1 Kings 18:18
And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Baalim—that is, as usual, “the Baalim”—the phrase being probably used contemptuously for false gods generally, the Baal, the Asherah, and perhaps other Canaanitish idols, being included.

18:17-20 One may guess how people stand affected to God, by observing how they stand affected to his people and ministers. It has been the lot of the best and most useful men, like Elijah, to be called and counted the troublers of the land. But those who cause God's judgments do the mischief, not he that foretells them, and warns the nation to repent.Instead of apologies, and pleas for pardon, Elijah meets the charge with a countercharge, and makes a sudden demand. "Gather to me," etc. This boldness, this high tone, this absence of the slightest indication of alarm, seems to have completely discomfited Ahab, who ventured on no reply, made no attempt to arrest the prophet, did not even press him to remove his curse and bring the drought to an end, but simply consented to do his bidding. There is no passage of Scripture which exhibits more forcibly the ascendancy that a prophet of the Lord, armed with His spiritual powers, could, if he were firm and brave, exercise even over the most powerful and most unscrupulous of monarchs.

Baalim - i. e., the various aspects under which the god, Baal, was worshipped, Baal-shamin, Baal-zebub, Baal-Hamman, etc.

17, 18. Art thou he that troubleth Israel—A violent altercation took place. Ahab thought to awe him into submission, but the prophet boldly and undisguisedly told the king that the national calamity was traceable chiefly to his own and his family's patronage and practice of idolatry. But, while rebuking the sins, Elijah paid all due respect to the high rank of the offender. He urged the king to convene, by virtue of his royal mandate, a public assembly, in whose presence it might be solemnly decided which was the troubler of Israel. The appeal could not well be resisted, and Ahab, from whatever motives, consented to the proposal. God directed and overruled the issue. These calamities are not to be imputed to my passions, but thine and thy father’s wickedness, which God punisheth by this means. He answered him thus boldly, because he spoke and acted in God’s name, and for his honour and service, whose vassal Ahab was.

And he answered,.... That is, Elijah, with great boldness and undaunted courage, not fearing the face of the king, being sent to show himself to him in the name of the King of kings:

I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy father's house; they, by their sins, were the cause of all the troubles, those sore evil and sad calamities that were upon them:

in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord: to have no other gods before him, and not to make images, and worship them, which they had done:

and thou hast followed Baalim; the several Baals, the Sun, moon, and stars, the whole host of heaven, worshipped under this name; or, not content with the Phoenician Baal, or Baal of the Zidonians, followed others, see Judges 2:11.

And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but {f} thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

(f) The true ministers of God should not only not permit falsehoods, but should boldly reprove the wicked slanderers without respect of persons.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord] This was done before the Baal-worship was introduced, by Jeroboam and by each king after him, and Omri, Ahab’s father, was no better than the rest. The LXX. omits ‘the commandments of.’

and thou hast followed Baalim] R.V. the Baalim. This was Ahab’s additional sin; so that it is said of him (1 Kings 21:25) ‘There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness.’ The plural Baalim is used because there were many forms or aspects of Baal, so that he was worshipped under several names, at different places, as Baal-berith, Baal-zebub, Baal-peor, &c. Ahab in compliance with the will of Jezebel had admitted them all into Israel.

Verse 18. - And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy fathers house [It has been supposed that Ahab "hoped to abash the Tishbite, perhaps to have him at his feet suing for pardon" (Rawlinson). If so, he must have completely misjudged his man. And why the prophet should sue for pardon, when he was so clearly master of the situation, it is difficult to imagine. It is quite as likely that Ahab expected denunciation and defiance such as he now provokes], in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou [The change from plural to singular is instructive. Preceding kings and the people at large had broken God's commandments by the calf-worship, but Ahab alone had introduced the Baal-cultus into the land] hast followed [Heb. goest after] Baalim. [The plural may either refer to the various names and forms under which Baal was worshipped - Baal-Berith, Baal-Zebub, etc. (Bahr, al.) - or more probably to the various images or statues of this god set up in the land (Gesenius). "This boldness, this high tone, this absence of the slightest indication of alarm, seems to have completely discomfited Ahab, who ventured on no reply," etc. (Rawlinson). It is probable that, though he put on a bold front, he was from the first thoroughly cowed. 1 Kings 18:18But when Elijah assured him with an oath (צבאות יהוה, see at 1 Samuel 1:3) that he would show himself to Ahab that day, Obadiah went to announce it to the king; whereupon Ahab went to meet the prophet, and sought to overawe him with the imperious words, "Art thou here, thou troubler of Israel." (עכר, see at Genesis 34:30). But Elijah threw back this charge: "It is not I who have brought Israel into trouble, but thou and thy family, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah, and thou goest after Baalim." He then called upon the king to gather together all Israel to him upon Carmel, together with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who ate of Jezebel's table, i.e., who were maintained by the queen.

Carmel, a mountain ridge "with many peaks, intersected by hundreds of larger and smaller ravines," which stands out as a promontory running in a north-westerly direction into the Mediterranean (see at Joshua 19:26), and some of the loftiest peaks of which rise to the height of 1800 feet above the level of the sea, when seen from the northern or outer side shows only "bald, monotonous rocky ridges, scantily covered with short and thorny bushes;" but in the interior it still preserves its ancient glory, which has procured for it the name of "fruit-field," the valleys being covered with the most beautiful flowers of every description, and the heights adorned with myrtles, laurels, oaks, and firs (cf. V. de Velde, R. i. p. 292ff.). At the north-western extremity of the mountain there is a celebrated Carmelite monastery, dedicated to Elijah, whom tradition represents as having lived in a grotto under the monastery; but we are certainly not to look there for the scene of the contest with the priests of Baal described in the verses which follow. The scene of Elijah's sacrifice is rather to be sought for on one of the south-eastern heights of Carmel; and Van de Velde (i. p. 320ff.) has pointed it out with great probability in the ruins of el Mohraka, i.e., "the burned place," "a rocky level space of no great circumference, and covered with old gnarled trees with a dense entangled undergrowth of bushes." For "one can scarcely imagine a spot better adapted for the thousands of Israel to have stood drawn up on than the gentle slopes. The rock shoots up in an almost perpendicular wall of more than 200 feet in height on the side of the vale of Esdraelon. On this side, therefore, there was no room for the gazing multitude; but, on the other hand, this wall made it visible over the whole plain, and from all the surrounding heights, so that even those left behind, who had not ascended Carmel, would still have been able to witness at no great distance the fire from heaven that descended upon the altar." - "There is not a more conspicuous spot on all Carmel than the abrupt rocky height of el Mohraka, shooting up so suddenly on the east." Moreover, the soil was thoroughly adapted for the erection of the altar described in 1 Kings 18:31, 1 Kings 18:32 : "it shows a rocky surface, with a sufficiency of large fragments of rock lying all around, and, besides, well fitted for the rapid digging of a trench." There is also water in the neighbourhood, as is assumed in 1 Kings 18:34. "Nowhere does the Kishon run so close to Mount Carmel as just beneath el Mohraka," which is "1635 feet above the sea, and perhaps 1000 feet above the Kishon. This height can be gone up and down in the short time allowed by the Scripture (1 Kings 18:40-44)." But it was possible to find water even nearer than this, to pour upon the burnt-offering in the manner described in 1 Kings 18:34, 1 Kings 18:35. Close by the steep rocky wall of the height, just where you can descend to the Kishon through a steep ravine, you find, "250 feet it might be beneath the altar plateau, a vaulted and very abundant fountain built in the form of a tank, with a few steps leading down into it, just as one finds elsewhere in the old wells or springs of the Jewish times." - "From such a fountain alone could Elijah have procured so much water at that time. And as for the distance between this spring and the supposed site of the altar, it was every way possible for men to go thrice thither and back again to obtain the necessary supply." Lastly, el Mohraka is so situated, that the circumstances mentioned in 1 Kings 18:42-44 also perfectly coincide (Van de Velde, pp. 322-325).

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