As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom, where my lord has not sent to seek you: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found you not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)There is no nation.—This unremitting search—implying perhaps some supremacy or authority over neighbouring kingdoms—suits ill with the half-hearted enmity of Ahab. No doubt it was the work of Jezebel, in Ahab’s name, connived at (as in the murder of Naboth) by his timidity.There is no nation or kingdom, to wit, near to his own, where he could in reason think that Elijah had hid himself. Nothing is more frequent than to understand general expressions with such limitations.
He took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not; not that he could force other kingdoms to take an oath, but that by his persuasions he prevailed with the chief persons in several kingdoms for his satisfaction to swear that they did not know of Elijah’s being among them; which was not hard for him to obtain. For Ahab was a great prince, and had a great interest among the neighbouring kings, the king of Tyre was his father-in-law; the king of Moab tributary to him; Jehoshaphat his friend and relation, to whom the king of Edom was tributary. We read also of
all the kings of Arabia, and of all the kings of the Hittites, and of Syria, 1 Kings 10:15,29; which as they corresponded with Solomon, so how far they might be allied to or confederate with Ahab we know not; nor what articles or agreements were between him and them, among which this might be one, that they should deliver up to one another all their fugitive or banished subjects upon demand; which might give sufficient ground for his desire or expectation of this oath.
Quest. How then could Elijah lie hid in the house of the widow of Sarepta?
Answ. That might easily be, either because she herself, or at least others, did not know particularly who he was; or because she used all possible care to conceal him, her conscience and interest both obliging her so to do; or because God secured him there.
there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee; which is either an hyperbolical expression, signifying he had sought for him in many places, and in every place he could think of; or it must be understood either of the ten tribes, which were as so many nations and kingdoms as they had been; or were more in the times of the Canaanites; or of the nations round about, that were in alliance with or tributary to the king of Israel:
and when they said, he is not there, he took an oath of the kingdom and nation that they found thee not; which he might exact of his own subjects, but could not of other nations, unless they were free to it of themselves; or he might take it of their ambassadors or merchants that came into his land, of whom he inquired, and adjured them to tell him the truth.As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. there is no nation or kingdom] Of course Obadiah’s words only apply to those countries immediately around Israel and into which Elijah could be supposed to have fled for refuge. But he employs the language of Oriental hyperbole, so frequently found in the Old Testament Cf. Genesis 7:19; Deuteronomy 2:25.
he took an oath] The search had been made after a very thorough and formal manner, and solemn attestation made of its fruitlessness. The LXX. says ‘he burnt up that kingdom and the countries thereof because he did not find thee.’Verse 10. - As the Lord thy God liveth [Obadiah uses precisely the same adjuration as the widow of Zarephath, 1 Kings 17:12. But then, though Jehovah was undoubtedly his God, He was in a more special and intimate manner Elijah's God. The oath corresponds well with the prophet's name], there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee [Keil says the hyperbole is to be explained by the "inward excitement and fear" of the speaker. But the Orientals use similar exaggerations in their calmest moments. All that is meant is that all neighbouring and accessible courts had been communicated with. This search for Elijah shows that Ahab regarded him as the author of the drought, and did not recognize it as sent by God. The belief in occult and magical powers has always held possession of the Eastern mind]: and when they said, He is not there [Heb. Not, and he, etc.]; he took an oath [LXX. ἐνέπρησε, which has been thought by some to point to acts of vengeance. But more probably it is a clerical error, perhaps for ὥρκισε, or ἐνώρκισε. On the frequency of oaths in that age see on 1 Kings 1:51] of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. 1 Kings 18:1, 1 Kings 18:2. In the third year of his sojourn at Zarephath the word of the Lord came to Elijah to show himself to Ahab; since God was about to send rain upon the land again. The time given, "the third year," is not to be reckoned, as the Rabbins, Clericus, Thenius, and others assume, from the commencement of the drought, but from the event last mentioned, namely, the sojourn of Elijah at Zarephath. This view merits the preference as the simplest and most natural one, and is shown to be the oldest by Luke 4:25 and James 5:17, where Christ and James both say, that in the time of Ahab it did not rain for three years and six months. And this length of time can only be obtained by allowing more than two years for Elijah's stay at Zarephath. - From 1 Kings 18:2 to 1 Kings 18:6 we have parenthetical remarks introduced, to explain the circumstances which led to Elijah's meeting with Ahab. The verbs ויּקרא, ויהי, ויּאמר ,ויהי , and ויחלּקוּ (1 Kings 18:3, 1 Kings 18:4, 1 Kings 18:5, 1 Kings 18:6) carry on the circumstantial clauses: "and the famine was..." (1 Kings 18:2), and "Obadiah feared..." (1 Kings 18:3), and are therefore to be expressed by the pluperfect. When the famine had become very severe in Samaria (the capital), Ahab, with Obadiah the governor of his castle (הבּית על אשׁר, see at 1 Kings 4:6), who was a God-fearing man, and on the persecution of the prophets of Jehovah by Jezebel had hidden a hundred prophets in caves and supplied them with food, had arranged for an expedition through the whole land to seek for hay for his horses and mules. And for this purpose they had divided the land between them, so that the one explored one district and the other another. We see from Obadiah 1:4 that Jezebel had resolved upon exterminating the worship of Jehovah, and sought to carry out this intention by destroying the prophets of the true God. The hundred prophets whom Obadiah concealed were probably for the most part pupils ("sons") of the prophets. אישׁ חמשּׁים must signify, according to the context and also according to Obadiah 1:13, "fifty each," so that חמשּׁים must have fallen out through a copyist's error. מן נכרית ולוא, that we may not be obliged to kill (a portion) of the cattle (מן partitive). The Keri מהבּהמה is no doubt actually correct, but it is not absolutely necessary, as the Chethb בּהמה מן may be taken as an indefinite phrase: "any head of cattle."
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