When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, "Is that you, the one who troubles Israel?"
Elijah answered, "I haven't troubled Israel; you and your father's house have! You did as much when you deserted the LORD's commands and followed the Baals.
Now send a message and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel. Gather the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table."
Ahab sent the message to all the Israelites. He gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel.
Elijah approached all the people and said, "How long will you hobble back and forth between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow God. If Baal is God, follow Baal." The people gave no answer.
Elijah said to the people, "I am the last of the LORD's prophets, but Baal's prophets number four hundred fifty.
Give us two bulls. Let Baal's prophets choose one. Let them cut it apart and set it on the wood, but don't add fire. I'll prepare the other bull, put it on the wood, but won't add fire.
Then all of you will call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers with fire—that's the real God!" All the people answered, "That's an excellent idea."
So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of these bulls. Prepare it first since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but don't add fire."
So they took one of the bulls that had been brought to them. They prepared it and called on Baal's name from morning to midday. They said, "Great Baal, answer us!" But there was no sound or answer. They performed a hopping dance around the altar that had been set up.
Around noon, Elijah started making fun of them: "Shout louder! Certainly he's a god! Perhaps he is lost in thought or wandering or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he is asleep and must wake up!"
So the prophets of Baal cried with a louder voice and cut themselves with swords and knives as was their custom. Their blood flowed all over them.
As noon passed they went crazy with their ritual until it was time for the evening offering. Still there was no sound or answer, no response whatsoever.
Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here!" All the people closed in, and he repaired the LORD's altar that had been damaged.
Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob—to whom the LORD's word came: "Your name will be Israel."
He built the stones into an altar in the LORD's name, and he dug a trench around the altar big enough to hold two seahs of dry grain.
He put the wood in order, butchered the bull, and placed the bull on the wood. "Fill four jars with water and pour it on the sacrifice and on the wood," he commanded.
"Do it a second time!" he said. So they did it a second time. "Do it a third time!" And so they did it a third time.
The water flowed around the altar, and even the trench filled with water.
At the time of the evening offering, the prophet Elijah drew near and prayed: "LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. I have done all these things at your instructions.
Answer me, LORD! Answer me so that this people will know that you, LORD, are the real God and that you can change their hearts."
Then the LORD's fire fell; it consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up the water in the trench!
All the people saw this and fell on their faces. "The LORD is the real God! The LORD is the real God!" they exclaimed.