Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Kings Chapter 19

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-22)
Theme: The Divided Kingdom (c 12-22)
Message: Elijah Flees for His Life (v 1-21)

1 Kings 19 Commentary 

(19:2) Jezebel Vows to Kill Elijah - Jezebel was enraged about the death of her prophets because they had told her everything she had wanted to hear, prophesying her future power and glory. Their job had been to deify the king and queen and help perpetuate their kingdom. Jezebel was also angry because her supporters had been eliminated and her pride and authority damaged. The money she had invested in these prophets was now lost. Elijah, who caused the prophets' deaths, was a constant thorn in Jezebel's side because he was always predicting gloom and doom. Since she could not control his actions, Jezebel vowed to kill him. As long as God's prophet was around, she could not carry out all the evil she wanted.

(19:3-18) Elijah Has A Mission to Complete - Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two great spiritual victories: the defeat of the prophets of Baal and the answered prayer for rain. Often discouragement sets in after great spiritual experiences, especially those requiring physical effort or involving great emotion. To lead him out of depression, God first let Elijah rest and eat. Then God confronted him with the need to return to his mission--to speak God's words in Israel. Elijah's battles were not over; he still had work to do. When you feel let down after a great spiritual experience, remember that God's purpose for your life is not yet over.

(19:8) Elijah Receives Strength From the Lord - When Elijah fled to Mount Horeb, he was returning to the sacred place where God had met Moses and had given his laws to the people. Obviously, God gave Elijah special strength to travel this great distance-over 200 miles- without additional food. Like Moses before him and Jesus after him, Elijah fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:9; Matthew 41-2). Centuries later, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus would meet together on a mountaintop (Luke 9:28-36).

(19:10) Elijah is Discouraged - Elijah thought he was the only person left who was still true to God. He had seen both the king's court and the priesthood become corrupt. After experiencing great victory at Mount Carmel, he had to run for his life. Lonely and discouraged, he forgot that others had remained faithful during the nation's wickedness. When you are tempted to think that you are the only one remaining faithful to a task, remember that you are not alone. God is always with you, and he is faithful to provide coworkers to join you in following him. Don't give in to self-pity; it will only dilute the good you are doing. Be assured that even if you don't know who they are, others are faithfully obeying God and fulfilling their duties.

(19:11-13) A Still Small Voice - Elijah knew that the sound of a gentle whisper was God's voice. He realized that God doesn't reveal himself only in powerful, miraculous ways. To look for God only in something big (a rally, a church, a conference, a highly visible leader) may be to miss him because he is often found gently whispering in the quietness of a humbled heart. Are you listening for God? Step back from the noise and activity of your busy life and listen humbly and quietly for his guidance. It may come when you least expect it.

(19:15-16) God Sends Judgement - God asked Elijah to anoint three different people. The first was Hazael, as king of Syria. Elijah was told to anoint an enemy king because God was going to use Syria as his instrument to punish Israel for their sin. Syria brought Israel's external punishment.

Israel's internal punishment came from Jehu, the next man Elijah was to anoint. As king of Israel, Jehu would destroy those who worshiped the false god Baal (2 Kings 9-10). The third person Elijah was told to anoint was Elisha, the prophet who would succeed him. Elisha's job was to work in Israel, the northern kingdom, to help point the people back to God. At this time, the southern kingdom was ruled by Jehoshaphat, a king devoted to God.

(19:18) Submission to Baal - Kissing Baal meant kissing some object representing him to show submission and loyalty to him.

(19:19) The Mantle - The mantle, or cloak, was the most important article of clothing a person could own. It was used as protection against the weather, as bedding, as a place to sit, and as luggage. It could be given as a pledge for a debt or torn into pieces to show grief. Elijah put his mantle on Elisha's shoulders to show that he would become Elijah's successor. Later, when the transfer of authority was complete, Elijah left his mantle for Elisha (2 Kings 2:11-14).

(19:21) Elisha and Elijah - By killing his oxen, Elisha made a strong commitment to follow Elijah. Without them, he could not return to his life as a wealthy farmer. This meal was more than a feast among farmers. It was an offering of thanks to the Lord, who was choosing Elisha to be his prophet.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Still Small Voice

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1 Kings with Chapter 19.  In our text, we see Elijah fleeing for his life, how God talked to Elijah, and how Elisha follows Elijah. What catches my eye is verse 11, where Elijah heard God's still, small voice speaking to him and giving him instruction. Elijah saw the power and strength of God as he showed up powerfully, but he had the wisdom to listen to God speak in this Still, Small Voice. In applying today, we see God speaking to us through his Word in this same - Still Small Voice. If we are wise, we will listen to God as he Speaks through His Word. How about you? Do you hear the Still, Small Voice of the Lord? Let us learn from our text today and the Life of Elijah to listen to the Still, Small Voice of our Lord.


1 Kings 19

1 Kings 19

 1And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

 2Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.

 3And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

 4But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

 5And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

 6And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

 7And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

 8And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

 9And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

 10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

 11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

 12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

 13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

 14And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

 15And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:

 16And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

 17And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.

 18Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

 19So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

 20And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?

 21And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.