Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920140003&lang=pt vol. 27 num. 3 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Conflict and confrontation: engaging estrangement</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>The poor in the book of Psalms and in Yoruba tradition</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt It is an indisputable fact that poverty is the greatest known enemy of humankind. The richest one percent of the world's population controls forty percent of the world, and the poorest fifty percent of the population controls a mere one percent of the world wealth. It has also been established that about 68 percent of the Nigerian population live in abject poverty. During the OT period, poor people were present and were well known. This is the reason why there was legislation to protect them. Terminologies for the poor in the OT are both diverse and problematic. The OT writers use most often, the following vocabularies for the poor /--• ,7- ,#”•, and --•. These terms with others are used in the book of Psalms. The purpose of this article is to examine the vocabularies relating to the poor in the book of Psalms and how these vocabularies demonstrate to have various meanings that differ from the traditional meaning already recognised by many scholars. It will also examine the terms used for the poor and poverty in Yoruba religion and culture. The understanding of the polysemiotic nature of these terms will help not only in translating properly the book of Psalms, but also in the construction of a theology of Psalms. Understanding the concept of the poor in the OT and Yoruba tradition can also be regarded as a preparation for Christianity in Africa because of the similarities and differences between the two traditions. <![CDATA[<b>Étude structurelle du Décalogue selon Ex 20, 2-17</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Tenant compte des propositions de Claude Wiener, André Wénin et Roland Meynet, l'auteur reprend ici l'étude structurelle du Décalogue selon la version d'Ex 20, et cela le plus méthodiquement possible, c'est-à-dire en considérant d'abord la structure de chaque unité, puis, peu à peu, celle de l'ensemble. Il s'avère finalement que ce dernier s'ordonne concentriquement autour du commandement sur le sabbat, ou selon un chiasme dont les termes centraux seraient chacun des deux volets du commandement sur le sabbat. On perçoit alors avec plus de netteté l'importance de l'articulation fondamentale entre les commandements et ce qui les motive.<hr/>The author resumes a structural analysis of the Decalogue as it is found in Exod 20, while taking into consideration the proposals made by Claude Wiener, André Wénin and Roland Meynet. The investigation is undertaken as methodically as possible, that is to say, first investigating the structure of each unit on its own and then, little by little, that of the whole composition. The result reveals that the text is organised concentrically around the commandment about the Sabbath, thus in the form of a chiastic arrangement where the central terms are taken from the two branches of the commandment about the Sabbath. This reveals more clearly the importance of the fundamental relationship between the commandments and what motivates them. <![CDATA[<b>Saul's wars against Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Zobah</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt According to 1 Sam 14:47-48 Saul fought against Moab, Ammon, Edom and the kings of Zobah. In addition he fought against the Philistines and the Amalekites. Not much is said about the wars against Moab, Ammon, Edom and the kings of Zobah. Thus, in order to see if indeed Saul fought against these people we will analyze the geopolitical and economic factors which led him to fight these wars. We will demonstrate that by his battles in the east, he expanded the border of his young monarchy to Trans-Jordan and eliminated the threat that came from the alliance between David, the Ammonites, and Moabites. Since the land was very limited the new territories that Saul conquered ensured the livelihood of the people in Israel who were looking for territories to settle. By fighting within the borders of Israel the war against the Amalekites came to protect the tribe of Judah from the Amalekites. By defeating the Amalekites, Saul incorporated an important tribe into his emerging monarchy. Furthermore his victory insured a monopoly on the Arabian trade. Saul's aim infighting against the Philistines was to break the Phil-istines oppressions, to liberate large territories which would con-nect the Israelites tribes. The battles took place at important strate-gic locations which were important to the two parties and connected the different parts of the country and also had economic significance. <![CDATA[<b>Constructing realities: Bel and the Dragon - identifying some research lacunae</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The article applies a spatial-body framework to Bel and the Dragon (LXX/Th Dan 14). This application indicates that the narrative represents a shift in the author's personal worldview. Bel and the Dragon demonstrates how gods other than the Jewish deity are not only powerless as shown in Dan 1-6, but they are false and therefore should be done away with. The author/editor emasculates the Gentile worldview by utilising Daniel to eradicate the other gods. What starts as an invasion of the Jewish deity's god-space in Daniel 1, ends with the extermination of the false Babylonian gods and the emasculation of their avowed divinity (LXX/Th Dan 14). In this way The Greek Daniel ends with an intolerance towards other worldviews. By means of his narratives the apocryphal author/editor creates a new reality and worldview within which the Jews in the diaspora can still be faithful to their God without being afraid of competing earthly powers or other so-called deities. In this article new insights form linguistic studies in regards to space and body are utilised as part of a new text analysis method. <![CDATA[<b>Genealogy, retribution and identity: re-interpreting the cause of suffering in the Book of Judith</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article examines the role of Judith's¹ genealogy (Jdt 8:1) in constituting the identity of YHWH'S faithful community ca. 63 B.C.E.. It argues that Judith's author uses the heroine's genealogy to legitimate this community's rootedness in the major traditions of Israel and challenge them to act as Judith did in their time of crisis. The genealogy also legitimates the community's right to re-interpret the ultra-retribu-tional view that suffering is proof of sin and so to see themselves as those sanctified to YHWH (6:19). Judith's author challenges YHWH'S community to accept her/his views through Judith's speech to the elders (8:11-27) and her genealogy. The essay first deals with the dating of Judith and general genealogical theory before applying this theory to 8:1 and extrapolating the author's possible message/s to YHWH'S community through it. <![CDATA[<b>A dialogue between <i>The Africana Bible</i> (Fortress, 2010) and the <i>Africa Bible</i> <i>Commentary</i> (Zondervan, 2006) on Ezra-Nehemiah</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article critically engages with the articles/chapters on Ezra-Nehemiah in both The Africana Bible (Fortress, 2010), and the Africa Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 2006). First, the paper looks at the rationale, structure, content, contributors and methodology of each commentary. Second, the paper critically engages with each commentary's article on Ezra-Nehemiah, namely Nupanga Weanzana (Africa Bible Commentary) and Herbert Marbury (The Africana Bible). Finally, the paper spells out the significance of such a discussion/dialogue for African Biblical Hermeneutics. <![CDATA[<b>The compositional/narrative structure of Judith: a Greimassian perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The compositional structure of the Judith narrative has evoked the reaction of many OT scholars who focus on Judith. Some scholars allege that part one is flatter in style and that the book is unbalanced in structure. Other scholars² have made insightful contributions against these allegations on Judith. This article endeavours to bring a unique contribution against these allegations, by applying narrative analysis to the narratives, as informed by the Greimassian semiotic approach. The appeal here is to discover how these allegations robbed Judith of the recognition it deserves as a brilliant story. The application of a narra tive analysis based on the Greimassian approach reveals that Judith is a well-structured and balanced story containing a noticeable transformation. Subsequently, this article concludes that the two parts of the story are complementary to each other rather than imbalanced as claimed. <![CDATA[<b>Jeremiah 26-29: a not so Deuteronomistic composition</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article addresses the issue of so-called Deuteronomistic influence on the book of Jeremiah. The article posits that in the case of Jer 26-29 it would be far more prudent to concentrate on the implicit definition of prophecy found in the text rather than to analyse the linguistic and compositional features used to create the definition. In this essay it will be argued that once the presumed Deuteronomistic influence that has often directed scholar's opinions is removed, it becomes clear that even at the times when the texts seem to be linked to the Deuteronomistic works, it is by way of contrast and not by way of allusion. The unit Jer 26-29 differs both from the only legal treatment of prophecy in Deuteronomy in Deut 13:1-5 and 18:18-22, as well as from the narrative in the Deuteronomistic History 1 Kgs 22:1-38, which perfectly fits the criteria of the legal treatment with regard to its theology surrounding true and false prophecy. <![CDATA[<b>Gender perspectives in the Lord's Resistance Army in relation to the Old Testament</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The essay is a comparative analysis of gender perspectives within the Lord's Resistance Army and the OT. Based on the claim by the LRA that all their actions are supported by the Bible, in this essay I seek to establish if there is a relationship between the roles of girls and women within the LRA and in the OT. From a comparative analysis, I established that there seems to be a linkage between what the OT texts present as roles of girls and women and the Lord's Resistance Army. An evaluation of such a connection between the beliefs and practices of two entities - LRA and the OT - shows that such a relationship may be a result of patriarchal influence. Consequently, I call for a gendered approach when dealing with the texts or any cultural beliefs which open up for Kony's or any similar understanding with regard to the roles of girls and women to avoid untold suffering and discrimination such as the one the former female LRA fighters were exposed to.¹ <![CDATA[<b>Daniel "more than a prophet"? Images, imagery, imagination, and the <i>mashal</i> in Daniel 2</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In Dan 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded his wise men to re-imagine his dream or else he would carry out the unimaginable -a mass execution of all the wise men of Babylon. This article argues that the author of Dan 2 imaginatively employed the mashal in the form of a vision of the night to enable Nebuchadnezzar receive what was meant to be a prophetic message. However, the peshar which was supplied by Daniel was strategically couched in wisdom to accommodate the social context of the narrative. In the light of Daniel's allusion (Dan 2:38) to Nathan's prophetic indictment of David in 2 Sam 12:7, and against Koch's claim that Daniel was more than a prophet because he was a man greatly beloved, it is argued here that Daniel's re-envisioning and interpretation of the king's dream served not just to confirm Daniel as a wise man but to introduce him as a prophet. Thus, the combination of wisdom and prophecy in Daniel is what made him "more than a prophet." <![CDATA[<b>The fate of undesirables (Job 24:5-12)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Job 24:5-12 present a metaphor that is based on the life of the onager (wild ass) in the desert. Verses 5-12 have been viewed as addressing various entities (robbers, victims, oppressors, vagrants, outcasts and city-dwellers) and evoked a considerable range of interpretations. These diverse interpretations also garnered a fair amount of acceptance, reflecting the ambiguity of the metaphor, its linguistic articulation, and referential framework. In this study a new perspective is adopted regarding the individuals that are the subjects of vv. 5-12. It suggests that Job points to the fate of the undesirables in a community of humans. This perspective fully corresponds to the metaphor of the free, independent, solitary, untamable, food searching, onagers in the desert, and has considerable support in the text (vv. 5-12 and 30:2-8). It also enables a uniform thematic treatment of vv. 5-12. Job charges that God is oblivious to the obviously miserable fate of the undesirables. In this charge one can sense Job's personal accusation that God is not concerned with the fate of the suffering just. <![CDATA[<b>A messianic reading of Psalm 8</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The well-known and beloved introduction to Ps 8, "O LORD, our Lord, how magnificent is your name ..." could also read "O LORD, our Lord, what is the magnificent one of your name ..."It is argued that although no known tradition for this proposed reading exists, it is well supported by text critical, grammatical, and literary arguments, and indeed seems to solve the multitude of problems connected to the prevalent reading tradition that derived from the LXX. A translation, based on this premise, is proposed. Furthermore, the NT uses of Ps 8 (LXX) also ser\˜e as argument that at least the central part of this psalm was interpreted as a messianic reference directly related to the anthropology of Gen 1. The inference is that a pre-Christian messianic reading of the whole Ps 8 could have existed, unfortunately overridden by the "Name Theology" of the LXX and its successors. <![CDATA[<b>Towards the quest for transforming Old Testament scholarship: the impact of political and socio-economic crises on scholarship in Zimbabwe</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Political and socio-economic crises in Zimbabwe in recent years had a negative impact on the country's scholarship, forcing some scholars to relocate to other parts of the world, and others to utilise both domestic and regional platforms to voice their concerns. In spite of the relocation and the subsequent brain drain, publications in differing genres from Zimbabwean scholars became a force to reckon with. This essay argues, however, that Old Testament (hereaf ter OT) scholarship in itself has not been fully represented on both the domestic and regional platforms. This project poses and then responds to the following question: Who are the OT scholars in Zimbabwe and what do they write? First, this study examines both the "push " and the "pull " factors that caused the brain drain in Zimbabwe. Second, consequences that ensued as a result of the political and socio-economic crises are explored. Third, the essay engages the above question by analysing contributions of some Zimbabwean scholars in the last few years.² Fourth, some educational reforms³ are articulated towards transforming OT scholarship in Zimbabwe. Fifth, this treatise concludes by exploring the relevance of OT scholarship to society. <![CDATA[<b>Esther and African Biblical Hermeneutics: a decolonial inquiry</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In this essay the author looks at the decolonial critique on Western epistemology as presented within Western biblical hermeneutics in order to appreciate the focus on the geopolitical and the body political nature of knowledge. To this end, the author revisits an aspect of the book of Esther, namely the issue of Haman as perpetrator, not only to utilise decoloniality as a heuristic key to read the book, but to explore similarities with the current postapartheid context of race trouble. The discussion proceeds as follows: (a) an exploration of aspects of Haman's comportment in the story in terms of a colonial matrix of power and Mordecai in terms of a coloniality of being; (b) a discussion on decoloniality in terms of (i) the decolonial turn, (ii) coloniality, (iii) the three ego's, (iv) the non-ethics of war, (v) the zone of being and the zone of nonbeing and (vi) the objective of decoloniality; (c) a proposition to unthink race by taking seriously (i) race trouble as a direct consequence of the colonial matrix of power, (ii) and to take the geopolitical and body political location of knowledge production seriously. <![CDATA[<b>How early Judaism read Daniel 9:24-27</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300016&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The prophecy of the seventy sevens in Dan 9:24-27 has produced a variety of interpretations throughout the history of Christian interpretation. This article examines early Jewish readings of Daniel in order to determine if Jewish interpretation of the seventy sevens was more uniform or just as diverse. After considering the Septuagint, 1 and 2 Maccabees, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, 1 Enoch, and Jubilees, the article concludes that a typological hermeneutic enabled Jews to apply Daniel's prophecy in fresh ways to new situations. The theme of jubilee with the accompanying hope of inheritance especially caused Jews to read this passage creatively during times of loss and stress. <![CDATA[<b>„Unser Gott kommt ...!" (Ps 50,3): Psalm 50 und sein Setting im Lichte aufgenommener Überlieferungen</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300017&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The prophecy of the seventy sevens in Dan 9:24-27 has produced a variety of interpretations throughout the history of Christian interpretation. This article examines early Jewish readings of Daniel in order to determine if Jewish interpretation of the seventy sevens was more uniform or just as diverse. After considering the Septuagint, 1 and 2 Maccabees, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, 1 Enoch, and Jubilees, the article concludes that a typological hermeneutic enabled Jews to apply Daniel's prophecy in fresh ways to new situations. The theme of jubilee with the accompanying hope of inheritance especially caused Jews to read this passage creatively during times of loss and stress. <![CDATA[<b>The court stories of Joseph (Gen 41) and Daniel (Dan 2) in canonical context: a theological paradigm for God's work among the nations</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300018&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article asserts that the canonical context of the accounts of Joseph in Gen 41 and Daniel in Dan 2 creates a paradigm for how Israel's God uses his people among the nations, where they spend the majority of their history. It begins by considering critical scholarship on the "court stories " of Joseph and Daniel. Then it evaluates each account in its own narrative context before comparing and contrasting the two narratives. Finally, it explores the canonical context of the two accounts and their theological significance in the narrative of the OT, as well as the implications of this theological significance in the NT. <![CDATA[<b>The stranger in God's land - foreigner, stranger, guest: what can we learn from Israel's attitude towards strangers?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300019&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article concentrates on the Hebrew terms used for "stranger" in the OT, especially the three most used terms zar (•-), nochri (-•-•) and ger (•-). The research methodology used is based on a canonical and literary critical approach to the OT. While the term •- is more or less neutral in its meaning, the terms -•-• and •- invoke stronger emotions: the term -•-• (foreigner) denotes a more or less dangerous stranger (due to strange gods and/or strange ways of living), whereas the term •- (guest) is used very positively. The latter is by far the most common word used for "stranger" in the OT. This article looks into the relation between these three words and then asks how a •- could become a •- and avoid being a -•-•. Finally, what we can learn from this for our modern society is explored in the conclusion. <![CDATA[<b>Book reviews / Boek resensies</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000300020&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article concentrates on the Hebrew terms used for "stranger" in the OT, especially the three most used terms zar (•-), nochri (-•-•) and ger (•-). The research methodology used is based on a canonical and literary critical approach to the OT. While the term •- is more or less neutral in its meaning, the terms -•-• and •- invoke stronger emotions: the term -•-• (foreigner) denotes a more or less dangerous stranger (due to strange gods and/or strange ways of living), whereas the term •- (guest) is used very positively. The latter is by far the most common word used for "stranger" in the OT. This article looks into the relation between these three words and then asks how a •- could become a •- and avoid being a -•-•. Finally, what we can learn from this for our modern society is explored in the conclusion.