the third year of the drought, the Lord came to Elijah and said,
"Go before Ahab in Samaria, and I will send rain upon the
Ahab saw Elijah he said, "Is it you who have brought this
drought and famine to Israel?"
Elijah made answer, "It is you, your wife Jezebel, and your
household who have
forsaken the commandments of the Lord. You are responsible for
Israel's trouble. You have ordered the destruction of the prophets
of the Lord, but the prophets of Baal flourish. Therefore send for
them to gather on Mt. Carmel all the prophets of Baal, and the
people of Israel."
When they were
all gathered together, Elijah spoke to them. "How long will
it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is God, follow Him;
if not, then follow Baal." The people, completely awed by
seeing Elijah so fearless, answered not a word.
"I lone am
prophet of the Lord," he went on, "but there are here
four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Give us therefore two
bullocks to sacrifice. Let them choose one, kill and prepare it,
lay it on wood but put no fire under it. I will do likewise. Then
let them call on Baal to light their fire, and I will call on the
Lord. Let the one who answers be your God."
The people were
willing, so the sacrifices were prepared. The prophets of Baal
prayed all morning. They cried aloud, and tore their garments, but
there was no answer of any kind - their sacrifice did not burn.
fell, Elijah came forward. He took twelve stones, representing the
twelve tribes of Israel, and made an altar. He dug a trench round
about the altar; he cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the
wood which he had set in order. Then he said to the people,
"Fill four barrels with water and pour it over the sacrifice
and on the wood." They did so three times, until the trench
was filled with water.
prayed aloud, "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel!
Let it be known that You are God of Israel, that I am Your servant
and have done only as You have commanded. Hear me, so that these
people may know You are the true God and will turn their hearts to
And the fire of
the Lord fell and consumed not only the sacrifice, the wood, and
the stones but all the water in the trench as well.
When the people
saw it they fell to the ground on their faces, saying, "The
Lord is our God." And Elijah said to them, "Take the
prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape." And they took
them and slew them, every one.
Elijah now said
to Ahab, "Get up. Eat and drink, for there will be an
abundance of rain."
A strong wind
blew up, driving great black rain clouds across the sky. Ahab got
into his chariot to ride down to the city before the great rain
should overtake him. As the storm broke, the hand of the Lord gave
strength to Elijah, and he ran the whole way before Ahab to the
entrance of the city.