Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920130002&lang=es vol. 26 num. 2 lang. es <![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=S1010-99192013000200001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>The Nameless African Wife of Potiphar and her contribution to Ancient Israel</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The wife of Potiphar is popularly believed to have come from Egypt on the African continent like her husband. She is referred to as the "African Wife of Potiphar" not only because Egypt is part of the African continent, but also because the ancient Egyptians referred to themselves as having ancestors in Punt along the coast of Somali Land. Despite the fact that the discussion centres on the woman's seduction or her misbehaviour, her action has a blessing on its own.² The woman is pivotal to the survival of the Hebrews in Egypt. Her seduction initiated the event that brought the family of Jacob to Egypt, thus setting the stage for one of the major themes of the entire Bible, the Exodus or deliverance. This misbehaviour brings Joseph to the notice of Pharaoh and to a very high position of authority through which he organises the food supplies in Egypt. Joseph made Egypt to become the bread basket of the ancient Near East in that period (Gen 12:10). Despite the fact that so many readers condemn the behaviour of Potiphar's African wife, she behaves like any normal human being with great desire for children. An examination of her story in the Bible, Qur'an, Jewish Legends and ancient works of art reveals that she is not better or worse than any normal human being whose husband may be impotent or a eunuch. <![CDATA[<b>Prevention of civil war in Joshua 22</b>: <b>Guidelines for African ethnic groups</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Have you ever jumped to a conclusion before hearing both sides of a story? Have you ever failed to give someone the benefit of the doubt, even though they had never wronged you? "There Are Two Sides to Every Story." Joshua 22 shows that civil wars can be avoided if proper measures are taken. The Cisjordanian tribes resorted to dialogue to prevent what could have been a bloody civil war. Their willingness to move along the path of patience brought about peace and joy. African ethnic groups can prevent civil wars if they learn the lesson of managing allegations the proper way through representation, dialogue and trust. <![CDATA[<b>"Dennoch..." - Zur Bedeutung von</b> <b><img width=20 height=16 src="../../../../../img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled.jpg"></b> <b>für den Aufbau von Psalm 62</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The structure of Ps 62 is highly disputed. Although there is virtually a literal similarity between vv. 2-3 and vv. 6-7 commentators on Ps 62 have not yet reached a consensus on how this arrangement should be understood in view of the overall structure of this psalm. This article argues that the word <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled104.jpg" align="absmiddle"> plays a significant role in the formation of Ps 62: <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled204.jpg" align="absmiddle">highlights the frame (vv. 2-3 and vv. 6-7) and the centre (vv. 4-5) of the unit vv. 2-7 chiastically. This literary feature displays the pressure of those who trust. Accordingly, there is a balanced order of vv. 9-11 which has <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled304.jpg" align="absmiddle"> in the centre and the trust motive at the beginning and the end (v. 9 and v. 11). Furthermore, v. 8 binds together these two main parts of the psalm (vv. 2-7 and vv. 9-11). Finally, the message of Ps 62 culminates in vv. 12-13 as a confession of trust in God almighty. Read in this way, the function of <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled404.jpg" align="absmiddle"> in Ps 62 may contribute to recognize the unfolding of its structure and message. <![CDATA[<b>Reading the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31</b>: <b>1031 as a reflection of the attributes of the Traditional Miship woman of Nigeria</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The book of Proverbs falls within wisdom literature with 31:10-31 as part of its epilogue. The Hebrew poet here has both theological and literary purpose - to instruct the covenant community in godliness through realistic reflection on society. As such, the characteristic attributes of the godly and industrious female figure portrayed in this acrostic poem may well be taken as an existing reality rather than a mere literary poetic imagination. Therefore, functioning as an epitome of womanhood for all generations, this acrostic poem finds close affinity with the characteristic attributes of the cultured traditional as well as the godly Miship woman of Nigeria. This article basically endeavours to show the resemblances between the qualities of the human woman of Prov 31:10-31 and the Miship woman within the Nigerian context. <![CDATA[<b>Structural analysis of Isaiah 61 with a special focus on verses 1-3</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es An analysis of the structure of Isa 61 underlines the priestly character of its content. There are weighty reasons to depart from the Mas-oretic division of the text in Isa 61:1. The Masoretes placed a rebia above <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled106.jpg" align="absmiddle"> suggesting that we have here a major division. I suggest that a new metrical verse starts in Isa 61:1 with the expression <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled206.jpg" align="absmiddle">In verses 1-3 the prophet, or the person to whom the prophets refers, is anointed seven times by YHWH: every time the colon opens with <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled306.jpg" align="absmiddle"> followed by an infinitive construct. My division of the cola however results in more bicola than tricola as suggested by the Masoretic accents. In Hebrew poetry the bicolon is far more usual than the tri-colon. So, when possible, a division in bicola must be preferred above tricola. I give my reasons to divide v. 3c not as a bicolon, but as a tricolon. Consequently I notice several stylistic features at the end of the first part of the hymn. My division suggests that the whole hymn consists of fifty cola, a number that corresponds with the number of the Jubilee. My aim is to show that the structure of the poem undergirds its priestly message and character. <![CDATA[<b>Interpreting the Bible for children in coherence with evolution</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Children need both science and religion, but to avoid cognitive dissonance, the propositions of religion and science, if they are true in general, should "fit together" - they must cohere. The traditional understanding of God's activity in the world must now be reconsidered because the scientifically established mechanisms of evolutionary change have been shown to be determined by random mutation and natural selection. Christians have to accept the challenge of troublesome reorientations of understanding. Either some of the basic source material of Christianity must be reinterpreted, or scientific advances are to be rejected. Fundamentalists choose to follow the latter course, but the premise of this article is that the relation between science and religion should be one that establishes the compatibility (but not the reducibility) of one to the other. We urgently need to find new ways to convey our bible-based faith to young children. In approaching the interdisciplinary challenge, epistemological differences between science and religion are considered. Re-thinking Christianity is not a betrayal of unchanging truth. Christians need not identify with Creationism or Intelligent Design in order to see the magnificent achievements of modern science as a manifestation of the glory of creation rather than as a threat to faith. <![CDATA[<b>Divine Freedom in the Old Testament</b>: <b>A comparative-philosophical inquiry</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In this article we ask whether YHWH as depicted in the OT was assumed to have free will. The background lies in contemporary philosophy of religion where the problem of divine freedom arises in the context of perfect being theology. However, not only did ancient Yahwism(s) not operate on perfect being theology, the discourse also did not seem to value free will to the extent that OT theologians and philosophers of religion do. Though YHWH is typically characterised as able to do whatever he pleased, it can be demonstrated that his will was itself assumed to be governed by both intrinsic and extrinsic determinants. Thus contrary to the popular consensus, a belief in absolute divine freedom is in fact absent from the OT's folk-metaphysical assumptions. <![CDATA[<b>Seek the peace of the city... for in her peace there shall be peace for you (Jeremiah 29:4-9)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Most of the uses of the concept <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled109.jpg" align="absmiddle"> in the book of Jeremiah are negative. They are related either to the false concept of peace in Judah that was being promoted by political and religious leaders, or to the oracles of false prophets who were opposed to the ministry of Jeremiah. This essay argues that for these opponents (false prophets, political and religious leaders), the assurance of peace was mostly grounded in a false sense of security motivated by the traditions of Zion 's inviolability and the election of the Davidic dynasty. However, Jeremiah himself uses the word <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled209.jpg" align="absmiddle"> in 29:7 to urge the exiles of Judah in Babylon to seek the peace of the city where they have been forced to live. The hard question this article tries to address is: how could exiles seek the peace of their enemy? Jeremiah responds to the question in two ways: the exiles must first accept that they are not in Babylon because of the military power of the army of Nebucadnezzar, but because of their disobedience to the covenant. Secondly, Yahweh has not forgotten his people despite their current situation in exile. The author analyzes this passage in the context of Africa, where it is not uncommon to learn that refugees are creating problems for the cities where they live. <![CDATA[<b>The Bipolarity of Sapiential Theology</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es It is shown that the wisdom of the sages represented in the Book of Proverbs pushes at the limits of wisdom's rational basis in such a way as to question its own possibilities. The assumption that the Book of Proverbs represents the affirming side of wisdom whereas the Books of Ecclesiastes and Job represent its critical counter-pole is queried. It is argued that the theological stance of the anthology of Proverbs is based on a default affirmative system with a critical counter-position grafted onto it. Conversely, in Ecclesiastes and Job the critical perspective is the main stance, while they nevertheless proceed from the same affirmative basis they find problematical. This basic tenet of biblical wisdom is brought to bear on Walter Brueggemann's thesis that a biblically informed theology must be "bipolar. "¹ <![CDATA[<b>A gender-sensitive ethical reading of Old Testament texts</b>: <b>The role of African women as characters in the text and exponents of the text</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The essay examines the contribution of African women towards a gender-sensitive ethical reading of the OT texts at two levels. First, the story of Moses' African wife who is rejected by her in-laws in Num 12, draws a picture of an African woman as a character in the text. Secondly, the essay proceeds to highlight the Talitha Cum hermeneutic, which entails various contributions such as: inculturation, post-colonialism, the hermeneutic of life and the bosadi hermeneutic from some African women, both academic and grass roots, as exponents of the text. It is further argued in the essay that Talitha Cum, is an excellent example of African women's gender-sensitive ethical readings of biblical texts because it helps to assert the position of women and more specifically African women wherever they are. It is also observed that the Talitha Cum hermeneutics lays the foundation for a life-centered ethic that serves to promote the dignity of women and the entire humanity. Consequently, I present an example of Talitha Cum in action. It is the case of Angelina Atyam, an African woman from northern Uganda who refuses to look on after the abduction of her daughter but instead forms a self-support group for her and other affected parents. The essay concludes that with the presence of Talitha Cum, African women are in a position to re-awaken their strength. <![CDATA[<b>Aspects of demeanour in Qohelet 8:1</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es A novel approach is being suggested for the interpretation of Qoh 8:1, which views Qoh 8:1-3a as dealing with a person's demeanour. In particular, it is shown that these verses provide advice regarding one's facial and oral expression when in an audience with a high ranking official. Qohelet 8:1-3a consists of four parallel lines anchored on the two keywords:<img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1201.jpg" align="absmiddle"> and <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1202.jpg" align="absmiddle"> Recognition of the underlying structure of 8:1-3a, and similarities with Elephantine Ahiqar and Sir 13:26, points to some minor scribal errors. Correction of these errors restores the contextual sense of the verse. In particular, it is being suggested that in 8:1 the impossible <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1203.jpg" align="absmiddle">should be emended to read <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1204.jpg" align="absmiddle"> <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1205.jpg" align="absmiddle"> "speak well," and the two rhetorical questions in 1a refer to facial and oral expression. A parallel line is obtained in 1b, if instead of <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1206.jpg" align="absmiddle"> one reads <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1207.jpg" align="absmiddle"> or <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1208.jpg" align="absmiddle"> "his mouth," assuming the ligature <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1209.jpg" align="absmiddle"> or an extra <img src="/img/revistas/ote/v26n2/untitled1210.jpg" align="absmiddle"> respectively. The proposed interpretation suggests that the population of Yehud had considerable access to higher officialdom during the Ptolemaic period, making the advice in 8:1 rather useful. <![CDATA[<b>Humanity not pronounced good</b>: <b>A re-reading of Genesis 1:26-31 in dialogue with Genesis 2-3</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The creation of humanity on day six of creation is the climax of creation (Gen 1:26-30); however, there is an anomaly at this climactic moment of creation, which interpreters tend to overlook: humanity is not singled out as "good. " The anomaly is accentuated by the fact that the final evaluative formula, "and God saw everything that he made, and behold, it was very good" (Gen 1:31), which is generally regarded as encompassing creation activities from the first day to the sixth day. This necessitates the question: why is humanity not singled out as "good," as with most of the creation activities? This article suggests that the answer to this question rests in the dialogic relationship between the two creation narratives, Gen 1:1-2:4a and Gen 2:4b-3:24. The second creation narrative, Gen 2:4b-3:24, is for the most part a resumption of day six of creation. Contrary to the commonly held view that Gen 3 describes events subsequent to the creation process, or that it is thematically and materially different, this essay suggests that Gen 3 be viewed as thematically and materially related to Gen 1:26-31, and thereby provides a key as to why humanity is not singled out as "good." <![CDATA[<b>The law and the image of God</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The purpose of this article is to show that the image of God (God-likeness) is an important theme in the OT. In the interest of space, the discussion on the image of God will be limited to the study of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In this article, I argue that the idea of God-likeness (i.e. moral-likeness to God and a relationship between God and humankind like that between parent and child), seen in Gen 1-11, is also seen in Exodus-Deuteronomy. The biblical theological approach is used in the study of Exodus to Deuteronomy. A thematic and theological study of the Law is done in which aspects of the Pentateuch (especially the legal material) are highlighted which demonstrate that those who live in conformity to the law display God-likeness and those who do not, display serpent-likeness (i.e. behaviour of those who are at enmity with God). <![CDATA[<b>"The Dynamic Equivalence Caper" - A Response</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article overviews and responds to Roland Boer's recent wide-ranging critique of Eugene A Nida's theory and practice of "dynamic equivalence" in Bible translating.¹ Boer's narrowly-focused, rather insufficiently-researched evaluation of Nida's work suffers from both a lack of historical perspective and a current awareness of what many, more recent translation scholars and practitioners have been writing for the past several decades. Our rejoinder discusses some of the major misperceptions and misleading assertions that appear sequentially in the various sections of Boer's article with the aim of setting the record straight, or at least of framing the assessment of modern Bible translation endeavors and goals in a more positive and accurate light. <![CDATA[<b>Thematic correspondences between the Zedekiah texts of Jeremiah (Jer 21-24; 37-38)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article argues that the Jeremiah-Zedekiah encounters of Jer 37-38 correspond thematically to the Zedekiah Cycle of chs. 21-24 in at least two important ways. First, the later chapters provide a narrative enactment of the judgment on Judah 's institutions that the Zedekiah Cycle foretold, namely, judgment on Zedekiah himself and the entire Judahite kingship. Secondly, in the character of Ebed-Melech, the chapters include a narrative prefiguring of the "righteous branch" foretold in 23:5-6. To demonstrate these correspondences, the article first examines the narrative structure of the Jeremiah-Zedekiah encounters of chs. 37-38 and determines that the focus of the narrative is the unjust imprisonment and suffering of Jeremiah. The article then explores how this narrative structure provides a backdrop for understanding both Zedekiah and Ebed-Melech, especially in light of the earlier prophecies of the Zedekiah Cycle. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews / Boek Resensies</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192013000200017&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article argues that the Jeremiah-Zedekiah encounters of Jer 37-38 correspond thematically to the Zedekiah Cycle of chs. 21-24 in at least two important ways. First, the later chapters provide a narrative enactment of the judgment on Judah 's institutions that the Zedekiah Cycle foretold, namely, judgment on Zedekiah himself and the entire Judahite kingship. Secondly, in the character of Ebed-Melech, the chapters include a narrative prefiguring of the "righteous branch" foretold in 23:5-6. To demonstrate these correspondences, the article first examines the narrative structure of the Jeremiah-Zedekiah encounters of chs. 37-38 and determines that the focus of the narrative is the unjust imprisonment and suffering of Jeremiah. The article then explores how this narrative structure provides a backdrop for understanding both Zedekiah and Ebed-Melech, especially in light of the earlier prophecies of the Zedekiah Cycle.