1 Kings 17-19 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Elijah and the Time Without Rain
17 Elijah was a prophet from the town of Tishbe in Gilead. He said to King Ahab, “I serve the Lord, the God of Israel. By his power, I promise that no dew or rain will fall for the next few years. The rain will fall only when I command it to fall.”
2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Leave this place and go east. Hide near Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan River. 4 You can get your water from that stream, and I have commanded ravens to bring food to you there.” 5 So Elijah did what the Lord told him to do. He went to live near Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan River. 6 Ravens brought Elijah food every morning and every evening, and he drank water from the stream.
7 There was no rain, so after a while the stream became dry. 8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go to Zarephath in Sidon and stay there. There is a widow there that I commanded to take care of you.”
10 So Elijah went to Zarephath. He went to the town gate and saw a woman there gathering wood for a fire. She was a widow. Elijah said to her, “Would you bring me a small cup of water to drink?” 11 As she was going to get the water, Elijah said, “Bring me a piece of bread too, please.”
12 The woman answered, “I promise you, before the Lord your God, that I have nothing but a handful of flour in a jar and a little bit of olive oil in a jug. I came here to gather a few pieces of wood for a fire to cook our last meal. My son and I will eat it and then die from hunger.”
13 Elijah said to the woman, “Don’t worry. Go home and cook your food as you said. But first make a small piece of bread from the flour that you have and bring it to me. Then cook some for yourself and your son. 14 The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘That jar of flour will never be empty and the jug will always have oil in it. This will continue until the day the Lord sends rain to the land.’”
15 So the woman went home and did what Elijah told her to do. And Elijah, the woman, and her son had enough food for a long time. 16 The jar of flour and the jug of oil were never empty. This happened just as the Lord said through Elijah.
17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He became worse and worse until he stopped breathing. 18 Then the woman said to Elijah, “You are a man of God. Can you help me? Or did you come here only to remind me of my sins and to make my son die?”
19 Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” He took the boy from her and carried him upstairs. He laid him on the bed in the room where he was staying. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord. He said, “Lord my God, this widow is letting me stay in her house. Will you do this bad thing to her? Will you cause her son to die?” 21 Then Elijah lay on top of the boy three times. He prayed, “Lord my God, let this boy live again!”
22 The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer. The boy began breathing again and was alive. 23 Elijah carried the boy downstairs, gave him to his mother, and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 The woman answered, “Now I know that you really are a man from God. I know that the Lord really speaks through you!”
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
18 During the third year that no rain fell, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go meet with King Ahab, and I will make it rain.” 2 So Elijah went to meet with Ahab.
The famine was very bad in Samaria. 3 So 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. 4 One time when Jezebel was killing all the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah hid 100 prophets in two caves. He put 50 prophets in one cave and 50 prophets in another cave. Then he brought them food and water.) 5 King 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.” 6 They decided where each of them would go to look for water. Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself. 7 As Obadiah was walking along the road by himself, he looked up, and there was Elijah. Obadiah recognized him and bowed down to show his respect. He said, “Elijah? Is it really you, master?”
8 Elijah answered, “Yes, it is me. Now, go and tell your master, the king, that I am here.”
9 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? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, the king has been looking for you everywhere. He has sent people to every country to find you. He even made the rulers of those countries swear that you were not there. 11 Now you want me to go and tell him that you are here! 12 If I go tell King Ahab that you are here, the Spirit of the Lord might carry you away. Then when King Ahab comes here and cannot find you, he will kill me! I have followed the Lord since I was a boy. 13 Surely you have heard what I did when Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets. I hid 100 of the Lord’s prophets in caves. I put 50 prophets in one cave and 50 in another. I brought them food and water. 14 Now you want me to go and tell the king that you are here. The king will kill me!”
15 Elijah answered, “I serve the Lord All-Powerful. As surely as he lives, I promise that I will stand before the king today.”
16 So Obadiah went to King Ahab and told him where Elijah was. King Ahab went to meet Elijah.
17 When Ahab saw Elijah he said, “Is that really you, the troublemaker of Israel?”
18 Elijah answered, “I have not made trouble for Israel. You and your father’s family caused all the problems when you stopped obeying the Lord’s commands and began following the false gods. 19 Now tell all the people of Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel. Also bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah, who get their support from Queen Jezebel.”[a]
20 So Ahab called all the Israelites and those prophets to Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah came to all the people and said, “You must decide what you are going to do. How long will you keep jumping from one side to the other? If the Lord is the true God, follow him. But if Baal is the true God, then follow him!”
The people said nothing. 22 So Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord here, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 23 So bring us two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal have one bull. Let them kill it, cut it into pieces, and then put the meat on the wood. But don’t start the fire. I will do the same with the other bull, and I will not start the fire either. 24 Prophets of Baal, pray to your god, and I will pray to the Lord. Whichever god answers the prayer and starts the fire 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, but don’t start your fire.”
26 So the prophets took the bull that was given to them and prepared it. They started praying to Baal and prayed until noon. They said, “Baal, please answer us!” But there was no sound. No one answered. Then they began jumping around on the altar they had built.
27 At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. He said, “If Baal really is a god, maybe you should pray louder! Maybe he is busy. Maybe he is thinking about something, or maybe he stepped out for a moment! He could be sleeping! Maybe you should pray louder and wake him up!” 28 So the prophets prayed louder. They cut themselves with swords and spears. (This was the way they worshiped.) They cut themselves until they were bleeding all over. 29 The afternoon passed but the fire still had not started. The prophets were out of control and continued to act this way 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.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now come here.” So they gathered around Elijah. The Lord’s altar had been torn down, so Elijah repaired it. 31 Elijah found twelve stones. There was one stone for each of the twelve tribes. These twelve tribes were named for the twelve sons of Jacob, the man who the Lord had named Israel. 32 Elijah used these stones to repair the altar to honor the Lord. He dug a small ditch around the altar. It was wide enough and deep enough to hold about 4 gallons[b] of water. 33 Then Elijah put the wood on the altar. He cut the bull into pieces and laid the pieces on the wood. 34 Then he 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.” 35 The water ran down off the altar and filled the ditch.
36 At about the time for the afternoon sacrifice, the prophet Elijah approached 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 that I am your servant. Show these people that it was you who commanded me to do all these things. 37 Lord, answer my prayer. Show these people that you, Lord, are God and that you are the one who is bringing them back to you.”
38 Then fire came down from the Lord and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. Then it dried up all the water in the ditch. 39 All the people saw this happen and bowed down to the ground and began saying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”
40 Then 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 and killed them all.
The Rain Comes Again
41 Then Elijah said to King Ahab, “Now go eat and drink. A heavy rain is coming.” 42 So 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. 43 Then Elijah said to his servant, “Go up higher and look toward the sea.”
The servant went and looked. He came back and said, “I saw nothing.” Elijah told him to go look again. This happened seven times. 44 The seventh time, the servant came back and said, “I saw a small cloud the size of a man’s fist that was coming in from the sea.”
Elijah told the servant, “Go tell King Ahab to get his chariot ready and go home now. If he does not leave now, the rain will stop him.”
45 After 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 back to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came to Elijah. He used his belt to hold up the bottom of his robe away from his feet. Then he ran ahead of King Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
Elijah at Mount Horeb (Sinai)
19 King Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah did and how Elijah had killed all the prophets of Baal with a sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah and said, “I swear that by this time tomorrow, you will be just as dead as those prophets. If I don’t succeed, may the gods do the same or worse to me.”
3 When Elijah heard this, he was afraid. So he ran away to save his life. He took his servant with him, and they went to Beersheba in Judah. Then Elijah left his servant in Beersheba 4 and walked for a whole day into the desert. Then he sat down under a bush and asked to die. He said, “I have had enough, Lord! Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors.”
5 Then Elijah lay down under the bush and went to sleep. An angel came to him and touched him. The angel said, “Get up and eat!” 6 Elijah looked around, and by his head there was a cake that had been baked over coals and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then went back to sleep.
7 Later the Lord’s angel came to him again, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat! If you don’t, you will not be strong enough to make the long trip.” 8 So Elijah got up. He ate and drank and felt strong. Then Elijah walked for 40 days and nights to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There Elijah went into a cave and spent the night.
Then the Lord said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?”
10 Elijah answered, “Lord God All-Powerful, I have always served you the best I can, but the Israelites have broken their agreement with you. They destroyed your altars and killed your prophets. I am the only prophet left alive, and now they are trying to kill me!”
11 Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go, stand in front of me on the mountain. I, the Lord, will pass by you.”[c] Then a very strong wind blew. The wind caused the mountains to break apart. It broke large rocks in front of the Lord. But that wind was not the Lord. After that wind, there was an earthquake. But that earthquake was not the Lord. 12 After the earthquake, there was a fire. But that fire was not the Lord. After the fire, there was a quiet, gentle voice.[d]
13 When Elijah heard the voice, he used his coat to cover his face and went to the entrance to the cave and stood there. Then a voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?”
14 Elijah said, “Lord God All-Powerful, I have always served you the best that I can, but the Israelites broke their agreement with you. They destroyed your altars and killed your prophets. I am the only prophet left alive, and now they are trying to kill me.”
15 The Lord said, “Go back. Take the road that leads to the desert around Damascus. Go into Damascus and anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel. Next, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah. He will be the prophet who takes your place. 17 Jehu will kill anyone who escapes Hazael’s sword, and Elisha will kill anyone who escapes from Jehu’s sword. 18 I still have 7000 people in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed that idol.”
Elisha Becomes a Prophet
19 So Elijah left that place and went to find Elisha son of Shaphat. Elisha was plowing 12 acres of land and was working on the last acre when Elijah came.[e] Elijah went to Elisha and put his coat[f] on Elisha. 20 Elisha immediately left his oxen and ran after Elijah. Elisha said, “Let me kiss my mother and father goodbye. Then I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “You can do that. I will not stop you.[g]”
21 Elisha turned away from him and went back. He killed the oxen and used the yoke for firewood. He boiled the meat, gave it to the people, and they all ate together. Then Elisha went to follow Elijah and became his helper.