2 Kings 1:12
And Elijah answered and said to them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume you and your fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
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(12) Said (spake) unto them.—LXX. and Syriac, “unto him,” which seems original.

The fire of God.—“The” is not in the Hebrew. The LXX., Vulgate, Arabic, and Targum, with some MSS., omit “of God.” The phrase occurs in the sense of lightning (Job 1:16).

Consumed him and his fifty.—According to Thenius, the story of the destruction of the captains And their companies emphasises (1) the authority properly belonging to the prophet; (2) the help and protection which Jehovah bestows on His prophets. The captains and their men are simply conceived as instruments of a will opposing itself to Jehovah, and are accordingly annihilated. These considerations, he thinks, render irrelevant all questions about the moral justice of their fate, and comparative degrees of guilt. (Comp. 2Kings 2:23, seq., 2Kings 6:17.)

1:9-18 Elijah called for fire from heaven, to consume the haughty, daring sinners; not to secure himself, but to prove his mission, and to reveal the wrath of God from heaven, against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Elijah did this by a Divine impulse, yet our Saviour would not allow the disciples to do the like, Lu 9:54. The dispensation of the Spirit and of grace by no means allowed it. Elijah was concerned for God's glory, those for their own reputation. The Lord judges men's practices by their principles, and his judgment is according to truth. The third captain humbled himself, and cast himself upon the mercy of God and Elijah. There is nothing to be got by contending with God; and those are wise for themselves, who learn submission from the fatal end of obstinacy in others. The courage of faith has often struck terror into the heart of the proudest sinner. So thunderstruck is Ahaziah with the prophet's words, that neither he, nor any about him, offer him violence. Who can harm those whom God shelters? Many who think to prosper in sin, are called hence like Ahaziah, when they do not expect it. All warns us to seek the Lord while he may be found.The charge of cruelty made against Elijah makes it needful to consider the question: What was Elijah's motive? And the answer is: Sharply to make a signal example, to vindicate God's honor in a striking way. Ahaziah had, as it were, challenged Yahweh to a trial of strength by sending a band of fifty to arrest one man. Elijah was not Jesus Christ, able to reconcile mercy with truth, the vindication of God's honor with the utmost tenderness for erring men, and awe them merely by His presence (compare John 18:6). In Elijah the spirit of the Law was embodied in its full severity. His zeal was fierce; he was not shocked by blood; he had no softness and no relenting. He did not permanently profit by the warning at Horeb (1 Kings 19:12 note). He continued the uncompromising avenger of sin, the wielder of the terrors of the Lord, such exactly as he had shown himself at Carmel. He is, consequently, no pattern for Christian men Luke 9:55; but his character is the perfection of the purely legal type. No true Christian after Pentecost would have done what Elijah did. But what he did, when he did it, was not sinful. It was but executing strict, stern justice. Elijah asked that fire should fall - God made it fall; and, by so doing, both vindicated His own honor, and justified the prayer of His prophet. 10. let fire come down—rather, "fire shall come down." Not to avenge a personal insult of Elijah, but an insult upon God in the person of His prophet; and the punishment was inflicted, not by the prophet, but by the direct hand of God. No text from Poole on this verse. And Elijah answered and said unto them,.... The same as he had to the first captain, and made the same request of fire from heaven; which accordingly came down, and destroyed this captain and his fifty also. And Elijah answered and said unto them, {i} If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

(i) Meaning, that God would show by effect whether he was a true prophet or not.

The messengers did not recognise Elijah, but yet they turned back and reported the occurrence to the king, who knew at once, from the description they gave of the habitus of the man in reply to his question, that it was Elijah the Tishbite. האישׁ משׁפּט מה: "what was the manner of the man?" משׁפּט is used here to denote the peculiarity of a person, that which in a certain sense constitutes the vital law and right of the individual personality; figura et habitus (Vulg.). The servants described the prophet according to his outward appearance, which in a man of character is a reflection of his inner man, as שׂער בּעל אישׁ, vir pilosus, hirsutus. This does not mean a man with a luxuriant growth of hair, but refers to the hairy dress, i.e., the garment made of sheep-skin or goat-skin or coarse camel-hair, which was wrapped round his body; the אדּרת (2 Kings 2:8; 1 Kings 19:13), or שׂער אדּרת (Zechariah 13:4, cf. Matthew 3:4; Hebrews 11:37), which was worn by the prophets, not as mere ascetics, but as preachers of repentance, the rough garment denoting the severity of the divine judgments upon the effeminate nation, which revelled in luxuriance and worldly lust. And this was also in keeping with "the leather girdle," עור אזור, ζώνη δερματίνη (Matthew 3:4), whereas the ordinary girdle was of cotton or linen, and often very costly.
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