|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:41-46 Israel, being so far reformed as to acknowledge the Lord to be God, and to consent to the execution of Baal's prophets, was so far accepted, that God poured out blessing upon the land. Elijah long continued praying. Though the answer of our fervent and believing supplications does not come quickly, we must continue earnest in prayer, and not faint or give over. A little cloud at length appeared, which soon overspread the heavens, and watered the earth. Great blessings often arise from small beginnings, showers of plenty from a cloud of span long. Let us never despise the day of small things, but hope and wait for great things from it. From what small beginnings have great matters arisen! It is thus in all the gracious proceedings of God with the soul. Scarcely to be perceived are the first workings of his Spirit in the heart, which grow up at last to the wonder of men, and applause of angels. Elijah hastened Ahab home, and attended him. God will strengthen his people for every service to which his commandments and providence call them. The awful displays of Divine justice and holiness dismay the sinner, extort confessions, and dispose to outward obedience while the impression lasts; but the view of these, with mercy, love, and truth in Christ Jesus, is needful to draw the soul to self-abasement, trust, and love. The Holy Spirit employs both in the conversion of sinners; when sinners are impressed with Divine truths, they should be exhorted to set about the duties to which the Saviour calls his disciples.
Verse 42. - So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top [Heb. head] of Carmel [It is clear from Ver. 43 that this was not the actual summit, nor can it have been, as Bahr supposes, the outermost promontory towards the sea, unless he means the foot or slope of that ridge or promontory, for from this רֹאשׁ the sea was not visible. It also appears from the עֲלֵה of ver. 44 that this point must have been at a lower elevation than the plateau where the altar had stood and where Ahab's tent was]; and he cast himself down upon the earth [Same word 2 Kings 4:34, 35, of Elisha's prostration upon the dead child. But if Elijah "stretched himself full length" upon the earth, as the Easterns constantly do in prayer (see Thomson, 1:26, 27) it was but for a moment, as we presently find him kneeling], and put his face between his knees. ["The Oriental attitude of entire abstraction" (Stanley). The posture witnessed to the intensity of his supplication.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So Ahab went up to eat and to drink,.... Up to his chariot, as some think, or rather to some place higher than that in which he now was:
and Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; higher still, where he both might be alone, and have the opportunity of observing the clouds gathering, and the rain coming:
and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees; expressive of his humility, and of his earnestness, and vehement desire, and continued importunity, that rain might fall; for this was a posture of prayer he put himself into, and continued in; and it is certain that it was through his prayer that rain came, James 5:18 and from hence came the fable of the Grecians concerning Aeacus praying for rain in a time of drought, when it came (h). So the Chinese writers (i) report that at the prayers of their emperor Tangus, after a seven years' drought, great rains fell.
(h) Pausan. Attica, sive, l. 1. prope finem. Isocrat. Evagoras, p. 373. (i) Martin. Sinic. Hist. l. 3. p. 60.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
42. Ahab went up to eat and to drink—Ahab, kept in painful excitement by the agonizing scene, had eaten nothing all the day. He was recommended to refresh himself without a moment's delay; and, while the king was thus occupied, the prophet, far from taking rest, was absorbed in prayer for the fulfilment of the promise (1Ki 18:1).
put his face between his knees—a posture of earnest supplication still used.
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