May 5, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Ver. 21.—And Elijah came unto all the people [He is concerned not so much with the king as the people of the Lord. His object was not “to prove that Ahab and not he had troubled Israel,” but to prove that Jehovah and not Baal was God. There is abundant room on the plateau, or “wide upland sweep” (Stanley), above referred to, to accommodate a large concourse of people], and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? [This is a faithful and felicitous rendering. But it must be remembered that “halt” is used in the sense of “limp.” Vulg. Usquequo claudicatis in duas partes. The same word is used in ver. 26 of the swaying, tottering dance of the Baal prophets.] If the Lord be God [Heb. if Jehovah the God], follow him [Heb. go (i.e., walk straight) after him]: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. [Not only were they awed by the presence of the king and the priests of Baal on the one side, and of Elijah on the other, but they were “convicted by their own consciences,” and so were speechless (Matt. 22:12).][1]

18:21 — “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”

At some point, we have to make up our minds: Will we serve God or not? Is He who He claims to be, or not? We have to take a stand and move on from there. No one can “keep their options open” forever.[2]

18:21 hesitate between two opinions. Lit. “limp along on or between two twigs.” Israel had not totally rejected the Lord, but was seeking to combine worship of Him with the worship of Baal. The issue posed by Elijah was that Israel had to choose who was God, the Lord or Baal, and then serve God wholeheartedly. Rather than decide by his message, Elijah sought a visible sign from heaven.[3]

18:21 limping. The rare Hebrew verb pasakh occurs again in v. 26, where the prophets of Baal “limped around the altar.” The irregular steps of their ritual dance portray an inability to move properly. The worship of the people is no better than the worship of these prophets, as they refuse to choose between the Lord and Baal but look to retain both options.[4]

18:21 you go limping The Hebrew word pasach, denoting “pass over,” “spring over,” or “limp,” can also imply “jump” or “hop” (see v. 26).

opinions The Hebrew word used here, sa’ip, typically refers to the boughs of a tree (Isa 17:6; Ezek 31:6, 8) or clefts in a rock (Isa 2:21; 57:5), but it also can refer to divided thoughts (Job 4:13; 20:2). The usage here creates the image of a bird hopping between branches or rock clefts.

Baal The Canaanite storm god.[5]

18:21 The phrase “two opinions” uses the Hebrew word saif, which means “crutches made from two sticks.” So an alternative translation might be, “How long will you limp about on two crutches?” The point of this metaphor was not about wavering between two opinions, but about the damage Israel was doing to itself by refusing to follow the Lord.[6]

[1] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Kings (p. 421). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[2] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (1 Ki 18:21). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Ki 18:21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 634). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Ki 18:21). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 530). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

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