We skip ahead quite a bit to the divided kingdoms of Israel (Northern Kingdom with Samaria as its capital) and Judah (Southern Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.) Ahab has become King of Israel and, along with his wife, Jezebel, has led Israel deeper into sin. The passage refers to Jezebel killing the Lord's prophets, but doesn't tell us that story. It seems that overall, Jezebel promoted the worship of another god, Baal, and persecuted those who worshiped the Lord. At the same time, many still worshiped the God of their ancestors.
The most famous prophet of that time was Elijah. He had prophesied a drought as a sign of God's anger for Israel's unfaithfulness. When we get to this passage, it has been more than three years since the last rain. We get a sense in this passage that Elijah spent much of his life on the run, fleeing from Ahab and other rulers upset by God's judgment. There are many great stories of the prophets from this part of scripture, and this is one of them.