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1 Kings 19:1-21

Context
Elijah Runs for His Life

19:1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, including a detailed account of how he killed all the prophets with the sword. 19:2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this warning, 1  “May the gods judge me severely 2  if by this time tomorrow I do not take your life as you did theirs!” 3 

19:3 Elijah was afraid, 4  so he got up and fled for his life to Beer Sheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 19:4 while he went a day’s journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub 5  and asked the Lord to take his life: 6  “I’ve had enough! Now, O Lord, take my life. After all, I’m no better than my ancestors.” 7  19:5 He stretched out 8  and fell asleep under the shrub. All of a sudden an angelic messenger 9  touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 19:6 He looked and right there by his head was a cake baking on hot coals and a jug of water. He ate and drank and then slept some more. 10  19:7 The Lord’s angelic messenger came back again, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, for otherwise you won’t be able to make the journey.” 11  19:8 So he got up and ate and drank. That meal gave him the strength to travel forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

19:9 He went into a cave there and spent the night. All of a sudden the Lord spoke to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 19:10 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal 12  to the Lord, the sovereign God, 13  even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, 14  torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 15  19:11 The Lord 16  said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Look, the Lord is ready to pass by.”

A very powerful wind went before the Lord, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, 17  but the Lord was not in the wind. After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 19:12 After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper. 18  19:13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. All of a sudden 19  a voice asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 19:14 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal 20  to the Lord, the sovereign God, 21  even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, 22  torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 23  19:15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came and then head for the Desert of Damascus. Go and anoint Hazael king over Syria. 19:16 You must anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to take your place as prophet. 19:17 Jehu will kill anyone who escapes Hazael’s sword, and Elisha will kill anyone who escapes Jehu’s sword. 19:18 I still have left in Israel seven thousand followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him.” 24 

19:19 Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen; he was near the twelfth pair. Elijah passed by him and threw his robe over him. 19:20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, then I will follow you.” Elijah 25  said to him, “Go back! Indeed, what have I done to you?” 19:21 Elisha 26  went back and took his pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He cooked the meat over a fire that he made by burning the harness and yoke. 27  He gave the people meat and they ate. Then he got up and followed Elijah and became his assistant.

1 tn Heb “saying.”

2 tn Heb “So may the gods do to me, and so may they add.”

3 tn Heb “I do not make your life like the life of one of them.”

4 tc The MT has “and he saw,” but some medieval Hebrew mss as well as several ancient versions support the reading “he was afraid.” The consonantal text (וַיַּרְא, vayyar’) is ambiguous and can be vocalized וַיַּרְא (from רָאָה, raah, “to see”) or וַיִּרָא (vayyira’, from יָרֵא, yare’, “to fear”).

5 tn Or “broom tree” (also in v. 5).

6 tn Heb “and asked with respect to his life to die.”

7 tn Heb “fathers.”

8 tn Or “lay down.”

9 tn Heb “Look, a messenger.”

10 tn Heb “and again lay down”

11 tn Heb “for the journey is too great for you.”

12 tn Or “very zealous.” The infinitive absolute preceding the finite verb emphasizes the degree of his zeal and allegiance.

13 tn Traditionally, “the God of hosts.”

14 tn Heb “abandoned your covenant.”

15 tn Heb “and they are seeking my life to take it.”

16 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Heb “tearing away the mountains and breaking the cliffs” (or perhaps, “breaking the stones”).

18 tn Heb “a voice, calm, soft.”

19 tn Heb “look.”

20 tn Or “very zealous.” The infinitive absolute preceding the finite verb emphasizes the degree of his zeal and allegiance.

21 tn Traditionally, “the God of hosts.”

22 tn Heb “abandoned your covenant.”

23 tn Heb “and they are seeking my life to take it.”

24 tn Heb “I have kept in Israel seven thousand, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and all the mouths that have not kissed him.”

25 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Elijah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

26 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Elijah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

27 tn Heb “and with the equipment of the oxen he cooked them, the flesh.”



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