1 Kings 18:19-40
Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel to mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty…
But Mount Carmel, a celebrated mountain on the southern boundary of the tribe of Assher, which extends itself into the Mediterranean Sea. It runs north-west of the plain of Esdraelon.
I. WE NOTICE THE PROPOSAL OF ELIJAH TO THE MULTITUDE. He speaks to them, not to the royal court. Religion is not an affair concerning the great and titled of the earth only. It respects every man. It is for the multitude as well as for the rich and great.
II. NOTICE THE PROPOSAL OF ELIJAH ACCEPTED. All the people said, "The word is good." It was an advantageous one to the prophets of Baal. They had the prepossessions of the people and of the royal court in their favour: .It. is easy to take up religion when it is in prosperity: but to take it up when it is m a drooping, dying state, is the work that demands principle, sterling principle. To be zealous, when the very stones of the altar are to be replaced — when the alternative is ruin or revival — extirpation or reform — then to be zealous — then to be a reformer — to seek to restore truth and religion to their pristine dignity, that is a work honourable indeed, and arduous as it is honourable.
III. THE FAILURE OF THE PROPHETS AND THE IRONY OF ELIJAH.
IV. THE APPEAL OF ELIJAH TO HEAVEN.
V. THE PRAYER OF ELIJAH ANSWERED.
VI. THE CONVICTION OF THE MULTITUDE.
VII. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE PRIESTS. These prophets had been the cause of the grievous famine, of the death of cattle and human beings not a few. They had also sacrificed thousands of dear children to Baal. The rites of Baal were frequently celebrated with human victims. They had also brought Jezebel to think it a meritorious act to slay the prophets of the Lord. Also, according to the laws of Moses, idolatry was considered treason against God, as the national king, and death was denounced as the punishment of that sin. These men suffered nothing but the due reward of their deeds. Those who live by imposing on the weaknesses and superstitious feelings of others shall sooner or later meet with a suitable retribution. They that dig pits for others frequently fall into them themselves. Their own lies frequently slay the authors of them. Men first utter lies, then believe them, then perish by them. And they perish without pity. They perish amidst the execrations of those whom they have deceived.
(J. H. Cadoux.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.