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Haftara Ki Thisa

I Kings 18.1-39

After many day’s, God’s word came to Elijah, in the third year, saying: Go appear before Ahab, and I will send rain upon the land.

So Elijah went to appear before Ahab. Now, famine was severe in Samaria.

Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household – now, Obadiah feared God greatly. And when Jezebel cut off God’s prophets, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.

And Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land, to all the springs of water, and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, and not loose all the beasts.”

So they they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. And as Obadiah was going his way, behold, Elijah met him,; and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?”

He answered him, “It is I; go tell your master: Behold Elijah is here.”

He said, “How I have sinned, that you want me to deliver your servant to Ahab’s hand, to kill me?”

“As God your Lord lives, there is no nation or kingdom, where my master has not sent me to seek you; and when they said, ‘He is not here’, he made the kingdom and nation swear that they had not found you.

“And now you say, ‘Go tell your master: “Behold, Elijah is here.” As soon as I leave you, God’s spirit will carry you to a place unknown to me, so that when I tell Ahabm and he can not find you, he will kill me; although I, your servant have revered God from my youth. Has my lord not been informed about what I did when Jezebel killed God’s prophets, how I hid a hundred men of God’s prophets in a cave by fifties, and fed them bread and water? And now you say, “Go tell your master: Behold, Elijah is here;” and he will kill me.”

And Elijah said; “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.”

So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?

He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but your father’s house, by forsaking God’s commandments and following Baalim. Now therefore, send and assemble all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

[Sephardim begin here]

So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.

Elijah drew near to all the people, and said, “How long will you waver between tow options? If the Lord if God, follow him, but if it is Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him. The Elijah said to the people, “I alone remain as God’s prophet; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and set no fire to it; and I will prepare the other bullock, and lay it on the wood, but set no fire to it. And you call your god, and I will call on the name of God. The God who answers by fire, he is God.” All the  people answered, “It is well spoken.”

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bullock for yourselves, and prepare the first; for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but set no fire to it.”

They took the bullock which was given to them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice, and no one answered. They danced in a halting manner upon the altar which was made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god,; either he is musing, or he is easing himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awaken.”

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, until blood gushed out upon them. After noon, they continued to prophesy until the time for the evening offering but there was neither voice, nor answer, nor any to heed.

The Elijah said to the people, “Come near to me”; and all the people drew near to him. And he repaired God’s altar that had been thrown down. Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes of Jacob’s sons, to whom God’s word came, saying: Israel shall be your name. And with the stones he built an altar in God’s name; he made a ditch around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bullock in pieces, and laid it on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a third time. The water ran around the altar; and he also filled the ditch with water.

At the time of the offering of the evening offering. Elijah the prophet came near, and said “O God, Lord of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and I am Your servant, and I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O God, hear me, that this people may know that You, Lord, are God, for You did turn their heart backward.”

Then God’s fire fell, and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they said, “The Lord, He is God!  The Lord, He is God!”