1 Kings 21:28
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
21:17-29 Blessed Paul complains that he was sold under sin, Ro 7:14, as a poor captive against his will; but Ahab was willing, he sold himself to sin; of choice, and as his own act and deed, he loved the dominion of sin. Jezebel his wife stirred him up to do wickedly. Ahab is reproved, and his sin set before his eyes, by Elijah. That man's condition is very miserable, who has made the word of God his enemy; and very desperate, who reckons the ministers of that word his enemies, because they tell him the truth. Ahab put on the garb and guise of a penitent, yet his heart was unhumbled and unchanged. Ahab's repentance was only what might be seen of men; it was outward only. Let this encourage all that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe the holy gospel, that if a pretending partial penitent shall go to his house reprieved, doubtless, a sincere believing penitent shall go to his house justified.The repentance of Ahab resembles that of the Ninevites Jonah 3:5. It has the same outward signs - fasting and sackcloth - and it has much the same inward character. It springs, not from love, nor from hatred of sin, but from fear of the consequences of sin. It is thus, although sincere and real while it lasts, shallow and exceedingly short-lived. God, however, to mark His readiness to receive the sinner who turns to Him, accepted the imperfect offering (as He likewise accepted the penitence of the Ninevites), and allowed it to delay the execution of the sentence 1 Kings 21:29. So the penitence of the Ninevites put off the fall of Nineveh for a century.

And lay in sackcloth - In this particular he seems to have gone beyond the usual practice. We do not read elsewhere of mourners passing the night in sackcloth.

And went softly - "As if he had no heart to go about any business" (Patrick).

27-29. Ahab … rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly—He was not obdurate, like Jezebel. This terrible announcement made a deep impression on the king's heart, and led, for a while, to sincere repentance. Going softly, that is, barefoot, and with a pensive manner, within doors. He manifested all the external signs, conventional and natural, of the deepest sorrow. He was wretched, and so great is the mercy of God, that, in consequence of his humiliation, the threatened punishment was deferred. No text from Poole on this verse. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite,.... After he was gone from Ahab, and Ahab had been some time in this humble posture; the Targum calls it the word of prophecy, and so it was, as the next verse shows: saying: as follows. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 28. - And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, [It is not clear that this mitigation of the sentence was announced to Ahab], Ahab answered, "Hast thou found me (met with me), O mine enemy?" (not, hast thou ever found me thine enemy? - Vulg., Luth.) i.e., dost thou come to meet me again, mine enemy? He calls Elijah his enemy, to take the sting from the prophet's threat as an utterance caused by personal enmity. But Elijah fearlessly replied, "I have found (thee), because thou sellest thyself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord." He then announced to him, in 1 Kings 21:21, 1 Kings 21:22, the extermination of his house, and to Jezebel, as the principal sinner, the most ignominious end (1 Kings 21:23). הרע לעשׂות חתמכּר to sell one's self to do evil, i.e., to give one's self to evil so as to have no will of one's own, to make one's self the slave of evil (cf. 1 Kings 21:25, 2 Kings 17:17). The consequence of this is πεπρᾶσθαι ὑπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν (Romans 7:14), sin exercising unlimited power over the man who gives himself up to it as a slave. For 1 Kings 21:21, 1 Kings 21:22, see 1 Kings 14:10-11; 1 Kings 15:29-30; 1 Kings 16:3, 1 Kings 16:12-13. The threat concerning Jezebel (1 Kings 21:23) was literally fulfilled, according to 2 Kings 9:30. חל, written defectively for חיל, as in 2 Samuel 20:15, is properly the open space by the town-wall, pomoerium. Instead of בּחל we have בּחלק in the repetition of this threat in 2 Kings 9:10, 2 Kings 9:36-37, and consequently Thenius and others propose to alter the חל here. But there is no necessity for this, as בּחלק, on the portion, i.e., the town-land, of Jezreel (not, in the field at Jezreel), is only a more general epithet denoting the locality, and חל is proved to be the original word by the lxx.
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