The Midrash in Bamidbar Rabbah 18:22 expounds Iyov 26:12 that when HaShem created the world, he told Rahav, the angel in charge of the ocean, to "open his mouth and swallow all the waters of Creation" to create dry land. The angel refused, saying that "it is enough if I can manage my own," and he began crying. HaShem "stamped" him and killed him, and proceeded to trample on the water and set beaches in place to hold back the oceans such that the dry land would be created.

What was Rahav's complaint? If he was unable to do what was asked of him, that it was beyond his control, then why did HaShem kill him? And if he was capable of doing it, why did he refuse and begin crying?

  • 1
    the Sefer Haikarim (4:8) says that the patron of the sea is a metaphor for the natural power of the sea and God doesn't "kill" anyone, he simply overpowers what should naturally happen -- that the water should cover the entire earth. That doesn't address the literal idea though. (cf Bava Batra 74b).
    – rosends
    Jun 4, 2017 at 2:57
  • 1
    I find it hard to imagine that G-d, a spiritual Being, could physically trample Rahav, another spiritual being.
    – ezra
    Jun 4, 2017 at 6:45
  • On angels and free will, see judaism.stackexchange.com/q/34760/8775, judaism.stackexchange.com/q/27977/8775.
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 4, 2017 at 7:31
  • I would suggest that God's "many-faceted" and self-contradicting willS are the reason for that. God wants A but at the same time, He wants B, just like in many examples with Moses and the Jewish people - think of Moses breaking the Tablets or hitting the Rock. So the angel reminded God of His own different will and God chose to "stamp" him because He "changed His mind" favoring other wills.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 19, 2020 at 18:46
  • THink about yourself, when you tell your kids to do their homework AND help mom. Whatever they do you can get mad for them not complying with your will.
    – Al Berko
    Dec 19, 2020 at 18:51


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