The Meaning of 1 Kings 18:43 Explained

1 Kings 18:43

KJV: And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.

YLT: and saith unto his young man, 'Go up, I pray thee, look attentively the way of the sea;' and he goeth up and looketh attentively, and saith, 'There is nothing;' and he saith, 'Turn back,' seven times.

Darby: And he said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.

ASV: And he said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.

What does 1 Kings 18:43 Mean?

Context Summary

1 Kings 18:41-46 - Exaltation And Depression
When the priests had been executed, the quick ear of the prophet detected the hurrying rain-clouds. Note the contrast between Ahab and the prophet. The one ascended from the Kishon gorge to eat and drink in his pavilion until the darkened heavens made him drive-post-haste to Jezreel; the other went up to pray! which do we care for most-to eat and drink or to pray? God help us! The answer that our hearts utter is far from satisfactory. But what praying was this! So humble, so intense, so expectant. Six times the servant came down from the spur, saying, "There is nothing," and a seventh time he was sent back to watch the Mediterranean sky-line-this time, not in vain!
But why that sudden change to despair? Was it the overstrain of that day on Carmel, which induced a terrible reaction? Was it that swift run from Carmel to Jezreel, in front of Ahab's fiery steeds? Was it that threat of Jezebel? She, at least, was neither awed nor checkmated by the massacre of her favorite priests. Did he lose sight of God in that dark hour? Elijah was but mortal! His feet had almost gone; his steps had well-nigh slipped, Psalms 73:2. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Kings 18

1  In the extremity of famine Elijah, sent to Ahab, meets good Obadiah
9  Obadiah brings Ahab to Elijah
17  Elijah, reproving Ahab, by fire from heaven convinces Baal's prophets
41  Elijah, by prayer obtaining rain, follows Ahab to Jezreel

What do the individual words in 1 Kings 18:43 mean?

and said to his servant go up now look toward the sea So he went up and looked and said [There is] nothing - and he said go again seven times
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֶֽל־ נַעֲר֗וֹ עֲלֵֽה־ נָא֙ הַבֵּ֣ט דֶּֽרֶךְ־ יָ֔ם וַיַּ֙עַל֙ וַיַּבֵּ֔ט וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֵ֣ין מְא֑וּמָה וַיֹּ֕אמֶר שֻׁ֖ב שֶׁ֥בַע פְּעָמִֽים

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר  and  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
נַעֲר֗וֹ  his  servant 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: נַעַר  
Sense: a boy, lad, servant, youth, retainer.
עֲלֵֽה־  go  up 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: סָלַק 
Sense: to go up, ascend, climb.
נָא֙  now 
Parse: Interjection
Root: נָא  
Sense: I (we) pray, now, please.
הַבֵּ֣ט  look 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: נָבַט  
Sense: to look, regard.
דֶּֽרֶךְ־  toward 
Parse: Noun, common singular construct
Root: דֶּרֶךְ  
Sense: way, road, distance, journey, manner.
יָ֔ם  the  sea 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: יָם  
Sense: sea.
וַיַּ֙עַל֙  So  he  went  up 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: סָלַק 
Sense: to go up, ascend, climb.
וַיַּבֵּ֔ט  and  looked 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Hifil, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: נָבַט  
Sense: to look, regard.
וַיֹּ֖אמֶר  and  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
אֵ֣ין  [There  is]  nothing 
Parse: Adverb
Root: אַיִן 
Sense: nothing, not, nought n.
מְא֑וּמָה    - 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: מְאוּמָה  
Sense: anything.
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר  and  he  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
שֻׁ֖ב  go  again 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: שׁוּב  
Sense: to return, turn back.
שֶׁ֥בַע  seven 
Parse: Number, feminine singular
Root: שֶׁבַע  
Sense: seven (cardinal number).
פְּעָמִֽים  times 
Parse: Noun, feminine plural
Root: פַּעַם  
Sense: stroke, beat, foot, step, anvil, occurrence.