elijah outside cave

8He arose and ate and drank; and with the strength from that meal he walked forty days and forty nights as far as the mountain of God at Horeb. 9There he went into a cave, and there he spent the night.

Then the word of the Lord came to him. He said to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 10He replied, “I am moved by zeal for the Lord, the God of Hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and put Your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they are out to take my life.” 11“Come out,” He called, “and stand on the mountain before the Lord.”

And lo, the Lord passed by. There was a great and mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks by the power of the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind—an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake—fire; but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire—a soft murmuring sound.

13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his mantle about his face and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice addressed him: “Why are you here, Elijah?” 14He answered, “I am moved by zeal for the Lord, the God of Hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and have put Your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they are out to take my life.”

15The Lord said to him, “Go back by the way you came, [and] on to the wilderness of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael as king of Aram. 16Also anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah to succeed you as prophet.     1 Kings 19/8-16 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

Commentary:

Elijah “walked forty days and forty nights as far as the mountain of God at Horeb. There he went into a cave, and there he spent the night.

Then the word of the L-rd came to him. He said to him, ‘Why are you here, Elijah?”

Elijah answers, and the word of the L-rd calls “Come out,” …”and stand on the mountain before the L-rd”.

The L-rd passed by, and His power is revealed in a great destructive wind, an earthquake and fire, but the L-rd is not in them, and then a soft murmuring sound (fn. “a still, small voice.”).

Elijah heard this, wrapped his mantle about his face and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave where a voice addressed him (which is the L-rd): “Why are you here, Elijah?”

Elijah answers and the L-rd instructs him to go to Damascus and anoint Hazael as King of Aram, Jehu as King of Israel, and Elisha as the prophet to succeed him.

The “word of the L-rd” came to and is with Elijah at the front of the cave and says “Why are you here, Elijah?” and “come out” and “stand on the Mountain before the L-rd”.

The L-rd passed by, his power is revealed (earth, wind and fire) without His Presence (He is not in them), and the L-rd says “Why are you here, Elijah?”

The “word of the L-rd” is at the cave with Elijah and speaks the same words that G-d speaks to Elijah away from the cave after He passed by and revealed His power at the cave (but He was not at the cave).

The soft murmuring sound (fn. “a still, small voice.”) would be the same words from G-d that the “word of the L-rd” had spoken based on one question having already been asked twice before (Why are you here, Elijah?) which was come out and stand on the Mountain before the L-rd.

And for the reason that is what Elijah did after hearing the still, small voice. Elijah ignored the “word of the L-rd” and was unmoved by G-d’s power. But a whisper from G-d Himself had the desired result of Elijah going to the front of the cave.

Elijah gives the same answer to the “word of the L-rd” as he gives to the L-rd: “I am moved by zeal for the L-rd, the G-d of Hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, torn down Your alters, and put Your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they are out to take my life”.

The person of the spirit of the Holy G-d speaks the words of the L-rd to man as one person to another person and is the “word of the L-rd” throughout the Bible.

The person of the spirit of the Holy G-d is an angelic messenger of the L-rd’s words. He is the angel of His Presence.

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