Elijah Flees from Jezebel
1 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets [of Baal] with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and even more, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your (a)life like the life of one of them.” 3 And Elijah was afraid and arose and ran for his life, and he came to (b)Beersheba which belongs to Judah, and he left his servant there. 4 But he himself traveled a day’s journey into the wilderness, and he came and sat down under a juniper tree and asked [God] that he might die. He said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 He lay down and slept under the juniper tree, and behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked, and by his head there was a bread cake baked on hot coal, and a pitcher of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Get up, and eat, for the journey is too long for you [without adequate sustenance].” 8 So he got up and ate and drank, and with the strength of that food he traveled forty days and nights to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God.
Elijah at Horeb
9 There he came to a cave and spent the night in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very (c)zealous (impassioned) for the Lord God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.”
11 So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by, and a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, [there was] an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, [there was] a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, [there was] the sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle (cloak) and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts (armies), because the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.”
15 The Lord (d)said to him, “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram (Syria); 16 and you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of (e)Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 It shall come about that Jehu shall put to death whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, and Elisha shall put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I will leave 7,000 [survivors] in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed down to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
19 So Elijah departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his mantle (coat) on him. 20 He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother [goodbye], then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go on back; for what have I done to [stop] you?” 21 So Elisha left him and went back. Then he took a pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their meat with the implements of the oxen [as fuel], and gave the meat to the people, and they ate. Then he stood and followed Elijah, and served him.(A)
a. 1 Kings 19:2: Lit soul.
b. 1 Kings 19:3: Beersheba was about ninety miles south of Jezreel and was not part of Ahab’s kingdom.
c. 1 Kings 19:10: Or jealous, i.e. intolerant of unfaithfulness.
d. 1 Kings 19:15: God tells Elijah how to complete the destruction of the worship of Baal. First, Hazael was to be placed on the Aramean (Syrian) throne in order to attack Ahab. Second, when Ahab was weakened, Jehu was to seize his throne because he opposed the worship of Baal and was a powerful military man. Third, Elijah was to appoint Elisha as his successor, as the one who would, along with Jehu, strike down Baal’s remaining followers.
e. 1 Kings 19:16: This city was located in the tribal territory of Manasseh in the Jordan River valley.