1 Kings 18:42
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,
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(42) 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.

18:41-46 Israel, being so far reformed as to acknowledge the Lord to be God, and to consent to the execution of Baal's prophets, was so far accepted, that God poured out blessing upon the land. Elijah long continued praying. Though the answer of our fervent and believing supplications does not come quickly, we must continue earnest in prayer, and not faint or give over. A little cloud at length appeared, which soon overspread the heavens, and watered the earth. Great blessings often arise from small beginnings, showers of plenty from a cloud of span long. Let us never despise the day of small things, but hope and wait for great things from it. From what small beginnings have great matters arisen! It is thus in all the gracious proceedings of God with the soul. Scarcely to be perceived are the first workings of his Spirit in the heart, which grow up at last to the wonder of men, and applause of angels. Elijah hastened Ahab home, and attended him. God will strengthen his people for every service to which his commandments and providence call them. The awful displays of Divine justice and holiness dismay the sinner, extort confessions, and dispose to outward obedience while the impression lasts; but the view of these, with mercy, love, and truth in Christ Jesus, is needful to draw the soul to self-abasement, trust, and love. The Holy Spirit employs both in the conversion of sinners; when sinners are impressed with Divine truths, they should be exhorted to set about the duties to which the Saviour calls his disciples.Ahab could feast; Elijah could not, or would not. Ascending Carmel not quite to the highest elevation 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. 42. Ahab went up to eat and to drink—Ahab, kept in painful excitement by the agonizing scene, had eaten nothing all the day. He was recommended to refresh himself without a moment's delay; and, while the king was thus occupied, the prophet, far from taking rest, was absorbed in prayer for the fulfilment of the promise (1Ki 18:1).

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.

So Ahab went up to eat and to drink,.... Up to his chariot, as some think, or rather to some place higher than that in which he now was:

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.

(h) Pausan. Attica, sive, l. 1. prope finem. Isocrat. Evagoras, p. 373. (i) Martin. Sinic. Hist. l. 3. p. 60.

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,
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 18:42While the king was refreshing himself with food and drink, Elijah went up to the top of Carmel to pray that the Lord would complete His work by fulfilling His promise (1 Kings 18:1) in sending rain; and continued in prayer till the visible commencement of the fulfilment of his prayer was announced by his servant, who, after looking out upon the sea seven times, saw at last a small cloud ascend from the sea about the size of a man's hand.

(Note: V. de Velde has shown how admirably these circumstances (1 Kings 18:43, 1 Kings 18:44) also apply to the situation of el Mohraka: "on its west and north-west side the view of the sea is quite intercepted by an adjacent height. That height may be ascended, however, in a few minutes, and a full view of the sea obtained from the top" (i. p. 326).

The peculiar attitude assumed by Elijah when praying (James 5:18), viz., bowing down even to the earth (יגהר) and putting his face between his knees, probably the attitude of deep absorption in God, was witnessed by Shaw and Chardin in the case of certain dervishes (vid., Harmar, Beobachtungen, iii. pp. 373-4).

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