18:3 Obadiah. Obadiah (meaning “servant of Jehovah”) was not the same as the prophet Obadiah. This Obadiah held a very strategic and dangerous position, as a true follower of the Lord, in the court of apostate King Ahab, who had rejected Jehovah in favor of Baal. Jezebel either did not know of his religious convictions, or else he was too close to Ahab, or else she would surely have tried to kill him when she had many of God’s true prophets executed.
18:4 in a cave. There are many large caves in and near Mount Carmel that would be capable of concealing fifty men.
18:21 between two opinions. This challenge is the classic indictment of theological compromise. The temptation to accommodate pagan beliefs or practices in the worship and service of the true God of creation has been a satanic device used in every age, including our own. One of the greatest problems in modern Christianity—in fact, probably the most serious of all—is the widespread capitulation of Christian intellectuals to the ancient pagan system of evolutionary pantheism, as they attempt to equate “creation” with “evolution” and the literal days of the creation week with the evolutionary ages of the historical geologists.
18:30 repaired the altar. Note I Kings 19:10. In this time of deep apostasy, all of God’s altars had been broken down—not by external enemies, but by His own people of Israel.
18:34 the third time. Note that this made twelve barrels of water (I Kings 18:33) to be poured on the twelve stones (I Kings 18:31), representing the twelve tribes of Israel.
18:35 water ran round about. Elijah used an abundance of water in this exercise, which might be resented in such a time of extreme drought, except for the fact that Mount Carmel is very near the sea coast, from which an inexhaustible supply of ocean water could be transported for inundating the altar.
18:40 slew them there. Elijah must have had help in order to execute some 850 false prophets in one evening. Evidently a very large crowd of Israelites had gathered at Carmel to see the great confrontation between one prophet of Jehovah and hundreds of prophets of the Baalite nature cult. God had clearly demonstrated to them that Elijah’s God (who had been accepted as Israel’s God when the nation was young) was true and the Baalim were false gods. They were quickly ready not only to capture the false prophets but also to assist Elijah in carrying out God’s sentence of death on them.