In my last post, we explored A Mission Impossible in 1 Kings 18:1-15. In this post, we learn that Eliyahu Reencounters King Ach’av in 1 Kings 18:16-19.
Eliyahu Reencounters King Ach’av
16 So ‘Ovadyah went, found Ach’av and told him; and Ach’av went to meet Eliyahu. 17 When Ach’av saw Eliyahu, Ach’av said to him, “Is it really you, you troubler of Isra’el?” 18 He answered, “I haven’t troubled Isra’el, you have, you and your father’s house, by abandoning Adonai’s mitzvot and following the ba‘alim. 19 Now order all Isra’el to assemble before me on Mount Karmel, along with the 450 prophets of Ba‘al and the 400 prophets of the asherah who eat at Izevel’s table.” ~ 1 Kings 18:16-19 (CJB)
Everything that Eliyahu did was according to the Word of the Lord (1 Kings 18:36), including confronting the king and inviting him and the priests of Ba’al to a meeting on Mount Karmel. Ach’av called Eliyahu the troubler of Israel, but it was Ach’av whose sins had caused the problems in the land. Surely Ach’av knew the terms of the covenant and understood that the blessings of the Lord depended on the obedience of the king and his people. Both Yeshua and Sha’ul would be called “troublemakers” (Luke 23:5; Acts 16:20; 17:6), so Eliyahu was in good company.
Mount Karmel was located near the border of Isra’el and Phoenicia, so it was a good place for the Phoenician god Ba’al to meet the God of Israel. Eliyahu told Ach’av to bring not only the 450 prophets of Ba’al but also the 400 prophets of the Asherah, the idols that represented Ba’al’s “wife.” It seems that only the prophets of Ba’al showed up for the contest (1 Kings 18:22, 26, 40).
One unanswered question remains for me from this passage. Why didn’t King Ach’av just run Eliyahu through with his sword; especially after Eliyahu accused the King of being the real troubler of Israel? Of course, if he had, we wouldn’t have the story of Eliyahu’s Finest Hour.
In my next post, we will continue to explore the Biblical story of Eliyahu in 1 Kings 18:20-29. In this passage, we continue to examine Eliyahu’s encounter with Ach’av setting the stage for Eliyahu’s Finest Hour ~ Let the Fire Fall.