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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

1 Kings 18

 

 

Verses 1-46

1 Kings 18:1-46 — The Story of Elijah's Confrontation With the Prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel - 1 Kings 18:1-46 records the story of Elijah's confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Note Elijah's strength and boldness and stability in his purpose. This is the character that God forms in a man of prayer and godliness. He moves according to God's Word and does not flinch to the left or to the right. His source of strength is found in his time with God ( Isaiah 40:31).

Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

1 Kings 18:1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

1 Kings 18:1Comments - Jewish tradition reckons the third year in 1 Kings 18:1 to be counted from the time Elijah arrived in Zarephath to the time he departs this city to visit King Ahab, so that he would have stayed with the widow about two years and departed in the third year; Jewish tradition reckons an additional year for Elijah to stay by the brook Cherith. This adds up to three and a half years stated in the New Testament ( Luke 4:25, James 5:17) and in the Jewish tractate Jalkut Schimoni. Christian commentators often reckon the third year in 1 Kings 18:1 to means that Elijah announced the drought about six months after it began, and he leaves Zarephath later in the third year to seek King Ahab, which can add up to three and a half years. 39]

39] Karl Chr. W. F. Bhr, The Books of the Kings, trans. Edwin Harwood and W. G. Summer, in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical, with Special Reference to Ministers and Students, ed. John Peter Lange (New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Company, 1872), 203; John Wesley, Notes on the Old Testament: 1 Samuel -, Psalm , in The Wesleyan Heritage Library Commentary [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2002), comments on 1Kings .

1 Kings 18:12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.

1 Kings 18:12"the spirit of the Lord shall carry thee" - Scripture References -

Acts 8:39, "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."

1 Kings 18:13 Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid an hundred men of the LORD"S prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?

1 Kings 18:13Comments- What activities were a hundred prophets doing while hiding in a cave? Perhaps they were prophesying their deliverance from that cave and Israel's deliverance.

1 Kings 18:19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel"s table.

1 Kings 18:19 — "and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty" - Comments- PTW says the Hebrew name "Baal" means, "master, lord." The ISBE says Baal "was the title of the supreme god among the Canaanites." He was believed to be the god that controlled the forces of nature. 40]

40] A. H. Sayce, "Baal," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

1 Kings 18:19 — "and the prophets of the groves four hundred" - Comments- The Hebrew word "Asherah" is translated "the groves" in the KJV. Asherah was the Canaanite "goddess of fertility" (ISBE). 41]

41] A. H. Sayce, "Asherah," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

1 Kings 18:21"How long halt ye" - Comments- Many people today are wavering between the world and God.

1 Kings 18:21 — "the people answered him not a word" - Comments- When God's truth is spoken, it brings us speechless ( Hebrews 4:12).

Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

1 Kings 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

1 Kings 18:24Comments- The world desires physical signs.

1 Kings 18:29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

1 Kings 18:29Comments- The gods of this world are not able to help or to deliver.

1 Kings 18:33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.

1 Kings 18:33Comments - Anyone who has ever built a fire knows the necessity of setting wood in order so that it burns. The kindling is a key part of igniting a large fire, and larger wood is placed upon the ignited kindling. The large wood must "breath" by having space between it so air can flow through the logs and spread the flames. In other words, the wood must be set in order.

1 Kings 18:33-35Comments - The Water Used to Wet the Sacrifice- Note that a severe drought was in the land. Water was precious. Perhaps they used salt water from the sea.

1 Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

1 Kings 18:38 — "the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice" - Comments- This fire also came down and consumed the sacrifice of Moses at the dedication of the Tabernacle in the wilderness ( Leviticus 9:24).

Leviticus 9:24, "And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces."

The angel accepted the sacrifice of Manoah, the father of Samson by consuming it with fire ( Judges 13:19).

Judges 13:19, "So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground."

A fire from heaven consumed the sacrifice of King David at the threshing floor of Ornan ( 1 Chronicles 21:26).

1 Chronicles 21:26, "And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering."

A fire also came from heaven and consumed the sacrifice of King Solomon at the dedication of the temple ( 2 Chronicles 7:1).

2 Chronicles 7:1, "Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house."

Fire also consumed the sacrifice of Elijah on Mount Carmel ( 1 Kings 18:38).

1 Kings 18:38, "Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench."

In addition, during the time of Moses, God consumed the children of Israel with fire as a form of judgment ( Numbers 11:1-2; Numbers 16:35).

1 Kings 18:38"and the stones" - Comments- It was so hot that even the stones were consumed.

1 Kings 18:38Comments - Joseph Prince suggests the sacrifice and the altar were entirely consumed by God's fire from heaven as an indication that the sacrifice was insufficient, that God's judgment was greater than the sacrificial offering on Mount Carmel. 42]

42] Joseph Prince, Destined to Reign, on Lighthouse Television (Kampala, Uganda), television program, 21May 2012.

1 Kings 18:42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,

1 Kings 18:42Comments- Dutch Sheets describes Elijah's position of prayer in 1 Kings 18:42 as a position of travail, where men groan in the spirit. 43]

43] Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1996), 118-119.

1 Kings 18:44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man"s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.

1 Kings 18:44 — "Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man"s hand" - Comments- The servant returns to the prophet Elijah and tells him that he has seen a cloud the size of a man's hand. It is hard to imagine that the servant saw a 9-inch cloud forty thousand feet in the air. However, it is possible that this ancient culture had a method of measuring cloud size by placing their hands out in front of their face and seeing how much of the cloud was covered up by their hand. Thus, the servant probably saw a cloud that was small enough to be covered up by his hand when it was extended in front of him.

1 Kings 18:42-44Comments- The book of James describes the prayer of Elijah recorded in 1 Kings 18:42-44 as an "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man."

James 5:16, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."

1 Kings 18:46 And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

1 Kings 18:46"and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel" - Comments- Ahab rode in his chariot ( 1 Kings 18:45), but Elijah was on foot from Mount Carmel ( 1 Kings 18:19) to Jezreel, which was twenty-five miles in distance. Song of Solomon , this was a supernatural feat to run twenty-five miles ahead of horses ( Isaiah 40:31).

Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Elijah was deliberately putting himself in a position of submission and service to the king by running before the chariot. Kings often had men who ran before their chariots.

1 Samuel 8:11, "And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots."

2 Samuel 15:1, "And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him."

1 Kings 1:5, "Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him."

 


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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Kings 18:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/1-kings-18.html. 2013.

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