1 Kings 18-20 Revised Standard Version

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Elijah Returns to Ahab

18 After many days the word of the Lord came to Eli'jah, in the third year, saying, "Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth." 2  So Eli'jah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Sama'ria. 3  And Ahab called Obadi'ah, who was over the household. (Now Obadi'ah revered the Lord greatly; 4  and when Jez'ebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadi'ah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) 5  And Ahab said to Obadi'ah, "Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the valleys; perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals." 6  So they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadi'ah went in another direction by himself. 7  And as Obadi'ah was on the way, behold, Eli'jah met him; and Obadi'ah recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, "Is it you, my lord Eli'jah?" 8  And he answered him, "It is I. Go, tell your lord, 'Behold, Eli'jah is here.'" 9  And he said, "Wherein have I sinned, that you would give your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10  As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom whither my lord has not sent to seek you; and when they would say, 'He is not here,' he would take an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 11  And now you say, 'Go, tell your lord, "Behold, Eli'jah is here."' 12  And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you whither I know not; and so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have revered the Lord from my youth. 13  Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jez'ebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a 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, Eli'jah is here"'; and he will kill me." 15  And Eli'jah said, "As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today." 16  So Obadi'ah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Eli'jah.

17  When Ahab saw Eli'jah, Ahab said to him, "Is it you, you troubler of Israel?" 18  And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father's house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Ba'als. 19  Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Ba'al and the four hundred prophets of Ashe'rah, who eat at Jez'ebel's table."

The Contest on Mount Carmel

20  So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel, and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.

21  And Eli'jah came near to all the people, and said, "How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Ba'al, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word. 22  Then Eli'jah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Ba'al's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23  Let two bulls be given to us; and let them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; and I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, and put no fire to it. 24  And you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, he is God." And all the people answered, "It is well spoken." 25  Then Eli'jah said to the prophets of Ba'al, "Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it." 26  And they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Ba'al from morning until noon, saying, "O Ba'al, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped about the altar which they had made. 27  And at noon Eli'jah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is musing, or he has gone aside, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." 28  And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29  And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice; no one answered, no one heeded. 30  Then Eli'jah 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 had been thrown down; 31  Eli'jah 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 about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. 33  And he put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, 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 round about the altar, and filled the trench also with water. 36  And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Eli'jah the prophet came near and said, "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O Lord, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back." 38  Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and 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 God; the Lord, he is God." 40  And Eli'jah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Ba'al; let not one of them escape." And they seized them; and Eli'jah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there.

Elijah Prays for Rain

41  And Eli'jah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of the rushing of rain." 42  So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Eli'jah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. 43  And he 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 again seven times." 44  And at the seventh time he said, "Behold, a little cloud like a man's hand is rising out of the sea." And he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.'" 45  And in a little while the heavens grew 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 Eli'jah; and he girded up his loins and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Elijah Flees to Horeb

19 Ahab told Jez'ebel all that Eli'jah had done, and how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2  Then Jez'ebel sent a messenger to Eli'jah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow." 3  Then he was afraid, and he arose and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4  But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers." 5  And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat." 6  And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7  And the angel of the Lord came again a second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you." 8  And he arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

9  And there he came to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Eli'jah?" 10  He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." 11  And he said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13  And when Eli'jah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Eli'jah?" 14  He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." 15  And the Lord said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Haz'ael to be king over Syria; 16  and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel; and Eli'sha the son of Shaphat of A'bel-meho'lah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17  And him who escapes from the sword of Haz'ael shall Jehu slay; and him who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Eli'sha slay. 18  Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Ba'al, and every mouth that has not kissed him."

The Call of Elisha

19  So he departed from there, and found Eli'sha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Eli'jah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him. 20  And he left the oxen, and ran after Eli'jah, and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to you?" 21  And he returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Eli'jah, and ministered to him.

Ahab Defeats the Syrians

20 Ben-ha'dad the king of Syria gathered all his army together; thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and chariots; and he went up and besieged Sama'ria, and fought against it. 2  And he sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, and said to him, "Thus says Ben-ha'dad: 3  'Your silver and your gold are mine; your fairest wives and children also are mine.'" 4  And the king of Israel answered, "As you say, my lord, O king, I am yours, and all that I have." 5  The messengers came again, and said, "Thus says Ben-ha'dad: 'I sent to you, saying, "Deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children"; 6  nevertheless I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants, and lay hands on whatever pleases them, and take it away.'" 7  Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, "Mark, now, and see how this man is seeking trouble; for he sent to me for my wives and my children, and for my silver and my gold, and I did not refuse him." 8  And all the elders and all the people said to him, "Do not heed or consent." 9  So he said to the messengers of Ben-ha'dad, "Tell my lord the king, 'All that you first demanded of your servant I will do; but this thing I cannot do.'" And the messengers departed and brought him word again. 10  Ben-ha'dad sent to him and said, "The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Sama'ria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me." 11  And the king of Israel answered, "Tell him, 'Let not him that girds on his armor boast himself as he that puts it off.'"

12  When Ben-ha'dad heard this message as he was drinking with the kings in the booths, he said to his men, "Take your positions." And they took their positions against the city. 13  And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, "Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day; and you shall know that I am the Lord." 14  And Ahab said, "By whom?" He said, "Thus says the Lord, By the servants of the governors of the districts." Then he said, "Who shall begin the battle?" He answered, "You." 15  Then he mustered the servants of the governors of the districts, and they were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he mustered all the people of Israel, seven thousand. 16  And they went out at noon, while Ben-ha'dad was drinking himself drunk in the booths, he and the thirty-two kings who helped him. 17  The servants of the governors of the districts went out first. And Ben-ha'dad sent out scouts, and they reported to him, "Men are coming out from Sama'ria." 18  He said, "If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, take them alive." 19  So these went out of the city, the servants of the governors of the districts, and the army which followed them. 20  And each killed his man; the Syrians fled and Israel pursued them, but Ben-ha'dad king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen. 21  And the king of Israel went out, and captured the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.

22  Then the prophet came near to the king of Israel, and said to him, "Come, strengthen yourself, and consider well what you have to do; for in the spring the king of Syria will come up against you." 23  And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, "Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. 24  And do this: remove the kings, each from his post, and put commanders in their places; 25  and muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot; then we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they." And he hearkened to their voice, and did so. 26  In the spring Ben-ha'dad mustered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27  And the people of Israel were mustered, and were provisioned, and went against them; the people of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, but the Syrians filled the country. 28  And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, "Thus says the Lord, 'Because the Syrians have said, "The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys," therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.'" 29  And they encamped opposite one another seven days. Then on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the people of Israel smote of the Syrians a hundred thousand foot soldiers in one day. 30  And the rest fled into the city of Aphek; and the wall fell upon twenty-seven thousand men that were left. Ben-ha'dad also fled, and entered an inner chamber in the city.

31  And his servants said to him, "Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings; let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life." 32  So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and went to the king of Israel and said, "Your servant Ben-ha'dad says, 'Pray, let me live.'" And he said, "Does he still live? He is my brother." 33  Now the men were watching for an omen, and they quickly took it up from him and said, "Yes, your brother Ben-ha'dad." Then he said, "Go and bring him." Then Ben-ha'dad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. 34  And Ben-ha'dad said to him, "The cities which my father took from your father I will restore; and you may establish bazaars for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Sama'ria." And Ahab said, "I will let you go on these terms." So he made a covenant with him and let him go. 35  And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow at the command of the Lord, "Strike me, I pray." But the man refused to strike him. 36  Then he said to him, "Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as you have gone from me, a lion shall kill you." And as soon as he had departed from him, a lion met him and killed him. 37  Then he found another man, and said, "Strike me, I pray." And the man struck him, smiting and wounding him. 38  So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes. 39  And as the king passed, he cried to the king and said, "Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a soldier turned and brought a man to me, and said, 'Keep this man; if by any means he be missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.' 40  And as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone." The king of Israel said to him, "So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it." 41  Then he made haste to take the bandage away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42  And he said to him, "Thus says the Lord, 'Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.'" 43  And the king of Israel went to his house resentful and sullen, and came to Sama'ria.

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