And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They prophesied—raved in their frenzy; like Saul in the hour of madness (1Samuel 18:10), or of overpowering religious excitement (1Samuel 19:20-24). As a rule, not perhaps without some rare exceptions, the true prophetic inspiration, even if felt as overmastering the will (see Jeremiah 20:7-9), gave no place to frenzy. “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”1 Kings 18:29. They prophesied, &c. — That is, prayed to, or sung hymns in honour of their god, falling into strange contortions, as if they were excited and actuated by some divine power. Until the time of the evening sacrifice — Here termed the sacrifice by way of eminence, (for in the Hebrew there is nothing for evening,) because it was more solemn and public, and more frequented than the morning sacrifice; of which divers reasons may be given. See Exodus 12:6; Psalm 141:2; Acts 3:1. Nor any that regarded — Hebrew, אין קשׁב, ein kasheb, there was no attention; either of their god who was so far from answering that he did not mind any of their words or actions; or of the people, who were now tired out with so long attention and expectation; and therefore, more readily deserted them, and drew near to Elijah and his altar at his call.1 Kings 22:12. The expression seems to be used of any case where there was an utterance of words by persons in a state of religious ecstasy.
Until the time of the offering etc - Rather, "Until toward the time." Elijah had built his altar by the actual time of the offering 1 Kings 18:36.They prophesied, i. e. praised, and prayed unto, and worshipped their god; for so the word prophesying is used, 1 Samuel 10:10 19:20 1 Chronicles 25:2,3 Mt 7:22 1 Corinthians 11:4 14:5,6, &c.
Of the evening sacrifice, Heb. of the sacrifice; which being here opposed to the time of their offering, which was the morning, 1 Kings 18:26, must needs be meant of the evening sacrifice; of which see Exodus 29:39, &c.; which is called the sacrifice, by way of eminency, because it was more solemn, and public, and frequented than the morning sacrifice; of which divers reasons may be given. See Exodus 12:6 Psalm 141:2 Acts 3:1.
Nor any that regarded, Heb. there was no attention; either, first, Of their god, who was so far from answering, that he did not mind any of their words and actions. Or, secondly, Of the people, who were now tired out with so long attention and expectation; and therefore more readily deserted them, and approached to Elijah and his altar, at his call, 1 Kings 18:30.
and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; continued praying to Baal, and singing his praises, but all to no purpose; or they behaved like madmen, as the Targum; thus they went on until it was time to offer the evening sacrifice; so that they had no interruption in their service, and had all the time they could desire to have to importune their god to do the favour for them they requested:
that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded; no voice was heard that returned them any answer; nor was any answer made by fire, nor any regard shown to their mad gestures, and barbarous actions; and very likely the people also, by this time, paid no regard unto them, perceiving they were not able, by all their cries and methods they took, to obtain an answer.And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)29. And it came to pass [R.V. it was so], when midday was past, and [R.V. that] they prophesied] The word used for the wild raving of these heathen priests is the same which is employed for the most solemn utterances of the prophets of Jehovah (cf. Ezekiel 37:10). The thought which connects the two uses seems to be of a person acting under some influence which he cannot control. In both cases the external manifestation was in a degree alike, for Jehovah’s prophets were moved at times by great outward excitement. In these Baal-prophets it appears to have been of the nature of raving. On the bodily agitations of the prophets Maimonides (de Fundam. Legis VII. 3) writes ‘The limbs of all the prophets, during the time of their prophetic inspiration, are agitated, their strength of body fails, their thoughts are snatched aside, and their intellect is left free to understand what is shewn to them.’ Then he quotes the instances of Abraham (Genesis 15:12) and of Daniel (Daniel 10:8).
the offering of the evening sacrifice] R.V. oblation. The Hebrew word מנחה here used signifies that offering of fine flour mixed with oil, salt and frankincense, which was the accompaniment at times of sacrifices, but which at times was offered alone. It is generally rendered in A.V. ‘meat offering,’ and R.V. has changed this to ‘meal offering’ that the nature of the oblation might be more nearly described in the translation. ‘Sacrifice’ here is misleading, for the offering was without blood.
that [R.V. but] there was neither voice … regarded] The change in R.V. follows on the alterations made in the first half of the verse. The sense then is given more clearly. What is meant to be expressed is, that though they went on the whole day through, yet there was no result of their cries and lacerations.
The LXX. omits this clause, and gives instead ‘And Elijah the Tishbite spake to the prophets of the abominations, saying, Stand aside now, and I will offer my burnt offering. And they stood aside and went away.’Verse 29. - And it came to pass, when midday was past [Elijah allowed them all the time he could, consistently with the great work he had himself to do, which would absorb all the rest of the day], and they prophesied [Notice the striking coincidence with the description of the worship of Ashtoreth given above. We are not to think of vaticinations, but of frenzied cries, etc. It is not clear, however, that any fresh element in their worship is intended, as Keil imagines. Their service as a whole, seeing they were prophets, would be called a "prophesying," and the word, consequently, may merely mean "they pursued their calling," "they cried and prayed," etc.] until the time of the offering [Keil and Rawlinson would translate, "until towards the time," etc. There is certainly some indefiniteness in the words עַד לַעֲלות, until [the hour] for placing, etc., but we may well believe that their dances and cries continued up to the moment of Elijah's prayer (ver. 36)] of the evening sacrifice [Heb. the Minchah, i.e., the meat offering or unbloody sacrifice. In Genesis 4:3-6 the word would appear to be used of any offering; but at a later day it was restricted to bloodless offerings, and was opposed to זֶבַח Cf. Psalm 40:7; Jeremiah 17:26. Directions as to the offering of the Minchah are given, Exodus 29:38-41; Numbers 28:3-8. The evening sacrifice was probably offered then, as it certainly was at a later day, at the ninth hour. Cf. Acts 3:1; Acts 10:3, 30, and see Jos., Ant. 14:04.3. Wordsworth think, this synchronism very significant, as suggesting that the true worship of God was that of the temple in Jerusalem], that there was neither voice, nor any to answer [as in ver. 26], nor any that regarded. [Heb. and not attention. The LXX has a curious variation and addition here: "And Elijah the Tishbite said to the prophets of the idols, Stand back; I will now make ready my offering."] Leviticus 9. As Jehovah had there manifested Himself as the God of Israel by causing fire to fall from heaven upon the first sacrifice presented in front of the tabernacle and to consume it, Elijah hoped that in like manner Jehovah would even now reveal Himself as the living God. And the form of decision thus proposed would necessarily appear all the fairer, because Elijah, the prophet of Jehovah, stood alone in opposition to a whole crowd of Baal's prophets, numbering no less than 450 men. And for that very reason the latter could not draw back, without publicly renouncing their pretensions, whether they believed that Baal would really do what was desired, or hoped that they might be able to escape, through some accident or stratagem, from the difficult situation that had been prepared for them, or fancied that the God of Elijah would no more furnish the proof of His deity that was desired of Him than Baal would. In order, however, to cut off every subterfuge in the event of their attempt proving a failure, Elijah not only yielded the precedence to them on the occasion of this sacrifice, but gave them the choice of the two oxen brought to be offered; which made the fairness of his proposal so much the more conspicuous to every one, that the people willingly gave their consent.
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