1 Kings 19:11
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
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(11) And, behold.—In the LXX., the whole of this verse, couched in the future, is made part of the “word of the Lord.” But our version is probably correct.

The whole of the vision, which is left to speak for itself, without any explanation or even allusion in the subsequent message to Elijah, is best understood by comparison with two former manifestations at Horeb, to the people and to Moses (Exodus 19:16-18; Exodus 34:5-8). To the people the Lord had then, been manifested in the signs of visible power, the whirlwind, the earthquake, and the fire—first, because these were the natural clothing of the terrors of the Law, which is the will of God visibly enforced; next, because for such visible manifestations of God, and perhaps for these alone, the hearts of Israel were then prepared. To Moses, in answer to his craving for the impossible vision of the glory of the Lord face to face, the manifestation granted was not of the Divine majesty, but of the “Name of the Lord,” “the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth;” for this higher conception of the majesty of God, as shown in righteousness and mercy, Moses, as being the greatest of prophets, could well understand. The vision of Elijah stands out in contrast with the one and in harmony with the other. It disclaims the visible manifestation in power and vengeance, for which he had by implication craved; it implies in “the still small voice”—“the voice (as the LXX. has it) of a light breath”—a manifestation like that expressed plainly to Moses, of the higher power of the Spirit, penetrating to the inmost soul, which the terrors of external power cannot reach. The lesson is simply, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). The prophet so far reads it that he acknowledges, by veiled face of reverence, the presence of the Lord in “the still small voice,” yet, with singular truth to nature, he is recorded as repeating, perhaps mechanically, his old complaint.

1 Kings 19:11. Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord — Elijah came hither to meet with God, and God graciously condescended to give him the meeting. And the manner of his manifesting himself seems evidently to refer to the discoveries God formerly made of himself at this place to Moses. Then there was a tempest, an earthquake, and fire, (Hebrews 12:18,) but when God would show Moses his glory, he proclaimed his name before him, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, &c. So here: Elijah heard a strong wind, and saw the terrible effects of it; for it rent the mountains, and tore the rocks: he felt the shock of an earthquake, and saw an eruption of fire. These effects, no doubt, were all produced by the ministration of angels, the harbingers of the divine Majesty, and were to usher in the intended manifestation of Jehovah’s glory. By these Elijah was prepared to receive this discovery of God with the greatest humility, reverence, and godly fear: and by these God signified his almighty and irresistible power, to break the hardest hearts of the Israelites, and to bear down all opposition that was or should be made against his prophet in the discharge of his office. The Lord was not in the wind, &c. — The Lord did not vouchsafe his special and gracious presence to Elijah in that wind, earthquake, or fire, which possibly was to teach him not to wonder, if God did not accompany his terrible administration at mount Carmel with the presence of his grace, to turn the hearts of the Israelites to himself, as he desired; but which, for wise reasons, God saw fit to deny. Hereby also it was intimated, that “miraculous judgments, and terrifying displays of the Lord’s power and indignation, though proper for the destruction or intimidation of his enemies, or to excite attention, were only preparatives for that real good intended for Israel;” which must be effected by the convincing and persuasive instructions of his word, accompanied by the influences of his Spirit.

19:9-13 The question God put, What doest thou here, Elijah? is a reproof. It concerns us often to ask whether we are in our place, and in the way of our duty. Am I where I should be? whither God calls me, where my business lies, and where I may be useful? He complained of the people, and their obstinacy in sin; I only am left. Despair of success hinders many a good enterprise. Did Elijah come hither to meet with God? he shall find that God will meet him. The wind, and earthquake, and fire, did not make him cover his face, but the still voice did. Gracious souls are more affected by the tender mercies of the Lord, than by his terrors. The mild voice of Him who speaks from the cross, or the mercy-seat, is accompanied with peculiar power in taking possession of the heart.And behold, the Lord passed by - The remainder of this verse and the whole of the next are placed by the Septuagint, and by the Arabic translator, in the mouth of the Angel. But it seems best to regard the vision as ending with the words "before the Lord" - and the writer as then assuming that this was done, and proceeding to describe what followed. 1Ki 19:4-18. He Is Comforted by an Angel.

4-18. went a day's journey into the wilderness—on the way from Beer-sheba to Horeb—a wide expanse of sand hills, covered with the retem (not juniper, but broom shrubs), whose tall and spreading branches, with their white leaves, afford a very cheering and refreshing shade. His gracious God did not lose sight of His fugitive servant, but watched over him, and, miraculously ministering to his wants, enabled him, in a better but not wholly right frame of mind, by virtue of that supernatural supply, to complete his contemplated journey. In the solitude of Sinai, God appeared to instruct him. "What doest thou here, Elijah?" was a searching question addressed to one who had been called to so arduous and urgent a mission as his. By an awful exhibition of divine power, he was made aware of the divine speaker who addressed him; his attention was arrested, his petulance was silenced, his heart was touched, and he was bid without delay return to the land of Israel, and prosecute the Lord's work there. To convince him that an idolatrous nation will not be unpunished, He commissions him to anoint three persons who were destined in Providence to avenge God's controversy with the people of Israel. Anointing is used synonymously with appointment (Jud 9:8), and is applied to all named, although Jehu alone had the consecrated oil poured over his head. They were all three destined to be eminent instruments in achieving the destruction of idolaters, though in different ways. But of the three commissions, Elijah personally executed only one; namely, the call of Elisha to be his assistant and successor [1Ki 19:19], and by him the other two were accomplished (2Ki 8:7-13; 9:1-10). Having thus satisfied the fiery zeal of the erring but sincere and pious prophet, the Lord proceeded to correct the erroneous impression under which Elijah had been laboring, of his being the sole adherent of the true religion in the land; for God, who seeth in secret, and knew all that were His, knew that there were seven thousand persons who had not done homage (literally, "kissed the hand") to Baal.

The Lord passed by; either, first, by his harbingers; for, as it follows, the Lord was not yet there; or, secondly, himself. And so this is a brief and general description of the thing, after which the manner of it is particularly explained.

Rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks; whereby be both prepares Elijah to receive this discovery of God with greatest humility, reverence, and godly fear; and signifies his almighty and irresistible power to break the hardest hearts of the Israelites, and to bear down all opposition that was or should be made against him in the discharge of his office.

The Lord was not in the wind; the Lord did not vouchsafe his special and gracious presence to Elijah in that wind, where he confidently expected him; which possibly was, either, first, To qualify the excessive fervour and passion of Elijah, which mixed itself with his zeal for God, and to make him more mild in his censures, and more meek and patient in waiting for the conversion of Israel; wherein he might sooner expect God’s presence and blessed success, than in the storm of anger or impatience. Or, secondly, To teach him not to wonder if God did not accompany his terrible administration at Mount Carmel with the presence of his grace, to turn the hearts of the Israelites to himself, as he desired, but God for wise and just reasons saw fit to deny.

And he said, go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord,.... Who would appear there as he had to Moses formerly, though not in the same manner:

and, behold, the Lord passed by; or was about to pass, for as yet he had not; his messengers first went before him:

and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; strong enough to do all this, and so it might:

but the Lord was not in the wind; as he sometimes is, Nahum 1:3, he spake to Job out of a whirlwind, Job 38:1,

and after the wind an earthquake; that shook the earth all around, and the mountain also, as it did when the law was given on it, Psalm 68:8.

but the Lord was not in the earthquake; as he was when it trembled in the times of Moses, Exodus 19:18.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was {f} not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

(f) For the nature of man is not able to come near God, if he appeared in his strength and full majesty, and therefore he mercifully submits himself to our limitations.

11. Go forth] The LXX. here adds αὓριον, to-morrow, and the narrative in Josephus (Ant. VIII. 13. 7) represents the prophet’s going forth as taking place on the day following the divine questioning. But these variations from the text may be, and probably are, due to a desire to assimilate the narrative to Exodus 34:2, where Moses is told to ‘be ready in the morning.’

stand upon the mount before the Lord] Elijah does not go forth (see 1 Kings 19:13) until he recognises the presence of the Lord in the still small voice. The violence of the wind and the earthquake and the devouring rage of the fire, he was made to feel, were not the proper manifestations of Jehovah, were not those tokens by which He would be known to His people, and consequently he abode still in the cave while they were raging. The Lord had not yet appeared.

And behold, the Lord passed by] The participial form of the verb עֹבֵר (literally is passing by) seems to require a modification of the translation. What appears to be meant is ‘the Lord is about to pass by and you shall be able at that time to recognise something of His true character, and to gain the instruction which you need from this revelation.’ The LXX. gives this sense, ἰδοὺ παρελεύσεται κύριος, ‘Behold the Lord will pass by.’ In that case these words belong to the preceding clause, and must be connected with the command to go forth, which the prophet obeyed when he found in which manifestation it pleased the Lord to be present. Thus the narrative of what occurred will commence at ‘And a great and strong wind, &c.’

Verse 11. - And he said, Go forth [The LXX. inserts αὔριον, which, however, is destitute of authority, and was probably inserted from Exodus 34:2, to explain the difficulty which the prophet's apparent disregard of this command creates], and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed, by [Heb. passeth by. Only used here and in Exodus 33:22; Exodus 34:6 of the Divine Being. The beatific vision must be transient. An abiding presence, a שֹׁכֵן, was more than man could bear. So Bahr. As Elijah does not seem to have gone forth from the cave until he heard the still small voice (ver. 13), some would take the participle עבֵר which is probably employed as more graphic, as a future, i.e., "the Lord will pass by," and this is the interpretation of the LXX.; ἰδοὺ παρελεύσιται κύριος καὶ ἰδοὺ πνεῦμα μέγα κ.τ.λ. The effect of this rearrangement of the text would be that the words, "And behold the Lord passing by," must be taken as a part of the message, "Go forth," etc., and not as a statement of what happened. That statement would then begin with the next words, "And a great and strong wind," etc. But in that case we might have expected "For behold," etc., or the "And behold" would have come before "a great and strong wind," etc. It is also to be considered - and this seems to me decisive - that the words "rent," "break," etc., are also participles, which it would be unnatural to divorce from the participle preceding], and a great and strong wind [Such as was net uncommon in that region. The approach to Sinai from the west is known as Nukb-Hawy, "the pass of the winds." Elsewhere we find the Wady-el-Burk, or "valley of lightning." These phenomena - the tempest, fire, etc. - would be all the more awful and impressive because of the surrounding desolation and the utter solitude] rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind [Heb. not in the wind Jehovah]: and after the wind an earthquake [Once before (Exodus 19:18) an earthquake accompanied the descent of God upon the same mountain. The desert of Sinai, with the exception of the Hammam Pharoun and other hot springs, affords no traces of volcanic action. "Everywhere there are signs of the action of water, nowhere of fire" (Stanley). But רַעַשׁ properly means (compare rauschen, rush) a crashing noise (Job 39:24; Isaiah 9:4), and the mysterious sounds of Jebel Musa have often been remarked (see Stanley, S. and P. pp. 13, 14)]; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 1 Kings 19:11The Lord replied to the prophet's complaint first of all by the manifestation of His control of the phenomena of nature (1 Kings 19:11-13), and then by a verbal explanation of His design (1 Kings 19:15-18).

In this divine revelation men have recognised from the very earliest times a repetition of the appearance of God which was granted to Moses upon Sinai. As God, in token of His grace, granted the prayer of Moses that he might see His glory, after he had striven zealously for the honour of the Lord when the people rebelled by worshipping the golden calf; so did He also display His glory upon Horeb to Elijah as a second Moses for the purpose of strengthening his faith, with this simple difference, that He made all His goodness pass by Moses, and declared His name in the words, "Jehovah, a gracious and merciful God," etc. (Exodus 34:6-7), whereas He caused Elijah first of all to behold the operation of His grace in certain phenomena of nature, and then afterwards made known to him His will with regard to Israel and to the work of His prophets. This difference in the form of the revelation, while the substance and design were essentially the same, may be explained from the difference not only in the historical circumstances, but also in the state of mind of the two servants to whom He manifested His glory. In the case of Moses it was burning love for the welfare of his people which impelled him to offer the prayer that the Lord would let him see His glory, as a sign that He would not forsake His people; and this prayer was granted him, so far as a man is ever able to see the glory of God, to strengthen him for the further discharge of the duties of his office. Hidden in the cleft of the rock and shielded by the hand of God, he saw the Lord pass by him, and heard Him utter in words His inmost being. Elijah, on the other hand, in his zeal for the honour of God, which was not quite free from human passion, had been led by the want of any visible fruit from his own labour to overlook the work of the Lord in the midst of His people; so that he had fled into the desert and wished to be released from this world by death, and had not been brought out of his despair by the strengthening with meat and drink which he had received from the angel, and which enabled him to travel for forty days to the mount of God without suffering from want, a fact which was intended to remind him of the ancient God of the fathers, to whose omnipotence and goodness there is no end; so that it was in a most gloomy state of mind that he reached Horeb at last. And now the Lord designed not only to manifest His glory as the love in which grace and righteousness are united, but also to show him that his zeal for the honour of the Lord was not in harmony with the love and grace and long-suffering of God. "The design of the vision was to show to the fiery zeal of the prophet, who wanted to reform everything by means of the tempest, the gentle way which God pursues, and to proclaim the long-suffering and mildness of His nature, as the voice had already done to Moses on that very spot; hence the beautiful change in the divine appearance" (Herder, Geist der hebr. Poesie, 1788, ii. p. 52).

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