18:19 Now send out messengers 1 and assemble all Israel before me at Mount Carmel, as well as the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah whom Jezebel supports. 2
1 Kings 18:26-28Context
18:26 So they took a bull, as he had suggested, 3 and prepared it. They invoked the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us.” But there was no sound and no answer. They jumped 4 around on the altar they had made. 5 18:27 At noon Elijah mocked them, “Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.” 6 18:28 So they yelled louder and, in accordance with their prescribed ritual, 7 mutilated themselves with swords and spears until their bodies were covered with blood. 8
2 tn Heb “who eat at the table of Jezebel.”
3 tn Heb “and they took the bull which he allowed them.”
5 tc The MT has “which he made,” but some medieval Hebrew
6 sn Elijah’s sarcastic proposals would have been especially offensive and irritating to Baal’s prophets, for they believed Baal was imprisoned in the underworld as death’s captive during this time of drought. Elijah’s apparent ignorance of their theology is probably designed for dramatic effect; indeed the suggestion that Baal is away on a trip or deep in sleep comes precariously close to the truth as viewed by the prophets.
7 tn Or “as was their custom.”
8 tn Heb “until blood poured out on them.”
sn mutilated…covered with blood. This self-mutilation was a mourning rite designed to facilitate Baal’s return from the underworld.