Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 19

Elijah prays to die

1 Kings 19:4

The journey from Jezreel to Horeb is extremely long and difficult, especially by foot. The distance is more than 275 miles (450 kilometres). Elijah’s servant went with him for the first part of the journey, to Beersheba, the town furthest south in Judah. Even then, they had only gone the first quarter of the distance. After that, Elijah had to go through the desert all the way to Horeb – and he was walking alone.

Elijah was probably already safe from Jezebel as soon as he crossed the border into Judah. Ahab and Jezebel had no authority there. The king of Judah was Jehoshaphat. Although Jehoshaphat had friendly relations with Ahab, he was loyal to the true God. In addition to him, there were many people who served the true God in Judah.

However, Elijah did not remain in Judah. He continued into the desert. He wanted to pray at Horeb, where Moses had prayed. There, God had spoken to Moses – and now, Elijah too needed to hear God’s voice.

After just one day in the desert, Elijah believed that he would never reach Horeb. The task that God had given him in life – to turn the hearts of the people to God – was too difficult. Elijah’s ancestors – the prophets (holy men) in Israel before him – had not succeeded in this, and Elijah seemed to have failed too. Now even this journey seemed too difficult for him. So, Elijah prayed that God would permit him to die. Then, tired from his long walk, he slept.

Next part: God gives Elijah the strength to reach Horeb (1 Kings 19:5-8)


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