Where is this story in the bible? Is it?

I am having weekly religious discussions with a Jehovah’s Witness. It has been a lot of fun and we debate various books of the bible. One of the stories I mentioned was one where the priests of Israel are trying to prove to the people that the Gods they are worshipping are fake. The people put offers of food in temples before the idols and leave. Our biblical heros spread flour or some other substance on the floor of the temple and the next day show by the tracks in the flour that the food is not being eaten by the idols but by the families of the priests. They then kill the priests. That’s how I remember it, but since I can’t remember more details, I can’t find the story.

Does this story exist and where is it?


I can’t recall that particular story, but there is the one with the prophet (I want to say Isaiah) who tells the followers of Ba’al that they should both build altars, and whomever’s God lights it on fire wins. The Ba’al worshippers go first and they chant all over the place, cut themselves, dance, etc, etc, but no good. Then Isaiah (I think? Clearly I am not the person to be relating this story) pours water all over his stuff, soaking it until it won’t burn, then prays. God flashes down the lightning, the whole alter burst into flame, and Isaiah has the false god prohpets killed. Oh, and he taunts them as they’re trying to get their altar to burn. Things like, “Shout louder, he can’t hear you!”

It’s apochryphal, in the Greek version of the book of Daniel. The chapter its in is usually called “Bel and the Dragon” (because it’s with another story where Daniel kills a dragon that the Babylonians worship). Here it is:



That was Elijah, from I Kings 18.

According to Isaac Asimov in his Guide to The Old Testament the story is in Daniel, Chapter 14 of the Catholic version of the Bible.

I remember the story of the fire buidling contest (Isaiah winning even after his alter and fire starting materials were put in water on purpose) from my copy of “The Picture Bible”. I doubt you can win any argument citing “The Picture Bible” however.

David Simmons and Captain Amazing have the right answer to the OP – it’s in the extended version of the Book of Daniel, Ch. 14, part of the Deuterocanonical (“later canon”) books (Extended David, Extended Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach, etc.) of the Catholic translations of the Bible. During the Reformation, the Protestant theologians concluded that writings that were not Protocanonical (“original canon”, i.e. recognized in the Jewish canon), or that could not be found in the textus receptus, were not integral to the OT. In the old days, however, copies of the “Authorized Version” of the King James Bible DID normally include the Deuterocanonical books plus a couple of others, in a separate chapter of “Inspired Apocryphal” books, considered to be legitimate supplementary readings. Later on, though, most Protestant Bibles simply left them out.

See the Staff Reports on Who Wrote the Bible for more on how come the canon ended up different.


Not if you call him Isaiah, you can’t. It was Elijah.