Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

Magic in religion

1 Kings 18:28-29

The people who followed the religion of Baal, believed in the power of magic and the spirit world. In their opinion, the prophets of Baal were people with great power in the spirit world. These prophets had given their lives completely to the false god Baal; so, in the opinion of the people, Baal approved greatly of these prophets.

450 of Baal’s prophets had prayed for several hours for Baal to send fire. By midday, nothing had happened. So, the prophets of Baal believed that they must use stronger magic. They took knives and other sharp objects. They cut deeply into their own bodies, so that blood was flowing freely from their injuries. They called out desperately to Baal; they screamed under the power of evil spirits. They were clearly in great pain; it would be hard to know whether they were suffering more in their bodies or in their spirits.

Clearly, they were truly desperate. If Baal was sleeping, they wanted to wake him. If Baal had given his attention to something else, they needed to gain his attention. If Baal was busy, he needed to be aware of the importance of this matter.

The Bible mentions that it was their custom to do these terrible things to themselves. They often did such things. The religion of Baal was very cruel to the people who followed it most strictly. It made them do awful things to try to gain power in the spirit world.

However, even these desperate actions could not gain Baal’s help. Baal did not answer their prayer. There was no fire from heaven. They had suffered these things in vain.

Next part: Elijah rebuilds the altar of the true God (1 Kings 18:30-32)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.


© 2024, Keith Simons.