1 A while later in the third year of the drought, the LORD spoke his word to Elijah: "Present yourself to Ahab. I will allow rain to fall on the ground." 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. The famine was particularly severe in Samaria. 3 Ahab sent for Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. Obadiah was a devout worshiper of the LORD. 4 (When Jezebel was killing the LORD's prophets, Obadiah had hidden 100 prophets in caves. He put 50 prophets in each cave and kept them alive by providing bread and water for them.) 5 Ahab told Obadiah, "Let's go throughout the countryside to every spring and stream. If we can find grass, then we can keep the horses and mules alive and not lose any animals." 6 So they split up in order to cover the entire countryside. Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went the other way by himself. 7 Obadiah was on the road when he met Elijah. Obadiah recognized him and immediately bowed down to the ground. "Is it you, my master Elijah?" he asked. 8 "Yes," Elijah answered him. "Tell your master that Elijah is here." 9 Obadiah asked, "What have I done wrong to make you hand me over to Ahab to be killed? 10 I solemnly swear, as the LORD your God lives, my master has searched for you in every region and kingdom. When people would say, 'He isn't here,' my master made that kingdom or region take an oath that they hadn't found you. 11 "Now you say, 'Tell your master that Elijah is here.' 12 This is what will happen: When I leave you, the LORD's Spirit will take you away to some unknown place. I'll tell Ahab, but he won't be able to find you. Then he will kill me. "I have been faithful to the LORD since I was a child. 13 Haven't you heard what I did when Jezebel killed the LORD's prophets? Haven't you heard how I hid 100 of the LORD's prophets in caves? I hid 50 prophets in each cave and provided bread and water for them. 14 Now you say that I should tell my master that Elijah is here. He will kill me." 15 Elijah said, "I solemnly swear, as the LORD of Armies whom I serve lives, I will present myself to Ahab." 16 So Obadiah went to tell Ahab. Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, "Is that you, you troublemaker of Israel?" 18 Elijah answered, "I haven't troubled Israel. You and your father's family have done it by disobeying the LORD's commands and following the various Baal gods. 19 Order all Israel to gather around me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table." 20 Ahab sent word to all the Israelites and brought the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah stood up in front of all the people and asked them, "How long will you try to have it both ways? If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal is God, follow him." The people didn't say a word. 22 So Elijah told the people, "I'm the only surviving prophet of the LORD, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 23 Give us two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal choose one for themselves, cut it into pieces, lay it on the wood, but not set it on fire. I'll do the same with the other bull. 24 "You call on the name of your gods, but I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire is the real God." All the people answered, "That's fine." 25 Elijah told the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves. Prepare yours first, because there are more of you. Call on the name of your god, but don't set the wood on fire." 26 They took the bull he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon. They said, "Baal, answer us!" But there wasn't a sound or an answer. So they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah started to make fun of them. "Shout louder, since he is a god. Maybe he's thinking, relieving himself, or traveling! Maybe he's sleeping, and you have to wake him!" 28 So they shouted louder. They also cut themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed. (This is what their ritual called for.) 29 In the afternoon they continued to rant and rave until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no sound, no answer, no attention given to them. 30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come over here." So all the people came to him. He rebuilt the LORD's altar that had been torn down. 31 Elijah took 12 stones, one for each of the tribes named after Jacob's sons. (The LORD had spoken his word to Jacob: "Your name will be Israel.") 32 Elijah built an altar in the LORD's name with those stones. He also made a trench that could hold 12 quarts of grain around the altar. 33 He arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and put it on the wood. 34 He said, "Fill four jars with water. Pour the water on the offering and on the wood." Then he said, "Do it again," and they did it again. Then he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. 35 The water flowed around the altar, and even the trench was filled with water. 36 When it was time to offer the sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward. He said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make known today that you are God in Israel and that I'm your servant and have done all these things by your instructions. 37 Answer me, LORD! Answer me! Then these people will know that you, LORD, are God and that you are winning back their hearts." 38 So a fire from the LORD fell down and consumed the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dirt. The fire even dried up the water that was in the trench. 39 All the people saw it and immediately bowed down to the ground. "The LORD is God!" they said. "The LORD is God!" 40 Elijah told them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let any of them escape." The people seized them, and Elijah took them to the Kishon River and slaughtered them there. 41 Then Elijah told Ahab, "Get up, eat, and drink. It sounds like a heavy rain [is coming]." 42 Ahab got up to eat and drink. Elijah went to the top of Carmel and bowed down on the ground to pray. 43 He said to his servant, "Please go back to [Mount Carmel], and look toward the sea." He went up, looked, [came back,] and said, "There's nothing." Seven times Elijah told him, "Go back." 44 After the seventh time the servant said, "A little cloud like a man's hand is coming from the sea." Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Prepare [your chariot], and leave before the rain delays you.'" 45 Gradually, the sky grew darker with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. Ahab got into his chariot to go back to Jezreel. 46 The LORD's power was on Elijah. He hiked up his robe and ran ahead of Ahab until they came to Jezreel.
1 Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including how he had executed all the prophets. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah. She said, "May the gods strike me dead if by this time tomorrow I don't take your life the way you took the lives of Baal's prophets." 3 Frightened, Elijah fled to save his life. He came to Beersheba in Judah and left his servant there. 4 Then he traveled through the wilderness for a day. He sat down under a broom plant and wanted to die. "I've had enough now, LORD," he said. "Take my life! I'm no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom plant. An angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 When he looked, he saw near his head some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water. So he ate, drank, and went to sleep again. 7 The angel of the LORD came back and woke him up again. The angel said, "Get up and eat, or your journey will be too much for you." 8 He got up, ate, and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled for 40 days and nights until he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. Then the LORD spoke his word to Elijah. He asked, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10 He answered, "LORD God of Armies, I have eagerly served you. The Israelites have abandoned your promises, torn down your altars, and executed your prophets. I'm the only one left, and they're trying to take my life." 11 God said, "Go out and stand in front of the LORD on the mountain." As the LORD was passing by, a fierce wind tore mountains and shattered rocks ahead of the LORD. But the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the LORD wasn't in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire. But the LORD wasn't in the fire. And after the fire there was a quiet, whispering voice. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his coat, went out, and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then the voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 14 He answered, "LORD God of Armies, I have eagerly served you. The Israelites have abandoned your promises, torn down your altars, and executed your prophets. I'm the only one left, and they're trying to take my life." 15 The LORD told him, "Go back to the wilderness near Damascus, the same way you came. When you get there, anoint Hazael as king of Aram. 16 Anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, as king of Israel. And anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat, from Abel Meholah as prophet to take your place. 17 If anyone escapes from Hazael's sword, Jehu will kill him. And if anyone escapes from Jehu's sword, Elisha will kill him. 18 But I still have 7,000 people in Israel whose knees have not knelt to worship Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him." 19 Elijah found Elisha, son of Shaphat. Elisha was plowing behind 12 pairs of oxen. He was using the twelfth pair. Elijah took off his coat and put it on Elisha. 20 So Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye. Then I will follow you." "Go back," Elijah answered him. "I'm not stopping you." 21 Elisha left him, took two oxen, and butchered them. He boiled the meat, using the oxen's yoke [for firewood]. He gave the meat to the people to eat. Then he left to follow and assist Elijah.
1 King Benhadad of Aram gathered together his whole army. With him were 32 kings along with their horses and chariots. He went to blockade Samaria and fight against it. 2 He sent messengers into the city to King Ahab of Israel. They told Ahab, "This is what Benhadad says: 3 Your silver and gold are mine. Your beloved wives and children are mine." 4 The king of Israel answered, "As you say, Your Majesty. I and everything I have are yours." 5 But Benhadad sent messengers back [to Ahab]. They said, "Benhadad has sent this message to you: 'Your silver, gold, wives, and children are mine. Give [them to me]. 6 At this time tomorrow I'm going to send my servants to search your palace and your servants' houses. They will take anything that you consider valuable.'" 7 Then the king of Israel called for all the leaders of the country. He said, "You can see how this man is looking for trouble. When he sent for my wives, children, silver, and gold, I didn't refuse him." 8 All the leaders and all the people told him, "Don't listen to him. Don't agree [to his demands]." 9 Ahab told Benhadad's messengers, "Tell His Majesty, 'I did everything your messengers told me the first time, but I can't do this.'" The messengers left to take back his answer. 10 Then Benhadad sent Ahab the following message: "May the gods strike me dead if there will be enough dust left from Samaria to give a handful to each soldier who follows me." 11 The king of Israel answered, "The saying goes, 'Don't brag about a victory before you have even dressed for battle.'" 12 Benhadad heard this as he and his allies were drinking in their tents. He told his officers to get ready. So they got ready [to attack] the city. 13 Then a prophet came to King Ahab of Israel and said, "This is what the LORD says: Have you seen this large army? I will hand it over to you today. Then you will know that I am the LORD." 14 Ahab asked, "How [will this be done]?" The prophet answered, "This is what the LORD says: by using the young officers of the district governors." "Who will start the battle?" Ahab asked. "You will," the prophet answered. 15 Ahab counted the young officers of the district governors. There were 232. After counting them, he counted all the Israelite soldiers. There were 7,000. 16 They attacked at noon, when Benhadad was in his tent getting drunk with the 32 kings who were his allies. 17 The young officers of the district governors went out first. Benhadad had sent men [to watch the city]. They informed him that some men had come out of Samaria. 18 He said, "Take them alive, whether they have come out to make peace or to fight." 19 The young officers of the district governors led an attack, and the troops followed them. 20 Each officer killed his opponent. The Arameans fled, and Israel pursued them. King Benhadad of Aram escaped on a horse with the cavalry. 21 The king of Israel went out and destroyed the horses and chariots and decisively defeated the Arameans. 22 Then the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, "Reinforce your army. Consider what you have to do. When spring comes, the king of Aram will attack [again]." 23 Meanwhile, the officers of King Benhadad of Aram told him, "Their god is a god of the hills. That is why they were stronger than we were. However, if we fight them on the plain, we will be stronger than they are. 24 This is what we must do: Remove all of the kings from their positions, and substitute governors for them. 25 Recruit an army with as many horses and chariots as the one which was defeated. Then, if we fight them on the plain, we will be stronger than they are." He took their advice and followed it. 26 Spring came, and Benhadad organized the Aramean army and went to Aphek to fight Israel. 27 When the Israelite [troops] had been organized and given provisions, they went to meet the enemy. The Israelites, while camped opposite the Arameans who filled the country, seemed like two newborn goats. 28 The man of God came again. He said to the king of Israel, "This is what the LORD says: Because the Arameans said that the LORD is a god of the hills but not a god of the valleys, I will hand over their entire army to you. Then you will know that I am the LORD." 29 They camped facing one another for seven days, and on the seventh day the battle started. The Israelites killed 100,000 Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The survivors fled to Aphek, the city where the wall fell on 27,000 of them. Benhadad had also fled. He came to the city and hid in an inner room. 31 His officers told him, "We have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Allow us to dress in sackcloth, put ropes around our necks, and go to the king of Israel. Maybe he'll let you live." 32 So they dressed in sackcloth and put ropes around their necks. They went to the king of Israel and said, "Your servant Benhadad says, 'Please let me live.'" Ahab asked, "He's still alive? He's my brother." 33 The men, watching for a good sign, were quick to take him at his word. "Benhadad is your brother," they said. Ahab said, "Bring him here." When Benhadad arrived, Ahab had him come up on the chariot with him. 34 Benhadad told him, "I will give back the towns my father took from your father. You may set up trading centers in Damascus as my father did in Samaria." Ahab said, "If you will put this into a treaty, I will let you go." So Ahab made a treaty with Benhadad and let him go. 35 A disciple of the prophets spoke to a friend as the word of the LORD had told him. [The disciple said,] "Punch me," but the man refused to punch him. 36 The disciple said, "Since you didn't obey the LORD, a lion will kill you when you leave me." When the friend left, a lion found him and killed him. 37 Then the disciple found another man. He said, "Punch me." The man punched him hard and wounded him. 38 Then the prophet, disguised with a bandage over his eyes, waited for the king by the road. 39 When the king passed by, the disciple called to him. "I went to fight in the battle. A man turned around and brought a prisoner to me. He said, 'Guard this prisoner. If he gets away, you will pay for his life with your own life or be fined 75 pounds of silver.' 40 But while I was busy doing other things, he got away." The king of Israel told him, "That's your own penalty. You have determined it yourself." 41 Then he quickly took the bandage off his eyes. The king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 The prophet told him, "This is what the LORD says: You let the man go. He was claimed by God and should have been killed. For that reason your life will be taken in place of his life and your people in place of his people." 43 Resentful and upset, the king of Israel went home to Samaria.