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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



3 KINGS 17

 

CHAPTER XVII.

 

Ver. 1.  Elias means, "the strong God."  Some Greeks derive the name of the prophet from hlioV, "the sun," improperly.  His parentage is not known, nor even his tribe.  Thesbe was situated in the tribe of Gad.  The Fathers agree that Elias never was married.  He seems to have had no fixed abode; but was sent to the house of Israel, to maintain the cause of the true God, with the most active and generous zeal.  He may have presided over the colleges of the prophets, (C.) which were then numerous in Israel, particularly at Mount Carmel, (T.) notwithstanding the general corruption.  C. xviii. 13. and xix. 10.  H. --- I stand, to serve (Num. iii. 6.) and pray.  Jam. v. 17.  Luke iv. 25.  He calls God to witness, like S. Paul.  Gal. i. 20. --- Mouth.  Stupendous power and assurance of the prophet, with which the pagans have nothing to compare.  C. --- God had threatened his people with drought, if they proved faithless.  Deut. xxviii. 24.  Elias begs that this punishment may now serve to open their eyes.  T.

 

Ver. 3.  Carith, between Samaria and the Jordan.  It was a torrent or valley.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Ravens.  Heb. horebim, (H.) is sometimes rendered "Arabs," by the Vulg.  2 Par. xxi. 16.  Others would translate, "merchants," or the inhabitants of Arabo, which was near Carith.  They suppose that the ravens, being unclean birds, would never have been employed.  But they were only forbidden to be eaten or touched, when dead; and God is not restricted by  his own laws.  He might thus chose to display his wonderful providence.  S. Jerom relates how S. Paul, the first hermit, was fed thus by a raven, with half a loaf a day; and a whole one was sent, when S. Anthony went to see him.  C. --- Yet Kennicott mentions this as one of the improvements which might be now made in the Protestant version, "the Orbim," or inhabitants of Oreb, or Orbo.  Orbim, accolæ villæ in finibus Arabum Eliæ dederunt alimenta.  Jerom iii. 119. --- It is not clear to what passage he refers.  Diss. ii. p. 581.  Another instance occurs, Judg. xv. 4, where instead of foxes, he would substitute "300 sheaves of corn, placed end to end."  But if there were no mistranslations of great importance, the version might subsist.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  And flesh.  So the Heb. &c.  But some copies of the Sept. have, "bread in the morning, and flesh in the evening."  Theod. q. 52. --- It is idle to inquire whence the ravens took this food.  C. --- Some say from the kitchen of Achab.  Abulensis --- The minister of angels undoubtedly intervened.  T. --- God provides his servant with what may support nature, without any wine or delicacies.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Some time.  Lit. "after days," (H.) which some explain of a year; others, of half that time, or less, as the torrent would not be long supplied with water.

 

Ver. 9.  Sidonians, and nearer their city than it was to Tyre.  C. --- Commanded, or provided that she shall feed thee.  So he commanded the ravens, v. 4.  M. --- It appears that the widow had received no precise intimation, v. 12.  She was not an Israelite, (Luke iv. 25.) but probably a pagan.  S. Chrys. &c. --- Many suppose that Elias did not know, at first, that she was to entertain him.  C. --- But both the one and the other might be divinely instructed how to act.  In due time the widow and the prophet became acquainted with the will of God, and complied with it.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  First.  He puts the faith of the widow to a severe trial; and the gospel requires nothing more perfect than what she practised.  The true faith, which she then received, was her first and most precious recompense; and we shall soon see, that her guest drew down blessings upon her.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Until, nor for some time afterwards; otherwise they would still have been in danger of perishing, as the corn could not grow immediately.  Salien, A.C. 929.

 

Ver. 17.  In him.  He died.  H. --- The Jews, followed by some Christians, assert that this boy was the prophet Jonas.  But Jonas was a Hebrew, from Geth-opher.  4 K. xiv. 25.  Jon. i. 9.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Remembered.  Have I not waited upon thee with sufficient attention? or have not thine eyes been able to bear with my imperfections?  H. --- Before thy arrival, God seemed not to notice my transgressions.  She is convinced that "all just punishment presupposes an offence."  S. Aug. Retract. i. 9.  This child died like Lazarus for the greater glory of God.  Id. ad Simp. ii. 5.  John xi. 4.  W.

 

Ver. 20.  Her son.  He speaks in the most earnest and familiar manner, shewing his confidence in God.  Salien.

 

Ver. 21.  Times, in honour of the blessed Trinity.  M. --- He puts himself in this posture, as if the co-operate with God in warming the child; as Eliseus did, (4 K. iv. 34,) as well as S. Paul, (Acts xx. 10,) and S. Benedict.  S. Greg. Dial. ii. 32.  This posture represented the condescension of Jesus Christ in assuming our nature, to give us life; and the Old Testament affords few more striking figures of this union.  C.  S. Aug. ser. 201. de Temp.  S. Bern. xvi. in Cant.  T.

 

Ver. 24.  True.  She saw the force of miracles; (H.) and now was, at least, thoroughly converted.  Salien.

 

 








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