Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

Elijah tells Ahab to gather his ‘prophets’ at Carmel

1 Kings 18:19

In 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah told Ahab that the rain would not fall. It had happened as Elijah said. For three years, there had been no rain. Elijah also said at that time that the rain would only return at Elijah’s command.

Ahab hated Elijah and he hated Elijah’s God. He was a proud king, and he did not want to obey anyone else’s instructions. However, the lack of rain and the failure of the harvests made him very desperate.

Elijah told him to order the people in northern and central Israel to gather on Carmel. Carmel is a long, low mountain near to Israel’s coast. Here, there had been an ancient altar – a place where Israel’s people had formerly served the true God (18:30).

Now, however, Ahab had brought new and evil religions into Israel. These were the religions of the false male god called Baal, and the false female god called Asherah. Some people had given themselves over wholly to the control of these false gods. They did that because they wanted to have power in the spirit world. These people were called prophets and other people considered them holy for the purposes of their religion.

Israel’s people were desperate for food at this time. However, the prophets of Baal and Asherah were not struggling like the other people. That was because Jezebel, Ahab’s wife was providing richly for them. Jezebel did not care about the people in Israel, but she cared much about the success of these false religions. She wanted to destroy completely the religion of the true God in Israel.

Next part: Choose between God and Baal (1 Kings 18:20-21)


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