Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In 1 Kings 17:14 we have the following passage (NV):

‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

Now every single preacher I've heard have a literary interpretation of this passage and consider it a miracle (like the multiplying of bread and fish).

However, P.Coelho in his book "The fifth mountain" suggests that Elijah worked in that city so the jar of flour was always full as a result of his income.

The latter interpretation is also favored by the last verse:

Now by this I know that thou art a man of God

So after the widow sees her son is alive (which was undoubtedly a miracle) is convinced about Elijah. Thus, if the flour multiplying was also a miracle, she would have probably already been convinced.

Is there anything else which might help understand whether this was indeed a miracle or not ?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

It is quite explicitly mentioned as a miracle from God. How else can verse 16 be interpreted?

For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

I've highlighted "the jar" and "the jug", both singular. And it says, in keeping with the word of the Lord. So this was God's promise, not Elijah's occupation.

Furthermore, the passage implies these events happen as Elijah enters the city. Consider verses 8-16:

Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have instructed a widow there to supply you with food.’ So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, ‘Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?’ As she was going to get it, he called, ‘And bring me, please, a piece of bread.’

‘As surely as the Lord your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it – and die.’

Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.”’

She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

I've highlighted some words to show the pace of the story. It all happens very fast, as soon as Elijah reaches the city gates. This implies he did not have time to find employment. Finally, he wasn't even from the area, so it is not as if he returned to a previous occupation or had business contacts there.

share|improve this answer

Fofole,

I dearly love this chapter as for me, from my point of view, I see that this is a common strand that moves through scripture and has many functions in revealing Y'shua (Jesus) to us. At the beginning of this chapter, Elijah (My Elohim is Yah) is told by Yah that he is to prophecy to Ahab neither dew nor rain will come until I say so. Then he is told to go to a certain place named Cherith (or Keryith which means cutting or to cut, make a covenant) and remain and Yah will provide for his food (through the ravens) and his water (by the brook).

I see the fact that the very food elements are mentioned tells me that the significance of what they are has meaning. Bread and meat. Y'shua refers to himself as the Bread of life and as meat for the believer (John 6). Meanwhile the water is a very common symbol for the Spirit of Elohim representing the faith of the believer. So in my perspective we see the same elements as we saw with the children of Israel while in the wilderness, bread (manna), meat (quail) and water (the rock or Y'shua). The first 'miracle' then in this story for me is the sustaining of the believer by Elohim.

Next comes the brook running dry and the command to go to Zarephath (refinery or maybe the place of refining?) and there he will meet a woman who has been prepared for his support. Could this tie to Isaiah 48:10 and to 1 Peter 1:17 or James 1:12? Who is to be refined here, Elijah or the woman...or both?

So he meets her and instructs her to make him some bread and provide him a drink. She basically tells him that her hope is wasting away (because of the drought, like Revelation 3:8?) and she is preparing to die along with her son. Still Elijah contends that she should take care of him first and then she can take care of herslf and her son. Isn't this in keeping with Philippians 2 and 1 Thessalonians 5? Wouldn't her doing as she has been told be a sign of her love and obedience, her faith in the ability of Yah to meet her needs and to give her the desire of her heart?

The flour and wine (Y'shua, Spirit of Elohim) never run out, they are always there and always able to meet every need. Does that mean that each day we as believers are experiencing an on-going miracle? Every day? Hmmm. Guess that would depend on what you consider to be miraculous. Does it take a proverbial lightening bolt to make something miraculous? Is it a miracle as determined by the result of the action/event? So why did Yah have Elijah go there in the first place?

Next, the woman's son dies. She has faith, especially after having seen her faith rewarded by the 'miracle' of the flour and wine and how it continued for such a long space of time. So she reacts towards Elijah how? "Did you just come here to make me see my sin and cause my son to die"? or "Are you just here to make my life worse"? To test me? To try me? (back to Peter?)

Elijah then does something kind of strange...or something prophetic? He goes away with the boy and then "lays" on him? That can have a lot of different meanings but it causes me to think about his mantle. There is power in that mantle. Elisha will also raise a man in the same fashion and then a dead man will rise after touching Elisha's bones even after Elisha dies. I think his mantle (talit) would be on his bones as is customary.

Who else will do this? Y'shua will do this when He raises Yairus (Jairus) daughter. He will place his talit on her (after the woman with the issue of blood has touched the same talit and power emanated from it to her) and will raise the girl to life. Faith brings about life, life more abundant. Faith helps us down that path which Y'shua is, the way the truth and the life.

I didn't answer your question directly as I think there is so much more to it then the determination of what constitutes a miracle. I see it as a part of something much larger and interwoven through scripture, as a part of the very fabric of who the messiah is as opossed to what the messiah does.

I apologize if I haven't done your question justice. I went with what I felt the Father had for me to say.

share|improve this answer
    
Welcome to Christianity SE! Please check out our tour page, if you haven't already. –  Wikis Jul 29 at 13:18

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.