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1 Kings 16-19 Good News Translation (GNT)

16 The Lord spoke to the prophet Jehu son of Hanani and gave him this message for Baasha: “You were a nobody, but I made you the leader of my people Israel. And now you have sinned like Jeroboam and have led my people into sin. Their sins have aroused my anger, and so I will do away with you and your family, just as I did with Jeroboam. Any members of your family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and any who die in the open country will be eaten by vultures.”

Everything else that Baasha did and all his brave deeds are recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel. Baasha died and was buried in Tirzah, and his son Elah succeeded him as king.

That message from the Lord against Baasha and his family was given by the prophet Jehu because of the sins that Baasha committed against the Lord. He aroused the Lord's anger not only because of the evil he did, just as King Jeroboam had done before him, but also because he killed all of Jeroboam's family.

King Elah of Israel

In the twenty-sixth year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel, and he ruled in Tirzah for two years. Zimri, one of his officers who was in charge of half of the king's chariots, plotted against him. One day in Tirzah, Elah was getting drunk in the home of Arza, who was in charge of the palace. 10 Zimri entered the house, assassinated Elah, and succeeded him as king. This happened in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Asa of Judah.

11 As soon as Zimri became king he killed off all the members of Baasha's family. Every male relative and friend was put to death. 12 And so, in accordance with what the Lord had said against Baasha through the prophet Jehu, Zimri killed all the family of Baasha. 13 Because of their idolatry and because they led Israel into sin, Baasha and his son Elah had aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 Everything else that Elah did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel.

King Zimri of Israel

15 In the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, Zimri ruled in Tirzah over Israel for seven days. The Israelite troops were besieging the city of Gibbethon in Philistia, 16 and when they heard that Zimri had plotted against the king and assassinated him, then and there they all proclaimed their commander Omri king of Israel. 17 Omri and his troops left Gibbethon and went and besieged Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city had fallen, he went into the palace's inner fortress, set the palace on fire, and died in the flames. 19 This happened because of his sins against the Lord. Like his predecessor Jeroboam, he displeased the Lord by his own sins and by leading Israel into sin. 20 Everything else that Zimri did, including the account of his conspiracy, is recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel.

King Omri of Israel

21 The people of Israel were divided: some of them wanted to make Tibni son of Ginath king, and the others were in favor of Omri. 22 In the end, those in favor of Omri won out; Tibni died and Omri became king. 23 So in the thirty-first year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he ruled for twelve years. The first six years he ruled in Tirzah, 24 and then he bought the hill of Samaria for six thousand pieces of silver from a man named Shemer. Omri fortified the hill, built a town there, and named it Samaria, after Shemer, the former owner of the hill.

25 Omri sinned against the Lord more than any of his predecessors. 26 Like Jeroboam before him, he aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by his sins and by leading the people into sin and idolatry. 27 Everything else that Omri did and all his accomplishments are recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel. 28 Omri died and was buried in Samaria, and his son Ahab succeeded him as king.

King Ahab of Israel

29 In the thirty-eighth year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for twenty-two years. 30 He sinned against the Lord more than any of his predecessors. 31 It was not enough for him to sin like King Jeroboam; he went further and married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidon, and worshiped Baal. 32 He built a temple to Baal in Samaria, made an altar for him, and put it in the temple. 33 He also put up an image of the goddess Asherah. He did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than all the kings of Israel before him. 34 During his reign Hiel from Bethel rebuilt Jericho. As the Lord had foretold through Joshua son of Nun, Hiel lost his oldest son Abiram when he laid the foundation of Jericho, and his youngest son Segub when he built the gates.

Elijah and the Drought

17 A prophet named Elijah, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to King Ahab, “In the name of the Lord, the living God of Israel, whom I serve, I tell you that there will be no dew or rain for the next two or three years until I say so.”

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Leave this place and go east and hide yourself near Cherith Brook, east of the Jordan. The brook will supply you with water to drink, and I have commanded ravens to bring you food there.”

Elijah obeyed the Lord's command, and went and stayed by Cherith Brook. He drank water from the brook, and ravens brought him bread and meat every morning and every evening. After a while the brook dried up because of the lack of rain.

Elijah and the Widow in Zarephath

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Now go to the town of Zarephath, near Sidon, and stay there. I have commanded a widow who lives there to feed you.” 10 So Elijah went to Zarephath, and as he came to the town gate, he saw a widow gathering firewood. “Please bring me a drink of water,” he said to her. 11 And as she was going to get it, he called out, “And please bring me some bread, too.”

12 She answered, “By the living Lord your God I swear that I don't have any bread. All I have is a handful of flour in a bowl and a bit of olive oil in a jar. I came here to gather some firewood to take back home and prepare what little I have for my son and me. That will be our last meal, and then we will starve to death.”

13 “Don't worry,” Elijah said to her. “Go on and prepare your meal. But first make a small loaf from what you have and bring it to me, and then prepare the rest for you and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The bowl will not run out of flour or the jar run out of oil before the day that I, the Lord, send rain.’”

15 The widow went and did as Elijah had told her, and all of them had enough food for many days. 16 As the Lord had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.

17 Some time later the widow's son got sick; he got worse and worse, and finally he died. 18 She said to Elijah, “Man of God, why did you do this to me? Did you come here to remind God of my sins and so cause my son's death?”

19 “Give the boy to me,” Elijah said. He took the boy from her arms, carried him upstairs to the room where he was staying, and laid him on the bed. 20 Then he prayed aloud, “O Lord my God, why have you done such a terrible thing to this widow? She has been kind enough to take care of me, and now you kill her son!” 21 Then Elijah stretched himself out on the boy three times and prayed, “O Lord my God, restore this child to life!” 22 The Lord answered Elijah's prayer; the child started breathing again and revived.

23 Elijah took the boy back downstairs to his mother and said to her, “Look, your son is alive!”

24 She answered, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the Lord really speaks through you!”

Elijah and the Prophets of Baal

18 After some time, in the third year of the drought, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and present yourself to King Ahab, and I will send rain.” So Elijah started out.

The famine in Samaria was at its worst, so Ahab called in Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Obadiah was a devout worshiper of the Lord, and when Jezebel was killing the Lord's prophets, Obadiah took a hundred of them, hid them in caves in two groups of fifty, and provided them with food and water.) Ahab said to Obadiah, “Let us go and look[a] at every spring and every stream bed in the land to see if we can find enough grass to keep the horses and mules alive. Maybe we won't have to kill any of our animals.” They agreed on which part of the land each one would explore, and set off in different directions.

As Obadiah was on his way, he suddenly met Elijah. He recognized him, bowed low before him, and asked, “Is it really you, sir?”

“Yes, I'm Elijah,” he answered. “Go and tell your master the king that I am here.”

Obadiah answered, “What have I done that you want to put me in danger of being killed by King Ahab? 10 By the living Lord, your God, I swear that the king has made a search for you in every country in the world. Whenever the ruler of a country reported that you were not in his country, Ahab would require that ruler to swear that you could not be found. 11 And now you want me to go and tell him that you are here? 12 What if the spirit of the Lord carries you off to some unknown place as soon as I leave? Then, when I tell Ahab that you are here and he can't find you, he will put me to death. Remember that I have been a devout worshiper of the Lord ever since I was a boy. 13 Haven't you heard that when Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord I hid a hundred of them in caves, in two groups of fifty, and supplied them with food and water? 14 So how can you order me to go and tell the king that you are here? He will kill me!”

15 Elijah answered, “By the living Lord Almighty, whom I serve, I promise that I will present myself to the king today.”

16 So Obadiah went to King Ahab and told him, and Ahab set off to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw him, he said, “So there you are—the worst troublemaker in Israel!”

18 “I'm not the troublemaker,” Elijah answered. “You are—you and your father. You are disobeying the Lord's commands and worshiping the idols of Baal. 19 Now order all the people of Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel. Bring along the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah who are supported by Queen Jezebel.”

20 So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and the prophets of Baal to meet at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went up to the people and said, “How much longer will it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is God, worship him; but if Baal is God, worship him!” But the people didn't say a word. 22 Then Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord still left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 23 Bring two bulls; let the prophets of Baal take one, kill it, cut it in pieces, and put it on the wood—but don't light the fire. I will do the same with the other bull. 24 Then let the prophets of Baal pray to their god, and I will pray to the Lord, and the one who answers by sending fire—he is God.”

The people shouted their approval.

25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Since there are so many of you, you take a bull and prepare it first. Pray to your god, but don't set fire to the wood.”

26 They took the bull that was brought to them, prepared it, and prayed to Baal until noon. They shouted, “Answer us, Baal!” and kept dancing around the altar they had built. But no answer came.

27 At noon Elijah started making fun of them: “Pray louder! He is a god! Maybe he is day-dreaming or relieving himself, or perhaps he's gone off on a trip! Or maybe he's sleeping, and you've got to wake him up!” 28 So the prophets prayed louder and cut themselves with knives and daggers, according to their ritual, until blood flowed. 29 They kept on ranting and raving until the middle of the afternoon; but no answer came, not a sound was heard.

30 Then Elijah said to the people, “Come closer to me,” and they all gathered around him. He set about repairing the altar of the Lord which had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes named for the sons of Jacob, the man to whom the Lord had given the name Israel. 32 With these stones he rebuilt the altar for the worship of the Lord. He dug a trench around it, large enough to hold about four gallons of water. 33 Then he placed the wood on the altar, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the offering and the wood.” They did so, 34 and he said, “Do it again”—and they did. “Do it once more,” he said—and they did. 35 The water ran down around the altar and filled the trench.

36 At the hour of the afternoon sacrifice the prophet Elijah approached the altar and prayed, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove now that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant and have done all this at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God and that you are bringing them back to yourself.”[b]

38 The Lord sent fire down, and it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones, scorched the earth and dried up the water in the trench. 39 When the people saw this, they threw themselves on the ground and exclaimed, “The Lord is God; the Lord alone is God!”

40 Elijah ordered, “Seize the prophets of Baal; don't let any of them get away!” The people seized them all, and Elijah led them down to Kishon Brook and killed them.

The End of the Drought

41 Then Elijah said to King Ahab, “Now, go and eat. I hear the roar of rain approaching.” 42 While Ahab went to eat, Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel, where he bowed down to the ground, with his head between his knees. 43 He said to his servant, “Go and look toward the sea.”

The servant went and returned, saying, “I didn't see a thing.” Seven times in all Elijah told him to go and look. 44 The seventh time he returned and said, “I saw a little cloud no bigger than a man's hand, coming up from the sea.”

Elijah ordered his servant, “Go to King Ahab and tell him to get in his chariot and go back home before the rain stops him.”

45 In a little while 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 on Elijah; he fastened his clothes tight around his waist and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Elijah on Mount Sinai

19 King Ahab told his wife Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had put all the prophets of Baal to death. She sent a message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me dead if by this time tomorrow I don't do the same thing to you that you did to the prophets.” Elijah was afraid and fled for his life; he took his servant and went to Beersheba in Judah.

Leaving the servant there, Elijah walked a whole day into the wilderness. He stopped and sat down in the shade of a tree and wished he would die. “It's too much, Lord,” he prayed. “Take away my life; I might as well be dead!”

He lay down under the tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said, “Wake up and eat.” He looked around and saw a loaf of bread and a jar of water near his head. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The Lord's angel returned and woke him up a second time, saying, “Get up and eat, or the trip will be too much for you.” Elijah got up, ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to walk forty days to Sinai, the holy mountain. There he went into a cave to spend the night.

Suddenly the Lord spoke to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”

10 He answered, “Lord God Almighty, I have always served you—you alone. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed all your prophets. I am the only one left—and they are trying to kill me!”

11 “Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain,” the Lord said to him. Then the Lord passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks—but the Lord was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice.

13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”

14 He answered, “Lord God Almighty, I have always served you—you alone. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed all your prophets. I am the only one left—and they are trying to kill me.”

15 The Lord said, “Return to the wilderness near Damascus, then enter the city and anoint Hazael as king of Syria; 16 anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Anyone who escapes being put to death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and anyone who escapes Jehu will be killed by Elisha. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand people alive in Israel—all those who are loyal to me and have not bowed to Baal or kissed his idol.”

The Call of Elisha

19 Elijah left and found Elisha plowing with a team of oxen; there were eleven teams ahead of him, and he was plowing with the last one. Elijah took off his cloak and put it on Elisha. 20 Elisha then left his oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you.”

Elijah answered, “All right, go back. I'm not stopping you!”[c]

21 Then Elisha went to his team of oxen, killed them, and cooked the meat, using the yoke as fuel for the fire. He gave the meat to the people, and they ate it. Then he went and followed Elijah as his helper.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 18:5 One ancient translation Let us go and look; Hebrew You go and look.
  2. 1 Kings 18:37 you are bringing them back to yourself; or you yourself made them turn away from you.
  3. 1 Kings 19:20 All right … you; or Go on, but come back, because what I have just done to you is important.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

1 Kings 16-19 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

16 The word of the Lord came to Jehu son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, “Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam, and have caused my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins, therefore, I will consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the air shall eat.”

Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, what he did, and his power, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? Baasha slept with his ancestors, and was buried at Tirzah; and his son Elah succeeded him. Moreover the word of the Lord came by the prophet Jehu son of Hanani against Baasha and his house, both because of all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and also because he destroyed it.

Elah Reigns over Israel

In the twenty-sixth year of King Asa of Judah, Elah son of Baasha began to reign over Israel in Tirzah; he reigned two years. But his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against him. When he was at Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, who was in charge of the palace at Tirzah, 10 Zimri came in and struck him down and killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah, and succeeded him.

11 When he began to reign, as soon as he had seated himself on his throne, he killed all the house of Baasha; he did not leave him a single male of his kindred or his friends. 12 Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke against Baasha by the prophet Jehu— 13 because of all the sins of Baasha and the sins of his son Elah that they committed, and that they caused Israel to commit, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols. 14 Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

Third Dynasty: Zimri Reigns over Israel

15 In the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah, Zimri reigned seven days in Tirzah. Now the troops were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, 16 and the troops who were encamped heard it said, “Zimri has conspired, and he has killed the king”; therefore all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp. 17 So Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house; he burned down the king’s house over himself with fire, and died— 19 because of the sins that he committed, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, walking in the way of Jeroboam, and for the sin that he committed, causing Israel to sin. 20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and the conspiracy that he made, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

Fourth Dynasty: Omri Reigns over Israel

21 Then the people of Israel were divided into two parts; half of the people followed Tibni son of Ginath, to make him king, and half followed Omri. 22 But the people who followed Omri overcame the people who followed Tibni son of Ginath; so Tibni died, and Omri became king. 23 In the thirty-first year of King Asa of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel; he reigned for twelve years, six of them in Tirzah.

Samaria the New Capital

24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; he fortified the hill, and called the city that he built, Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill.

25 Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did more evil than all who were before him. 26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and in the sins that he caused Israel to commit, provoking the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols. 27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri that he did, and the power that he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 28 Omri slept with his ancestors, and was buried in Samaria; his son Ahab succeeded him.

Ahab Reigns over Israel

29 In the thirty-eighth year of King Asa of Judah, Ahab son of Omri began to reign over Israel; Ahab son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him.

Ahab Marries Jezebel and Worships Baal

31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, he took as his wife Jezebel daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made a sacred pole.[a] Ahab did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than had all the kings of Israel who were before him. 34 In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua son of Nun.

Elijah Predicts a Drought

17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe[b] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” The word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the wadi, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord; he went and lived by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the wadi. But after a while the wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

The Widow of Zarephath

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” 15 She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Elijah Revives the Widow’s Son

17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 She then said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!” 19 But he said to her, “Give me your son.” He took him from her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” 22 The Lord listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” 24 So the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”

Elijah’s Message to Ahab

18 After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year of the drought,[c] saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain on the earth.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria. Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Now Obadiah revered the Lord greatly; when Jezebel was killing off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water.) Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the wadis; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.” So they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself.

As Obadiah was on the way, Elijah met him; Obadiah recognized him, fell on his face, and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.” And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would hand your servant over to Ahab, to kill me? 10 As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom to which my lord has not sent to seek you; and when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would require an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 11 But now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.’ 12 As soon as I have gone from you, the spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where; so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have revered the Lord from my youth. 13 Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water? 14 Yet now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here’; he will surely kill me.” 15 Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father’s house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. 19 Now therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

Elijah’s Triumph over the Priests of Baal

20 So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” The people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23 Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no 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 is indeed God.” All the people answered, “Well spoken!” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. 27 At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them. 29 As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; 32 with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. 33 Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time, 35 so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water.

36 At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.” 40 Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” Then they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon, and killed them there.

The Drought Ends

41 Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of rushing rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; there he bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” He went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” Then he said, “Go again seven times.” 44 At the seventh time he said, “Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea.” Then he said, “Go say to Ahab, ‘Harness your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45 In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind; there was a heavy rain. Ahab rode off and went to Jezreel. 46 But the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; he girded up his loins and ran in front of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Elijah Flees from Jezebel

19 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.” He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”

Elijah Meets God at Horeb

11 He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Elisha Becomes Elijah’s Disciple

19 So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. 20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah[d] said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” 21 He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 16:33 Heb Asherah
  2. 1 Kings 17:1 Gk: Heb of the settlers
  3. 1 Kings 18:1 Heb lacks of the drought
  4. 1 Kings 19:20 Heb he
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Kings 16-19 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

16 The word of Adonai came to Yehu the son of Hanani against Ba‘sha: “I raised you up out of the dust and made you prince over my people Isra’el. But you have lived in the same way as Yarov‘am and caused my people Isra’el to sin, so that their sinning has made me angry. Therefore I will sweep away Ba‘sha and his house completely; I will make your house like the house of Yarov‘am the son of N’vat. If someone from the line of Ba‘sha dies in the city, the dogs will eat him; if he dies in the countryside, the vultures will eat him.”

Other activities of Ba‘sha, his accomplishments and his power are recorded in the Annals of the Kings of Isra’el. Ba‘sha slept with his ancestors, and Elah his son became king in his place. Through the prophet Yehu the son of Hanani the word of Adonai was proclaimed against Ba‘sha and his house both because he did so much evil from Adonai’s perspective, angering him with his actions and becoming like the house of Yarov‘am, and because he killed [Nadav].

It was in the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Y’hudah that Elah the son of Ba‘sha began his reign over all Isra’el in Tirtzah, and he ruled for two years. His servant Zimri, commander of half of his chariots, plotted against him. Finally, one time when Elah was in Tirtzah, drinking himself senseless in the house of Artza, administrator of the palace in Tirtzah, 10 Zimri entered, struck him down and killed him. This was in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Y’hudah; Zimri then took Elah’s place as king.

11 At the beginning of his reign, as soon as he took over the throne, he killed off the entire house of Ba‘sha; he left not a single male, neither of his relatives nor of his friends. 12 Thus Zimri eliminated all the house of Ba‘sha, in keeping with the word of Adonai spoken against Ba‘sha through Yehu the prophet. This word had been spoken 13 because of all of Ba‘sha’s sins and the sins of Elah his son, which they committed and with which they made Isra’el sin, thereby angering Adonai the God of Isra’el with their worthless idols. 14 Other activities of Elah and all his accomplishments are recorded in the Annals of the Kings of Isra’el.

15 It was in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Y’hudah that Zimri ruled for seven days in Tirtzah. At that time, the army was besieging Gib’ton, which belonged to the P’lishtim. 16 The troops in their camp heard it said that Zimri had plotted and killed the king, whereupon that same day, there in the camp, all Isra’el made ‘Omri, the commander of the army, king over Isra’el. 17 ‘Omri and all Isra’el with him withdrew from Gib’ton and besieged Tirtzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city had been captured, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and burned down the royal palace over him, so that he died. 19 This came about because of the sins he committed in doing what was evil from Adonai’s perspective, in living as Yarov‘am had lived, and in sinning by making Isra’el sin. 20 Other activities of Zimri and his conspiracy are recorded in the Annals of the Kings of Isra’el.

21 At this point the people of Isra’el divided into two factions. Half of the people went after Tivni the son of Ginat to make him king, while the other half followed ‘Omri. 22 But the faction supporting ‘Omri won out over that of Tivni the son of Ginat; so Tivni died, and ‘Omri became king.

23 It was in the thirty-first year of Asa king of Y’hudah that ‘Omri began his reign over Isra’el, and he ruled for twelve years, six of them in Tirtzah. 24 He bought Mount Shomron from Shemer for 132 pounds of silver. On the mountain he built a city, which he named Shomron after Shemer, who had owned the mountain.

25 ‘Omri did what was evil from Adonai’s perspective, outdoing all his predecessors in wickedness; 26 for he lived entirely in the manner of Yarov‘am the son of N’vat, committing the sins with which he made Isra’el sin, thereby angering Adonai the God of Isra’el with their worthless idols. 27 Other activities of ‘Omri and the power he demonstrated are recorded in the Annals of the Kings of Isra’el. 28 Then ‘Omri slept with his ancestors and was buried in Shomron, and Ach’av his son became king in his place.

29 It was in the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Y’hudah that Ach’av the son of ‘Omri began his rule over Isra’el; Ach’av the son of ‘Omri ruled twenty-two years over Isra’el in Shomron. 30 Ach’av the son of ‘Omri did what was evil from Adonai’s perspective, outdoing all his predecessors [in wickedness]. 31 But then, as if it had been a trifling thing for him to commit the sins of Yarov‘am the son of N’vat, he took as his wife Izevel the daughter of Etba‘al king of the Tzidonim, and went and served Ba‘al and worshipped him. 32 He erected an altar for Ba‘al in the house of Ba‘al, which he had built in Shomron. 33 Ach’av also set up the asherah; indeed, Ach’av did more to anger Adonai the God of Isra’el, than all the kings of Isra’el preceding him. 34 It was during his time that Hi’el of Beit-El rebuilt Yericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of his firstborn son Aviram and erected its gates at the cost of his youngest son S’guv. This was in keeping with the word of Adonai spoken through Y’hoshua the son of Nun.

17 Eliyahu from Tishbe, an inhabitant of Gil‘ad, said to Ach’av, “As Adonai the God of Isra’el lives, before whom I stand, there will be neither rain nor dew in the years ahead unless I say so.” Then the word of Adonai came to him: “Leave here, turn to the east, and hide in Vadi K’rit near the Yarden. You are to drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and acted according to the word of Adonai he went and lived in Vadi K’rit near the Yarden. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the stream. After a while the stream dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

Then this word of Adonai came to him: “Get up; go to Tzarfat, a village in Tzidon; and live there. I have ordered a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he set out and went to Tzarfat. On reaching the gate of the city, he saw a widow there gathering sticks. He called out to her, “Please bring a little water in a container for me to drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called after her, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 She answered, “As Adonai your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a pot and a little oil in the jug. Here I am, gathering a couple sticks of wood, so that I can go and cook it for myself and my son. After we have eaten that, we will die.” 13 Eliyahu said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go; and do what you said; but first, use a little of it to make me a small loaf of bread; and bring it out to me. After that, make food for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what Adonai the God of Isra’el, says: ‘The pot of meal will not get used up, nor will there fail to be oil in the jug, until the day Adonai sends rain down on the land.’” 15 She went and acted according to what Eliyahu had said; and she, he and her household had food to eat for a long time. 16 The pot of meal did not get used up, nor did there fail to be oil in the jug, in fulfillment of the word of Adonai spoken through Eliyahu.

17 A while later, the son of the woman whose house it was fell ill; his illness grew increasingly serious until his breathing stopped. 18 She said to Eliyahu, “What do you have against me, you man of God? Did you come to me just to remind me how sinful I am by killing my son?” 19 “Give me your son,” he said to her. Taking him from her lap, he carried him into the room upstairs where he was staying and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to Adonai: “Adonai my God! Have you brought also this misery on the widow I’m staying with by killing her son?” 21 He stretched himself out on the child three times and cried out to Adonai: “Adonai my God, please! Let this child’s soul come back into him!” 22 Adonai heard Eliyahu’s cry, the child’s soul came back into him, and he revived. 23 Eliyahu took the child, brought him down from the upstairs room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Eliyahu said, “See? Your son is alive.” 24 The woman replied to Eliyahu, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of Adonai that you speak is the truth.”

18 A long time passed. Then, in the third year, the word of Adonai came to Eliyahu: “Go, present yourself to Ach’av, and I will send rain down on the land.” When Eliyahu went to present himself to Ach’av, the famine in Shomron had become severe. Ach’av called ‘Ovadyah, who was in charge of the palace. Now ‘Ovadyah greatly revered Adonai; for example, when Izevel was murdering Adonai’s prophets, ‘Ovadyah took a hundred prophets, hid them in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. Ach’av said to ‘Ovadyah, “Go throughout the land, and check all the springs and vadis; maybe we can find grass somewhere, so that we can keep the horses and mules alive and not lose all the animals.” So they divided between them the territory to be visited; Ach’av went one way by himself, and ‘Ovadyah went another way by himself.

‘Ovadyah was on the road when suddenly Eliyahu encountered him. ‘Ovadyah recognized him, fell on his face and said, “Is it really you, my lord Eliyahu?” He answered, “Yes, it is I; go, tell your master, ‘Eliyahu is here.’” ‘Ovadyah replied, “How have I sinned, that you would hand your servant over to Ach’av to kill me? 10 As Adonai your God lives, there can’t be a single nation or kingdom where my master hasn’t sent to search you out; and in each kingdom or nation where they said, ‘He isn’t here,’ he made them take an oath that they hadn’t found you. 11 Now you say, ‘Go tell your master, “Eliyahu is here.”’ 12 But as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of Adonai will carry you off to I don’t know where; so that when I come and tell Ach’av, and he can’t find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have revered Adonai from my youth — 13 wasn’t my lord told what I did when Izevel killed Adonai’s prophets, how I hid a hundred of Adonai’s prophets by fifties in caves and supplied their food and water? 14 Now you say, ‘Go tell your master, “Look, Eliyahu is here.”’ Why, he’ll kill me!” 15 Eliyahu said, “As Adonai-Tzva’ot lives, before whom I stand, I will present myself to him today.”

16 So ‘Ovadyah went, found Ach’av and told him; and Ach’av went to meet Eliyahu. 17 When Ach’av saw Eliyahu, Ach’av said to him, “Is it really you, you troubler of Isra’el?” 18 He answered, “I haven’t troubled Isra’el, you have, you and your father’s house, by abandoning Adonai’s mitzvot and following the ba‘alim. 19 Now order all Isra’el to assemble before me on Mount Karmel, along with the 450 prophets of Ba‘al and the 400 prophets of the asherah who eat at Izevel’s table.”

20 Ach’av sent word to all the people of Isra’el and assembled the prophets together on Mount Karmel. 21 Eliyahu stepped forward before all the people and said, “How long are you going to jump back and forth between two positions? If Adonai is God, follow him; but if it’s Ba‘al, follow him!” The people answered him not a word. 22 Then Eliyahu said to the people, “I, I alone, am the only prophet of Adonai who is left, while Ba‘al’s prophets number 450. 23 Let them give us two young bulls, and they can choose the bull they want for themselves. Then let them cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood but put no fire under it. I will prepare the other bull, lay it on the wood and put no fire under it. 24 Then, you, call on the name of your god; and I will call on the name of Adonai; and the God who answers with fire, let him be God!” All the people answered, “Good idea! Agreed!”

25 Then Eliyahu said to the prophets of Ba‘al, “Choose one bull for yourselves, and prepare it first; because there are many of you. Then call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” 26 They took the bull that was given to them, prepared it and called on the name of Ba‘al from morning till noon — “Ba‘al! Answer us!” But no voice was heard; and no one answered, as they jumped around on the altar they had made. 27 Around noon Eliyahu began ridiculing them: “Shout louder! After all, he’s a god, isn’t he? Maybe he’s daydreaming, or he’s on the potty, or he’s away on a trip. Maybe he’s asleep, and you have to wake him up.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and knives, as their custom was, until blood gushed out all over them. 29 By now it was afternoon, and they went on ranting and raving until it was time for the evening offering. But no voice came, no one answered, no one paid any attention.

30 Then Eliyahu said to all the people, “Come here to me.” All the people came up to him, as he set about repairing the altar of Adonai that had been broken down. 31 Eliyahu took twelve stones, in keeping with the number of tribes of the sons of Ya‘akov, to whom the word of Adonai had come, saying, “Your name is to be Isra’el.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of Adonai. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough for half a bushel of grain. 33 He arranged the wood, cut up the bull and laid it on the wood. 34 Then he said, “Fill four pots with water, and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” They did it. “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he said, and they did it a third time. 35 By now the water was flowing around the altar, and it had filled the trench. 36 Then, when it came time for offering the evening offering, Eliyahu the prophet approached and said, “Adonai, God of Avraham, Yitz’chak and Isra’el, let it be known today that you are God in Isra’el, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Hear me, Adonai, hear me, so that this people may know that you, Adonai, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back to you.”

38 Then the fire of Adonai fell. It consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones and the dust; and it licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “Adonai is God! Adonai is God!” 40 Eliyahu said to them, “Seize the prophets of Ba‘al! Don’t let one of them escape!” They seized them; and Eliyahu brought them down to Vadi Kishon and killed them there.

41 Then Eliyahu said to Ach’av, “Get up, eat, and drink, because I hear the sound of heavy rain.” 42 Ach’av went up to eat and drink, while Eliyahu went up to the top of the Karmel. He bowed down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 “Now,” he said to his servant, “go up, and look out toward the sea.” He went up, looked, and said, “There’s nothing there.” Seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 The seventh time, the servant said, “Now there’s a cloud coming up out of the sea, no bigger than a man’s hand.” Eliyahu said, “Go up, and say to Ach’av, ‘Prepare your chariot, and get down the mountain before the rain stops you!” 45 A little later, the sky grew black with clouds and wind; and heavy rain began falling; as Ach’av, riding in his chariot, made for Yizre‘el. 46 The hand of Adonai was on Eliyahu; he tucked up his clothing and ran ahead of Ach’av to the entrance of Yizre‘el.

19 Ach’av told Izevel everything Eliyahu had done and how he had put all the prophets to the sword. Then Izevel sent a messenger to say to Eliyahu, “May the gods do terrible things to me and worse ones besides if by this time tomorrow I haven’t taken your life, just as you took theirs!” On seeing that, he got up and fled for his life.

When he arrived in Be’er-Sheva, in Y’hudah, he left his servant there; but he himself went a day farther into the desert, until he came to a broom tree. He sat down under it and prayed for his own death. “Enough!” he said. “Now, Adonai, take my life. I’m no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and went to sleep. Suddenly, an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat!” He looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on the hot stones and a jug of water. He ate and drank, then lay down again. The angel came again, a second time, touched him and said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” He got up, ate and drank, and, on the strength of that meal, traveled forty days and nights until he reached Horev the mountain of God.

There he went into a cave and spent the night. Then the word of Adonai came to him; he said to him, “What are you doing here, Eliyahu?” 10 He answered, “I have been very zealous for Adonai the God of armies, because the people of Isra’el have abandoned your covenant, broken down your altars and killed your prophets with the sword. Now I’m the only one left, and they’re coming after me to kill me too.” 11 He said, “Go outside, and stand on the mountain before Adonai”; and right then and there, Adonai went past. A mighty blast of wind tore the mountains apart and broke the rocks in pieces before Adonai, but Adonai was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake, but Adonai was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, fire broke out; but Adonai was not in the fire. And after the fire came a quiet, subdued voice. 13 When Eliyahu heard it, he covered his face with his cloak, stepped out and stood at the entrance to the cave. Then a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Eliyahu?” 14 He answered, “I have been very zealous for Adonai the God of armies; because the people of Isra’el have abandoned your covenant, broken down your altars and killed your prophets with the sword. Now I’m the only one left, and they’re after me to kill me too.”

15 Adonai said to him, “Go back by way of the Dammesek Desert. When you get there, anoint Haza’el to be king over Aram. 16 Also anoint Yehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Isra’el, and anoint Elisha the son of Shafat of Avel-M’cholah to be prophet after you. 17 Yehu will kill whoever escapes the sword of Haza’el, and Elisha will kill whoever escapes the sword of Yehu. 18 Still, I will spare seven thousand in Isra’el, every knee that hasn’t bent down before Ba‘al and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

19 So he left and found Elisha the son of Shafat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he himself was behind the twelfth. Eliyahu went over to him and threw his cloak on him. 20 He left the oxen, ran after Eliyahu and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother good-bye; then I will follow you.” He answered, “Go; but return, because of what I did to you.” 21 Elisha stopped following him. Then he took the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them, cooked their meat over the wooden yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people to eat. Then he got up, went after Eliyahu and became his servant.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

1 Kings 16-19 The Message (MSG)

16 1-4 The word of God came to Jehu son of Hanani with this message for Baasha: “I took you from nothing—a complete nobody—and set you up as the leader of my people Israel, but you plodded along in the rut of Jeroboam, making my people Israel sin and making me seethe over their sin. And now the consequences—I will burn Baasha and his regime to cinders, the identical fate of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Baasha’s people who die in the city will be eaten by scavenger dogs; carrion crows will eat the ones who die in the country.”

5-6 The rest of Baasha’s life, the record of his regime, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Baasha died and was buried with his ancestors in Tirzah. His son Elah was king after him.

That’s the way it was with Baasha: Through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani, God’s word came to him and his regime because of his life of open evil before God and his making God so angry—a chip off the block of Jeroboam, even though God had destroyed him.

Elah of Israel

8-10 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son of Baasha began his rule. He was king in Tirzah only two years. One day when he was at the house of Arza the palace manager, drinking himself drunk, Zimri, captain of half his chariot-force, conspired against him. Zimri slipped in, knocked Elah to the ground, and killed him. This happened in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah. Zimri then became the king.

11-13 Zimri had no sooner become king than he killed everyone connected with Baasha, got rid of them all like so many stray dogs—relatives and friends alike. Zimri totally wiped out the family of Baasha, just as God’s word delivered by the prophet Jehu had said—wages for the sins of Baasha and his son Elah; not only for their sins but for dragging Israel into their sins and making the God of Israel angry with their stupid idols.

14 The rest of Elah’s life, what he said and did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

Zimri of Israel

15-19 Zimri was king in Tirzah for all of seven days during the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Asa king of Judah. The Israelite army was on maneuvers near the Philistine town of Gibbethon at the time. When they got the report, “Zimri has conspired against the king and killed him,” right there in the camp they made Omri, commander of the army, king. Omri and the army immediately left Gibbethon and attacked Tirzah. When Zimri saw that he was surrounded and as good as dead, he entered the palace citadel, set the place on fire, and died. It was a fit end for his sins, for living a flagrantly evil life before God, walking in the footsteps of Jeroboam, sinning and then dragging Israel into his sins.

20 As for the rest of Zimri’s life, along with his infamous conspiracy, it’s all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

Omri of Israel

21-22 After that the people of Israel were split right down the middle: Half favored Tibni son of Ginath as king, and half wanted Omri. Eventually the Omri side proved stronger than the Tibni side. Tibni ended up dead and Omri king.

23-24 Omri took over as king of Israel in the thirty-first year of the reign of Asa king of Judah. He ruled for twelve years, the first six in Tirzah. He then bought the hill Samaria from Shemer for 150 pounds of silver. He developed the hill and named the city that he built Samaria, after its original owner Shemer.

25-26 But as far as God was concerned, Omri lived an evil life—set new records in evil. He walked in the footsteps of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who not only sinned but dragged Israel into his sins, making God angry—such an empty-headed, empty-hearted life!

27-28 The rest of Omri’s life, the mark he made on his times, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Omri died and was buried in Samaria. His son Ahab was the next king after him.

Ahab of Israel

29-33 Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah. Ahab son of Omri was king over Israel for twenty-two years. He ruled from Samaria. Ahab son of Omri did even more open evil before God than anyone yet—a new champion in evil! It wasn’t enough for him to copy the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat; no, he went all out, first by marrying Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and then by serving and worshiping the god Baal. He built a temple for Baal in Samaria, and then furnished it with an altar for Baal. Worse, he went on and built a shrine to the sacred whore Asherah. He made the God of Israel angrier than all the previous kings of Israel put together.

34 It was under Ahab’s rule that Hiel of Bethel refortified Jericho, but at a terrible cost: He ritually sacrificed his firstborn son Abiram at the laying of the foundation, and his youngest son Segub at the setting up of the gates. This is exactly what Joshua son of Nun said would happen.

17 And then this happened: Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead, confronted Ahab: “As surely as God lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand in obedient service, the next years are going to see a total drought—not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise.”

2-4 God then told Elijah, “Get out of here, and fast. Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River. You can drink fresh water from the brook; I’ve ordered the ravens to feed you.”

5-6 Elijah obeyed God’s orders. He went and camped in the Kerith canyon on the other side of the Jordan. And sure enough, ravens brought him his meals, both breakfast and supper, and he drank from the brook.

7-9 Eventually the brook dried up because of the drought. Then God spoke to him: “Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you.”

10-11 So he got up and went to Zarephath. As he came to the entrance of the village he met a woman, a widow, gathering firewood. He asked her, “Please, would you bring me a little water in a jug? I need a drink.” As she went to get it, he called out, “And while you’re at it, would you bring me something to eat?”

12 She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die.”

13-14 Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.’”

15-16 And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!

17 Later on the woman’s son became sick. The sickness took a turn for the worse—and then he stopped breathing.

18 The woman said to Elijah, “Why did you ever show up here in the first place—a holy man barging in, exposing my sins, and killing my son?”

19-20 Elijah said, “Hand me your son.”

He then took him from her bosom, carried him up to the loft where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he prayed, “O God, my God, why have you brought this terrible thing on this widow who has opened her home to me? Why have you killed her son?”

21-23 Three times he stretched himself out full-length on the boy, praying with all his might, “God, my God, put breath back into this boy’s body!” God listened to Elijah’s prayer and put breath back into his body—he was alive! Elijah picked the boy up, carried him downstairs from the loft, and gave him to his mother. “Here’s your son,” said Elijah, “alive!”

24 The woman said to Elijah, “I see it all now—you are a holy man. When you speak, God speaks—a true word!”

18 1-2 A long time passed. Then God’s word came to Elijah. The drought was now in its third year. The message: “Go and present yourself to Ahab; I’m about to make it rain on the country.” Elijah set out to present himself to Ahab. The drought in Samaria at the time was most severe.

3-4 Ahab called for Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. Obadiah feared God—he was very devout. Earlier, when Jezebel had tried to kill off all the prophets of God, Obadiah had hidden away a hundred of them in two caves, fifty in a cave, and then supplied them with food and water.

5-6 Ahab ordered Obadiah, “Go through the country; locate every spring and every stream. Let’s see if we can find enough grass to keep our horses and mules from dying.” So they divided the country between them for the search—Ahab went one way, Obadiah the other.

Obadiah went his way and suddenly there he was—Elijah! Obadiah fell on his knees, bowing in reverence, and exclaimed, “Is it really you—my master Elijah?”

“Yes,” said Elijah, “the real me. Now go and tell your boss, ‘I’ve seen Elijah.’”

9-14 Obadiah said, “But what have I done to deserve this? Ahab will kill me. As surely as your God lives, there isn’t a country or kingdom where my master hasn’t sent out search parties looking for you. And if they said, ‘We can’t find him; we’ve looked high and low,’ he would make that country or kingdom swear that you were not to be found. And now you’re telling me, ‘Go and tell your master Elijah’s found!’ The minute I leave you the Spirit of God will whisk you away to who knows where. Then when I report to Ahab, you’ll have disappeared and Ahab will kill me. And I’ve served God devoutly since I was a boy! Hasn’t anyone told you what I did when Jezebel was out to kill the prophets of God, how I risked my life by hiding a hundred of them, fifty to a cave, and made sure they got food and water? And now you’re telling me to draw attention to myself by announcing to my master, ‘Elijah’s been found.’ Why, he’ll kill me for sure.”

15 Elijah said, “As surely as God-of-the-Angel-Armies lives, and before whom I take my stand, I’ll meet with your master face-to-face this very day.”

16 So Obadiah went straight to Ahab and told him. And Ahab went out to meet Elijah.

17-19 The moment Ahab saw Elijah he said, “So it’s you, old troublemaker!”

“It’s not I who has caused trouble in Israel,” said Elijah, “but you and your government—you’ve dumped God’s ways and commands and run off after the local gods, the Baals. Here’s what I want you to do: Assemble everyone in Israel at Mount Carmel. And make sure that the special pets of Jezebel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of the local gods, the Baals, and the four hundred prophets of the whore goddess Asherah, are there.”

20 So Ahab summoned everyone in Israel, particularly the prophets, to Mount Carmel.

21 Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!”

Nobody said a word; nobody made a move.

22-24 Then Elijah said, “I’m the only prophet of God left in Israel; and there are 450 prophets of Baal. Let the Baal prophets bring up two oxen; let them pick one, butcher it, and lay it out on an altar on firewood—but don’t ignite it. I’ll take the other ox, cut it up, and lay it on the wood. But neither will I light the fire. Then you pray to your gods and I’ll pray to God. The god who answers with fire will prove to be, in fact, God.”

All the people agreed: “A good plan—do it!”

25 Elijah told the Baal prophets, “Choose your ox and prepare it. You go first, you’re the majority. Then pray to your god, but don’t light the fire.”

26 So they took the ox he had given them, prepared it for the altar, then prayed to Baal. They prayed all morning long, “O Baal, answer us!” But nothing happened—not so much as a whisper of breeze. Desperate, they jumped and stomped on the altar they had made.

27-28 By noon, Elijah had started making fun of them, taunting, “Call a little louder—he is a god, after all. Maybe he’s off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he’s gotten involved in a project, or maybe he’s on vacation. You don’t suppose he’s overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?” They prayed louder and louder, cutting themselves with swords and knives—a ritual common to them—until they were covered with blood.

29 This went on until well past noon. They used every religious trick and strategy they knew to make something happen on the altar, but nothing happened—not so much as a whisper, not a flicker of response.

30-35 Then Elijah told the people, “Enough of that—it’s my turn. Gather around.” And they gathered. He then put the altar back together for by now it was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Jacob, the same Jacob to whom God had said, “From now on your name is Israel.” He built the stones into the altar in honor of God. Then Elijah dug a fairly wide trench around the altar. He laid firewood on the altar, cut up the ox, put it on the wood, and said, “Fill four buckets with water and drench both the ox and the firewood.” Then he said, “Do it again,” and they did it. Then he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. The altar was drenched and the trench was filled with water.

36-37 When it was time for the sacrifice to be offered, Elijah the prophet came up and prayed, “O God, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make it known right now that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I’m doing what I’m doing under your orders. Answer me, God; O answer me and reveal to this people that you are God, the true God, and that you are giving these people another chance at repentance.”

38 Immediately the fire of God fell and burned up the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and even the water in the trench.

39 All the people saw it happen and fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, “God is the true God! God is the true God!”

40 Elijah told them, “Grab the Baal prophets! Don’t let one get away!”

They grabbed them. Elijah had them taken down to the Brook Kishon and they massacred the lot.

41 Elijah said to Ahab, “Up on your feet! Eat and drink—celebrate! Rain is on the way; I hear it coming.”

42-43 Ahab did it: got up and ate and drank. Meanwhile, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees. Then he said to his young servant, “On your feet now! Look toward the sea.”

He went, looked, and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.”

“Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.”

44 And sure enough, the seventh time he said, “Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea.”

“Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, ‘Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.’”

45-46 Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. And God strengthened Elijah mightily. Pulling up his robe and tying it around his waist, Elijah ran in front of Ahab’s chariot until they reached Jezreel.

Revenge from Jezebel

19 1-2 Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, including the massacre of the prophets. Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow you’ll be as dead as any one of those prophets.”

3-5 When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.

Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”

He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.

The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”

8-9 He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.

Then the word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?”

10 “I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

11-12 Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.

13-14 When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Elijah said it again, “I’ve been working my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

15-18 God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. When you get there anoint Hazael; make him king over Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi; make him king over Israel. Finally, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Anyone who escapes death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu; and anyone who escapes death by Jehu will be killed by Elisha. Meanwhile, I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.”

19 Elijah went straight out and found Elisha son of Shaphat in a field where there were twelve pairs of yoked oxen at work plowing; Elisha was in charge of the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak over him.

20 Elisha deserted the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please! Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye—then I’ll follow you.”

“Go ahead,” said Elijah, “but, mind you, don’t forget what I’ve just done to you.”

21 So Elisha left; he took his yoke of oxen and butchered them. He made a fire with the plow and tackle and then boiled the meat—a true farewell meal for the family. Then he left and followed Elijah, becoming his right-hand man.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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