1 Kings 18:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing.

New Living Translation
Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!" But the people were completely silent.

English Standard Version
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.

New American Standard Bible
Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.

King James Bible
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Elijah approached all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him. But if Baal, follow him." But the people didn't answer him a word.

International Standard Version
where Elijah approached all the people and asked them, "How long will you keep hesitating between both sides? If the LORD is God, go after him. If Baal, go after him." But the people didn't say a word.

NET Bible
Elijah approached all the people and said, "How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision? If the LORD is the true God, then follow him, but if Baal is, follow him!" But the people did not say a word.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Elijah stood up in front of all the people and asked them, "How long will you try to have it both ways? If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal is God, follow him." The people didn't say a word.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Elijah came near unto all the people and said, How long shall ye halt between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word.

King James 2000 Bible
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long do you halt between two opinions? if the LORD is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

American King James Version
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long halt you between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

American Standard Version
And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, How long go ye limping between the two sides? if Jehovah be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And Elias coming to all the people, said: How long do you halt between two sides? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word.

Darby Bible Translation
Then Elijah drew near to all the people, and said, How long do ye halt between two opinions? if Jehovah be God, follow him; and if Baal, follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

English Revised Version
And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

World English Bible
Elijah came near to all the people, and said, "How long will you waver between the two sides? If Yahweh is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." The people answered him not a word.

Young's Literal Translation
and Elijah cometh nigh unto all the people, and saith, 'Till when are ye leaping on the two branches? -- if Jehovah is God, go after Him; and if Baal, go after him;' and the people have not answered him a word.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

18:21-40 Many of the people wavered in their judgment, and varied in their practice. Elijah called upon them to determine whether Jehovah or Baal was the self-existent, supreme God, the Creator, Governor, and Judge of the world, and to follow him alone. It is dangerous to halt between the service of God and the service of sin, the dominion of Christ and the dominion of our lusts. If Jesus be the only Saviour, let us cleave to him alone for every thing; if the Bible be the world of God, let us reverence and receive the whole of it, and submit our understanding to the Divine teaching it contains. Elijah proposed to bring the matter to a trial. Baal had all the outward advantages, but the event encourages all God's witnesses and advocates never to fear the face of man. The God that answers by fire, let him be God: the atonement was to be made by sacrifice, before the judgment could be removed in mercy. The God therefore that has power to pardon sin, and to signify it by consuming the sin-offering, must needs be the God that can relieve from the calamity. God never required his worshippers to honour him in the manner of the worshippers of Baal; but the service of the devil, though sometimes it pleases and pampers the body, yet, in other things, really is cruel to it, as in envy and drunkenness. God requires that we mortify our lusts and corruptions; but bodily penances and severities are no pleasure to him. Who has required these things at your hands? A few words uttered in assured faith, and with fervent affection for the glory of God, and love to the souls of men, or thirstings after the Lord's image and his favour, form the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man, which availeth much. Elijah sought not his own glory, but that of God, for the good of the people. The people are all agreed, convinced, and satisfied; Jehovah, he is the God. Some, we hope, had their hearts turned, but most of them were convinced only, not converted. Blessed are they that have not seen what these saw, yet have believed, and have been wrought upon by it, more than they that saw it.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 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 (Matthew 22:12).]

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And Elijah came unto all the people,.... Assembled at Mount Carmel:

and said, how long halt ye between two opinions? sometimes inclining to the one, and sometimes to the other: as a lame man in walking, his body moves sometimes to one side, and sometimes to another; or "leap ye upon two branches" (r), like a bird that leaps or hops from one branch to another, and never settles long; or rather it denotes the confusion of their thoughts, being like branches of trees twisted and implicated; thus upbraiding them with their inconstancy and fickleness; what their two opinions were, may be learnt from the next clause:

if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him; for there is but one God, one infinite, immense, and incomprehensible being; one that is omnipotent, all sufficient, good, and perfect; there cannot be more, and therefore but one to be followed, served, and worshipped:

and the people answered him not a word: through conviction and confusion, his reasoning being unanswerable; or not knowing which to choose at present; or fearing they should be drawn into a snare, should they name any; either incur the displeasure of the king, who was for Baal, or of the prophet, who was for the Lord, at whose word rain was withheld, and might be given, which they were desirous of.

(r) "transilietis super duos ramoe, Malvenda; vos transilientes super ambos ramos", Piscator.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

21-40. Elijah said unto all the people, How long halt ye?—They had long been attempting to conjoin the service of God with that of Baal. It was an impracticable union and the people were so struck with a sense of their own folly, or dread of the king's displeasure, that they "answered not a word." Elijah proposed to decide for them the controversy between God and Baal by an appeal, not to the authority of the law, for that would have no weight, but by a visible token from Heaven. As fire was the element over which Baal was supposed to preside, Elijah proposed that two bullocks should be slain and placed on separate altars of wood, the one for Baal, and the other for God. On whichever the fire should descend to consume it, the event should determine the true God, whom it was their duty to serve. The proposal, appearing every way reasonable, was received by the people with unanimous approval. The priests of Baal commenced the ceremony by calling on their god. In vain did they continue invoking their senseless deity from morning till noon, and from noon till evening, uttering the most piercing cries, using the most frantic gesticulations, and mingling their blood with the sacrifice. No response was heard. No fire descended. Elijah exposed their folly and imposture with the severest irony and, as the day was far advanced, commenced his operations. Inviting the people to approach and see the entire proceeding, he first repaired an old altar of God, which Jezebel had demolished. Then, having arranged the cut pieces of the bullock, he caused four barrels or jars of water to be dashed all over the altar and round in the trench. Once, twice, a third time this precaution was taken, and then, when he had offered an earnest prayer, the miraculous fire descended (Le 9:24; Jud 6:21; 13:20; 1Ch 21:26; 2Ch 7:1), and consumed not only the sacrifice, but the very stones of the altar. The impression on the minds of the people was that of admiration mingled with awe; and with one voice they acknowledged the supremacy of Jehovah as the true God. Taking advantage of their excited feelings, Elijah called on them to seize the priestly impostors, and by their blood fill the channel of the river (Kishon), which, in consequence of their idolatries, the drought had dried up—a direction, which, severe and relentless as it seems, it was his duty as God's minister to give (De 15:5; 18:20). The natural features of the mount exactly correspond with the details of this narrative. The conspicuous summit, 1635 feet above the sea, on which the altars were placed, presents an esplanade spacious enough for the king and the priests of Baal to stand on the one side, and Elijah on the other. It is a rocky soil, on which there is abundance of loose stones, to furnish the twelve stones of which the altar was built—a bed of thick earth, in which a trench could be dug; and yet the earth not so loose that the water poured into it would be absorbed; two hundred fifty feet beneath the altar plateau, there is a perennial fountain, which, being close to the altar of the Lord, might not have been accessible to the people; and whence, therefore, even in that season of severe drought, Elijah could procure those copious supplies of water which he poured over the altar. The distance between this spring and the site of the altar is so short, as to make it perfectly possible to go thrice thither and back again, whereas it would have been impossible once in an afternoon to fetch water from the sea [Van De Velde]. The summit is one thousand feet above the Kishon, which nowhere runs from the sea so close to the base of the mount as just beneath El-Mohhraka; so that the priests of Baal could, in a few minutes, be taken down to the brook (torrent), and slain there.

1 Kings 18:21 Additional Commentaries
Context
Elijah on Mount Carmel
20So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.…
Cross References
Matthew 6:24
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Joshua 24:15
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

1 Kings 18:20
So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.

1 Kings 18:39
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD--he is God! The LORD--he is God!"

2 Kings 17:41
Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.

Psalm 119:113
I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.

Hosea 10:2
Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.
Treasury of Scripture

And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long halt you between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

How long

Deuteronomy 4:35 To you it was showed, that you might know that the LORD he is God; …

2 Kings 17:41 So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, …

Zephaniah 1:5 And them that worship the host of heaven on the housetops; and them …

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and …

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called to him his disciples: and of them …

Romans 6:16-22 Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, …

1 Corinthians 10:21,22 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: you …

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship …

Revelation 3:15,16 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you …

opinions. or, thoughts
if the Lord

1 Kings 18:39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they …

Exodus 5:1,2 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus said …

Joshua 24:15,23,24 And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day …

1 Samuel 7:3 And Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, If you do return …

1 Chronicles 17:26 And now, LORD, you are God, and have promised this goodness to your servant:

2 Chronicles 33:13 And prayed to him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, …

Psalm 100:3 Know you that the LORD he is God: it is he that has made us, and …

answered

Genesis 24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceeds from …

Genesis 44:16 And Judah said, What shall we say to my lord? what shall we speak? …

Job 40:4,5 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer you? I will lay my hand on my mouth…

Matthew 22:12,34,36 And he said to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding …

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them …

Romans 6:21 What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? …

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