1 Kings 17

1 Elijah the Tishbite, who was one of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 2 Then the LORD’s word came to him, saying, 3 “Go away from here, turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, that is before the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook. I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the LORD’s word; for he went and lived by the brook Cherith that is before the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 After a while, the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. 8 the LORD’s word came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her, and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 She said, “As the LORD your God lives, I don’t have a cake, but a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jar. Behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do as you have said; but make me a little cake from it first, and bring it out to me, and afterward make some for you and for your son. 14 For the LORD, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of meal will not run out, and the jar of oil will not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the earth.’” 15 She went and did according to the saying of Elijah; and she, and he, and her house, ate many days. 16 The jar of meal didn’t run out, and the jar of oil did not fail, according to the LORD’s word, which he spoke by Elijah. 17 After these things, the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became sick; and his sickness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 She said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, you man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to memory, and to kill my son!” 19 He said to her, “Give me your son.” He took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into the room where he stayed, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He cried to the LORD, and said, “LORD my God, have you also brought evil on the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?” 21 He stretched himself on the child three times, and cried to the LORD, and said, “LORD my God, please let this child’s soul come into him again.” 22 The LORD listened to the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the room into the house, and delivered him to his mother; and Elijah said, “Behold, your son lives.” 24 The woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the LORD’s word in your mouth is truth.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

God wonderfully suits men to the work he designs them for. The times were fit for an Elijah; an Elijah was fit for them. The Spirit of the Lord knows how to fit men for the occasions. Elijah let Ahab know that God was displeased with the idolaters, and would chastise them by the want of rain, which it was not in the power of the gods they served to bestow. Elijah was commanded to hide himself. If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes us to go: when we cannot be useful, we must be patient; and when we cannot work for God, we must sit still quietly for him. The ravens were appointed to bring him meat, and did so. Let those who have but from hand to mouth, learn to live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of the day, in the day. God could have sent angels to minister to him; but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by the meanest creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest. Elijah seems to have continued thus above a year. The natural supply of water, which came by common providence, failed; but the miraculous supply of food, made sure to him by promise, failed not. If the heavens fail, the earth fails of course; such are all our creature-comforts: we lose them when we most need them, like brooks in summer. But there is a river which makes glad the city of God, that never runs dry, a well of water that springs up to eternal life. Lord, give us that living water! (1Ki 17:8-16)

Verses 8–16

Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, and some, it is likely, would have bidden him welcome to their houses; yet he is sent to honour and bless with his presence a city of Sidon, a Gentile city, and so becomes the first prophet of the Gentiles. Jezebel was Elijah’s greatest enemy; yet, to show her how powerless was her malice, God will find a hiding-place for him even in her own country. The person appointed to entertain Elijah is not one of the rich or great men of Sidon; but a poor widow woman, in want, and desolate, is made both able and willing to sustain him. It is God’s way, and it is his glory, to make use of, and put honour upon, the weak and foolish things of the world. O woman, great was thy faith; one has not found the like, no not in Israel. She took the prophet’s word, that she should not lose by it. Those who can venture upon the promise of God, will make no difficulty to expose and empty themselves in his service, by giving him his part first. Surely the increase of this widow’s faith, so as to enable her thus readily to deny herself, and to depend upon the Divine promise, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase of her meal and oil in the kingdom of providence. Happy are all who can thus, against hope, believe and obey in hope. One poor meal’s meat this poor widow gave the prophet; in recompence of it, she and her son did eat above two years, in a time of famine. To have food from God’s special favour, and in such good company as Elijah, made it more than doubly sweet. It is promised to those who trust in God, that they shall not be ashamed in evil time; in days of famine they shall be satisfied.

Verses 17–24

Neither faith nor obedience shut out afflictions and death. The child being dead, the mother spake to the prophet, rather to give vent to her sorrow, than in hope of relief. When God removes our comforts from us, he remembers our sins against us, perhaps the sins of our youth, though long since past. When God remembers our sins against us, he designs to teach us to remember them against ourselves, and to repent of them. Elijah’s prayer was doubtless directed by the Holy Spirit. The child revived. See the power of prayer, and the power of Him who hears prayer.

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