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ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

It had been revealed to Elijah, and he had declared to Ahab, that there should be neither daw nor rain for yeari, but according to his 'word; by which was meant, that the desired blessings should follow the prophet's prayer, in order to gain him esteem, and to magnify his office, which at that time was greatly depreciated in the land of Israel. The prophet of the Lord could not, without dishonouring the Divine B.eing, intercede for a nation of idolators ; but as soon as Baal was disgraced, and the majesty of the Lord JtHOVAH vindicated, Elijah knew that his prayers would be accepted; he therefore immediately addressed himself to the Almi G Ht V God with the utmost earnestness of intercession, as we may judge- by the humble posture he made use of, and his eagerness to know whether the Lord regarded his petitions. As soon as Elijah found that the blessing he prayed for was at hand, he not only dispatched his servant with a message to Ahab, but, to shew that he was far from being his enemy, and only desired that he would become a worshipper of the true God, the prophet girded up his vest, as was the custom when any one wanted to make expedition, and ran before the king like an humble attendant.

It seems inconsistent that Elijah, who had hitherto been sustained and protected by the miraculous power of God, and whose behaviour to Ahab was full of intrepidity, should be intimidated by the threatenings of the impious Jizebek The extraordinary courage which he had before displayed wa3 certainly inspired by the Lord; Elijah, when he was not under the influence of the Holy Spirit, was a man of like passions with ourselves ;* and perhaps, he might have grown vain and arrogant, on. * James v. 11,

N 3 . account account of the miracles wrought for him, had not the Lord, to make him sensible of his natural weakness, withdrawn that courage with which he had hitherto fortified the mind of this prophet.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 wat a great one; for after the late memorable event he had reason to expect, that Ahab and the people would have feturned 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 anywhere 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.

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The mountain of Horeb, to which we may suppose the angel directed Elijali 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, h• 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 reproye 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 ;) notwithstanding 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; hut we have no reason to suppose that this prophet, who was so zealous for the honour of the Lord, would wilfully neglect to obey the Divine command. It may then N4 be 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.

SECTION LVI.

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CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF AHAB KING OF ISRAEL.

From 1 Kings, Cnafi. 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 besieged Samaria, and warred against it.

And he sect 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, Gi king, according to, thy saying, I am thine, and all that L have. .:

And the raessengeracame again^and said, Thus speaketh Ben-badad, saying, Although I hawe sent unto thee, saying, Thcu shall deliver me' thy silver: and thy, gold,' and thy wives and thy children;: yet I. will send- nay servants unto thee toi-morrow a^out tikis time, and they shall search, thine house, and the houses of thyi servants; and it shall be that whatsoever is pleasant iwi tifine eyes, they shall put-it in their hand* ami take it away.

Then the king of Israel, called all the elders, of ihe land, and said, Mark, 1 pray you, and see how this man setketh mischief: far he scot unto me for my. wiyes,

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and for my children, and for my silver, and for my goldr 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 broughthim word again.

And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so 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 aa 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 all 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 thirtytwo; 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 wasdrinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.

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