1 Kings 17-19 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Elijah Stops the Rain
17 Elijah was a prophet from Tishbe in Gilead.[a] One day he went to King Ahab and said, “I’m a servant of the living Lord, the God of Israel. And I swear in his name that it won’t rain until I say so. There won’t even be any dew on the ground.”
2 Later, the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Leave and go across the Jordan River so you can hide near Cherith Creek. 4 You can drink water from the creek, and eat the food I’ve told the ravens to bring you.”
5 Elijah obeyed the Lord and went to live near Cherith Creek. 6 Ravens brought him bread and meat twice a day, and he drank water from the creek. 7 But after a while, it dried up because there was no rain.
Elijah Helps a Widow in Zarephath
8 The Lord told Elijah, 9 “Go to the town of Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve told a widow in that town to give you food.”
10 When Elijah came near the town gate of Zarephath, he saw a widow gathering sticks for a fire. “Would you please bring me a cup of water?” he asked. 11 As she left to get it, he asked, “Would you also please bring me a piece of bread?”
12 The widow answered, “In the name of the living Lord your God, I swear that I don’t have any bread. All I have is a handful of flour and a little olive oil. I’m on my way home now with these few sticks to cook what I have for my son and me. After that, we will starve to death.”
13 Elijah said, “Everything will be fine. Do what you said. Go home and fix something for you and your son. But first, please make a small piece of bread and bring it to me. 14 The Lord God of Israel has promised that your jar of flour won’t run out and your bottle of oil won’t dry up before he sends rain for the crops.”
15 The widow went home and did exactly what Elijah had told her. She and Elijah and her family had enough food for a long time. 16 The Lord kept the promise that his prophet Elijah had made, and she did not run out of flour or oil.
Elijah Brings a Boy Back to Life
17 Several days later, the son of the woman who owned the house[b] got sick, and he kept getting worse, until finally he died.
18 The woman shouted at Elijah, “What have I done to you? I thought you were God’s prophet. Did you come here to cause the death of my son as a reminder that I’ve sinned against God?”[c]
19 “Bring me your son,” Elijah said. Then he took the boy from her arms and carried him upstairs to the room where he was staying. Elijah laid the boy on his bed 20 and prayed, “Lord God, why did you do such a terrible thing to this woman? She’s letting me stay here, and now you’ve let her son die.” 21 Elijah stretched himself out over the boy three times, while praying, “Lord God, bring this boy back to life!”
22 The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer, and the boy started breathing again. 23 Elijah picked him up and carried him downstairs. He gave the boy to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive.”
24 “You are God’s prophet!” the woman replied. “Now I know that you really do speak for the Lord.”
Elijah Proves He Is the Lord’s Prophet
18 1-2 For three years no rain fell in Samaria, and there was almost nothing to eat anywhere. The Lord said to Elijah, “Go and meet with King Ahab. I will soon make it rain.” So Elijah went to see Ahab.
3-4 At that time Obadiah was in charge of Ahab’s palace, but he faithfully worshiped the Lord. In fact, when Jezebel was trying to kill the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah hid one hundred of them in two caves and gave them food and water.
Ahab sent for Obadiah 5 and said, “We have to find something for our horses and mules to eat. If we don’t, we will have to kill them. Let’s look around every creek and spring in the country for some grass. 6 You go one way, and I’ll go the other.” Then they left in separate directions.
7 As Obadiah was walking along, he met Elijah. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down, and asked, “Elijah, is it really you?”
8 “Yes. Go tell Ahab I’m here.”
9 Obadiah replied:
King Ahab would kill me if I told him that. And I haven’t even done anything wrong. 10 I swear to you in the name of the living Lord your God that the king has looked everywhere for you. He sent people to look in every country, and when they couldn’t find you, he made the leader of each country swear that you were not in that country. 11 Do you really want me to tell him you’re here?
12 What if the Lord’s Spirit takes you away as soon as I leave? When Ahab comes to get you, he won’t find you. Then he will surely kill me.
I have worshiped the Lord since I was a boy. 13 I even hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets in caves when Jezebel was trying to kill them. I also gave them food and water. 14 Do you really want me to tell Ahab you’re here? He will kill me!
15 Elijah said, “I’m a servant of the living Lord All-Powerful, and I swear in his name that I will meet with Ahab today.”
16 Obadiah left and told Ahab where to find Elijah.
Ahab went to meet Elijah, 17 and when he saw him, Ahab shouted, “There you are, the biggest troublemaker in Israel!”
18 Elijah answered:
You’re the troublemaker—not me! You and your family have disobeyed the Lord’s commands by worshiping Baal.
19 Call together everyone from Israel and have them meet me on Mount Carmel. Be sure to bring along the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.
20 Ahab got everyone together, then they went to meet Elijah on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you try to have things both ways? If the Lord is God, worship him! But if Baal is God, worship him!”
The people did not say a word.
22 Then Elijah continued:
I am the Lord’s only prophet, but Baal has four hundred fifty prophets.
23 Bring us two bulls. Baal’s prophets can take one of them, kill it, and cut it into pieces. Then they can put the meat on the wood without lighting the fire. I will do the same thing with the other bull, and I won’t light a fire under it either.
24 The prophets of Baal will pray to their god, and I will pray to the Lord. The one who answers by starting the fire is God.
“That’s a good idea,” everyone agreed.
25 Elijah said to Baal’s prophets, “There are more of you, so you go first. Pick out a bull and get it ready, but don’t light the fire. Then pray to your god.”
26 They chose their bull, then they got it ready and prayed to Baal all morning, asking him to start the fire. They danced around the altar and shouted, “Answer us, Baal!” But there was no answer.
27 At noon, Elijah began making fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “Baal must be a god. Maybe he’s day-dreaming or using the toilet or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he’s asleep, and you have to wake him up.”
28 The prophets kept shouting louder and louder, and they cut themselves with swords and knives until they were bleeding. This was the way they worshiped, 29 and they kept it up all afternoon. But there was no answer of any kind.
30 Elijah told everyone to gather around him while he repaired the Lord’s altar. 31-32 Then he used twelve stones to build an altar in honor of the Lord. Each stone stood for one of the tribes of Israel, which was the name the Lord had given to their ancestor Jacob. Elijah dug a ditch around the altar, large enough to hold about thirteen quarts. 33 He placed the wood on the altar, then they cut the bull into pieces and laid the meat on the wood.
He told the people, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it over the meat and the wood.” After they did this, 34 he told them to do it two more times. They did exactly as he said 35 until finally, the water ran down the altar and filled the ditch.
36 When it was time for the evening sacrifice, Elijah prayed:
Our Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Now, prove that you are the God of this nation,[d] and that I, your servant, have done this at your command. 37 Please answer me, so these people will know that you are the Lord God, and that you will turn their hearts back to you.[e]
38 The Lord immediately sent fire, and it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones. It scorched the ground everywhere around the altar and dried up every drop of water in the ditch. 39 When the crowd saw what had happened, they all bowed down and shouted, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”
40 Just then, Elijah said, “Grab the prophets of Baal! Don’t let any of them get away.”
So the people captured the prophets and took them to Kishon River, where Elijah killed every one of them.
It Starts To Rain
41 Elijah told Ahab, “Get something to eat and drink. I hear a heavy rain coming.”
42 Ahab left, but Elijah climbed back to the top of Mount Carmel. Then he stooped down with his face almost to the ground 43 and said to his servant, “Look toward the sea.”
The servant left. And when he came back, he said, “I looked, but I didn’t see anything.” Elijah told him to look seven more times.
44 After the seventh time the servant replied, “I see a small cloud coming this way. But it’s no bigger than a fist.”
Elijah told him, “Tell Ahab to get his chariot ready and start home now. Otherwise, the rain will stop him.”
45-46 A few minutes later, it got very cloudy and windy, and rain started pouring down. So Elijah wrapped his coat around himself, and the Lord gave him strength to run all the way to Jezreel. Ahab followed him.
Elijah Runs Away from Ahab and Jezebel
19 Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets. 2 She sent a message to Elijah: “You killed my prophets. Now I’m going to kill you! I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely if I don’t do it by this time tomorrow.”
3 Elijah was afraid when he got her message, and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 4 then walked another whole day into the desert. Finally, he came to a large bush and sat down in its shade. He begged the Lord, “I’ve had enough. Just let me die! I’m no better off than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down in the shade and fell asleep.
Suddenly an angel woke him up and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 Elijah looked around, and by his head was a jar of water and some baked bread. He sat up, ate and drank, then lay down and went back to sleep.
7 Soon the Lord’s angel woke him again and said, “Get up and eat, or else you’ll get too tired to travel.” 8 So Elijah sat up and ate and drank.
The food and water made him strong enough to walk forty more days. At last, he reached Mount Sinai,[f] the mountain of God, 9 and he spent the night there in a cave.
The Lord Appears to Elijah
While Elijah was on Mount Sinai, the Lord asked, “Elijah, why are you here?”
10 He answered, “Lord God All-Powerful, I’ve always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!”
11 “Go out and stand on the mountain,” the Lord replied. “I want you to see me when I pass by.”
All at once, a strong wind shook the mountain and shattered the rocks. But the Lord was not in the wind. Next, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 Then there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
Finally, there was a gentle breeze,[g] 13 and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.
The Lord[h] asked, “Elijah, why are you here?”
14 Elijah answered, “Lord God All-Powerful, I’ve always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!”
15 The Lord said:
Elijah, you can go back to the desert near Damascus. And when you get there, appoint[i] Hazael to be king of Syria. 16 Then appoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat[j] to take your place as my prophet.
17 Hazael will start killing the people who worship Baal. Jehu will kill those who escape from Hazael, and Elisha will kill those who escape from Jehu.
18 But seven thousand Israelites have refused to worship Baal, and they will live.
Elisha Becomes Elijah’s Assistant
19 Elijah left and found Elisha plowing a field with a pair of oxen. There were eleven other men in front of him, and each one was also plowing with a pair of oxen. Elijah went over and put his own coat on Elisha.[k]
20 Elisha stopped plowing and ran after him. “Let me kiss my parents good-by, then I’ll go with you,” he said.
“You can go,” Elijah said. “But remember what I’ve done for you.”
21 Elisha left and took his oxen with him. He killed them and boiled them over a fire he had made with the wood from his plow. He gave the meat to the people who were with him, and they ate it. Then he left with Elijah and became his assistant.
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