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Elijah Predicts Drought

17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of 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.”(A) And the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan [River]. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to sustain you there [with food].” So he went and did in accordance with the word of the Lord; he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he would drink from the brook. It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to [a]Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he set out and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks [for firewood]. He called out to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a jar, so that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar. See, I am gathering a few sticks so that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it [as our last meal] and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. Just make me a little bread from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 For this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted nor shall the jar of oil be empty until the day that the Lord sends rain [again] on the face of the earth.’” 15 She went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.

Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son

17 It happened after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became sick; and his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What [problem] is there between you and me, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to mind and to put my son to death?” 19 He said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her arms and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You brought further tragedy to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times, and called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the [lower part of the] house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” 24 Then 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.”

Obadiah Meets Elijah

18 Now it happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. Ahab called Obadiah who was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly; for when Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water.) Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go into the land to all the sources of water and to all the streams; perhaps we may find grass and keep the horses and mules alive, and not have to kill some of the cattle.” So they divided the land between them to [b]survey it. Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.

As Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him. He recognized him and fell face downward [out of respect] and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He answered him, “It is I. Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’” But he said, “What sin have I committed, that you would hand over your servant to Ahab to put me to death? 10 As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent messengers to seek you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ Ahab made the kingdom or nation swear that they had not found you. 11 And now you are saying, ‘Go, tell your master, “Behold, Elijah [is here].”’ 12 And as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you [c]to a place I do not know; so when I come to tell Ahab and he does not find you, he will kill me. Yet your servant has [reverently] feared the Lord from my youth. 13 Has it not been told to my lord [Elijah] what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water? 14 And now you are saying, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here”’; and he will kill me.” 15 Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts (armies) lives, before whom I stand, I will certainly show myself to Ahab 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, “Are you the one who is bringing disaster on Israel?” 18 Elijah said, “I have not brought disaster on Israel, but you and your father’s household have, by abandoning (rejecting) the commandments of the Lord and by following the Baals. 19 Now then, send word and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of [the goddess] Asherah, who eat at [Queen] Jezebel’s table.”

God or Baal on Mount Carmel

20 So Ahab sent word to all the Israelites and assembled the [pagan] prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you [d]hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people [of Israel] did not answer him [so much as] a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone remain a prophet of the Lord, while Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Now let them give us two oxen, and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the god who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, since there are many of you; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” 26 So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear and answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they had made. 27 At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied, or he is out [at the moment], or he is on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened!” 28 So they cried out with a loud voice [to get Baal’s attention] and cut themselves with swords and lances in accordance with their custom, until the blood flowed out on them. 29 As midday passed, they played the part of prophets and raved dramatically until the time for offering the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people approached him. And he repaired and rebuilt the [old] altar of the Lord that had been torn down [by Jezebel].(B) 31 Then Elijah took twelve stones in accordance with the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.”(C) 32 So with the stones Elijah built an altar in the name of the Lord. He made a trench around the altar large enough to hold [e]two measures of seed. 33 Then he laid out the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. 34 And he said, “Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and the wood.” And he said, “Do it the second time.” And they did it the second time. And he said, “Do it the third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 The water flowed around the altar, and he also filled the trench with water.

Elijah’s Prayer

36 At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet approached [the altar] and said, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and that I have done all these things at Your word. 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 [to You].” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood, and even the stones and the dust; it also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell face downward; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” 40 Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” They seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and [as God’s law required] killed them there.(D)

41 Now Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of the roar of an abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down to the earth and put his face between his knees, 43 and he said to his servant, “Go up, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” Elijah said, “Go back” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time the servant said, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.” And Elijah said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the rain shower does not stop you.’” 45 In a little while the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there were heavy showers. And Ahab mounted and rode [his chariot] and went [inland] to [f]Jezreel. 46 Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah [giving him supernatural strength]. He [g]girded up his loins and outran Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel [nearly twenty miles].

Elijah Flees from Jezebel

19 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets [of Baal] with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and even more, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your [h]life like the life of one of them.” And Elijah was afraid and arose and ran for his life, and he came to [i]Beersheba which belongs to Judah, and he left his servant there. But he himself traveled a day’s journey into the wilderness, and he came and sat down under a juniper tree and asked [God] that he might die. He said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He lay down and slept under the juniper tree, and behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and by his head there was a bread cake baked on hot coal, and a pitcher of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Get up, and eat, for the journey is too long for you [without adequate sustenance].” So he got up and ate and drank, and with the strength of that food he traveled forty days and nights to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God.

Elijah at Horeb

There he came to a cave and spent the night in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very [j]zealous (impassioned) for the Lord God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.”

11 So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by, and a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, [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 sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle (cloak) and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts (armies), because the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.”

15 The Lord [k]said to him, “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram (Syria); 16 and you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of [l]Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 It shall come about that Jehu shall put to death whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, and Elisha shall put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I will leave 7,000 [survivors] in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed down to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

19 So Elijah departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his mantle (coat) on him. 20 He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother [goodbye], then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go on back; for what have I done to [stop] you?” 21 So Elisha left him and went back. Then he took a pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their meat with the implements of the oxen [as fuel], and gave the meat to the people, and they ate. Then he stood and followed Elijah, and served him.(E)

Footnotes

  1. 1 Kings 17:9 A town located along the Mediterranean Sea.
  2. 1 Kings 18:6 Lit pass through.
  3. 1 Kings 18:12 Lit where.
  4. 1 Kings 18:21 Lit limp on two crutches.
  5. 1 Kings 18:32 I.e. about twenty-two quarts.
  6. 1 Kings 18:45 I.e. the king’s winter home.
  7. 1 Kings 18:46 This phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. To keep from impeding the wearer during any vigorous activity, e.g. battle, exercise, strenuous work, etc., the loose ends of garments (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the girdle. The girdle was a band about six inches wide that had fasteners in front. It was worn around the loins (the midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips) and was normally made of leather. Expensive or embroidered girdles were also worn and were made of cotton, flax or silk. The girdle also served as a kind of pocket or pouch and was used to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things. The commands Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
  8. 1 Kings 19:2 Lit soul.
  9. 1 Kings 19:3 Beersheba was about ninety miles south of Jezreel and was not part of Ahab’s kingdom.
  10. 1 Kings 19:10 Or jealous, i.e. intolerant of unfaithfulness.
  11. 1 Kings 19:15 God tells Elijah how to complete the destruction of the worship of Baal. First, Hazael was to be placed on the Aramean (Syrian) throne in order to attack Ahab. Second, when Ahab was weakened, Jehu was to seize his throne because he opposed the worship of Baal and was a powerful military man. Third, Elijah was to appoint Elisha as his successor, as the one who would, along with Jehu, strike down Baal’s remaining followers.
  12. 1 Kings 19:16 This city was located in the tribal territory of Manasseh in the Jordan River valley.