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1 Kings 18

Elijah’s Message to Ahab

1 After a long time, in the third year of the drought, a the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the face of the earth.”

2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace.

(Now Obadiah greatly feared the LORD, 4 for when Jezebel had slaughtered the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty men per cave, providing them with food and water.)

5 Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go throughout the land to every spring and every valley. Perhaps we will find grass to keep the horses and mules alive so that we will not have to destroy any livestock.”

6 So they divided the land to explore. Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went the other way by himself.

7 Now as Obadiah went on his way, Elijah suddenly met him. When Obadiah recognized him, he fell facedown and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?”

8 “It is I,” he answered. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here!’ ”

9 But Obadiah replied, “How have I sinned, that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to put me to death? 10 As surely as 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 that they had not found you. 11 And now you say, ‘Go tell your master that Elijah is here!’

12 I do not know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you off when I leave you. Then when I go and tell Ahab and he does not find you, he will kill me. But I, your servant, have feared the LORD from my youth. 13 Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel slaughtered the prophets of the LORD? I hid a hundred prophets of the LORD, fifty men per cave, and I provided them with food and water. 14 And now you say, ‘Go tell your lord that Elijah is here!’ He will kill me!”

15 Then Elijah said, “As surely as the LORD of Hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will present myself to Ahab today.”

Elijah on Mount Carmel

16 So Obadiah went to inform Ahab, who went to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not troubled Israel,” Elijah replied, “but you and your father’s house have, for you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon all Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel, along with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Then Elijah approached all 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 did not answer a word.

22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the LORD, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let the prophets of Baal choose one bull for themselves, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood but not light the fire. And I will prepare the other bull and place it on the wood but not light the fire. 24 Then you may call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The God who answers by fire, He is God.”

And all the people answered, “What you say is good.”

25 Then 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 do not light the fire.”

26 And they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!”

But there was no sound, and no one answered as they leaped around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them, saying, “Shout louder, for he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or occupied, or on a journey. Perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened!”

28 So they shouted louder and cut themselves with knives and lances, as was their custom, until the blood gushed over them.

29 Midday passed, and they kept on raving until the time of the evening sacrifice. But there was no response; no one answered, no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people approached him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been torn down.

31 And Elijah took twelve stones, one for each tribe of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come and said, “Israel shall be your name.” 32 And with the stones, Elijah built an altar in the name of the LORD. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. b 

33 Next, he arranged the wood, cut up the bull, placed it on the wood, 34 and said, “Fill four waterpots and pour the water on the offering and on the wood.” c 

“Do it a second time,” he said, and they did it a second time.

“Do it a third time,” he said, and they did it a third time.

35 So the water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

Elijah’s Prayer

36 At the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet approached the altar and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and have done all these things at Your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD! Answer me, so that this people will know that You, the LORD, are God, and that You have turned their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell facedown and said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”

40 Then Elijah ordered them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let a single one escape.” So they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered them there.

The LORD Sends Rain

41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.”

42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the summit of Carmel, bent down on the ground, and put his face between his knees. 43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he said to his servant.

So the servant went and looked, and he said, “There is nothing there.”

Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”

44 On the seventh time the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.”

And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”

45 Meanwhile, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and a heavy rain began to fall. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.

46 And the hand of the LORD came upon Elijah, and he tucked his cloak into his belt d and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.



1 a Literally And the days were many, and in the third year,
32 b 2 seahs is approximately 13.2 dry quarts or 14.6 liters (probably about 25.4 pounds or 11.5 kilograms of seed).
34 c Some texts break verse 33 and begin verse 34 at this point.
46 d Hebrew he girded up his loins

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