Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 19

Jezebel promises to kill Elijah

1 Kings 19:1-2

Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, had not been present at Carmel when God sent fire from heaven (18:36). She was angry to hear how Elijah had ordered the deaths of the prophets of the false god Baal (18:40). They were the leaders of her cruel and evil religion; and they were responsible, with her, for the murders of many innocent people (18:4).

Ahab and Jezebel hated Elijah, even as they hated the true God (18:16-17). Elijah had declared that it would not rain (17:1) – and for three years, it did not rain. During that time, God had hidden Elijah (1 Kings chapter 17). Elijah only returned to Israel when Ahab was desperate enough to follow Elijah’s instructions (18:18-20).

Now however, after the events at Carmel, the rain was falling plentifully on the dry ground. Ahab and Jezebel no longer felt desperate – now, Jezebel saw no reason not to deal with Elijah in the cruellest manner possible.

Elijah had run the 16 miles (25 kilometres) from Carmel to Jezreel, to clear the way for Ahab’s chariot (a simple vehicle that horses pulled). In that way, Elijah showed that he was loyal to Ahab as his king. When Ahab went into his palace at Jezreel, Elijah waited outside the city. Ahab spoke to Jezebel, then Jezebel sent her cruel message to Elijah. In that message, she urged her gods to punish her if she did not kill Elijah. She wanted him to know that, tomorrow, she would do everything possible to find him and to murder him.

Next part: Elijah leaves Israel to go to Horeb (1 Kings 19:3)


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