Melachim 1/Kings 1-Chapter 19: Eliyahu flees to Mt Chorev

Chapter 19: Eliyahu flees to Mt Chorev

1. Eliahu flees for his life from Izevel:

  • Achav informed [his wife] Izevel of all that Eliyahu had done [one Mt. Carmel[1]], and that he had slain all of the prophets [of Baal]
  • Izevel threatens Eliyahu: Izevel sent a messenger with a threatening to Eliyahu telling him that on the morrow, she will take his life as he had done to the prophets of Baal.
  • Eliyahu flees to Beer Sheva: Eliyahu saw the danger that he was in and so he arose and fled for his life to Beer Sheva which was in the territory of Yehudah. He left his servant there.
  • Eliyahu flees to the desert and asks to die: Eliyahu went to the desert [due to fear of being found and assassinated[2]], a distance of one day’s travel. He sat under a tree [for shade[3]] and requested from Hashem that He take his life. Eliyahu said to Hashem “Enough Hashem, pleased take my soul as I am no better than my forefathers [as I live in fear and danger and have lived long enough, as Pinchas is Eliyahu[4]]. Eliyahu slept under the tree until an angel came and touched him and told to him to get up and eat.
  • Eliyahu eats and drinks: Eliyahu looked, up and saw a cake freshly baked on hot coals, and a flask of water. He ate and drank and returned to lye down.

2. Eliyahu travels to Mt. Chorev:

  • Eliyahu eats and drinks prior to his journey: The angel of Hashem returned to Eliyahu and touched him. He then instructed him to get up and eat as he has a long journey ahead of him. So Eliyahu got up and ate and drank and went on his journey.
  • The journey lasts 40 days and 40 nights without eating and drinking: This meal was enough to help them survive for forty days and forty nights until he was able to reach the mountain of Hashem, known as Mount Horeb. [Hashem made a miracle, and the food was not digested by his stomach, hence giving him constant energy.[5]]
  • Eliyahu lives in a cave on the mountain: When Eliyahu arrived to the mountain he entered into the cave [that Moshe had entered when God revealed himself to him on Sinai after the sin of the golden calf[6]], and dwelled there.
  • God has a conversation with Eliyahu while he is in the cave: Hashem appeared to Eliyahu while he was in the cave and asked him as to what he’s doing there. Eliyahu replied that he has been zealous on behalf of God being that the Jewish people have, forsaken the Torah. “They have torn down Your altars and they have killed Your prophets by the sword, and I am the only prophet to have remained, and now they seek to take also my life.” Hashem then instructed Eliyahu to go outside of the cave and stand by the mountain in front of Him.
  • Eliyahu sees a revelation of God: When Eliyahu stepped out of the cave to stand by the mountain Hashem appeared before him. Prior to Hashem’s appearance, a great and strong wind with the strength of splitting mountains and shattering stones passed by, although God was not found there. After the wind passed, a great thunderous sound was heard although God was not found there either. After the thunderous sound came a fire, although also in the fire God was not to be found. It was only after the fire that came a low and small sound [in which indeed God was found]. When Eliyahu heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. A voice [of G-d] then said to him: “What are you doing here, Eliyahu?” Eliyahu replied as he did before that he has been zealous on behalf of God being that the Jewish people have, forsaken the Torah. “They have torn down Your altars and they have killed Your prophets by the sword, and I am the only prophet to have remained, and now they seek to take also my life.”

3. Hashem commands Eliyahu to travel to Damascus and anoint new kings and prophets who will take revenge against Israel:

  • Hashem then instructed Eliyahu: “Go and return to the desert of Damascus. I want you to anoint Hazael to be king over Aram. I want you to anoint Yehu, the son of Nimshi, to be king over Israel. I want you to anoint Elisha, the son of Shafat from Avel Mecholah to be prophet in your stead [being that you consistently speak bad of my nation I no longer desire you as a prophet[7]].” Now, those [Jews whom you seek revenge against, many will be killed by Hazael[8], and those] who escape the sword of Hazael, will be killed by Yehu [as he would eventually kill all the family of Achav and all the worshipers of Baal], and those who escape the sword of Yehu, will be killed by Elisha. I will let seven thousand men remain within Israel, who are those who did not kneel to the Baal and who did not kiss him.”

4. Elisha is appointed as a prophet:

  • Elisha is found plowing: Eliyahu traveled [from Mt. Chorev], and he found Elisha, the son of Shafat, as he was plowing. There were twelve [cows with] yokes before him and he was behind the twelfth yoke. Eliyahu went over to him and threw his mantle over him [which was a sign that he would become a prophet[9]].
  • Elisha leaves with Eliyahu and becomes his servant:
  • Elisha left the oxen and ran after Eliyahu and said: “Let me, please, take leave and kiss my father and my mother, and I will then follow after you.” Eliyahu, however, responded that he should not go with him. In the end, Elisha returned back home, and he took the yoke of the oxen and slaughtered them, and with the vessels of the oxen he cooked the meat for them, and he gave the meat to the people [in celebration[10]]. Elisha then rose and followed Eliyahu and became his servant.


[1] Metzudos Dovid 19:1

[2] Radak 19:4

[3] Metzudos Dovid 19:4

[4] Radak 19:4

[5] Radak 19:8

[6] Rashi 19:9

[7] Rashi 19:16

[8] See Metzudos Dovid 19:17

[9] Metzudos Dovid 19:19

[10] Rashi 19:21

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