The famine was so severe in Samaria that Ahab had called Obadiah, the overseer of the palace. Obadiah was very loyal to Jehovah; for when Jezebel tried to kill the prophets of Jehovah, he took a hundred and hid them in a cave and kept them supplied with bread and water. Ahab said to Obadiah, “Come, let us go through the land to all the springs and to all the brooks, in the hope that we may find grass, so that we can save the horses and mules and not lose all of them.” So they divided the land between them, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
While Obadiah was on the way, Elijah suddenly met him. As soon as Obadiah knew him, he fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He answered, “It is; go, tell your master: ‘Elijah is here.’” But Obadiah said, “What sin have I done, that you would give your servant over to Ahab to kill me? As surely as Jehovah your God lives, there is no nation nor kingdom where my lord has not sent to find you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he made each of the kingdoms and nations take an oath, that no one had found you. Now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, Elijah is here!’ As soon as I have left you the spirit of Jehovah will carry you to a place unknown to me, so that when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will put me to death, although I, your servant, have been loyal to Jehovah from my youth! Have you not been told what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Jehovah, how I hid a hundred by fifties in a cave and fed them continually with bread and water?” Elijah answered, “As surely as Jehovah of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will show myself to Ahab to-day.”
So Obadiah went to Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. As soon as Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is it you, you who have brought trouble to Israel?” He answered, “I have not brought trouble on Israel, but you and your father’s house have; because you have failed to follow the commands of Jehovah and have run after the Phoenician gods. Now therefore call together to me at Mount Carmel all the Israelites and the four hundred and fifty prophets of the god Baal who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
So Ahab sent for all the Israelites and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah came to the people and said, “How long are you going to falter between worshipping Jehovah or Baal? If Jehovah is the true God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him.” But the people were silent. Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left as a prophet of Jehovah, but there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Let us take two oxen; let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, without lighting any fire, and I will dress the other ox and lay it on wood, without lighting any fire. Then you call on your god and I will call on Jehovah. The god who answers by fire is the true God.” All the people answered and said, “It is a fair offer.”
Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the oxen for yourselves and dress it first, for you are many, and call on your god, without lighting any fire.” So they took the ox which he gave them and dressed it, and called on their god from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us.” But there was no voice nor answer, although they leaped about the altar which they had built.
When it was noon, Elijah mocked them, saying, “Call loudly, for he is a god; either he is thinking, or he has gone out, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened!” Then they called loudly and cut themselves, as was their custom, with swords and lances until the blood gushed out upon them. When noon was past, they cried out in frenzy until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was neither voice nor answer nor was any attention paid to their cry.
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people drew near to him, and he rebuilt the altar of Jehovah which had been thrown down. Then around the altar he made a ditch that would hold about two bushels of seed. When he had placed the pieces of wood in order, he cut up the ox and laid it on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt-offering and on the pieces of wood.” And he said, “Do it the second time”; and they did it the second time. He said, “Do it the third time”; and they did it the third time, so that the water ran round the altar. And he also filled the ditch with water.
When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Jehovah, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy command. Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Jehovah, art God, and that thou mayst win their hearts.”
Then the fire of Jehovah fell and burned up the burnt-offering and the wood, the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried, “Jehovah, he is God; Jehovah, he is God.” But Elijah commanded them, “Take the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape!” So they took them down to the Brook Kishon and there put them to death.
Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink; for there are signs of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel and crouched down upon the earth, with his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” But seven times he said, “Go again.” So the servant went back seven times, but the seventh time he said, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising out of the sea.” Then Elijah said, “Go, say to Ahab, ‘Make ready your chariot; go down, that the rain may not stop you.’” In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. And as Ahab rode toward Jezreel, Elijah was given divine strength, so that he tightened his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance to Jezreel.