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Elijah entertained by a widow of

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Zarephath, whose provision is multiplied.

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A. M. 3094. the widow woman was there gather- || a little cake first, and bring it unto A. M. 3094.

ing of sticks: and he called to her, me, and after make for thee and for and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water thy son. in a vessel, that I may drink.

14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a mor- || shall the cruise of oil fail, until the day that sel of bread in thy hand.

the LORD 3 sendeth rain upon the earth. 12 And she said, As the LORD thy God 15 And she went and did according to the liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal | saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruise : and house, did eat * many days. behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neigo in and dress it for me and my son, that we ther did the cruise of oil fail, according to the may eat it, and die.

word of the LORD, which he spake 6 by Elijah. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not : go 17 9 And it came to pass after these things, and do as thou hast said : but make me thereof that the son of the woman, the mistress of the

* Heb. giveth. - Or, a full year.

* Heb. by the hand of.

sustain him. Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water with interest. “ Those that can venture upon the -Water, in consequence of the long drought, was promise of God," says Henry,“ will make no diffidoubtless scarce there as well as in the land of Is- | culty of exposing and emptying themselves in his rael; yet, being a pious woman, and therefore ready service, and giving him his dues out of a little, and to succour a stranger in distress, she readily goes to giving him his part first. They that deal with God, fetch it. He called and said, Bring me, I pray must deal on trust; seek first the kingdom of God, thee, a morsel of bread in thy handThis he and then other things shall be added. Surely,” adds probably said chiefly to try her, and to make way he, “the increase of this widow's faith to such a defor what follows. She said, As the Lord thy God gree as to enable her thus to deny herself, and to livethBy this she discovers, that though she was depend upon the divine promise, was as great a mia Gentile, yet she owned the God of Israel as the racle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase of her true God. I am gathering two sticks--A few sticks, oil was in the kingdom of providence. Happy they that number being often used indefinitely for any that can thus, against hope, believe and obey in small number. That we may eat it and die-For hope.” She and her house did eat many days—A having no more provision, we must needs perish with long time, even above two years before the followhunger. Although the famine was chiefly in the ing event about her son happened, and the rest of land of Israel, yet the effects of it were felt in Tyre the time of the famine. See how the reward anand Sidon, which were supported by the corn of swered the service! She generously made one that land. But what a poor supporter was this cake for the prophet, and was repaid with many for widow likely to be! who had no fuel, but what she herself and son! What is laid out in charity, is set gathered in the streets, and nothing to live upon out to the best interest, upon the best security. One herself, but a handful of meal and a little oil! To poor meal's meat this poor widow gave the prophet, her Elijah is sent, that he might live upon Provi- || and in recompense of it she and her son did eat dence, as much as he had done when the ravens fed many days, and probably some of her kindred too, him.

here included in the term her house, an expression Verses 13, 14. Make me thereof a little cake first which would hardly have been used of her one son. -This he requires as a trial of her faith, charity, Verse 16. The barrel of meal wasted not, &c.and obedience, which he knew God would gra- | But as much as they took out for their daily use, ciously and plentifully reward; and so this would be was immediately supplied by the almighty power a great example to encourage others to the practice of God. “Never did corn or olive so increase in of the same graces. Thus saith the Lord God of growing,” says Bishop Hall,“ as these did in using." Israel-In whom I perceive thou trustest. The They multiplied, observe, not in the hoarding, but barrel of mealThe meal of the barrel. So, the in the spending. For there is that scattereth, and cruise of oil is put for the oil of the cruise.

yet increaseth. When God blesseth a little, it will Verse 15. She did according to the saying of go a great way, even beyond expectation; as on the Elijah-Giving glory to the God of Israel, by be- contrary, though there be abundance, if he blow lieving his prophet. O woman, great was thy | upon it, it comes to little, Hag. i. 9, and ii. 19. faith! One has not found the like, no not in Is- Verse 17. There was no breath left in him-No rael. All things considered, it exceeded that of the soul or life, as the Hebrew word here used properly widow, who, when she had but two mites, cast them signifies. For, says Buxtorf, “ The Hebrews by into the treasury. She took the prophet's word that 0700), neshama, understand the rational and immorshe should not lose by it, but it should be repaid || tal soul, whence they are wont to swear by it: and

The ridow's son dies

CHAPTER XVII.

Elijah prays for his restoration.

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A. M. 3194. house, fell sick; and his sickness was || And he took him out of her bosom, A. M. 3094. B. C. 910.

so sore, that there was no breath left and carried him up into a loft, where in him.

he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 18 And she said unto Elijah, {What have I 20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slayand to slay my son ?

ing her son ? 19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. 21 6 And he 6 stretched himself

upon

the child

Luke v. 8.

8 2 Kings iv. 34.—Heb. measured.

he quotes Aben Ezra as an authority for rendering he was but a little child. And carried him up into the word, anima, sed humana tantum ; the soul, but a loft-A private place, where he might more freely only the human. The expression, however, here and fully pour out his soul to God, and use such only means that he died, as is manifest from the fol- gestures and methods as his heart inclined him to lowing verses. This was a terrible and unexpected use, without any offence or observation. And laid stroke to this widow, and, no doubt, was sent for the him upon his own bedSo that it was the room further trial of her faith and patience. She had re- where he lodged, though near the top of the house. ceived a great prophet into her house, was employed And he cried unto the Lord-And, in his prayer, to sustain him, and had reason to think that surely humbly reasons with God concerning the death of the Lord would do her good; yet now she loses her the child, using most powerful arguments. Thou son. We must not think it strange if we meet with art the Lord, that canst revive the child ; and my very sharp afflictions, even when we are in the way | God, and therefore wilt not deny me. She is a of duty, and of eminent service to God: nay, and widow, add not affliction to the afflicted; deprive when we have the clearest manifestations of God's her not of the support and staff of her age: she hath favour and good-will toward us, even then we given me kind entertainment: let her not fare the should prepare for the rebukes of his providence; i worse for her kindness to a prophet, whereby wickour mountain never stands so strong but it may be led men will take occasion to reproach both her and moved, and therefore, in this world, we ought al- religion. ways to rejoice with trembling.

Verse 21. He stretched himself upon the child Verse 18. She said, What have 1 to do with thee, three times—Not as if he thought this could contriO thou man of God ?—Wherein have I injured or bute any warmth or life to the child; but partly to offended thee, or been wanting in my duty ? Or, | express, and withal to increase, his grief for the why didst thou come to sojourn in my house, if this child's death, and his desire of its reviving; that be the fruit of it? They are the words of a troubled thereby his prayers might be more fervent, and conmind. How unconcernedly had she spoken of her sequently more prevalent with God: and partly to own and her son's death, when she expected to die give a sign of what God would do by his power, for want, (verse 12,) That we may eat it and die; and what he doth by his grace in the raising of souls yet now her son dies, and not so miserably as by dead in sin to a spiritual life: the Holy Ghost comes samine, and she is extremely disturbed at it. We upon them, and the power of the Highest overshadows may speak slightly of an affliction at a distance, but them, and puts life into them. Let this child's soul when it toucheth us, we are troubled, Job iv. 5. Art come into him again-By this way of speaking, thou come to call my sin to remembrance ?- That Elijah expressed his certainty that the child's soul thou mightest severely observe my sins, and by thy had left his body, and that he was properly dead. prayers bring down God's just judgment upon me And he asks, not that he might be recovered from a for them, as thou hast, for the like cause, brought | fainting fit, swoon, or trance; but reanimated by down this famine upon the nation? She may mean, the departed soul, and raised from the dead. This either, Ist, Her own remembrance; that she should certainly was a great and most extraordinary reby this dreadful judgment be brought to the know- | quest, and such as there is every reason to think ledge and remembrance of her sins which had pro- | had never been asked of God before by any human cured it: or, rather, 2d, God's remembrance; for creature. Certainly he had no precedent to plead God is often said in Scripture to remember sins | for requesting such a thing, much less did he know when he punishes them, and to forget them when of an instance of any mortal's resurrection having he spares the sinner, 2 Sam. xvi. 10. Has God taken place in answer to any one's prayers or othertaken occasion from thy abiding in my house, and wise. Nevertheless, he was encouraged and induced my not making the improvement I ought to have to make this request, partly by his zeal for God's made by thee, to punish this and my former sins by honour, which he judged was concerned in it, and suddenly cutting off my son ? And have I, instead | would be eclipsed, if the child of this widow remainof the comfort and blessing I expected, met with a ed in death; partly by the experience which he had severe chastisement and curse ?

of his prevailing power with God in prayer; and Verses 19, 20. Give me thy son—Into my arms. | partly by a divine influence, moving him to desire He took him out of her bosom-By which it appears I the child's restoration to life.

Elijah is commanded to

I. KINGS.

show himself to Ahab.

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and said, O LORD my God, I pray the house, and delivered him unto his thee, let this child's soul come ' into him again. mother; and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.

22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; 24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by and the soul of the child came into him again, this 'I know that thou art a man of God, and and he h revived.

that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is 23 And Elijah took the child, and brought truth.

? Heb. into his inward parts.

h Heb. xi. 35.

i John iii. 2; xvi. 30.

Verse 22. The soul of the child came into him Verses 23, 24. Elijah said, See, thy son liveth— again–The reader will easily observe, that this | And see the power of prayer, and the power of him phraseology of the sacred historian, like that of the that hears and answers prayer, that kills and makes prophet in the former verse, (and they both spoke alive. The woman said, Nou by this I know that by inspiration of God,) plainly signifies the distinc- thou art a man of GodThough she believed it tion between the rational soul and earthly body to before, and termed him a man of God, (verse 18,) be as real as that between the house and its inhabit- which she might well do, having been a daily witant, and supposes the existence of the former in a ness of the miraculous increase of the meal and state of separation from the body, and consequently oil; yet, when she saw he did not cure her sick its immortality: and, probably, as Grotius thinks, child, but suffered him to grow worse, and die, she God might design by this miracle to give an evi- | began to doubt of it: but upon seeing her son redence hereof for the encouragement of his suffering | vive, her faith revived with him, and was mightily people. And he revived-As by an extraordinary confirmed. For, through the joy of having him and supernatural stroke of affliction, God had taken restored to her again, this latter miracle appearaway the child's life for the trial of the faith, both ed to her much greater than the former. The of the prophet and the woman; so, to strengthen word of the Lord in thy mouth is truthThe the faith of both, as well as for the vindication of the God whom thou professest to believe in, is the true religion, and the manifestation of his own glory only true God; and the doctrine and religion in opposition to idols, in that most dark and dege- | which thou teachest, is the only true religion; and nerate age, he restored the child to life, and thereby therefore henceforth I wholly renounce the woranswered the prayer which he himself had inspired. I ship of idols.

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CHAPTER XVIII.
Elijah sends notice to Ahab of his coming, 1-16. His interview with Ahab, 17–19. His interview with all Israel upon

mount Carmel, 21–39. He slays the prophets of Baal, 40. Obtains rain, and runs before Ahab to Jezreel, 41-46. A. M. 3098.

AN ND it came to pass after a many || came to Elijah in the third year, A. M. 3098. B. C. 906.

B. C. 906. days that the word of the LORD saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab;

a Luke iv. 25; | James v. 17.

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NOTES ON CHAPTER XVIII.

the rain of reaping and ingathering, because, fallVerse 1. The word of the Lord came to Elijah ing about the vernal equinox, in the month answerin the third year-Our Lord and St. James say, the ing to our March, it prepared the corn for harvest, drought continued three years and six months, (Luke by causing the ears to fill and ripen. Now, at the iv. 25; James v. 17;) nor do they contradict what is beginning of the drought, Ahab might very probably here asserted: for, we must remember, that as Egypt impute the want of rain to natural causes; but when, had usually no rain, but was watered by the river after six months, neither the former nor the latter Nile, so the land of Canaan had generally none, ex- rain fell in its season, he began to be enraged at cept twice a year, which they called the early and Elijah, as the cause of this national judgment; which latter rain. The former of these, termed 7771, joree, forced him, at God's command, to save his life by quod terram quasi erudiat et informet ad producen- | flight. And from that time the three years here dam semen, because it, as it were, instructed and mentioned are to be computed; though from the taught, that is, prepared, the earth to bring forth first notice which Elijah gave to Ahab of this apthe seed, was the autumnal rain, and fell in the proaching calamity, to the expiration of it, were cermonth answering to our October. The latter was tainly three years and a half. During the first of termed vipya, malkosh, quasi collectionis pluvia, the three years here referred to by the historian,

92

The meeting of Elijah

CHAPTER XVIII.

and Obadiah, Ahab's steward.'

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2 And Elijah went to show himself grass to save the horses and mules unto Ahab.

And there was a sore famine in | alive, 4 that we lose not all the beasts. Samaria.

6 So they divided the land between them to 3 9 And Ahab called Obadiah, which was pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by ? the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah || himself, and Obadiah went another way by feared the LORD greatly:

himself. 4 For it was so, when 3 Jezebel cut off the 7 1 And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took a hun-Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell dred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord and fed them with bread and water.)

Elijah ? 5 And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the 8 And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy land unto all fountains of water, and unto 'all lord, Behold, Elijah is here.

Deot uvii. 12.

Heb. Obadiahu.

- Heb. over his house. : Heb. Izebel.

- Heb. that we cut not off ourselves from the beasts.

Elijah was by the brook Cherith, and the two latter the Lord, when they did not go up to Jerusalem to at Zarephath ; near the end of which God took pity worship, as God had commanded ?" Although they on the country, having fulfilled the threatening de- seem not to be wholly excusable in this neglect, yet nounced by his prophet, and thereby set his seal to because they worshipped God in spirit and in truth, the truth of his word. Saying, Go show thyself to , and performed all moral duties to God and their Akat-It does not appear that either the miraculous' brethren, and abstained from idolatry, being kept increase of the provision, or the raising of the dead from Jerusalem by violence, God bore with their cbiid, had caused Elijah to be taken notice of at infirmity herein. Zarephath, otherwise Ahab would easily have dis- Verse 4. When Jezebel cut off the prophets of covered him: but now the days appointed for his the Lord—The name of prophets was not only concealment being finished, he is commanded to given to such as were endowed with an extraordicome out of his obscurity, and to show himself to nary spirit of prophecy, but to such ministers of the king; in consequence of which, his appearance religion as devoted themselves to the service of soon became as public as before his retirement was God, in preaching, praying, and praising him. close. I will send rain on the earth-Accord- | There were schools of these prophets, it is likely, ing to thy word, and in answer to thy prayer. He still remaining in Israel; but Jezebel endeavoured was to acquaint Ahab with the cause of the judg- | both to destroy the schools, and those that were ment, and to advise him to remove that cause; and brought up in them, in order that none might be on that condition to promise him rain. Thus God left to instruct the people in the true religion. Obatook care to maintain the honour of his prophet, and diah-hid them by fifty in a cave--At the hazard in judgment remembered mercy to Israel, for the of his own life, and against the king's command; sake of the holy seed yet left among them, who wisely considering that no command of an earthly suffered in this common calamity.

prince could overrule the command of the King Verse 2. Elijah went-In this he showed strong of kings. And fed them with bread and walerfaith, resolute obedience, and invincible courage, in Sent them meat and drink privately every day. See that he durst, at God's command, run into the mouth how wonderfully God raises up friends for his minof this raging lion. There was a sore famine in 1 isters and people, where one would least expect Simaria-Which made it the more dangerous for them! him to appear in Ahab's presence; lest, being so Verses 5, 6. Go unto all fountains of water, and sorely afflicted, he should in his rage cause him to unto all brooks--About which grass was most probe killed before he could deliver his message to him. | bably to be found in that great drought; that we

Verse 3. Obadiah, who was governor of his house lose not all the beasts-Many, it appears, were al-Intrusted with the management of the affairs of ready dead for want of grass, which he hoped they his family, and highly valued by him on account of | might find in such moist places, sufficient to prehis singular prudence and fidelity. Now Obadiah serve, at least, a part of the rest. Ahab went one feared the Lord greatly-Was a truly pious man, / way by himself-Not daring to trust any other, and worshipped Jehovah alone, with sincere and Obadiah excepted; lest, being bribed by such as ferrent affection to his service. This circumstance, had grass for their own use, they should not give one might have supposed, would have made Ahab him a true account. discard, if not persecute him; but it is likely he Verses 7, 8. He knew him, and fell on his face found him so very useful a servant, that for his 1-Showing his great respect and love to him, by own advantage, he connived at his not worshipping this profound reverence. Art thou that my lord Baal and the calves. But, it will be said, “How | Elijah ?--As Obadiah had showed the tenderness of could he and some other Israelites be said to fear || a father to the sons of the prophets, so he showed

The meeting of

I. KINGS.

Ahab and Elijah.

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9 And he said, What have I sinned, || Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, A. M. 3098.

that thou wouldest deliver thy servant how I hid a hundred men of the into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?

LORD's prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed 10 As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no them with bread and water? nation or kingdom whither my lord hath not 14 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Besent to seek thee; and when they said, He is hold, Elijah is here; and he shall slay me. not there; he took an oath of the kingdom 15 And Elijah said, As the Lord of hosts livand nation, that they found thee not.

eth, before whom I stand, I will surely show 11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, myself unto him to-day. Behold, Elijab is here.

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told 12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah. am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the 17 And it came to pass when Ahab saw EliLORD shall carry thee whither I know not; | jah, that Ahab said unto him, d Art thou he and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he that e troubleth Israel ? cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy 18 1 And he answered, I have not troubled servant fear the Lord from my youth. Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, 'in 13 Was it not told my lord what I did when that ye have forsaken the commandments

2 Kings ii. 16; Ezek. iii. 12, 14 ; Matt. iv. 1 ; Acts viii. 39.

à Ch. xxi. 20.

- Josh. vii. 25; Acts xvi. 20.

2 Chron. xv. 2.

the reverence of a son to this father of the prophets; occurred before this time, as we know they did and by this he made it appear, that he did indeed | after. See the margin. He shall slay me–Either fear the Lord greatly, in that he did such honour as an impostor that has deluded him with vain to one that was God's extraordinary ambassador, hopes, or rather, because I did not seize upon thee and had a great interest in heaven. Go tell thy || forthwith, and bring thee to him. But I thy serlord, Behold, Elijah is hereThus, though Ahab vant fear the Lord from my youth-He speaks not was a very wicked man, he owns him for Obadiah’s | these or the following words in a way of boasting; lord and king; thereby instructing us, that the wick- but only for his own necessary vindication and preedness of kings doth not exempt their subjects from servation, that he might move the prophet to spare obedience to their lawful commands.

him, and not put him upon that hazardous action; Verses 9, 10. What have I sinned, &c.—Wherein | which yet, it appears, he was resolved to perform, have I so offended God, and thee his prophet, that if Elijah peremptorily required it. thou shouldest inflict this punishment upon me, and Verses 15, 16. As the Lord of hosts livethWho thus expose me to certain ruin? For that he con- || commands all creatures in heaven and earth. He cluded would be the effect of such a message deli- mentions this title as his shield, under the protecvered by him to Ahab, as he shows by what follows. | tion of which he durst venture to come, and did There is no nation or kingdom, &c.—Namely, near come, into Ahab's presence; before whom I stand to his own, where he could in reason think Elijah - Whom I serve as one of his ministers; I will had hid himself. We must often understand general surely show myself to him to-day-For a greater expressions with such limitations. He took an oath king than he, the Lord of all things, will preserve of the kingdom and nation, &c.—Such was the in-me. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab-The solemn veteracy and eagerness with which Ahab sought oath of Elijah made him readily obey; as convincElijah, that he was not content with merely sending | ing him fully that the prophet seriously intended to messengers thoughout his own and the neighbouring see Ahab, which he before suspected he did not. kingdoms to seek him, but even required an oath of No doubt it was a great surprise to Ahab to hear the chief persons in each kingdom, (having obtained that Elijah, whom he had so long sought and not the consent of the ruling powers therein for that found, was now found without seeking. purpose,) that they did not know any thing of him; Verses 17, 18. Art thou he that troubleth Israel ? and probably further, that they would immediately Have I at last met with thee, 0 thou disturber of deliver him up, if they should find that he had come my kingdom, the author of this famine, and of all among them. But God's providence was greater our calamities? He answered, I have not troubled than Ahab's malice, and effectually secured the pro- || Israel—These calamities are not to be imputed to phet, notwithstanding all he could do.

me, but to thine and thy father's wickedness. They Verse 12. The Spirit of the Lord shall carry trouble a nation who break the laws of God, not thee whither I know not-Shall snatch thee away they who keep and defend them. Elijah answered from hence, so that thou shalt not be found; in-him boldly, because he spake in God's name, and stances of such sudden transportations of the pro- | for his honour and service. Ye-All of you; hare phets, by an invisible power, to places far distant forsaken the commandments of the Lord–The from those where they were, having undoubtedly | whole nation almost had cast off the yoke of the

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