And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice to him, and said, What do you here, Elijah?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 19:13. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle — Through dread of God’s presence, being sensible that he was neither worthy of nor able to endure the sight of God with open face. And went out and stood, &c. — Which God had commanded him to do; and as he was going toward the mouth of the cave, he was affrighted and stopped in his course by the dreadful wind, and earthquake, and fire; when these were past, he proceeds, and goes on to the month of the cave. Moses was put into the cave when God’s glory passed before him, but Elijah was called out of it: but neither Moses nor Elijah saw any manner of similitude. And, behold, a voice — What dost thou here, Elijah? — What God before spake by an angel, he now speaks to him himself immediately.Matthew 3:4). For the action compare the marginal references.
There came a voice unto him ... - The question heard before in vision is now put again to the prophet by the Lord Himself. Elijah gives no humbler and more gentle answer. He is still satisfied with his own statement of his case.
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.He wrapped his face in his mantle, through horror and dread of God’s presence, being sensible that he was neither worthy nor able to endure the sight of God with open face. Compare Genesis 16:13, with Exodus 3:6.
Stood in the entering in of the cave; which God commanded him to do; and as he was going towards the mouth of the cave, he was affrighted and stopped in his course, by the dreadful wind, and earthquake, and fire; and when these were past, he prosecutes his journey, and goeth on to the mouth of the cave, and there stands still. Or the words may be rendered, after (as vau is elsewhere used) he was gone out, and standing in the mouth of the cave; which may be mentioned as the reason why he covered his face, because now he wanted the shelter of the cave.
What doest thou here, Elijah? what before he spake by an angel, he now speaks to him again immediately. Isaiah 6:2, and as Moses, Exodus 3:6, and went out and stood in the entering in of the cave; he attempted to come forth out of the cave upon the divine order, 1 Kings 19:11, but was stopped by the terrible appearances of the wind, earthquake, and fire, a little within it; but now he came quite out, and stood at the mouth of it, to hear what the Lord would say unto him:
and, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, what dost thou here, Elijah? the same question is here put as in 1 Kings 19:9, though there by an angel, here by the Lord himself.And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. wrapped his face in his mantle] The revelation was not one for the eye, but for the spirit, of the prophet. Like Moses ‘he was afraid to look upon God’ (Exodus 3:6).
in the entering in of the cave] The command given before had been ‘Go forth and stand upon the mount,’ but this only applies to such an advance as would bring him out of the cave and into the open air, not to any climbing to the mountain top.
What doest thou here?] This repeated question seeks to know whether the prophet has understood the manifestations that have been made to him, and whether he is able to apply them to his own circumstances. The answer coming in the same words as before seems to declare that Elijah is still ignorant of what is meant. God therefore gives him direct charges which shall make it clear that, though his own success has not been such as he expected, yet God’s work is still going forward and that new agents are already prepared, in Jehovah’s design, for advancing it as He sees best.Verse 13. - And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle [Like Moses, Exodus 3:6; cf. 33:20; 34:33; 2 Corinthians 3:13; Isaiah 6:1, 2. This mantle (see note on 1 Kings 18:46) was probably a sheepskin. The LXX. calls it νηλωτή (cf. Hebrews 11:37). In Zechariah 13:4 we find that the prophets wore a mantle of hair], and went out, and stood [Same words as in ver. 11. It was the still small voice, apparently, that first brought him to obey the command there given. He would perhaps be afraid to issue from the shelter of his cave during the tempest and the earthquake, which may have followed directly after the instruction to go forth was given. Possibly there was a lesson for him here also, viz., that amid the din and excitement and torture of drought and famine and fire and blood the commands of God are less likely to be heard in the soul and obeyed, than in the hour of peace and stillness. The drought and famine and sword have their work to do, even as the tempest and the earthquake have theirs; but it is by the voice of mercy and love that the hearts of men are turned back again. "Not in the strong east wind that parted the Red Sea, or the fire that swept the top of Sinai, or the earthquake that shook down the walls of Jericho would God be brought so near to man as in the still small voice of the child of Bethlehem" (Stanley)] in the entering in of the cave. [He hardly obeyed the letter of the command of ver. 11 even then. Does not this point to a rebellious and unsubdued heart? Is it not a confirmation of the view taken above, that he fled to Horeb, full of bitter disappointment and murmuring against God; and that the purpose of this revelation was not only to teach him as to God's dealings with men, but also to school and subdue his own rebellious heart?] And, behold, there came a voice unto him [The expression is different from that of ver. 9. There we read of the "word of the Lord," here of a "voice." But this is not to be identified with the "still small voice" of ver. 12], and said, What doest, thou here, Elijah? [As in ver. 9.]
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