Context: Israel, after its separation from the kingdom of Judah, turns to idolatry, especially during the reign of Ahab, whose wife, Jezebel, is fanatic in propagating the worship of Baal and in destroying the prophets of God. The prophet Elijah warns Ahab that there will be a drought in Israel until he predicts rain. At the end of three years, Elijah meets Ahab and arranges for a contest which will prove God above Baal: altars are prepared for sacrificing a bull to Baal and to God; the real God will send down fire to burn the sacrificial offering. After the idolators fail, Elijah prays, and God immediately sends fire. The Israelites worship God, and Elijah, after killing the idolatrous prophets, sends his servant seven times to look toward the sea; finally the servant reports:
. . . Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea like a man's hand. . . .
And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. . . .