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1 Kings 18:27-29 "At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice.”

Certainly this sacrifice had nothing to do with the daily temple sacrifice. This sacrifice was not done at the temple in Jerusalem. It was not done by any temple priest, nor was a lamb without blemish offered.

Furthermore, the Hebrew word for "evening" is not even used in 1 Kings 18. Bible translators added "evening" perhaps because this sacrifice appears to have taken place late in the afternoon near evening.

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  • Welcome Myron. This is a good question. Please keep them coming, and take the tour as well, if you haven't done so already. Commented May 20 at 18:08

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Exodus 29

Now, this is what you shall regularly offer on the altar: two yearling lambs as the sacrifice established for each day; 39 one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at the evening twilight. 40 With the first lamb there shall be a tenth of an ephah of bran flour mixed with a fourth of a hin of oil of crushed olives and, as its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine. 41 The other lamb you shall offer at the evening twilight, with the same grain offering and libation as in the morning.

As the OP points out, Elijah's offering was an irregular sacrifice. Deuteronomy permitted sacrifices only in Jerusalem. A bull was offered rather than a lamb as indicated in Ex. 29. And the OP rightly observes that the word "evening" is not included in the text.. The YLT offers this:

and it cometh to pass, at the passing by of the noon, that they feign themselves prophets till the going up of the present, and there is no voice, and there is none answering, and there is none attending.

From this we can deduce that term "sacrifice/offering/present" does not overtly refer to the schedule or tradition of offerings at the Jerusalem Temple. However, Jewish translations understand this to mean the time of the evening grain-offering referred to above, even though a bull was offered instead of a lamb.

JPS

When noon passed, they kept raving until the hour of presenting the meal offering. Still there was no sound, and none who responded or heeded.

Conclusion: The literal meaning of the text is that the prophets of Baal continued attempting to propitiate their deity until Elijah made his own offering, a few hours later. If it refers to the Jerusalem temple schedule, it means the time when the evening sacrifice as made: at twilight. Apparently this was a special case, as neither the place nor the type of offering coincides with the normal practice.


ADDENDUM: Several translations of Ex. 29:40 (Including KJV and KJ21) use the archaic "meat offering" (meaning any solid food) instead of the modern "grain offering." This may contribute to the confusion.

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Actually, the word "evening" does not appear in the Hebrew text. Here is my literal translation of 1 Kings 18:29 -

And when midday passed, they continued until the offering of the sacrifice. But no voice and no one answered and no one paid attention.

thus, the record is simply saying that the prophets of Baal continued to call on the name of Baal by their frantic prophesying with no effect until the time for sacrifice occurred. This "time" for sacrifice was either:

  • the time of the regular evening sacrifice at the temple
  • the time limit that Elijah had set for him to offer his sacrifice because he had asked the prophets of Baal to go first (1 Kings 18:25).

The latter is more probable given the flow of the narrative. However, both are probably still true - the time limit for the prophets of Baal was probably set by the time for the evening sacrifice at the temple.

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