1 Kings 18-20 Bible in Basic English

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Elijah Returns to Ahab

18 1  Now after a long time, the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, Go and let Ahab see you, so that I may send rain on the earth. 2  So Elijah went to let Ahab see him. Now there was no food to be had in Samaria. 3  And Ahab sent for Obadiah, the controller of the king's house. (Now Obadiah had the fear of the Lord before him greatly; 4  For when Jezebel was cutting off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred of them, and kept them secretly in a hole in the rock, fifty at a time, and gave them bread and water.) 5  And Ahab said to Obadiah, Come, let us go through all the country, to all the fountains of water and all the rivers, and see if there is any grass to be had for the horses and the transport beasts, so that we may be able to keep some of the beasts from destruction. 6  So they went through all the country, covering it between them; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another by himself. 7  And while Obadiah was on his way, he came face to face with Elijah; and seeing who it was, he went down on his face and said, Is it you, my lord Elijah? 8  And Elijah in answer said, It is I; now go and say to your lord, Elijah is here. 9  And he said, What sin have I done, that you would give up your servant into the hand of Ahab, and be the cause of my death? 10  By the life of the Lord your God, there is not a nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent in search of you; and when they said, He is not here; he made them take an oath that they had not seen you. 11  And now you say, Go, say to your lord, Elijah is here. 12  And straight away, when I have gone from you, the spirit of the Lord will take you away, I have no idea where, so that when I come and give word to Ahab, and he sees you not, he will put me to death: though I, your servant, have been a worshipper of the Lord from my earliest years. 13  Has my lord not had word of what I did when Jezebel was putting the Lord's prophets to death? how I kept a hundred of them in a secret hole in the rock, fifty at a time, and gave them bread and water? 14  And now you say, Go and say to your Lord, Elijah is here; and he will put me to death. 15  And Elijah said, By the life of the Lord of armies, whose servant I am, I will certainly let him see me today. 16  So Obadiah went to Ahab and gave him the news; and Ahab went to see Elijah.

17  And when he saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, Is it you, you troubler of Israel? 18  Then he said in answer, I have not been troubling Israel, but you and your family; because, turning away from the orders of the Lord, you have gone after the Baals. 19  Now send, and get Israel together before me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal who get their food at Jezebel's table.

The Contest on Mount Carmel

20  So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and got the prophets together at Mount Carmel.

21  And Elijah came near to all the people and said, How long will you go on balancing between two opinions? if the Lord is God, then give worship to him; but if Baal, give worship to him. And the people said not a word in answer. 22  Then Elijah said to the people, I, even I, am the only living prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23  Now, let them give us two oxen; and let them take one for themselves, and have it cut up, and put it on the wood, but put no fire under it; I will get the other ox ready, and put it on the wood, and put no fire under it. 24  And do you make prayers to your god, and I will make a prayer to the Lord: and it will be clear that the one who gives an answer by fire is God. And all the people in answer said, It is well said. 25  Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, Take one ox for yourselves and get it ready first, for there are more of you; and make your prayers to your god, but put no fire under. 26  So they took the ox which was given them, and made it ready, crying out to Baal from morning till the middle of the day, and saying, O Baal, give ear to us. But there was no voice and no answer. And they were jumping up and down before the altar they had made. 27  And in the middle of the day, Elijah made sport of them, saying, Give louder cries, for he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or he may have gone away for some purpose, or he may be on a journey, or by chance he is sleeping and has to be made awake. 28  So they gave loud cries, cutting themselves with knives and swords, as was their way, till the blood came streaming out all over them. 29  And from the middle of the day they went on with their prayers till the time of the offering; but there was no voice, or any answer, or any who gave attention to them. 30  Then Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me; and all the people came near. And he put up again the altar of the Lord which had been broken down. 31  And Elijah took twelve stones, the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, Israel will be your name: 32  And with the stones he made an altar to the name of the Lord; and he made a deep drain all round the altar, great enough to take two measures of seed. 33  And he put the wood in order, and, cutting up the ox, put it on the wood. Then he said, Get four vessels full of water and put it on the burned offering and on the wood. And he said, Do it a second time, and they did it a second time; 34  And he said, Do it a third time, and they did it a third time. 35  And the water went all round the altar, till the drain was full. 36  Then at the time of the offering, Elijah the prophet came near and said, O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be seen this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things by your order. 37  Give me an answer, O Lord, give me an answer, so that this people may see that you are God, and that you have made their hearts come back again. 38  Then the fire of the Lord came down, burning up the offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and drinking up the water in the drain. 39  And when the people saw it, they all went down on their faces, and said, The Lord, he is God, the Lord, he is God. 40  And Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal, let not one of them get away. So they took them, and Elijah made them go down to the stream Kishon, and put them to death there.

Elijah Prays for Rain

41  Then Elijah said to Ahab, Up! take food and drink, for there is a sound of much rain. 42  So Ahab went up to have food and drink, while Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he went down on the earth, putting his face between his knees. 43  And he said to his servant, Go now, and take a look in the direction of the sea. And he went up, and after looking said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times; and he went seven times. 44  And the seventh time he said, I see a cloud coming up out of the sea, as small as a man's hand. Then he said, Go up and say to Ahab, Get your carriage ready and go down or the rain will keep you back. 45  And after a very little time, the heaven became black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab went in his carriage to Jezreel. 46  And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he made himself strong, and went running before Ahab till they came to Jezreel.

Elijah Flees to Horeb

19 1  Ahab gave Jezebel news of all Elijah had done, and how he had put all the prophets to death with the sword. 2  Then Jezebel sent a servant to Elijah, saying, May the gods' punishment be on me if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. 3  And he got up, fearing for his life, and went in flight, and came to Beer-sheba in Judah, parting there from his servant; 4  While he himself went a day's journey into the waste land, and took a seat under a broom-plant, desiring for himself only death; for he said, It is enough: now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers. 5  And stretching himself on the earth, he went to sleep under the broom-plant; but an angel, touching him, said to him, Get up and have some food. 6  And looking up, he saw by his head a cake cooked on the stones and a bottle of water. So he took food and drink and went to sleep again. 7  And the angel of the Lord came again a second time, and touching him said, Get up and have some food, or the journey will be overmuch for your strength. 8  So he got up and took food and drink, and in the strength of that food he went on for forty days and nights, to Horeb, the mountain of God.

9  And there he went into a hole in the rock for the night; then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, What are you doing here, Elijah? 10  And he said, I have been burning for the honour of the Lord, the God of armies; for the children of Israel have not kept your agreement; they have made destruction of your altars, and have put your prophets to death with the sword: till I, even I, am the only one living; and now they are attempting to take away my life. 11  Then he said, Go out and take your place on the mountain before the Lord. Then the Lord went by, and mountains were parted by the force of a great wind, and rocks were broken before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind there was an earth-shock, but the Lord was not in the earth-shock. 12  And after the earth-shock a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, the sound of a soft breath. 13  And Elijah, hearing it, went out, covering his face with his robe, and took his place in the opening of the hole. And there a voice came to him saying, What are you doing here, Elijah? 14  And he said, I have been burning for the honour of the Lord, the God of armies; for the children of Israel have not kept your agreement; they have had your altars broken down, and have put your prophets to death with the sword: till I, even I, am the only one living; and now they are attempting to take away my life. 15  And the Lord said to him, Go back on your way through the waste land to Damascus; and when you come there, put the holy oil on Hazael to make him king over Aram; 16  And on Jehu, son of Nimshi, making him king over Israel; and on Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, to be prophet in your place. 17  And it will come about that the man who gets away safe from the sword of Hazael, Jehu will put to death; and whoever gets away safe from the sword of Jehu, Elisha will put to death. 18  But I will keep safe seven thousand in Israel, all those whose knees have not been bent to Baal, and whose mouths have given him no kisses.

The Call of Elisha

19  So he went away from there and came across Elisha, the son of Shaphat, ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen, he himself walking with the twelfth; and Elijah went up to him and put his robe on him. 20  And letting the oxen be where they were, he came running after Elijah, and said, Only let me give a kiss to my father and mother, and then I will come after you. But he said to him, Go back again; for what have I done to you? 21  And he went back, and took the oxen and put them to death, and cooking their flesh with the yokes of the oxen, he gave the people a feast. Then he got up and went after Elijah and became his servant.

Ahab Defeats the Syrians

20 1  Now Ben-hadad, king of Aram, got all his army together, and thirty-two kings with him, and horses and carriages of war; he went up and made war on Samaria, shutting it in. 2  And he sent representatives into the town to Ahab, king of Israel; 3  And they said to him, Ben-hadad says, Your silver and your gold are mine; and your wives and children are mine. 4  And the king of Israel sent him an answer saying, As you say, my lord king, I am yours with all I have. 5  Then the representatives came back again, and said, These are the words of Ben-hadad: I sent to you saying, Give up to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children; 6  But I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, to make a search through your house and the houses of your people, and everything which is pleasing in your eyes they will take away in their hands. 7  Then the king of Israel sent for all the responsible men of the land, and said, Now will you take note and see the evil purpose of this man: he sent for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold, and I did not keep them back. 8  And all the responsible men and the people said to him, Do not give attention to him or do what he says. 9  So he said to the representatives of Ben-hadad, Say to my lord the king, All the orders you sent the first time I will do; but this thing I may not do. And the representatives went back with this answer. 10  Then Ben-hadad sent to him, saying, May the gods' punishment be on me if there is enough of the dust of Samaria for all the people at my feet to take some in their hands. 11  And the king of Israel said in answer, Say to him, The time for loud talk is not when a man is putting on his arms, but when he is taking them off.

12  Now when this answer was given to Ben-hadad, he was drinking with the kings in the tents, and he said to his men, Take up your positions. So they put themselves in position for attacking the town. 13  Then a prophet came up to Ahab, king of Israel, and said, The Lord says, Have you seen all this great army? See, I will give it into your hands today, and you will see that I am the Lord. 14  And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, The Lord says, By the servants of the chiefs who are over the divisions of the land. Then he said, By whom is the fighting to be started? And he made answer, By you. 15  Then he got together the servants of all the chiefs who were over the divisions of the land, two hundred and thirty-two of them; and after them, he got together all the people, all the children of Israel, seven thousand. 16  And in the middle of the day they went out. But Ben-hadad was drinking in the tents with the thirty-two kings who were helping him. 17  And the servants of the chiefs who were over the divisions of the land went forward first; and when Ben-hadad sent out, they gave him the news, saying, Men have come out from Samaria. 18  And he said, If they have come out for peace, take them living, and if they have come out for war, take them living. 19  So the servants of the chiefs of the divisions of the land went out of the town, with the army coming after them. 20  And every one of them put his man to death, and the Aramaeans went in flight with Israel after them; and Ben-hadad, king of Aram, got away safely on a horse with his horsemen. 21  And the king of Israel went out and took the horses and the war-carriages, and made great destruction among the Aramaeans.

22  Then the prophet came up to the king of Israel, and said to him, Now make yourself strong, and take care what you do, or a year from now the king of Aram will come up against you again. 23  Then the king of Aram's servants said to him, Their god is a god of the hills; that is why they were stronger than we: but if we make an attack on them in the lowlands, we will certainly be stronger than they. 24  This is what you have to do: take away the kings from their positions, and put captains in their places; 25  And get together another army like the one which came to destruction, horse for horse, and carriage for carriage; and let us make war on them in the lowlands, and certainly we will be stronger than they. And he gave ear to what they said, and did so. 26  So, a year later, Ben-hadad got the Aramaeans together and went up to Aphek to make war on Israel. 27  And the children of Israel got themselves together, and food was made ready and they went against them; the tents of the children of Israel were like two little flocks of goats before them, but all the country was full of the Aramaeans. 28  And a man of God came up and said to the king of Israel, The Lord says, Because the Aramaeans have said, The Lord is a god of the hills and not of the valleys; I will give all this great army into your hands, and you will see that I am the Lord. 29  Now the two armies kept their positions facing one another for seven days. And on the seventh day the fight was started; and the children of Israel put to the sword a hundred thousand Aramaean footmen in one day. 30  But the rest went in flight to Aphek, into the town, where a wall came down on the twenty-seven thousand who were still living. And Ben-hadad went in flight into the town, into an inner room.

31  Then his servants said to him, It is said that the kings of Israel are full of mercy: let us then put on haircloth, and cords on our heads, and go to the king of Israel; it may be that he will give you your life. 32  So they put on haircloth, and cords on their heads, and came to the king of Israel and said, Your servant Ben-hadad says, Let me now keep my life. And he said, Is he still living? he is my brother. 33  Now the men took it as a sign, and quickly took up his words; and they said, Ben-hadad is your brother. Then he said, Go and get him. So Ben-hadad came out to him and he made him get up into his carriage. 34  And Ben-hadad said to him, The towns my father took from your father I will give back; and you may make streets for yourself in Damascus as my father did in Samaria. And as for me, at the price of this agreement you will let me go. So he made an agreement with him and let him go. 35  And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbour by the word of the Lord, Give me a wound. But the man would not. 36  Then he said to him, Because you have not given ear to the voice of the Lord, straight away when you have gone from me a lion will put you to death. And when he had gone, straight away a lion came rushing at him and put him to death. 37  Then he came across another man, and said, Give me a wound. And the man gave him a blow wounding him. 38  So the prophet went away, and pulling his head-band over his eyes to keep his face covered, took his place by the road waiting for the king. 39  And when the king went by, crying out to him he said, Your servant went out into the fight; and a man came out to me with another man and said, Keep this man: if by any chance he gets away, your life will be the price of his life, or you will have to give a talent of silver in payment. 40  But while your servant was turning this way and that, he was gone. Then the king of Israel said to him, You are responsible; you have given the decision against yourself. 41  Then he quickly took the head-band from his eyes; and the king of Israel saw that he was one of the prophets. 42  And he said to him, These are the words of the Lord: Because you have let go from your hands the man whom I had put to the curse, your life will be taken for his life, and your people for his people. 43  Then the king of Israel went back to his house, bitter and angry, and came to Samaria.

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