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1 Kings 18-19

The Hebrew Bible

18Much later, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah- “Go, appear before Ahab; then I will send rain upon the earth.” 2Thereupon Elijah set out to appear before Ahab.
The famine was severe in Samaria. 3Ahab had summoned Obadiah, the steward of the palace. (Obadiah revered the Lord greatly. 4When Jezebel was killing off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and provided them with food and drink.) 5And Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land, to all the springs of water and to all the wadis. Perhaps we shall find some grass to keep horses and mules alive, so that we are not left without beasts.”

6They divided the country between them to explore it, Ahab going alone in one direction and Obadiah going alone in another direction. 7Obadiah was on the road, when Elijah suddenly confronted him. [Obadiah] recognized him and flung himself on his face, saying, “Is that you, my lord Elijah?” 8“Yes, it is I,” he answered. “Go tell your lord- Elijah is here!” 9But he said, “What wrong have I done, that you should hand your servant over to Ahab to be killed? 10As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom to which my lord has not sent to look for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he made that kingdom or nation swear that you could not be found. 11And now you say, ‘Go tell your lord- Elijah is here!’ 12When I leave you, the spirit of the Lord will carry you off I don’t know where; and when I come and tell Ahab and he does not find you, he will kill me. Yet your servant has revered the Lord from my youth. 13My lord has surely been told what I did when Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the prophets of the Lord, fifty men to a cave, and provided them with food and drink. 14And now you say, ‘Go tell your lord- Elijah is here.’ Why, he will kill me!”

15Elijah replied, “As the Lord of Hosts lives, whom I serve, I will appear before him this very day.”
16Obadiah went to find Ahab, and informed him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17When Ahab caught sight of Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” 18He retorted, “It is not I who have brought trouble on Israel, but you and your father’s House, by forsaking the commandments of the Lord and going after the Baalim. 19Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, together with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Ash- erah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20Ahab sent orders to all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you keep hopping between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; and if Baal, follow him!” But the people answered him not a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only prophet of the Lord left, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty men. 23Let two young bulls be given to us. Let them choose one bull, cut it up, and lay it on the wood, but let them not apply fire; I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, and will not apply fire. 24You will then invoke your god by name, and I will invoke the Lord by name; and let us agree- the god who responds with fire, that one is God.” And all the people answered, “Very good!”

25Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull and prepare it first, for you are the majority; invoke your god by name, but apply no fire.” 26They took the bull that was given them; they prepared it, and invoked Baal by name from morning until noon, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and none who responded; so they performed a hopping dance about the altar that had been set up. 27When noon came, Elijah mocked them, saying, “Shout louder! After all, he is a god. But he may be in conversation, he may be detained, or he may be on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and will wake up.” 28So they shouted louder, and gashed themselves with knives and spears, according to their practice, until the blood streamed over them. 29When noon passed, they kept raving until the hour of presenting the meal offering. Still there was no sound, and none who responded or heeded.

30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. He repaired the damaged altar of the Lord. 31Then Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob—to whom the word of the Lord had come- “Israel shall be your name”—32and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Around the altar he made a trench large enough for two seahs of seed. 33He laid out the wood, and he cut up the bull and laid it on the wood. 34And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it over the burnt offering and the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. “Do it a third time,” he said; and they did it a third time. 35The water ran down around the altar, and even the trench was filled with water.

36When it was time to present the meal offering, the prophet Elijah came forward and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel! 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 bidding. 37Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God; for You have turned their hearts backward.”

38Then fire from the Lord descended and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the earth; and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39When they saw this, all the people flung themselves on their faces and cried out- “The Lord alone is God, The Lord alone is God!”
40Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal, let not a single one of them get away.” They seized them, and Elijah took them down to the Wadi Kishon and slaughtered them there.
41Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a rumbling of [approaching] rain,” 42and Ahab went up to eat and drink. Elijah meanwhile climbed to the top of Mount Carmel, crouched on the ground, and put his face between his knees. 43And he said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the Sea.” He went up and looked and reported, “There is nothing.” Seven times [Elijah] said, “Go back,” 44and the seventh time, [the servant] reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising in the west.” Then [Elijah] said, “Go say to Ahab, ‘Hitch up [your chariot] and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45Meanwhile the sky grew black with clouds; there was wind, and a heavy downpour fell; Ahab mounted his chariot and drove off to Jezreel. 46The hand of the Lord had come upon Elijah. He tied up his skirts and ran in front of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

19When Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had put all the prophets to the sword, 2Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “Thus and more may the gods do if by this time tomorrow I have not made you like one of them.”

3Frightened, he fled at once for his life. He came to Beer-sheba, which is in Judah, and left his servant there; 4he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush and sat down under it, and prayed that he might die. “Enough!” he cried. “Now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

5He lay down and fell asleep under a broom bush. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6He looked about; and there, beside his head, was a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water! He ate and drank, and lay down again. 7The angel of the Lord came a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8He arose and ate and drank; and with the strength from that meal he walked forty days and forty nights as far as the mountain of God at Horeb. 9There he went into a cave, and there he spent the night.

Then the word of the Lord came to him. He said to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 10He replied, “I am moved by zeal for the Lord, the God of Hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and put Your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they are out to take my life.” 11“Come out,” He called, “and stand on the mountain before the Lord.”

And lo, the Lord passed by. There was a great and mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks by the power of the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind—an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake—fire; but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire—a soft murmuring sound. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his mantle about his face and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice addressed him- “Why are you here, Elijah?” 14He answered, “I am moved by zeal for the Lord, the God of Hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and have put Your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they are out to take my life.”

15The Lord said to him, “Go back by the way you came, [and] on to the wilderness of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael as king of Aram. 16Also anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17Whoever escapes the sword of Hazael shall be slain by Jehu, and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu shall be slain by Elisha. 18I will leave in Israel only seven thousand—every knee that has not knelt to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

19He set out from there and came upon Elisha son of Shaphat as he was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah came over to him and threw his mantle over him. 20He left the oxen and ran after Elijah, saying- “Let me kiss my father and mother good-by, and I will follow you.” And he answered him, “Go back. What have I done to you?” 21He turned back from him and took the yoke of oxen and slaughtered them; he boiled their meat with the gear of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah and became his attendant.

Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem- Jewish Publication Society) 1985.

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