1 Kings 18:40
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

New Living Translation
Then Elijah commanded, "Seize all the prophets of Baal. Don't let a single one escape!" So the people seized them all, and Elijah took them down to the Kishon Valley and killed them there.

English Standard Version
And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

New American Standard Bible
Then Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape." So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

King James Bible
And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Elijah ordered them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let even one of them escape." So they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and slaughtered them there.

International Standard Version
But Elijah said, "Arrest the prophets of Baal. Don't let even one of them get away." So the people seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and executed them there.

NET Bible
Elijah told them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Don't let even one of them escape!" So they seized them, and Elijah led them down to the Kishon Valley and executed them there.

New Heart English Bible
And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Do not let one of them escape." And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon, and killed them there.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Elijah told them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let any of them escape." The people seized them, and Elijah took them to the Kishon River and slaughtered them there.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And Elijah said unto them: 'Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.' And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

New American Standard 1977
Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Elijah said unto them, Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they seized them; and Elijah took them down to the brook Kishon and slew them there.

King James 2000 Bible
And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

American King James Version
And Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

American Standard Version
and Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And Elias said to them: Take the prophets of Baal, and let not one of them escape. And when they had taken them, Elias brought them down to the torrent Cison, and killed them there.

Darby Bible Translation
And Elijah said to them, Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape! And they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the torrent of Kishon, and slaughtered them there.

English Revised Version
and Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

World English Bible
Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Don't let one of them escape!" They seized them. Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there.

Young's Literal Translation
And Elijah saith to them, 'Catch ye the prophets of Baal; let not a man escape of them;' and they catch them, and Elijah bringeth them down unto the stream Kishon, and doth slaughter them there.
Study Bible
Elijah's Prayer
39When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God." 40Then Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape." So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. 41Now Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower."…
Cross References
Exodus 22:20
"He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed.

Deuteronomy 13:5
"But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.

Deuteronomy 18:20
'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'

Judges 4:7
I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.'"

Judges 5:21
"The torrent of Kishon swept them away, The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. O my soul, march on with strength.

1 Kings 18:41
Now Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower."

1 Kings 19:1
Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.

2 Kings 10:24
Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed for himself eighty men outside, and he had said, "The one who permits any of the men whom I bring into your hands to escape shall give up his life in exchange."

2 Kings 10:25
Then it came about, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the royal officers, "Go in, kill them; let none come out." And they killed them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the royal officers threw them out, and went to the inner room of the house of Baal.

2 Kings 11:18
All the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces thoroughly, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.
Treasury of Scripture

And Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Take. or, Apprehend

2 Kings 10:25 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the …

Kishon

Judges 5:21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river …

slew them there

Deuteronomy 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; …

Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, …

Jeremiah 48:10 Cursed be he that does the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed …

Zechariah 13:2,3 And it shall come to pass in that day, said the LORD of hosts, that …

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked …

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and …

(40) Slew them.--This ruthless slaughter of Baal's prophets, as a judgment on their idolatry and perversion of the people, belongs alike to the fierce righteousness of the character of Elijah, and to the spirit of the old Law. (See, for example, Deuteronomy 13:6-18; Deuteronomy 17:2-7.) The law was adapted (as in the terrible crucial example of the slaughter of the Canaanites) to the "hardness of men's hearts." In the imperfect moral and religious education of those times, it did not recognise the difference between moral and political offences punishable by human law, and the religious sin or apostasy which we have been taught to leave to the judgment of God alone; and it enjoined an unrelenting severity in the execution of righteous vengeance, which would be morally impossible to us, who have been taught to hate the sin, and yet spare, as far as possible, the sinner. The frequent quotation of such examples by Christians--of which Luke 9:54 is the first example--is a spiritual anachronism. In this particular case, however, it is also to be remembered that those slain were no doubt implicated in the persecution headed by Jezebel, and that the Baal-worship was a licentious and perhaps bloody system. Elijah, presiding over the slaughter which dyed the waters of the Kishon with blood, felt himself the avenger of the slaughtered prophets, as well as the instrument of the judgment of God.

Verse 40. - And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. [Elijah's promptitude is extremely striking. The people had hardly recovered from their terror and awe before he proceeds to judgment. The narrative has the air of truth, and was doubtless reduced to writing by an eye-witness.] And they took them: and Elijah brought them down [Heb. caused them to go down, i.e., had them brought down. He could but lead the way, as they numbered 450] to the brook [Wady. "Like most of the so called ' rivers of Palestine,' the perennial stream forms but a small part of the Kishon" (Grove)] Kishon ["Tortuous," now called Nahr el Mukatta, the "river of slaughter." See Thomson, L. and B. 2. pp. 140, 141; Porter, pp. 383-4; Dict. Bib. 2. p. 45. It flows directly under Carmel], and slew them there. [Obviously, he merely superintended the slaughter. That he slew them all with his own hand is altogether out of the question. Nor is it clear that" sword in hand he stood over them" (Stanley). Josephus rightly explains: "they slew the prophets at Elijah's instigation." It is almost certain, from their resorting to the Kishon for this purpose, that it was not quite dry at the time. Their blood would mingle with its waters, and the flood which the "great rain" would presently produce (cf. Judges 5:21) would carry their corpses down to the sea. It has often been supposed that the mound near the Kishon, known as Tell el Cassis, "the mound of the priests," derives its name from this slaughter of the prophets of Baal. But Conder (p. 90) remarks that "Kassis is the word applied to a Christian priest, and the word Kohen or Kamir would more naturally be expected if there was any real connexion with the idolatrous priests of Baal."] This action of the prophet Elijah in instituting this wholesale slaughter in the hour of his triumph has been repeatedly arraigned and denounced, but most unjustly. According to some, it was an act of gross fanaticism and cruelty; others have seen it in a wild and terrible vendetta for the murder of the Lord's prophets. By some, indeed, it has been justified on the principles of the lex talionis (Exodus 21:24, etc.); on the ground, that is to say, that the men who had instigated Jezebel in her attempted extermination of the prophetic schools had merited extermination in their turn. But it is a fatal objection to their view, first, that we not only have no proof, but no reason for thinking, that it was at their instigation that the queen "cut off the prophets of the Lord;" and, secondly, that it is not clear that she succeeded in her sanguinary purpose, or that many lives were sacrificed to her fury. And Elljah's action needs no such lame apologies. As the Lord's prophet, as the vindicator and restorer of the law, there was no other course open to him. If the Mosaic law was then written, and this very incident is one of the proofs that it was then written; if, however it had fallen into contempt or desuetude, it was still binding upon Israel; and if Elijah was justified in executing its provisions, and was required to execute them, however repugnant they might be to his inclinations (Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10), then he could not have done otherwise than he did. For it was an essential part of that law, it was an obligation that was laid, not once or twice, but on three separate occasions (Exodus 22:20; Deuteronomy 13; Deuteronomy 17:2-7), on the Jewish people, it was a duty they were to perform, however distressing and harrowing it might be (Deuteronomy 13:6-9), to provide that the worshipper of false gods, and especially the teacher of such worship, should be put to death. It was primarily, of course, the duty of the authorities, of the theocratic king and his subordinates, to execute these injunctions. But the king of that age was corrupt and powerless - nay, was himself idolatrous. So great was the depravity of the time that the false prophet enjoyed the favour and protection of the court, and the true prophet was everywhere being hunted to death. The execution of this law, consequently, could not be expected from the king. It must be executed, if at all, in spite of him, and in disregard of his protests. It was only Elijah, therefore, could put it into force, and Elijah only in the hour of his triumph. And the jus zelotyparum, the right claimed by every faithful Jew to execute vengeance, after the example of Phinehas (Numbers 25:11), upon any gross breach of the Divine law committed in his presence, was not his only warranty; he held a commission, higher than the king's, as the prophet of the Most High. He had just proved that the Lord He was God. It was now for him to prove that God's law was no dead letter. It was for him to cut off the men - some of them renegades from the faith of Israel, some of them foreign emissaries introduced into the land who had corrupted his countrymen, and threatened the very existence of the true religion. It is necessary, therefore, for those who challenge his conduct in this respect, who call him sanguinary, vindictive, etc., to settle their account with the law which he obeyed, and, indeed, with Him who has approved this deed, and has forewarned us that He too will act in like manner (Luke 19:27). For this terrible retribution is by no means an exceptional or isolated act, in contrast to the general spirit of that dispensation; on the contrary, it is in thorough accord with the system out of which it sprung. We gain nothing, therefore, by repudiating this one transaction. For clearly, in the first place, it was allowed and approved of God, who otherwise would hardly have answered the prayer which Elijah presently offered, and (2) other similar acts have distinctly received Divine commendation (Exodus 32:25-28; Numbers 25:7-13; 2 Kings 1:9 sqq.) It is true that the spirit of Elias was not the spirit of Christianity (Luke 9:56), but it is forgotten how different was the dispensation of Elijah from that of the New Covenant. In that age idolaters must receive their just recompense of reward, because the judgment to come had not then been revealed; because justice must be measured out to men in this life. We do not avenge idolatry or irreligion now with fire and sword, not because the thing is any the less sinful, but because the duty has been taken out of our hands; because our religion instructs us to leave it to Him who has said, "Vengeance is Mine," etc. It is perhaps worth remarking here that there is nothing in this history half so dreadful as might be seen on a thousand battlefields - and those not battlefields for truth and right - on which, nevertheless, Elijah's critics have learned to look with complacency. It may, however, be objected to this view that the punishment denounced by the law was stoning (Deuteronomy 13:10; Deuteronomy 17:5). But surely it is easy to see why, in this particular, the law was not kept. It was simply that the exigency of the occasion did not permit of its being kept. It was because the 450 traitors to God and their country could not be stoned within the few hours that remained before the night closed in and the multitude dispersed, that a more speedy punishment, that of the sword, was adopted. And it would have been a sacrifice of the spirit of the law to the letter had some few false prophets been stoned and the rest thereby been afforded the opportunity to escape, and, under Jezebel's protection, to renew their efforts against truth and morality and religion. And Elijah said unto them, take the prophets of Baal,.... The four hundred and fifty that were upon the spot; for the number of the people of Israel, now gathered together, were equal to it; nor was it in Ahab's power to hinder it, and he might himself be so far surprised and convicted as not in the least to object to it:

let not one of them escape: that there might be none of them left to seduce the people any more:

and they took them; laid hold on them, everyone of them:

and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon; which ran by the side, and at the bottom of Mount Carmel, into the sea; See Gill on Judges 4:7, Judges 5:21.

and slew them there; intimating, that it was owing to the idolatry they led the people into that rain had been withheld, and the brooks were dried up, as this might be; or, as Ben Gersom thinks, that the land might not be defiled with their blood, but be carried down the river after it: these he slew not with his own hand, but by others he gave orders to do it; and this not as a private person, but as an extraordinary minister of God, to execute justice according to his law, Deuteronomy 13:1 by which law such false prophets were to die; and the rather he was raised up and spirited for this service, as the supreme magistrate was addicted to idolatry himself. 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.
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