After a long period of drought and famine the prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab, who had fallen away from the God of Israel, to a contest: he and the priests of Baal should each pray for the heavenly ignition of a burnt offering. Whoevers God sends the fire should be considered the true God. Elijah repeatedly poured water over his own sacrificial animals and the altar. God answered Elijah's prayer and sent fire to his offerings; the altar of the priests of Baal remained without fire. The murder of the priests of Baal after their defeat is shown in the background.
At the top right we see Elijah on Mount Carmel requesting the long desired rain, his boys look out for approaching clouds.
[Ulrike Dura, Cat. Leipzig 2006, 128]
Balthasar Hoffmann knees in prayer on the left, accompanied by his five sons, living and deceased. On the right the painting depicts Hoffmann's two deceased wifes and his four daughters.