The Alpha Text (AT) and Old Greek (OG) versions of Esther include six chapter-length passages—the “Additions”—not paralleled in the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) of Esther. In Addition A, Mordecai sees a dream marked by battle cries, confusion, thunder, earthquake, chaos, a pair of dragons, preparations for war, darkness and gloom, affliction and anguish, and an outcry to God from a frightened nation of righteous people. A small spring emerges from the outcry and turns into a mighty river, which consumes those held in esteem. Addition F offers a limited interpretation of several elements of this dream but leaves much of the dream uninterpreted. This paper offers a fresh perspective on the Addition A dream and its relationship to the plot of both AT- and OG-Esther in light of Artemidorus’s Oneirocritica, a second-century CE handbook of dream interpretation.
The census narrative in 1 Chr 21 draws from the earlier version of the episode preserved in 2 Sam 24, which followed a mythological pattern we encounter in “crisis episodes” deriving from the monarchic era. The Chronicler introduces changes that not only depart from his source material on the literary level; they also break with the older mythological patterns found in earlier crisis episodes. These departures result from the influence of Persian imperial mythology on the Chronicler’s writing, with implications for the Chronicler’s own mythological agenda within his rendition of the census narrative and the chapters surrounding it.
The temple vision of Ezek 40–48 devotes considerable attention to measuring and describing the various gates and entrances of the temple compound. Previous studies have tended to focus on the defensive function of the gates. However, these structures not only bar entry but also facilitate access to the temple under certain ritualized conditions. Offering a close reading of the references to the gates in Ezek 40–48, in which particular roles and activities are associated with specific entrances, this article shows how these architectural features of the temple map a differential system in which social hierarchies are organized according to the level, direction, and timing of access ascribed to different groups and individuals within the temple compound. The article concludes by exploring the significance of the gates for how we understand the literary genre of the temple vision of Ezek 40–48, and in particular its nature as a social utopia.
This article offers a new edition of the LXX Joshua portion of Codex Climaci Rescriptus, an important, though somewhat neglected, Sinaitic Palimpsest. The edition is based on the post-processed multispectral images, produced by Early Manuscripts Electronic Library in cooperation with the Lazarus Project. The new technology has aided in correcting various errors in the editio princeps and uncovering hitherto unseen textual and paratextual elements. Moreover, the results of radiocarbon analysis have been factored into the dating of the fragment, resulting in a new proposal for its date of origin.
This article seeks to clarify the use of “Dibonite” over “Moabite” in the Mesha Stele. To do so, it considers Mesha’s rhetoric, particularly as it pertains to ethnic divisions within the text. It also compares the rhetoric about Moab found in the Mesha Stele with the rhetoric found in the Hebrew Bible.
This study makes the case that within the books of Samuel-Kings as a whole, the book of Samuel presents two nested iterations of paradigmatic history, each of which anticipates the subsequent monarchic history with a distinct thematic focus. The more detailed of these two iterations—the story of Saul’s and David’s reigns in 1 Sam 9– 2 Sam 24—typologically anticipates the subsequent history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah as narrated in 1 Kgs 12–2 Kgs 25. This paradigmatic “preview” of the fates of Israel and Judah is further condensed in the stories about Eli and Samuel in 1 Sam 1–8, which anticipate elements from 1 Sam 9–2 Sam 24, the book of Kings, and beyond.
Scholars have used the regnal formulae in Kings to reconstruct at least three successive editions at work—a Hezekian version of Kings, a Josianic redaction, and an exilic redaction. Nevertheless, there have only rarely been examinations of how the evaluation of a particular king interacts with the narrative account of that king’s tenure. This paper will examine the ways in which Ahaz’s evaluation is at odds with the narrative depiction of his reign. By analyzing each element of his evaluation, this paper argues that there is evidence that a Josianic or later redactor modified an originally positive evaluation of this king. When taken on its own terms, the narrative account of Ahaz presents a king who rescued his nation, installed a large altar for public use, and removed iconography from the Jerusalem temple. Given this analysis, Ahaz should be understood as a precursor to, rather than a foil of, Hezekiah’s reform program.
Many previous interpretations of Job 31:5–6; Ps 44:21–22; and Josh 22:23 have mistaken these texts as simple conditionals or as fully-articulated oaths. These earlier readings misconstrue verbs of adjudicatory procedure as punishments serving as self-curses in oaths. Context and semantic content favor identifying truncated oaths of innocence followed by separate adjudicatory challenges to God.
Melito’s presupposition that Israel should have been able to recognize the Christ has drawn him much criticism. This essay explores the identity of Melito’s Israel and the rhetorical trope that Melito employs: censure of Israel. Melito’s understanding of the continuity between the “old” and “new” remains underexplored in the significance of its claim. Melito has a profound insight in his interpretative key for the relationship of the old covenant with respect to the new, namely that God made prior arrangements (προοικονοµία) for Christ’s sufferings in the Old Testament. Finally, the essay will examine Melito’s οἰκονοµία. In short, the προοικονοµία provides an early Christian account to describe the manner in which the mysteries of the life of Christ (οἰκονοµία) could be hidden beforehand (προ-) by God in the life and history of the people of Israel and made manifest in the Easter celebration. Melito therefore develops a truly mystagogical exegesis.