Raising of the son of the widow of Zarephath

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Painting by Louis Hersent.

The raising of the widow of Zarephath's son is a miracle of the prophet Elijah recorded in the Hebrew Bible, 1 Kings 17.

1 Kings 17:17-18 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him 18 And she said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to be to bring my sin and remembrance and to cause the death of my son!"

Victor H. Matthews suggests that the woman "uses sarcasm which is designed to shame the prophet for being the cause of her son's death." In raising her son from the dead, Elijah "regains his honor and his status."[1]

Saint Jerome relates that according to the Hebrew tradition, the widow's son grew up to be prophet Jonah.[2][3] This however is most probably a misunderstanding about the name, something that Jerome himself points out.[4]

Commentators have noted verbal parallels with the raising of the son of the widow of Nain in the Gospel of Luke.[5]

The miracle is represented in the Dura synagogue murals.[6]


  1. ^ Matthews, Victor H. (1994). "Female Voices: Upholding the Honor of the Household" (PDF). Biblical Theology Bulletin 24: 10–11. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Saint Jerome's commentary on Jonah. Prologue
  3. ^ Jerome's commentary on Jonah: Translation withintroduction and critical notes p.2
  4. ^ Biblical Commentary
  5. ^ The People's New Testament Commentary - M. Eugene Boring, Fred B. Craddock - 2004 Page 204 "7:11-17 RAISING THE WIDOW'S SON This story is only in Luke, but it has many points of contact with the story of Elijah's raising the widow of Zarephath's son (1 Kgs. 17:8-24), including such verbatim parallels as "he gave him to his mother" ..."
  6. ^ Jacob Neusner Judaism in late antiquity - Page 115 Jonathan A. Goldstein "In WC1, Elijah restores to life the son of the widow from Zarephath (I Kings 17:17- 24)."