Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920150002&lang=pt vol. 28 num. 2 lang. pt <![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=S1010-99192015000200001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Incubation and traces of incubation in the biblical narrative</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Tins article examines the phenomenon of incubation. In the ancient world people would go to sacred places, offer sacrifices to God, and fall asleep hoping that God will visit them in a dream. The dream was supposed to give the subject advice and guidance. This type of dream is called an incubation dream. Solomon's dream at Gibeon and Jacob's vision at Beer Sheba are good examples of incubation dreams (1 Kgs 3:4-15; Gen 46:1-7). However, there are several passages which have been alleged to be incubation dreams (Num 22-24; Isa 65:4; Gen 15; 1 Sam 3). Hence, we will see if, indeed, they fit our de f inition of an incuba tion dream. <![CDATA[<b>Literary analysis of covenant themes in the book of Malachi</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The category of covenant is considered to be the dominant and cohesive idea in the theology of the OT. It is the means through which Israel conceptualise its relation with Yahweh. Although the term "covenant" is variously and even contradictorily defined, its applicability to Israel's conceptualisation of its relationship with Yahweh is pervasive and well-known. The covenant relationship between Israel and Yahweh is considered to be its constitution, its vocation, and its salvation. From a theological view point, the essential components of Malachi's oracles are the personhood of Yahweh - the God of Israel, Yahweh's covenant relationship with Israel, and the all-pervasive message of unreserved and enthusiastic personal response of Israel to the truth assertions of the prophetic voice. This article thus demonstrates the significance of covenant as the central and cohesive theological motif connecting and coordinating several themes present in the book of Malachi as well as illuminating its message. In Malachi, one observes that certain religious fundamentals were compromised. In order to deal with the indifference and its adverse consequences in the gradual decline towards an unstructured existence and to hold together a society that upholds values and maintains an ancient faith, Malachi was skilful and creative in his employment of the covenant theme to the advantage of his ministerial context. The article presents precise background and historical information about the book of Malachi that are crucial to an understanding of its theme and message, the book's literary style, theme and structure, examines the various covenant themes and then concludes by synthesising these themes with the overall message of the book's context. <![CDATA[<b>Following the "Tracks of Righteousness" of Psalm 23</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Tins article argues that possible connections between Ps 23 and Proverbs have been overlooked to a large extent. It is well-known that the author of the psalm has appropriated the image of Yahweh as a shepherd of his people (used in connection with the exodus and also at the return from exile) and applied it to his personal relation-ship with Yahweh. But the psalm also describes the life of the indi-vidual worshipper as a journey and this metaphor seems to have important connections with Proverbs and wisdom psalms. It is argued that the expression "tracks of righteousness" possibly dis-plays a direct link to Prov 2:9 and 4:11 and that this could imply that the author of Ps 23 fused the metaphor of Yahweh as a shep-herd (and as a host) with that of Yahweh as a guide on the road of life so that the suppliant is portrayed as a righteous person. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the role of the wicked in Habakkuk from Malawi socio-economic and political viewpoint</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt John Saul has qualified decolonisation in Southern Africa (I960-1990) as "false." This is true for Malawi because despite gaining independence in 1964, attaining multiparty democracy in 1994 and has had three presidents in the multiparty era, life for many Mala-wians continues to be a struggle for survival. This article seeks to explore the role of "the wicked " in the book of Habakkuk for pur-poses of letting the text dialogue with Malawi socio-economic and political context, which are both products of internal politics and external forms of imperialism. The theoretical framework relevant to this study is the African contextual biblical hermeneutics model. It is a tri-polar approach because it involves three poles: a) the African context; b) the biblical text; and c) appropriation. In this model, there is a two-way movement between text and context ena-bling each to interrogate the other critically, and constructing potential lines of connection. Since the study deals with the context of Habakkuk and the Malawi context, both of which are substan-tially shaped by social, economic and political conditions, liberation and postcolonial biblical hermeneutics will ser\˜e as the sub-theo-retical frameworks. Within these theoretical frameworks, a socio-logical methodology will be used when analysing the biblical text and Malawi context. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between the glory of YHWH and the spirit of YHWH in Ezekiel 33-48</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Ezekiel is not only the prophet of the glory of YHWH but also of the Spirit of YHWH. What is the relationship between these two con-cepts? I restrict myself in this article to the last part of Ezekiel (33-48). In this final part of the book, we see how the Spirit of YHWH, who transforms and revives Israel, paves the way for the return of the glory of YHWH portrayed in the last vision. In the final vision, we read of a stream of water flowing from the temple. The water starts from the place where the •”•• of YHWH is present. Tins water must be related to the Spirit of YHWH. Not only the people but also the land is transformed. The message of the transformation of a com-munity by the Spirit of YHWH is followed by the final vision where the glory of YHWH is evidently present in the sanctuary and even the land itself is transformed by the Spirit of YHWH; this is the climax of the message of Ezekiel. Hie presence of the •”•• of YHWH in the hearts and lives of the people of Israel is closely related to the presence of the •”•• of YHWH in the sanctuary. All is summarized in the name of the city: YHWH is there. <![CDATA[<b>Is there <i>Shalom</i>, or not? Jeremiah, a prophet for South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt There is a dispute between prophets about the status of Jerusalem and its society. Hie Book of Isaiah, on various occasions, sees the city and its people full of shalom "peace, wellbeing" (Isa 26:3; 32:18). The Book of Jeremiah, on the other hand, negates such a vision and accuses colleagues announcing such a message of "deceit " (Jer 6:13-14). The book is outstanding in its focus on the grievances leading to the fall of Jerusalem; its profile is marked by calling things as they are, analyzing the roots of evil, and disclosing the broken relationship with God as one of the causes. Such a critique has consequences: Jeremiah has to suffer, more than any other colleague. Nevertheless he, too, proclaims shalom (e.g. Jer 29:11), but it is rooted in a new perception of an inwardly touched God who desires eagerly to bring about a change to those who have gone through hardship. This message of the Book of Jeremiah and the figure of the prophet have a bearing for South Africa: su ffering, problems, injustice can all be resolved, if they are addressed in a manner similar to the way in which Jeremiah dared to speak out and to advocate God's view in his own times. <![CDATA[<b>Actantial model of <i>Judith</i>, a key to unlocking its possible purpose: A Greimassian contribution</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The goal of this article is to investigate the possible purpose of the Greek apocryphal book of Judith. The investigation of the possible purpose of Judith has attracted the interest of many scholars and varying contributions have appeared in this regard. The impetus for a yet another investigation of Judith grows from the contention that the question of the possible purpose of Judith is still wide open for exploration. This study attempts to make a unique contribution by using a Greimassian approach to narratives, which no Judith scholar has ever attempted. This approach comprises three levels of analysis: the figurative, the narrative and the thematic. This article focuses only on the narrative level, particularly the actantial model of the story. This article contends that following the study of the act-antial model of Judith, it becomes clear that the Judith narrative was aimed at revitalising Jewish religious patriotism during the dif-ficiilt times of the Second Temple period. <![CDATA[<b>Emotions in the Hebrew Bible: A few observations on prospects and challenges</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Although there has been significant progress in the study of emo-tions in the HB in recent years, a variety of matters still need atten-tion or serious reflection. Tins article addresses some of these. Aspects that are focused on include: (1) the designation "emotion " and what it entails in a HB context; (2) the limitations of the original psychophysical approach; (3) the cognitive approach and the ques-tion of a dominant conceptual metaphor; (4) the social-construc-tionist view of emotions and the problems of translating emotional communication; and (5) some issues related to gender and emotion. <![CDATA[<b>In the Ant's School of Wisdom: A Holistic African-South African reading of Proverbs 6:6-11</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Committed to the ethic of industry, also, possibly persuaded by the precarious context of the production of the text of Prov 1-9, the wis-dom teacher persuades his (male) students to watch and learn from the ways of the ant (nemālâ). The nemālâ can be regarded as one of the lowest members of the created species. Apart from the optimistic wisdom mentality embedded within Prov 6:6-11, noteworthy is also the inter-connectedness between human beings and nature. The latter reveals the holistic outlook which typified biblical Israel, including the members of the post-exilic community in Yehud. Research on the wisdom underlying both the HB proverbs and selected African (Northern Sotho/Pedi)1 proverbs, has revealed apparent resemblances between Israelite and African world views. If Prov 6:6-11 is read from an African-South African holistic point of view, which insights might be gained from the text regarding the interconnectedness between human beings and Earth? How may the insights gained be received in an unequal context such as present day South Africa ? The preceding questions will form the core of the contents of the present investigation. <![CDATA[<b>People and land in the Holiness Code: Who is YHWH's favourite?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The article is interested in how land (”--) is personified in the Holi-ness Code. It starts by describing the different "countries" por-trayed in the Holiness Code and then discusses all the instances where land functions as the subject of a verb (Lev 18:25, 27, 28; 19:29; 20:22; 25:2, 19; 26:4, 20, 34, 38, 43). The land at times seems to be close to being a human character by "becoming defiled, " "vomiting, " "acting like a prostitute, " "obserx'ing the Sabbath," "giving" and "enjoying." These verbs are all usually associated with human actions. In the light of these texts the article then attempts to describe the relationship between land, YHWH and the addressees. It becomes clear that there is a closer relationship between YHWH and the land than between YHWH and the addressees. The article then attempts to engage with Habel's ecojustice princi-pies showing that the ancient authors of the Holiness Code might have been familiar with some of them."2 <![CDATA[<b>Anger management and biblical characters: A study of "angry exchange" among characters of Hebrew narrative</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The study of Hebrew narratives has generally shown in modern scholarship the intriguing artistry of the biblical stories. However, the apparent simplicity of the angry scenes has not generated significant engagement of its representations. Against this backdrop, the present study describes the consistent literary patterns in the representation of angry scenes in Hebrew narrative, and particularly identifies the different stages in biblical angry exchange scenes. These discerned stages include the description of provocation, the presence of anger-designated markers, the expression of questioning/conversation, and the consummation of the angry scene by a reference to an action plan, the pacification of the angry character or the resolution of the angry process. In this emotionally-heightened space, the study also underscores the stylistic features of the biblical angry exchange scenes as directly seen in the intentional quest to exploit, manipulate, and manage anger by biblical characters in the angry exchange scenes. <![CDATA[<b>The justice of God in his anger: A narrative analysis of Isaiah 5:1-7 and its implications for socio-economic and security challenges in Nigeria</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The passage of Isa 5:1-7 could be regarded as a dirge about the unfruitfulness and wastefulness of God's resources by the people of Judah. The people were provided with every resource needed to blossom in their endeavours, they were given the enabling environment and favourable weather, but when the time of harvest came, instead of bringing forth good fruit and bountiful harvest, they brought forth wild grape. The output does not justify the input. The owner of the resources was angered by this situation and took up a complaint against the people and decided to punish them severely. This situation of Judah is not dissimilar with that of Nigeria, who is presently experiencing endemic poverty, insecurity, corruption and political instability in the midst of abundance of minerals, human and material resources. The aim of this article is to carry out a narrative analysis of Isa 5:1-7, looking at the complaint of Yahweh against the people of Judah and contextualize the results of the exegesis, with the aid of intercultural hermeneutics, to the Nigerian situation, whose current socio-economic and political experience is not different from that of Judah. <![CDATA[<b>The famous but difficult Psalm 90:10</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Application of standard text-critical tools to the difficult Ps 90:10 results in the interpretation: The days of our vigor [are] seventy years, [or] Our years with might [are] eighty years, And their pride [is] vexation and sorrow. We fade quickly, and we rattle . . . . It is being claimed that the last colon of MT is a minor textual corruption of the original -•• ••- •---•, and the rattle is the typical death groan. <![CDATA[<b>"Responsible stewardship" - The root of all evil in eco-theology?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Responsible stewardship of the earth has often been hailed by ecotheologians as an important corrective to an exploitative dominion-orientated attitude towards the earth. The idea of "responsible stewardship" is then introduced as a possible way to soften this harsh view of dominion over nature. The Garden in Eden and especially the command in Gen 2:15 to "till" and "guard" it is often quoted in eco-theology as an argument why humans should take on this responsibility towards nature conservation. This view can either be supported by a historical or a metaphorical argument. It is however argued that Eden should not be used in either way: Eden was not located within historical times or within a historical setting and the Garden of Eden is described in terms exactly opposite to those used to describe nature or wilderness: that is, as a well-farmed garden or agricultural field. It is further argued that the term "responsible stewardship" may be problematic from an ecological perspective. Contemporary ecology has demonstrated that nature does not need constant interference and is naturally self-sustaining. The term "responsible stewardship" may therefore merely be a hidden new way to affirm human dominion, human arrogance and anthropocentrism. It is therefore suggested that the terms "reluctant interference" or "careful interference" should rather be used than the concept of "responsible stewardship. " <![CDATA[<b>Note complémentaire sur la structure du Ps 26: À partir des occurrences du nom divin</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200016&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Responsible stewardship of the earth has often been hailed by ecotheologians as an important corrective to an exploitative dominion-orientated attitude towards the earth. The idea of "responsible stewardship" is then introduced as a possible way to soften this harsh view of dominion over nature. The Garden in Eden and especially the command in Gen 2:15 to "till" and "guard" it is often quoted in eco-theology as an argument why humans should take on this responsibility towards nature conservation. This view can either be supported by a historical or a metaphorical argument. It is however argued that Eden should not be used in either way: Eden was not located within historical times or within a historical setting and the Garden of Eden is described in terms exactly opposite to those used to describe nature or wilderness: that is, as a well-farmed garden or agricultural field. It is further argued that the term "responsible stewardship" may be problematic from an ecological perspective. Contemporary ecology has demonstrated that nature does not need constant interference and is naturally self-sustaining. The term "responsible stewardship" may therefore merely be a hidden new way to affirm human dominion, human arrogance and anthropocentrism. It is therefore suggested that the terms "reluctant interference" or "careful interference" should rather be used than the concept of "responsible stewardship. " <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000200017&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Responsible stewardship of the earth has often been hailed by ecotheologians as an important corrective to an exploitative dominion-orientated attitude towards the earth. The idea of "responsible stewardship" is then introduced as a possible way to soften this harsh view of dominion over nature. The Garden in Eden and especially the command in Gen 2:15 to "till" and "guard" it is often quoted in eco-theology as an argument why humans should take on this responsibility towards nature conservation. This view can either be supported by a historical or a metaphorical argument. It is however argued that Eden should not be used in either way: Eden was not located within historical times or within a historical setting and the Garden of Eden is described in terms exactly opposite to those used to describe nature or wilderness: that is, as a well-farmed garden or agricultural field. It is further argued that the term "responsible stewardship" may be problematic from an ecological perspective. Contemporary ecology has demonstrated that nature does not need constant interference and is naturally self-sustaining. The term "responsible stewardship" may therefore merely be a hidden new way to affirm human dominion, human arrogance and anthropocentrism. It is therefore suggested that the terms "reluctant interference" or "careful interference" should rather be used than the concept of "responsible stewardship. "