Verses 17-20 (1 Kings 18:17-20)

We have here the meeting between Ahab and Elijah, as bad a king as ever the world was plagued with and as good a prophet as ever the church was blessed with. 1. Ahab, like himself, basely accused Elijah. He durst not strike him, remembering that Jeroboam?s hand withered when it was stretched out against a prophet, but gave him bad language, which was no less an affront to him that sent him. It was a very coarse compliment with which he accosted him at the first word: Art thou he that troubleth Israel? 1 Kgs. 18:17. How unlike was this to that with which his servant Obadiah saluted him (1 Kgs. 18:7): Art thou that my lord Elijah? Obadiah feared God greatly; Ahab had sold himself to work wickedness; and both discovered their character by the manner of their address to the prophet. One may guess how people stand affected to God by observing how they stand affected to his people and ministers. Elijah now came to bring blessings to Israel, tidings of the return of the rain; yet he was thus affronted. Had it been true that he was the troubler of Israel, Ahab, as king, would have been bound to animadvert upon him. There are those who trouble Israel by their wickedness, whom the conservators of the public peace are concerned to enquire after. But it was utterly false concerning Elijah; so far was he from being an enemy to Israel?s welfare that he as the stay of it, the chariots and horsemen of Israel. Note, It has been the lot of the best and most useful men to be called and counted the troublers of the land, and to be run down as public grievances. Even Christ and his apostles were thus misrepresented, Acts 17:6. 2. Elijah, like himself, boldly returned the charge upon the king, and proved it upon him, that he was the troubler of Israel, 1 Kgs. 18:18. Elijah is not the Achan: ?I have not troubled Israel, have neither done them any wrong nor designed them any hurt.? Those that procure God?s judgments do the mischief, not he that merely foretels them and gives warning of them, that the nation may repent and prevent them. I would have healed Israel, but they would not be healed. Ahab is the Achan, the troubler, who follows Baalim, those accursed things. Nothing creates more trouble to a land than the impiety and profaneness of princes and their families. 3. As one having authority immediately from the King of kings, he ordered a convention of the states to be forthwith summoned to meet at Mount Carmel, where there had been an altar built to God, 1 Kgs. 18:30. Probably on that mountain they had an eminent high place, where formerly the pure worship of God had been kept up as well as it could be any where but at Jerusalem. Thither all Israel must come, to give Elijah the meeting; and the prophets of Baal who were dispersed all the country over, with those of the groves who were Jezebel?s domestic chaplains, must there make their personal appearance. 4. Ahab issued out writs accordingly, for the convening of this great assembly (1 Kgs. 18:20), either because he feared Elijah and durst not oppose him (Saul stood in awe of Samuel more than of God), or because he hoped Elijah would bless the land, and speak the word that they might have rain, and upon those terms they would be all at his beck. Those that slighted and hated his counsels would gladly be beholden to him for his prayers. Now God made those who said they were Jews and were not, but were of the synagogue of Satan, to come, and, in effect, to worship at his feet, and to know that God had loved him, Rev. 3:9.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary