Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920140001&lang=es vol. 27 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Editorial: On scholarship and interconnectivity</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Tribute to Prof Gunther H</b>: <b>Wittenberg 5 April 1935 - 29 March 2014</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>The musical mode of writing of the psalms and its significance</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Many of the biblical psalms are characterized by a double anomaly. On the one hand they are considerably less fluent than expected, even for poetical compositions. On the other, the many recurrences attested to in the text generate patterns of symmetry on the entire level. The combination of these contrasting anomalies finds an explanation when assuming that the text of these psalms is written in musical fashion, as two distinct scores designed to be sung by dialoging voices. This mode is defined as complex antiphony because the bonding, during performance, of small fragments of text from the two scores yields a composite text. Three distinct patterns of complex antiphony (steady, cross and canonic responsa) are defined here on the basis of the patterns of global symmetry already identified in the psalms. Their existence is supported by: (i) evidences towards complex antiphony in traditional music, (ii) elements suggesting its occurrence in ane liturgy, (iii) the literary coherency and the emergent meanings of the composite text of biblical psalms set in such a fashion. It is concluded that many psalms were apparently designed for complex antiphony, so that this dimension cannot be ignored by the literary analysis. <![CDATA[<b>Messianismus und Theokratie</b>: <b>Die Verbindung der Psalmen 144 und 145 und ihre Bedeutung für die Komposition des Psalters</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es ABSTRACT Contrary to the widespread opinion that Ps 144 is made up of two different redactions, or even of two psalms, the author sees it as a unitary composition in which the salvation of the king (vv. 1-11) obtains peace for his people (vv. 12-15). Psalm 145 fits neatly into this way of thinking precisely because the king 's salvation, spoken of in Ps 144, discloses the coming of the kingdom of God, spoken of by Ps 145. The association of these two themes in the two concluding psalms (taking 146-150 as the epilogue) of the Psalter is significant because it assails the position of those who separate a messianic psalter (Pss 2-89) from a theocratic one (Pss 90-150). In fact, the two themes are already combined in Ps 2, at the beginning of the Psalter (cf. v. 2), and, above all, in Ps 22. In this psalm, in the salvation of poor "David" (vv. 2-22), the eschatological kingdom of YHWH (cf. v. 29) is realised, and it is a kingdom which affects not only the poor of Israel (vv. 23-27) but the whole world (vv. 28-30). Messianism and theocracy are not opposed to each other but closely linked throughout the Psalter.<hr/>ZUSAMMENFASSUNG Entgegen der verbreiteten Ansicht, Ps 144 bestehe aus zwei Schichten oder sogar aus zwei Psalmen, sieht der Autor den Psalm als einheitliche Komposition, in der die Rettung des Königs (V.1-11) Frieden für sein Volk herbeiführt (V.12-15). Ps 145 schließt sich thematisch passend daran an, insofern die Rettung des Königs von Ps 144 die Ankunft der Königsherrschaft Gottes einleitet, die Ps 145 besingt. Das Zueinander beider Themen in diesen beiden Abschlusspsalmen (sieht man Ps 146-150 als Epilog) des Psalters ist insofern von besonderer Bedeutung, als es die Position jener in Frage stellt, die einem messianischen Psalter (Ps 2-89) einen theokratischen (Ps 90-150) gegenüberstellen. Tatsächlich sind beide Themen schon am Beginn des Psalters (vgl. Ps 2,2) und insbesondere in Ps 22 verbunden. In diesem Psalm realisiert sich in der Rettung des armen „David" (V.1-22) das eschatologische Königtum JHWHS (vgl. V.29); dieses Königtum erfasst nicht nur die Armen Israels (V.23-27), sondern die ganze Welt (V.28-30). Messianismus und Theokratie stehen einander daher nicht als Gegensätze gegenüber, sondern sind über den gesamten Psalter hinweg eng miteinander verbunden. <![CDATA[<b>Malachi's eschatological Day of Yahweh: Its dual roles of cultic restoration and enactment of social justice (Mal 3:1-5; 3:16-4:6)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The theme of the Day of Yahweh is regarded as a central feature of the prophets' message to their contemporaries. It is the most striking and prominent theme in the Book of the Twelve. While Isaiah focuses on Zion, Jeremiah on the rhetoric of lament, Ezekiel on the Glory of Yahweh, so are the Minor Prophets on the theme of the Day of Yahweh. The Day of Yahweh as envisioned by Malachi is an eschatological day of judgement with a future day of renewal and restoration of the fortunes of those who fear the Lord. Malachi's vision for restoration includes a covenantal messenger, who will cleanse Yahweh's people and restore true worship and obedience to the ethical standards of the law thus giving room for a community of reverence who will enjoy righteousness and healing. Earlier Malachi had castigated the priests and people for their attitude and actions toward sacrifices and the altar. Now in the light of the lawlessness alluded to in 2:17, the corruption of the priesthood in 3:3, the inadequacy of worship in 3:4 and the corruption of personal and civil morality in 3:5, readers are introduced to three urgent issues: the need for messianic intervention, the need for the day of judgement and the need for social justice. In the discussions that follow, this article examines eschatological hope in the OT, the eschatological peculiarity of the discourse of Malachi's Day of Yahweh, the identity of Malachi's eschatological covenant messenger, the roles of the eschatological messenger: namely, cultic restoration and Yahweh 's righting of past wrongs and the reversal of sinful societal order in the overall context of the eschatological day of Yahweh. <![CDATA[<b>Reconsidering the fear of God</b> <b> in the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible in the light of Rudolf Otto's <i>Das Heilige</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article offers an attempt to discern the extent to which Rudolf Otto's points of view, specifically the idea of "the holy" as the mysterium tremendum, influenced scholarly opinion on the meaning and significance of the fear of God in the HB in general and in the wisdom literature in particular. It is found that Otto did indeed have a great influence on the understanding of the meaning of the fear of God, but that scholars also allowed their opinions to be guided by a competent analysis of the different nuances that the fear of God takes on in the biblical text itself The findings lead to the conclusion that scholars should recognise both the possibilities and the limitations of Otto 's views in any attempt to delineate the meaning and significance the fear of God in the HB. <![CDATA[<b>"Who will put my soul on the scale?": Psychostasia in Second Temple Judaism</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es "Psychostasia" is the notion that a divine or supernatural figure weighs and/or measures the souls of people when judging them. The present effort represents the second of three articles on psychostasia. The first article focused on the occurrences of psychostasia in the OT.² In the current article, attention is paid to the occurrences of psychostasia in apocryphal and pseudepigraphical Jewish writings from the Second Temple period, including the Qumran Scrolls. The current purpose is firstly to determine whether or not the concept of psychostasia was a recognised and recognisable feature of Second Temple Palestinian Judaism. Allowing for a positive answer to the latter, the second purpose of this article is to ascertain how the idea of psychostasia was understood by Palestinian Jews of the Second Temple period. <![CDATA[<b>Within hearing distance?</b> <b>Recent developments in Pentateuch and Chronicles research</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Biblical scholarship suffers from over-specialisation and over-compartmentalisation. For many decades Pentateuch studies as the "queen" of biblical scholarship have dominated the field, and required high levels of specialisation. Although not as dominant as Pentateuch studies, other areas in OT scholarship have also reverted into sub-guilds of scholars only talking to themselves. Recent developments in Pentateuch studies and studies of Persian period literature (such as Chronicles) have resulted into different sub-guilds coming within hearing distance from one another. This article provides an overview of some of these developments.¹ <![CDATA[<b>Women and war brutalities in the Minor Prophets: The case of rape</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Acts of war violence towards women and children seem to get special attention in the HB prophetic literature. This is in contrast to the historic books (the Deuteronomistic History) where such references are rare. On several occasions the prophetic books mention "dashing in pieces the little ones" (Isa 13:16; Hos 14:1; Nah 3:10). Twice the combination "dashing in pieces the little ones" appears in close connection with "ripping open pregnant women" (2 Kgs 8:12; Hos 14:1), and once in association with the "raping/ravishing" of wives (Isa 13:16). This contribution will focus only on the latter war brutality, namely the raping of women. It argues that although war accounts of rape were for one or other reason suppressed in ANE writings (Assyrian royal inscriptions) and the HB, references in curse formulae and clues in the metaphoric speech of the Minor Prophets (e.g. Nah 3:5) testify to the fact that rape was indeed practised during siege wars. <![CDATA[<b>Facing the deepest darkness of despair and abandonment: Psalm 88 and the life of faith</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Psalm 88 has been called an embarrassment to conventional faith. The psalm is unique when compared with other psalms of lament. In Ps 88 we find the desperate cry of someone who seeks to connect with YHWH, but YHWH keeps silent. The psalmist finds himself in the deepest darkness of abandonment and despair. Yet, his unanswered cry does not silence the poet. YHWH may stay quiet, but not the psalmist. He continues to hurl his cries into an empty sky, convinced that even in the face of YHWH's inattention, YHWH must still be addressed. Even when confronted with the reality of death, death caused by YHWH, the poet sticks to his protest, to be met yet again with more silence. YHWH doesn't speak, He doesn't act, and He doesn't care. The poet is ignored, snubbed, shunned, and rejected. The last word he speaks is darkness. What should one do about this complete silence and this bottomless darkness? What is this psalm doing in the Bible? What does this psalm say about the life of faith? What should one's response be when facing this dark night of the soul? Should one abandon God in the face of his desertion? This paper argues that Ps 88 stands as a signpost for realism in the life of faith. <![CDATA[<b>For ever trapped?</b> <b>An African voice on insider/outsider dynamics within South African Old Testament gender-sensitive frameworks</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The desire to "fit in" within one 's sphere of operation does not seem to be a challenge for teenagers only. It appears to be inherently human. Those whose operational sphere is academia also have such a desire. Since the inception of feminist theologies in South Africa in the early eighties, gender-identified biblical frameworks have started trickling in slowly but surely. Just like many a scholar within mainstream biblical studies, gender-identified biblical scholars have been hard pressed between mimicking what has been and continues to be done by mainstream biblical scholars elsewhere in the Global North and what would be more specific to their local context. Within such a setting, insiders to academia, who choose to have their gender frameworks first and foremost informed by the concerns of their own local (read: African) contexts, rather than outside, albeit hegemonic contexts, are familiar with the challenge of a split identity. Within a scholarly context whose mimicking of Eurocentric frameworks remains a norm if not natural, an insider/outsider who chooses to remain first and foremost relevant to the context of many a person on the ground becomes trapped, almost like a royal cow; damned if one accompanies it and damned if one leaves it unattended. The present article is an attempt at elaborating on such insider-outsider dynamics as they are played out within selected South African OT gender-sensitive biblical scholars' works. <![CDATA[<b>A Re-Reading of 1 Kings 21:1-29 and Jehu's revolution in Dialogue with Farisani and Nzimande: Negotiating socio-economic redress in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es More than a century after South Africa's Natives Land Act of 1913 which entrenched land dispossession and poverty, many black South Africans are still haunted by socio-economic injustice as well as the legacy of colonialism and apartheid in the land discourse even after twenty years of democratic rule. In view of the persistent socio-economic injustice in South Africa today, the main question posed by this article is: would a socio-economic reading of 1 Kgs 21:1-29 in the context of the Omri dynasty offer possibilities for socio-economic redress in South Africa ? This article engages with Farisani's and Nzimande's study of the text under discussion, and draws parallels between the Omri dynasty and South Africa's colonial and apartheid past in relation to the present land discourse. It is argued that given the seeming failure of Elijah to redress the dispossession of Naboth of his vineyard, Jehu 's revolution could be used as a model for socio-economic redress in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Purification of priest, prophet and people: A comparative study of Zechariah 3 and 13</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The book of Zechariah articulates different theological themes or perspectives. One of these themes is the purification or cleansing of the priest, prophet and people of Jerusalem. This article will compare two prominent chapters in Zechariah, paying particular attention to the theme of purification. The question posed by this article is: what are the differences and similarities between Zech 3 and 13? There are several differences between these two chapters. Chapter 3 forms part of the eight night visions and focuses more on the purification of Joshua, the high priest (3:1). Chapter 13 is part of the second oracle in Deutero-Zechariah and focuses more on the purification of the "house of David" and the people of Jerusalem (13:1). Different Hebrew words are even used to describe the sin and impurity of the people. In Zech 3 YHWY replaces the filthy clothes with a clean turban, but in Zech 13 the unclean spirit and prophets will be removed from the land. Despite all the differences, both chapters use the expression "on that day" (3:10; 13:1-2) and emphasise that the leaders have a significant responsibility. YHWY cannot purify Jerusalem (3:2; 13:1), the land (3:9; 13:2) and the people with unclean leaders (priests, prophets and shepherds). Both chapters close on a positive note, describing the effect of purification: there will be peace amongst the people (3:10) and the acknowledgement that YHWY is their God (13:9). <![CDATA[<b>Contemporary reflections on Ezekiel 22:23-31 as a depiction of collective responsibility of leaders for national demise</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Ezekiel 22:23-30 in which Israel's leaders are judged for their various abuses offers the notion that collective leadership responsibility for national demise demands serious attention in contemporary situations. However, Ezekiel's context is theocratic, to what extent does his prophecy apply to non-theocratic contexts? There is also in this oracle a quest for one man standing in the gap in order to avert divine judgment. How do we read that concept in contemporary settings? <![CDATA[<b>Canon-conscious interpretation: Genesis 22, the Masoretic text, and Targum Onkelos</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article is an example of canon-conscious interpretation based on a comparison of Gen 22:1-19 between the Masoretic text (MT) and Targum Onkelos (TO) that demonstrates the canon-conscious changes in TO. Based on the translator's knowledge of another text in 2 Chr 3:1, this results in changes in both passages. Although the Hebrew texts are essentially translated word for word into Aramaic throughout most of the passage, changes result from retaining canon-conscious exegetical interpretations in TO, leading in turn to a nuanced interpretation of the passage. From a methodological standpoint, the MT is examined first paying particular attention to grammatical, syntactical, and literary issues. Further the text is compared with TO, noting similarities and differences and then examining when and whether these differences change the overall interpretation of the text. <![CDATA[<b>The function of the </b><b><i>משתה</i></b><b> </b><b>יין</b><b> in the book of Esther</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es What was the purpose of Queen Esther's first banquet? Did it serve any purpose at all? Why did Esther not tell King Ahasuerus her request the first time she held a banquet, but instead deferred that conversation to the following day when she would re-create the exact same atmosphere with the intent of saying the exact same thing? Popular opinion assumes Esther's reaction the first night was one of fear, panic, and timidity, thus skirting the issue to be dealt with at a later time. But, was Esther really a meek and weak-willed woman? It is contended in this paper that, instead, Esther was a cunning and crafty woman who understood how to turn the king's favour by exploiting his convivial disposition. Esther did not accost the king with her entreaty until she had gauged that the king was at the precise point of intoxication in order to react the way in which Esther devised; this state was not achieved on the first night, that is, he did not drink enough then, but was sagaciously accomplished on the second night hence acquiring her desired result. <![CDATA[<b>Redeeming the priestly role of theology for the Land of Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100017&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The article is an attempt to rise to the challenge raised by Peet van Dyk in his contribution to Old Testament Essays 22/1, where he calls upon South African OT scholars to develop a relevant ecotheology that can address current ecological issues. This challenge becomes more urgent as the environmental crisis gets increasingly serious, and as problems related to land distribution continue to affect social, political and economic life in many African countries. However, there are pertinent issues to be dealt with if theologians want to contribute toward solving current ecological problems. On the one hand, Christianity is accused of having inspired the industrialised, capitalistic society of the Western world to dominate and to abuse nature. On the other hand, several theological critics consider the biblical message as so overwhelmingly anthropocentric that it virtually cancels the possibility of an adequate articulation of environmental concerns. Notwithstanding criticisms regarding the contribution of Christianity and of the Bible in contributing to the environmental crisis, this article advocates redeeming the priestly role of theology in order to address the effects of the global ecological crisis on the African continent. In this article the author suggests that, if theology has been used to encourage humankind to dominate and abuse nature, it can be redeemed by playing a significant priestly role instructing people how to care for and restore nature. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews / Boek Resensies</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100018&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The article is an attempt to rise to the challenge raised by Peet van Dyk in his contribution to Old Testament Essays 22/1, where he calls upon South African OT scholars to develop a relevant ecotheology that can address current ecological issues. This challenge becomes more urgent as the environmental crisis gets increasingly serious, and as problems related to land distribution continue to affect social, political and economic life in many African countries. However, there are pertinent issues to be dealt with if theologians want to contribute toward solving current ecological problems. On the one hand, Christianity is accused of having inspired the industrialised, capitalistic society of the Western world to dominate and to abuse nature. On the other hand, several theological critics consider the biblical message as so overwhelmingly anthropocentric that it virtually cancels the possibility of an adequate articulation of environmental concerns. Notwithstanding criticisms regarding the contribution of Christianity and of the Bible in contributing to the environmental crisis, this article advocates redeeming the priestly role of theology in order to address the effects of the global ecological crisis on the African continent. In this article the author suggests that, if theology has been used to encourage humankind to dominate and abuse nature, it can be redeemed by playing a significant priestly role instructing people how to care for and restore nature.