1 Kings chapter 19

Elijah flees for his life. Elijah hears a gentle whisper. Elijah anoints his own successor.

 


 

ELIJAH FLEES FOR HIS LIFE

 

VERSE 1. Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.

Ahab told Jezebel. That is, king Ahab tells queen Jezebel.

 

VERSE 2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I don’t make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time!”

Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah. Jezebel rages out.

Jezebel does not restrain her rage.

 

VERSE 3. When he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

he arose. Elijah recognizes this as an authentic threat.

ran for his life. Elijah is running for his life. It is remarkable that he is so terrified.

came to Beersheba. Elijah ran all the way through the kingdom of Judah, to the southernmost town of Beersheba.

his servant. Probably an understudy. Or a secretary.

 

VERSE 4. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree. Then 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.”

a day’s journey. That is, about 15 miles.

into the wilderness. That is, the Negev desert.

a juniper tree. This is a desert bush that grows to a height of 12 feet. It is also called a broom tree.

he requested for himself that he might die. Elijah is in the depths of despair.

 

VERSE 5. He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat!”

behold, an angel touched him. Elijah is given an authentic visitation.

This angel probably appeared in the form of a human being. That was the most common manifestation in the Old Testament era.

 

VERSE 6. He looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on the coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again.

He ate and drank. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed, eating can help us recover.

 

VERSE 7. The LORD’s angel came again the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”

 

ELIJAH HEARS A GENTLE WHISPER

 

VERSE 8. He arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, God’s Mountain.

Horeb, God’s Mountain. The distance from Beersheba to Mount Horeb was approximately 200 miles.

Mount Horeb is also known as Mount Sinai. It is the place where the LORD God revealed himself to Moses and the nation.

 

VERSE 9. He came to a cave there, and camped there; and behold, the LORD’s word came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

What are you doing here. The LORD God had not directed Elijah to this place. Instead, Elijah came here out of fear.

 

VERSE 10. He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of Hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

I, even I only, am left. Elijah knew he was not the only one left. But he felt alone.

 

VERSE 11. He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” Behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

 

VERSE 12. After the earthquake a fire passed; but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a still small voice.

 

VERSE 13. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle, went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. Behold, a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah heard it. Elijah recognizes this as a revelation of Most High God.

stood in the entrance of the cave. Elijah is waiting for the LORD God to do something.

 

VERSE 14. He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of Hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

 

ELIJAH ANOINTS HIS OWN SUCCESSOR

 

VERSE 15. The LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.

Go, return on your way. In the past, the LORD God worked through Elijah in spectacular ways. But now he will work through Elijah in gentler, less dramatic ways.

Hazael to be king over Syria. Elijah is given three assignments:

  • anoint Hazael as the next king of Syria (verse 15)
  • anoint Jehu as the next king of Israel (verse 16)
  • anoint Elisha as his own successor (verse 16)

When someone is stuck in the depths of despair, an assignment can help them get going.

 

VERSE 16. Anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel; and anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah to be prophet in your place.

Anoint Jehu. Elijah is given three assignments:

  • anoint Hazael as the next king of Syria (verse 15)
  • anoint Jehu as the next king of Israel (verse 16)
  • anoint Elisha as his own successor (verse 16)

When someone is stuck in the depths of despair, an assignment can help them get going.

 

VERSE 17. He who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and he who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill.

Elisha. This is the first time Elisha is mentioned.

 

VERSE 18. Yet I reserved seven thousand in Israel, all the knees of which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.”

seven thousand in Israel. Elijah is not alone. There are 7,000 whose faith is pure.

 

VERSE 19. So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and put his mantle on him.

he departed from there. Elijah was given three assignments. He first designates his own successor.

We have the sense that Elijah is still overwhelmed. So he names his successor.

Elisha the son of Shaphat. The name “Elisha” means “My God is salvation.”

put his mantle on him. Throwing your cloak around someone symbolized the passing of your prophetic power and authority to that individual.

 

VERSE 20. Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me please kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” He said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?”

Elisha left the oxen. Elisha realizes the meaning of being given Elijah’s cloak.

Immediately Elisha abandons his occupation and follows Elijah.

what have I done to you? This is an idiom meaning, “Do as you please.”

 

VERSE 21. He returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, killed them, and boiled their meat with the oxen’s equipment, and gave to the people; and they ate. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and served him.

For Elisha, there is no turning back. He burns his bridges. He slaughters his twelve oxen and burns his plows.

He holds a farewell banquet, with his sacrificed animals as the food.

Then he arose, and went after Elijah. Now Elisha is the servant and disciple of the prophet Elijah.

 


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1 KINGS

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