1 Kings 18 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
18 During the third year without rain, the Lord spoke his word to Elijah. The Lord said, “Go and meet King Ahab. I will soon send rain.” 2 So Elijah went to meet Ahab.
By this time there was no food in Samaria. 3 So King Ahab sent for Obadiah. Obadiah was in charge of the king’s palace. (Obadiah was a true follower of the Lord. 4 One time Jezebel was killing all the Lord’s prophets. So Obadiah took 100 of them and hid them in two caves. He put 50 in one cave and 50 in another cave. And he brought them food and water.) 5 King Ahab said to Obadiah, “Let’s look at every spring and valley in the land. Maybe we can find enough grass to keep our horses and mules alive. Then we will not have to kill our animals.” 6 So each one chose a part of the country to search. Ahab went in one direction. Obadiah went in another direction.
7 While Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah knew who Elijah was. So he bowed down to the ground before Elijah. He said, “Elijah? Is it really you, master?”
8 Elijah answered, “Yes. Go tell your master the king that I am here.”
9 Then Obadiah said, “If I tell Ahab that, he will kill me! I have done nothing wrong that I should be killed! 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, the king has looked everywhere for you! He has sent people to every country to look for you. If the ruler said you were not there, that was not enough. Ahab then forced the ruler to swear you could not be found in his country. 11 Now you want me to go to my master and tell him, ‘Elijah is here’? 12 The Spirit of the Lord may carry you to some other place after I leave. If I go tell King Ahab you are here, he will come. If he doesn’t find you, he will kill me! I have followed the Lord since I was a boy. 13 Haven’t you heard what I did? When Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets, I hid 100 of them. I put 50 prophets in one cave and 50 prophets in another cave. I brought them food and water. 14 Now you want me to go and tell the king you are here. He will kill me!”
15 Elijah answered, “I serve the Lord of heaven’s armies. As surely as the Lord lives, I will stand before Ahab today.”
16 So Obadiah went to Ahab and told him where Elijah was. Then Ahab went to meet Elijah.
17 When he saw Elijah, he said, “Is it you—the biggest troublemaker in Israel?”
18 Elijah answered, “I have not caused trouble in Israel. You and your father’s family have caused all this trouble. You have not obeyed the Lord’s commands. You have followed the Baals. 19 Now tell all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel. Also bring the 450 prophets of Baal there. And bring the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20 So Ahab called all the Israelites and those prophets to Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah stood before the people. He said, “How long will you try to serve both Baal and the Lord? If the Lord is the true God, follow him. But if Baal is the true God, follow him!”
But the people said nothing.
22 Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord here. But there are 450 prophets of Baal. 23 So bring two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal choose one bull. Let them kill it and cut it into pieces. Then let them put the meat on the wood. But they are not to set fire to it. Then I will do the same with the other bull. And I will put it on the wood. But I will not set fire to it. 24 You prophets of Baal, pray to your god. And I will pray to the Lord. The god who answers the prayer will set fire to his wood. He is the true God.”
All the people agreed that this was a good idea.
25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “There are many of you. So you go first. Choose a bull and prepare it. Pray to your god, but don’t start the fire.”
26 So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon. They shouted, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound. No one answered. They danced around the altar they had built.
27 At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. He said, “Pray louder! If Baal really is a god, maybe he is thinking. Or maybe he is busy or traveling! Maybe he is sleeping so you will have to wake him!” 28 So the prophets prayed louder. They cut themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed. (This was the way they worshiped.) 29 The afternoon passed, and the prophets continued to act wildly. They continued until it was time for the evening sacrifice. But no voice was heard. Baal did not answer. No one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now come to me.” So they gathered around him. Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord because it had been torn down. 31 He took 12 stones. He took 1 stone for each of the 12 tribes. These 12 tribes were named for the 12 sons of Jacob. (Jacob was the man the Lord had called Israel.) 32 Elijah used these stones to rebuild the altar in honor of the Lord. Then he dug a small ditch around it. It was big enough to hold about 13 quarts of seed. 33 Elijah put the wood on the altar. He cut the bull into pieces and laid them on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water. Put the water on the meat and on the wood.”
34 Then Elijah said, “Do it again.” And they did it again.
Then he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it the third time. 35 So the water ran off of the altar and filled the ditch.
36 It was time for the evening sacrifice. So the prophet Elijah went near the altar. He prayed, “Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. 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. 37 Lord, answer my prayer. Show these people that you, Lord, are God. Then the people will know that you are bringing them back to you.”
38 Then fire from the Lord came down. It burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell down to the ground. They cried, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”
40 Then Elijah said, “Capture the prophets of Baal! Don’t let any of them run away!” So the people captured all the prophets. Then Elijah led them down to Kishon Valley. There he killed all the prophets.
The Rain Comes Again
41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Now, go, eat and drink. A heavy rain is coming.” 42 So King Ahab went to eat and drink. At the same time Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel. There he bent down to the ground with his head between his knees.
43 Then Elijah said to his servant, “Go and look toward the sea.”
The servant went and looked. He said, “I see nothing.”
Elijah told him to go and look again. This happened seven times. 44 The seventh time, the servant said, “I see a small cloud. It’s the size of a man’s fist. It’s coming from the sea.”
Elijah told the servant, “Go to Ahab. Tell him to get his chariot ready and to go home now. If he doesn’t leave now, the rain will stop him.”
45 After a short time the sky was covered with dark clouds. The wind began to blow. Then a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab got in his chariot and started back to Jezreel. 46 The Lord gave his power to Elijah. Elijah tightened his clothes around him. Then he ran ahead of King Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
1 Kings 18 New International Version (NIV)
Elijah and Obadiah
18 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”
8 “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”
9 “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”
15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”
Elijah on Mount Carmel
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before 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 said nothing.
22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you 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.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
34 “Do it again,” he said, and 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 and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”
45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.