Haftarah Pinchas: Reading the Text VI
“Then he lay down and slept under a rosem-bush, and, behold this! An angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise! Eat!’ (I Kings 19:5)” In verse 2 we read of the “malach” sent by Jezebel. This is a different Malach, an angel of God. Jezebel’s malach was sent to kill Elijah. This angel was sent to feed Elijah.
What kind of sleep was it for Elijah? Was he tired, or, was it depression?
“Behold this!” is an expression of the unexpected: A person who seeks to die, who goes to sleep depressed, would not expect to be touched and fed by an angel. Elijah went to sleep frustrated, and his wakened as a message of hope.
“So he looked, and behold! Near his head, a coal baked cake and a container of water; he ate and drank, then he went back and lay down (Verse 6).” Unlike Elijah’s previous experience with miraculous food that was flour and oil that lasted; this meal came directly from Las Delicias, or Heaven’s kitchen; it appeared from nowhere. The water was not in a magical spring that appeared, but in an actual container! Something from nothing! A powerful message to someone who was questioning whether he was anything!
Elijah got the message, “he went back and lay down,” but did not go back to sleep, certainly not the sleep of the depressed.
“The angel of God returned to him a second time, touched him and said, ‘Arise! Eat! For the road will be long for you’ (Verse 7).” The same angel, the same touch, the same, “Arise! Eat!” This was not a Jewish mother urging her child to eat, this was a different type of meal. The first meal, the something from nothing, was a message, this meal was preparation for the future.