1 Kings 18
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Elijah Rebukes Ahab

1Quite some time later—three years later!—this message from the LORD came to Elijah: “Go visit Ahab, and I’ll send some rain to the surface of the ground.” 2So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab, right when the famine in Samaria was most severe.

3Ahab called for Obadiah, his household supervisor. This man, who feared the LORD very much, 4had taken 100 prophets and had hidden them by fifties in a cave, providing them with food and water when Jezebel was trying to destroy the LORD’s prophets.

5Ahab had instructed Obadiah, “Go throughout the land to all of the water springs and to all of the valleys. Maybe we’ll find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive. Also, maybe we won’t have to kill some of our cattle.” 6So they divided the land between them so they could conduct their survey. Ahab went off by himself in one direction and Obadiah went off by himself in the other.

7While Obadiah was on the road, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him and bowed down with his face to the ground. “It’s you, isn’t it, my master Elijah?”

8“I am,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Look! Elijah!’”

9But Obadiah replied, “What did I do wrong, that you would put me in a position where Ahab would execute me? 10As surely as the LORD your God lives, there isn’t a nation or kingdom where my master hasn’t tried to find you. Whenever they would say ‘He isn’t here,’ he forced that kingdom or nation to swear that they hadn’t seen you. 11But now you’re saying ‘Go tell your master, “Elijah is here!”’ 12As soon as I’ve left you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you off to I don’t know where! Then when I go tell Ahab and he can’t find you, he’ll kill me, even though I have been your servant and have feared the LORD since I was young! 13Hasn’t anyone told you, my master, what I did when Jezebel was killing the LORD’s prophets? I hid 100 of the LORD’s prophets by fifties in a cave and provided food and water for them. 14Now you’re saying, ‘Go tell your master, “Elijah’s here!”’ He’s sure to kill me!”

15But Elijah promised him, “As the LORD of the Heavenly Armies lives, in whose presence I stand, I will appear to Ahab today.”

16So Obadiah went out to meet Ahab and reported to him. Then Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab asked him, “Is it really you, you destroyer of Israel?”

18But Elijaha replied, “I’m no destroyer of Israel. But you and your ancestor’s household have been doing that, because you have abandoned the LORD’s commandments and have followed the Baals. 19So go gather all of Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. Bring along 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah who are funded at Jezebel’s expense.”b

Elijah Defeats the Prophets of Baal

20Ahab sent for the Israelis and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel, 21where Elijah approached all the people and asked them, “How long will you keep hesitatingc between both sides? If the LORD is God, go after him. If Baal, go after him.”

But the people didn’t say a word.

22So Elijah told the people, “I’m the only one left over as a prophet of the LORD, am I? But Baal’s prophets number 450 men? 23So let them provide two oxen. They can choose one ox for themselves. Cut it up, lay it on top of some wood, but don’t set fire to it. I will prepare the other ox and lay it on top of some wood, and I won’t set fire to it. 24Then you can call on the name of your god, and I’ll call on the name of the LORD. Let the God who answers by fire be our God!”

“That’s a good idea!” all the people shouted.

25So Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose an ox for yourselves and you prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but don’t set fire to the offering.”

26So they took the ox that was given to them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from early morning until noon. “Baal! Answer us!” they cried. But there was no response. Nobody answered. So they kept on dancingd around the altar that they had made.

27Starting about noon, Elijah began to tease them:

“Shout louder!

“He’s a god, so maybe he’s busy.

“Maybe he’s relieving himself.

“Maybe he’s busy someplace.

“Maybe he’s taking a nap and somebody needs to wake him up.”

28So the prophets of Baale cried even louder and slashed themselves with swords and lances until their blood gushed out all over them, as was their custom. 29They kept on raving right through midday and until it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, but there was still no response. Nobody answered, and nobody paid attention.

30Eventually, Elijah told everybody, “Come here!” So everybody approached him, and he repaired the LORD’s altar that had been torn down. 31Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Jacob’s descendants, to whom the message from the LORD had come that “Israel is to be your name.” 32So Elijah used the stones to build an altar to the name of the LORD. But then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold two measuresf of seed. 33Then he laid the wood in order, cut the bull into pieces, and laid them on top of the wood.

“Fill four pitchers with water,” he ordered. “Then pour them out on the burnt offering and the wood.”

34“Do it a second time,” he ordered. So they did it a second time.

“Do it a third time,” he said. So they did it a third time. 35The water ran down around the altar and completely filled the trench.g

Elijah’s Prayer and God’s Answer by Fire

36As the time for the evening offering arrived, Elijah the prophet approached and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I, your servant, have done all of this in obedience to your word. 37Answer me, LORD! Answer me so that this people may know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning back their hearts again.”

38Right then the LORD’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, the dust, and even the water that was in the trench! 39When all the people saw what had happened, they fell flat on their faces and cried out “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”

40But Elijah said, “Arrest the prophets of Baal. Don’t let even one of them get away.” So the peopleh seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadii Kishon and executed them there.

The Rain Storm Ends the Drought

41After this, Elijah told Ahab, “Get up and have something to eat and drink, because there’s the sound of a coming rainstorm.” 42So Ahab got up to get something to eat and drink while Elijah went back up to the top of Mountj Carmel, where he bowed low to the ground and placed his face between his knees.

43Then he told his young servant, “Go and look toward the sea.”

So he went and looked out to sea. “Nothing there,” he said.

But Elijah told him to go back seven times. 44On the seventh look, he said, “Look! There’s a cloud, a small one, about the size of a man’s hand. It’s coming up out of the sea!”

“Get up and find Ahab!” Elijahk said. “Tell him, ‘Mount your chariot and ride down the mountainl so the storm doesn’t stop you.’”

45A little while later, the sky turned black with storm clouds and winds, and there was a heavy shower. So Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46After Ahab had left,m the hand of the LORD came upon Elijah, and he tucked his mantle into his belt and outran Ahab in a race to the city gate of Jezreel.

a 18:18 Lit. he
b 18:19 Lit. who eat at Jezebel’s table
c 18:21 Lit. dancing; or limping
d 18:26 Or limping
e 18:28 Lit. So they
f 18:32 Lit. seahs; or hold four gallons; i.e. a trench encircling the altar and wide enough that a container holding about four gallons could be laid inside it
g 18:35 Lit. trench with water
h 18:40 Lit. So they
i 18:40 i.e. a seasonal stream or river that channels water during rain seasons but is dry at other times
j 18:42 The Heb. lacks Mount
k 18:44 Lit. he
l 18:44 The Heb. lacks the mountain
m 18:46 Lit. Then

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation

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