The missing prophets
First Kings 18 describes the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal to show who the true God is. Elijah was badly outnumbered in this contest.
Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.”
1 Kings 18:22
In the end Elijah won the contest, proving that the LORD was the true God, but the fact that he was alone is rather surprising when we consider something that had happened earlier.
When Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.
1 Kings 18:4
Where were those prophets? Why weren’t they there to help Elijah? Were there circumstances that made it impossible for them to be there or were they afraid of what might happen to them? The Bible simply doesn’t give us enough information to answer these questions. But if those prophets had been there to support Elijah their presence might have made a big difference in his behavior after the contest.
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”
Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
1 Kings 19:1-3
He tells God the reason he was afraid of Jezebel.
He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
1 Kings 19:14
He believed that we was the only one left who worshipped God. If the hundred prophets had been with him he would have known he wasn’t alone and their presence might have given him the courage he needed to stand up to Jezebel.