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1 Kings 18 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 A long time passed. Then God's word came to Elijah. The drought was now in its third year. The message: "Go and present yourself to Ahab; I'm about to make it rain on the country." 1 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."
2 Elijah set out to present himself to Ahab. The drought in Samaria at the time was most severe. 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria,
3 Ahab called for Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. Obadiah feared God - he was very devout. 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD.
4 Earlier, when Jezebel had tried to kill off all the prophets of God, Obadiah had hidden away a hundred of them in two caves, fifty in a cave, and then supplied them with food and water. 4 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.)
5 Ahab ordered Obadiah, "Go through the country; locate every spring and every stream. Let's see if we can find enough grass to keep our horses and mules from dying." 5 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."
6 So they divided the country between them for the search - Ahab went one way, Obadiah the other. 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
7 Obadiah went his way and suddenly there he was - Elijah! Obadiah fell on his knees, bowing in reverence, and exclaimed, "Is it really you - my master Elijah?" 7 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?"
8 "Yes," said Elijah, "the real me. Now go and tell your boss, 'I've seen Elijah.'" 8 "Yes," he replied. "Go tell your master, 'Elijah is here.' "
9 Obadiah said, "But what have I done to deserve this? Ahab will kill me. 9 "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 your God lives, there isn't a country or kingdom where my master hasn't sent out search parties looking for you. And if they said, 'We can't find him; we've looked high and low,' he would make that country or kingdom swear that you were not to be found. 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 And now you're telling me, 'Go and tell your master Elijah's found!' 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, 'Elijah is here.'
12 The minute I leave you the Spirit of God will whisk you away to who knows where. Then when I report to Ahab, you'll have disappeared and Ahab will kill me. And I've served God devoutly since I was a boy! 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 Hasn't anyone told you what I did when Jezebel was out to kill the prophets of God, how I risked my life by hiding a hundred of them, fifty to a cave, and made sure they got food and water? 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're telling me to draw attention to myself by announcing to my master, 'Elijah's been found.' Why, he'll kill me for sure." 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, 'Elijah is here.' He will kill me!"
15 Elijah said, "As surely as God-of-the-Angel-Armies lives, and before whom I take my stand, I'll meet with your master face to face this very day." 15 Elijah said, "As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today."
16 So Obadiah went straight to Ahab and told him. And Ahab went out to meet Elijah. 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
17 The moment Ahab saw Elijah he said, "So it's you, old troublemaker!" 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"
18 "It's not I who has caused trouble in Israel," said Elijah, "but you and your government - you've dumped God's ways and commands and run off after the local gods, the Baals. 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 Here's what I want you to do: Assemble everyone in Israel at Mount Carmel. And make sure that the special pets of Jezebel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of the local gods, the Baals, and the four hundred prophets of the whore goddess Asherah, are there." 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 summoned everyone in Israel, particularly the prophets, to Mount Carmel. 20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.
21 Elijah challenged the people: "How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it's Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!" Nobody said a word; nobody made a move. 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, "I'm the only prophet of God left in Israel; and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. 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 Let the Baal prophets bring up two oxen; let them pick one, butcher it, and lay it out on an altar on firewood - but don't ignite it. I'll take the other ox, cut it up, and lay it on the wood. But neither will I light the fire. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let them 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 pray to your gods and I'll pray to God. The god who answers with fire will prove to be, in fact, God." All the people agreed: "A good plan - do 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 told the Baal prophets, "Choose your ox and prepare it. You go first, you're the majority. Then pray to your god, but don't light the fire." 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 ox he had given them, prepared it for the altar, then prayed to Baal. They prayed all morning long, "O Baal, answer us!" But nothing happened - not so much as a whisper of breeze. Desperate, they jumped and stomped on the altar they had made. 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 By noon, Elijah had started making fun of them, taunting, "Call a little louder - he is a god, after all. Maybe he's off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he's gotten involved in a project, or maybe he's on vacation. You don't suppose he's overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?" 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 They prayed louder and louder, cutting themselves with swords and knives - a ritual common to them - until they were covered with blood. 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.
29 This went on until well past noon. They used every religious trick and strategy they knew to make something happen on the altar, but nothing happened - not so much as a whisper, not a flicker of response. 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 told the people, "Enough of that - it's my turn. Gather around." And they gathered. He then put the altar back together for by now it was in ruins. 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 was in ruins.
31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Jacob, the same Jacob to whom God had said, "From now on your name is Israel." 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 He built the stones into the altar in honor of God. Then Elijah dug a fairly wide trench around the altar. 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 of seed.
33 He laid firewood on the altar, cut up the ox, put it on the wood, and said, "Fill four buckets with water and drench both the ox and the firewood." 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 Then he said, "Do it again," and they did it. Then he said, "Do it a third time," 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 and they did it a third time. The altar was drenched and the trench was filled with water. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 When it was time for the sacrifice to be offered, Elijah the prophet came up and prayed, "O God, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make it known right now that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I'm doing what I'm doing under your orders. 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, 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, God; O answer me and reveal to this people that you are God, the true God, and that you are giving these people another chance at repentance." 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."
38 Immediately the fire of God fell and burned up the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and even the water in the trench. 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 All the people saw it happen and fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, "God is the true God! God is the true God!" 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD--he is God! The LORD--he is God!"
40 Elijah told them, "Grab the Baal prophets! Don't let one get away!" They grabbed them. Elijah had them taken down to the Brook Kishon and they massacred the lot. 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 Elijah said to Ahab, "Up on your feet! Eat and drink - celebrate! Rain is on the way; I hear it coming." 41 And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain."
42 Ahab did it: got up and ate and drank. Meanwhile, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees. 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 Then he said to his young servant, "On your feet now! Look toward the sea." He went, looked, and reported back, "I don't see a thing." "Keep looking," said Elijah, "seven times if necessary." 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 And sure enough, the seventh time he said, "Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone's hand, rising out of the sea." "Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, 'Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.'" 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 Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.
46 And God strengthened Elijah mightily. Pulling up his robe and tying it around his waist, Elijah ran in front of Ahab's chariot until they reached Jezreel. 46 The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.