This article proposes a new reading of the verb ויַּתִמְֹ דֵד in 1 Kgs 17:21 which, I argue, is not from מדד (“to measure”) but from מיד (“to shake”). I begin by showing that the current understanding of the verb from מדד, which in this verse is usually translated “to stretch,” is problematic. I suggest that the root מיד, which occurs in Hab 3:6, offers a viable alternative to this problematic reading. Finally, comparing this action to Mesopotamian protocols for diagnosing comas, I propose that Elijah shakes himself over the comatose boy in order to determine his condition. This diagnosis then informs Elijah’s prayer for YHWH to return the boy’s נפש, which is exactly what happens in the next verse. In this reading, Elijah’s action is neither therapeutic nor magical; it is diagnostic and a necessary step that enables Elijah to formulate a prayer that is specific to the boy’s predicament. His revival is not achieved through Elijah’s self-measurement or sympathetic magic; rather, it is the result of the prophetic word, which has the power to move YHWH to action.

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