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Elijah Destroys the Prophets of Baal

There was a terrible famine in the land, because no rain had fallen for a long time. Ahab knew that the curse of Elijah was upon him and the land, and he sought to find him. At last Ahab met Elijah and said to him: "Are you he that troubles Israel?"

But Elijah answered: "I have not troubled Israel. But you have done so in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have worshiped heathen gods."

Elijah told Ahab to gather the prophets of Baal, four hundred and fifty in number and the prophets of the grove, four hundred in number, all of whom ate at the table of the wicked Jezebel, and bring them to Mount Carmel. Ahab did as Elijah commanded him and all the heathen prophets came to Mount Carmel where Elijah was.

Many people came together at the time to see what Elijah was going to do. Elijah stood up and said: "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; if Baal is God, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.

"I, even I, am the only prophet of the Lord that is here, but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men, as you see," said Elijah to the people. "Give us two bullocks, let these false prophets take one bullock and cut it in pieces and lay it on wood and put no fire under it. I will dress the other bullock and lay it on wood and put no fire under it. Let the prophets of Baal call on their gods and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god that answers by fire, let him be God."

When the people heard these words of Elijah, they answered: "It is well spoken. Let us have a trial and see who is the true God."

The prophets took the bullock that was given them and they dressed it and laid it on the wood and put no fire under it. Then they called on the name of their god and prayed him to send fire to burn the bullock. They leaped upon the altar, and danced round it but there was no answer.

Elijah mocked them and said: "Cry aloud, for Baal is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he may be asleep and must be awakened."

The prophets cried aloud and cut themselves with knives and lancets till the blood gushed out upon them but there was no voice and no answer to their prayers.

Elijah said to the people: "Come near to me," and they came near to him. Then he took twelve stones and with them he built an altar in the name of the Lord and made a trench around the altar. He put the wood in order and cut the bullock in pieces and laid it on the wood.

He said to those around him: "Fill four barrels of water and pour on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood." After they had done that, he said: "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time. He said: "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. The water ran around about the altar and filled the trench.

Then Elijah called to the Lord and said: "God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are the true God, and I am Thy servant and that I have done all these things in Your name."

The fire came down from heaven and consumed the bullock and the wood and the stones of the altar and licked up the water that was in the trench. When the people saw it they bowed themselves to the ground and said: "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God!"

Then Elijah said to them: "Take the prophets of Baal, let not one of them escape." And they took them and Elijah brought them down to the brook of Kishon and slew them there.

Then Elijah said to Ahab: "Get you to your house and eat and drink, for it shall rain, and there shall be no more famine." And in a short while there was a great rain, even as the prophet had said.