The new chapter begins another story and a new connection. But let us get the story first.
1 And it came to pass [after] many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. It was to be in the third year that he was to announce he was there to be found. Ahab was looking but had not found him. How hard he looked is obvious from this story.
2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And [there was] a sore famine in Samaria. The famine was biting hard. They had to do something quickly or lose everything.
3 And Ahab called Obadiah, which [was] the governor of [his] house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: The record points out Obadiah was a faithful man. He was aware of the intrigue within the administration. He knew of the forces at work.
4 For it was [so], when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) Two times we are told that Obadiah took the prophets of God and hid them by fifty in a cave. You can deduce that in this feature we have an important clue to the connection. Whenever things are mentioned twice you are expected to conclude they are more important than the things that are only mentioned once. Obadiah was going to save the prophets of God from the excesses of Jezabel. The truth was important to this man.
5 And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts. Apparently Ahab’s concern was for the commerce of the nation, not its spiritual health. He needed to find water for the animals. They were to visit all the places where water might be found, but it was only needed for the animals.
6 So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. You can tell it is a parable by the way it is written. Ahab was the king. He would not go anywhere by himself. What we are to draw from this is the king was going in one direction and Obadiah was going in the opposite direction. The king was concerned about the economic welfare of the nation and Obadiah wanted God to be with his people.
7 And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, [Art] thou that my lord Elijah? Elijah met Obadiah. Elijah would not meet Ahab. The question he asked and the way he asked it is to be noted. This is a desperate man. He could not believe his good fortune. He knew him because he made himself aware of his appearance and what to expect so he would recognize him immediately.
8 And he answered him, I [am]: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah [is here]. The message was to Ahab through Obadiah. Let him know I am back. But there was more to it than that. Obadiah was a frightened man. He was full of doubt. Experience told him to be wary of his expectation. If I let him out of my sight Ahab will kill me.
9 And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me? He was aware how hard the authorities had tried to find him and what it meant to them to bring him in.
10 [As] the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, [He is] not [there]; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. This was not a casual exercise. This was serious. He took an oath as if there would be effects if he found they lied or was mistaken. And there was not a place where he had not looked.
11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah [is here]. It was too much to say you have spoken to him and not seized him.
12 And it shall come to pass, [as soon as] I am gone from thee, that the spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and [so] when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth. God will want you to do something else and where will my request stand, how important will my life be. I am not like Ahab. I am not a worshiper of Baal.