I Kings 18:20-39
Elijah foresees a three-year drought—punishment for the worship of Ba’al, the local deity of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, rulers of the the Northern Kingdom of Israel who championed & encouraged various forms of idolatry. Ahab accuses Elijah of causing the hardship, at which point Elijah suggests a Battle of the Gods.
In this instance, Ba’al is the Northern Semetic title for “lord” used in many cases, both for local spirit deities, such as patron gods of cities, and sometimes for people, and attributed as a primary god of the Phoenicians. Not to be confused with Baal (or Bael) who appears in the 1600’s in some occult writings as a prince of Hell.
Elijah, the Ba’alists and assorted spectators gather on Mount Carmel and challenges the people: “How long will you hop between two ideas? If the L-rd is G-d, go after Him, and if the Baal, go after him.”
In the grand demonstration, both the worshippers of Ba’al and Elijah will take a bull, sacrifice it, and lay each upon a pile of unkindled wood. Then both would call to each respective deity to light the fire.
The followers of Ba’al agree, and call for their fire to be lit to no avail. Elijah even taunts them, suggesting the call louder because Ba’al might be out chasing down enemies or on an adventure or maybe just taking a nap.
Later that evening, Elijah builds an altar, lays down his offering, and surrounds it with water. He calls to “Lord, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Israel…Today let it be known that You are G-d in Israel and that I am Your servant, and at Your word have I done all these things.” Then it’s said a fire descended from the heavens and consumed the offering, the altar, and even the water, causing the bystanders to prostrate themselves and declare allegiance to the one true G-d.
And a few lines outside this haftorah portion, Elijah then orders the prophets of Ba’al to be seized, later to be killed at Kishon Brook (do you remember this from Devorah’s story in Haftorah Beshalach?).