Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920190003&lang=en vol. 32 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Extravagant Rituals or Ethical Religion (Micah 6:68)? Ritual Interface with Social Responsibility in Micah<sup><a href="#back_fn1"></a></sup></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The phenomenon of ritual criticism in prophetic writings of the HB/OT is one that highlights the discrepancy between ritual and lifestyle on the one hand and emphasizes the significance of rituals for the improvement of ethical life ofpeople. Rituals are viewed as Ancient Israelite's vertical dimension of the relationship between God and man while ethics are its horizontal components (man to man relationship). In Micah, rituals are presented as acts of people's relationship with Yahweh (worship, offering and sacrifices) that do not impact positively on the horizontal dimension (socialjustice). This dysfunction of relationship is poignantly addressed by Micah as his oracle switches from confrontation to reconciliation. This article addresses the confrontation between Yahweh and Israel/Judah by juxtaposing two dominant spheres ofIsrael/Judah's religious life; ritual and lifestyle. Micah 6:6-8 stands in sharp contrast to the extravagance and mockery of rituals and as an alternative presents a message most profound and insightful for an invaluable decision. A truly ethical religion, Micah holds, is not about extravagant rituals but personal duty and responsibility for fulfilling that duty in society. <![CDATA[<b>Negotiating an Eco-conscious Translation of the Hebrew Bible: Jonah 3:1-10 as Test Case<sup><a href="#back_fn1"></a></sup></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The last two centuries have seen a growing focus on matters concerned with the natural environment. This is not only true for the natural sciences, but allfields of inquiry, including that of theology and religion. Building on the work of eco-theologians and scholars of eco-hermeneutics, this article aims to determine whether, and to what extent, translation has a role to play in promoting these efforts. Consequently, usingEco's (2004) notion of "translation as negotiation" as blueprint, the author first delineates what an eco-conscious translation entails before showing its practical application in Jonah 3:1-10. In the end, such a rendering does not diverge too much from the Hebrew text or other more established English translations. However, the changes it introduces are ideologically significant. Moreover, the process may prove to be an important tool if the Judeo-Christian tradition still has a role to play in battling different environmental challenges. <![CDATA[<b>"For I Hate Divorce," says the Lord: Interpreting Malachi 2:16 in relation to prohibition of divorce in some churches in Nigeria</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article examined Mal 2:16 in relation to the prohibition of divorce today in some churches in Nigeria. The text is perhaps the most commonly quoted passage by preachers to support prohibition of divorce, possibly because many of the English versions make it a direct condemnation from God and preachers rarely consider other English versions that read differently. It was found out that the passage relates to certain Jewish men who divorced their native wives and married women of foreign faiths. It was also discovered that in view of Deut 24:14, among other OT texts, Mal 2:16 could not have prohibited divorce. Rather, what it condemns is the purpose of the divorce, namely to marry women of foreign faiths. Hence, Mal 2:16 is relevant in contemporary Nigeria, not as a prohibition of divorce, but in the context of marriage abandonment. <![CDATA[<b>The Travail of Pain: An Interpretive Perspective from Scripture</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The concept of pain and grieving in the Hebrew Bible is often linked to the context of travail in the birthing process. This perspective suggests that experiences and emotions of pain are associated with feelings of deep distress which, when properly resolved, give way to positive dimensions of care, hope and empowerment as well as the vitality to face new challenges of life. This paper investigates the conceptualization of pain in Scripture from linguistic expressions and ceremonial practices. It compares these findings with phenomenological perspectives of childbirth experiences and how these can assist to explain biblical labour metaphors. The aim is to show how the conceptualization of pain in Scripture can assist to resolve pain in contemporary contexts. <![CDATA[<b>The Intersection of Biblical Lament and Psychotherapy in the Healing of Trauma Memories</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A study of biblical lament psalms can help present-day sufferers express their own pain to God, and this can result in personal, social, and biological healing. In this empirical study, Zulu "pain-bearers" first studied Psalms 3 and 13 and then wrote and performed their own laments, using the biblical laments as a model. The use ofpoetic form is shown to have advantages over narrative therapy approaches. The empirical compositions and performances fit with the insights gained from cognitive psychotherapy approaches as well as the therapeutic steps proposed by Judith Herman. Moreover, apart from facilitating healing of the soul and interpersonal relations, the research insights of Cozolino and others suggest that lament can stimulate the biological healing of the brain, allowing for the healthy processing of the trauma memories. <![CDATA[<b>Contrastive Characterization in Ruth 1:6-22: Three Ways to Return from Exile</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en By using the narrative device of contrastive characterization, the author of Ruth demonstrates three return-from-exile scenarios that act as a model for the audience. Orpah served as Ruth's foil and represents a return to the pagan culture. Naomi and Ruth project a role reversal. While Naomi returns more like a pagan than a Jewess, Ruth has demonstrated covenant fidelity and illustrated loyalty to YHWH and Israel. She is thus a model for how Jews ought to return from exile to exodus. <![CDATA[<b>Reading Psalm 35 in Africa (Yoruba) Perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Psalm 35 appears to be one of the scariest Psalms because of the various expressions of hate and the Psalmist invoking wrath and death on his enemies. In the Western context, it is not one of the favourites of the Psalms. However, in a Yoruba context, Psalm 35 is one of the favourites because of its use for purposes of defence, victory, and protection. The purpose of this article is to discuss how Psalm 35 is used in a Yoruba context to meet the peculiar need of Yoruba people against enemies. Although there are similarities and differences between Psalm 35 and Yoruba ofo oro ogede, the similarities actually influence Yoruba Christians and non-Christians to use Psalm 35 like ofo or madarikan, orogede with a firm belief that it contains a more mysterious power from God than the Yoruba ofo, ogede and madarikan. Psalm 35 is, therefore, read, memorized, chanted, sung or inscribed in parchment to express the African faith, and their personal origin from God. Psalm 35 is also read in order to motivate God to perform a miracle as he has done originally with the people of ancient Israel. <![CDATA[<b>"Israel's" Only Son? The complexity of Benjaminite identity between Judah and Joseph</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192019000300009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Several studies in recent years have sought to articulate the significance of the tribe of Benjamin for historical and literary studies of the Hebrew Bible. This paper suggests that the received text of Genesis 35-50 both reflects and illumines the complexities of Israelite identity in the pre-exilic, Babylonian, and Persian periods. The fact that Benjamin is the only son born to "Israel" (other sons are born to "Jacob") points to Israel's origins in the land that came to be called "Benjaminite." Between Josephites to the north and Judahites to the south, Benjaminites preserved a unique identity within the polities of Israel, Judah, Babylonian Yehud, and Persian Yehud. In Genesis 35 and 42-45 in particular, the silent character Benjamin finds himself in the middle of a tug-of-war between his brothers, particularly his full-brother Joseph and his half-brother Judah. The conciliatory message of the narrative of Genesis 35-50 for later communities comes into sharper focus when we see the compromise between tribal identities embedded in the text.1