"Arise and Eat": 1 Kings 19:3-8 and Elijah’s Death, Resurrection and Bread from Heaven
Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies, 3(1), 1-7, November 2010
Jeffrey L. Morrow, Ph.D. School of Theology
The Elijah narratives in 1 and 2 Kings are textually complex and the compositional history of 1 Kings 17-19 in particular is hotly contested within historical critical scholarship. In this article I focus on a few specific verses, namely 1 Kings 19:3-8. In this passage we find Elijah fleeing into the wilderness, petitioning the Lord, begging for death, and then falling asleep. An angel appears to Elijah, touches him, and commands him to arise and eat the bread and drink the water which has mysteriously appeared. After the angel repeats the command, Elijah eats and drinks and continues on a forty day journey to Horeb where he has an encounter with God. I propose that this passage is suggestive of a death and resurrection scene, where Elijah’s falling asleep may be a reference to death, and his arising akin to resurrection, after which he is fed with the mystical angelic bread and drink.