Elijah's prayer in 1 Kings 17:20 asks, "Have you ALSO brought tragedy on the widow" (N/KJV), "have you brought calamity EVEN upon the widow" (ESV). Other translations also have this even/also expression. Although I tried to look up the hebrew interlinear bible but I don't see this "also" expression in there. I know nothing about Hebrew, so I would like to know if the expression is in there. I think it is an important element in the story, because it shows whether Elijah acknowledges the widow's accusation, that he caused the Lord to remember the widow's sins, just as the Lord remembered the Israelites' sins.


Berean Study Bible 1 Kings 17:20

Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on this widow who has opened her home to me, by causing her son to die?”

have You also
הֲ֠גַם (hă·ḡam)
Strong's Hebrew 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

brought tragedy
הֲרֵע֖וֹתָ (hă·rê·‘ō·w·ṯā)
Verb - Hifil - Perfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7489: To spoil, to make, good for, nothing, bad

עַל־ (‘al-)
Strong's Hebrew 5921: Above, over, upon, against

The word "also" is in the Hebrew but not the word "even".

Now, to your other point:

it shows whether Elijah acknowledges the widow's accusation

An accusation is a statement, not a question.

Let's see the context:

18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son**?**”

19“Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die**?**”

Neither the mother nor Elijah accused God of causing her son to die. They questioned God about it.

  • Thanks for the clarification on the Hebrew text. However I don't think one can simply dismiss the tone of the widow. For example, if I show up as a clown to a friend's wedding to give a speech, my friend could ask me, "did you do that just to embarrass me?", and that would carry an accusational tone. So with the "also" word, Elijah was relating the son's death to something else - I'd presume it to be the drought in Israel. Both of which Elijah did not deny his role.
    – Kyle S
    Mar 15 at 15:49

You don’t need to look to the Hebrew to see whether expression that through Elijah, that God was the reason for, the cause of the problems this widow experienced - because it was. This verse accurately presents the Hebrew.

But, you do need some background to help you see why God was the cause. Elijah was in Zarephath, a Phoenician city. That is, it was not Israel. This land, this nation had other gods. And this ‘boy’ was this widows son, specifically her first born. The first born belongs to your god. And Elijah, a man representing another God, was on ‘foreign territory’.

Through Elijah, God, had blessed this women with supply, provision (oil), which again is attributable to your god. This would have a point of conjecture for the Phoenician gods, who then claimed the firstborn. (The principle of the firstborn is another topic, but you see one [of many] glimpses in Passover in Egypt.). So- because of Elijah, who was there because of God, this women experienced this.

But' Importantly, God, through Elijah, reversed that judgement and restored her son.

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