1 Kings 18-20 World English Bible

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Elijah Returns to Ahab

18 1  It happened after many days, that the word of Yahweh came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain on the earth.” 2  Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria. 3  Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared Yahweh greatly: 4  for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of Yahweh, that Obadiah took one hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) 5  Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land, to all the springs of water, and to all the brooks. Perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, that we not lose all the animals.” 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  As Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” 8  He answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here!’” 9  He said, “Wherein have I sinned, that you would deliver your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10  As Yahweh your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom, where my lord has not sent to seek you. When they said, ‘He is not here,’ he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they didn’t find you. 11  Now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here.”’ 12  It will happen, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of Yahweh will carry you I don’t know where; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he can’t find you, he will kill me. But I, your servant, have feared Yahweh from my youth. 13  Wasn’t it told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Yahweh, how I hid one hundred men of Yahweh’s prophets with fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water? 14  Now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here;”’ and he will kill me.” 15  Elijah said, “As Yahweh of Armies 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  It happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” 18  He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you, and your father’s house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of Yahweh, and you have followed the Baals. 19  Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel to Mount Carmel, and four hundred fifty of the prophets of Baal, and four hundred of the prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

The Contest on Mount Carmel

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

21  Elijah came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you waver between the two sides? If Yahweh is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”

The people answered him not a word. 22  Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of Yahweh; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred fifty men. 23  Let them therefore give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bull, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it. 24  You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yahweh. The God who answers by fire, let him be God.”

All the people answered, “It is well said.” 25  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 god, but put no fire under it.” 26  They took the bull which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any who answered. They leaped about the altar which was made. 27  It happened at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, “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 sleeps and must be awakened.” 28  They cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29  It was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the offering; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any who regarded. 30  Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me;” and all the people came near to him. He repaired the altar of Yahweh that was thrown down. 31  Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Yahweh came, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32  With the stones he built an altar in the name of Yahweh. He made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. 33  He put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood.” 34  He said, “Do it a second time;” and they did it the second time. He said, “Do it a third time;” and they did it the third time. 35  The water ran around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. 36  It happened at the time of the offering of the offering, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, “Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of 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, Yahweh, hear me, that this people may know that you, Yahweh, are God, and that you have turned their heart back again.” 38  Then the fire of Yahweh 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  When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces. They said, “Yahweh, he is God! Yahweh, he is God!” 40  Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Don’t let one of them escape!”

They seized them. Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there.

Elijah Prays for Rain

41  Elijah said to Ahab, “Get up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42  So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down on the earth, and put his face between his knees. 43  He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.”

He went up, and looked, and said, “There is nothing.”

He said, “Go again” seven times. 44  It happened at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a small cloud, like a man’s hand, is rising out of the sea.”

He said, “Go up, tell Ahab, ‘Get ready and go down, so that the rain doesn’t stop you.’” 45  It happened in a little while, that the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. 46  The hand of Yahweh was on Elijah; and he tucked his cloak into his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Elijah Flees to Horeb

19 1  Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2  Then Jezebel send a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I don’t make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time!” 3  When he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, 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 juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough. Now, O Yahweh, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” 5  He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat!” 6  He looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on the coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and laid down again. 7  The angel of Yahweh came again the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8  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  He came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10  He said, “I have been very jealous for Yahweh, the God of Armies; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets with the sword. I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11  He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before Yahweh.”

Behold, Yahweh passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before Yahweh; but Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. 12  After the earthquake a fire passed; but Yahweh was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13  It was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. Behold, a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14  He said, “I have been very jealous for Yahweh, the God of Armies; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets with the sword. I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15  Yahweh said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16  You shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah to be prophet in your place. 17  It shall happen, that he who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and he who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 18  Yet will I leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.”

The Call of Elisha

19  So he departed there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed over to him, and cast his mantle on him. 20  He left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me please kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”

He said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” 21  He returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and killed them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave to the people, and they ate. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and served him.

Ahab Defeats the Syrians

20 1  Ben Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together; and there were thirty-two kings with him, and horses and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and fought against it. 2  He sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel, into the city, and said to him, &quot;Thus says Ben Hadad, 3  ‘Your silver and your gold is mine. Your wives also and your children, even the best, are mine.’” 4  The king of Israel answered, “It is according to your saying, my lord, O king. I am yours, and all that I have.” 5  The messengers came again, and said, “Ben Hadad says, ‘I sent indeed to you, saying, “You shall deliver me your silver, and your gold, and your wives, and your children; 6  but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house, and the houses of your servants; and it shall be, that whatever is pleasant in your eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.”’” 7  Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, “Please notice how this man seeks mischief; for he sent to me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I didn’t deny him.” 8  All the elders and all the people said to him, “Don’t listen, neither consent.” 9  Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant at the first I will do; but this thing I cannot do.”

The messengers departed, and brought him back the message. 10  Ben Hadad sent to him, and said, “The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.” 11  The king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Don’t let him who puts on his armor brag like he who takes it off.”

12  It happened, when Ben Hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings, in the pavilions, that he said to his servants, “Prepare to attack!” They prepared to attack the city. 13  Behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel, and said, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand this day; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.’” 14  Ahab said, “By whom?”

He said, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘By the young men of the princes of the provinces.’”

Then he said, “Who shall begin the battle?”

He answered, “You.” 15  Then he mustered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two. After them, he mustered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. 16  They went out at noon. But Ben Hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty-two kings who helped him. 17  The young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben Hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, “Men are coming out from Samaria.” 18  He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, taken them alive.” 19  So these went out of the city, the young men of the princes of the provinces, and the army which followed them. 20  They each killed his man. The Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them. Ben Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen. 21  The king of Israel went out, and struck the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.

22  The prophet came near to the king of Israel, and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself, and mark, and see what you do; for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.” 23  The servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. 24  Do this thing: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their place. 25  Muster an army, like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot. We will fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than them.”

He listened to their voice, and did so. 26  It happened at the return of the year, that Ben Hadad mustered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27  The children of Israel were mustered, and were provisioned, and went against them. The children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of young goats; but the Syrians filled the country. 28  A man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “Yahweh is a god of the hills, but he is not a god of the valleys;” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am Yahweh.’” 29  They encamped one over against the other seven days. So it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand footmen of the Syrians in one day. 30  But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and the wall fell on twenty-seven thousand men who were left. Ben Hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.

31  His servants said to him, “See now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our bodies, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he will save your life.” 32  So they put sackcloth on their bodies and ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, “Your servant Ben Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’”

He said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 33  Now the men observed diligently, and hurried to take this phrase; and they said, “Your brother Ben Hadad.”

Then he said, “Go, bring him.”

Then Ben Hadad came out to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. 34  Ben Hadad said to him, “The cities which my father took from your father I will restore. You shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.”

“I,” said Ahab, “will let you go with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him, and let him go. 35  A certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow by the word of Yahweh, “Please strike me!”

The man refused to strike him. 36  Then said he to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, behold, as soon as you are departed from me, a lion shall kill you.” As soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and killed him. 37  Then he found another man, and said, “Please strike me.”

The man struck him, smiting and wounding him. 38  So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with his headband over his eyes. 39  As the king passed by, he cried to the king; and he said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man! If by any means he be missing, then your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ 40  As your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”

The king of Israel said to him, “So your judgment shall be; yourself have decided it.” 41  He hurried, and took the headband away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized that he was of the prophets. 42  He said to him, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘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  The king of Israel went to his house sullen and angry, and came to Samaria.

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