1King Ahab told his wife Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had put all the prophets of Baal to death. 2She sent a message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me dead if by this time tomorrow I don't do the same thing to you that you did to the prophets.” 3Elijah was afraid, and fled for his life; he took his servant and went to Beersheba in Judah.
Leaving the servant there, 4Elijah walked a whole day into the wilderness. He stopped and sat down in the shade of a tree and wished he would die. “It's too much, LORD,” he prayed. “Take away my life; I might as well be dead!”
5He lay down under the tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said, “Wake up and eat.” 6He looked round, and saw a loaf of bread and a jar of water near his head. He ate and drank, and lay down again. 7The LORD's angel returned and woke him up a second time, saying, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8Elijah got up, ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to walk forty days to Sinai, the holy mountain. 9There he went into a cave to spend the night.
Suddenly the LORD spoke to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”
10He answered, “LORD God Almighty, I have always served you — you alone. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed all your prophets. I am the only one left — and they are trying to kill me!”
11“Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain,” the LORD said to him. Then the LORD passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks — but the LORD was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake — but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake, there was a fire — but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the soft whisper of a voice.
13When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”
14He answered, “LORD God Almighty, I have always served you — you alone. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed all your prophets. I am the only one left — and they are trying to kill me.”
15The LORD said, “Return to the wilderness near Damascus, then enter the city and anoint Hazael as king of Syria; 16anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17Anyone who escapes being put to death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and anyone who escapes Jehu will be killed by Elisha. 18Yet I will leave 7,000 people alive in Israel — all those who are loyal to me and have not bowed to Baal or kissed his idol.”
The Call of Elisha
19Elijah left and found Elisha ploughing with a team of oxen; there were eleven teams ahead of him, and he was ploughing with the last one. Elijah took off his cloak and put it on Elisha. 20Elisha then left his oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and then I will go with you.”
Elijah answered, “All right, go back. I'm not stopping you!”
21Then Elisha went to his team of oxen, killed them, and cooked the meat, using the yoke as fuel for the fire. He gave the meat to the people, and they ate it. Then he went and followed Elijah as his helper.