Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> vol. 31 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Dedicated to Wilhelm (Willie) J. Wessels</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Wilhelm (Willie) Joseph Wessels</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Wee over Moab... Een exegese van Jeremia 48:1-10</b>]]> De volkenprofetie tegen Moab in Jeremia 48 blijft in veel opzichten de exegeten voor vragen stellen. In dit artikel ligt de focus op het eerste segment, 48:1-10. Na de behandeling van enkele inleidende vragen betreffende tekst en structuur, geografie en topografie, en theologisch accenten in dit caput, wordt een detailexegese van elk vers gegeven. In vlammende taal wordt Moab hier het oordeel aangezegd, als uitvloeisel van het werk van YHWH zelf, die de hybris van dit volk afstraft. For the exegete, the oracle against Moab in Jeremiah 48 still contains many unanswered questions. In this article the focus is on the first segment, 48:1-10. After the treatment of some introductory issues regarding text and structure, geography and topography, and theological accents in this chapter, a detailed exegesis of each verse is offered. In violent language, Moab is announced a devastating verdict, as a result of the work of YHWH himself, who punishes the hybris of this foreign nation. <![CDATA[<b>De-Centering Lamentations: A Crisis of Hope, of Memory, and of Continued Presence</b>]]> Scholars have frequently looked to chapter three at the centre of the book of Lamentations to provide a note of hope, faith, and comfort, so that the book as a whole is considered a chiasm with its resolution at the centre. But this does not give adequate attention to the developing story line running through the book as a whole or the role that chapter three plays in heightening the crisis initiated by the exile and provoking a turning point in the story. The arc of the story told by a variety of characters reaches its climax in chapter three and the forward movement of the story can be seen in the move from dirge to lament and from isolation to community as Israel considers the ways in which their relationship with Yahweh has fundamentally changed. <![CDATA[<b>The Chiastic Structure of Psalm 106</b>]]> This study describes the chiasm that is embedded within the narrative structure of Psalm 106. The author classifies the psalm as a historical recital of Israel's story, but within the psalm's narrative structure there is a chiasm that emphasizes key parallel elements. These elements draw the reader's attention to the themes of praise, prayer, salvation, rebellion and Moses, to name a few. Psalm 106 focuses on Israel's past failures and Yahweh's generous grace, motifs that highlight the need for repentance and forgiveness in any historical context, but especially in the exilic and postexilic periods. <![CDATA[<b>Decolonising Biblical Trauma Studies: The Metaphorical Name <i>Shear-jashub </i>in Isaiah 7:3ff Read Through a Postcolonial South African Perspective</b>]]> Anyone reading the Bible will attest that Biblical scriptures preserve a collection of struggles, trauma, and hardship in their ancient communities - the same trauma markers that many South Africans can attest to. On the same continuum, anyone who is reading the book of Isaiah, are confronted with not only a difficult book but also a difficult prophet. Isaiah did not in Isaiah 7:3ff only address his prophetic utterances at the King as an individual, but also at the people of Judah as a collective group and he did so through the metaphorical name-giving of his son "Shear-jashub. " The fear of imperialism and oppression was a reality, as it would later be in apartheid South Africa. The reading of Isaiah 7:3ff from a postcolonial perspective aims to provide a decolonised biblical trauma lens that would create an understanding of a decolonised reader in a postcolonial South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Sights and Sounds of Death Valley: A Close Reading of Ezekiel 37:1-14</b>]]> Owing to the visual and auditory elements found in Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones, this article employs the themes of seeing and hearing as a fitting biblical approach to Ezekiel 37:1-14. A meticulous study of the text demonstrates that Ezekiel intentionally used visual and auditory language to organize the literary structure of the vision, to invite the reader to see, hear, and experience the event along with him, and to intimately encounter the presence of YHWH. <![CDATA[<b><b>Ezekiel, Prophet of the Spirit: </b></b><b>רוח in the Book of Ezekiel</b>]]> Numerous texts refer to the activities of the spirit of God in relation to the life and work of the Old Testament prophets. This is the case for both the former prophets as well as the latter prophets. The focus of this paper will be the book of Ezekiel. The noun —•• occurs 52 times in Ezekiel. A selection of these texts that refer to —•• will be analysed. Various issues regarding the Spirit's function in Ezekiel will be discussed as they arise from the texts. The purpose of the article can be formulated as follows: What is the role and function of the —•• in the Book of Ezekiel? <![CDATA[<b>Loving the Neighbour and the Resident Alien in Leviticus 19 as Ethical Redefinition of Holiness</b>]]> "Loving the neighbour " is generally accepted as fundamental to Judeo-Christian theological ethics. However, few reflect on the implications of extending "loving the neighbour" (Lev 19:18) to "loving the resident alien/foreigner" (Lev 19:33-34) within the context of the Holiness Code (Lev 17-26). This contribution argues that "holiness" is redefined in Leviticus 19 by combining the instructions related to cultic rituals (aimed at the priests) in Leviticus 1-16 with the theological-ethical issues (aimed at all Israelites) in Leviticus 17-26; thereby moving from "ascribed holiness" (granted by divine decree to cultic officials) to "achieved holiness" (available to all Israel through obedience) in the post-exilic period. <![CDATA[<b>Isaiah's Vision of Yahweh and Ethical Replication</b>]]> This article explores Isaiah's vision of the thrice-holy Yahweh and his message of ethical replication. According to Elaine Scarry, the presence of beauty prompts replication. This will be adapted to consider the role of holiness as a driving factor in Isaiah's message of socialjustice. First, Isaiah is de-centred in his experience of Yahweh's beauty and terror. Secondly, Isaiah volunteered to embody the message of Yahweh and to call his community to similarly mirror Yahweh in their religious and moral life. By focusing on the use of Isaiah's key terminology of "the Holy One of Israel" in Isaiah 1-39, the expectation of ethical replication among the covenant community is examined. Thirdly, as this key term is also prevalent in chapters 40-66, arguably the expectation for ethical replication was continued by the disciples of Isaiah. This study reinforces holiness as having ethical as well as religious importance in Isaiah's message. <![CDATA[<b>The Hidden Wounds of Structural Violence: Exploring an Intersectional Understanding of Violence in Jeremiah 4-6</b>]]> Beyond the virulent portrayal of imperial violence in Jeremiah 4-6 that is rightly described as "terror all around" (Jer 6:25), one also finds other forms of violation that are no less injurious (cf. the repeated reference to "wounds" in Jer 6:7, 14). This paper proposes that it is important also to recognize forms of structural violence in this text that take into consideration factors such as gender, race and class that manifest itself as hidden wounds, which, if left unattended, may fester and return with a vengeance. This paper argues that a more nuanced and multi-faceted understanding of violence in the book of Jeremiah is helpful in dealing with the complex manifestations of violence in many contexts today. Such an intersectional understanding of violence recognizes that the deep wounds caused by poverty, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia will come back to haunt us if we do not engage in what Shelly Rambo calls "wound work" (Resurrecting Wounds: Living in the Aftermath of Trauma, p 92), i.e., surfacing and attending to the wounds caused by structural violence. <![CDATA[<b>Trading Yahweh's Word for a Price: Ethical Implications of the Collusion of Prophets and Priests in Micah 3:5-7, 11</b>]]> Trading Yahweh's word for a price is an attempt to articulate the implications of the mercenary attitude of prophets and priests in Micah 3:5-7, 11, in discharging their duties as religious functionaries. The article examines Micah's indictment of charismatic and cultic Judeans' self-centred leadership in commercialising Yahweh's word. This exploration is done against the background of the functions and responsibility of prophets and priests in the HB/OT. Prophets and priests both functioned in the religion of Ancient Israel and Judah as channels for the transmission of Yahweh's word to their people and nation. However, Micah presents a charismatic and cultic Judean leadership that was bereft of ethical standards of responsibility, reliability, constancy and integrity. Rather than embodying ethical character that could inspire confidence and commitment, they traded Yahweh's word for symbols of wealth and power and thus became stumbling blocks to genuine orthodoxy. Such attempts to lower the standard of God's demand on people so as to gratify oneself in a religious function that is designed to embody integrity, honesty, reliability and accountability constitute an affront to Yahweh. Additionally, it is an abuse of privilege and position, and amounts to religious deception and economic idolatry and creates a false sense of security. <![CDATA[<b>To the Question of an Ethics of Bible Translation: Some Reflections in Relation to Septuagint Isaiah 6:1 and 19:25</b>]]> The essay discusses two texts from Septuagint Isaiah-6:1 and 19:25- in dialogue with some concerns of recent discourses of Bible translation ethics. The main focus of the essay is the question of a translation's "loyalty" vis-à-vis source text, target language and culture, and other actors involved in the translation process. It is argued that the two case texts from Septuagint Isaiah offer different solutions; whereas 6:1 accentuates a concept already present in the Hebrew text, 19:25 thus offering a competing plot to that of the Hebrew text. <![CDATA[<b>Inner-biblical Allusion in Habakkuk's </b><b>משא (Hab 1:1-2:20) and Utterances Concerning Babylon in Isaiah 13-23 (Isa 13:1-14:23; 21:1-10)</b>]]> Inner-biblical allusions in Habakkuk's –—” (Hab 1:1-2:20) and –—”•— concerning Babylon in Isaiah 13-23 (Isa 13:1-14:23; 21:1-10) suggest a shared circle of tradition and the reinterpretation of prophetic messages in developing social and political circumstances. Habakkuk 's –—” condemns violent behaviour (1:5-11, 12-17; 2:5-20), but with the exception of –—” ("the Chaldeans") in 1:5, shows a surprising reluctance to name the perpetrators of violence overtly. An analysis of inner-biblical allusions in Hab 1:1-2:20 and Isa 13:1-14:23; 21:1-10 -where Babylonian arrogance is overtly condemned - facilitates a contextual interpretation of both prophetic corpora, throws light on the identity of "the wicked" in Habakkuk, and makes an (original) exilic setting for Hab 1-2 a distinct possibility. Habakkuk's might be deliberately vague about the identity of the wicked because of their ominous presence in the concrete living conditions of its audience. <![CDATA[<b>The Problem of the Potsherd: Job 2:8 in a New Perspective</b>]]> The famous verse in the prologue of the book of Job, which is commonly translated with "Job took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes, " is the object of study here. In this analysis of Job 2:8, three components are extensively discussed; (1) The syntactic structure that shows that the subject of the action of "taking" is the satan and not Job; (2) The semantic analysis of the occurrences of the noun •——, which demonstrates that this word does not designate "potsherd," but "pot"; and (3) The semantic analysis of the infinitive hitpael •—•—•, which explains the satan's goal in bringing Job a pot, namely to squeeze out his inflamed boils that cover him from head to toe. <![CDATA[<b>Hearing Jeremiah's Confessions in Light of the Metaphor of the 'Silent' Sheep: Reflections through the African Lore</b>]]> In varying African cultures, and dare one say, even in global cultures, normative masculinity is defined among others, by men's capacity not to cry. Expressing feelings such as helplessness, weakness, being overwhelmed, pain and trauma overtly, is not supposed to typify normative manhood. Yet the book of Jeremiah (cf. his confessions in particular), canonised as it is in the Christian Bible, reveals that overt male expression of feelings can actually be a conduit through which the prophetic word is conveyed to the prophet and through the prophet to his audiences. Complaints/laments seem to have unashamedly formed an integral part of the life and ministry of the prophet Jeremiah, the man (cf. 14:17; 15:18). The main question engaged with in this article is: Which reading may emerge if selected Sotho proverbs on specific masculinities are used as hermeneutical lenses through which to engage the confessions of Jeremiah? <![CDATA[<b>What of the Night? Conceptions and Theology of Night in Isaiah and the Book of the Twelve</b>]]> Even though a number of studies have probed the concept of time in the Hebrew Bible, very little has been said about night as a unit of time. This article investigates the conceptions and theology of night in Isaiah and in the Book of the Twelve (Minor Prophets). Whereas strong existential correspondence between day and night is found in Isaiah featuring both negative and positive associations with nocturnal activities, the concept of night is absent in parts of the Book of the Twelve. It is argued that the conceptions of night as depicted through the night-time activities and actors (which include God, prophets, watchers, the people of Israel, etcetera.) have implications for the theology and the worldviews expressed in these prophetic books. <![CDATA[<b>Allegorising Song of Song's Most Erotic Parts: Judaism, Calvinism, Lutheranism</b>]]> The contemporary debate regarding the neo-allegorical Song of Songs interpretation focuses more on its legitimacy than on how it is done. If allegorical interpretation promotes uncontrollable subjective interpretation, this would especially surface when different religious traditions are involved. Moreover, if allegorical interpretation is done to avoid dealing with explicit sexuality in the Song, comparing texts from three diverse religious traditions on the more erotic parts of the Song has the potential to provide insight not only in the method of allegory but also in the contextuality and subjectivity of interpretation as such. The paper discusses examples from the Targum, the Calvinistic Dutch Statenbijbel and Luther's lectures on the Canticles. <![CDATA[<b>The Outlaw David Ben Jesse: Reading David as Geronimo in Exile?</b>]]> Descriptions of the years before David becomes King, particularly the narratives of 1 Samuel 19-30, have often emphasized David as a kind of "rebel" leader in relation to Saul's attempts to capture him. However, when read in conjunction of Eric Hobsbawm's famous concept of "Social Banditry", these "rebel" or "outlaw" themes take on a more serious tone. Reading the Biblical narratives next to the events surrounding the famous Native-American leader Geronimo only serves to further highlight the potential significance of "outlaw " themes in the Samuel narratives. However, when the widely noted "superscriptions" on some of the "Davidic " Psalms are brought into the discussion, more serious evidence emerges for an actual historical-textual interest, perhaps during the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods, in David's "outlaw" life as a period of particular interest to exiles. <![CDATA[<b>Finding the Spirit of Elijah in the Story of Elisha and the Lost Axe Head: 2 Kings 6:1-7 in the Light of 2 Kings 2</b>]]> Against a long-standing trend in biblical scholarship to demean and diminish the significance and purpose of the Elisha story of the lost axe head in 2 Kings 6:1-7, this paper shows this story's strategic purpose in relation to a central theological theme of the Elijah-Elisha complex and the entire Kings corpus. By pointing out the striking literary parallels and connections between this Elisha story and the story of Elisha's receiving the mantle of Elijah in 2 Kings 2, together with this latter story's central thematic role not only in the Elijah-Elisha materials but in the Kings narrative as a whole, the story of the lost axe head reveals the pivotal divine purpose of transacting spiritual succession from one generation to the next. <![CDATA[<b>A Trauma Perspective of the Redaction of the Poor at the end of Book I (Pss 3-41) and Book II (Pss 42-72) of the Psalter</b>]]> In a recent article published Willie Wessels reflects on caring for the poor and according to him the Hebrew Bible has a clear position regarding the question of the poor and the needy. There are a number of words which are used in Hebrew to refer to the poor and to the needy. In the first part of this article a brief overview will be given of the terms used for the poor in the Psalter. This overview forms the background to a discussion in the second part of the redaction of the poor occurring at the end of Book I (Pss 3-41) and Book II (Pss 4272). In the final part of this contribution a trauma perspective of the redaction of the poor in the Psalter is given. This redaction of the Psalter is essentially a record of the broken and the marginalized within the Judean society. The most important task of this theology of the "piety of the poor" was to restore dignity as well as hope to the oppressed victims of the social crisis. <link></link> <description/> </item> </channel> </rss> <!--transformed by PHP 09:07:31 05-07-2022-->