1 Kings 17:15
And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) The barrel of meal wasted not.—The miracle is doubly remarkable. First, in this instance, as in the similar miracles of Elisha and of our Lord Himself, we see that God’s higher laws of miracle, like the ordinary laws of His providence, admit within their scope the supply of what we should consider as homely and trivial needs—in this respect perhaps contradicting what our expectation would have suggested. Next, that it is a miracle of multiplication, which is virtual creation—not necessarily out of nothing—doing rapidly and directly what, under ordinary laws, has to be done slowly and by indirect process.

1 Kings 17:15. She did according to the saying of Elijah — Giving glory to the God of Israel, by believing his prophet. O woman, great was thy faith! One has not found the like, no not in Israel. All things considered, it exceeded that of the widow, who, when she had but two mites, cast them into the treasury. She took the prophet’s word that she should not lose by it, but it should be repaid with interest. “Those that can venture upon the promise of God,” says Henry, “will make no difficulty of exposing and emptying themselves in his service, and giving him his dues out of a little, and giving him his part first. They that deal with God, must deal on trust; seek first the kingdom of God, and then other things shall be added. Surely,” adds he, “the increase of this widow’s faith to such a degree as to enable her thus to deny herself, and to depend upon the divine promise, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase of her oil was in the kingdom of providence. Happy they that can thus, against hope, believe and obey in hope.” She and her house did eat many days — A long time, even above two years before the following event about her son happened, and the rest of the time of the famine. See how the reward answered the service! She generously made one cake for the prophet, and was repaid with many for herself and son! What is laid out in charity, is set out to the best interest, upon the best security. One poor meal’s meat this poor widow gave the prophet, and in recompense of it she and her son did eat many days, and probably some of her kindred too, here included in the term her house, an expression which would hardly have been used of her one son.17:8-16 Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, and some, it is likely, would have bidden him welcome to their houses; yet he is sent to honour and bless with his presence a city of Sidon, a Gentile city, and so becomes the first prophet of the Gentiles. Jezebel was Elijah's greatest enemy; yet, to show her how powerless was her malice, God will find a hiding-place for him even in her own country. The person appointed to entertain Elijah is not one of the rich or great men of Sidon; but a poor widow woman, in want, and desolate, is made both able and willing to sustain him. It is God's way, and it is his glory, to make use of, and put honour upon, the weak and foolish things of the world. O woman, great was thy faith; one has not found the like, no not in Israel. She took the prophet's word, that she should not lose by it. Those who can venture upon the promise of God, will make no difficulty to expose and empty themselves in his service, by giving him his part first. Surely the increase of this widow's faith, so as to enable her thus readily to deny herself, and to depend upon the Divine promise, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase of her meal and oil in the kingdom of providence. Happy are all who can thus, against hope, believe and obey in hope. One poor meal's meat this poor widow gave the prophet; in recompence of it, she and her son did eat above two years, in a time of famine. To have food from God's special favour, and in such good company as Elijah, made it more than doubly sweet. It is promised to those who trust in God, that they shall not be ashamed in evil time; in days of famine they shall be satisfied.As the Lord thy God liveth - The words do not prove that the woman was an Israelite, or a worshipper of the true God; any Phoenician, recognizing in Elijah's appearance the garb and manner of a Jehovistic prophet, might have thus addressed him: Baal-worshippers would have admitted Yahweh to be "a" living God. The woman does not say "as the Lord my God liveth."

That we may eat it and die - Phoenicia always depended for its cereal supplies on the harvests of Palestine (1 Kings 5:9 note); and it is evident that the famine was afflicting the Phoenicians at this time no less than the Israelites.

1Ki 17:8-16. He Is Sent to a Widow of Zarephath.

8-16. the word of the Lord came to him—Zarephath, Sarepta, now Surafend, whither he was directed to go, was far away on the western coast of Palestine, about nine miles south of Sidon, and within the dominions of Jezebel's impious father, where the famine also prevailed. Meeting, at his entrance into the town, the very woman who was appointed by divine providence to support him, his faith was severely tested by learning from her that her supplies were exhausted and that she was preparing her last meal for herself and son. The Spirit of God having prompted him to ask, and her to grant, some necessary succor, she received a prophet's reward (Mt 10:41, 42), and for the one meal afforded to him, God, by a miraculous increase of the little stock, afforded many to her.

She did according to the saying of Elijah; giving glory to the God of Israel, by believing his prophet.

Many days, i.e. a long time, even above two years: see 1 Kings 18:1. Heb. days, i.e. a full year; as 1 Kings 17:7; namely, before the following event about her son happened, and the rest of the time of the famine after it. And she went, and did according to the saying of Elijah,..... Made a cake for him first, and brought it to him, which showed great faith in the word of the Lord by him:

and she, and he, and her house, did eat; many days, a year at least, if not two years, see 1 Kings 17:7 the widow, the prophet, and her family, lived upon the meal and oil so long; we read but of one son, but she might have more.

And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat {h} many days.

(h) That is, till he had rain and food on the earth.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. her house] She had enough for all their own needs and something over, which she could give to poorer relations. The whole history of the woman shews that she knew much of the religion of the God of Israel, though we are not told how she had been brought to the knowledge.

many days] There is no word for ‘many’ as the italics shew. The Hebrews used ‘days’ for a long time. Thus the same word is rendered in Genesis 40:4 ‘a season;’ in Numbers 9:22 ‘a year,’ i.e. the complete round of days. The margin of A.V. has ‘a full year’ in the present verse.Verse 15. - And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah [the echo of ver. 13, "Go and do according to thy saying"]: and she, and he, [or he and she, according to Chethib] and her house [probably her friends or poor relatives who came to partake of her plenty (Bahr)], did eat many days. [Heb. days, i.e., an indefinite period. See note on ver. 7. The word does not refer to the first baking (ver. 13), but it is to be explained by the next verse. After some time this brook dried up for want of rain. Then the Lord directed His servant to go to the Sidonian Zarephath, and to live with a widow whom He had commanded to provide for him. ימים מקּץ does not mean post annum, for ימים merely derives this meaning in certain passages from the context (cf. Leviticus 25:29; 1 Samuel 27:7; Judges 17:10); whereas in this instance the context does not point to the space of a year, but to a longer period of indefinite duration, all that we know being that, according to 1 Kings 18:1, the sojourn of Elijah at Cherith and Zarephath lasted at least two years. Zarephath (Σαρέπτα, lxx) was situated on the Mediterranean Sea between Tyre and Sidon, where a miserable Mohammedan village with ruins and a promontory, Surafend, still preserve the name of the former town (Rob. iii. p. 413ff., and V. de Velde, Syria and Palestine, i. pp. 101-3, transl.).
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