1 Kings 19:18
Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
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(18) I have left.—It should be “I leave, or “will leave,” through all this vengeance, the seven thousand faithful; like the faithful remnant sealed in the visions of Ezekiel and St. John in the day of God’s judgment (Ezekiel 9:4-6; Revelation 7:3-8).

Kissed him.—(See Job 31:26-27; Hosea 13:2.) The passage is vividly descriptive of the worshipper on the first approach bowing the knee, on nearer access kissing the image, or the altar, or the threshold of the temple.

1 Kings 19:18. Yet have I left me, &c. — Or, I have reserved to myself; I have by my grace kept from the common contagion: therefore thou art mistaken in thinking that thou art left alone. Seven thousand — Either definitely, so many; or rather, indefinitely, for many thousands; the number seven being often used for a great number. It is, indeed, altogether improbable that all the Israelites, except seven thousand, worshipped Baal, unless Baal stand here for all their idols, and for the calves among the rest. And every mouth that hath not kissed him — That is, those who have not worshipped Baal, nor professed reverence or subjection to him, which idolaters did to their idols, by bowing the knee, and by kissing them, or by kissing their hand before them and in respect to them, of which mention is made in Scripture, Job 31:26-27; Hosea 13:2. Compare Psalm 2:12, and in Pliny, Apuleius, and some other profane authors.

19:14-18 God repeated the question, What doest thou here? Then he complained of his discouragement; and whither should God's prophets go with their complaints of that kind, but to their Master? The Lord gave him an answer. He declares that the wicked house of Ahab shall be rooted out, that the people of Israel shall be punished for their sins; and he shows that Elijah was not left alone as he had supposed, and also that a helper should at once be raised up for him. Thus all his complaints are answered and provided for. God's faithful ones are often his hidden ones, Ps 83:3, and the visible church is scarcely to be seen: the wheat is lost in chaff, and the gold in dross, till the sifting, refining, separating day comes. The Lord knows them that are his, though we do not; he sees in secret. When we come to heaven we shall miss many whom we thought to have met there; we shall meet many whom we little thought to have met there. God's love often proves larger than man's charity, and far more extended.Yet I have left me ... - Rather, as in the margin. "Seven thousand" faithful Israelites shall survive all the persecutions of Ahab and Jezebel, and carry down the worship of Yahweh to another generation. Elijah is mistaken in supposing that he only is left. The number is manifestly a "round" number, not an exact estimate. Perhaps it is, moreover, a mystical or symbolic number. Compare Revelation 7:5-8. Of all the symbolic numbers used in Scripture, seven is the most common.

Every mouth which hath not kissed him - Idolaters sometimes kissed the hand to the object of their worship Job 31:26-27; at other times they kissed the actual image (marginal reference).

16. Abel-meholah—that is, "the meadow of dancing," in the valley of the Jordan. I have left, or, I have reserved to myself; I have by my grace kept from the common contagion; therefore thou art mistaken to think that thou art left alone, or that the people are universally corrupted. Or, I will reserve, from the slaughters last mentioned, and from Jezebel’s rage.

Seven thousand; either definitely so many; or rather, indefinitely, for many thousands; the number of seven being oft used for a great number, as Leviticus 26:18 Psalm 12:6 Micah 5:5 Zechariah 3:9 Luke 17:4. For it is altogether improbable that all the Israelites except seven thousand did worship Baal; except Baal be here synecdochically put for all their idols, and the calves among others.

All the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him, i.e. all those who have not worshipped Baal, nor professed reverence or subjection to him; which idolaters did to their idols, by bowing the knee, Romans 11:4; compare Romans 14:11 Philippians 2:10, and by kissing them, or by kissing their hand with their mouth before them, and in respect to them; of which mention is made both in Scripture, as Job 31:26,27 Ho 13:2; compare Psalm 2:12, and in Pliny, Apuleius, and other profane authors. And God chooseth these expressions here, to teach men that it is not sufficient to deny inward veneration of mind and heart to idols, unless they do also forbear all outward significations of worship or reverence to them; and that he will own none for his people that do otherwise.

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel,.... From perishing by the sword of either of them:

all the knees which have not bowed to Baal; that is, had not worshipped him, which was signified by this gesture:

and every mouth which hath not kissed him; either the image of Baal itself, or the hand, in reverence of him; which rites, one or other, or both, were used by his worshippers; See Gill on Hosea 13:2. This either refers, as some think, to the present time, and so is an answer to Elijah, who thought he was the only worshipper left with which seems to agree Romans 11:2, or to the times to come, when destruction should be made by the above persons, and when God would have some faithful worshippers, and would take care of them; so some render the words, "I will reserve", &c. (y).

(y) "reservabo vel servabo", Vatablus; so V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version.

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, {h} all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

(h) He declares that wicked deceivers and idolaters are not his.

18. Yet I have left me] R.V. (and margin of A. V.) Yet will I leave me. And this is not only required by the Hebrew words, but for a true conception of the sense of the passage. Elijah had been witness of God’s might and power to execute judgement, in the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, and subsequently of the true presence of God in the still small voice which spake of mercy. He is now sent to make known who the ordained ministers of vengeance shall be, Hazael and Jehu being the embodiment of what was portrayed in the elemental fury which had passed before him. But after all came the voice which bare witness of Jehovah’s presence, and this Elijah is now told shall be made known hereafter in the multitude of those who, after all trials, shall still remain faithful. The LXX. renders ‘and thou shalt leave in Israel, &c.’

seven thousand in Israel] Used for an indefinite number. On this use of ‘seven’ cf. above 1 Kings 18:43. Also Proverbs 24:16; Matthew 18:21-22. The total was small compared with the whole people of Israel, but they were God’s ‘holy remnant,’ the seed of a purified congregation of the future.

hath not kissed him] That such was the nature of some part of the worship offered to false gods we can see from Hosea 13:2, ‘Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.’ Probably the Latin adoro is etymologically connected with this. For kissing as an act of religious homage, see also Psalm 2:12.

Verse 18. - Yet I have left me [So St. Paul, Romans 11:4, κατέλιπον; but the LXX. (καταλείψεις) and all the versions translate the word as future, as in the margin, 1 will leave, and so the ו conversive seems to require. See Gesen., Gram. § 124-26] seven thousand [not so much a round as a symbolical number - "the ἐκλογή of the godly" (Keil). "The remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5). It is like the 144,000 and the 12,000 of Revelation 7:4-8. The prominent idea is perhaps this: Though the children of Israel have forsaken My covenant, yet I have kept and will keep it. It also suggests how the still small voice had been speaking in the silence] in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. [We gather from Job 31:26, 27 that it was customary to kiss the hand to the idol, or object of worship, and from Hosea 13:2 to kiss the image itself. Most of the commentators adduce Cicero in Verrem 4:43, where he speaks of the statue of Hercules at Agrigentum, the lips and chin of which were a little worn by the kisses of devotees.] 1 Kings 19:18But in order that he might learn, to his shame, that the cause of the Lord in Israel appeared much more desperate to his eye, which was clouded by his own dissatisfaction, than it really was in the eye of the God who knows His own by number and by name, the Lord added: "I have seven thousand left in Israel, all knees that have not bent before Baal, and every mouth that hath not kissed him." מדבּרה המּשׂק, into the desert of Damascus (with the He loc. with the construct state as in Deuteronomy 4:41; Joshua 12:1, etc.; cf. Ewald, 216, b.), i.e., the desert lying to the south and east of the city of Damascus, which is situated on the river Barady; not per desertum in Damascum (Vulg., Luth., etc.); for although Elijah would necessarily pass through the Arabian desert to go from Horeb to Damascus, it was superfluous to tell him that he was to go that way, as there was no other road. The words "return by thy way ... and anoint Hazael," etc., are not to be understood as signifying that Elijah was to go at once to Damascus and anoint Hazael there, but simply that he was to do this at a time which the Spirit would more precisely indicate. According to what follows, all that Elijah accomplished immediately was to call Elisha to be his successor; whereas the other two commissions were fulfilled by Elisha after Elijah's ascension to heaven (2 Kings 8 and 9). The opinion that Elijah also anointed Hazael and Jehu immediately, but that this anointing was kept secret, and was repeated by Elisha when the time for their public appearance arrived, has not only very little probability in itself, but is directly precluded by the account of the anointing of Jehu in 2 Kings 9. The anointing of Hazael and Jehu is mentioned first, because God had chosen these two kings to be the chief instruments of His judgments upon the royal family and people for their idolatry. It was only in the case of Jehu that a real anointing took place (2 Kings 9:6); Hazael was merely told by Elisha that he would be king (2 Kings 8:13), and Elisha was simply called by Elijah to the prophetic office by having the cloak of the latter thrown upon him. Moreover, the Messianic passage, Isaiah 61:1, is the only one in which there is any allusion to the anointing of a prophet. Consequently משׁח must be taken figuratively here as in Judges 9:8, as denoting divine consecration to the regal and prophetic offices. And so, again, the statement that Elisha would slay those who escaped the sword of Jehu is not to be understood literally. Elisha slew by the word of the Lord, which brought judgments upon the ungodly, as we see from 2 Kings 2:24 (cf. Jeremiah 1:10; Jeremiah 18:7). The "seven thousand," who had not bowed the knee before Baal, are a round number for the ἐκλογν́ of the godly, whom the Lord had preserved for Himself in the sinful kingdom, which was really very large in itself, however small it might be in comparison with the whole nation. The number seven is the stamp of the works of God, so that seven thousand is the number of the "remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5), which had then been preserved by God. Kissing Baal was the most usual form in which this idol was worshipped, and consisted not merely in throwing kisses with the hand (cf. Job 31:27, and Plin. h. n. 28, 8), but also in kissing the images of Baal, probably on the feet (cf. Cicero in Verr. 4, 43).
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