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Authors: Naama Golan and Shai Gordin

Abstract

This article addresses two cases from the narratives in Daniel in which a similar theological question arises concerning the uncertainty of God’s ability to deliver his servants: (1) The chief officer’s denial of Daniels’ request (Dan 1:10) despite the fact that God granted Daniel grace and compassion from the chief officer, and (2) the speech of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan 3:17–18), in which they entertain the possibility that God will not, or perhaps cannot, save them. Commentators and translators throughout the generations have struggled with these theological problems, and we can identify a clear trend seeking to read the relevant verses in a way that removes the uncertainty, replacing it with certain faith in God’s deliverance.

In this article, we demonstrate how this interpretive trend surprisingly continues even with modern biblical scholars. Based on a literary analysis, we suggest that reading the MT version without altering it to conform with certain theological preconceptions may shed new light on the Daniel narratives, thereby exposing their deep and complex message.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

The collocation נצרת לב in the profile of the strange woman in Proverbs is a well- known exegetical crux (Prov 7:10). Since in Prov 4 guarding one’s heart has a positive meaning, the phrase “guarded of heart” in the portrait of a negative character seems out of place. Traditionally scholars approached this difficulty (1) by emending the MT to נצרת לוט, i.e., picturing the woman covered with a veil; (2) by positing נצר II and reading the phrase as “tumultuous mind”; and (3) by arguing that the root in question may have the unique connotation of “cunning” or “wily” in Prov 7:10. Given the dominant death-related symbolism in the depiction of this anti-heroine, this discussion links the verb “to guard’ in Prov 7 to its usage in Isa 65:4, arguing that the strange woman is thought of as possessing a tomb-chamber for a heart and styled as the ultimate femme fatale.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This article investigates the different stages in the formation of Ps 45 and will point out their purposes by analyzing the acting characters, their positions, and their relationships. The study will suggest a new understanding of שגל and emphasize the importance of the frame with the opening verses and closing remarks, thus gaining a new approach to understanding Ps 45 as both an expression of royal ideology and of scribal self-confidence.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Chelcent Fuad

Abstract

This article analyzes the relationship between the pentateuchal tithe laws in Lev 27:30–33; Num 18:21–32, and Deut 14:22–29 from a literary perspective and finds that (1) Lev 27:30–33 is the oldest tithe law in the Pentateuch that may have been the common source of the other pentateuchal tithe laws, (2) the tithe law in Num 18:21–32 may have been literarily dependent upon the tithe law in Deut 14:22–29, (3) the purpose of the legal revision of the pentateuchal tithe laws was to replace rather than to supplement the older legislation, and (4) the tithe law in Lev 27:30–33 may have been a product of the Priestly School, whereas the tithe law in Num 18:21–32 may have stemmed from the Holiness School albeit from a later stratum than H proper (Lev 17–26).

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This study focuses on the difficult ending of 1 Sam 20:41 in the Masoretic text (MT): וַיִּבְכּוּ אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ עַד דָּוִד הִגְדִּיל, rendered normally as “They wept together; David wept the longer.” Many have pointed out the peculiarity of this phrase, and different emendations were proposed, based mainly on the LXX. The present article suggests an emendation of 1 Sam 20:41, according to which the original text read here עד בור הגדול. The mention of the “Great Cistern” at the end of the previous story in the Book of Samuel (19:22), provides strong support for this suggestion. It is proposed that the mention of the “Great Cistern” in the original text intended to narrow the geographical gaps between the different stories about David and Saul.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Gershon Galil

Abstract

The formation of the books Judges and Samuel is re-examined in this article. The author maintains that two main editions of the book of Samuel were created. The first was composed in Jerusalem during the reign of Solomon. The author of this edition was also the author of the second edition of the Book of Judges (“B”). The first edition of Judges, the “book of saviors,” which was composed in the north at the beginning of the age of monarchy (“A”), was also one of the four main sources which were incorporated into the first edition of Samuel. The other sources were: the “acts of Saul”; the “acts of David,” and the “book of Jashar.” The second edition of Samuel and the third of Judges were edited by a single person, the Deuteronomist, in Babylonia, ca. 560 BCE. He prepared an extensive composition describing the history of Israel from Moses to Jeremiah. In Deuteronomy the path was delineated and norms were determined. The main body (Joshua–Kings) records the ups and downs in Israel’s relationship with God; and the epilogue (the book of Jeremiah) focuses on the destruction and Exile, explaining the events and informing the exiles of the message of redemption.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

The article is a contribution to the current discussion about the beginnings of prophetic books in ancient Israel. It investigates the significance of the so-called „Literary Predictive Texts“ (LPT) and the Neo-Assyrian prophecies for our understanding of the emergence of prophetic writings in Israel. TheLPTin particular had received only little attention so far. Tying in critically with some recent studies, this article compares the Marduk prophecy and the Neo-Assyrian tablet SAA9 3 with selected passages from the book of Amos (Amos 3–6* and Amos 6*). It concludes that in contrast to the Neo-Assyrian collective tablets the LPTcannot serve as appropriate analogies to early prophetic scrolls, but that they are helpful to understand the phenomenon of tradent prophecy.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Joshua Berman

Abstract

Scholars routinely discern the diachronic development of the book of Isaiah with a discreet focus on vocabulary, phrases, themes, and motifs. All but absent from consideration are the distribution and recurrence of grammatical, morphological, and syntactic features within the text. This study serves as a proof-of concept for the linguistic analysis of such features now available with the launch of the Tiberias Stylistic Classifier for the Hebrew Bible (https://tiberias.dicta.org.il/#/). Measuring and weighing the linguistic features of Isa 1–33 and Isa 40–55, the study brings to light the morphological and syntactic features most characteristic of each text corpus. The study also demonstrates that chs. 34 and 35 of Isaiah are much closer in morphology and syntax to chs. 1–33 than they are to chs. 40–55. The implications of these findings are examined in consideration of the scholarly debate concerning the provenance of these two chapters.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Orit Malka

Abstract

The verb הֵעִיד in Biblical Hebrew is understood by most scholars primarily within the semantic field of עֵד, “witness.” However, many of its biblical occurrences do not befit this reading. These were interpreted according to the context, as bearing the meaning of: “to warn,” “to assure,” “to command.” Explaining the connection between all aspects of the verb poses a challenge. The present paper argues that all these meaning are in fact interrelated: they all derive from the meaning of הֵעִיד (and the verbal phrase הֵעִיד בְּ) as implying the imposition of an oath.

Oaths are based on the summoning of divine witnesses as guarantors of the sworn undertakings. Convocation of witnesses thus became associated with oaths, and consequently הֵעִיד developed a secondary meaning of imposing an oath. Understanding the verb הֵעִיד as implying the imposition of an oath will reconcile the various meanings attributed to this verb, and unveil the internal links between them.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: David Rothstein

Abstract

Students of Chronicles have long been perplexed by the extensive treatment of the ark in the Chronicler’s narratives, which is surprising, given the general assumption that the ark was not part of the paraphernalia of the postexilic temple. Following a brief review of the ark’s depiction in Chronicles and earlier views regarding the implications of the ark’s absence for the Chronicler, the present essay proffers a new approach to the place of the ark in the Chronicler’s Weltanschauung.

In: Vetus Testamentum