Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 17

Elijah at the Kerith stream

1 Kings 17:2-6

God told Elijah to separate himself from the people. For the next three years, there would be no rain, and the harvests would fail. The people would be in a desperate state. So it was extremely important that Elijah, as a very holy man, should remain constantly at prayer.

God had prepared a place for Elijah. He would live by a stream called the Kerith, far from the people, on the east side of the river Jordan. Elijah’s water would come from the stream; but God would provide his food in a truly extraordinary manner. By God’s special command, the ravens would bring it to him.

Ravens are large wild birds that eat meat. People considered them to be unpleasant birds (Proverbs 30:17); God’s law did not permit Israel’s people to eat them (Leviticus 11:15). However, the Bible reminds us that God provides even for the young ravens (Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9; Luke 12:24). People in Israel would see them often, as they fly back and forward to search for food (compare Genesis 8:7).

God created every living thing (Psalm 104); he is the ruler of the whole world (Psalm 148). It is the duty of every animal and every bird to give him honour and to obey his commands.

These ravens seemed to understand the importance of their special work for God. They brought grain, and not just meat, for Elijah. They were careful to come at regular times, so that Elijah would not miss a meal.

Next part: God sends Elijah to Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-9)


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