Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> vol. 32 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 32: A social-scientific investigation</b>]]> The article identifies the root metaphors used in Ps 32 and uses these to identify the purpose and strategy of the psalm as a means of communication between its author and its original audience. It argues that the psalm should not be read as a psalm of thanksgiving with wisdom elements, but a wisdom-teaching psalm which replicates a psalm of thanksgiving. The author and/or editors used the composition, which is ascribed to King David, as a means of exhorting members of the in-group in a post-exilic setting in Judah to trust in Yhwh and to stay faithful to him. The implied author's experience of suffering because of pent-up guilt, as well as an authoritative first-person address by Yhwh, was used in conjunction with a range of wisdom features by the author to communicate this message to its original audience. <![CDATA[<b>Changing One's Tune: Re-reading the Structure of Psalm 132 as Complex Antiphony</b>]]> Complex antiphony, which allows dialogue between non-linearly adjacent cola in a psalm, provides the potential for re-reading problematic Hebrew texts such as Psalm 132. This article studies the two main structural options that have been proposed for Psalm 132, arguing in preference for the minority view that places a major break after v. 9. It is then argued, based on this minority structure, that the multiple distinctive types of literary bonds between the two halves of the psalm point towards a form of complex antiphony known as steady responsa. It is then shown that such a steady responsa reading of Psalm 132 addresses some of the critical exegetical problems of the psalm, such as the referent of the pronominal suffixes in v. 6. In addition, this reading also reveals a coherent and rich petitionary rhetoric in Psalm 132. <![CDATA[<b>"</b><b>There he built an altar to the Lord" (Gen 12:8): City and Altar Building in Genesis</b>]]> This essay examines Genesis' depiction of the contrast between patriarchal altar-building (”–•, Gen 12:7, 8; 13:18; 22:9; 26:25; 35:7; cf. 8:20) and pre-patriarchal city-building (”–, Gen 4:17; 10:11; 11:4). The patriarchal building is qualitatively different because the altars are built in the place where, and after, YHWH appears to the patriarch, in the context of a word of blessing evocative of Genesis 12:1-3.It is suggested that the patriarchal altars of Genesis anticipated the place Yhwh would choose for his name to dwell. <![CDATA[<b>Who is my Brother? An ironic reading of Genesis 19:1-11</b>]]> This article analyses the Tangale presupposition relating to the concept of brotherhood. It argues that the concept underscores the significance of the virtue of solidarity and togetherness within the Tangale traditional kinship setting. The Tangale background develops a new appreciation for the interaction between brotherhood and kinship and opens up a new perspective of exegesis of Genesis 19:1-11-using irony as the hermeneutical lens. This assessment of biblical passage, hospitality as the interpretive context of the passage, provides a theological and ethical understanding of the concept of brotherhood that transcends ethnic boundaries. Such understanding, it is argued, has significant implications on the theological-ethical reflections that might help the Tangale and Kaltungo/Shongom ethnic nationalities to have a rethink and resist the negative persuasions that had resulted in the ongoing inter-tribal armed rivalry. <![CDATA[<b>YHWH and Israel in terms of the Concept of Life in Deuteronomy</b>]]> References to the concept of "life" (the root •••) are found throughout the book of Deuteronomy. Yet very few surveys have been done on the concept of life in Deuteronomy. This article contributes to the discussion by giving a survey of the different ways in which the concept of life is employed in the book. The results of this survey are used to give an overview of this concept from a theological point of view by determining what Deuteronomy as a whole says about YHWH and Israel in terms of the concept of life. Among others, the article finds that YHWH is depicted as the only living God, who has no end or diminishing of life. Israel is to obey YHWH's commands wholeheartedly to enjoy well-being or quality of life, which is the result of his blessing, especially in the form of prosperity, longevity and increase in the Promised Land. <![CDATA[<b>Strategies of Stranger Inclusion in the Narrative Traditions of Joshua-Judges: The Cases of Rahab's household, the Kenites and the Gibeonites</b>]]> Ancient Israelite thought - represented by biblical Hebrew terminology - is aware of the difference between a non-assimilated stranger (–’•’—/ —’• ; •’— ) and that of a semi-assimilated stranger (; —’•’—“’”). The legal traditions of the OT are rather static and categorical regarding the differentiation of these types of strangers; they minimize the relationship with the —’•––’•‘‘ but provide protection and ensure provisions for the •’—’•– In addition, the law codes are almost exclusively silent about the possibility of a certain stranger's transition from one category to the other. Contrary to this, the narrative accounts of the OT are especially rich in representations of distinct strategies of stranger inclusion. Thus, it is evident that the ancient Israelite thought and everyday practice did not exclude the possibility of transitioning and transforming complete strangers into community members. In fact, the narrative representations of the treatment of strangers in the Books of Joshua and Judges encapsulate authentic ancient Israelite mentalities, cultural conventions, and social mechanisms - in a quite dynamic manner (cf. Rahab's inclusion in Josh 2 and 6; the Kenites' status in Judg 4-5; the Gibeonites' inclusion in Josh 9). <![CDATA[<b>Pitie et Non-violence dans 1S 24-26 : Cas de David Versus Saül et Nabal</b>]]> This article takes root in the reading of the narrative sequence which we find 1S 24-26 where three narrativesfollow one after another: at first to David who leads Saul to Engaddi, then to Abigail who diverts David from his plan to avenge Nabal, and finally, to David who once more saves the life of Saul in the desert of Ziph. To emphasize the need for pity and nonviolence in the society, it seems interesting to us to raise the context antecedent to this sequence where the hostility of Saul towards David leaves no shadow of a doubt. Indeed, devoured by jealousy in the face of David's successes, Saul tries with a doggedness to eliminate the latter who dashes off desperately until golden opportunities are presented to him to eliminate Saul. He does not eliminate him, but he gets only the piece of his coat as he surprises him while he was covering his feet. Then, for a second time, he still saves his life when he perceives him sleeping near Abner. Refusing to hurt him, he takes the lance which was at his bedside as well as the gourd of water. Pity and non-violence towards enemies practised by David could be the resources which our society needs to strengthen to consolidate conviviality. In this context where wars, conflicts, hatred, vengeances and terrorism seem to gain ground, could the rediscovery of these two values be a challenge to revealfor our world? <![CDATA[<b>Mordecai's Royal Vestments: Princely and/or Priestly?</b>]]> This essay examines the function of clothing and related accoutrements in the book of Esther. The motif of dressing and undressing oneself or another signals a shift in the investment or divestment of power and status. Identity, agency, and authority are also signified by vestments and appurtenances. Through synchronic and diachronic exegetical methodologies, Mordecai's regalia of Esth 8:15 is the focus of this essay. This regalia evokes both princely andpriestly ideology; therefore, the regalia is a significant symbol for the diasporic, post-monarchic Jewish people in the Persian period. The closest post-exilic analogue to Mordecai's royal vestments and accessories is the diarchic portending prophecies of Zech 6; thus, extrapolations are made accordingly. Ultimately, a definite determination of the significance of Mordecai's regalia cannot be made; nevertheless, the royal vestments are likely imbued with a complex intention-to ignite the imagination of the possibilities for the Jewish people's open-ended future. <![CDATA[<b>Letting Nebuchadnezzar Speak: The Purpose of the First-Person Narrative in Daniel 4</b>]]> This article proposes that the use of first-person narration in the unusual literary structure of Dan 4 creates the most meaningful message for the diaspora audience of the book because of who Nebuchadnezzar was and when the events were purported to occur. It discusses the larger literary context of the chapter and its narrative structure, analyses the text and identifies important elements highlighted by the use of different narrative voices, and considers how the structure shapes the message of the chapter. Nebuchadnezzar was the king who defeated Israel's God (Dan 1:1-2) and changed life forever for God's people, yet at the peak of Nebuchadnezzar's power, that same God humbled him such that he came to acknowledge the superior sovereignty of Israel's God. By framing the account of this transformation as a proclamation in Nebuchadnezzar's own words to the entire world, the author of Daniel vindicates the God of Israel before the whole world and transforms the king who embodied opposition to God into the paradigm of what a gentile king ought to be. <![CDATA[<b>Key Themes in Zechariah 1-8</b>]]> The discussion of key themes or the message of Zechariah 1-8 is neglected in commentaries that were published during the past five years. This article focuses on this neglected part of Zechariah research and investigates the following key themes: YHWH's di vine presence and the rebuilding of the temple in Zion; The lordship and sovereignty of YHWH; Sin and punishment/judgment; Turn to YHWH (repentance) and obedience; YHWH's return, grace, love and forgiveness; Realized eschatology and future hope; Israel and the nations; and Leadership. One cannot really say that there are any unique themes in Zechariah 18 or that the author/s had one central theme in mind. There are many similarities with other books in the OT, especially the post-exilic prophetic books. However, we must acknowledge that Zechariah 1-8 places more emphasis on certain themes and discusses them in a unique way. <![CDATA[<b>Ecological Hermeneutics and the Interpretation of Biblical Texts Yesterday, Today and Onwards: Critical Reflection and Assessment</b>]]> This article critically explores various approaches in which interpreters operate in recent attempts to apply ecological hermeneutics to biblical texts. It engages with the strengths and weaknesses of the works of the apologetic readers (reading of recovery), the Earth Bible Project (reading of resistance 1), the anti-ecological reading (reading of resistance 2), the revisionist readers (mostly the Exeter Project), the Eco-Feminists and the Eco-theological voices of African scholars. Finally, the article draws critical evaluation, assessment and acknowledgment of the need of complementary insights from different reading stances. Finally, the article argues that, for a fruitful ecological reading of the Bible, one must admit that biblical texts were formulated in a world that knew nothing about modern ecological problems. Thus, the aim of a fruitful reading should direct the reader towards the critical power and relevant stimulus of biblical texts for our questions. In whichever reading, the interpreter is invited not to mix in one mould the biblical statements and his/her current realities. This means that our realities should never dictate the direction of biblical interpretation, but both worlds should remain in a constantly enriching dialogue. <![CDATA[<b>The <i>Pater Familias </i>as a Landowner in the Context of the Slave Laws of the Pentateuch. A Brief Response to Esias E. Meyer</b>]]> In his review essay on my dissertation, Esias E. Meyer dedicates an important part to discussing the slave laws in the Pentateuch. A key role in his critique is played by his understanding of the term pater familias as "a man with a woman and children." This, however, is not how I used the term; rather, a pater familias is the head of an extended family with land possession. In this response, I show that landownership is the key to understanding the relationship between the slave laws of the Pentateuch. <![CDATA[<b>Book reviews</b>]]> In his review essay on my dissertation, Esias E. Meyer dedicates an important part to discussing the slave laws in the Pentateuch. A key role in his critique is played by his understanding of the term pater familias as "a man with a woman and children." This, however, is not how I used the term; rather, a pater familias is the head of an extended family with land possession. In this response, I show that landownership is the key to understanding the relationship between the slave laws of the Pentateuch.