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2 And Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab. 8 And he ansivered him, I am : go, tell thy And there was a sore famine in Samaria.
lord, Behold, Elijah is here. 3 And Ahab called *Obadiah, which was the 9 And he said, What have I sinned, that thou governor of his house.
(Now Obadiah feared the wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, Lord greatly :
to slay me? 4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the pro 10 As the Lord thy God liveth, there is no naphets of the LORD, that Obadiah took dan hundred tion or kingdom whither my lord hath not sent to prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed seek thee: and when they said, He is not there, he them with bread and water.)
took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they 5 And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, found thee not. unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: 11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Beperadventure we may find grass to save the horses hold, Elijah is here. and mules alive, that we slose not all the beasts. 12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am
6 So they divided the land between them, to pass gone from thee, that the Spirit of the Lord shall throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come Obadiah went another way by himself
and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay 7 And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, youth. and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?
13 Was it not told my lord what I did when i Obadiahk. 1 oder his house. c Neh. 7. 2. 1 Izebel. d Neb. 5. 15. e Ps. cu! not of ourselves from the beasts. s 2 Kings 2. 16. Es. 3. 12, 14. Matt. 4. 31. 9. to. Ix. 33. 16.
1. Acts 8. 39. g Prov. 8. 13. Ec. 7. 18. Is. 50. 10. aimed to extirpate, and put many of them to death ; which was told it; Christianos ad leones- Away with Christians lo the as much a public calamity as a public iniquity, and threatened lions. “But God made them know the contrary, for the famine the ulter ruin of religion's poor remains in Israel. Those few continued till Baal's prophets were sacrificed, and so great a that escaped the sword, were forced to abscond, and hide them- scarcity of water there was, that the king himself and Obadiah selves in caves, where they were buried alive, and cut off, went in person throughout the land, to seek for grass for the though not from life, yet from usefulness, which is the end and cattle, v. 5, 6. Providence ordered it so, that Ahab might, comfort of life; and when the prophets were persecuted and with his own eyes, see how bad the consequences of this judgdriven into corners, no doubt, their friends, those few good peo- ment were, that he might be the better inclined to hearken to ple that were in the land, were treated in like manner.
Elijah, who would direct him into the only way to put an end Yet, bad as things were, (1.) There was one very good man, to it. Ahab's care was not to lose all the beasts, many being who was a great man at court, Obadiah, who answers his name, already lost; but he took no care about his soul, not to lose a servant of the Lord, one who feared God, and was faithful to that; took a deal of pains to seek grass, but none to seek the him, and yet was a steward of the household to Ahab. Ob- favour of God; fencing against the effect, but not inquiring how serve his character; he feared the Lord greatly, (v. 3 ;) was not to remove the cause. The land of Judah lay close to the land only a good man, but zealously and eminently good; his great of Israel, yet we find no complaint there of the want of rain; place put a lustre upon his goodness, and gave him great oppor- for Judah yet ruled with God, and was faithful with the saints tucities of doing good; and he feared the Lord from his youth, and prophets, (Hos. 11. 12;) by which distinction Israel might (v. 12;) he began betimes to be religious, and had continued plainly have seen the ground of God's controversy, when God long. Note, Early piety, it is to be hoped, will bọ eminent caused it to rain upon one cicy, and not upon another, (Am. 4. piety; those that are good betimes, are likely to be very good ; 7,8;) but they blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts, he that feared God from his youth, came to fear him greatly. and would noi see. He that will thrive, must rise betimes. But it is strange to find II. The steps taken toward redressing the grievance, by such an eminent good man, governor of Ahab's house, an office Elijah's appearing again upon the stage, to act as a Tishbite, of great honour, power, and trust. [1.] It was strange that so a converter or reformer of Israel, for so some think) that title wicked a man as Ahab, would prefer him to it, and continue of his signifies. Turn them again to the Lord God of bosis, him in it; certainly it was because he was a man of celebrated from whom they have revolled, and all will be well quickly; honesty, industry, and ingenuity, and one whom he could repose this must be Elijah's doings. See Luke 1. 16, 17. & confidence in, whose eyes he could trust as much as his own, 1. Ahab had made diligent search for him, (v. 10:) had offer. as appears here, v. 5. Joseph and Daniel were preferred, be- ed rewards to any one that would discover him; sent spies into cause there were none so fit' as they, for the places they were every tribe and lordship of his own dominions, as some underpreferred to. Ņote, Those who profess religion, should study stand it, or, as others, into all the neighbouring nations and to recommend themselves to the esteem even of those that are kingdoms that were in alliance with him; and when they denied without, by their integrity, fidelity, and application to business, that they knew any thing of him, he would not believe them, [2.] It was strange that so good a man as Obadiah, would ac- unless they swore it, and, as should seem, promised likewise, cept of preferment in a court so addicted to idolatry, and all upon oath, that if ever they found him among them, they would manner of wickedness. We may be sure, it was not made discover him, and deliver him up. It should seem, he made necessary to qualify him for preferment, that he should be of this diligent search for him, not so much that he might punish the king's religion, that he should conform to the statutes of him for what he had done in denouncing the judgment, as that he Omri, or the law of the house of Ahab. Obadiah would not have might oblige him to undo it again by recalling the sentence, accepted the place, if he could not have had it without bowing because he had said it should be according to his word; baving the knee to Baal, nor was Ahab so impolitic as to exclude those such an opinion of him as men foolishly conceive of witches, from offices, that were fit to serve him, merely because they that if they can but compel them to bless that which they have would not join with him in his devotions; that man that is true bewitched, it will be well again, or such as the king of Moab to his God, will be faithful to his prince. Obadiah therefore had of Balaam: I incline to this, because we find, when they could, with a good conscience, enjoy the place, and therefore came together, Elijah, knowing what Ahab wanted him for, would not decline it, or give it up, though he foresaw he could appointed him to meet him on mount Carmel, and Ahab comnot do the good he desired to do in it; they that fear God, need plied with the appointment, though Elijah took such a way to not go out of the world, bad as it is. '(3.) It was strange that revoke the sentence, and bless the land, as perhaps he little either he did not reform Ahab, or Ahab corrupt him; but, it thought of. seems, they were both fixed; he that was filthy, would be filthy 2. God, at length, ordered Elijah to present himself to Ahab, still, and he that was holy, would be holy still. Those that foar because the time was now come, when he would send rain upon God greatly, will keep up the fear of him in bad times and the earth, (v. 1,) or, rather, upon the land; above two years, places; thus Obadiah did. God has his remnant among all he had lain hid with the widow at Zarephath, after he had been sorts, high and low; there were saints in Nero's household, and concealed one year by the brook Cherith; so that the third in Ahab's. (2.) This great good man used his power for the year of his sojourning there, here spoken of, (v. 1,) was the protection of God's prophets; he hid 100 of them in two caves, fourth of the famine, which lasted, in all, three years and six when the persecution was hot, and fed them with bread and wa- months, as we find, Luke 4.25. Jam. 5. 17. Such was Elijah's ter, v. 4. He did not think it enough to fear God himself, but, zeal, no doubt, against the idolatry of Baal, and such his comhaving wealth and power wherewithal to do it, he thought him- passion to his people, that he thought it long to be thus confined self obliged to assist and countenance others that feared God; to a corneryet he appeared not, till God bade him, “Go, nor did he think his being kind to them would excuse him from show thyself to Ahab, for now thine hour is come, even the time being good himself, but he did both, he both feared God greatly to favour Israel." Note, It bodes well to any people, when himself, and patronised those that feared him likewise. See God calls his ministers out of their corners, and bids them show how wonderfully God raises up friends for his ministers and themselves; a sign that he will give rain on the earth; howerer, people, for their shelter in difficult times, there where one should we may the better dispense with the bread of affliction, while least expect them; bread and water were now scarce commodi our eyes see our teachers, Is. 30, 20, 21. ties, yet Odadiah will find a competency of both for God's pro 3. Elijah first surrendered, or, rather, discovered, himself to phets, to keep them alive for service hereafter, though now they Obadiah. He knew, by the Spirit, where to meet him, and we were laid aside.
are here told what passed between them. 2. When Jezebel cut off God's prophets, God cut off their (1.) Obadiah saluted him with great respect, fell on his face, necessary provisions by the extremity of the drought. Per- and humbly asked, Art thou that my lord Elijah? v. 7. As he haps Jezebel persecuted God's prophets, under pretence that had showed the tenderness of a father to the sons of the prothey were the cause of the judgment, because Elijah had fore-'phets, so he showed the reverence of a son to this father of the
m Acts 16.
Josh. 24. 15.
Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid 20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, an hundred men of the Lord's prophets aby fifty in and gathered the prophets together unto mount a cave, and fed them with bread and water? Carmel.
14 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Be 21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and hold, Elijah is here : and he shall slay me. said, How long halt ye between two opinions if
15 And Elijah said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then before whom I stand, I will surely show myself unto follow him. And the people answered him not a him to-day.
word. 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; 22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
only," remain a prophet of the Lord; but' Baal's 17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, prophets are four hundred and fifty men. that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth 23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and m Israel?
let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut 18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire but thou and thy father's house,” in that ye have under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou it on wood, and put no fire under : hast followed Baalim.
24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and 19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Is- I will call on the name of the LORD: and the god rael unto mount Carmel and the prophets of Baal that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the the people answered and said, It is well spoken. groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table. 25 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, h Matt. 10.41, 42, i Matt. 25. 35. * Matt. 10. 28. ! Is. 51. 7,8.
. c. 22.6. & 2 Kings 17. 41. Matt. 6. 24. • or, thoughts. 20. 17. 6. nc. 21. 20. o2 Chr. 15, 2. p 1 Sam. 15. 12. 2 Kings 2. 25. qc. 16.
p 1 Chr. 21. 26. 2 Chr, 7, 1, 3. The word is good. prophels; and by this made it appear that he did indeed fear the first word, Art thou he that troubleth Israel, v. 17. How God greatly, that he did honour to one that was his extraordi- unlike was this to that with which his servant Obadiah saluted nary ambassador, and had a great interest in heaven.
him; (v. 7,) Art thou that my lord Elijah? Obadiah feared (2.) Elijah, in answer to him, [1.] Transfers the title of God greatly, Ahab had sold himself to work wickedness; and honour he gave him, to Ahab; “Call him thy lord, not me;" both discovered their character by the manner of their address that it is a fitter title for a prince than for a prophet, who seeks to the prophet. One may guess how people stand affected 10 not honour from men. Prophets should be called seers, and God, by observing how they stand affected to his people and shepherds, and watchmen, and ministers, rather than tords; as ministers. Elijah now came to bring blessings to Israel, tidings those that mind duty more than dominion. (2.) He bids Oba- of the return of the rain ; yet he is thus affronted. Had it been diah go tell the king that he was there to speak with him. Tell true that he was the troubler of Israel, Ahab, as king, had been thy Lord, Behold, Elijah is forthcoming, v. 8. He would have obliged to animadvert upon him. There are those who trouble the king know before, that it might not be a surprise to him, Israel by their wickedness, whom the conservators of the puband that he might be sure it was the prophet's own act, to pre- lic peace are concerned to inquire after. But it was utterly sent himself to him.
salse concerning Elijah; so far was he from being an enemy to (3.) Obadiah begs to be excused from carrying this message Israel's welfare, thai he was the stay of it, the chariots and horseto Ahab, for it might prove as much as his life was worth men of Israel. Note, It has been the lot of the best and most 11.) He tells Elijah what great search Abab had made for him, useful men, to be called and counted the troublers of the land, and how much his heart was upon it to find him out, y. 10. and to be run down as public grievances. Even Christ and his (2.) He takes it for granted, that Elijah would again withdraw, apostles were thus misrepresented, Acts 17. 6. v. 12, The Spirit of the Lord shall carry thee, (as it is likely he 2. Elijah, like himself, boldly returned the charge upon the had done sometimes, when Ahab thought he had been sure of king, and proved it upon him, that he was the troubler of Israel, him,) whither I know not. See 2 Kings 2. 16. He thought v. 18. Elijah is not the Achan; “I have not troubled Israel; Elijah was not in good earnest, when he bade him tell Ahab have neither done them any wrong, nor designed them any where he was, but intended only to expose the impotency of hurt.” They that procure God's judgments, do the mischief, his malice ; for he knew Ahab was not worthy to receive any not he that foretels them only, and gives warning of them, that kindness from the prophet, and it was not fit that the prophet the nation may repent, and prevent them. I would have healed should receive any mischief from him. (3.) He is sure Ahab Israel, but they would not be healed. Ahab is the Achan, the would be so enraged at the disappointment, that he would put troubler, who follows Baalim, those accursed things. Nothing him to death for making a fool of him, or for not laying hands creates more trouble to a land than the impiety and profaneness on Elijah himself, when he had him in his reach, v. 12. Tyrants of princes and their families. and persecutors, in their passion, are often unreasonably out 3. As one having authority immediately from the King of rageous, even toward their friends and confidants. [4.] Ho kings, he orders a convention of the states to be forth with sumpleads that he did not deserve to be thus exposed, and put in moned to meet at mount Carmel, where there had been an allar peril of his life; What have I sinned? v. 9. Nay, (v. 13,) built to God, v. 30. Probably on that mountain they had had Was it not told my lord, how I hid the prophets? v. 9. He an eminent high place, where, formerly, the pure worship of mentions this, not in pride or ostentation, but to convince Eli God had been kept up as well as it could be any where but at jah that though he was Ahab's servant, he was not in his inte- Jerusalem. Thither all Israel must come, to give Elijah the rest, and therefore deserved not to be bantered as one of the meeting, and the prophets of Baal who were dispersed all the tools of his persecution. He that had protected so many pro-country over, with those of the groves who were Jezebel's phets, he hoped, should not have his own life hazarded by so domestic chaplains, must there make their personal appearance. great a prophet.
4. Ahab issues out writs accordingly, for the convening of (4.) Elijah satisfies him that he might, with safety, deliver this great assembly, (v. 20,) either because he feared Elijah, this message to Ahab, by assuring him, with an oath, that he and durst not oppose him; (Saul stood in awe of Samuel more would, this very day, present himself to Ahab, v. 15. Let but than of God;) or because he hoped Elijah would bless the Obadiah know that be spake seriously, and really intended it, land, and speak the word that they might have rain, and, upon and he will make no scruple to carry the message to Ahab those terms, they would be all at his beck. Those that slighted Elijah swears by the Lord of hosts, who has all power in his and hated his counsels, would gladly be beholden to him for his hands, and was therefore able to protect his servant against all prayers. Now God made those who said they were Jews and the powers of hell and earth.
were not, but were of the synagogue of Satan, to come, and, in (5.) Notice is hereby soon brought to Ahab, that Elijah had effect, lo worship at his fect, and to know that God had loved sent him a challenge to meet him immediately at such a place, him, Rev. 3.9. and Ahab accepts the challenge, he went to meet Elijah, v. 16. V.21–40. Ahab and the people expected that Elijah should, We may suppose it a great surprise to Ahab, to hear that Eli- in this solemn assembly, bless the land, and pray for rain ; but jah, whom he had so long sought, and not found, was now found he has other work to do first. The people must be brought to without seeking. He went in quest of grass, and finds him, repent and reform, and then they may look for the removal of from whose word, at God's mouth, he must expect rain. Yet the judgment, but not till then. This is the right method; his guilty conscience gives him little reason to hope for it, but, God will first prepare our heart, and then cause his ear to hear; rather, lo fear some other more dreadful judgment. Had he, will first turn us to him, and then turn to us, Ps. 10. 17.—70. 3. by his spies, surprised Elijah, he would have triumphed over him, Deserters must not look for God's favour, till they return to but now that he was thus surprised by him, we may suppose their allegiance. Elijah might have looked for rain seventy he even trembled to look him in the face; hated him, and yet times seven times, and not have seen it, if he had not thus feared him, as Herod did John.
begun his work at the right end. V.. 17–20. We have here the meeting between Ahab and Three years and a hall's farine would not bring them back Elijah ; as bad a king as ever the world was plagued with, and to God; Elijah will endeavour to convince their judgments, as good a prophet as ever the church was blessed with. and, no doubi, by special warrant and direction from heaven,
1. Ahab, like himself, basely accuses Elijah; he dares not he put the controversy between God and Baal upon a public strike him, remembering that Jeroboam's hand was withered trial. It was great condescension in God, that he would suffer when it was stretched out against a prophet, but gives him bad so plain a case to be disputed, and would permit Baal to be a language, which was no less an affront to him that sent him. competitor with him: but thus God would have every mouth It is a very coarse compliment with which he accosts him, at to be stopped, and all flesh to become silent before him. God's
• or, anster.
z Gen. 82. 28.
Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it after their manner, with knives and lancets, till ** the first; for ye are many: and call on the name of blood gushed out upon them. your gods, but put no fire under.
29 And it came to pass, when mid-day was past, 26 And they took the bullock which was given and they prophesied until the time of the offering them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, 0 nor any to answer, nor any t'that regarded. Baal, *hear us! But there was no voice, nor any 30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come that tanswered. And they leaped fupon the altar near unto me. And all the people came near unto which was made.
him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that 27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah was broken down. mocked them, and said, Cry saloud ; for she is a 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to god: either he "is talking, or he "is pursuing, or he the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel must be awaked.
shall be thy name : 28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves, 32 And with the stones he built an altar in the
Ps. 115.5.-8. Jer. 10.5. 1 Cor. 12. 2. tor, heard. I or, up or, meditateth. hath a pursuit. y Lev. 19. 28. poured out blood upon and down at the altar. $ with a greal voice. Ils. 41. 23.
them. f ascending. 11 attention. cause is so incontestably just, that it needs not fear to have the see the experiment tried, and seemed resolved to abide by the evidences of its equity searched into, and weighed.
issue, whatever it should be. They that were firm for God, 1. Elijah reproves the people for mixing the worship of God, doubted not but it would end to his honour: they that were and the worship of Baal, together. Not only some Israelites indifferent, were willing to be determined. Ahab and the proworshipped God, and others Baal, but the same Israelites phets of Baal durst not oppose, for fear of the people, and hoped sometimes worshipped, one, and sometimes the other. This that either they could obtain fire from heaven, (though they he calls, (v. 21,) Halting between two opinions or thoughte. never had yet,) and the rather, becauso, as some think, they They worshipped God, to please the prophets, but worshipped worshipped the sun in Baal, or, that Elijah could not, because Baal, to please Jezebel, and curry favour al court. They not at the temple, where God was wont thus to manifest his thought to trim the matter, and play on both sides, as the Sa- glory. If, in this trial, they could but bring it to a drawn batmaritans, 2 Kings 17. 33. Now Elijah shows them the absurd- ue, their other advantages would give them the victory. -Let ity of this; he does not insist upon their relation to Jehovah. it go on therefore to a trial. “Is he not yours, and the God of your fathers, while Baal is iv. The prophets of Baal try first, but in vain, with their the God of the Sidonians? And will a nation change their God? god. They covet the precedency, not only for the honour of Jer. 2. 11. No, he waives the prescription, and enters upon the it, but that if they could but in the least seem to gain their merils of the cause." There can be but one God, but one point, Elijah might not be admitted to make the trial. Elijah infinite and but one supreme; there needs but one God, one allows it then; (v. 25,) gives them the leading for their greater omnipotent, one all-sufficient : what occasion for addition to confusion; only, knowing that the working of Satan is with that which is perfect ? Now, if, upon trial, it appears that lying wonders, he takes care to prevent a fraud, Be sure to put Baal is that one infinite omnipotent Being, that one supreme no fire under. Now in their experiment observe, Lord and all-sufficient Benefactor, you ought to renounce 1. How importunate and noisy the prophets of Baal were Jehovah, and cleave to Baal only: but if Jehovah be that one in their applications to him. They got their sacrifices ready; God, Baal is a cheat, and you must have no more to do with and we may well imagine what a noise 450 men made, when him. Note, 1. It is very wrong to halt between God and Baal. they cried as one man, and with all their might, O Baal, hear “In reconcileable differences (says Bishop Hall) nothing more us; O Baal, answer us; as it is in the margin: and this, for safe than indifferency both of practice and opinion ; but in some hours together, longer than Diana's worshippers made cases of so necessary hostility, as betwixt God and Baal, he their cry, Great is Diana of the Ephesians, Acts 19. 34. How thu is not with God, is against him." Compare Mark 9. 38, senseless, how brutish, were they in their addresses to Baal! 39, with Matt. 12. 36. The service of God, and the service (1.) Like fools, they leaped upon the altar, as if they would of sin, the dominion of Christ, and the dominion of our lusts, themselves become sacrifices with their bullock: or, thus they these are the two thoughts which it is dangerous halting be expressed their great earnestness of mind. They leaped up tween. Those do so, that are unresolved under their convic- and down, or danced about the altar: they hoped, by their tions; unstable and unsteady in their purposes; promise fair, dancing, to please their deity, as Herodias did Herod, and so to but do not perform ; begin well, but do not hold on; that are obtain their request. (2.) Like madmen, they cut themselves inconsistent with themselves, indifferent and lukewarm in that in pieces with knives and lancets, (0.28,) for vexation that they which is good. Their heart is divided, (Hos. 10. 2,) whereas were not answered, or in a sort of prophetic fury, hoping to God will have all or none. 2. We are fairly put to our choice, obtain the favour of their god, by offering to him their own whom we will serve, Josh. 24. 15. If we can find one that has blood, when they could not do it with the blood of their bullock. more right to us, or will be a better master to us, than God, God never required his worshippers thus to honour him; but we may take him at our peril. God demands no more from us the service of the devil, though, in some instances, it pleases than he can make out a title to.
and pampers the body, yet, in other things, it is really cruel to This fair proposal of the case which Elijah here makes, the it, as in envy and drunkenness. It seems, this was the manner people knew not what to say to, they answered him not a word. of the worshippers of Baal: God expressly forbade his worThey could say nothing to justify themselves, and they would shippers to cut themselves, Deut. 14. 1. He insists upon it, say nothing to condemn themselves, but, as people confounded, that we mortify our lusts and corruptions ; but corporeal pelet him say what he would.
nances and severities, such as the Papists use, which have no II. He proposes to bring the matter to a fair trial; and it tendency to that, are no pleasure to him: Who has required was so much the fairer, because Baal had all the external these things at your hands? advantages on his side. The king and court were all for Baal; 2. How sharp Elijah was upon them, v. 27. He stood by so was the body of the people. The managers of Baal's cause them, and patiently heard them for many hours, praying to an were 450 men, fat, and well fed, (v. 22,) beside 400 more, their idol, yet with secret indignation and disdain; and, at noon, supporters or seconds, v. 19. The manager of God's cause when the sun was at the bottest, and they too expecting fire, was but one man, lately a poor exile, hardly kept from starving; then if ever, he upbraided them with their folly; and notwithso that God's cause has nothing to support it but its own right. standing the gravity of his office, and the seriousness of the However, it is put to this experiment;
Let each side prepare work he had before him, banters them, " Cry alourd, for he is a a sacrifice, and pray to its God, and the God that answereth by god; a goodly god that cannot be made to hear without all this fire, let him be God; if neither do, let them turn Atheists; if clamour. Surely you think he is talking, or meditating," as both, let them continue to halt between two." Elijah, doubtless, the word is, “or he is pursuing some deep thoughts, thinking had a special commission from God to put it to this test, else of somewhat else, and not minding his own matter, when not he had tempted God and affronted religion ; but the case was your credit only, but all his honour, lies at stake, and his inteextraordinary, and the judgment upon it would be of use, not rest in Israel. His new conquest will be lost, if he do not only then, but in all ages. It is an instance of the courage of look about him quickly." Note, The worship of idols is a Elijah, that he durst stand alone in the cause of God against most ridiculous thing, and it is but justice to represent it so, such powers and numbers; and the issue encourages all God's and expose it to scorn, This will, by no means, justify those witnesses and advocates never to fear the face of man. Elijah who ridicule the worshippers of God in Christ, because the does not say, “The God that answers by water," (though that worship is not performed just in their way. Baal's prophets was the thing the country needed,) but that answers by fire, were so far from being convinced and put to shame by the just let him be God;" because the atonement was to be made by reproach Elijah cast upon them, that it made them the more sacrifice, before the judgment could be removed in mercy. The violent, and act more ridiculously. A deceived heart having God therefore that has power to pardon sin, and to signify it turned them aside, they could not deliver their souls by saying, by consuming the sin-offering, must needs be ihe God that can Is there not a lie in our right hand ? relieve us against the calamity. He that can give fire, can 3. How deaf Baal was to them. Elijah did not interrupt give rain; see Matt. 9. 2, 6.
them, but let them go on, till they were tired, and quite deIII. The people join issue with him: It is well spoken, spaired of success, which was not till the time of the evening v. 24. They allow the proposal to be fair and unexceptionable! sacrifice, v. 29. During all that time, some of them prayed, “God had often answered by fire ; if Baal cannot do so, let while others of them prophesied, sang hymns, perhaps, to the him be cast off for a usurper." They were very desirous to I praise of Baal, or, rather, encouraged those that were praying
a Lev. 1.6-8. • went. b ver. 32, 38. c Ex. 3. 6. Ps. 83. 18. Ez. 36. 23. 39. 7. e Num. 16. 29.
name of the Lord: and he made a trench about thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, the altar, as great as would contain two measures and that I have done all these things at thy word. of seed.
37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me; that ihis peo33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the ple may know that thou art the Lord God, and bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and conthe burnt-sacrifice, and on the wood.
sumed the burnt-sacrifice, and the wood, and the 34 And he said, Do it the second time and they stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third was in the trench. time : and they did it the third time.
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on 35 And the water *ran round about the altar; their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the and he filled the trench balso with water.
God; the LORD, he is the God. 36 And it came to pass, at the time of the of 40° And Elijah said unto them, Take the profering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the pro- phets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And phet came near, and said, "LORD God of Abraham, they took them: and Elijah brought them down Isaac, and of Israel, alet it be known this day that to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
d c. 8. 43. 2 Kings 19. 19. Lev. 9. 24. Judg. 6. 21, I Chr. 21. 25. 2 Chr. 7. 1. & ver. 24. for, Apprehend.
Deut. 13. 5. 18. 20. 2 Kings 10. 25. to proceed, telling them, Baal would answer them at last; but place appointed, he chose the appointed time of the offering of there was no answer, nor any that regarded. Idols could do the evening sacrifice, thereby to testify his communion with the neither good nor evil. The prince of the power of the air, if | altar at Jerusalem. Though he expected an answer by fire, God had permitted him, could have caused fire to come down yet he came near to the altar with boldness, and feared not from heaven on this occasion, and gladly would have done it for that fire. He addressed himself to God, as the God of Abrathe support of his Baal. We find that the beast which deceives ham, Isaac, and Israel, acting faith on God's ancient covenant, the world, does it, Rev. 13. 13, He maketh fire come down and reminding the people too (for prayer may prevail) of their from heaven in the sight of men, and so deceiveth them, v. 14. relation both to God and to the patriarchs. Two things he But God would not suffer the devil to do it now, because the pleads here; (1.) The glory of God; "Lord, hear me, and trial of his title was put on that issue by consent of parties. answer me, that it may be known (for it is now by the most de
V. Elijah soon obtains from his God an answer by fire. The nied or forgotten) that thou art God in Israel, to whom alone the Baalites are forced to give up their cause, and now it is Elijah's homage and devotion of Israel are due, and that I am thy serturn to produce his. Let us see if we speed better.
vant, and do ail I have done, am doing, and shall do, as thine 1. He fitted up an altar. He would not make use of theirs, ageni, at thy word, and not to gratify any humour or passion of which had been polluted with their prayers to Baal, but, find my own, Thou employest me; Lord, make it appear that ing the ruins of an altar there, which had formerly been used thou dost so ;" see Num. 16. 28, 29. Elijah sought not his in the service of the Lord, he chose to repair that, (v. 30,) to own glory, but in subserviency to God's, and for his own necesintimate to them that he was not about to introduce any new sary vindication. (2.) The edification of the people; “ That religion, but to revive the faith and worship of their fathers' they may know that thou art the Lord, and may experience thy God, and reduce them to their first love, their first works. He grace, turning their heart, by this miracle, as a means, back could not bring them to the altar at Jerusalemn, unless he could again to thee, in order to thy return in a way of mercy to them." have united the two kingdoms again, (which, for correction to 5. God immediately answered by fire, v.38. Elijah's God was both, God designed should not now be done,) therefore, by his neither talking nor pursuing, needed not to be either awakened prophetical authority, he builds an altar on mount Carmel, and or quickened; while he was yet speaking, the fire of the Lord so owns that which had formerly been built there. When we fell, and not only as at other times, (Lev. 9. 24, 1 Chr. 21. cannot carry a reformation so far as we would, we must do 6. 2 Chr. 7.1,) consumed the sacrifice and the wood, in token what we can, and rather comply with some corruptions than of God's acceptance of the offering, but licked up the water not do our utmost toward the extirpation of Baal. He repaired in the trench, exhaling that, and drawing it up as a vapour, in this altar with twelve stones, according to the number of the order to the intended rain, which was to be the fruit of this satwelve tribes, v. 31. Though ten of the tribes were revolted to crifice and prayer, more than of natural causes. Compare Ps, Baal, he will look upon them as belonging to God still, by virtue 135. 7, He causeth vapours to ascend, and maketh lightnings of the ancient covenant with their fathers; and though those for the rain ; for this rain, he did both. Those who fall as victen were unhappily divided from the other two in civil interest, tims to the fire of God's wrath, no water can shelter from it, any yet in the worship of the God of Israel they had communion more than briers or thorns, Is. 27. 4, 5. But this was not all ; with each other, and they twelve were one. Mention is made to complete the miracle, the fire consumed the stones of the altar, of God's calling their father Jacob by the name of Israel, a and the very dust, to show that
it was no ordinary fire, and prince with God, (v. 31,) to shame his degenerate seed, who perhaps to intimate that though God accepted this occasional worshipped a god, which, they saw, could not hear or answer sacrifice from this altar, yet for the future, they ought to demothem, and to encourage the prophet, who was now to wrestle lish all the altars on their high places, and for their constant with God as Jacob did; he also shall be a prince with God, sacrifices, make use of that at Jerusalem only. Moses's altar Ps. 24.6, Thy face, O Jacob; Hos. 12. 4, There he spake with us. and Solomon's were consecrated by the fire from heaven; but
2. Having built his allar in the name of the Lord, (v. 32,) by this was destroyed, because no more to be used. We may well direction from him, and with an eye to him, and not for his own imagine what a terror the fire struck on guilty Ahab, and all honour, he prepared this sacrifice, v. 33, Behold the bullock the worshippers of Baal, and how they fled from it as far and as and the wood: but where is the fire? (Gen. 22. 7, 8,) God will fast as they could, saying, Lest it consume us also, alluding to provide himself fire. If we, in sincerity, offer our hearts to Num. 16. 34. God, he will, by his grace, kindle a holy fire in them. Elijah Lastly, What was the result of this fair trial. The prophets was no priest, nor his attendants Levites; Carmel had neither of Baal had failed in their proof, and could give no evidence at tabernacle nor temple, it was a great way distant from the ark all, to make out their pretensions on the behalf of their God, of the testimony, and the place God had chosen ; this was not but were perfectly nonsuited; Elijah had, by the most convincthe altar that sanctified the gift; yet never was any sacrifice ing and undeniable evidence, proved his claims on behalf of the more acceptable to God than this. The particular Levitical God of Israel. institutions were so often dispensed with, (as in the time of And now, 1. The people, as the jury, give in their verdict the judges, Samuel's time, and now,) that one would be tempted upon the trial, and they are all agreed in it; the case is so to think they were more designed for types to be fulfilled in the plain, they need not go from the bar to consider of their verevangelical antitypes, than for laws to be fulfilled in the strict | dict, or consult about it
, they fell on their faces, and all, as one observance of them. Their perishing thus in the using, as the man, said, “ Jehovah, he is the God, and not Baal ; we are conapostle speaks of them, (Col. 2. 22,) was to intimate the utter vinced and satisfied of it, Jehovah, he is the God," v. 39. Whence abolishing of them, after a while, Heb. 8. 13.
one would think, they should have inferred, “ If he be the God, 3. He ordered abundance of water to be poured upon his he shall be our God, and we will serve him only," as Josh. 24.24. altar, which he had prepared a trench for the reception of, Some, we hope, had their hearts thus turned back, but the (v. 32.) and, some think, made the altar hollow. Twelve bar- generality of them were convinced only, not converted; yieldrels of water, (probably, sea-water, for the sea was near, and ed to the truth of God, that he is the God, but consented not to so much fresh water, in the time of drought, was too precious his covenant, that he should be theirs. Blessed are they that for him to be so prodigal of it,) thrice four, he poured upon
have not seen what they saw, and yet have believed, and been his sacrifice, to prevent the suspicion of any fire under; for if wrought upon by it, more than they that saw it. 'Let it for there had been any, this would have put it out; and to make ever be looked upon as a point adjudged against all pretenders, the expected miracle the more illustrious.
(for it was carried, upon a full hearing, against one of the most 4. He then solemnly addressed himself to God by prayer, daring and threatening competitors that ever the God of Israel before his altar, humbly
beseeching him to turn to ashes his was affronted by,) that Jehovah, he is God, God alone. burnt-offering, (as the phrase is, Ps. 20.3,) and to testify his 2. The prophets of Baal, as criminals, are seized, condemnacceptance of it. His prayer is not long, for he used no vained, and executed, according to law, v. 10. If Jehovah be the repetitions, nor thought he should be heard for his much speak- true God, Baal is a false God, to whom these Israelites had ing; but it is very grave and composed,
and shows his mind to revolted, and seduced others to the worship of him; and therebe calm and sedate, and far from the heats and disorders that fore, by the express law of God, they were to be put to death, Baal's prophets were in, v. 36, 37. Though he was not at the Dout. 13, 1-11. There needed no proof of the fact, all Israel
44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that AND Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done,
41 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat
CHAPTER XIX. and drink; for there is a sound of abundance* of rain.
We left Elijah at the entrance of Jezreel, still appearing publicly, and all the peo
ple's eyes upon him. In this chapter, we have him again absconding, and driven 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And into ohiocurity, at a time when he could ill have been spared, but we are to look Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast
upou it as a punishment to Israel for the insincerity and inconstancy of their
reformation. When people will not learn, it is jual with God to remove sbeir himself down upon the earth, and put his face be
teachers into comens. No observe, 1. How he was driven into banishment by
the malice of Jezebel, his sworu eberny, v. 1-3. 11. How he was met, in his tween his knees,
babishment, by the favour of God, his covinant Friend. 1. How he led him, 43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look to
v. 4-9. 2. How he conversed with him, aud manifested himself to him, (*.9,
11-13,) beard his complaint, v. 10, 14.) directed lim what to do, (v. 15–17,) ward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and and encouraged him, v. 18. 111. How his hands were strengthened, at his retura said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again
out of banishinent, by the joining of Elisha with him, v. 19-21. seven times.
and withal, how he had slain "all the prophets he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of with the sword. the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee saying, So blet the gods do to me, and more also, if down, that the rain stop thee not.
I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that morrow about this time. the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Jezreel.
to Judah, and left his servant there. 46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah: 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the and he girded kup his loins, and ran before Ahab wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniperto the entrance of Jezreel.
tree : and he requested for himself that he might • or, a noise. i Jam. 5. 17, 18. 1 Tie, or, Bind. k 2 Kings 1. 29. 9, 1. Job 88. Be the comedor
a c. 18. 40. b Ruth 1.17. c. 20. 10. 2 Kings 6. 31. 3. Jer. 1. 17. Eph.,6. 14. 1 Pet. 1. 13.
37. 32, 33 • Aia . were witnesses of it, and therefore Elijah (acting still by an that produced a plentiful rain, (Ps. 68. 9,) and an earnest of extraordinary commission, which is not to be drawn into a more. precedent) orders them all to be slain immediately, as the 5. Elijah, hereupon, hastens Ahab home, and attends him troublers of the land; and Ahab himself is so terrified, for the himself. Ahab rode in his chariot, at ease and in state, v. 45. present, with the fire from heaven, that he dares not oppose it. Elijah ran on foot before him. If Ahab had paid the respect These were the 450 prophets of Baal; the 400 prophets of the to Elijah that he deserved, he would bave taken him into his groves, (who, some think, were Sidonians,) though summoned, chariot, as the eunuch did Philip, that he might honour him (v. 19,) yet as it should scem, did not attend, and so escaped before the elders of Israel, and confer with him further about this execution, which fair escape perhaps Ahab and Jezebel the reformation of the kingdom: but his corruptions got the thought themselves happy in; but ii proved they were reserved better of his convictions, and he was glad to get clear of him, to be the instruments of Ahab's desiruction, some time after, as Felix of Paul, when he dismissed bim, and adjourned his by encouraging him to go up to Ramoth-Gilead, ch. 22. 6. conference with him to a more convenient season. But since
V. 41–46. Israel being thus far reformed, that they had Ahab invites him not to ride with him, he will run before him, acknowledged the Lord to be God, and had consented to the (v. 46,) as one of his footmen, that he might not seem to be execution of Baal's prophets, that they might not seduce them lifted up with the great honour God had put upon him, or to any more, though it was far short of a thorough reformation, yet abate in his civil respect to this prince, though he reproved was so far accepted, that God, thereupon, opened the bottles of him faithfully. God's ministers should make it appear that heaven, and poured out blessings upon his land, that very even how great soever they look when they deliver God's messages, ing (as it should seem) on which they did this good work, yet they are far from affecting worldly grandeur; let them leave which should have confirmed them in their reformation; see that to the kings of the earth Hag. 2. 18, 19. 1. Elijah sends Ahab to eat and drink, for joy that God had.
NOTES TO CHAPTER XIX. now accepted his works, and that rain was coming; see Ec. V. 148. One would have expected, after such a public and 9. 7. Ahab had continued fasting all day, either religiously, sensible manifestation of the glory of God, and such a clear it being a day of prayer, or for want of leisure, it being a day of decision of the controversy depending between him and Baal, great expectation; but now let him eat and drink, for though to the honour of Elijah, the confusion of Baal's prophets, and others perceive no sign of it, Elijah, by faith, hears the sound the universal satisfaction of the people; after they had seen of abundance of rain, v. 41. God reveals his secrets to his both fire and water come from heaven, at the prayer of Elijah, servants the prophets; and yet, without a revelation, we may and both, in mercy to them; the one, as it signified the acceptforesee that when man's judgments run down like a river, God's ance of their offering, the other, as it refreshed their inheritance, mercy will. Rain is the river of God, Ps. 65. 9.
which was weary; that now they should all, as one man, have 2. He himself retires to pray, (for though God has promised returned to the worship of the God of Israel, and taken Elijah rain, he must ask it, Zech. 10. 1,) and to give thanks for God's for their guide and oracle, that he should from henceforward answer by fire, now hoping for an answer by water. What he have been prime minister of state, and his directions laws both said, we are not told: but, (1.) He withdrew himself to the top to king and kingdom. But it is quite otherwise; he is neof Carmel, which was very high and very private. Hence we glected, whom God honoured; no respect is paid him, no care read of those that hide themselves in the top of Carmel, Am. 9. 3. taken of him, nor any use of made of him, bui, on the contrary, There he would be alone. Those who are called to appear, in the land of Israel, to which he had been, and might have and act in public, for God, must yet find time to be private beer, so great a blessing, he finds it impossible to dwell. with him, and keep up their converse with him in solitude. I. Ahab incensed Jezebel against him. That queen consort, There he set himself, as it were, upon his wach-tower, like the it seems, was, in effect, queen regent, as she was allerward, prophet, Hab. 2. 1. (2.) He cast himself down on his knees when she was queen dowager; an imperious woman that maupon the earth, in token of humility, reverence, and importu- naged king and kingdom, and did what she would. Ahab's nity; and put his face between his knees, that is, bowed his head conscience would not let him persecute Elijah, (some remains so low that it touched his knees, thus abasing himself in the he had in him of the blood and spirit of an Israelite, which tied sense of his own meanness, now that God had thus honoured his hands,) but he told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, (v. 1,) him.
not to convince but to exasperato her. It is not said, he told 3. He orders his servant to bring him notice, as soon as he her what God had done, but what Elijah bad done ; as if he, discerned a cloud arising out of the sea, the Mediterranean sea, by some spell or charm, had brought fire from heaven, and the which he had a large prospect of from the top of Carmel. The hand of the Lord had not been in it. Especially, he represailors at this day call it Cape Carmel. Six times his servant sented to her, as that which would make her outrageous against goes to the point of the hill, and sees nothing, brings no good him, that he had slain the prophets; the prophets of Baal he news to his master; yet Elijah continues praying ; will not be calls the prophets, as if none but they were worthy of the name. diverted so far as to go and see with his own eyes, but still They were the gods his heart was upon, and he aggravates the sends his servant to see if he could discover any hopeful cloud, slaying of them as Elijah's crime, without taking notice that it while he keeps his mind close and intent in prayer, and abides was a just reprisal upon her for killing God's prophets, ch. 18, by it, as one that had taken up his father Jacob's resolution, I 4. Those who, when they cannot, for shame or fear, do miswill not let thee go, except thou bless me. Note, Though the chief themselves, yet stir up others to do it, will have it laid to answer of our fervent and believing supplications does not come their charge, as if they had themselves done it. quickly, yet we must continue instant in prayer, and not faint II. Jezebel sent him a threatening message, (v. 2,) that she or give over; for at the end, it shall speak, and not lie.
had vowed and sworn to be the death or him within 24 hours. 4. A little cloud, at length, appears, no bigger than a man's Something prevented her from doing it just now, but she rehand, which presently overspreads the heavens, and waters the solves it shall not be long undone. Noie, Carnal hearts are carth, v. 44, 45, Great blessings often arise fron small begin hardened and enraged against God by that which should connings, and showers of plenty froin a cloud of a span long. Let vince and conquer them, and bring them into subjection to him, us therefore never despise the day of small things, but hope and She swears by her gods, and, raging like one distracted, cursed wait for great things from it. This was not as a morning cloud, herself, if she slay not him, without any proviso of a divine which passes away, (though Israel's goodness was so,) but one / permission. Cruelty and conhdence often moet in persecutors: