1 Kings 17:7
And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
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1 Kings 17:7. After a while — Hebrew, at the end of the days; that is, of a year, as that phrase is often used. The brook dried up — For want of rain, and God so ordering it for the punishment of those Israelites who lived near it, and had hitherto been refreshed by it; and for the exercise of Elijah’s faith, and to teach him still to depend on God alone, and not on any natural means for support and preservation.

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. After a while, Heb. at the end of days, i.e. of a year; for so the word days is oft used, as in Exodus 13:10 Leviticus 25:29 Numbers 9:22 Judges 17:10 1 Samuel 1:3 27:7. And this seems to be a convenient time for the drying up of the brook, which was gradually dried up; and so this agrees well with 1 Kings 18:1,

in the third year; of which See Poole "1 Kings 18:1".

The brook dried up; God so ordering it, partly, for the punishment of those Israelites who lived near it, and had hitherto been refreshed by it; partly, for the trial and exercise of Elijah’s faith, and to teach him to depend upon God alone, not on any creature, for his support; and partly, to show his own all-sufficiency in providing for his people.

And it came to pass after a while,.... Or "at the end of days" (x), perhaps a year, which sometimes is the sense of this phrase, see Exodus 13:10,

that the brook dried up; through the excessive heat, and for want of supplies from the springs and fountains with which it was fed, and for the following reason:

because there had been no rain in the land; from the time Elijah prayed and prophesied; of this drought mention is made in profane history: Menander, a Phoenician writer, speaks (y) of a drought in the times of Ithobalus (the same with Ethbaal the father of Jezebel), which lasted a whole year, and upon prayer being made there were thunder, &c.

(x) "in, vel a, fine dierum", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (y) Apud Joseph. Antiqu. l. 8. c. 13. sect. 2.

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
7. because there had been [R.V. was] no rain] Not only had there been none, but the drought was continuing.

Verse 7. - and it came to pass after awhile, [Heb. at the end of days. Not necessarily post annum. The words no doubt have this force elsewhere, Leviticus 25:29; Judges 11:40; Judges 17:10; 1 Samuel 27:7, etc.; but in all these cases, the meaning is not resident in the words themselves, but in the context. It is impossible to say how long Elijah remained in the Wady. All we can be sure of is that he must have been more than two rears, out of the three and a haft, at Zare-phath. See on 1 Kings 18:1] that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. [גֶּשֶׁם imber, signifies heavy rain. The word used in ver. 1 is מָטָר, rain of any kind.] 1 Kings 17:7After 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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