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Why did Elijah kill the prophets of Baal?

Was this due to religious intolerance?

1 Kings 18:40

ESV - 40 And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape." And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 15 2014 My passport new Arun Kumar

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Mini Jennifer Henkel Bible/History Middle School Teacher, Lover of the OT!
In Deuteronomy 18:20-22, we see that the penalty for being a false prophet to Israel was death. This included speaking for God when He had not directed one to do so, and speaking for other gods, encouraging the Israelites to worship false gods.

Indeed, a true prophet of God had to be accurate 100% of the time, or his penalty was also death! 

Since the prophets of Baal had led the people of God astray, they had to be killed so that they would no longer be able to deceive the people.

December 16 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

1415726712 Anson Chong Supporter
The intention of Elijah is to save the people of God and turn them back from worshiping false gods. In 1 King 19:4 he is trying to compare himself with his ancestor, most likely referring to Moses, who had saved and brought The People of Israel out from Egypt.

Elijah must had thought that the best way to turn the nation of Israel back to God was to totally destroy these false religions by killing all their 850 (400 prophets of Asherah and 450 prophets of Baal) prophets.

He succeeded in doing so, and by right, these false religions should have collapsed after all their prophets were killed, and King Ahab and the nation of Israel should have turned back to God and worshiped the one true God. However, the result went the other way; King Ahab refused to return. Instead, he clung to his wife Jezebel, and finally caused Elijah to flee from Jezebel. 

Elijah fled not because he afraid to be killed, rather he lost heart and faith in his own belief after the result do not come in line with his own expectation. Again, this can be seen from the second portion of the same chapter.

To remove those physical Idols or false prophet can be easy, but to remove idols from a man's heart is always hard and time consuming.

This is what God was trying to tell him, and the work of a God will continue after him or without him; one thing for sure is, God will continue to work after Elijah. This can be seen from the following chapter of the Book of 1 Kings.

Did God asked Elijah to kill all those false prophet? Probably not, but the will of God (to kill all those false prophets) was accomplished indirectly by Elijah through his own eagerness and ego.

December 17 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

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