Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 Kings
Book: 1 Kings
Chapter: 19

Elijah flees to the Wilderness. (1-8) God manifests himself to
Elijah. (9-13) God's answer to Elijah. (14-18) The Call of
Elisha. (19-21)

1-8 Jezebel sent Elijah a threatening message. Carnal hearts
are hardened and enraged against God, By that which should
convince and conquer them. Great Faith is not always alike
strong. He might be serviceable to Israel at this time, and had
all reason to depend upon God's protection, while doing God's
work; yet he flees. His was not the deliberate desire of Grace,
as Paul's, to depart and be with Christ. God thus left Elijah to
himself, to show that when he was bold and strong, it was in the
Lord, and the power of his might; but of himself he was No
better than his fathers. God knows what he designs us for,
though we do not, what services, what trials, and he will take
care that we are furnished with Grace sufficient.

9-13 The question God Put, What doest thou here, Elijah? is a
reproof. It concerns us often to ask whether we are in our
place, and in the way of our duty. Am I where I should be?
whither God calls me, where my business lies, and where I may be
useful? He complained of the people, and their obstinacy in Sin;
I only am left. Despair of success hinders many a good
enterprise. Did Elijah come hither to meet with God? he shall
find that God will meet him. The wind, and Earthquake, and Fire,
did not make him cover his Face, but the still voice did.
Gracious souls are more affected By the tender mercies of the
Lord, than By his terrors. The mild voice of Him who speaks from
the Cross, or the Mercy-seat, is accompanied with Peculiar power
in taking possession of the Heart.

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

19-21 Elijah found Elisha By Divine direction, not in the
Schools of the Prophets, but in the Field; not reading, or
praying, or sacrificing, but ploughing. Idleness is No Man's
honour, nor is husbandry any Man's disgrace. An honest Calling
in the world, does not Put us out of the way of our heavenly
Calling, any more than it did Elisha. His Heart was touched By
the Holy Spirit, and he was ready to leave all to attend Elijah.
It is in a Day of power that Christ's subjects are made willing;
nor would any come to Christ unless they were thus drawn. It was
a discouraging time for prophets to set out in. A Man that had
consulted with Flesh and Blood, would not be fond of Elijah's
Mantle; yet Elisha cheerfully leaves all to accompany him. When
the Saviour said to one and to another, Follow me, the dearest
friends and most profitable occupations were cheerfully left,
and the most arduous duties done from Love to his name. May we,
in like manner, feel the energy of his Grace working in us
mightily, and By unreserved submission at once, may we make our
Calling and election sure.