1 Kings 17:6
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 17:6. The ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, &c. — “We need not inquire where they procured the bread and flesh, or how the food was prepared; he who commanded them to feed his servant had ten thousand ways of enabling them to fulfil his word: thus Elijah was sufficiently provided for, when numbers were starving; and the consolations of the Lord would render him contented with his solitude and sustenance.” — Scott.

17:1-7 God wonderfully suits men to the work he designs them for. The times were fit for an Elijah; an Elijah was fit for them. The Spirit of the Lord knows how to fit men for the occasions. Elijah let Ahab know that God was displeased with the idolaters, and would chastise them by the want of rain, which it was not in the power of the gods they served to bestow. Elijah was commanded to hide himself. If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes us to go: when we cannot be useful, we must be patient; and when we cannot work for God, we must sit still quietly for him. The ravens were appointed to bring him meat, and did so. Let those who have but from hand to mouth, learn to live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of the day, in the day. God could have sent angels to minister to him; but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by the meanest creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest. Elijah seems to have continued thus above a year. The natural supply of water, which came by common providence, failed; but the miraculous supply of food, made sure to him by promise, failed not. If the heavens fail, the earth fails of course; such are all our creature-comforts: we lose them when we most need them, like brooks in summer. But there is a river which makes glad the city of God, that never runs dry, a well of water that springs up to eternal life. Lord, give us that living water!The ravens - This is the translation of most of the ancient versions; others, omitting the points, which are generally allowed to have no authority, read "Arabians;" others, retaining the present pointing, translate either "merchants" (compare the original of Ezekiel 27:9, Ezekiel 27:27), or "Orbites." Jerome took it in this last sense, and so does the Arabic Version. 6. the ravens brought him bread—The idea of such unclean and voracious birds being employed to feed the prophet has appeared to many so strange that they have labored to make out the Orebim, which in our version has been rendered "ravens," to be as the word is used (in Eze 27:27) "merchants"; or Arabians (2Ch 21:16; Ne 4:7); or, the citizens of Arabah, near Beth-shan (Jos 15:6; 18:18). But the common rendering is, in our opinion, preferable to these conjectures. And, if Elijah was miraculously fed by ravens, it is idle to inquire where they found the bread and the flesh, for God would direct them. After the lapse of a year, the brook dried up, and this was a new trial to Elijah's faith. Bread and flesh; not raw, but boiled by the ministry of some angel or man, and left in some place or places till the ravens came for it, in all which there is nothing incredible, considering the power and providence of God.

In the morning and in the evening, i.e. for dinner and supper, according to the custom. See Genesis 43:25 Ruth 2:14 Luke 14:12 Acts 10:9,10.

And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening,.... For his breakfast and supper, the two principal meals then in use; and as there were several employed, they could bring a sufficiency in a short time for each meal; and these provisions were ready prepared, the bread made and baked, and the flesh boiled, broiled, or roasted; from whence they had it need not be inquired after; the Jews say (w) they were fetched from Ahab's table, and others from Jehoshaphat's, and others, as probable as any, from the tables of the 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal:

and he drank of the brook; at his meals.

(w) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 113. 1. Cholin, fol. 5. 1. Tanchuma apud Abarbinel in loc.

And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. And the ravens brought, &c.] According to the LXX., the ravens brought him ‘bread in the morning, and flesh in the evening.’ Jerome in his life of Paul the hermit (§ 10) relates that a raven thus supplied the hermit’s wants, “suspiciunt alitem corvum in ramo arboris consedisse, qui inde leniter subvolabat, et integrum panem ante ora mirantium deposuit.’ Those who have watched the habits of large birds like the raven can bear witness to the large supply which they bring home under ordinary circumstances, and for Elijah’s sustenance their natural energy was quickened.

Verse 6. - And the ravens brought [Heb. bringing] him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening [the Vat. LXX. has" bread in the morning and flesh in the evening." It has been objected that this verse is fatal to the view advanced above - that the ערבים were not birds but men - that no men would have "come regularly twice a day,., thus giving themselves needless trouble and increasing the chance of detection, when they might easily have left him a supply for several days" (Rawlinson). But if we may believe that the prophet was, if not among kinsmen or friends, yet among the pastoral, semi-nomadic people of Gilead, a people, that is to say, like the Bedawin in their instincts and customs, it is easy to understand that having taken him under their protection, they would make a point of visiting him regularly, not only to show him all possible honour, as a person endued with supernatural powers (cf. 1 Kings 18:7, 13), but to afford him some measure of sympathy and companionship. And we can then see a reason for the morning and evening being mentioned. Their visits would be made in the twilight, which is really longer in the East than is generally supposed]; and he drank [Hebrew drinks. The Heb. future often has the force of an imperfect, and expresses continued or repeated action] of the brook. 1 Kings 17:6After the announcement of this judgment, Elijah had to hide himself, by the command of God, until the period of punishment came to an end, not so much that he might be safe from the wrath and pursuit of Ahab and Jezebel, as to preclude all earnest entreaties to remove the punishment. "For inasmuch as the prophet had said that the rain would come at his word, how would they have urged him to order it to come!" (Seb. Schm.) He was to turn קדמה, eastward, i.e., from Samaria, where he had no doubt proclaimed the divine judgment to Ahab, to the Jordan, and to hide himself at the brook Cherith, which is in front of the Jordan. The brook Cherith was in any case a brook emptying itself into the Jordan; but whether upon the eastern or the western side of that river, the ambiguity of על־פּני, which means both "to the east of" (Genesis 25:18) and also "in the face of," i.e., before or towards (Genesis 16:12; Genesis 18:16), it is impossible to determine with certainty. That it must signify "to the east of the Jordan" here, does not follow from קדמה with anything like the certainty that Thenius supposes. An ancient tradition places the Cherith on this side of the Jordan, and identifies it with the spring Phasaelis, which takes its rise in the slope of the mountains into the Jordan valley above the city of Phasaelis, and empties itself into the Jordan (cf. Ges. thes. p. 719, and V. de Velde, Reise, ii. pp. 273-4); whereas Eusebius, in the Onom. s.v. Chorat (Chorra'), places it on the other side of the Jordan, and Thenius thinks of the apparently deep Wady Rajib or Ajlun. All that can be affirmed with certainty is, that neither the brook Kanah (Joshua 16:8; Joshua 17:9), which flows into the Mediterranean, nor the Wady Kelt near Jericho, which Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 288) suggests, can possibly come into consideration: the latter for the simple reason, that the locality in the neighbourhood of Jericho was unsuitable for a hiding-place. Elijah was to drink of this brook, and the ravens by divine command were to provide him with bread and meat, which they brought him, according to 1 Kings 17:6, both morning and evening. It is now generally admitted that הערבים does not mean either Arabs or Orebites (the inhabitants of an imaginary city named Oreb), but ravens. Through this miracle, which unbelievers reject, because they do not acknowledge a living God, by whom, as the Creator and Lord of all creatures, even the voracious ravens are made subservient to His plans of salvation, Elijah was not only cut off from intercourse with men, who might have betrayed his place of abode to the king, but was mightily strengthened himself, through the confidence inspired in the almighty assistance of his God, for his approaching contests with the worshippers of idols, and for the privations and sufferings which awaited him in the fulfilment of his vocation.
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