New Defender's Study Bible Notes
19:1 Jezebel. Jezebel, the wife of king Ahab, was the pagan daughter of the king of Sidon, and had induced Ahab himself to follow Baal and to make Baal worship essentially Israel’s national religion (I Kings 16:31-33). When Elijah slew all her prophets—Jezebel herself had previously killed most of the Lord’s true prophets (I Kings 18:13)—she became his bitterest and most dangerous enemy.
19:3 went for his life. Elijah was not a coward (note his one-man confrontation with King Ahab and then with the 450 false prophets), nor was he afraid to die (note I Kings 19:4), but he was discouraged that he still seemed to have no chance of turning Israel back to God, even after his singular victory at Mount Carmel. Jezebel and her religious system seemed as entrenched as ever.
19:3 came to Beer-sheba. Elijah had been at Carmel and Jezreel, far to the north in the kingdom of Israel, then fled 150 miles to the southernmost part of the kingdom of Judah, and Beersheba, and then even deeper into the Negev wilderness, putting as much distance between himself and Jezebel as possible, finally reaching Mount Sinai (or Horeb) itself.
19:15 wilderness of Damascus. God sent Elijah back again, past Samaria and Jezreel (where Jezebel was) all the way to Syria and its capital, the ancient city of Damascus. He had thought that he was the only believer left in Israel and therefore had to escape Jezebel at all costs, yet God had assured him otherwise and now sent him right back through her land again.
19:16 Elisha. This verse introduces Elisha as Elijah’s successor, and also Jehu and Hazael, the next kings of Israel and Syria. All of these were, in effect, to be anointed to their callings by Elijah, although Hazael was actually anointed by Elisha and Jehu by Elisha’s servant (II Kings 8:13-15; 9:1-6).
19:18 seven thousand. In spite of Elijah’s great victory at Carmel, and the excited cry of conversion by the people (I Kings 18:39), the people still feared to rebel against Jezebel and her Baalite state religion. Elijah therefore fled for his life, convinced he was the only true believer in Israel (I Kings 19:10). Nevertheless, God always in every age has His “seven thousand” who are at least open-hearted to the truth when they hear it.