1 Kings 18:40—Wasn’t killing too severe a punishment for the prophets of Baal?

Problem: Isn’t this a classic example of religious intolerance, a notorious example of overkill? Further, wasn’t it contrary to Jewish law to kill the prophets of Baal because of their beliefs?

Solution: According to the Law of Moses, even Jewish prophets were to be killed for giving false prophecies (Deut. 18:20). Furthermore, idolatry was punishable by death (Ex. 22:20), as was blasphemy (Lev. 24:15–16) and adultery (Lev. 20:10), all of which the prophets of Baal were guilty. Given that these false prophets were also engaged in treason against the Jewish theocracy, the punishment is not surprising and certainly justifiable by a God who is not only sovereign over all life (Deut. 32:39; Job 1:21), but also absolutely fair in executing justice (Gen. 18:25).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.