1 Kings 19:9
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

New Living Translation
There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the LORD said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

English Standard Version
There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

New American Standard Bible
Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

King James Bible
And 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?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He entered a cave there and spent the night. Then the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

International Standard Version
Elijah arrived at a cave and stayed there. All of a sudden this message came from the LORD: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

NET Bible
He went into a cave there and spent the night. All of a sudden the LORD spoke to him, "Why are you here, Elijah?"

New Heart English Bible
And there he came to a cave and lodged there; and look, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
There he went into a cave and spent the night. Then the LORD spoke his word to Elijah. He asked, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

JPS Tanakh 1917
And 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?'

New American Standard 1977
Then he came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And there he went into a cave, where he lodged; and the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

King James 2000 Bible
And he came there unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What do you here, Elijah?

American King James Version
And he came thither to a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, What do you here, Elijah?

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

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when he was come thither, he abode in a cave: and behold the word of the Lord came unto him, and he said to him: What dost thou here, Elias?

Darby Bible Translation
And there he went into a cave, and lodged there. And behold, the word of Jehovah [came] to him, and he said to him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

English Revised Version
And 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?

Webster's Bible Translation
And he came thither to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

World English Bible
He came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Young's Literal Translation
And he cometh in there, unto the cave, and lodgeth there, and lo, the word of Jehovah is unto him, and saith to him, 'What -- to thee, here, Elijah?'
Study Bible
The Lord Speaks to Elijah at Horeb
8So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."…
Cross References
Hebrews 11:38
The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and hid in caves and holes in the ground.

Genesis 16:8
He said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from and where are you going?" And she said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai."

Exodus 33:21
Then the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;

Exodus 33:22
and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.

1 Kings 19:13
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle 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?"

Jonah 4:5
Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.
Treasury of Scripture

And he came thither to a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, What do you here, Elijah?

unto a cave

Exodus 33:21,22 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall …

Jeremiah 9:2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; …

Hebrews 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and …

What does thou

1 Kings 19:13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in …

Genesis 3:9 And the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you?

Genesis 16:8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, from where came you? and where …

Jeremiah 2:18 And now what have you to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters …

Jonah 1:3,4 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, …

(9) A cave.--This is properly, "the cave"--perhaps a reference to some cave already well known, as connected with the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, or perhaps only an anticipatory reference to the cave which Elijah's sojourn was to make famous.

The word of the Lord came to him.--The connection suggests that this message came to him in vision or dream at night. The LXX. implies this distinctly by inserting in 1Kings 19:11 the word "to-morrow," which is also found in the rather vague and prosaic paraphrase of the passage in Josephus. What Elijah replies in imagination in the vision, he repeats next day in actual words.

Verse 9. - And he came thither unto a cave [Heb. the cave. LXX. τὸ σπήλαιον. Many commentators identify this with "the cliff of the rock" where Moses was concealed while the Lord "passed by" (Exodus 33:22), and the use of the same word, עבֵר in ver. 11 certainly favours this view. But is it clear that the clift (נִקְרָה fissure) was a cave? Ewald understands "the cave in which at that time travellers to Sinai commonly rested." It is perhaps worth remembering that a part of the desert, though at some distance from Horeb; boars at this day the name of Magharah, or cave. But there is a "narrow fret" pointed out by tradition as the abode of Elijah, on the side of Jebol Muss. "There is nothing to confirm, but there is nothing to contradict, the belief that it may have been in that secluded basin, which has long been pointed out as the spot No scene could be more suitable for the vision which follows" (Stanley). There is, however, one formidable difficulty in the way of this identification, viz., that the cave is only just large enough for a man's body, which does not agree with ver. 18], and lodged [לוּן means strictly to pass the night. It is possibly connected radically with לַיְלָה] there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him [Not "in vision as he slept" (Rawlinson). He could not "go forth" in his sleep. That he was to go forth "on the morrow" is equally unlikely see ver. 11, note], and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? [Many writers, Bahr and Keil among them, will not allow that there is aught of reproof in this question, or that Elijah had in any way erred in his hasty flight. The former asks how it comes to pass that the angel, instead of reproving him, succoured and strengthened him (vers. 6, 7), if he was acting in faithlessness or disobedience. But surely it does not follow that God denies all grace and sustenance to His elect servants even if they do, in a moment of despair, forget or distrust Him. Elijah may have been strengthened for this very journey, Because God would meet with him and teach him the lessons of patience and trust he needed to learn, at the "mount of God" itself. And his answer, especially when contrasted with that of ver. 14 (where see note), certainly betrays, not only irritation and despair, but a "carnal zeal which would gladly have called down the vengeance of the Almighty upon all idolaters" (Keil). The question in itself, it is true, does not necessarily impart censure - it might merely mean, "What wouldst thou learn of me?" But when it is remembered that the prophet had been sent to every other destination by the "word of the Lord," and that he had left Jezreel without any such word - left it in terror and bitter disappointment and sheer distrust of God - it does look as if the words conveyed a gentle reminder that he had deserted the post of duty, and had no right to be there. So Clerieus, "Quasi Deus diceret nihil esse Eliae negotii in solitudine, sed potius in locis habitatis, ut illic homies ad veri Dei cultum adduceret."] And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there,.... This cave, some travellers say (u), is to be seen at this day, not far from a church dedicated to the prophet Elijah, and that the cave itself has the appearance of a chapel; but a more particular account of it is given in a journal (w) lately published, which says, this cave exists to this very day, and is situated at the foot of Mount Sinai, and is now enclosed in a church built of red and white granite marble, the entrance into which is from the west; the dimensions of this cave are in length five feet, in depth four feet, and in height four and a half. The Jewish writers are of opinion that this was the cleft of the rock in which Moses was put, when the Lord passed before him; but, if so, there would have been no need of Elijah to have gone forth to and stand upon the mount when the Lord passed by, 1 Kings 19:11,

and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him; an articulate voice was heard by him:

and he said unto him, what dost thou here, Elijah? this is not a proper place for a prophet to be in, in a wilderness, in a mountain, in a cave in it: what work could he do for God? or what service to his people? in the land of Israel he might bear his testimony against idolatry, and so be a means of reclaiming backsliders, and of establishing those that were in the true religion; but of what usefulness could he be here? Abarbinel takes it to be a reproof of Elijah, for going into a place so holy as it was, and in which Moses, the chief of the prophets, had been, and that it did not become such a man as he was to be in such a place.

(u) Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 166. (w) Journal from Cairo to Mount Sinai in 1722, p. 26. Ed. 2.19:9-13 The question God put, What doest thou here, Elijah? is a reproof. It concerns us often to ask whether we are in our place, and in the way of our duty. Am I where I should be? whither God calls me, where my business lies, and where I may be useful? He complained of the people, and their obstinacy in sin; I only am left. Despair of success hinders many a good enterprise. Did Elijah come hither to meet with God? he shall find that God will meet him. The wind, and earthquake, and fire, did not make him cover his face, but the still voice did. Gracious souls are more affected by the tender mercies of the Lord, than by his terrors. The mild voice of Him who speaks from the cross, or the mercy-seat, is accompanied with peculiar power in taking possession of the heart.
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