So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down on the earth, and put his face between his knees,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Put his face between his knees.—The attitude is, of course, one of prayer, but is a peculiar attitude—distinct from the ordinary postures of standing and kneeling—which has been noted as existing still among the modern dervishes. Possibly it is characteristic of the vehement excitement of the moment, and of the impulsive nature of Elijah.1 Kings 18:42. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel — Where he might pour out his prayers unto God; and whence he might look toward the sea. He had a large prospect of the sea from hence: the sailors at this day call it Cape Carmel. Between his knees — That is, bowed his head so low, that it touched his knees; thus abasing himself in the sense of his own meanness, now God had thus honoured him.1 Kings 18:43, but to a point, a little below the highest, from where the sea was not visible, he proceeded to pray earnestly for rain, as he had prayed formerly that it might not rain.
put his face between his knees—a posture of earnest supplication still used.Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; where he might secretly and ardently pour out his prayers unto God; and whence he might look towards the sea, and discern when the rain was coming.
Put his face between his knees; he either sat, or rather kneeled upon his knees, and then cast down his face to the ground between his knees; either in token of profound reverence and humility, or out of fervency of spirit, which oft disposeth men to uncouth gestures, which at other times, or in other men, would be ridiculous; but in them, and in that case, are usual and allowed: or, that turning away his eyes from all outward objects, he might be more intent and earnest upon his work, or pray to God without distraction.
and Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; higher still, where he both might be alone, and have the opportunity of observing the clouds gathering, and the rain coming:
and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees; expressive of his humility, and of his earnestness, and vehement desire, and continued importunity, that rain might fall; for this was a posture of prayer he put himself into, and continued in; and it is certain that it was through his prayer that rain came, James 5:18 and from hence came the fable of the Grecians concerning Aeacus praying for rain in a time of drought, when it came (h). So the Chinese writers (i) report that at the prayers of their emperor Tangus, after a seven years' drought, great rains fell.So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)42. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel] To a different point from that to which Ahab had gone. This is clear from 1 Kings 18:44, where the prophet despatches his servant with a message to the king.
and he cast [R.V. bowed] himself] The prophet’s attitude was that of prayer. Cf. James 5:18. The humble position is further indicated by the clause which follows, ‘he put his face between his knees.’Verse 42. - So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top [Heb. head] of Carmel [It is clear from Ver. 43 that this was not the actual summit, nor can it have been, as Bahr supposes, the outermost promontory towards the sea, unless he means the foot or slope of that ridge or promontory, for from this רֹאשׁ the sea was not visible. It also appears from the עֲלֵה of ver. 44 that this point must have been at a lower elevation than the plateau where the altar had stood and where Ahab's tent was]; and he cast himself down upon the earth [Same word 2 Kings 4:34, 35, of Elisha's prostration upon the dead child. But if Elijah "stretched himself full length" upon the earth, as the Easterns constantly do in prayer (see Thomson, 1:26, 27) it was but for a moment, as we presently find him kneeling], and put his face between his knees. ["The Oriental attitude of entire abstraction" (Stanley). The posture witnessed to the intensity of his supplication.] 1 Kings 18:31), let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and I am Thy servant, and do all these things through Thy word. Hear me, Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that Thou Jehovah art God, and turnest back their hearts!" (i.e., back from idols to Thyself.) This clearly expresses not only the object of the miracle which follows, but that of miracles universally. The perfects עשׂיתי and הסבּת are used to denote not only what has already occurred, but what will still take place and is as certain as if it had taken place already. עשׂיתי refers not merely to the predicted drought and to what Elijah has just been doing (Thenius), but to the miracle which was immediately about to be performed; and הסבּת to the conversion of the people to the Lord their God, for which Elijah's coming had already prepared the way, and which was still further advanced by the following miracle.
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