Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

The deaths of the prophets of Baal

1 Kings 18:40

The prophets of the false god Baal, were the leaders of a cruel and evil religion. Jezebel, the queen, followed that religion. She hated those people who served the true God. She ordered the deaths of many of them, and the prophets of Baal approved of those murders (18:4).

God forgives even wicked people if they truly turn to him and away from their evil deeds (Ezekiel 18:23). These false prophets had seen the power of the true God when he sent fire from heaven. We do not know their reaction to that event – but clearly, they did not change their attitudes. It seems from Elijah’s words that they were trying to escape. In other words, this extraordinary event had merely interrupted the progress of their religion, in their opinion. They still had the support of King Ahab and of Jezebel. Soon, they intended to return, and to make the religion of Baal even stronger in Israel.

So, Elijah saw that he must act in judgment against them. This was not pleasant work for a holy man like Elijah – but he had to show God’s anger against their evil deeds. For the same reason, Samuel had killed the wicked King Agag (1 Samuel 15:33). God would later tell Elijah that, after him, Elisha might have to act in a similar manner (19:17).

The valley of the Kishon river runs along the north-east side of the long, low mountain called Carmel. A great crowd of people had seen the events on that day, and declared their support for the true God. It was these people who took the 450 prophets of Baal down to the Kishon valley. There, they killed these false prophets.

Next part: Elijah prays for rain (1 Kings 18:41-42)


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