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1 Kings - Chapter 18

1 Kings Chapters

1 A long time went by, and the word of Yahweh came to Elijah in the third year, 'Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the country.'

2 So Elijah set off to present himself to Ahab. As the famine was particularly severe in Samaria,

3 Ahab summoned Obadiah, the master of the palace -- Obadiah held Yahweh in great reverence:

4 when Jezebel was butchering the prophets of Yahweh, Obadiah took a hundred of them and hid them, fifty at a time, in a cave, and kept them provided with food and water-

5 and Ahab said to Obadiah, 'Come along, we must scour the country, all the springs and all the ravines in the hope of finding grass to keep horses and mules alive, or we shall have to slaughter some of our stock.'

6 They divided the country for the purpose of their survey; Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.

7 While Obadiah was on his way, whom should he meet but Elijah. Recognising him he fell on his face and said, 'So it is you, my lord Elijah!'

8 'Yes,' he replied, 'go and tell your master, "Elijah is here." '

9 But Obadiah said, 'What sin I have committed, for you to put your servant into Ahab's power and cause my death?

10 As Yahweh your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent in search of you; and when they said, "He is not there," he made the kingdom or nation swear an oath that they did not know where you were.

11 And now you say to me, "Go and tell your master: Elijah is here."

12 But as soon as I leave you, the spirit of Yahweh will carry you away and I shall not know where; I shall go and tell Ahab; he will not be able to find you, and then he will kill me. Yet from his youth your servant has revered Yahweh.

13 Has no one told my lord what I did when Jezebel butchered the prophets of Yahweh, how I hid a hundred of them in a cave, fifty at a time, and kept them provided with food and water?

14 And now you say to me, "Go and tell your master: Elijah is here." Why, he will kill me!'

15 Elijah replied, 'As Yahweh Sabaoth lives, whom I serve, I shall present myself to him today!'

16 Obadiah went to find Ahab and tell him the news, and Ahab then went to find Elijah.

17 When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, 'So there you are, you scourge of Israel!'

18 'Not I,' he replied, 'I am not the scourge of Israel, you and your family are; because you have deserted Yahweh and followed Baal.

19 Now give orders for all Israel to gather round me on Mount Carmel, and also the four hundred prophets of Baal who eat at Jezebel's table.'

20 Ahab called all Israel together and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.

21 Elijah stepped out in front of all the people. 'How long', he said, 'do you mean to hobble first on one leg then on the other? If Yahweh is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.' But the people had nothing to say.

22 Elijah then said to them, 'I, I alone, am left as a prophet of Yahweh, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty.

23 Let two bulls be given us; let them choose one for themselves, dismember it but not set fire to it. I in my turn shall prepare the other bull, but not set fire to it.

24 You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of Yahweh; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.' The people all answered, 'Agreed!'

25 Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose one bull and begin, for there are more of you. Call on the name of your god but light no fire.'

26 They took the bull and prepared it, and from morning to midday they called on the name of Baal. 'O Baal, answer us!' they cried, but there was no voice, no answer, as they performed their hobbling dance round the altar which they had made.

27 Midday came, and Elijah mocked them. 'Call louder,' he said, 'for he is a god: he is preoccupied or he is busy, or he has gone on a journey; perhaps he is asleep and needs to be woken up!'

28 So they shouted louder and gashed themselves, as their custom was, with swords and spears until the blood flowed down them.

29 Midday passed, and they ranted on until the time when the offering is presented; but there was no voice, no answer, no sign of attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, 'Come over to me,' and all the people came over to him. He repaired Yahweh's altar which had been torn down.

31 Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Yahweh had come, 'Israel is to be your name,'

32 and built an altar in the name of Yahweh. Round the altar he dug a trench of a size to hold two measures of seed.

33 He then arranged the wood, dismembered the bull, and laid it on the wood.

34 Then he said, 'Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.' They did this. He said, 'Do it a second time;' they did it a second time. He said, 'Do it a third time;' they did it a third time.

35 The water flowed round the altar until even the trench itself was full of water.

36 At the time when the offering is presented, Elijah the prophet stepped forward. 'Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,' he said, 'let them know today that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, that I have done all these things at your command.

37 Answer me, Yahweh, answer me, so that this people may know that you, Yahweh, are God and are winning back their hearts.'

38 Then Yahweh's fire fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. 'Yahweh is God,' they cried, 'Yahweh is God!'

40 Elijah said, 'Seize the prophets of Baal: do not let one of them escape.' They seized them, and Elijah took them down to the Kishon, and there he slaughtered them.

41 Elijah said to Ahab, 'Go back now, eat and drink; for I hear the approaching sound of rain.'

42 While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the ground, putting his face between his knees.

43 'Now go up', he told his servant, 'and look out to sea.' He went up and looked. 'There is nothing at all,' he said. Seven times Elijah told him to go back.

44 The seventh time, the servant said, 'Now there is a cloud, small as a man's hand, rising from the sea.' Elijah said, 'Go and say to Ahab, "Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you." '

45 And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel.

46 But the hand of Yahweh had come on Elijah and, hitching up his clothes, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.


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