In 1 Kings 18:40, Elijah has the Baal prophets (about 450 of them) taken from Mt Carmel to the brook Kishon to be killed. Why take them there? Why not kill them at the mountain? Is there some special significance with the brook and/or the mountain that required the move or are there other more practical reasons?

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. (ESV)


3 Answers 3


yes, the Canaanite enemies of deborah and barak were destroyed ("swept away") at brook ki-shon many years ago (Judges 5:20-21). It would be a place of remembrance for the people of this very great and significant Israelite victory over Jabin/the Canaanites wrought by God at the hand of Barak and Deborah - a great judge. The Baal prophets were not a sacrifice ... they were slain because God commanded it in the Law, being enemies of Israel and being false prophets on top of it. It is to be seen that as the account in Judges records: “all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword and there was not a man left” (Judges 4:16-17), so of the Baal prophets it is written: "let not one of them escape" (1 Kings 18:40), and Ahab reported to Jezebel that Elijah "had slain all the prophets with the sword" (1 Kings 19:1). It is to be seen that the old covenant scriptures (and the New for that matter) are replete with tradition and signs and specific references to events in the grand history of this people, as everything that was encountered can be attributed to the will of God. It made perfect sense and was a very symbolic act borne of his love for and fear of God (which Elijah we suppose hoped would also be in the hearts of the people) for Elijah to take the Baalist enemies to the Brook Ki-shon that they might also be "swept away", as had been the Canaanites those many years before. By this symbolic act, Elijah would (we may reason) hope that the people's fear of God would be increased even more than it perhaps was after they had witnessed God's consuming fire on the altar at Mount Carmel. God had orchestrated all of the events at Mount Carmel for one reason - that His people would heed his prophet's words and turn their hearts back to God. Elijah "pulled out all the stops" using the many and diverse provisions God made available to him in this glorious account.

  • MartyE, this addition to your previous answer is very useful indeed. I presume you will get some upvote at least, but can you please edit your 2 answers and make them a single one? Also, plese do have a look over here and why not check up some answers that have been accepted already. This will guide you as how to write an answer on the BH site. Thank you. Jul 16, 2018 at 7:19

Mountains seems as special place for revelation (Mt. Sinai, Moriah , Sion) , acts of G-d , sacrifices and dwelling of G-d (as on Mount Zion , Jerusalem ) so it would very inappropriate for Elijah to kill false prophets there and there is also that he build altar at Mount Carmel .

Gen 22:2 God said, “Take your son – your only son, whom you love, Isaac – and go to the land of Moriah! Offer him up there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will indicate to you.”

Gen 31:54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat the meal. They ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.

Exod 19:12 You must set boundaries for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves not to go up on the mountain nor touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death!

there are many more examples.

Good reason for brook(torrent) Kishon is that river very good place where blood would not defile the holy land as much. as it flows in to the Mediterranean and then to ocean. as further we read that lots of rain is coming and wash away the blood because it is probably empty after 3 years without rain.

Num 35:33 “You must not pollute the land where you live, for blood defiles the land, and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed there, except by the blood of the person who shed it.

Ezek 36:18 So I poured my anger on them because of the blood they shed on the land and because of the idols with which they defiled it.

  • Although I tend to agree with the first part of your answer, I find you seemed to have missed that the region is in the midst of a 3 year drought. Baal Hadid, was also a storm god responsible for bringing the spring rains. I have often wondered if this was the significance of the taking them to the creek for execution. Now the story does not actually indicate which "Ba'al they were followers of, but Hadid makes a good candidate, being Asheriah is also mentioned.
    – seedy3
    Oct 13, 2015 at 22:54
  • I think after heavy rain which is promised it will wash away the blood
    – user8377
    Oct 14, 2015 at 18:04

Through Barak (really, Deborah), God delivered Jabin and his mighty army into the hands of the Israelites who pursued Sisera's forces and: “all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword and there was not a man left” (Judges 4:16-17). It's written “So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel” (Judges 4:23), and later Deborah and Barak sang of God's providence in the stars from heaven that fought against Sisera and “the river of Kishon swept them away” (Judges 5:20-21), and peace followed for forty years. Elijah took the Baal prophets (Ahab tells us "all" the prophets (1 Kings 19:1), so it was 850 when you include the prophets of Ashteroth, or Asherah), to the Brook Kishon as a worship of what God had done at that earlier time to destroy Jabin's army. Elijah by this may have hoped his "victory" over the Baalists on this day would bring from God a much greater result in the people, with perhaps a period wherein Baalism in the land was destroyed, but as we read, that was not to be and almost immediately Ahab was back to his idolatrous ways.

  • Yes, it is likely that it was an act of worship, but I think we still need some more information in order to proove that. Wouldn't that mean that sacrificing people was still a practice in the Ancient Israel? Would this be likely? However, the question was "why at Kishon"? Why not at the Mt Carmel? Or was it just an act of punishment, and this is why the move was necessary, in order to avoid a sort of desecration of the Mt Carmel? Are there any other passages where the brook Kishon in mentioned as a place of killing enemies or sacrificing people or something alike? Jul 12, 2018 at 11:30

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