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1 Kings 18

New International Reader’s Version

1 It was now three years since it had rained. A message came to Elijah from the LORD. He said, ‘Go. Speak to Ahab. Then I will send rain on the land.’ 2 So Elijah went to speak to Ahab. There wasn’t enough food in Samaria. The people there were very hungry. 3 Ahab had sent for Obadiah. He was in charge of Ahab’s palace. Obadiah had great respect for the LORD. 4 Ahab’s wife Jezebel had been killing off the LORD’s prophets. So Obadiah had hidden 100 prophets in two caves. He had put 50 in each cave. He had supplied them with food and water. 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, ‘Go through the land. Go to all the valleys and springs of water. Maybe we can find some grass there. It will keep the horses and mules alive. Then we won’t have to kill any of our animals.’ 6 So they decided where each of them would look. Ahab went in one direction. Obadiah went in another. 7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognised him. He bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My master Elijah! Is it really you?’ 8 ‘Yes’, he replied. ‘Go and tell your master Ahab, “Elijah is here.” ’ 9 ‘What have I done wrong?’ asked Obadiah. ‘Why are you handing me over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 My master has sent people to look for you everywhere. There isn’t a nation or kingdom where he hasn’t sent someone to look for you. Suppose a nation or kingdom would claim you weren’t there. Then Ahab would make them give their word that they couldn’t find you. And that’s just as sure as the LORD your God is alive. 11 But now you are telling me to go to my master. You want me to say, “Elijah is here.” 12 But the Spirit of the LORD might carry you away when I leave you. Then I won’t know where you are. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he’ll kill me. But I’ve worshipped the LORD ever since I was young. 13 My master, haven’t you heard what I did? Jezebel was killing the LORD’s prophets. But I hid 100 of them in two caves. I put 50 in each cave. I supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you are telling me to go to my master Ahab. You want me to say to him, “Elijah is here.” Ahab will kill me!’ 15 Elijah said, ‘I serve the LORD who rules over all. You can be sure that he lives. And you can be just as sure that I will speak to Ahab today.’ 16 Obadiah went back to Ahab. He told Ahab that Elijah wanted to see him. So Ahab went to where Elijah was. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that you? You are always stirring up trouble in Israel.’ 18 ‘I haven’t made trouble for Israel,’ Elijah replied. ‘But you and your father’s family have. You have turned away from the LORD’s commands. You have followed gods that are named Baal. 19 Now send for people from all over Israel. Tell them to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of the god named Baal. Also bring the 400 prophets of the female god named Asherah. All of them eat at Jezebel’s table.’ 20 So Ahab sent that message all through Israel. He gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went there and stood in front of the people. He said, ‘How long will it take you to make up your minds? If the LORD is the one and only God, worship him. But if Baal is the one and only God, worship him.’ The people didn’t say anything. 22 Then Elijah said to them, ‘I’m the only one of the LORD’s prophets left. But Baal has 450 prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves. Let them cut it into pieces. Then let them put it on the wood. But don’t let them set fire to it. I’ll prepare the other bull. I’ll put it on the wood. But I won’t set fire to it. 24 Then you pray to your god. And I’ll pray to the LORD. The god who answers by sending fire down is the one and only God.’ Then all the people said, ‘What you are saying is good.’ 25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one of the bulls. There are many of you. So prepare your bull first. Pray to your god. But don’t light the fire.’ 26 So they prepared the bull they had been given. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon. ‘Baal! Answer us!’ they shouted. But there wasn’t any reply. No one answered. Then they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to tease them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘I’m sure Baal is a god! Perhaps he has too much to think about. Or maybe he has gone to the toilet. Or perhaps he’s away on a trip. Maybe he’s sleeping. You might have to wake him up.’ 28 So they shouted louder. They cut themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed. That’s what they usually did when things really looked hopeless. 29 It was now past noon. The prophets of Baal continued to prophesy with all their might. They did it until the time came to offer the evening sacrifice. But there wasn’t any reply. No one answered. No one paid any attention. 30 Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ So they went to him. He rebuilt the altar of the LORD. It had been torn down. 31 Elijah got 12 stones. There was one for each tribe in the family line of Jacob. The LORD’s message had come to Jacob. It had said, ‘Your name will be Israel.’ 32 Elijah used the stones to build an altar to honour the LORD. He dug a ditch around it. The ditch was large enough to hold 10 kilograms of seeds. 33 He arranged the wood for the fire. He cut the bull into pieces. He placed the pieces on the wood. Then he said to some of the people, ‘Fill four large jars with water. Pour it on the offering and the wood.’ So they did. 34 ‘Do it again,’ he said. So they did it again. ‘Do it a third time,’ he ordered. And they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar. It even filled the ditch. 36 When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward. He prayed, ‘LORD, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Today let everyone know that you are God in Israel. Let them know I’m your servant. Let them know I’ve done all these things because you commanded me to. 37 Answer me. LORD, answer me. Then these people will know that you are the one and only God. They’ll know that you are turning their hearts back to you again.’ 38 The fire of the LORD came down. It burned up the sacrifice. It burned up the wood and the stones and the soil. It even dried up the water in the ditch. 39 All the people saw it. Then they fell down flat with their faces towards the ground. They cried out, ‘The LORD is the one and only God! The LORD is the one and only God!’ 40 Then Elijah commanded them, ‘Grab the prophets of Baal. Don’t let a single one of them get away!’ So they grabbed them. Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley. There he had them put to death. 41 Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go. Eat and drink. I can hear the sound of a heavy rain.’ 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel. He bent down towards the ground. Then he put his face between his knees. 43 ‘Go and look towards the sea,’ he told his servant. So he went up and looked. ‘I don’t see anything there,’ he said. Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’ 44 The seventh time the servant said, ‘I see a cloud. It’s as small as a man’s hand. It’s coming up over the sea.’ Elijah said, ‘Go to Ahab. Tell him, “Tie your chariot to your horse. Go down to Jezreel before the rain stops you.” ’ 45 Black clouds filled the sky. The wind came up, and a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the LORD came on Elijah. He tucked his coat into his belt. And he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

1 Kings 18

English Standard Version

1 After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” (1Ki 17:1) 2 So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 3 And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly, (1Ki 16:9) 4 and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.) (1Ki 18:13) 5 And Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the valleys. Perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.” 6 So they divided the land between them to pass through it. Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself. 7 And as Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him. And Obadiah recognized him and fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” 8 And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here.’” 9 And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would give your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10 As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. And when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would take an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. (1Ki 17:1) 11 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here.”’ 12 And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where. And so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth. (2Ki 2:16; Eze 3:12; Eze 3:14; Eze 8:3; Ac 8:39) 13 Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred men of the Lord’s prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water? (1Ki 18:4) 14 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here”’; and he will kill me.” 15 And Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” (1Ki 18:10) 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him. And Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” (Jos 7:25; 1Ki 21:20) 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. (1Ki 9:9; 1Ki 16:31; 2Ch 15:2; 2Ch 24:20) 19 Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (Jos 19:26; 1Ki 16:33; 1Ki 18:22; 2Ki 3:13) 20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. (Jos 24:15; 2Ki 17:41; Mt 6:24) 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. (1Ki 18:19; 1Ki 19:10; 1Ki 19:14) 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” (1Ki 18:38) 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. (Le 19:28; De 14:1) 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. (Ex 29:39; Ex 29:41) 30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. (1Ki 19:10; 1Ki 19:14) 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” (Ge 32:28; Ge 35:10; 2Ki 17:34) 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs[1] of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” (Ge 22:9; Le 1:7; Jud 6:20) 34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water. 36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near 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 that I have done all these things at your word. (Ex 3:6; Nu 16:28; Jos 4:24; 1Sa 17:46; 1Ki 18:29) 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (Le 9:24; 1Ki 18:24) 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” (1Ki 18:24) 40 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. (Jud 4:7; 2Ki 10:25) 41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. (Jas 5:17) 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” (Lu 12:54) 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. (Jos 17:16) 46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. (Ex 12:11; Jos 17:16; 2Ki 3:15; 2Ki 4:29; 2Ki 9:1; Jer 1:17; Eze 1:3; Eze 3:14)