English Standard Version
He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
King James Bible
And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
American Standard Version
And he said, I have been very jealous for Jehovah, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
And he answered: With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have thrown down thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away.
English Revised Version
And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
Webster's Bible Translation
And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, I only, am left; and they seek my life to take it away.
1 Kings 19:10 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
But when Elijah saw (ויּרא), sc. how things stood, or the audacity of Jezebel, from which the failure of his work was evident, he rose up and went to Beersheba in Judah, i.e., Bir-seba on the southern frontier of Canaan (see at Genesis 21:31). The expression ליהוּדה אשׁר, "which to Judah," i.e., which belonged to the kingdom of Judah, for Beersheba was really allotted to the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:2), is appended not merely as a geographical indication that Elijah went outside the land, but to show that he meant to leave the kingdom of Israel, the scene of his previous labours, just as Jeremiah in a similar internal conflict gave utterance to the wish that he could leave his people, if he had but a lodging-place in the wilderness (Jeremiah 9:2). ויּרא is not to be altered into ויּירא, et timuit, after the lxx and Vulg., notwithstanding the fact that some Codd. have this reading, which only rests upon an erroneous conjecture. For it is obvious that Elijah did not flee from any fear of the vain threat of Jezebel, from the fact that he did not merely withdrawn into the kingdom of Judah, where he would have been safe under Jehoshaphat from all the persecutions of Jezebel, but went to Beersheba, and thence onwards into the desert there to pour out before the Lord God his weariness of life (1 Kings 19:4).
ילך אל־נפשׁו, he went upon his soul, or his life, i.e., not to save his life (as I once thought, with many other commentators), for his wish to die (1 Kings 19:4) is opposed to this; but to care for his soul in the manner indicated in 1 Kings 19:4, i.e., to commit his soul or his life to the Lord his God in the solitude of the desert, and see what He would determine concerning him.
(Note: G. Menken (christl. Homil. b. den Proph. Elias, p. 231) has given the following admirable explanation of אל נפשו fo so far as the sense is concerned: "For conscience sake, from conviction, out of obligation, not from fear. After all his former experience, and from the entire relation in which Elijah stood to God, it was impossible that he should be afraid, and not be firmly convinced that the God who had shut up heaven at his word, who had supplied him with bread and flesh for a whole year in the desert through the medium of ravens, who had supported him miraculously for years in a foreign land through the medium of a poor widow, who had concealed and rescued him for three years and a half from the search of the king, who had accredited and honoured him in the sight of all the people as His servant, who had given an immediate answer to his prayer for rain, could also defend him in this extremity, and rescue him from this danger, if such should be His will.")
- He left his servant in Beersheba, while he himself went a day's journey farther into the desert (Paran), not merely because he was so filled with weariness of life in his dark oppression, that he thought he should have no further need of his servant, and therefore left him behind in Beersheba, but that he might pour out his heart before God alone in the desert and yield himself up to His guidance. For however unquestionably his lamentation in 1 Kings 19:4, for example, expresses a weariness of life, this merely indicates the feeling which had taken possession of his soul after a day's journey in the barren desert. And even there he lays his wish to die before God in prayer; so that this feeling is merely to be regarded as one result of the spiritual conflict, which is bodily exhaustion had now raised to a height that it cannot have reached when he was in Beersheba. If, therefore, he did not start with the intention of making a pilgrimage to Horeb, he had certainly gone into the desert for the purpose of seeing whether the Lord would manifest His mercy to him, as He had formerly done to His people under Moses, or whether He would withdraw His hand entirely from him. After a day's journey he sat down under a רתם (construed here as a feminine, in 1 Kings 19:5 as a masculine), a species of broom (genista Retem in Forskl), which is the finest and most striking shrub of the Arabian desert, growing constantly in the beds of streams and in the valleys, where places of encampment are frequently selected for the sake of the shelter which they afford by night from the wind and by day from the sun (Rob. Pal. i. 299). למוּת...ויּשׁאל: and wished that his soul might die (a kind of accusative with infinitive; see Ewald, 336, b.), and said, עתּה רב, "Enough now; take, Lord, my soul, for I am not better than my fathers;" i.e., I have worked and endured enough, and deserve no longer life than my fathers. From this it appears that Elijah was already of a great age.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
they seek my life
"Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life."
But what is God's reply to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated--
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them.
1 Kings 18:22
Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.