Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.3. Elijah in the Wilderness and upon Mount Horeb
1. Elijah’s flight and despondency (1Kings 19:1-8)
2. Upon Mount Horeb (1Kings 19:9-18)
3. Elisha called (1Kings 19:10-21)
Elijah perhaps stopped at the very door of the palace where wicked Jezebel dwelt. He would remain with Ahab to the very last before he went in to face the queen. Should not Elijah have remained and gone even before Jezebel to bear his testimony? Instead he becomes terrified of wicked Jezebel. Had he hoped that what had taken place on Carmel would result in bringing not alone Ahab back to Jehovah, but also influence Jezebel? If such was his expectation he must have been bitterly disappointed. Jezebel seeks to kill him and he flees for his life. All what follows is the result of unbelief. This verifies James’ statement in his Epistle: “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are.” Then in despair and unbelief he requested to die. He is altogether occupied with himself and did not look to God. Instead of seeking the wilderness, his training school, to pour out his heart before God, to get new strength in communion with the Lord, “he requested for himself that he might die.”
“The heart of Elijah and the hand of God led the prophet into the wilderness, where, overwhelmed perhaps, yet precious in Jehovah’s sight, he will be alone with God. Elijah’s forty days journey in the wilderness has only a partial resemblance to the forty days which Moses spent with God, in the same Horeb to which the prophet was going, or to those which Jesus spent in the wilderness for conflict with the enemy of God and man. In the two latter cases nature was set aside. Neither Moses nor the Lord ate or drank. As for Elijah, the goodness of God sustains the weakness of tried nature, makes manifest that He considers it with all tenderness and thoughtfulness, and gives the strength needed for such a journey. This should have touched him, and made him feel what he ought to be in the midst of the people, since he had to do with such a God. His heart was far from such a state. Impossible, when we think of ourselves, to be witnesses to others of what God is! Our poor hearts are too far from such a position” (Synopsis of the Bible).
In Mount Horeb the Lord spoke to him: “What doest thou here, Elijah?” It was the gentle rebuke of a loving God. He was not in the place where the Lord wanted him as His servant. It is a great contrast--Elijah on Mount Carmel and Elijah on Mount Horeb in a cave. On Carmel he stands the man of faith, filled with a holy zeal for Jehovah. On Horeb hidden in the cave because he fled from Jezebel. And how many children of God may learn something from this question: “What doest thou here?” They are drifting into the world while others have left the sphere of service into which the Lord called them. And Elijah’s answer shows his self occupation. It is what he had done; what he was and the threatening danger to lose his life. But that danger was far greater when they searched countrywide for him and when the Lord preserved his life by the ministry of the ravens and by the widow-woman.
His answer has in it the spirit of bitterness and accusation. Then the Lord passed by. The storm, the earthquake and the fire preceded His coming; these are always connected with Jehovah’s presence and manifestation. Then came “a still small voice” Elijah knew so well. He wrapped his face in his mantle and then he answered the question once more, but in an humbled spirit. He receives the commission to anoint Hazael, King of Syria; Jehu (Jehovah is he), the son of Nimshi (Jehovah reveals), he is to anoint King of Israel and Elisha is to be his successor. All three are called as instruments of judgment upon Israel’s idolatry and the house of Ahab. Then the Lord announced that He had a faithful remnant of 7000 in Israel who had not bowed the knee unto Baal. (See its prophetic meaning in Romans 11:3-6.)