1 Kings 18:36
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) Lord God of Abraham.—In this solemn and earnest invocation of God, as in Exodus 3:15; Exodus 6:2-3, the name JEHOVAH, describing God as He is in Himself—the One eternal self-existent Being—is united with the name which shows His special covenant with “Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel.” In His own nature incomprehensible to finite being, He yet reveals Himself in moral and spiritual relations with His people, through which they “know that which passeth knowledge.” The prominence of the name “Jehovah,” thrice repeated in this short prayer of Elijah, is significant as of the special mission, symbolised in his very name, so also of his immediate purpose. He desires to efface himself. The God of Israel is to show Himself as the true worker, not only in the outer sphere by miracle, but in the inner sphere by that conversion of the hearts of the people, which to the prophet’s eye is already effected. Like his antitype in the New Testament, Elijah is but a voice calling on men “to prepare the way of the Lord.”

1 Kings 18:36-37. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice — This time he chose, that he might unite his prayers with the prayers of the godly Jews at Jerusalem, who at that time assembled together to pray. Lord God of Abraham, &c. — Hereby he shows his faith in God’s ancient covenant, and also reminds the people of their relation both to God and to the patriarchs, I have done these things — Brought this famine, gathered the people hither, and done what I have done, or am doing here, not in compliance with my own passions, but in obedience to thy command: for his shutting up heaven by his prayers, and afterward killing the priests of Baal, would of necessity expose him to great envy and reproach, which made this public vindication of his conduct necessary, as it was also effectual, being witnessed from heaven. That thou hast turned their heart back again — Let them feel so powerful a change in their hearts, that they may know it is thy work, and may show that they are brought back again to thee, the only living and true God, from whom they have revolted.18:21-40 Many of the people wavered in their judgment, and varied in their practice. Elijah called upon them to determine whether Jehovah or Baal was the self-existent, supreme God, the Creator, Governor, and Judge of the world, and to follow him alone. It is dangerous to halt between the service of God and the service of sin, the dominion of Christ and the dominion of our lusts. If Jesus be the only Saviour, let us cleave to him alone for every thing; if the Bible be the world of God, let us reverence and receive the whole of it, and submit our understanding to the Divine teaching it contains. Elijah proposed to bring the matter to a trial. Baal had all the outward advantages, but the event encourages all God's witnesses and advocates never to fear the face of man. The God that answers by fire, let him be God: the atonement was to be made by sacrifice, before the judgment could be removed in mercy. The God therefore that has power to pardon sin, and to signify it by consuming the sin-offering, must needs be the God that can relieve from the calamity. God never required his worshippers to honour him in the manner of the worshippers of Baal; but the service of the devil, though sometimes it pleases and pampers the body, yet, in other things, really is cruel to it, as in envy and drunkenness. God requires that we mortify our lusts and corruptions; but bodily penances and severities are no pleasure to him. Who has required these things at your hands? A few words uttered in assured faith, and with fervent affection for the glory of God, and love to the souls of men, or thirstings after the Lord's image and his favour, form the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man, which availeth much. Elijah sought not his own glory, but that of God, for the good of the people. The people are all agreed, convinced, and satisfied; Jehovah, he is the God. Some, we hope, had their hearts turned, but most of them were convinced only, not converted. Blessed are they that have not seen what these saw, yet have believed, and have been wrought upon by it, more than they that saw it.At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice - i. e., probably "the ninth hour," or three o'clock. Thus there might still remain about five hours of light, during which the other events of the day were accomplished.

Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel - This solemn address would carry back the thoughts of the pious to the burning bush of Horeb, and the words there spoken (marginal references), for there only had this mysterious formula been used before. Its use now was calculated to stir their faith and prepare them in some degree for God's answering "by fire."

That I have done all these things at thy word - i. e., "That I have been divinely directed in all that I have done publicly as a prophet, in proclaiming the drought, in gathering this assembly, and in proposing this trial; that I have not done them of my own mind" (marginal reference).

21-40. Elijah said unto all the people, How long halt ye?—They had long been attempting to conjoin the service of God with that of Baal. It was an impracticable union and the people were so struck with a sense of their own folly, or dread of the king's displeasure, that they "answered not a word." Elijah proposed to decide for them the controversy between God and Baal by an appeal, not to the authority of the law, for that would have no weight, but by a visible token from Heaven. As fire was the element over which Baal was supposed to preside, Elijah proposed that two bullocks should be slain and placed on separate altars of wood, the one for Baal, and the other for God. On whichever the fire should descend to consume it, the event should determine the true God, whom it was their duty to serve. The proposal, appearing every way reasonable, was received by the people with unanimous approval. The priests of Baal commenced the ceremony by calling on their god. In vain did they continue invoking their senseless deity from morning till noon, and from noon till evening, uttering the most piercing cries, using the most frantic gesticulations, and mingling their blood with the sacrifice. No response was heard. No fire descended. Elijah exposed their folly and imposture with the severest irony and, as the day was far advanced, commenced his operations. Inviting the people to approach and see the entire proceeding, he first repaired an old altar of God, which Jezebel had demolished. Then, having arranged the cut pieces of the bullock, he caused four barrels or jars of water to be dashed all over the altar and round in the trench. Once, twice, a third time this precaution was taken, and then, when he had offered an earnest prayer, the miraculous fire descended (Le 9:24; Jud 6:21; 13:20; 1Ch 21:26; 2Ch 7:1), and consumed not only the sacrifice, but the very stones of the altar. The impression on the minds of the people was that of admiration mingled with awe; and with one voice they acknowledged the supremacy of Jehovah as the true God. Taking advantage of their excited feelings, Elijah called on them to seize the priestly impostors, and by their blood fill the channel of the river (Kishon), which, in consequence of their idolatries, the drought had dried up—a direction, which, severe and relentless as it seems, it was his duty as God's minister to give (De 15:5; 18:20). The natural features of the mount exactly correspond with the details of this narrative. The conspicuous summit, 1635 feet above the sea, on which the altars were placed, presents an esplanade spacious enough for the king and the priests of Baal to stand on the one side, and Elijah on the other. It is a rocky soil, on which there is abundance of loose stones, to furnish the twelve stones of which the altar was built—a bed of thick earth, in which a trench could be dug; and yet the earth not so loose that the water poured into it would be absorbed; two hundred fifty feet beneath the altar plateau, there is a perennial fountain, which, being close to the altar of the Lord, might not have been accessible to the people; and whence, therefore, even in that season of severe drought, Elijah could procure those copious supplies of water which he poured over the altar. The distance between this spring and the site of the altar is so short, as to make it perfectly possible to go thrice thither and back again, whereas it would have been impossible once in an afternoon to fetch water from the sea [Van De Velde]. The summit is one thousand feet above the Kishon, which nowhere runs from the sea so close to the base of the mount as just beneath El-Mohhraka; so that the priests of Baal could, in a few minutes, be taken down to the brook (torrent), and slain there. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; which time he chose, that he might unite his prayers with the prayers of the godly Jews at Jerusalem, who at that time assembled together to pray, Acts 3:1.

That I have done all these things; brought this famine, gathered the people hither, and done what I have done, or am doing here. At thy word; not in compliance with my own passions, but in obedience to thy command, as thy agent and minister. For that action of shutting up heaven, and that of killing the priests of Baal, must needs expose him to great envy and reproach; which made this public vindication necessary, as it was also effectual, being witnessed from heaven. And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice,.... Which the people of God at Jerusalem were now attending to:

that Elijah the prophet came near; to the altar he had built, and on which he had laid the sacrifice:

and said; in prayer to God:

Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the covenant God of the ancestors of his people, though they had now so fully departed from him:

let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel; and that there is no other:

and that I am thy servant; a true worshipper of him, and his faithful prophet and minister:

and that I have done all these things at thy word; restrained rain from the earth for some years past, and now had convened Israel, and the false prophets, together, that by a visible sign from heaven it might be known who was the true God; all which he did not of himself, but by the impulse, direction, and, commandment of the Lord.

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. And it came to pass … evening sacrifice] R.V. oblation. This change follows on what was done in 1 Kings 18:29. The LXX. omits this clause entirely. Elijah waited till the usual hour for the evening offering, that in this way his action might be in more accord with the order of worship which had been appointed in the Law, and so the people be put in mind of Jehovah’s worship which they had cast aside.

Elijah the prophet came near] He was no priest, but at such time the protesting prophet assumed all the functions of the priestly office. And the people would be in no way surprised, for the patriarchal rule, which allowed others than the tribe of Levi to come near to the altar, had not become obsolete, as we can see from the action of Solomon. The LXX. gives, instead of these words, ‘And Elijah cried unto heaven.’

Lord God of Abraham, Isaac [R.V. of Isaac], and of Israel] After these opening words of the invocation the LXX. adds ‘Hear me, O Lord, hear me this day by fire,’ and continues ‘and let all this people know, &c.’

at thy word] The LXX. explains by διὰ σὲ = ‘for thy sake.’Verse 36. - And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice [see note on ver. 29], that Elijah the prophet [this designation of Elijah is unusual. Cf. Malachi 4:5. Elsewhere he is "the Tishbite," or the "man of God"] came near, and said, Lord [Heb. Jehovah. Not only does the sacred name stand at the head of his prayer, it is also mentioned thrice (LXX. four times)] God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel [Two things are to be noticed here: first, that this formula had only once before been used, and that by God Himself, before the giving of law, at the burning bush. It was when God revealed Himself in flaming fire that He had proclaimed Himself the God of Abraham, etc. Secondly, that the variation "Israel" is made designedly (cf. ver. 31), not only to proclaim the Lord as the "God of Israel" (cf. 1 Kings 17:1), but also to suggest that the name and privileges of Israel belonged to all the sons of Jacob. The LXX. adds, "Hear me, O Lord, hear me this day by fire" - most of which is clearly borrowed from the next verse], let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel [according to ver. 24, "the God that answereth by fire, etc.], and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things according to thy word. [LXX. διὰ σε. Not only the earlier proceedings of the day, but the three years' drought, etc. Keil would include the miracle about to be performed, but the people could hardly doubt that that, when done, was done according to the Divine word. It is interesting to compare with these words 1 Kings 17:2, 3, 8, 16, 24, and 1 Kings 18:1, all of which mention the "word of the Lord."] Elijah's sacrifice. - As no answer came from Baal, Elijah began to prepare for his own sacrifice. 1 Kings 18:30. He made the people come nearer, that he might have both eye-witnesses and ear-witnesses present at his sacrifice, and restored the altar of Jehovah which was broken down. Consequently, there was already an altar of Jehovah upon Carmel, which either dated from the times anterior to the building of the temple, when altars of Jehovah were erected in different places throughout the land (see at 1 Kings 3:2), or, what is more probable, had been built by pious worshippers belonging to the ten tribes since the division of the kingdom (Hengstenberg, Dissertations on the Pentateuch, vol. i. p. 183, trans.), and judging from 1 Kings 19:10, had been destroyed during the reign of Ahab, when the worship of Baal gained the upper hand.
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