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account of the miracles wrought for him, had not the LORD, to make him sensible of his natural weakness, withdrawn that courage with which he had hitherto fortified the mind of this prophet.
Elijah certainly was very impatient, but his trial was a great one ; for after the late memorable event he had reason to expect, that Ahab and the people would have returned to the worship of the true God, and honoured him as the prophet of the LORD: when he found the contrary he grew tired of his office, despaired of ever being serviceable to them, and seeing no chance of settling any where in
peace and comfort, he wished to lay down his
weary head in the grave ; but the Lord had compassion on his infirmities, and again restored his mind to tranquillity and confidence, by graciously sending an angel with food for his refreshment.
It is wonderful to observe, by what various means God sustained those sacred persons, who were set apart for the important purpose of calling others to righteousness; but we are not to infer from this circumstance, that God was partial to them ; for, in order to convince the world that He was not so, they were exposed to a variety of distresses ; only God wrought their deliverance openly, and by miraculous means, to distinguish them as his servants, and to encourage their faith, instead of relieving them by the ordinary methods of Providence.
It appears astonishing, that Elijah should be supported for forty days by only two meals of bread and water ; but it is not at all incredible, since we are told they were sent by the great CREATOR. We can no otherwise account for our own bodies being nourished in the usual way, than by imputing it to the power of God, who can' as easily make food efficacious for a longer, as a shorter time,
The mountain of Horeb, to which we may suppose the angel directed Elijah' to go, was not above one hundred and fifty miles from Beersheba, so that if the prophet had travelled straight on, he might easily have. reached it in a short time; but finding that he was sustained without food, as Moses had formerly been, he might think it his duty to remain there, till he received command from God to go to some other place.
Moses had a glorious vision of the LORD on this mountain ; but on the present occasion God was pleased to reveal himself by a small still voice.
I think we may understand, that Elijah's zeal had lately transported him beyond proper bounds, and that he had wished for some sudden destruction on the land of Israel. To reprove him for this, perhaps, the LORD now taught him by external signs, that though He had all nature at his command, and could root out idolators at once, by a wind, an earthquake, or a fire, He was mercifully. inclined to use lenity towards them; and as there were yet many who had not bowed the knee to Baal, He would for their sakes preserve the land ; but that all who persisted in idolatry should be cut off at His appointed time by Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha.
Elisha, who was chosen to succeed Elijah, appears to have been a man of considerable property, (or he would not have been master of twelve yoke of oxen ;) Dotwithstanding this, he willingly left the management of his farm, and from that day devoted himself entirely the service of God, and personal attendance upon the Lord's prophet.
Elijah did not proceed to Damascus to anoint Hazael ; but we have no reason to suppose that this prophet, who was so Zealous for the honour of the LORD, would wil. fully neglect to obey the Divine command. It may then be conjectured, that not being limited to any particular time for anointing Hazael and Jehu, he deferred it, in hopes that Ahab and his idolatrous people would repent ; and that he was allowed to transfer the act to his successor, ip case they did not do so.
CONTINUATION OF THE
HISTORY OF AHAB KING
From 1 Kings, Chap. XX, AND Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together, and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses and chariots ; and he went up and be. sieged Samaria, and warred against it.
And he sept messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine, thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest are mine.
And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.
And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, sayings Although I have sent unto thée, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver and thy gold, and thy wives and thy children: yet I will send my ser. vanta unto, thee to-morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy: servants ; and it shall be that whatsoever is pleasant in tine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it awaz..
Then the king of Israel: called all the elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you; and see how this man seeketh mischief ; for he sent unto me for my wives,
and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold, and I denied him not.
And all the elders, and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent.
Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first, I will do : but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.
And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do 80 unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.
And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness, boast himself as he that putteth it off.
And it came to pass when Ben-hadad heard this message (as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions) that he said unto his' servants, Set yourselves in array ; and they set themselves in array against the city.
And behold there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen al} this great multitude ? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.
And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou.
Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty
and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand.
And they went out at noon ; but Ben-hadad was. drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him. N 5
And the young men of the princes of the 'provinces went out first, and Ben-hadad sent, out, and they told. him, saying, There are men come out of Samaria.
And he said, Whether they be come out for peace; take them alive : or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.
So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them.
And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians Aed, and Israel pursued. them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse, with the horsemen.
And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses. and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter:
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Ben-hadad, the Syrian king who invaded Samaria, was the son of that monarch who was formerly hired by Asa king of Judah to make war upon Baasha king of Israel, from whom he took Ijon, Dan, Abel Maachah, Naphtali, and Chemosh. What was Benhadad's pretence for his invasion we are not informed ; Ahab was in no condition to oppose him, for he could not put confidence in Baal, whose impotence bad been so lately exposed ; neither did he seek by repentance to regain the favour of this LORD ; his subjects were not very numerous, and he had nô allies. Though the Syrians were totally subdued, and made tributary by David, God had, on account of Israel's apostasy,
then suffered them to become formida. ble again.,
We have read, that there were in Israel, seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal; for their sakes in particular, agreeable to the covenant, Jacob, God circumvented the designs of Ben-hadad, and