1During the third year that no rain fell, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and meet with King Ahab. I will soon send rain.” 2So Elijah went to meet Ahab. At that time, there was no food in Samaria. 3So King Ahab told Obadiah to come to him. Obadiah was the man in charge of the king’s palace. (Obadiah was a true follower of the Lord. 4One time Jezebel was killing all the Lord’s prophets. So Obadiah took 100 prophets and hid them in two caves. Obadiah put 50 prophets in one cave and 50 prophets in another cave. Then Obadiah brought them food and water.) 5King Ahab said to Obadiah, “Come with me. We will look at every spring and every stream in the land. We will see if we can find enough grass to keep our horses and mules alive. Then we will not have to kill our animals.” 6Each person chose the part of the country where they would go look for water. Then the two men went through the whole country. Ahab went in one direction by himself. Obadiah went in another direction by himself. 7While Obadiah was traveling, he met Elijah. Obadiah knew Elijah when he saw him. Obadiah bowed down before Elijah. He said, “Elijah? Is it really you, master?” 8Elijah answered, “Yes, it is me. Go and tell your master the king that I am here.” 9Then Obadiah said, “If I tell Ahab that I know where you are, he will kill me! I have done nothing wrong to you! Why do you want me to die? 10As sure as the Lord your God lives, the king has been looking for you everywhere! He has sent people to every country to find you. If the ruler of a country said that you were not in his country, then Ahab forced the ruler to promise that you were not in his country. 11Now you want me to go and tell him that you are here? 12If I go tell King Ahab that you are here, then the Lord might carry you to some other place. King Ahab will come here, and he will not be able to find you. Then he will kill me! I have followed the Lord since I was a boy. 13You heard what I did! Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets, and I hid 100 prophets in caves. I put 50 prophets in one cave and 50 prophets in another cave. I brought them food and water. 14Now you want me to go and tell the king that you are here. The king will kill me!” 15Elijah answered, “As sure as the Lord All-Powerful lives, I promise that I will stand before the king today.” 16So Obadiah went to King Ahab. He told him where Elijah was. King Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17When Ahab saw Elijah he said, “Is it you? You are the man that causes trouble in Israel!” 18Elijah answered, “I have not caused Israel trouble. You and your father’s family caused all this trouble. You caused the trouble when you stopped obeying the Lord’s commands and began following the false gods. 19Now, tell all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel. Also bring to that place the 450 prophets of Baal. And bring the 400 prophets of the false goddess Asherah. Queen Jezebel supports those prophets.” 20So Ahab called all the Israelites and those prophets to Mount Carmel. 21Elijah came to all the people. He said, “When will you people decide who to follow? If the Lord is the true God, then you should follow him. But if Baal is the true God, then you should follow him!” The people said nothing. 22So Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord here. I am alone. But there are 450 prophets of Baal. 23So bring two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal take one bull. Let them kill it and cut it into pieces. Then let them put the meat on the wood. But don’t start the fire burning. Then I will do the same with the other bull. And I will not start the fire burning. 24You prophets of Baal will pray to your god. And I will pray to the Lord. The god that answers the prayer and starts his wood burning is the true God.” All the people agreed that this was a good idea. 25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “There are many of you. So you go first. Choose a bull and prepare it. But don’t start your fire.” 26So the prophets took the bull that was given to them. They prepared it. They prayed to Baal until noon. They prayed, “Baal, please answer us!” But there was no sound. No one answered. The prophets danced around the altar that they had built. ˻But the fire never started.˼ 27At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. Elijah said, “If Baal is really a god, then maybe you should pray louder! Maybe he is thinking! Or maybe he is busy! Or maybe he is traveling! He could be sleeping! Maybe you should pray louder and wake him!” 28So the prophets prayed louder. They cut themselves with swords and spears. (This was the way they worshiped.) They cut themselves until the blood flowed over them. 29The afternoon passed but the fire still had not started. The prophets continued to act wild until the time came for the evening sacrifice. But nothing happened—there was no answer from Baal. There was no sound. There was no one listening! 30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now, come to me.” So all the people gathered around Elijah. The Lord’s altar had been torn down. So Elijah fixed it. 31Elijah found twelve stones. There was one stone for each of the twelve family groups. These twelve family groups were named for the twelve sons of Jacob. Jacob was the man that the Lord had called Israel. 32Elijah used these stones to fix the altar to honor the Lord. Elijah dug a small ditch around the altar. It was wide enough and deep enough to hold about 7 gallons of water. 33Then Elijah put the wood on the altar. He cut the bull into pieces. He laid the pieces on the wood. 34Then Elijah said, “Fill four jars with water. Pour the water on the pieces of meat and on the wood.” Then Elijah said, “Do it again.” Then he said, “Do it a third time.” 35The water flowed off of the altar and filled the ditch. 36It was time for the afternoon sacrifice. So the prophet Elijah went near the altar and prayed, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I ask you now to prove that you are the God of Israel. And prove that I am your servant. Show these people that you commanded me to do all these things. 37Lord, answer my prayer. Show these people that you, Lord, are God. Then the people will know that you are bringing them back to you.” 38So the Lord sent down fire. The fire burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. The fire also dried up all the water in the ditch. 39All the people saw this happen. The people bowed down on the ground and began saying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” 40Then Elijah said, “Get the prophets of Baal! Don’t let any of them escape!” So the people captured all the prophets. Then Elijah led them down to Kishon Creek. At that place he killed all the prophets. 41Then Elijah said to King Ahab, “Now, go eat and drink. A heavy rain is coming. 42So King Ahab went to eat. At the same time, Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel. At the top of the mountain Elijah bent down. He put his head between his knees. 43Then Elijah said to his servant, “Look toward the sea.” The servant went to the place where he could see the sea. Then the servant came back and said, “I saw nothing.” Elijah told him to go and look again. This happened seven times. 44The seventh time, the servant came back and said, “I saw a small cloud the size of a man’s fist. The cloud was coming from the sea.” Elijah told the servant, “Go to King Ahab and tell him to get his chariot ready and go home now. If he doesn’t leave now, the rain will stop him.” 45After a short time, the sky was covered with dark clouds. The wind began to blow, and a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab got in his chariot and started traveling back to Jezreel. 46The power of the Lord came to Elijah. Elijah tightened his clothes around him ˻so he could run˼. Then Elijah ran ahead of King Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
1 Kings 18