Eliyahu According to Midrash Rabah, pt. II


The 4th installment in a series exploring whether Pinchas and Eliyahu ha-Navi (Elijah the Prophet) are the same person.

Here is another source from Midrash Rabah weighing in on the background of Eliyahu.

B’Reshith Rabah 71:12:

‘Leah said, ‘Good fortune (gad) has come” (Genesis 30:11). The one who is destined to cut down (‘l’gaded’) the foundation of the idolaters has come. And who is this? Eliyahu (Elijah). Of which [tribe] is Eliyahu? Rabbi Elazar said: Of Binyamin (Benjamin)… Rabbi Nehorai said: Of Gad… One time, the Sages were arguing over the matter. Some said of Gad and some said of Binyamin. [Eliyahu] came and stood before them. He said to them: ‘My masters, why do you argue over me? I am of the descendants of Rachel.’

Here again, and in seeming agreement with the other source in Midrash Rabah, quoted in the previous installment, this passage concludes as well that Eliyahu derives from Binyamin (Binyamin, not Gad, was the son of Rachel). Notably, while there is a second opinion here, that Eliyahu derives from Gad, there is no opinion that Eliyahu is a Kohen as was Pinchas.

So far, 3 out of 3 sources in this series have negated the notion of Pinchas and Eliyahu being the same person.

See this post for a possible synthesis.


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