Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

God's Judgement on Mount Carmel

drawing with pen and brush (20 × 31 cm) — c. 1645 - 1650 Museum Städtische Wessenberg-Galerie, Konstanz

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to 1 Kings 18:38

Tags: Elijah

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All Israelites have gathered on Mount Carmel to see which god is the real one: the god Baal, worshipped by king Ahab and his 450 priests, or the god of the prophet Elijah. Two sacrifices are prepared and it is agreed to ask the gods to put them on fire.

All morning the priests of Baal call upon their god - in vein. Elijah makes jokes at them: "Don't give up guys, maybe your god is just taking a nap!". At the end of the afternoon Elijah steps forward and preys: "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel". Immediately his sacrifice is put on fire.

Rembrandt shows that moment. We see the smoke over the altar. The priests of Baal are astounded. Some Israelites fall to their knees. King Ahab looks on from the top right.

Elijah then has all the false priests taken away and killed.

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