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soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house 19 For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in of Baasha : he left him not one that pisseth against the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of a wall, neither 'of his kinsfolk nor of his friends. Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make
12 Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, Israel to sin. according to the word of the LORD, which he spake 20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his ragainst Baasha by Jehu the prophet;
treason that he wrought, are they not written in the 13 For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which 21 Then were the people of Israel divided into two they made Israel to sin, in provoking the Lord God parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of of Israel to anger with their vanities.!
Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Oriri. 14 Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that 22 But the people that followed Omri prevailed he did, are they not written in the book of the chro- against the people that followed Tibni the son of nicles of the kings of Israel ?
Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned. 15 In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king 23 In the thirty and first year of Asa king of of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah." Judah began Omri sto reign over Israel, twelve And the people were encamped against Gibbethon," years : six years reigned he in Tirzah. which belonged to the Philistines.
24 And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for 16 And the people that were encamped heard two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the the name of the city which he built, after the name king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.' of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp. 25 But Omri wrought evil Pin the eyes of the
17 And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Lord, and did worse than all that were before him. Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.
26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the 18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made the city was taken, that he went into the palace of Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to the king's house, and burnt the king's house over anger with their vanities. him wwith fire, and died,
27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he
I Sam. 25. 22. or, both his kinsmen and his friends. ver. 3 t by the
I c. 15. 30. (Deut. 32. 21. 1 Sam. 12. 21. Is. 41. 29. Jon. 2. 8. Rom. 1. 21–23. I Cor. 8. 4. 10. 19. u ver. 8. c. 15. 27. u 2 Sam. 17. 23. Ps. 9. 16.
I c. 12. 28. 15. 26, 34. y Prov. 28. 2. Is. 9. 19-21. 19. 2. Mart. 12. 25. 2 Chr. 22. 2. Shomeron, o č. 13. 32. 2 Kings 17. 24. John 4,4. Acts 8. 5–8. p Mic. 6. 16. q ver. 19. r ver. 13. Acts 14. 15.
Because his idolatry was like his, and one of the sins for which perhaps, because the house of Baasha had ruled with more genGod contended with him, being the destruction of Jeroboam's tleness than the house of Jeroboam ; but Zimri shall feel the family, the more like the destruction of his own was to that, resentments of the provoked army; the siege of Gibbethon is the nearer did the punishment resemble the sin, as face answers quilted, (Philistines are sure to gain when Israelites quarrel,) to face in a glass.
and Zimri is prosecuted. 1. As then, so now, the king himself was first slain, but Elah II. How he conquered Zimri: he is said to have reigned 7 fell more ingloriously than Nadab; Nadab was slain in the days, (v. 15,) so long before Omri was proclaimed king, and field of action and honour, he and his army then besieging Gib- himself proclaimed traitor; but we may suppose it a longer bethon, (ch, 15. 27;) but the siege being then raised, upon that time before he died, for he continued long enough to show his disaster, and the city remaining still in the Philistines' hands, inclination to the way of Jeroboam, and to make himself obnoxthe army of Israel was now renewing the attempt, (v. 15,) and ious to the justice of God, by supporting his idolatry, v. 19. Elah should have been with them to command in chief, but he Tirzah was a beautiful city, but not fortified, so that Omri soon loved his own ease and safety better than his honour or duty, made himself master of it, (v. 17;) forced Zimri into the palace, or the public good, and therefore stayed behind to take his plea- which, being unable to defend, and yet unwilling to surrender, sure; and when he was drinking himself drunk in his servant's he burned, and himself in it, v. 18. Unwilling that his rival house, Zimri killed him, v. 9, 10. Let it be a warning to drunk- should ever enjoy that sumptuous palace, he burned it; and ards, especially to those who designedly drink themselves drunk, fearing that if he fell into the hands of the army, either alive or that they know not but death may surprise them in that condi- dead, he should be ignominiously treated, he burned himself in tion. (1.) Death comes easily upon men, when they are drunk; it. See what desperate practices men's wickedness sometimes beside the chronical diseases which men frequently bring them- brings them to, and how it hurries them into their own ruin ; selves into by hard drinking, and which cut them off in the see the disposition of incendiaries, who set palaces and kinge midst of their days, men, in that condition, are more easily doms on fire, though they are themselves in danger of perishing overcome by an enemy, as Amnon by Absalom, and are liable in the flame. to more bad accidents, being unable to help themselves. (2.) III. How he struggled with Tibni, and, at length, got clear Death comes terribly upon men in that condition, finding them of him; half of the people followed this Tibni, (v.21,) probably, in the act of sin, and incapacitated for any act of devotion; that those who were in Zimri's interest, with whom others joined, day comes upon them at unawares, (Luke 21.34,) like a thief. who would not have a king chosen in the camp, (lest he should
2. As then, so now, the whole family was cut off, and rooted rule by the sword, and a standing army,) but in a convention out; the traitor was the successor, to whom the unthinking peo- of the states; the contest between these two lasted some years, ple lamely submitted, as if it were all one to them what king and, it is likely, cost a great deal of blood on both sides, for it they had, so that they had one; the first thing Zimri did, was, was in the 27th year of Asa, that Omri was first elected, (v. 15,) lo sluy all the house of Baasha ; thus he held by cruelty what and thence the 12 years of his reign are to be dated; but it was he got by treason; his cruelty seems to have extended further not till the 31st year of Asa, that he began to reign without a than Baasha's did against the house of Jeroboam, for he left to rival; then Tibni died, it is likely, in battle, and Omri reigned, Elah none of his kinsfolk or friends, (v.11;) none of his avengers,
Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History of the World, so the word is, none that were likely to avenge his death; yet (1.2, c. 19, § 6,) inquires here, why it was, that in all these divine justice soon avenged it so remarkably, that it was used confusions and revolutions of the kingdom of Israel, they never as a proverb long after, Had Zimri peace, that slew his master thought of returning to the house of David, and uniting them2 Kings 9. 31. In this, (1.) The word of God was fulfilled, selves again to Judah, for then was it better for them than now ; v. 12. (2.) The sins of Baasha and Elah were reckoned for, and he thinks the reason was, because the kings of Judah aswith which they provoked God with their vanities, v. 13. Their sumed a more absolute, arbitrary, and despotic power, than idols are called their vanities, for they cannot profit or help; the kings of Israel; it was the heaviness of the yoke that they miserable are those whose deities are vanities.
complained of, when they first revolted from the house of David, V. 15—28. Solomon observes, (Prov. 28. 2,) that for the and the dread of that made them, ever after, averse to it, and transgression of a land, many were the princes thereof, (so it was attached to kings of their own, who ruled more by law, and the here in Israel,) but by a man of understanding the state thereof rules of a limited monarchy. shall be prolonged. So it was with Judah at the same time, IV. How he reigned, when he was, at length, settled on the under Asa; when men forsake God, they are out of the way of throne. 1. He made himself famous by building Samaria, rest and establishment; Zimri, and Tibni, and Omri, are
here (which, over after, was the royal city of the kings of Israel, striving for the crown. Proud aspiring men ruin one another, the palace at Tirzah being burned, and, in process of time, and involve others in the ruin; these confusions end in the set- grew so considerable, that it gave name to the middle part of tlement of Omri; we must therefore take him along with us, Canaan, which lay between Galilee on the north, and Judea on through this part of the story.
the south,) and to the inhabitants of that country, who were I. How he was chosen; as the Roman emperors often were, by called Samaritans. He bought the ground for two talents of the army in the field, now encamped before Gibbethon; notice silver, somewhat more than 700 pounds of our money, for a was soon brought thither, thai Zimri had slain their king, (v.16,) talent was 3531. 118. 10d. Perhaps, Shemer, who sold him and set up himself in Tirzah, the royal city, whereupon they the ground, let him have it considerably the cheaper, upon conchose Omri king in the camp, that they might, without delay, dition that the city should be called after his name, which other. avenge the death of Elah upon Zimri; though he was idle and wise, would have borne the name of the purchaser; it was intemperate, yet he was their king, and they would not tamely called Samario, or Shemeren, as it is in the Hebrew, from submit to his murderer, nor let the treason go unpunished; they Shemer, the former owner, v. 24. The kings of Israel changed did not attempt to avenge the death of Nadab upon Baasha, their royal seals ; Shechem first, then Tirzah, now Samaria;
u Deut. 7. 3. Josh. 23. 12,
he is called Elias.
did, and his might that he showed, are they not first-born, and set up the gates thereof in his written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Israel?
LORD, which he spake a by Joshua the son of Nun. 28 So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria : and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.
CHAPTER XVII. 29 And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king so sad was the character of both the princes and the people of Jørael in the forega of Judah, began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over ing chapter, tha
him oth; tut as an evidence to the contrary, Dever was israd so blessed with a Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Is
good prophet, as when it was po plagued with a bad ng never was king to rael, in Samaria, twenty and two years,
boli to sin ni Ahab, never was prophet so told to reprove and threaten aa Ehjah,
whose story begins in this chapter, and is full of wonders. Scarcely any part of 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight the Old Testament history shines brighter than the history of the spirit and of the Lord above all that were before him.
power of Elias; he only, of all the propheta, had the honour of Enoch, the first
prophet, to be translated, that he should not see death, and the honour of Moses, 31 And it came to pass, *as if it had been a the great prophet, to attend our Saviour in his transfiguration : other prophets
prophesied and wrote, he prophesied and acted, but wrüle nothing, but his actlight 'thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam
ings cast more lustre on his name than their writings on their In this chapter, the son of Nebat, that he took to wife "Jezebel the we have, I. His prediction of a famine in Jerael, through the want of rain, .i
II. The provision made for him in that famine, I. By the ravens at the brook daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians," and Cherith, V. 2-7. 2. When that failed, by a widow ai Zarephath, who received
him in the name of a propbet, and had prophet's reward : for, (L.) He muiliwent and served Baal, and worshipped him.
plied her meal and her oil, v. 9-16. (2.) He rassed her dead sou to bite, v. 1732 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the 24. Thus his story begins with judginenia and miracles, designed to awekea
that stupid generation that had so deeply corrupted the maelves. house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
33 And Ahab made a grove ;' and Ahab did more yto provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger habitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As athe than all the kings of Israel that were before him. LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand,
34 In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jeri- there «shall not be dew nor rain these years, but cho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his according to my word. . ver. 33. • ona it a light thing. 1 Ez. 8.17. 16. 47.
y ver. 30. c. 21. 25. z Josh. 6. 25. Mall. 24. 35. Elijalu. Luke 1, 17; 4. 25, 13. v Judg. TH. 7. W c. 21. 25, 26. 2 Kings 10. 18, &c. 17. 16. & 2 Kinga 13. 6.
G 2 Kings 3. 14. 6 Deut. 10, 8. c Luke 4. 25. Jam. 5. 17. 10. 21. 3. Jer. 17. 1. 2.
17. but the kings of Judah were constant to Jerusalem, the city of protect it, and put honour upon it. 2. He reared an altar in God: they that cleave to the Lord, fix; they that leave him, that temple, on which to offer sacrifice to Baal, by which they ever wander. ?. He made himself infamous by his wicked- acknowledged their dependence upon him, and sought his favour. ness, for he did worse than all that were before him, v. 25. O the stupidity of idolalers, who are at a great expense to Though he was brought to the throne with much difficulty, and make one their friend, whom they might have chosen whether Providence had remarkably favoured him in his advancement, they would have made a god or no! 3. He made a grove about yet he was more profane, or more superstitious, and a greater his temple ; either a natural one, by planting shady trees there, persecutor, than either of the houses of Jeroboam or Baasha; or, if those would be too long in growing, an artificial one in he went further than they had done, in establishing iniquity by imitation of it; for it is not said, He planted, but, He made a law, and forcing his subjects to comply with him in it; for a grove, something that answered the intention, which was to we read of the statutes of Omri, the keeping of which made conceal, and so, countenance, the abominable impurities that Israel a desolation, Mic. 6. 16. Jeroboam made Israel to sin, were committed in the filthy worship of Baal. He that doeth by temptation, example, and allurement; but Omri did it by evil, hateth the light. compulsion.
IV. One of his subjects, in imitation of his presumption, renV. How he ended his reign, v. 27, 28. He was in some tured to build Jericho, in defiance of the curse Joshua had long repute for the might which he showed; many a bad man has since pronounced on him that should attempt it, v. 34. It been a stout man. He died in his bed, as Jeroboam and Baa- comes in as an instance of the height of impiety men were then sha did themselves; but, like them, left it to his posterily to arrived at, especially at Bethel, where one of the calves was, bill up the measure, and then pay off the scores, of his iniquity. for of thai city this daring sinner was. Observe, 1. How ill
V. 29–34. We have the beginning of the reign of Ahab, of he did; like Achan, he meddled with the accursed thing; whom we have more particulars recorded, than of any of the turned that to his own use, which was devoted to God's honour : kings of Israel; we have here only a general idea given us of he began to build, in defiance of the curse well known in Israel, him, as the worst of all the kings, that we may expect what jesting with it, perhaps, as a bugbear, or fancying it was worn the particulars will be; he reigned 22 years, long enough to do out by length of time ; for it was above 500 years since it was a deal of mischief.
pronounced, Josh. 6. 26. He went on to build, in dehance of I. He exceeded all his predecessors in wickedness, did evil ihe execution of the curse in part; for though his eldest son above all that were before him, (v. 30 ;) and, as if it were done died, when he began, yet he would proceed in contempt of God, with a particular enmity both to God and Israel, to affront him, and his wrath revealed from heaven against his ungodliness, and ruin them, it is said, He did more, purposely to provoke the 2. How ill he sped; he built for his children, bu! God wrote Lord God of Israel to anger, and, consequenily, to send judge him childless; his eldest son died, when he began, the youngest, ments on his land, than all the kings of Israel that went before when he finished, and all the rest, (it is supposed,) between. him, v. 33. It was bad with the people, when their kings were Note, Those whom God curses, are cursed indeed; none ever each worse than the other; what would they come to at last ? hardened his heart against God, and prospered. God keep us He had seen the ruin of other wicked kings and their families; back from presumptuous sins, those great transgressions ! yet, instead of taking warning, his heart was hardened and en
NOTES TO CHAPTER XVII. raged against God by it. He thought it a light thing to walk in V.1--7. The history of Elijah begins somewhat abruptly : the sins of Jeroboam, v. 31. It was nothing to break the second usually, when a prophet enters, we have some account of his commandment by image worship, he would set aside the first parentage, are told whose son he was, and of what tribe ; but also by introducing other gods; his little finger should fall Elijah drops (so to speak) out of the clouds, as if, like Melchi. heavier upon God's ordinances than Jeroboam's loins. Make sedek, he were without father, without mo and without ing light of lesser sins makes way for greater; and they that descent, which made some of the Jews fancy that he was an cndeavour to extenuate other people's sins, will but aggravate angel sent from heaven; but the apostle has assured us that he their own.
was a man subject to like passions as we are, (Jam. 5. 17,) II. He married a wicked woman, who, he knew, would bring which perhaps intimates, not only that he was liable to the in the worship of Baal, and seemed to marry her with that common infirmities of the human nature, but that, by his design. As if it had been a light thing to walk in the sins of natural lemper, he was a man of strong passions, more hot and Jeroboam, he took to wife Jezebel, (v. 31,) a zealous idolater, eager than most other men, and therefore the more fil to deal extremely imperious and malicious in her natural temper, with the daring sinners of the age he lived in. So wonderfully addicted to witchcrafts and whoredoms, (2 Kings 9. 22,) and does God suit men to the work he designs them for ; rough every way vicious. The false prophetess spoken of Rev. 2. spirits are called to rough services; the reformation needed 20, is there called Jezebel; for a wicked woman could not be such a man a Luther, to break the ice. called by a worse name than hers: what mischiefs she diil, Observe, 1. His name; Elijahu, "My God Jehovah is he." and what mischief, at last, befell her, (2 Kings 9.33,) we shall (so it signifies,) "is he who sends me, and will own me, and find in the following story; this one strange wife debauched bear me out, is he to whom I would bring Israel back, and whe Israel more than all Solomon's.
alone can effect that great work." 2. His country: he was of III. Ho set up the worship of Baal, forsook the God of the inhabitants of Gilead, on the other side Jordan; either of Israel, and served the god of the Zidonians, Jupiter instead of the tribe of Gad, or that half of Manasseh, for Gilead was Jehovah ; the sun, so some think; a dejfied hero of the Pheni- divided between them: but whether a native of either of those cians, so others : he was weary of the golden calves, and thought tribes, is uncertain; the obscurity of his parentage was no prethey had worshipped them long enough: such vanities were judice to his eminency afterward; we need not inquire whence they, that those who had been fondest of them, at length grew men are, but what they are; if it be a good thing, no matter disgusted with them, and, like adulterers, must have variety, though it come out of Nazareth. Israel was sore wounded, In honour of this mock deity, whom they called Baal, lord, and when God sent them this balm from Gilead, and this physician for the convenience of his worship, 1. Ahab built a temple in thence. He is called a Tishbite, from Tishbe, a town in that Samaria, the royal city, because the temple of God was in country. Jerusalem, the royal city of the other kingdom; he would have Two things we have an account of here in the beginning of Baal's temple near him, that he might the better frequent it, I his story.
2 And the word of the LORD came unto him, 6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh saying,
in the morning, and bread and fesh in the evening : 3 Get thee thence, and turn thee eastward, and and he drank of the brook. hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before 7 And it came to pass, "after a while, that the Jordan.
brook dried up, because there had been no rain in 4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the the land. brook; and I have commanded the ravens dto feed 8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, thee there.
saying, 5 So he went, and did according unto the word 9 Arise, get thee to Zerephath, which belongeth of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook to Zidon, and dwell there behold, I have comCherith, that is before Jordan.
manded a widow woman there to sustain thee. d fa. 43. 20. Ps. 37. 3, 19. Is. 33. 16. Hab. 3. 17, 18. Mart. 6. 31–33. Luko N. 35. Heb. 13.5,6. • al the end of days. ; 01.20. Luke f. 26, talled Sarepta.
I. How he foretold a famine, a long and grievous famine, bread and flesh twice a day, daily bread, and food convenient. with which Israel should be punished for their sins; that fruita We may suppose that he fared not so sumptuously as the proful land, for want of rain, should be turned into barrenness, for phets of the groves, who did eal at Jezebel's table, (ch. 18. 19,) the iniquity of them that dwelt therein; he went, and told Ahab and yet better than the rest of the Lord's prophets, whom Obathis; did not whisper it to the people, to make them disatfected diah fed with bread and water, ch. 18. 4. "It ill becomes God's to the government, but proclaimed it to the king, in whose servants, especially his servants the prophets, to be nice and power it was to reforın the land, and so to prevent the judge curious about their food, and to affect dainties and varieties ; inent. It is probable that he reproved Ahab for his idolatry if nature be sustained, no matter though the palate be not and other wickedness, and told him that unless he repented pleased; instead of envying those who have daintier fare, we and reformned, this judgment would be brought upon his land. should think how many there are, better than we, who live comThere should be neither dew nor rain for some years, none but fortably upon coarser fare, and would be glad of our leavings. according to my word; that is, “Expect none, till you hear Elijah had but one meal brought him at a time, every morning from me again." The apostle teaches us to understand this, and every evening, to teach him not to take thought for the not only of the word of prophecy, but the word of prayer, which morrow ; let those who have but from hand to mouth, learn to turned the key of the clouds, Jam. 5. 17, 18. He prayed live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of the day in the earnestly, (in a holy indignation at Israel's apostacy, and a day; thank God for bread this day, and let to-morrow bring holy zeal for the glory of God, whose judgments were detied,) bread with it. that it might not rain; and, according to his prayers, the hea (2.) The caterers were very unlikely; the ravens brought it vens became brass, till he prayed again that it might rain. In him. 'Obadiah and others in Israel, that had not bowed the allusion to this story, it is said of God's witnesses, (Rev. 11.6,) knee to Baal, would gladly have enteriained Elijah ; but he was These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of a man by himself, and shall be fed in an extraordinary way; he their prophecy.
was a hgure of John the Baptist, whose meat was locusts and Elijah lets Ahab know, 1. That the Lord Jehovah is the wild honey. God could have sent angels to minister to him, as God of Israel, whom he had forsaken. 2. That he is a living he did afterward, (ch. 19. 5,) and as he did. to our Saviour, God, and not like the gods he worshipped, which were dead (Matt. 4. 11;) but he chose to send by winged messengers of dumb idols. 3. That he was his servant in office, and a mes- another nature, lo show that when he pleases, he can serve his senger sent from him; “It is he before whom I stand, to minis own purposes by the meanest creatures as effectually as by ter to him," or "whom I now represent, in whose stead I the mightiest. If it be asked, whence the ravens had this prostand, and in whose name I speak, in defiance of the prophets vision, how and where it was cooked, and whether they came of Baal and the groves.” 4. That notwithstanding the present honestly by it, we must answer, as Jacob did, (Gen. 27. 20,) peace and prosperity of their kingdom, God was displeased with The Lord our God brought it to them, whose the earth is, and them for their idolatry, and would chastise them for it the the fulness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein. But want of rain, which, when he withheld it, it was not in the why ravens? [1.] They are birds of prey, greedy devouring power of the gods they served, to bestow; for are there any of creatures, more likely to have taken his meat from him, or to the vanities of the heuthen, that can give rain? (Jer. 14. 22;) have picked out his eyes, (Prov. 30. 17;) but thus Samson's which would effectually prove their impotency, and the folly riddle is again unriddled, Out of the ealer comes forth meat. of those who left the living God, to make their court to such as [2.] They are unclean creatures ; every raven after his kind was could do neither good nor evil; and this be confirms with a by the law forbidden to be eaten, (Lev. 11. 15,) yet Elijah solemn oath, As the Lord God of Israel liveth; that Ahab did not think the meat they brought ever the worse for thai, but might stand the more in awe of the threatening, the divine life ate and gave thanks, asking no question for conscience' sake. being engaged for the accomplishment of it. He lets him Noah's dove was to him a more faithful messenger than his know what interest he had in heaven; It shall be according to raven ; yet here the ravens are faithful and constant to Elijah, my word. With what dignity does he speak, when he speaks [3.] Ravens feed on insects and carrion themselves, yet they in tud's name, as one who well understood that commission brought the prophet man's meat and wholesome food; it is pity of a prophet, (Jer. 1. 10,) I have set thee over the nations and that those who bring the bread of life 10 others, should themover the kingdoms. See the power of prayer, and the truth of selves take up with that which is not bread. [4.] Ravens could God's word; for he performeth the counsel of his messengers. bring but a little, and broken meat, yet Elijah was content with
II. How he was himself taken care of in that famine. such things as he had, and thankful that he was sed, though not
1. How he was hidden; God bade him go and hide himself feasted. (5.) Ravens neglect their own young.ones, and do not by the brook Cherith, v. 3.' This was intended, not so much for feed them; yet, when God pleases, they shall feed his prophet; his preservation, for it does not appear that Ahab immediately young lions and young ravens may lack, and suffer hunger, but sought his life, but as a judgment to the people, to whom, if he not they that fear the Lord, Ps. 34. 10. (6.) Ravens are thembad publicly appeared, he might have been a blessing, both by selves fed by special providence, (Job 38. 41. Ps. 147. 9,) and his instructions and his intercession, and so have shortened the now they feed the prophet. Have we experienced God's spe. days of their calamily; but God had determined it should last cial goodness to us and ours ? Let us reckon ourselves obliged, three years and a half, and therefore, so long, appointed Elijah thereby, to be kind to those that are his, for his sake. Let us lo abscond, that he might not be solicited to revoke the sen- learn from hence, First, To knowledge the sovereignty and tence, the execution whereof he had said should be according power of God over all the creatures; he can make what use he to his word. When God speaks concerning a nation to pluck up pleases of them, either for judgment or mercy. Secondly, To and destroy, he finds some way or other to remove those that encourage ourselves in God in the greatest straits, and never to would stand in the gap, to turn away his wrath; it bodes ill distrust him; he that could furnish a table in the wilderness, to a people, when good men and good ministers are ordered to and make ravens purveyors, cooks, and servitors, to his prophet, hide themselves; when God intended to send rain upon the is able to supply all our need according to his riches in glory. earth, then he bade Elijah go show himself to Ahab, ch. 18. 1. Thus does Elijah, for a great wbile, eat his morsels alone, and For the present, in obedience to the divine command, he went, his provision of water which he has, in an ordinary way, from and dwelt all alone in some obscure unfrequented place, where the brook, fails him before that which he had by miracle. The he was not discovered ; probably, among the reeds of the brook. powers of nature are limited, but not the powers of the God of If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes nature. Elijah's brook dried up, (v. 7.) because there was no us to acquiesce; when we cannot be useful, we must be patient, rain; if the heavens fail, earth fails of course ; such are all our and when we cannot work for God, we must sit still quietly for creature comforts; we lose them, when we most need them, him.
like the brooks in summer, Job 6. 15. But there is a river which 2. How he was fed; though he could not work there, having makes glad the city of God; that never runs dry, (Ps. 46. 4,) nothing to do but to meditate and pray, (which would help to a well of water that springs up to eternal life; Lord, give us prepare him for his usefulness afterward,) yet he shall eat, for that living water! he is in the way of his duty, and verily he shall be fed, in the day V.8--16. We have here an account of the further protection of famine he shall be satisfied. When the woman, the church, Elijah was taken under, and the further provision made for him, is driven into the wilderness, care is taken that she be fed and in his retirement; at destruction and famine he shall laugh, that nourished there, time, times, and half a time, that is, three years
has God for his Friend, to guard and maintain him; the brook and a half, which was just the time of Elijah's concealment. Cherith is dried up, but God's care of his people, and kindness See Rev. 12. 6, 14. Elijah must drink of the brook, and the to them, never slacken, never fail, but are still the same, are ravens were appointed to bring him meal, (v. 4,) and did so, still continued and drawn out to them that know him, Ps. 36. 10. v. 6. Here,
When the brook was dried up, Jordan was not; why did not (1.) The provision was plentiful, and good, and constant; God send him thither ? Surely, because he would show that ho Vol. I.-107
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10 So he arose, and went to Zarephath. And, and do as thou hast said : but make me thereof a when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the little cake first," and bring it unto me, and after widow woman was there gathering of sticks : and make for thee and for thy son. he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called of oil fail, until the day that the LORD *sendeth rain to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of upon the earth. bread in thine hand.
15 And she went, and did according to the say12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, ing of Elijah; and she, and he, and her house, did I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a bar- eat 'many days, rel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. LORD, which he spake by Elijah.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go, 17 And it came to pass, after these things, that 6 Gen. 21. 16. Jer. 14. 18. Lam. 4. 9. h Prov. 3. 9, 10. Mark 9. 41. Heb. 6. 10.
* giseth. or, a full year. I by ike herd of. has a variety of ways to provide for his people, and is not tied (4.) That she had a great confidence in the word of God; it to any one, God will now provide for him there where he shall was a great trial of her faith and obedience, when, having told have some company and opportunity of usefulness, and not be, the prophet how low her stock of meal and oil was, and that as he had been, buried alive. Observe,
she had but just enough for herself and her son, he bade her I. The place he is sent to; to Zarephath, or Sarepta, a city make a cake for him, and make his first, and aflet, prepare for of Sidon, out of the borders of the land of Israel, v. 9. Our herself and her son ; if we consider, it will appear as great a Saviour iakes notice of this as an early and ancient indication trial as could be, in so small a matter; “Let the children first of the favour of God designed for the poor Gentiles, in the ful- be served;" (might she have said ;) "charity begins at home; ness of time, Luke 4. 25, 26. Many widows were in Israel in I cannot be expected to give, having but little, and not knowing, the days of Elias, and some, it is likely, that would have bidden when that is gone, where to obtain more." She had much him welcome to their houses; yet he is sent to honour and bless more reason than Nabal to ask, "Shall I take my meat and my with his presence a city of Sidon, a Gentile city, and so becomes oil, and give it to one that I know not whence he is.” Elijah, it is (says Dr. Lightfoot) the first prophet of the Gentiles. Israel true, made mention of the God of Israel, (v. 14,) but what was had corrupted themselves with the idolatries of the nations, and that to a Sidonian? Or, if she had a veneration for the name were become worse than they ; justly therefore is the casting Jehovah, and valued the God of Israel as the true God, yet wbat off of them the riches of the world. Elijah was hated and driven assurance had she that this stranger was his prophet, or had out by his countrymen, therefore, Lo, he turns to the Gentiles, any warrant to speak in his name? It was easy for a hungry as the apostles were afterward ordered to do, Acts 18. 6. But vagrant to impose upon her; but she gets over all these objecwhy to a city of Sidon ? Perhaps, because the worship of Baal, tions, and obeys the precept, in dependence upon the promise ; which was now the crying sin of Israel, came lately from thence she went and did according to the saying of Elijah, v. 15. 0 with Jezebel, who was a Sidonian, (ch. 16.31;) therefore thither woman, great was thy faith; one has not found the like, no nol he shall go, that thence may be fetched the destroyer of that in Israel : all things considered, it exceeded that of the widow, idolatry; "Even out of Sidon have I called my prophet, my who, when she bad but two mites, cast them into the treasury; reformer." Jezebel was Elijah's greatest enemy; yet to show she took the prophet's word, that she should not lose by it, but it her the impotency of her malice, God will find a hiding-place should be repaid with interest. Those that can veniure upon for him even in her country; Christ never went among the the promise of God, will make no difficulty of exposing and Gentiles, except once into the coast of Sidon, Matt. 15. 21. emptying themselves in his service, by giving him his dues out
II. The person that is appointed to entertain him; not one of of a little, and giving him his part first. They that deal with the rich merchants, or great men of Sidon, not such a one as God, must deal upon trust; seek first his kingdom, and then Obadjah, that was governor of Ahab's house, and fed the pro- other things shall be added: by the law, the first-fruits were phets, but a poor widow woman, destitute and desolate, is com God's the tithe was taken out first, and the heave-offoring of manded (that is, made both able and willing) to sustain him. their dough was first offered, Num. 15. 20, 21. But surely the It is God's way, and it is his glory, to make use of, and put increase of this widow's faith, to such a degree as to enable her honour upon, the weak and foolish things of the world. He is, thus to deny herself, and to depend upon the divine promise, in a special manner, the widows' God, and feeds them, and was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase therefore they must study what they shall render to him. of her oil was, in the kingdom of providence. Happy are they,
III. The provision made for him there ; Providence brought who can thus, against hope, believe, and obey in hope. the widow woman to meet him very opportunely at the gate of 2. The care God took of her and her guest; the barrel of meal the eity, (v. 10,) and by what is here related of what passed wasted not, nor did the cruse of oil fail, but still as they took between Elijah and her, we find,
from them, more was added to them by the divine power, v. 16. 1. Her case and character; and it appears,
Never did corn or olive so increase in the growing (says Bishop (1.) That she was very poor and necessitous; she had nothing Hall) as these did in the using; but the multiplying of the seed to live upon, but a handful of meal, and a little oil, needy at the soun, (2 Cor. 9. 10,) in the common course of Providence, is an best, and now, by the general scarcity, reduced to the last instance of the power and goodness of God, not to be overlooked extremity; when she has eaten the little she has, for aught she because common. The meal and the oil multiplied, not in the yet sees, she must die for want, she and her son, v. 12. She hoarding but in the spending; for there is that scaltereth, and yet had no fuel but the sticks she gathered in the streets, and, hav- increaseth; when God blesses a little, it will go a great way, mg no servant, she must gather them herself, (v. 10;)
more even beyond expectation; as, on the contrary, though there be likely to receive alms than give entertainment; to her Elijah abundance, if he blow upon it, it comes to little, Hag. 1. 9.is sent, that he might still live upon Providence, as much as he 2. 16. did when the ravens fed him; it was in compassion to the low (1.) This was a maintenance for the prophet: still miracles estate of his handmaiden, that God sent the prophet to her, not shall be his daily bread; hitherto, he was fod with bread and to beg of her, but to board with her, and he would pay well for fesh, now, with bread and oil, which they used as we do butter; his table.
manna was both, for the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil, (2.) That she was very humble and industrious; he found Num. 11. 8. This Elijah was ihankful for, though he had been her gathering sticks, and preparing to bake her own bread, used to flesh, twice a day, and now had none at all: those that v. 10, 12. Her mind was brought to her condition, and she com- cannot live without Aesh, once a day, at least, because they have plains not of the hardship she was brought to, nor quarrels with been used to it, could not have boarded contentedly with Elijah, the Divine Providence for withholding rain, but accommodates no not to live upon a miracle. herself to it as well as she can ; such as are of this temper, in a (2.) It was a maintenance for the poor widow and her son, day of trouble, are best prepared for honour and relief from God. and a recompense to her for entertaining the prophet: there is
(3.) That she was very charitable and generous; when this nothing lost by being kind to God's people and ministers; she stranger desired her to go fetch him some water to drink, she that received a prophet, had a prophet's reward; she gave him readily went, at the first word, v. 10, 11. She objected not the house room, and he repaid her with food for the household. present scarcity of it, nor asked him what he would give her Christ has promised to those who open their doors to him, that for a dranght of water, for now it was worth money, nor hinted he will come in to them, and sup with them, and they with him, that he was a stranger, an Israelite, with whom, perhaps, the Rev. 3. 20. Like Elijah here, he brings to those who bid him Sidonians cared not for having any dealings, any more than the welcome, not only his own entertainment, but theirs too. See Samaritans, John 4. 9. She did not excuse herself on account how the reward answered the service; she generously made of her weakness through famine, or the urgency of her own one cake for the prophet, and was repaid with many for herself affairs; did not tell him she had 'something else to do than to and her son. When Abraham offers his only son to God, he is go on his errands, but left her gathering of the sticks for herself, told he shall be the father of multitudes; what is laid out in to fetch water for him, which perhaps she did the more will piety, or charity, is let ont to the best interest, upon the best ingly, being moved with the gravity of his aspect. We should securities. One poor meal's meat this poor widow gave the be ready to do any office of kindness, even to strangers; if we prophet, and in recompense of it
, she and her son did eat many have not wherewith to give to the distressed, we must be the days, (v. 15,) above two years, in a time of general scarcily: more ready to work for them; a cup of cold water, though it and to have their food from God's special favour, and to eat it in cost us no more than the labour of fetching, shall, in no wise, such good company as Elijah's, made it more than doubly swecl. lose its reward.
It is promisod to them that trust in God, that they shall not be
the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell | livered him unto his mother :m and Elijah said, See, sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was thy son liveth! no breath left in him.
24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now aby this 18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do I know that thou art a man of God, and that the with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth. to call *my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And
CHAPTER XVIN. he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft where he abode, and laid him upon his Welft the prophet Elijah wrapped up in obecurity ; it does not appear that either
the increase of the provision, or the raising of the child, bad made him taken own bed.
notice of at Zarephath, for then Ahab would have discovered him; he would 20 And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O rather do good than be known to do it: but in this chapter his appearance was a
public, as, before, his retirement was close ; the days appointed for his concealLord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon ment, (which was part of the judgment upon Israel,) being önishal, he is now the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her
commanded to show himself to Ahab, and expect rain upon the earth, v. 1.
Pursuant to this order, we have here, I. His interview with Obadiah, one of son?
Ahab's servants, by whom he sends notice to Ahab of his coming, v. 2-16. 11.
His interview with Ahab himself, v. 17–19. 111. His interview with all Israel 21 And he 'stretched himself upon the child
upon mount Carmel, in order to a public trial of titles, between the Lord and three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O
Baal; a most distinguished solemnity it was, in which, 1. Baal and his prophels
were confounded. 2. God and Elijah were honoured, s. 21-39, IV. The exeLord, my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul cution he did upon the prophets of Baal, v. 40. V. The return of the mercy of come into thim again!
rain, at the word of Elijah, v. 41–46. It is a chapter in which are many thing
very observable. 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he ND it came to pass, after many days, that the revived.
23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and "I down out of the chamber into the house, and de- will send rain upon the earth. i Luke 5. 8. k Job 13. 23, 26. Ez. 21.23, 24. I 2 Kings 4. 34, 35. • measured. m Heb. 11.35. n John 3. 2. 16. 3. ae. 17. I. 6 Deut. 28. 12. Ps. 147. 8. Jer. this imeand parts.
5. 24. 14. 22. Hob. 2. 21, 22. ashamed in the eril time, but in the days of famine they shall be v. 19. Probably, he had taken a particular kindness to the satisfied, Ps. 37. 19.
child, and found the affliction his own, more than by sympathy; V. 17–24. We have here a further recompense made to the he retired to his chamber, and, 1. He humbly reasons with God widow for her kindness to the prophet; as if it were a small concerning the death of the child, v. 20. He sees death strikthing to be kept alive, her son, when dead, is restored to life, ing by commission from God; Thou hast brought this evil; for and so restored to her. Observe,
is there any evil of this kind in the city, in the family, and the 1. The sickness and death of the child; for aught that ap- Lord has not done it? He pleads the greatness of the affliction pears, he was her only son, the comfort of her widowed estate. to the poor mother; “ It is evil upon the widow; thou art the He was fed miraculously, and yet that did not secure him from widows' God, and dost not usually bring evil upon widows; it sickness and death; Your fathers did eal manna, and are dead, is affliction added to the afflicted.". He pleads his own concern; but there is bread, of which a man may eat, and not die, which “It is the widow with whom I sojourn; wilt thou, that art my was given for the life of the world, John 6. 49, 50. This afllic- God, bring evil upon one of the best of my benefactors? I shall tion was to this widow as a thorn in the flesh, lest she should be reflected upon, and others will be afråid of entertaining me, be lifted up above measure with the favours that were done her, if I bring death into the house where I come.” 2. He earnestand the honours that were put upon her. 1. She was nurse to ly begs of God to restore the child to life again, v. 21. We do a great prophet, was employed io sustain him, and had strong not read, before this, of any that were raised to life; yet Elijah, reason to think the Lord would do her good; yet now, she loses by a divine impulse, prays for the resurrection of this child, her child. Note, We must not think it strange, if we meet which yet will not warrant us to do the like: David expected with very sharp afflictions, even then when we are in the way not, by fasting and prayer, to bring his child back to life, of duty, and of eminent service to God. 2. She was herself (2 Sam. 12. 23,) but Elijah had a power to work miracles, which nursed by miracle, and kept a good house without charge or David had not; he stretched himself upon the child, to affect care, by a distinguishing blessing from heaven; and in the himself with the case; and to show how much he was affected midst of all this satisfaction she is thus afflicted. Note, When with it, and how desirous he was of the restoration of the child, we have the clearest manifestations of God's favour and good he would, if he could, put life into him by his own breath and will toward us, even then we must prepare for the rebukes of warmth; also to give a sign of what God would do by his power, Providence; our mountain never stands so strong, but it may be and what he does by his grace, in raising of dead souls to a moved, and therefore, in this world, we must always rejoice spiritual life; the Holy Ghost comes upon them, overshadows with trembling.
them, and puts life into them; he is very particular in his prayer, II. Her pathetic complaint to the prophet, of this affliction; I pray thee let this child's soul come into him again ; which plainit should seem the child died suddenly, else she would have ap- ly supposes the existence of the soul in a state of separation plied to Elijah, while he was sick, for the cure of him; but from the body, and, consequently, its immortality, which, being dead, dead in her bosom, she expostulates with the pro Grotius thinks, God designed by this miracle to give intimationphet upon it, rather to give vent to her sorrow, than in any hope and evidence of, for the encouragement of his suffering people. of relief, v. 18.
IV. The resurrection of the child, and the great satisfaction 1. She expresses herself passionately; What have I to do it gave to the mother; the child revived, v. 22. See the power with thee, O thou man of God? How calmly had she spoken of prayer, and the power of Him who hears prayer, who kills of her own and her child's death when she expected to die for and makes alive. Elijah brought him to his mother, who, we want ; (v. 12,) That we may eat, and die! Yet now that her may suppose,
could scarcely believe her own eyes, and therechild dies, and not so miserably as by famine, she is extremely fore Elijah assures her it is her own;" It is thy son that liveth, disturbed at it: we may speak lightly of an affliction at a dis see it is thy own, and not another," v. 23. The good woman tance, but when it loucheth us, we are troubled, Job 4.5. Then hereupon cries out, Now I know that thou art a man of God; she spake deliberately, now in haste; the death of the child though she knew it before, by the increase of her meal, yet the was now a surprise to her, and it is hard to keep our spirits death of her child she took so unkindly, that she began to quescomposed, when troubles come upon us suddenly and unexpect- tion it; (a good man surely would not serve her so ;) but now edly, and in the midst of our peace and prosperity. She calls she was abundantly satisfied that he had both the power and him a man of God, and yet quarrels with him, as if he had oc- goodness of a man of God, and will never doubt of it again, but casioned the death of her child, and is ready to wish she had give up herself to the direction of his word, and the worshipnever seen him, forgetting past mercies and miracles; “What ping of the God of Israel. Thus the death of the child, like have I done againse thee?" So some understand it; "Wherein that of Lazarus, (John 11. 4,) was for the glory of God, and the have I offended thee, or been wanting in my duty ? Show me honour of his prophet. wherefore thou contendest with me." 2. Yet she expresses herself penitently ; Art thou come lo
NOTES TO CHAPTER XVII. call my sin to thy remembrance, as the cause of the affliction, V.1–16. In these verses we find, and so to call it to my remembrance, as the effect of the afllic I. The sad state of Israel at this time, upon two accounts: tion?" Perhaps she knew of Elijah's intercession against 1. Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, (v. 4,) slew them, Israel, and, being conscious to herself of sin, perhaps her former v. 13. Being an idolater, she was a persecutor, and made Ahab worshipping of Baal, the god of the Sidonians, she apprehends one. Even in those bad times, when the calves vere worshiphe had made intercession against her. Note, (1.) When God ped, and the temple at Jerusalem deserted, yet there were some removes our comforts from us, he remembers our sins against good people that feared God and served him, and some good us; perhaps the iniquities of our youth, though long since past, prophets that instructed them in the knowledge of him, and Job 13. 26. Our sins are the death of our children. (2.) When assisted them intheir devotions. The priests and the Levites God thus remembers our sins against us, he designs, thereby, were all gone to Judah and Jerusalem, (2 Chr. 11. 13, 14;) but to make us remember them against ourselves, and repent of instead of them, God raised up these prophets, who read and them.
expounded the law in private meetings, or in the families that III. The prophet's address to God, upon this occasion; he retained their integrity, for we read not of any synagogues at gave no answer to her expostulation, but brought it to God, and this time; they had not the spirit of prophecy as Elijah, nor Jaid the case before him, not knowing what to say to it himself: did they offer sacrifice, or burn incense, but taught people to he took the dead child from his mother's bosom to his own bed, I live well, and keep close to the God of Israel. These Jezebel