0 Elijah's prayer contest (1 Kings 18)

Episode 141: Elijah's prayer contest

1 Kings 18

18 1 In the third year of Elijah's drought, the word of God came to Elijah and said,

Go see Ahab and I'll make it rain.

18 So Elijah went to Ahab and said to him,

You've forsaken God's commandments and followed Baal.

19 Now gather everyone in Israel on mount Carmel, along with 450 of Baal's prophets, and 400 prophets of the groves.

20 So Ahab gathered everyone in Israel to mount Carmel, along with the 850 prophets that Elijah requested. 21 When everyone was assembled, Elijah said,

22 I am only one person, but here are 450 of Baal's prophets.

23 So give us two bullocks. Let them choose one, cut in pieces, and lay it on wood.

I'll do likewise with the other one.

24 They can call on their gods, and I'll call on mine. Whichever god answers with fire, is God.

And all the people said, "Amen".

26 So the prophets of Baal did that with their bullock. They called out Baal's name all morning, saying, "Baal, hear us." But nothing happened. So they jumped up and down on the altar.

27 Elijah was enjoying the whole thing. He mocked them saying,

Cry louder! Maybe he is talking to someone else, going to the bathroom, or he's on a journey, or sleeping, or something.

28 Baal's prophets kept trying. They cried, cut themselves, gushing blood all over the altar.

29 But at the end of the day, there was no voice or fire, or anything.

30 Then it was Elijah's turn. He told the people to gather around, while he prepared the altar. 31 He put out twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 32 Then he built an altar, piled the wood, cut the bullock in pieces, dug a trench around the altar, and said,

Pour four barrels of water on the sacrifice and the wood.

34 Then he said to pour more water a second and a third time, until water filled the trench surrounding the altar. 36 Finally, Elijah was ready. He said to God,

Let everyone know today that you're God and I'm your servant.

38 Then fire from God fell from heaven and burned the burnt sacrifice, and the stones, dust, and even the water. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and said,

The Lord is God. The Lord is God.

After winning the contest, Elijah kills the 450 losers

40 Elijah said to the people,

Capture the prophets of Baal. Don't let any escape.

The people caught them, and Elijah killed them.

Elijah makes it rain

42 Elijah went to the top of mount Carmel, fell down on the ground, and put his face between his knees. 43 He told his servant to look toward the sea. He looked but saw nothing. He told him to look seven more times.

44 On the seventh try, the servant saw a small cloud come out of the sea, about the size of a man's hand. Elijah said to Ahab, "Prepare your chariot. It's about to rain."

45 Soon there were black clouds, wind, and a great rain. Ahab took off in his chariot for Jezreel.

46 But the hand of God was on Elijah, who girded his loins and ran to Jezreel, running so fast that he arrived before Ahab who was in a horse-driven chariot!

A few more words about this episode

Capture the prophets of Baal. Don't let any escape. (18:40)
Drunk with Blood: Elijah kills 450 religious leaders in a prayer contest
He arrived before Ahab. (18:46)
Jezreel was about 50 kilometers from Mount Carmel, so Elijah must have been in pretty good shape to outrun Ahab in his chariot.
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