Verse 44. "There ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand." - ya Pkk kechaph ish, like the hollow of a man's hand. In the form of the hand bent, the concave side downmost. I have witnessed a resemblance of this kind at sea previously to a violent storm, a little cloud the size of a man's hand first appearing, and this increasing in size and density every moment, till at last it covered the whole heavens, and then burst forth with incredible fury.
Mr. Bruce mentions a similar appearance in Abyssinia:-"Every morning, in Abyssinia, is clear, and the sun shines. About nine a small cloud, not above four hundred feet broad, appears in the east, whirling violently round, as if upon an axis; but arrived near the zenith, it first abates its motion, then loses its form, and extends itself greatly, and seems to call up vapours from all opposite quarters. These clouds, having attained nearly the same height, rush against each other with great violence, and put me always in mind of Elijah foretelling rain on Mount Carmel." -Travels, vol. v., page 336, edit. 1806.
Verse 46. "Ran before Ahab" - Many think that Elijah ran before the king in order to do him honour; and much learned labour has been spent on this passage in order to show that Elijah had put himself at the head of a company of chanters who ran before the king reciting his praises, or the praises of God; a custom which still exists in Arabian countries! I believe all these entirely mistake the writer's meaning: Ahab yoked his chariot, and made all speed to Jezreel. The hand of the Lord, or, as the Targum says, the spirit of strength, came upon Elijah, and he girded up his loins, that is, tucked up his long garments in his girdle, and ran; and notwithstanding the advantage the king had by means of his chariot, the prophet reached Jezreel before him. There is no intimation here that he ran before the horses' heads. All this was intended to show that he was under the peculiar influence and inspiration of the Almighty, that the king might respect and fear him, and not do or permit to be done to him any kind of outrage.