The famine and drought were terrible. After three years there wasn’t even enough weeds or scrub brush to feed the livestock. Ahab and his head bureaucrat Obadiah decided to divide the land to scour it for any vegetation to sustain at least some of the animals.
On his journey, Obadiah met Elijah who was coming to confront Ahab again. Elijah was all, Go inform your master that I have come.
But Obadiah was all, What! Why do you want me dead? Don’t you know that I’m the guy who hid and sheltered, like, 100 prophets when Jezebel was on the warpath looking for you? Yeah, I mean she killed like all the prophets, but I saved as many as I could for as long as I could. Now you want me to go tell Ahab that I’ve found you? What if God whisks you away in the meantime? He’ll totally kill me.
Elijah answered, Never fear, my good man. God will do no such thing. Go inform Ahab!
When Ahab saw Elijah, he was all, So you’ve come skulking back, you no good trouble-maker!
Elijah was all, It is you who is the trouble-maker! The drought is your fault for cheating on God! If you want this drought and famine to end, summon all the people of Israel to Mount Carmel and meet me there will all of the prophets of Baal and Ashtaroth in your service!
When all were gathered at Mount Carmel, Elijah exhorted the people, Why are you so contrary? How can you worship two gods? You must choose, God or Baal!
Everyone just shuffled and stared at him.
So he was all, Fine. Bring two bulls. Give one to the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashtaroth and one to me. Whoever’s god answers our prayers by consuming the offering with fire is the real god!
Everyone was all, Sounds good! Sounds fair! Bring the bulls!
So the prophets of Baal and Ashtaroth slaughtered their bull and laid it on their altar and prayed and incanted and cut themselves all morning but nothing happened. At noon, Elijah started taunting them, What, where’s Baal? Why hasn’t he shown up yet? Is he on trip? Maybe he’s asleep. I know, I bet he’s in the privy relieving himself! This caused the other prophets to pray and slice themselves even more vigorously, but still to no avail.
At eventide, Elijah prepared his bull and then had a deep trench dug around the altar. Then he told people to bring jars of water and dump it on the bull until the wood was soaked and the trench was filled with water. (Why they’re all so wiling to waste so much water when it hadn’t rained in three years is beyond me). Elijah called on God and flash! a lightning bolt crashed down, annihilating bull, wood, altar and all.
People fell on their knees crying for mercy and forgiveness. Elijah was all, Then seize the false prophets! Let not one escape! So all 850 were murdered in the Kishon Valley.
Meanwhile Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed until clouds rolled up, the sky grew black and the rain fell in sheets.