1 Kings 19 Commentary: Elijah’s Journey of Faith and Revelation

1 Kings 19 Commentary

1 Kings 19 delves into the gripping tale of the prophet Elijah, revealing his moments of vulnerability and divine encounters amidst great challenges.

In this chapter, Elijah, fleeing from Queen Jezebel’s threats, experiences a profound personal crisis, questioning his mission and purpose. These verses offers an intimate look at his journey to Mount Horeb, where he seeks God’s presence and guidance.

Through a series of extraordinary events, including a gentle whisper from God, Elijah’s faith and calling are renewed.

This chapter is not just a story of personal struggle and divine revelation, but also a testament to the enduring power of faith and the human experience of seeking understanding in moments of despair.

1 Kings 19:1-4, Elijah’s Despair and Flight to Beersheba

After Elijah’s dramatic confrontation and victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Jezebel sent threats to kill Elijah.

In response, Elijah was overcome by fear and despair and fled for his life. He took his servant and journeyed to Beersheba in the kingdom of Judah, away from Jezebel’s jurisdiction. Yet even there, crippled by depression and isolation, Elijah left his servant behind and traveled alone into the wilderness, asking God to take his life in defeat.

Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

1 Kings 19:3-4, ESV

Elijah’s drastic despair and request for death reveals the immense emotional and spiritual toll from the threats and opposition, even in the wake of God’s faithfulness on Mount Carmel.

Despite being a mighty prophet of God, Elijah was still prone to crippling discouragement and isolation.

His plight exposed his humanity and emotional limitations.

1 Kings 19:5-8, Elijah’s Miraculous Sustenance

In the midst of Elijah’s desperate flight into the wilderness, God met him with gracious care and miraculous provision.

An angel ministered to Elijah, bringing him food and water to strengthen him. The angel’s ministry sustained Elijah for 40 days and nights as he journeyed in isolation to Mount Horeb.

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

1 Kings 19:5-8, ESV

God actively displayed His tender concern and nourishment, both physically and emotionally, to Elijah in his time of deepest need and despair.

This dramatic divine intervention highlights how God strengthens, nurtures and equips His faithful servants, ministering to them in their emotional and spiritual brokenness.

1 Kings 19:9-14, The Lord’s Revelation to Elijah at Horeb

At Horeb, the mount of God, Elijah encountered the Lord in remarkable ways.

God first revealed His power in dramatic signs of wind, earthquake and fire.

Yet the text emphasizes God was not in these impressive signs. Rather, God spoke to Elijah only through a gentle whisper. God twice questioned Elijah’s presence there, listening to Elijah’s complaint and despair.

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke 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. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

1 Kings 19: 11-13, ESV

The quiet, gentle voice of the Lord contrasted the external tumult, conveying God’s personal care, wisdom and concern to the anxious and weary prophet.

God tenderly met Elijah in his time of need.

1 Kings 19:15-21, God’s Instructions and The Call of Elisha

To restore Elijah’s sense of purpose and commission, God gave him specific instructions to appoint Elisha as his successor, and to anoint Hazael as king over Aram and Jehu as king over Israel.

Elijah immediately obeyed, finding Elisha plowing, who slaughtered his oxen and willingly left to follow Elijah and serve him.

So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

1 Kings 19:19-21, ESV

Through these strategic directions, God realigned and re-commissioned His prophet.

Meanwhile, Elisha’s instant obedience highlights his readiness to answer God’s call. This transition reveals God’s wise orchestration in arranging the next phase of His work through these key prophets.