Enduring Exile

The Metaphorization of Exile in the Hebrew Bible


During the Second Temple period, the Babylonian exile came to signify not only the deportations and forced migrations of the sixth century B.C.E., but also a variety of other alienations. These alienations included political disenfranchisement, dissatisfaction with the status quo, and an existential alienation from God. Enduring Exile charts the transformation of exile from a historically bound and geographically constrained concept into a symbol for physical, mental, and spiritual distress. Beginning with preexilic materials, Halvorson-Taylor locates antecedents for the metaphorization of exile in the articulation of exile as treaty curse; continuing through the early postexilic period, she recovers an evolving concept of exile within the intricate redaction of Jeremiah’s Book of Consolation (Jeremiah 30–31), Second and Third Isaiah (Isaiah 40–66), and First Zechariah (Zechariah 1–8). The formation of these works illustrates the thought, description, and exegesis that fostered the use of exile as a metaphor for problems that could not be resolved by a return to the land— and gave rise to a powerful trope within Judaism and Christianity: the motif of the “enduring exile.”

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Biographical Note

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.

Review Quote

"Even if the history of an idea will always be tentative, Halvorson-Taylor’s readings of these prophetic texts and her insights into the ways exile was imagined, reflected upon, and responded to in the literature of the exilic and early post-exilic periods are rich. She clearly establishes that exile was neither simply a past geo-political event nor a static notion in the post-exilic biblical literature, but a focus of developing reflection. The method Halvorson-Taylor applies in Enduring Exile presents an important reminder of the power metaphor can have in developing societal thought and challenges scholars to think more broadly about the impact of metaphor as a shaper of cultural concepts."
Katie Heffelfinger, Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin, Marginalia, 2013

"The monograph is beautifully written. It contains an in-depth contribution to the present-day research into exile and diaspora, and as such it provides a rich chapter for a theology of the Old Testament."
Willem A. M. Beuken, Biblica, Volume 93 (2012)

Table of contents


Chapter One Introduction
I. The Motif of an Enduring Exile in Later Second Temple Literature
A. Exile Prolonged
B. Exile as Metaphor
II. Recovering Ideas of Exile in Biblical Literature
A. An Interactive Model of Metaphor
B. Early Associations for Exile in Preexilic Biblical Literature
1. Deuteronomy 28
2. Leviticus 26
III. Prospectus

Chapter Two Jeremiah’s Book of Consolation
I. Introduction
II. The Two Editions of the Book of Consolation
III. Images of Exile in the Book of Consolation
A. Jacob’s Distress (Poem 1, Jer 30:5–11)
1. The Day of Yhwh (MT Jer 30:5–7/LXX Jer 37:5–7)
2. Salvation Is Assured (MT Jer 30:8–11/LXX Jer 38:8–9)
B. Wounded Zion (Poem 2, Jer 30:12–17)
C. Favor in the Wilderness (Poem 4, Jer 31:2–6)
D. Rachel Weeps, Ephraim Repents (Poem 6, Jer 31:15–22)
1. Stage One
2. Stage Two
E. Introduction (Jer 30:1–4)
1. Audience
2. Conception of Exile
IV. Exile in the Two Editions of the Book of Consolation
A. Broadened Audience
B. Geography
C. Elusive Restoration
V. Conclusion

Chapter Three Isaiah
I. Introduction
II. Exile and Redemption
A. Isaiah 48:20–21
B. Isaiah 40:1–2
III. Exile and Death
A. Isaiah 42:18–25
B. Isaiah 51:12–16
IV. Exile and the Mission of the Servant
A. The Mission of the Servant (Isa 42:5–9; 49:7–13)
B. Isaiah 61:1–3
C. Isaiah 58:6–7
V. Conclusion

Chapter Four Zechariah 1–8
I. Introduction
II. Jeremiah’s Seventy Years
A. MT Jeremiah 29:10–11/LXX Jeremiah 36:10–11
B. LXX Jeremiah 25:8–9, 11–12
C. MT Jeremiah 25:8–9, 11–12
III. Enduring Exile in the Night Visions
A. The First Vision (Zech 1:7–17)
1. The First Vision and First Oracle (1:8–15)
2. The Second and Third Oracles to the First Vision (1:16, 17)
3. The Superscription to the Night Visions (1:7)
B. The Second Vision (Zech 2:1–4 [Eng. 1:18–21])
C. Exhortation (Zech 2:10–17 [Eng. 2:6–13])
IV. Yhwh’s Renewed Presence
A. The Prologue to the Night Visions (Zech 1:1–6)
B. Zechariah 7–8
V. Conclusion

Index of Authors
Index of Citations


All those interested in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Second Temple literature, prophetic literature, the Babylonian exile, and metaphor.