In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years.
Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.
He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.
He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria.
Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.
In Ahab's time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah:
"Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.
You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."
So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there.
The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
Then the word of the LORD came to him:
"Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food."
So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?"
As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
"As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die."
Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.
For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.
She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"
"Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.
Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?"
Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!"
The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived.
Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!"
Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."
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."
So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria,
and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD.
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.)
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."
So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
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?"