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1Ki 18:1 It happened after many days, that the word of Yahweh came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain on the earth-
Elijah said that there would be no rain "but according to my word" (1 Kings 17:1). His faith was undoubtedly based upon being attune to the will of God and His ways of working with His people, to the extent that he knew that because the word abided in him, he could ask what he wanted and it would be heard, because he asked according to God's will. But when the time comes for rain, we read that "the word of Yahweh [not Elijah's word] came to Elijah... saying... I will send rain upon the earth" (1 Kings 18:1). It seems Elijah was more interested in judging the people for their sins, than seeing their repentance. God wanted to send the rain because of His pity, in the spirit of Dt. 32:36 "For Yahweh will judge His people and have compassion / pity on His servants when He sees that their power is gone, that there is none remaining, shut up or left at large". Both Obadiah and the widow of Zarephath feel that Elijah had brought their sins to rememberance, or tried to. And he failed to recognize the repentance when it came. He will later insist that he alone is faithful to Yahweh. He discounted the 7000 who had not bowed to Baal, and the 100 prophets hidden by Obadiah; as well as Obadiah and the widow woman of 1 Kings 17. As well as Micaiah and the various faithful prophets who appear later in the record at this time. But perhaps all these faithful ones were those who had responded to the three years of drought. Even if Elijah discounted them.  

Elijah had reasoned that because God's word said there would be drought if Israel were disobedient, therefore he could pray to God for a drought and be assured of an answer. And so it happened. But he doesn't get God's grace- that in wrath God remembers mercy, whether or not Israel have repented. God tells him that the drought is now over. In his legalistic way, Elijah assumes this must mean that Israel have repented. And so he sets up the contest on Carmel. When he prays for rain to come, this is because he thinks that Israel have repented- whereas 18:1 clearly states that it was God who decided to send rain by grace, without repentance. The fact Ahab is present with Elijah and appears to accept the outcome of the contest encouraged him in this. And therefore, on the basis that he thought Israel had repented, Elijah prays to God for rain. But when Ahab's repentance is shortlived as soon as he returns to Jezebel... Elijah therefore falls into depression. Because he just didn't get it, that God's basic pity and dislike of judgment meant that He had decided to cut short the drought by His sovereign grace.

1Ki 18:2 Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria-
This was a risky thing to do, as Ahab and Jezebel had been searching everywhere for Elijah with a view to killing him. But Elijah is to be commended for obeying God's word.

1Ki 18:3 Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared Yahweh greatly-
We naturally wonder how he could have retained his responsible post at the palace of Baal worshippers. He presumably like Naaman must have gone through some motions of Baal worship. But his heart was "greatly" with Yahweh. Elijah will later state that he alone is faithful in Israel. Obadiah's surface level failure was enough for Elijah to write him off completely. And there is strong warning to us here.   

Obadiah saved the lives of 100 prophets. Elijah took the lives of 450 prophets and 100 soldiers. When the disciples wanted to imitate Elijah by bringing down fire from Heaven, the Lord rebuked them by saying they didn't know what Spirit they had. We wonder if one function of Obadiah in the narrative is to point out what is a far more effective way of serving Yahweh- humbly living out His principles and secretly doing His work, as opposed to the antics of Elijah on the public stage. Obadiah, as his name means, was a servant of Yahweh. He surely is presented as a kind of foil for Elijah, who speaks of himself as a "man of God".

1Ki 18:4 for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of Yahweh, that Obadiah took one hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water)-
God tried to correct Elijah’s despising of the other prophets of the Lord. Elijah was in a cave, and was also fed bread and water- just as the other prophets were. And yet Elijah didn’t see, or didn’t want to see, that connection- after having been reminded of this experience of the other prophets, he claims that “I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord” (1 Kings 18:22)- he wrongly believed that all other valid prophets had been slain (1 Kings 19:10). In fact the record shows how that during Elijah’s lifetime there were other prophets of Yahweh active in His service (1 Kings 20:13,35). And yet the lesson is that God still works through the conceited, the spiritually superior, those who despise their brethren. God didn’t give up on Elijah because he was like this, and neither should we give up in our relationship with such brethren.

The fact Elijah was hidden by God meant that he was forced into fellowship with the prophets of Yahweh whom Obadiah hid in a cave. Elijah was thus intended to see a link between Obadiah and God, and himself and the other prophets of Yahweh. But Elijah’s pride didn’t let himself make the connection, just as ours often doesn’t. For he continued doubtful of Obadiah’s sincerity, and still insisted that he alone remained a faithful prophet of Yahweh- even though Obadiah had hidden one hundred other prophets from Jezebel’s persecution. Those one hundred prophets were presumably part of the 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

1Ki 18:5 Ahab said to Obadiah, Go through the land, to all the springs of water, and to all the brooks. Perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, so that we don’t lose all the animals-
This reflects the pitiful selfishness of Ahab. He like Solomon was obsessed with his horses, which a true king of Israel ought not to have had (Dt. 17:16,17). For Ahab, the worst thing about the famine was that there was no fodder for his prized herd of horses, and he personally is so concerned about it that he and the master of his household go around Israel searching for grass to feed them with, lest he have to slay them. 

Elijah was fed by unclean ravens with unclean food. His conception of the unclean was thereby challenged by a Divine re-education. But Obadiah likewise was an instrument of Divine feeding for God's prophets. Elijah should have learned the lesson, and accepted that Obadiah was likewise clean, and not made unclean by his association with Ahab. 

1Ki 18:6 So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself-
As noted on :5, Ahab personally went out in search of fodder for his beloved but unlawful herd of horses, because they meant so very much to him. He was far less concerned about the fate of his people. If Obadiah had been a literalist, he would have challenged Ahab about the matter, citing the words of Dt. 17:16,17 as to how Israel's king shouldn't have horses; and arguing that he should accept the loss of them as a quite legitimate punishment for breaking the covenant. Obadiah didn't do this; instead he assisted in the search for fodder for the illegal horses. Yet he "feared Yahweh greatly"- that is the Divine comment upon him. We do indeed have the example of Daniel in Babylon, not defiling himself with the king's meat, and insisting on publically praying toward Jerusalem when this was forbidden. But the Bible also brings before us the example of Obadiah, who was not like that. And of Elijah, who condemned him as not really genuine, and was himself condemned for judging in that way.

1Ki 18:7 As Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he recognized him and fell on his face and said, Is it you, my lord Elijah?-
Elijah must have been known as a prophet for Obadiah to recognize him. Presumably he had advertised the fact that the drought was because of his word (1 Kings 17:1), and was an invitation for Israel to accept that they were receiving the consequences of breaking the covenant and needed to repent.

1Ki 18:8 He answered him, It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here!’-
Elijah is mocking Obadiah's addressing of him as "my lord" (:7). He is saying that Ahab is Obadiah's lord, and he did not accept Obadiah as one of his servants, nor a servant of Yahweh. Because Elijah considered himself the sole remaining Yahweh worshipper. "Obadiah" means 'servant of Yahweh', but Elijah is opining that Obadiah is servant of his lord Ahab, not Yahweh. We continually see Elijah presented as arrogant and elitist. If not narcissistic.

1Ki 18:9 He said, Wherein have I sinned, that you would deliver your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?-
Again, Obadiah insists that he is Elijah's servant, and not that of Ahab. See on :8. We note that the widow woman likewise considered that Elijah was treating her as a sinner (1 Kings 17:18). Elijah came over as so spiritually superior that he made people feel bad about themselves. No wonder his ministry was taken away from him.

1Ki 18:10 As Yahweh your God lives-
This is exactly the language of the widow woman in 1 Kings 17:12. Elijah is being made to see the similarity between these two faithful people, who lived in totally different situations. But it seems he considered neither of them to be sincere worshippers of Yahweh; he later says that he alone was left faithful.

There is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. When they said, ‘He is not here’, he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they didn’t find you-
As noted on :7, Elijah was known to be the one who had caused the famine. And Ahab wrongly assumed he had fled Israel so as not to have to endure the famine himself. 

This shows the total obscurity of the widow woman. The great search for Elijah didn't think of going to her. But Elijah must have remained secluded in her home for probably three years. This was surely to seek to educate and teach him. But still he refused to accept Obadiah and the other prophets as of Yahweh, insisting that he alone was faithful to Yahweh. Even after those three years of Divine re-education. 


1Ki 18:11 Now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, Behold, Elijah is here’-
Elijah evidently didn’t have too positive a view of anyone apart from himself- and that included faithful Obadiah. Obadiah repeatedly calls Elijah “my Lord” and describes himself as “your servant”; but Elijah responds to this by calling Obadiah the servant of Ahab- he tells him to go and tell “your Lord”, i.e. Ahab (1 Kings 18:7-14). Elijah is insisting that he and Obadiah have nothing in common- Obadiah serves Ahab, and he is nothing to do with Elijah. ‘Obadiah’ means ‘servant of Yahweh’- the name surely reflects very faithful parents to have called him that at the time of the Baal cult. But Elijah insists that Obadiah is really a servant of Ahab, not of Yahweh.

1Ki 18:12 It will happen, as soon as I am gone from you, that the spirit of Yahweh will carry you I don’t know where; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he can’t find you, he will kill me. But I, your servant, have feared Yahweh from my youth-
It seems it was a common occurrence for Elijah to be snatched away by the Spirit. His snatching away into the sky when Elisha replaces him needs to be read in this context. Which is why after that, the sons of the prophets go out looking for him, assuming he has been dropped down in some remote location. We should not therefore read that incident as meaning that Elisha was snatched up into Heaven. For no man has ascended to Heaven (Jn. 3:13).

Obadiah here assumes that if Elijah's life was in danger, there was only one way for God to save him- by His spirit whisking Elijah away to safety. Obadiah assumes this will happen when Elijah meets Ahab. But it is in these assumptions about God's "options" that we are time and again proven so wrong.

1Ki 18:13 Wasn’t it told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Yahweh, how I hid one hundred men of Yahweh’s prophets with fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water?-
Obadiah faithfully hid Yahweh's prophets, at the risk of his life; but when tested again in this matter, he was fearful to appear to Ahab to have been hiding Elijah's location (1 Kings 18:10-12). We can pass the test at one stage in our lives, and yet when the same test repeats later, we may still fail.

Elijah felt he was the only faithful man left in Israel. Yet 1 Kings 18:4 records how he was reminded that Obadiah had fed Yahweh’s prophets in a cave with bread and water. Elijah also had been hidden in a cave and fed with bread and water. 1 Kings 17:4,9; 18:4,13 all use the same Hebrew word for feed / fed / sustain. The connection was to try to teach him his linkage with the prophets, whom he felt were still apostate. God tries to teach us things but we often fail to grasp the potential understanding made possible; be aware that He is trying! Elijah was fed by both ravens and a widow, as the prophets were fed by Obadiah. The raven and the Gentile widow woman were both ‘commanded’ [s.w.] to feed Elijah by God. Both would have been seen by him as unclean. God repeatedly tried to teach Elijah that true spirituality is about doing what is counter-instinctive in terms of personal self-control- rather than about blasting others for their apostacy, hard words when provoked, etc. Hence God begins by making Elijah's very life depend upon being fed by unclean birds bringing him food. Those ravens had to avoid bringing him dead meat- which is their usual food. They had to surrender their food to him, when there was little food around; and they had to come up to a man and give him their food, all of which was counter-instinctive for ravens. And thus Elijah was shown that life itself, especially spiritual life, depends upon counter-instinctive behaviour. And within Elijah's personality type, to criticize and condemn others was instinctive behaviour.


1Ki 18:14 Now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, Behold, Elijah is here!’- and he will kill me-
If Ahab would have killed Obadiah for reporting a false sighting of Elijah, then how much more likely would he have been to have killed Obadiah for hiding the prophets in :13. So Obadiah is volunteering very personal information to Elijah, so desperate was he for Elijah to accept him as sincere. But for all that sacrifice and risk in sharing the information, Elijah would not accept him as genuine. For he considered only himself as genuine. 

1Ki 18:15 Elijah said, As Yahweh of Armies lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today-
To stand before Yahweh implied Elijah was a prophet, and he seems to love to emphasize this to Obadiah, considering Obadiah not at all the 'servant of Yahweh' which he claimed to be and which his name meant. Elijah implies that Obadiah was disbelieving the prophetic word by raising the concern he had.

1Ki 18:16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah-
We are invited to imagine what were Ahab's feelings. He had searched high and low for Elijah, seeking to kill him being responsible for the drought. And now he was invited to go and meet him.

1Ki 18:17 It happened that when Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, Is that you, you troubler of Israel?-
LXX "the perverter". Ahab justified his persecution of Elijah by reasoning that Elijah was perverting the true Israelite religion. See on :18.

1Ki 18:18 He answered, I have not troubled Israel; but you, and your father’s house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of Yahweh, and you have followed the Baals-
One of Elijah’s problems was that because he spoke the truth, God confirmed his words; but this didn’t mean that Elijah himself was always morally acceptable to God. Thus Ahab accuses Elijah of being the one who troubles Israel, like Achan (Josh. 7:25), for whose sake many of the people suffered. Elijah replies that it is Ahab who is the troubler of Israel, the Achan character. And he lived up to this, for in his days they sought to rebuild Jericho, and the curse associated with Achan came true at that time (1 Kings 16:34). Elijah’s words were justified, just as the truth we speak to those around us may be- because it is the truth of God. But this doesn’t of itself mean that we are right before God personally, nor does it mean that we can in any way presume to ‘play God’.  

1Ki 18:19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel to Mount Carmel, and four hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal, and four hundred of the prophets of the Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table-
Although these prophets were to be slain later in this chapter, we read again of Ahab having 400 false prophets later in his reign (1 Kings 22:6). So it seems that he didn't learn his lesson, and raised up another such group. This fits with the common theme of purges and repentances at the time of the kings needing to be repeated. For the purges were only surface level, despite all the evidence for them at the time.

The gathering of all Israel to a mountain recalls Moses gathering all Israel to mount Sinai, likewise placing before them the stark choice between Yahweh and idolatry, and Moses' repetition of the theme in Dt. 30:15-20.

Carmel was chosen because it was renowned for its fertility, and was thought to be the abode of Baal- the god of fertility, who gave rain, lightning and fire in order to produce fertility. It was an extremely brave move by Elijah- for trapped at the top of Carmel, he would have no escape route. The prophets of Baal were armed with spears and swords / knives with which they cut themselves.

1Ki 18:20 So Ahab sent to all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together to Mount Carmel-
Ahab is not recorded as saying anything further. He apparently doesn't accuse Elijah of anything else, and obeys what Elijah asks him to do. We wonder why Ahab and Jezebel allowed this great showdown. Perhaps the plan was to not only kill Elijah, but to destroy his religious credibility before all Israel. Perhaps they were to set up various bogus schemes for creating fire to consume the sacrifices, but they failed at the last minute. The incident shows Ahab on one hand really did believe in Baal and thought Baal would come through for him. But he also saw the need to destroy the credibility of Elijah's God. The deep perceived need to do this was a tacit reflection of how subconsciously he knew there was a Yahweh... but he wanted to discredit Him. He is the one who hops between two opinions, as Elijah later says of Israel.

1Ki 18:21 Elijah came near to all the people and said, How long will you waver between the two sides? If Yahweh is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. The people answered him not a word-

When Elijah asks the people who they will follow they give no "answer" (v. 21), Elijah proposes that the god who "answers" is god (v. 24), the people "answer" (v. 24), the prophets of Baal cry out for an "answer" (v.26), they receive no "answer" (v. 29), and Elijah prays to God asking twice for an "answer" (v. 37). The people didn't answer because their god gave no answer. Yahweh is presented as the God who answers, and whose people are in dialogue with Him. "Dumb idols" says it all. No idol gives living relationship. Only the one true God does.


As with Moses appealing to Pharaoh, the classic example of limping between two opinions was Ahab. He repents several times in the record, but slips back. He has three children who have 'Yah' in their names (Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoram), tolerates Obadiah working for him, but he persecuted and slew the prophets of Yah.

When Elijah demands that the people chose which lord they will serve- Baal [=’lord’] or Yahweh, he is really getting to the very crux of spirituality- for truly, there can be no halting between the two opinions of serving Baal and serving Yahweh. The Lord Jesus surely based His words of Lk. 16:13 on those of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:21: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”. So although on one hand the Lord Jesus Himself quotes Elijah’s ‘truth’ approvingly, there is evidence galore that at the very same time, Elijah’s attitudes were far from Christ-like, as we will show below. At the very same time, Elijah mocks the Baal worshippers, teasing them to shout louder, because maybe their god has gone ‘in a journey’- a Hebraism for ‘gone to the toilet’ (1 Kings 18:27). This kind of mockery and crudeness is surely not how the Father and Son would have us act. Yet Elijah did this whilst at the same time deeply believing the fire would come down, and bringing it down by his faith. And saying other words which were alluded to with deep approval by the Lord.

Your own example of making clear choices, doing what is right before God rather than what is wise and smart in human eyes, will reveal a sense of clarity about you which will become inspirational to your brethren. Yours will not be one of those many lives that is paralyzed by constantly postponing the choices, by indecision, like Israel on Carmel, hopping backwards and forwards between two opinions (1 Kings 18:21), between your persona and your true person, which is Christ in you. Ultimately, the choice is not one of principles or doctrines or interpretations; it is between Christ and all the other things which would lead us away from Him. The essential choice is always between “Christ in you” and… her mother, your instincts, their self-perception imposed upon you, your self-interest. And in those choices there is no third road; we are at a T-junction, hour after hour. We chose either life or death (Dt. 30:19); we cannot serve two masters (Mt. 6:24). Insofar as you at least live a life that reflects this recognition, you will be a challenge to those around you.

How long will we halt between the two paths, never facing up to the choice? It's an agony to God, as was Laodicea's " neither hot nor cold" attitude. I sometimes wonder if say 90% of our prayer, our Bible reading, our spiritual activities, are all wasted because we are only half hearted about it. We don't (often) pray the prayer of dominant desire, or (often) read or (often) break bread with that spirit of total, total dedication and concentration. You must have, as I do, those all too fleeting moments of grasping the logic, the wonder, the imperative urgency of the fact there's no third way; that total devotion is the only choice. Cling on to those moments. Organize your life decisions around this spirit.

1Ki 18:22 Then Elijah said to the people, I, even I only, am left a prophet of Yahweh; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men-
Again we sense how arrogant and condemnatory is Elijah. Obadiah had recently reminded him of the 100 faithful prophets, and there were 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. There were also schools of the prophets operating (2 Kings 2:3,5,7) and various known prophets of Yahweh (1 Kings 22:8). But Elijah seems to be revelling here in standing with his back to the world. There are times when that is necessary, but it seems to have appealed to Elijah's personality type to set up a situation like this. And there are those within the body of believers who take an inappropriate encouragement from Elijah's attitude. Because he did indeed have faith and boldness, this didn't mean he had the hope and love without which even the faith to move mountains is of "no profit". Despite his arrogance, God worked through him. But that did not thereby justify him. You can give your body to be burned at the stake, and still not be saved if you have no love.   

135000 Midianites had faced Gideon's 300 men (Jud. 8:10). That works out at precisely 450 of the enemy for every one of Gideon's men. And it cannot be coincidence that Elijah describes himself as facing off as one man of God against 450 prophets of Baal on Carmel (1 Kings 18:22). Despite his arrogance and spiritual weakness, Elijah learned the lesson from Gideon's courageous example. This is how the Bible becomes a living word, the history is not dead but alive, because it has been carefully selected by God to show us that man is not alone, God is with us, no circumstance we face is in essence unique; others have trodden this path before.  


1Ki 18:23 Let them therefore give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it; and I will dress the other bull, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it-
The bull was offered as a sin offering, as bulls were at several points in the Mosaic legislation. Elijah is still assuming that the promised gift of rain was because they had repented and so a sin offering was required. He still fails to see God just wants to show pity. Elijah's idea was that his sin offering would be accepted by God, and their offering rejected, making them as Cain to his Abel. But because of the acceptance of his sin offering, Israel's sin would be purged and therefore the rain would come. God went along with this plan, indeed all this may have been of His commanding. In which case we see that He was willing to accept sin offering offered by a third party, without the repentance of the people. For they only apparently repented (and even then, not for very long) after He had accepted the sin offering Elijah offered. We see here His prevenient grace, not simply responding to human repentance and spirituality, but taking huge initiatives. 

1Ki 18:24 You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yahweh. The God who answers by fire, let him be God. All the people answered, It is well said-
Elijah almost seems to have revelled in assuming all Israel were apostate when he met them on Carmel. He assumes they will all call on the name of their god Baal, whilst he alone would call on Yahweh. It definitely sounds as if he was setting himself up against them. And thus he asks God to make all Israel know Him (1 Kings 18:37), as if none of them did at that time- except himself. Elijah takes the language of God 'answering by fire' from the account of David's intercession for the plagued, sinful people in 1 Chron. 21:26 (same Hebrew words). Elijah saw himself as David, interceding to gain the forgiveness of impenitent third parties as a result of his sacrifice. And indeed there was an element of that. And in the final synthesis and unknowable equation of salvation, there is still a great role played by third parties in our salvation.

1Ki 18:25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, Choose one bull for yourselves, and dress it first; for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it-
Elijah purposefully set up the contest with the Baal worshippers so that he was alone against so many Baal worshippers; he rejoices almost that “you are many”. He didn’t invite any other worshippers of Yahweh; he was convinced that it was him against the world / the rest of the ecclesia. When we read Elijah inviting all the prophets of Baal to be gathered to Carmel, we expect him to match this by inviting the prophets of Yahweh- for we have just read that Obadiah hid 100 of them in a cave. But Elijah doesn’t. He asks Ahab to call “all Israel” there- he wanted to set himself up as alone against all Israel.

"Call on the name of your god" carefully avoids using the name of Baal, as in :27. He was making the point that Yahweh has a Name, reflecting a personality. Whereas Baal was effectively nameless and without personality and character.

By letting the Baal worshippers go first, Elijah was setting the scene to build to a climax with the maximum psychological impact. He not only believed Yahweh would answer him, but also that there would be no response from Baal. He set up the situation to highlight the deadness of Baal. But by doing so, he showed amazing faith and certainty that he would be answered- despite his arrogance and other weaknesses at this time. Genuine faith does co-exist with human weakness. Belief and unbelief exist together. This comforts us in our weaknesses, although it is no excuse for hypocrisy; and helps us be patient with our immature brethren.

1Ki 18:26 They took the bull which was given to them and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, Baal, hear us! But there was no voice, nor any who answered. They leaped about the altar which was made-

We wonder why Ahab goes along with the contest (he comes over as obedient to Elijah's proposals in :19,20), when he has been earnestly seeking Elijah to kill him for causing the drought, and when he and his wife had slain Yahweh's prophets with impunity. We see here his niggling conscience, just as with Pharaoh. For Moses and Elijah are so similar. Ahab really wanted to show that Baal was god because he feared the attraction of Yahweh worship. When he fails and Yahweh is vindicated, he then repents- for a moment. All this is psychologically credible, and shows the inability of even the most sinful man to ever conclusively remove the niggle of conscience toward God. We need to recognize that, surrender, and wholeheartedly go God's way.

"Leaped" is the word used for the limping of the people between Baal and Yahweh (:21). Even in the apparent passion and absolute devotion of leaping on the altar, they were in fact limping between Baal and Yahweh. And this is so for many religious people, even at the point of the height of their apparent devotions.

The idea of prophets was well known in the world around ancient Israel. The idea of a prophet was that a person was caught up in some kind of ecstasy, transported into some ‘other’ world, and leaving behind their humanity. The true prophets were different. Their inspiration was about being attuned to the mind of God, they remained very much in the flesh and in the world, and the subjects of their prophecy related to very real, human things- injustice, a guy building an extension on his house without paying the labourers. Not flashing lights and ethereal coasting through space. The pagan prophets (e.g. the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:26-29) worked themselves into a frenzy in order to reach a state of depersonalization and loss of consciousness, in the hope that then they would be filled with Divine consciousness. True prophets like Amos were absolutely different; the inspiration process required them to be fully in touch with their own consciousness and personality, and it was exactly through their humanity that the personality of God came through in the inspired words they spake and wrote. Amos perceived the Lord’s word, and then ‘butted in’ as it were, in full consciousness: “O Lord God, forgive, I beseech Thee! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” (Am. 7:2). This is the very opposite of the pagan prophets losing touch with their human senses and reasoning.

1Ki 18:27 It happened at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, Cry louder; for he is a god! Either he is musing, or he has gone aside to the toilet, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he sleeps and must be awakened-
Despite Elijah’s crude sarcasm about Baal being in the rest room, God didn’t give up working with Elijah, and Elijah still had a relationship with God. And this is how we have to see those brethren whom we perceive as arrogant and so terribly deficient in the spirit of Christ.

1Ki 18:28 They cried aloud, and cut themselves in their way with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them-
In 1 Kings 18:28 the prophets of Baal worshipped "in their way", AV “after their manner”- a Hebrew word normally translated 296 times “judgment”; they judged / condemned themselves, rather than needing Elijah to do so. And the word translated “cut” essentially means ‘to gather’. They gathered themselves together to condemnation and poured out their own blood. “Knives and lancets” is a phrase normally translated “swords and spears”. They lived out judgment upon themselves rather than Elijah needing to condemn them.

The Lord understood this when He speaks about the spirit of Elijah not being appropriate. His comment that He had “not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Lk. 9:56) must surely be connected with what He said just before that: “Whosoever will save his life shall lose [s.w. “destroy”] it” and vice versa (Lk. 9:24,25). The three words save, life, lose / destroy are all the same. There is surely a connection of thought here. But what is the Lord saying through it? The disciples like Elijah would have had their prayers heard- the fire of destruction could have come. But the Lord says that they don’t know the type of spirit they are of. His Spirit is one of saving and not destruction. Men destroy themselves by seeking to save themselves without Him. This is why the Lord could say that He Himself judged / condemned no man- each rejected man will have condemned himself. And so the same point is actually made within the Elijah story too.

The Baal worshippers cut themselves and made their own blood flow out, in anticipation of how they would soon be slain and left to bleed to death. The connection of thought is to show that they did this to themselves, their idolatry was their own self condemnation and destruction.

We note they had swords and spears. They could so easily have slain Elijah, as the prophets of Baal and Ahab had slain many Yahweh prophets earlier. Elijah;s bravery is intense- for he had no way to escape, being on top of a mountain.

1Ki 18:29 It was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the offering; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any who responded-
There was no voice of response from Baal; and the implication may be that there was a voice from Yahweh in His response. But Elijah didn't hear it, for the thrill and noise of the fire coming down and consuming the sacrifice drowned it out. Perhaps this is referred to when Yahweh later tells Elijah that He is not [so much] in the wind and fire, but in the still small voice- which Elijah had not heard. There was no voice from Baal because there was nobody to give answer- there was no answerer. The record seeks to avoid mentioning the name of Baal, because as noted above, there was no 'name' in the sense of character or personality. It was a god of their own creation in their own minds, just as all idols are. Dream homes and holidays likewise exist in the mind of modern man, and have no reality nor personality.

1Ki 18:30 Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me; and all the people came near to him-
Elijah may be alluding to how the people came near to Moses (Ex. 34:32). But he was shown that he was not as Moses; see on 1 Kings 19:9. It may be that they sensed that seeing Baal hadn't answered, and the tricks to make fire appear had failed, then Yahweh was likely to respond. And they were cowering away, fearful of the Divine fire which they sensed was going to appear. See on :34. The similarities between Elijah and Moses are so many that it's tempting to think that he was the intended fulfilment of the "prophet like" Moses who was to be raised up (Dt. 18:18). The similarities and points of contact are such that we can safely conclude that potentially, this promise was intended to have fulfilment in Elijah. But he failed, although he realized the intended similarities between him and Moses. And so the prophecy was rescheduled to its ultimate fulfilment in the Lord Jesus. All the people coming near to Elijah on Carmel recalls all Israel before Moses at Sinai. "And the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of all Israel (Ex. 24:17)", just as devouring fire came down on Sinai. Elijah as Moses is the intermediary between Yahweh and idolatrous Israel.

He repaired the altar of Yahweh that was thrown down-
The triumph on Carmel involved making an offering on an altar of Yahweh which was in one of the “high places”- whereas Israel were repeatedly criticized for offering on these “high places” and not in Jerusalem. Elijah even criticizes Israel for throwing down these “high places” altars of Yahweh (1 Kings 19:10,14). Surely Elijah knew that the use of the high places was not what Yahweh ideally wanted; and yet he was driven to use a high place in this way. And with us, God will work through circumstances to remove from us the crutches of mere religion, to challenge the essence of our faith and relationship with Him. The way Ezekiel had to eat unclean food and defile himself is another such example. 

1Ki 18:31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Yahweh came, saying, Israel shall be your name-
- see on Gen. 35:2. This seems a conscious imitation of Joshua's building of the altar from 12 stones when entering the land (Josh. 4:5). Perhaps Elijah's hope was for a complete restoration of the kingdom. The allusion to the renaming of Jacob to Israel may also suggest a new beginning by grace. The usage of 12 stones suggests that he hoped for the ending of the division within Israel, as well as recognizing that the two tribe kingdom also needed forgiveness. For I suggested earlier that the bull was a sin offering.  

1Ki 18:32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of Yahweh. He made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed-
Elijah's hyper sensitivity to he alone being acceptable before God is perhaps shown in the way he repairs the Lord's altar and then himself builds another one (1 Kings 18:30-32). It was as if he felt some kind of guilt by association- he could only serve Yahweh on the altar of his own making. Perhaps he justified it by suspecting that  the first altar has been built contrary to Mosaic law, perhaps an iron tool had been used on it... and so, Elijah had to go his own way. And how often have our brethren done this. Nothing is any good unless we ourselves are doing it; we can't be made guilty by association with the work of others whom we doubt. 

This was as Moses built an altar and set up 12 pillars at the time of the theophany on mount Sinai, where again Yahweh was revealed as consuming fire (Ex. 24:4). See on :40. But Elijah's imitations of Moses were form without content.

1Ki 18:33 He put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood-
Elijah’s mocking attitude of :27 is also shown by the way in which he demands they find him four barrels of water- on the top of a mountain, after a major three and a half year drought. Presumably they took the water from the sea at the bottom of the mountain (although tradition claims there was a fountain at the top of Carmel)- and thus Elijah’s sacrifice would be offered with salt. He was strictly obedient to the requirements for sacrifice- yet amidst an abusive, self-justifying mindset. The very possession of truth can take our attention away from our need for self-examination and right attitudes towards others. In this lies one of our most subtle temptations.

1Ki 18:34 He said, Do it a second time; and they did it the second time. He said, Do it a third time; and they did it the third time-
I suggested above that Ahab agreed to this showdown because he planned to discredit Elijah by some bogus appearance of fire. The tricks hadn't worked. Everybody knew they hadn't. And Elijah is at great pains to demonstrate that he is not using any tricks. The burnt offering and wood were thrice doused in water, and the trench of water around the altar was of significant size. There was no way Elijah was using fake fire, and he had invited the people to "come near" (:30) so that all was transparent and under close public observation. 

1Ki 18:35 The water ran around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water-
As explained on :34, this was to stop any possibility of tricks being used. Various pagan religions construct altars with fire hidden beneath them (Adam Clarke describes several in his commentary). This fire is then exposed by the priests, supposedly by magic or their prayers, and then burns the sacrifice. But Elijah covered the entire sacrifice and altar with water to demonstrate there was no way this was the case wit him. And the fire came down from Heaven, rather than up from the altar as in these pagan altars.

1Ki 18:36 It happened at the time of the offering of the offering-
This could imply that this was intended as the daily evening offering.

That Elijah the prophet came near and said, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant-
He clearly saw prayer as requiring much effort; and the way he prays at the time of the evening sacrifice on Horeb suggests that he saw prayer as a sacrifice. His language here seems to have been inspired by David (1 Sam. 17:46). May our language likewise be an inspiration to others rather than pulling them downwards spiritually. But despite his immense faith, he seems unable to cease his desire for self justification. He didn't just want Israel to accept Yahweh, but to accept that he was Yahweh's servant. This was the meaning of 'Obadiah', 'servant of Yah', and we noted earlier how Elijah mocked that.

Elijah's 'drawing near' matches that of Moses at Sinai (Ex. 24:2).

And that I have done all these things at Your word-
This is another example of Elijah playing God. There’s no record of any such word from the Lord to him. He appears to have set it all up at his initiative- and then assumed that actually God had told him to do so and that God would respond as he expected. We can so very easily do the same.

We become suspicious of Elijah’s motives when we read of him asking God to show all Israel “That I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things”. “That I…that I…” sounds like there was a large element of self-justification in his spirituality, just as there can be in our, e.g., desiring to prove someone else wrong and ourselves right, to win a debate, to abuse the advantage of our superior Bible knowledge…

God is never recorded as commanding Elijah to do any of these things. He may be saying that he did these things according to God's word [s.w. "word" in :1] that rain was going to come. He therefore assumes God has turned their hearts back in repentance, because Elijah understands that according to His word in Deuteronomy, the drought can only end if Israel repent. So Elijah asks  that Israel understand that God has made them repent, and the whole context on Carmel to elicit their repentance was according to God's word that rain was coming. Elijah failed to appreciate that God's grace and basic pity means that at times He acts outside His own word. Hence in the next mountain scene in 1 Kings 19, Elijah was to be shown that actually God was not "in" the fire and wind which feature in 1 Kings 18. He was "in" the silence of the still small voice.

Elijah was perhaps unhappy about offering on a private altar which was not at the sanctuary, let alone one first built [by tradition] by apostate King Saul. So he tells God that he is only doing what God has told him, even though it appears to contradict other principles. Indeed God's legal demands at times do appear to contradict each other, but that is intentional, so that we may discern the spirit of what He wants and realize that the letter of obedience is not what He seeks.

1Ki 18:37 Answer me, Yahweh, answer me, that this people may know that You, Yahweh, are God-
"Answer" is s.w. "hear" in :26. As they had begged Baal to hear them, Elijah asks Yahweh to hear him. He has all the way through stacked the odds against himself- by giving them longer than himself to get an answer [he allowed them to go on until evening], allowing them to go first, allowing them to choose the animals for sacriifice. In this we see his absolute faith.

See on 1 Kings 19:18. This kind of faith in prayer enables a believer to truly follow the Lord’s exhortation to ask for things and believe and feel that we have already received them. Elijah chose the terms of the contest on Carmel to be an answer by fire- for Baal was originally the fire god. Yet Elijah appears utterly certain that God will answer by a bolt of fire, without having asked Him first. He asks God to “answer me” without specifically requesting for fire to be sent down; he brings the situation before God and asks Him to ‘answer’ that situation. And this is why so many of David’s prayers are more a bringing of the situation before God, than a specific request for answers.

And that You have turned their heart back again-
It is our knowledge of God's mercy to us which empowers us to confidently seek to share with others our knowledge, our relationship, our experience with God. Forgiveness inspires the preacher; and yet the offer of forgiveness is what inspires the listener to respond. God appeals for Israel to respond by pointing out that in prospect, He has already forgiven them: “I have [already] blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions... [therefore] return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Is. 44:22). Likewise Elijah wanted Israel to know that God had already in prospect turned their hearts back to Him. We preach the cross of Christ, and that through that forgiveness has been enabled for all men; but they need to respond by repentance in order to access it. Hence the tragedy of human lack of response; so much has been enabled, the world has been reconciled, but all this is in vain if they will not respond.

Elijah was evidently in touch with God and knew His will. At the end, he is described as  the charioteer of the cherubim; for his prayers had controlled their direction. This really is how much God is willing to be influenced by our prayers. Elijah had a very developed sense of how God works with us. Thus he asks God to make Israel know how that He “didst turn back their heart” (1 Kings 18:37 RVmg.), he wanted them to know how that potentially, God had made their return to Him possible; Elijah perceived that God may prepare something in prospect that never gets realized in practice because of human weakness [and this should be an endless inspiration to us too].

1Ki 18:38 Then the fire of Yahweh fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood, the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench-
For all Elijah's clearly wrong attitudes, Yahweh still accepted him; and very dramatically. The total consumption of everything indicated that God had totally accepted the sin offering. Israel had been forgiven. Even though they had not repented. This was the power of Elijah's intercessory mediation and sacrifice. And how much more powerful is that of the Lord Jesus. 

Elijah states in 2 Kings 1:10 that fire would come from Heaven if he was a man of God. He had faith- and he wanted fire to come down as it had come down when he called fire down at Carmel. But faith is nuanced and is not absolute. Elijah had faith in God, great faith, but he also had faith in himself; he assumed the fire would come, because he was Yahweh's faithful man. Although Yahweh as it were agreed with him in 2 Kings 1, and made fire come down as commanded, the Lord in Lk. 9 says that Elijah had the wrong spirit in doing this. We can believe and God can respond to that faith, but that doesn't of itself justify us. As Paul says, we can have faith that moves mountains, but without love we are nothing.

1Ki 18:39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces. They said, Yahweh, he is God! Yahweh, He is God!-
This is another way of crying out the name 'Elijah'. Elijah had repeatedly asked for his own justification, and perhaps the people responded in this way purposefully.

The events on Mount Carmel have clear similarities with Yahweh's manifestations to Israel and Moses on Mount Sinai, especially after the apostacy with the golden calf. We note that afterwards, Elijah travels to Mount Sinai- the only time anyone is recorded going there apart from Moses. Both Elijah and Moses are called "man of God" (1 Kings 17:24). The people fall to the ground and accept Yahweh, just as they told Moses that they would obey all Yahweh said (Ex. 24:3-7). The apostate Baal worshipping Israelites limping around the altar they had made (1 Kings 18:26 Heb.) recalls Israel dancing around the golden calf altar (Ex. 32:19). The prayer of Elijah recalls that of Moses, and he too asks God to remember Abraham etc. (18:36 = Ex. 32:13). Yahweh's fire burnt up the altar of Baal (:38), just as Moses destroyed the golden calf with fire and scatterd the dust on water (Ex. 32:20). The burning hot anger of Yahweh (Ex. 32:10) matches the fire from Yahweh that falls upon the Baal altar. The death of the Baal priests (:40) by the sword (1 Kings 19:1) connects with the destruction of the apostate Israelites at the golden calf, again by sword (Ex. 32:27-29). All this sets up Yahweh's manifestation to Elijah at Sinai with that to Moses. They each have a 40 day fast beforehand (1 Kings 19:8; Ex. 34:28). Fire, earthquake, thundering and smoke all feature both times. Both hide in a cleft of the rock before Yahweh's glory, hence 1 Kings 19:9 speaks of "the cave", i.e. the one Moses cowered in. But Moses pleads with his own eternal life for the salvation of Israel, whereas Elijah pleads for their destruction. Elijah's desire for his own death is selfish, whereas Moses' is self sacrificial. The parallels are so clear that it is as if the record seeks to set up Elijah in a very negative light when compared to Moses. This is especially significant when we consider that Elijah appreciated the similarities, hence he of his own voilition goes into "the cave" of Moses (1 Kings 19:9), and wrapping his face in his mantle may be a conscious copy of Moses subsequently putting a veil [Heb. scarf] over his face. The great contrast however is that Yahweh proclaimed His Name to Moses in a mighty thundering voice. Whereas Elijah heard only the sound of silence and then the still small voice. Yahweh was not "in" the earthquake, wind and fire, whereas His presence was very definitely with Moses, who even saw His back parts. But the whole point was that Moses was being taught that getting a glimpse of God Himself, seeing mighty visible manifestations of Yahweh, was not of the essence. Rather His grace and acceptance of Israel was of the essence. But Elijah was not at all interested in that, rather did he want Israel's judgment. The connections with Moses present him as really not getting it about God's grace and His salvation of Israel despite their apostacy with the golden calf; and so he is effectively fired from his prophetic work. Because to preach is all about saving people and sharing God's grace, not about proving ourselves right.  

1Ki 18:40 Elijah said to them, Seize the prophets of Baal! Don’t let one of them escape! They seized them. Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there-
It's unclear whether the 400 prophets of Astarte were slain or escaped. But by the time of 1 Kings 22, Ahab has another 400 prophets whom he listens to. This was a heat of the moment persuasion and response, but of no abiding value in their spiritual growth as a nation. It again demonstrates the limited value of miracle in fundamentally changing people.

The parallels with Moses continue. This time with Moses seeing Yahweh's theophany on the mountain, and then ordering the Levites to murder idolatrous Israel (Ex. 35:25-29).


1Ki 18:41 Elijah said to Ahab, Get up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain-
"Get up" may possibly be an allusion to how after the theophany of the consuming fire on Sinai, the elders of Israel were asked to "go up" the mountain and "eat and drink" (Ex. 24:9). Ahab does so (:42), but as with Israel, it was mere devotion on the cusp of the moment. And yet the fact the rain came could reflect Divine acceptance of his repentance of a moment- even though it was to be undone by his subservience to his evil wife. Hence :45 LXX has "Ahab wept and went to Jezreel", presumably in repentance. Likewise his repentance for his part in killing Naboth [sackloth and rent garments implies repentance] in 1 Kings 21:16 is another example of his tendency to mere momentary repentance, although sincere at the time. But again, Elijah is presented as the prophet like unto Moses.

Elijah told Ahab to arise and eat, a meal of fellowship with God. But Elijah then commits suicide (see on 1 Kings 19:5) after Ahab slips back and listens to Jezebel; and then Elijah is told to arise and eat (1 Kings 19:5). He is being asked to consider that he is no better than Ahab, whom he saw as the incarnation of evil. He too had to be invited to share the meal of fellowship with God by grace, just as he had invited Ahab to. He is being shown that his judgmentalism made him no better than Ahab the idolater, but like Ahab, he too could be saved by grace. 

Elijah really is the great example of believing that what we have prayed for, we have already received. He tells Ahab that he hears “the sound of a abundance of rain”, well before the prayer for rain had even begun to be answered. Elijah tells Ahab that there is a “sound” of rain coming. The same word has just been used earlier, translated as “voice” (1 Kings 18:29) in the context of there being a voice / answer to prayer. So Elijah is saying that there is an answer speaking of much rain to come. There was no sign of rain coming at the time when he started praying, until the little cloud arose. But he calmly tells Ahab that there is a sound / answer of rain coming. Elijah believed in the answer coming before he prayed; he had a very firm faith. And thus ahead of time he told Ahab to eat and drink because of it [had Ahab been fasting? If so, to Yahweh or Baal?]. But all this required quite some passion in prayer.

He heard in the ears of faith the sound of rain, before he even formally prayed for it (1 Kings 18:40-42 cp. James 5:17,18). He saw that the sin offering had been accepted, and was sure that therefore the drought would end because it had produced the required repentance. And yet, reading through the record, there is ample evidence that at the very same time as he showed such faith, he had a hardness and arrogance which was contrary to the spirit of the Lord Jesus. And Paul had the same feature.

1Ki 18:42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down on the earth, and put his face between his knees-
Elijah cast himself down in prayer. The word occurs only in 2 Kings 4:34,35, as if it was Elijah’s example which inspired Elisha likewise to cast himself down [AV “stretch”] upon the child. The implication is that Elisha did so in prayer; and in passing, we wonder whether this implies that Elijah’s stretching himself upon another child, although a different Hebrew word, was also in prayer. Again we see that Elijah’s prayerful example inspired another. Our attitude to prayer is so easily influential upon others, and we ourselves are likewise easily influenced. It should be no shame nor embarrassment to us to instantly break into prayer, nor to kneel down to further our intensity in prayer, regardless of the social embarrassment  this may involve in some cultures.

1Ki 18:43 He said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. He went up and looked, and said, There is nothing. He said seven times, Go again-
The lack of immediate answer was to humble Elijah after the amazing answer to prayer just received on Carmel. He would have started wondering whether he really understood correctly that rain was to come now that the people had repented and his sin offering had been accepted. He would have started doubting his own faith; as one does after praying six times for something and not getting any answer. All this was to humble him. For his pride seems to have been at a very high point as he stood in triumph before Israel on Carmel, the man with his back to the world had apparently won.

1Ki 18:44 It happened at the seventh time that he said, Behold, a small cloud, like a man’s hand, is rising out of the sea. He said, Go up, tell Ahab, ‘Get ready and go down, so that the rain doesn’t stop you’-
It could be that after the triumph on Carmel, there had been another vision of God’s glory in order to humble Elijah. I say this on the basis that the description of the cloud “like a man’s hand” recalls “the likeness of a man’s hand” under the cherubim in Ezekiel’s visions. Clouds and rain are invariably part of theophanies. Elijah spoke of how, by faith, he heard “the feet of rain” (1 Kings 18:41 LXX), as if he believed that the Angels were coming with rain. Perhaps Elijah therefore told Ahab “prepare your chariot” and ride with the rain- i.e. ‘be part of the vision of glory / cherubim chariots on the ground as it passes overhead’. This was the point of Ezekiel’s vision; Israel were to reflect the Cherubim on earth, just As David moved in step with the Spirit / the sound of marching in the mulberry trees. Therefore in 1 Kings 18:42 when in the face of all this, Elijah places his  face between knees, he may be doing the same thing as when he hides his face in the mantle. He sensed the glory of God near him but didn’t want to face up to it personally. He didn’t want to become part of the Cherubic vision of glory, even though he advised Ahab to do so. We must identify ourselves with the vision of God’s glory, and face up to the life-changing implications of it. Elijah ultimately did this, although it took him a lifetime- he was caught up in another cherubic vision and threw away his mantle and became part of the vision of glory; and hence he was called “the chariot of Israel and the [great] horseman thereof” [reading “horsemen” as an intensive plural]. The chariots and horsemen of God appeared; and Elisha perceived that Elijah had finally become identified with them. For Elisha sees them and then describes Elijah as being them- the chariot and horseman of Israel (2 Kings 2:11,12). Finally, Elijah became part of God’s glory; He merged into it rather than resisting it for the sake of his own  glory. He was the charioteer of the cherubim; for his prayers had controlled their direction. This identification of ourselves with God’s glory, this losing of ourselves and our own insistence upon our rightness, and our focus on others’ wrongness... this is the end result of our lives if they are lived out after the pattern of Elijah’s. 

1Ki 18:45 It happened in a little while, that the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel-
LXX "Ahab wept". This fits the impression we have that he repented; his comments to Jezebel at the beginning of 1 Kings 19 could be understood as meaning that it was 'game over' with Baal worship. He had not protested the mass murder of the 450 priests of Baal.

1Ki 18:46 The hand of Yahweh was on Elijah; and he tucked his cloak into his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel
Running in front of someone meant to herald them. He was perhaps rejoicing in Ahab's apparent repentance, see on :45. This exhilarating run to Jezreel, in the power of the Spirit, set Elijah up for the devastating news that Jezebel had not repented and Ahab was apparently supporting her, or at least not asserting his kingship against her. And thence he crashed into the depression of 1 Kings 19.