1QHodayota 11:6‐19 exemplifies some of the techniques by which an author could, successfully, imitate biblical language without, simultaneously, implying that the reuse was exegetical. Seven scriptural texts—each crafted around themes of life, death, or the sea—dictated the poem’s themes and much of its vocabulary (Jonah 2:3‐7; Ps 77:17‐18; 107:23‐27; Isa 66:7; Jer 10:13/51:16; Job 36:16‐17; 41:23). The author of 1QHa 11:6‐19 mimicked the biblical idiom of these sources, but, to avoid evoking the sources too clearly, the author broke up and/or adapted many of the most rare and distinctive of the borrowed locutions. In those cases where the author reused multiple locutions from a single source-text, the borrowed elements were separated from one another, scattered widely across the new poem. The outcome was a new text that reflected biblical expression and style, yet it did not offer or imply any interpretation of the sources of that style.
This paper examines a number of expansions and rewordings in Tg. J. Ezek 1 that alter or elaborate upon the description of the celestial creatures. The object is threefold: to identify textual cues within the Targum’s Vorlage that sparked expansions or rewordings, to explain the exegetical choices reflected in those expansions and rewordings, and to deduce something about the hermeneutical assumptions under which those choices were made. Along the way, I explain several features of the Targum in new ways, but the principal objects of my inquiry are the scribes responsible for Targum Jonathan and the various ways that they interacted with their Hebrew Vorlage. I propose that the expansions and rewordings never reflect exuberance or whimsy on the part of the targumic scribes. Rather, they represent a disciplined effort to produce an accurate reading of their Hebrew text, undertaken according to certain hermeneutical assumptions, assumptions that are co-extensive with their assumptions about the nature of their source texts as scripture.