Explain the Biblical reference of Elijah and the Raven in the spiritual journey of Robinson Crusoe. Please include any quotes or references.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Robinson Crusoe is shipwrecked, he is at first angered and distraught; however, he later is grateful that he has survived and becomes penitent for his sins of selfishness and greed. Taking the Bible from the ship, Crusoe reads from it and begins his spiritual journey. He begins by shedding penitential tears for having been placed on an island that is free of the sins of lust and pride, for he can now begin to grow as a Christian. With a dog for a companion, Crusoe encloses a garden, he kills birds and other small creatures for food, and experiences a gratitude for his life.

With his newly acquired humility, Crusoe reflects,

...the nature and experience of things dictated to me, upon just reflection, that all the good things of this world are no further good to us than they are for our use...The most covetous, griping miser in the world would have been cured of the vice of covetousness if he had been in my case...and [I] admired the hand of God's providence.

Further, Crusoe reflects upon how ungrateful he has been for his past escapes and his acquired wealth from the cargo in England that he never once uttered, "Thank God." Ashamed of his wickedness, he resigns himself to the will of God and His mercy.

...that I ought to consider I had been fed even by miracle, even as that of feeding Elizah by ravens." (101)

Here Robinson Crusoe compares his situation to that of Elizah in the Book of Kings. He considers himself the recipient of miracles since he could have been cast upon a place where there were beasts or venomous snakes to threaten his life, or even savages who would kill him.

In Kings 1, Chapter 17, Elizah was a prophet during the reign of Ahab. A righteous man of God, Elizah prophesied to Ahab that a famine would come because of a lack of rain from God. Protecting Elizah from the wrath of Ahab, Providence then commanded the prophet to hide himself, and sent ravens to bring him meat to sustain him. Thus, like Crusoe, Elizah has learned to depend upon Providence to feed him. Interestingly, God sent a lowly creature, the raven, when He could have sent angels. Thus, Crusoe draws his comparison because the meanest creatures have taken care of his needs as effectually as ones that are greater.

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Robinson Crusoe

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