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"Behold, Elijah is here"

Obadiah (not to be confused with the prophet Obadiah, or a number of others in the Old Testament by that name - Obadiah was a rather common name in that era) was a royal servant who had charge of the house of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Despite living and working in such a corrupt environment, Obadiah courageously maintained his righteousness before God. When Jezebel went on the offensive against God's prophets, Obadiah provided them with safe places to stay, and supplies of food and water while they were there. Obadiah was given to deliver one of the better-known messages of the Scriptures, "Behold, Elijah is here."

Obadiah

View From Mount Carmel Elijah was a foremost prophet of God, and as such typified other key prophets that were to come (see The Elijahs):

"And it came to pass after many days, that the word of The Lord [see also YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. And Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria." (1 Kings 18:1-2 KJV)

Despite their being very different, Obadiah was a very close servant of Ahab. During the severe famine of that time, it was the king and his chief servant Obadiah who personally searched for water and grazing land for the king's livestock. Obadiah was at least as familiar with the countryside as the king - he knew it well enough to successfully hide a hundred of the Lord's prophets out there at the same time:

"And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. Now Obadiah feared The Lord greatly: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of The Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water. And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the Horses and Mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts. So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself." (1 Kings 18:3-6 KJV)

Obadiah's meeting with Elijah reveals the high regard that Obadiah had for Elijah, or rather, for the God that Elijah was also a servant of (see The Spirit and Power of Elijah). Despite his very real and justified concern that it would get him killed, Obadiah faithfully delivered Elijah's message to Ahab, exactly as Elijah instructed him to do:

"And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?"

"And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here."

"And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me? As The Lord thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the spirit of The Lord shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear The Lord from my youth. Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of The Lord, how I hid an hundred men of The Lord's prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water? And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me."

"And Elijah said, As The Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself unto him to day." (1 Kings 18:7-15 KJV)

Ahab's response to Elijah was typical of evil-minded people. Ahab accused Elijah of being a "troubler of Israel," when it was their own evil behavior that was bringing God's wrath upon themselves. The meeting ended with an arrangement for a confrontation between Elijah and hundreds of pagan prophets:

"So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah. And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?"

"And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of The Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim. 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."

"So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel." (1 Kings 18:16-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the result of the showdown on Mount Carmel between Elijah and those hundreds of pagan prophets?
1 Kings 18:20-40


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