1 Kings 18International 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.
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