And Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me. And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The altar of the Lord—evidently referred to as well known, and here accepted by Elijah as having a true sacredness. The exclusive consecration of the appointed sanctuary at Jerusalem, if ever as yet thoroughly recognised, was now obviously broken down by the religious severance of Israel.1 Kings 18:30. Elijah said, Come near unto me — Come away from these impudent deceivers to me, and expect from me the satisfaction of your desire. He repaired the altar of the Lord — An altar which probably had remained from the time of the judges; at least, it had been built by some of their ancestors, for the offering of sacrifices to the God of Israel, which was frequently done in high places, of which, it is probable, Carmel was once one of the most eminent in the whole kingdom. This altar Elijah now repaired, because it had been broken down, doubtless, by some of the Baalites out of their enmity to the true God, whose temple they could not reach, and therefore showed their malignity in destroying his altars. “Both Tacitus and Suetonius speak of the God of Carmel, whom Vespasian went to consult when he was in Judea; but they tell us, that there was neither temple nor statue upon the mountain, except one altar only, plain, but venerable for its antiquity. The altar of Carmel seems to have had its original from this altar of the true God, which the ancient Hebrews first erected, and Elijah afterward repaired; and which even the heathen held in such veneration, that when they came to be masters of the country, they would not so much as place an image by it.” — Dodd.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.Come near unto me; come away from these impudent deceivers to me, and expect from me what satisfaction you desire.
He repaired the altar, which by the people’s help was quickly done; the materials being all ready, and very slightly put together, only for the present occasion.
The altar of the Lord; which had been built there by some of their ancestors for the offering of sacrifice to the God of Israel, which was frequently done in high places, of which this was none of the least eminent ones; but being for some time neglected, it needed reparations.
That was broken down; either, first, By the priests of Baal at this time, who leaped upon it to that end; of which See Poole "1 Kings 18:26". Or rather, secondly, By some of the Baalites, out of their enmity to the true God, whose temple, because they could not reach, they showed their malignity in destroying his altars, 1 Kings 19:14.
and all the people came near unto him; left the prophets of Baal to themselves, and took no more notice of them, but attended to what the prophet should say and do:
and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down; which had been set up when high places and altars were allowed of, while the tabernacle was unsettled, and the temple not built; this is supposed to have been erected in the times of the judges; though, according to a tradition of the Jews (d), it was built by Saul, see 1 Samuel 15:12 but had been thrown down by the idolatrous Israelites, who demolished such as were erected to the name of the Lord everywhere, and built new ones for their idols, 1 Kings 19:10. Benjamin of Tudela (e) says, that on the top of Mount Carmel is now to be seen the place of the altar Elijah repaired, which is four cubits round.And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down] On the top of Carmel had been one of the high places where worship was paid to Jehovah, after the manner of the worship in the wilderness, till the place which God had chosen became known and the Temple built there. The custom of worship at such spots was continued for a long time after Solomon’s date, and Elijah here treats the altar as a specially sacred erection, to be restored in Jehovah’s honour.
The LXX. omits this clause here, but introduces one very similar in 1 Kings 18:32.Verse 30. - And Elijah said unto all the people [He has now done with the priests. They have had their opportunity; his turn is come], Come near unto me. [Hitherto they had gathered round the altar of Baal, and some, it may he, had joined their prayers to those of the priests (ver. 24). In ver. 21, he "drew near" - same word - to them. Now they must stand round the altar he is about to build. He will have "eyewitnesses and ear-witnesses" (Keil). There must be no suspicion of imposture.] And all the people came near unto him And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. [It has been already suggested that this altar may have dated from the time when there was no house built unto the name of the Lord. But it is just as likely that it had been restored, if not raised, by some of the "seven thousand who had not bowed their knees unto Baal," or by some of the faithful remaining in Israel after the calf-worship and the hostility between the two kingdoms had made worship at Jerusalem an impossibility. Anyhow we can hardly be mistaken in holding that this was one of the "altars" (1 Kings 19:10), thrown down" by command of Ahab or Jezebel. Elijah's repairing it was an act of profound significance. It showed him as the restorer of the law and the true religion.] 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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