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1 Kings 18 The Voice (VOICE)

18 Many days passed, and the word of the Eternal visited Elijah during the third year of the drought.

Eternal One: Go now, and reveal yourself to Ahab. When you do, I will bring rain on the earth.

Elijah then went to reveal himself to Ahab.

During this time, there was a dangerous shortage of food in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah to come to him. Obadiah was the coordinator of Ahab’s palace and was wholly devoted to the Eternal. Back when Jezebel was murdering all the prophets of the Eternal, Obadiah had given 100 prophets refuge. There were two caves in which he hid the prophets—50 prophets in each cave. He provided them with food and water during this time.

Ahab (to Obadiah): Search through the land, and visit all the springs and streams that run through the ravines; see if you can find any grass on which we can allow our horses and mules to graze, so that they may stay alive for as long as possible. Do this so that we don’t have to kill our own beasts.

Ahab and Obadiah split up the regions they were going to explore, and they both traveled in different directions to save time.

While Obadiah was exploring the land, suddenly Elijah came upon him. Obadiah knew who he was—a prophet—and he fell on his face before Elijah.

Obadiah: I can’t believe it’s really you, master Elijah.

Elijah: Yes, it is I. Go now, and give this message to your king: “Elijah has arrived.”

Obadiah: What is the purpose of this? Have I wronged you or God? Why do you put your servant in a dangerous spot with Ahab? Ahab will most certainly kill me. 10 As surely as your True God, the Eternal lives, there is not a single country or kingdom that Ahab has not searched for you. Whenever a country said that you were not there, Ahab made them swear an oath that you were nowhere to be found. 11 Now you are asking me to give him your message: “Look, Elijah has arrived.” 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Eternal is going to lead you after I depart from you. In fact, I am certain if I tell Ahab that you have arrived, He will take you somewhere else; and if you are nowhere to be found, then I will be put to death. Since I, your servant, was young, all of my worship and devotion has gone to the Eternal One. 13 Don’t you know, my master, what I did during the time that Jezebel was murdering all the Eternal One’s prophets? I gave 100 prophets refuge. I hid them away in 2 caves—50 prophets in each cave—and I provided them with food and water. 14 Even after all that I have done for the Eternal One, you ask me to give my king the message, “Look, Elijah has arrived.” He will surely kill me!

Elijah: Do not fear for your life. 15 As certain as the life of the Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies, whom I serve, I will reveal myself to Ahab on this very day. You have nothing to worry about.

16 Obadiah approached Ahab and gave him Elijah’s message. Ahab immediately went to find Elijah.

Ahab (seeing Elijah): 17 There you are. I thought I perceived a troublemaker in Israel.

Elijah: 18 Hypocrite! I have caused no mischief in Israel. It is you and your family who are guilty of the very thing you accuse me of. You have turned your back on the laws of the Eternal and abandoned your devotion to Him. Instead you have given yourselves to the Baals, the masters of pagan nations. 19 Now I want you to gather the entire community of Israel and send them to Mount Carmel to meet with me. I have a message for them. Be sure to gather the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah—the ones who fill their mouths and stomachs with food from Jezebel’s table.

20 Ahab did as Elijah asked, sent word throughout the entire community of Israel, and gathered all the prophets atop Mount Carmel.

Elijah (approaching the people): 21 How much longer will you sit on the fence, refusing to make a decision between the Lord and Baal? If you believe the Eternal One is the True God, then devote yourselves entirely to Him. If you believe Baal is your master, then devote yourselves entirely to him.

All the people who were gathered together atop Mount Carmel were completely silent. They didn’t know what to say to this.

Elijah: 22 I am the last remaining prophet of the Eternal. Baal has 450 prophets. Let us do a test to reveal the true quality of our deities. 23 Bring us two young bulls, the common sacrifice to your master whom you depict as a bull. The prophets of Baal may choose first which bull they want. They will kill it, chop it up, and prepare it for a fire by placing it above wood; but they will not light it. I will do the same with the other bull and prepare it for fire and place it above wood, but I will not light it. 24 Then you call upon your god, Baal, and I will call upon the Eternal. The God who answers with fire is the one True God.

Everyone liked this idea and said, “This sounds like a worthy plan.”

Elijah (to the prophets of Baal): 25 You have the pick of the bulls. Take the one you want, and prepare it first because there are many of you. Call upon your god, but do not set fire to the wood.

26 The prophets of Baal picked out their bull and prepared it. They called upon Baal from dawn till noon, crying out, “Baal, answer us with fire!” But there was no voice, no reply. Nothing happened. All they did was dance around the altar they had built and cry out to an elusive god.

27 At about midday, Elijah began provoking them.

Elijah: You have to shout louder than that! The one to whom you cry out certainly must be a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming or napping or away from his heavenly throne. Perhaps he is in a deep sleep, and you must wake him up. Shout louder!

28 So all the prophets of Baal began to shout at the top of their lungs pleading with all their might. They cut themselves with knives and swords and spears until they were covered in their own blood. 29 Midday passed by, and the prophets of Baal kept on with their antics until it was time for the evening sacrifice. But still, there was no voice, no reply. No god heard them.

Elijah (to the people): 30 Gather around me.

So all the people gathered around him, and he fixed the Eternal’s altar that had been torn down. 31 Elijah gathered 12 stones, one for each of Jacob’s tribes. Jacob was the one who wrestled with God and whom the word of the Eternal One visited, saying, “Your name will be Israel.”

32 Elijah took the 12 stones and constructed an altar in honor of the Eternal One and carved a ditch out around it large enough to hold 13 quarts of seed. 33 He set up the wood, chopped up the bull, and placed it on top of the wood.

Elijah (to the people): Go get four big jars, and fill them all up with water. Then pour the water out over the burnt offering and the wood. 34 Now, do the same thing again.

And so they did it a second time.

Elijah: All right, now do the same thing a third time.

And so they did it a third time. 35 The water covered the altar and even filled up the ditch. 36 When it was time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah called out to the Eternal.

Elijah (praying): Eternal One—God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel—reveal Yourself on this day as Israel’s God. Make it known that I serve You and have done all this because You commanded it of me. 37 Answer me, Eternal One. Reveal Yourself so that everyone here will know that You, Eternal One, are the True God—the only God. Do it so that everyone knows You are turning the gaze of their hearts back to You again.

38 Right then the Eternal One’s fire landed upon the altar. The flames consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the ground. The flames even drank up all the water in the ditch. 39 When everyone witnessed this extraordinary power, they all put their faces to the ground in fear and awe and wonder.

People: The Eternal One is the True God! The Eternal One is the True God!

Elijah: 40 Seize all the prophets of Baal. Don’t let a single one of them escape!

So everyone grabbed hold of the prophets of Baal, and Elijah gave instruction for them to be taken to the Kishon Valley and killed immediately—no exceptions.

Elijah (to Ahab): 41 You should go fill your belly with food and water. I hear a heavy rain coming.

42 Ahab did as Elijah instructed and went to eat and drink. Elijah journeyed to the peak of Mount Carmel. There he bowed down on the ground and placed his head between his knees.

Elijah (to his servant): 43 Go now, and look in the direction of the sea.

Servant (returning to Elijah): I did as you asked, and there is nothing in the direction of the sea.

Elijah gave him the same instruction seven times, “Go back, and look in the direction of the sea. 44 The servant did as Elijah requested each time; and on the seventh time, he told Elijah, “A minuscule cloud, as tiny as the hand of a man, is ascending from the sea.”

Elijah: Go quickly, and give a message to Ahab for me: “Prepare your chariot, and leave quickly before the rain gets torrential and keeps you from traveling.”

45 The sky became filled with dark monstrous clouds, the wind grew wild, the heavy rain fell, and Ahab traveled quickly in his chariot to Jezreel. 46 The strength of the Eternal filled Elijah. The prophet pulled up his garment around his thighs and sprinted ahead of Ahab the entire way to Jezreel.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

1 Kings 18 New International Version (NIV)

Elijah and Obadiah

18 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”

“What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

Elijah on Mount Carmel

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.

22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set 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—he is God.”

Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.

“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.

43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.

“There is nothing there,” he said.

Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”

44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 18:32 That is, probably about 24 pounds or about 11 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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