious champion of a great crisis, “he, and he alone” (1 Kings 18:22; 1 Kings 19:10-14). Now he thinks his hope vain, and sees no reason why he should succeed when all who went before have failed. Why, he asks, should he live when the rest of the prophets have died?


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
sat down
13:14; Genesis 21:15,16; John 4:6
he requested
3; Numbers 11:15; 2 Kings 2:11; Job 3:20-22; Jeremiah 20:14-18; Jonah 4:3,8; Philippians 1:21-24
for himself
Heb. for his life. better.
Amos 6:2; Nahum 3:8; Matthew 6:26; Romans 3:9

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 19:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-19.html.

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