Note: I have edited this structure in the light of Walsh (Style and Structure in Biblical hebrew Narrative). His structure of verses 9-14 is given as an example of an “unmatched subunit” related to verse 12. He gives an ABCB’A’B”C’A” structure. Below the wider text is included in a ABCDEFE’D’B’C’D”A’. The bounds are Elijah being told and then going to meet Ahab. Moving in we have Obadiah’s faithfulness, then the dismay at being asked to say to Ahab that Elijah is here.
A. (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. (2) And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab.
B. And there was a sore famine in Samaria. (3) And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: (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.)(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.(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.
C. (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? (8) And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
D. (9) And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?
E. (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.
F. (11) And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
E’. (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
D’. he shall slay me:
B’. but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth. (13) Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid an hundred men of the LORD ‘s prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?
C’.(14) And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here:
D”.and he shall slay me.
A’. (15) And Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day.(16) So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.