The First Book of the Kings

Chapter 18

In the extremity of famine, Elijah, sent to Ahab, meets good Obadiah, 1-8. Obadiah brings Ahab to Elijah 9-16. Elijah, reproving Ahab by fire from heaven, convinces Baal's prophets, 17-40. Elijah, by prayer obtaining rain, follows Ahab to Jezreel, 41-46.

1 And it came to pass 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 upon the earth." 2 And Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. And there was a grievous famine in Samaria. 3 And Ahab called Obadiah who was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly. 4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took one hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.) 5 And Ahab said to Obadiah, "Go into the land to all fountains of water and to all brooks. It may be that we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive so that we do not lose all the beasts." 6 So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it. Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.

7 And as Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him. And he knew him and fell on his face and said, "Is it you, my lord Elijah?" 8 And he answered him, "I am. Go, tell your lord, 'Behold, Elijah is here.'" 9 And he said, "What have I sinned that you would deliver your servant into the hand of Ahab to slay me? 10 As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation nor kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. And when they said, 'He is not there,' he took an oath of the kingdom and nation that they did not find you. 11 And now you say, 'Go, tell your lord, "Behold, Elijah is here."' 12 And it will come to pass, as soon as I have gone from you, that the Spirit of the LORD will carry you where I do not know. And so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will slay me. But I, your servant, fear the LORD from my youth. 13 Was it not told to my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid one hundred men of the LORD'S prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water? 14 And now you say, 'Go, tell your lord, "Behold, Elijah is here,"' and he will slay me." 15 And 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 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, "Are you he who troubles Israel?" 18 And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you have, along with your father's house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed Baalim. 19 Now therefore, send and gather to me all Israel at mount Carmel, along with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of the groves who eat at Jezebel's table."

20 So Ahab sent to all the children of Israel and gathered the prophets at mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came to all the people and said, "How long do you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophet's are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Let them therefore give us two bulls, and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, lay it on wood, and put no fire under it. And I will dress the other bull, lay it on wood, and put no fire under it. 24 And you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD. And the God who answers by fire, let him be God." And all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken."

25 And Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves and dress it first, for you are many. And call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under it." 26 And they took the bull which was given to them and they dressed it and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us." But there was no voice, nor any who answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. 27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god! Either he is talking, he is pursuing, he is on a journey, or perhaps he sleeps and must be awakened." 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And it came to pass, when mid-day was past and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any who regarded.

30 And Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And 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 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. And he made a trench around the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid him on the wood and said, "Fill four barrels with water and pour it on the burnt-sacrifice and on the wood." 34 And he said, "Do it a second time." And they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time." And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar. And he filled the trench also with water.

36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me so that this people may know that you are the LORD God and that you have turned their heart back again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt-sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces. And they said, "The LORD, he is the God. The LORD, he is the God." 40 And Elijah said to them, "Take the prophets of Baal. Let not one of them escape." And they took them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slew them there.

41 And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of abundance of rain." 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, and he cast himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees, 43 And said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." And he went up and looked and said, "There is nothing." And he said, "Go back seven times." 44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, "Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea about the size of a man's palm." And he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot and go down so that the rain may not hinder you.'" 45 And it came to pass in a little while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah. And he girded his loins and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Kings, Chapter 18[➚]


[v.1-2] - Reference, Luke 4:25.