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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 17

 

 

Introduction

1 Kings 17-19.—These chapters come from another source, which relates the adventures of the great prophet Elijah. They are rightly reckoned among the finest pieces of prose writing in the OT. They abound in miracle and marvel which ought neither to be rationalised nor explained away, for on their supernatural character the vindication of Yahweh as the God of Israel depends. Rightly therefore does Skinner (Cent.B) declare that the explanation of such a miracle as the feeding of the prophet by "ravens" (orebim) is that the neighbouring Arabs brought him food is "a rationalistic absurdity." Though the prophet appears throughout as "a man of like passions with ourselves" (James 5:17), he is yet clearly represented as one with supernatural powers, which he freely exercises.

In a sense Elijah is the most "supernatural" figure in the historical books, though this does not make him unhistorical. He moves in an atmosphere of wonder and miracle, appearing and vanishing in the most unexpected manner, and his ascension is only in keeping with the rest of his life. As he is described in Kings, so was he regarded in subsequent ages, a mysterious figure, likely to reappear as suddenly to the world as he did from time to time to Ahab (Malachi 4:5, Matthew 17:10, etc.), and the forerunner of Messiah.


Verses 1-24

1 Kings 17:1-24. Elijah is Fed by Ravens, and Raises the Widow's Son.—Elijah appeared suddenly: we hear nothing of his birth or parentage. He simply announced to Ahab, in the name of Yahweh, "before whom I stand" (cf. Jeremiah 35:19), that there should be no rain for three years. Elijah is described as "one of the sojourners of Gilead." Probably the LXX is correct in saying that he came from Tishbe (mg.), said to be in Gilead to distinguish it from another Tishbe in Galilee (Tobit 1:2). He then retired (1 Kings 17:3-7) to the brook Cherith, E. of Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. In the valley of the Jordan was the rock of Oreb—the raven (Judges 7:25, Isaiah 10:26), and this may have suggested the legend. By Divine guidance he next went into the heart of the country whose "worship" he denounced—namely, Zidon (1 Kings 17:9). At Zarephath (Sarepta, LXX and Luke 4:26) he was received by a widow whose oil and wheat he miraculously multiplied and raised her son (1 Kings 17:17). Josephus (Ant. viii. 133) says the child only appeared to be dead. Elijah raised him in the same way as Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:34). and Paul Eutychus (Acts 20:10).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-kings-17.html. 1919.

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