Elijah’s Message to Ahab
1After a long time, the word of the Lord#1Kg 17:8 came to Elijah in the third year:#1Kg 17:1; Jms 5:17 “Go and present yourself to Ahab.#1Kg 16:29–33 I will send rain on the surface of the land.” 2So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
The famine was severe in Samaria.#1Kg 16:24,29 3Ahab called for Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace.#1Kg 16:9 Obadiah was a man who greatly feared the Lord#Neh 7:2; Pr 3:5–6 4and took a hundred prophets and hid them, fifty men to a cave, and provided them with food and water when Jezebel#1Kg 16:31; Rv 2:20 slaughtered the Lord’s prophets.#1Kg 18:13 5Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go throughout the land to every spring and to every wadi. Perhaps we’ll find grass so we can keep the horses and mules alive and not have to destroy any cattle.”#Gn 47:4 6They divided the land between them in order to cover it. Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went the other way by himself.
7While Obadiah was walking along the road, Elijah suddenly met him.#2Kg 1:6–8 When Obadiah recognized him, he fell facedown and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?”
8“It is I,” he replied. “Go tell your lord, ‘Elijah is here!’” #18:8 The Hb words translated ‘Elijah is here’ also mean ‘Look, my God is the Lord’
9But Obadiah said, “What sin have I committed,#1Kg 17:18 that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to put me to death? 10As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent someone to search for you. When they said, ‘He is not here,’ he made that kingdom or nation swear they had not found you.
11“Now you say, ‘Go tell your lord, “Elijah is here!”’ 12But when I leave you, the Spirit of the Lord may carry you off#2Kg 2:16; Ac 8:39 to some place I don’t know. Then when I go report to Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. But I, your servant, have feared the Lord from my youth. 13Wasn’t it reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel slaughtered the Lord’s prophets? I hid a hundred of the prophets of the Lord, fifty men to a cave, and I provided them with food and water. 14Now you say, ‘Go tell your lord, “Elijah is here!” ’ He will kill me!”
15Then Elijah said, “As the Lord of Armies lives,#1Kg 17:1 in whose presence I stand, today I will present myself to Ahab.”
16Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him. Then Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, the one ruining Israel?” #Jos 7:25; 1Kg 21:20
18He replied, “I have not ruined Israel, but you and your father’s family have, because you have abandoned the Lord’s commands#1Kg 9:9; 16:25–26 and followed the Baals.#1Kg 16:31–32 19Now summon all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel,#Jos 19:26; 2Kg 2:25 along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah#1Kg 16:33; 22:6 who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
Elijah at Mount Carmel
20So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions?#18:21 Lit you hobble on two crutches?#2Kg 17:41 If the Lord is God, follow him. But if Baal, follow him.”#Jos 24:15; Mt 6:24 But the people didn’t answer him a word.
22Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the Lord,#1Kg 19:10,14 but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23Let two bulls be given to us. They are to choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and place it on the wood but not light the fire. I will prepare the other bull and place it on the wood but not light the fire. 24Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.#Gn 4:26; Rm 10:13 The God who answers with fire, he is God.”
All the people answered, “That’s fine.”
25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Since you are so numerous, choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first. Then call on the name of your god but don’t light the fire.”
26So they took the bull that he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound;#Jr 10:5; 1Co 8:4 no one answered. Then they danced#18:26 Or hobbled around the altar they had made.
27At noon Elijah mocked them. He said, “Shout loudly, for he’s a god! Maybe he’s thinking it over; maybe he has wandered away;#18:27 Or has turned aside; possibly to relieve himself or maybe he’s on the road. Perhaps he’s sleeping and will wake up!” #Hab 2:19 28They shouted loudly, and cut themselves#Lv 19:28; Dt 14:1 with knives and spears, according to their custom, until blood gushed over them. 29All afternoon they kept on raving until the offering of the evening sacrifice,#Ex 29:39,41 but there was no sound; no one answered, no one paid attention.#1Sm 4:20; 2Kg 19:16; Ps 115:4–8; Is 16:12
30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near me.” So all the people approached him. Then he repaired the Lord’s altar that had been torn down:#1Kg 19:10 31Elijah took twelve stones — according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel will be your name”#Gn 32:28; 35:10; 2Kg 17:34 — 32and he built an altar#Gn 12:7,8; 22:9 with the stones in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold about four gallons.#18:32 LXX reads trench containing two measures of seed#18:32 Lit altar corresponding to a house of two seahs of seed 33Next, he arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. He said, “Fill four water pots with water and pour it on the offering to be burned and on the wood.” 34Then he said, “A second time!” and they did it a second time. And then he said, “A third time!” and they did it a third time. 35So the water ran all around the altar; he even filled the trench with water.
36At the time for offering the evening sacrifice,#1Kg 18:29 the prophet Elijah approached the altar and said, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,#Ex 3:6; 4:5 today let it be known#Nm 16:28 that you are God in Israel and I am your servant, and that at your word I have done all these things. 37Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God#Jos 4:24; Jn 11:42 and that you have turned their hearts back.”
38Then the Lord’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39When all the people saw it, they fell facedown#Lv 9:24; Mt 17:6 and said, “The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!” #1Kg 18:21,24
40Then Elijah ordered them, “Seize the prophets of Baal!#1Kg 18:19,22 Do not let even one of them escape.” So they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon#Jdg 4:7; 5:21 and slaughtered them there.#Dt 13:5; 2Kg 10:24–25 41Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a rainstorm.”#1Kg 17:1; 18:1
42So Ahab went to eat and drink, but Elijah went up to the summit of Carmel.#1Kg 18:19 He bent down on the ground and put his face between his knees.#1Sm 12:17; Jms 5:18 43Then he said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea.”
So he went up, looked, and said, “There’s nothing.”
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44On the seventh#Jos 6:15; Lk 12:54 time, he reported, “There’s a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming up from the sea.”
Then Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Get your chariot ready and go down so the rain doesn’t stop you.’”
45In a little while, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there was a downpour. So Ahab got in his chariot and went to Jezreel.#Jos 17:16; Jdg 6:33 46The power of the Lord#2Kg 3:15 was on Elijah, and he tucked his mantle under his belt#Ex 12:11; 2Kg 4:29; 9:1; Jr 1:17; 1Pt 1:13 and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.