Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> vol. 33 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The Unheard Voices in the Hebrew Bible: The Nameless and Silent Wife of Jeroboam (1 Kgs 14:1-18)</b>]]> This article discusses the story of the Egyptian wife of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 14:1-18. Women are generally marginalized in the Old Testament-in most instances their names are not mentioned, words are not put in their mouths, their achievements are behind the scenes in the narratives. This article is interested in the discussion of the nameless and silent wife of Jeroboam. In the Masoretic (MT), the narrator did not name her despite the dominant and significant role she played in the narrative. However, in the Greek text (Account B), she is identified as "Ano, " the daughter of Pharaoh of Egypt. This paper argues that the silence of the wife of Jeroboam in the MT has great meaning and importance in the narrative-it signifies patience, obedience, humility, and self-control. She displayed these characteristics in the face of all the provocation from her husband and the prophecy of the death of her son from the Prophet Ahijah. <![CDATA[<b>Understanding Wisdom in the Old Testament through Its Akan (Ghana) Parallels: Linkages and Disconnections</b>]]> Explaining and interpreting biblical concepts in different cultures without due regard to the cultures of the biblical world have some challenges. When caution is not taken, one stands a chance of imposing one's cultural worldview on the biblical text. Understanding of the concepts in one's culture could be useful in helping him or her grasp the meanings of the biblical concepts. This paper delves into wisdom in the OT and that of the Akan of Ghana, analysing critically the connotations of the concept, sources and acquisition of wisdom in the OT vis-à-vis those of the Akan ethnic groups of Ghana. Through a comparative analysis, it attempts to describe how the OT concept of wisdom could be understood with the help of its parallels in Akan, regardless of their disconnections. It discovers that the Akan concept of wisdom can be of help in the interpretation of wisdom in the OT, but it cannot fully explain it. The paper pinpoints one of the challenges that interpreters are likely to encounter in the use of reader-centred approaches of biblical hermeneutics. <![CDATA[<b>"A Good Name Is Better than Wealth" in Proverbs 22:1 vis-à-vis the Related Igbo Maxim <i>"Ezi Afa Ka Ego" </i>(Integrity Surpasses Wealth)</b>]]> This article studies Proverbs 22:1 in relation to the Igbo maxim, 'Ezi afa ka ego' (Integrity surpasses wealth). The poet of Proverbs 22:1 claims that integrity surpasses wealth and then admonishes people to embrace virtues and shun vices. It is sad to observe that in the Igbo society of Nigeria, some citizens presently engage in ritual killings, human trafficking, prostitution and other vices in the quest to acquire wealth. Against this backdrop, this essay analysed Proverbs 22:1 vis-a-vis the Igbo proverb, ' Ezi afa ka ego.' The methodology adopted by the researchers is literary analysis, which is a synchronic approach that studies a biblical text as it appears in its final shape. The researchers employed a random sampling technique to interview seven knowledgeable Igbo people orally to examine the meaning of 'Ezi afa ka ego' in the Igbo context. The study affirmed that modernism has negatively affected the Igbo's cherished value of integrity. This study charges those that engage in iniquity in order to acquire wealth to eschew such practices because a good name surpasses wealth. <![CDATA[<b>Readers' Disgust in the Case of Rebekah, Jacob, Isaac, and Esau: Perverters of Justice?</b>]]> Popular readings, for example, sermons appear to exonerate Rebekah and Jacob (Gen. 25: 19-34; Gen 27-29, 33), as if they want to salvage the relation between faith and good character. Scholarly readings are more ready to question Rebekah and Jacob on a continuum between Rebekah and Jacob as deceitful and rescuing the Abrahamic covenant. Who are to be regarded as the perpetrators perverting justice in this narrative? In this essay, I would optfor Esau as the injured party of the fraud perpetrated by his mother and brother. The argument starts with the notion of moral perversity as framed by the concept of moral injury as well as disgust expressed at moral digressions. This discussion will be followed by an explanation of four sermons on Jacob, Esau, Rebekah, and Isaac. The argument will be directed to a discussion of selected scholarly interpretations of the story cycle. <![CDATA[<b>Was the Levite's Concubine Unfaithful or Angry? A Proposed Solution to the Text Critical Problem in Judges 19:2</b>]]> Judges 19:2 poses a text critical problem that has vexed scholars for over a century. According to the MT, the Levite's concubine left her husband and returned to her father's house in Bethlehem because she had "played the harlot against him." According to LXX A, the woman left her husband because she was "angry with him." However, no other Greek, Latin or Aramaic variant of the verse supports MT or LXX A. This article proposes a new hypothesis for understanding the relationship among the various textual variants of Judg 19:2. It will be argued that the earliest Vorlage used the verb –”— in the hitpa 'el form which has the meaning "to be furious". This Vorlage is reflected in LXX A. Later scribes then read the verb –”— in the qal form that has multiple meanings that depend on context. LXX B translated the verb in Greek with the meaning of "to move on". In contrast, Pseudo-Philo interpreted the verb with the meaning of "to transgress". The MT, which emended "to transgress" to "to play the harlot" , represents the final stage in the redaction process. <![CDATA[<b>Gradations of Degradation: Ezekiel's Underworld as a Temple of Doom</b>]]> Ezekiel's underworld is characterised by hierarchy and gradation. Insofar as that is also true of sacred spaces in the Bible, Ezekiel's underworld can also be imagined, heuristically, as a kind of unholy temple. Each of the three primary descriptions of holy space in the Hebrew Bible (the Priestly tabernacle, Solomon's temple, and Ezekiel's temple) has three primary graded spaces (inner sanctum, outer sanctum, and court). Ezekiel's underworld has three primary graded spaces: Sheol, the Pit, and the extremities of the Pit. In each case, the farther one moves in from the entrance, the more unholy the space. Like the tabernacle and temples, Ezekiel's underworld also has further gradations within the primary space, and these finer gradations of unholiness are marked by factors such as the length of the passage dedicated to a nation and the presence of associates in the nation's sphere of influence. <![CDATA[<b>Inner-biblical Quotations in Old Testament Narratives: Some Methodological Considerations (e.g., 1 Sam 15:2 and Deut 25:17-19)</b>]]> In the study of inner-biblical quotations in Old Testament narrative literature, much insight can be gleaned from the scholarly endeavour in the last twenty years of defining and interpreting allusions and quotations in the prophetic literature. Author-intended quotations from a precursor text should be distinguished from stock phrases and the use of recurrent identical phrases. Among the viable criteria for discerning the direction of dependence in quotations, it is relevant to mention unfamiliar language usage in one part of the parallel, dependence on context, and signs of interpretation for rhetorical purposes. These criteria are used to test the case of the parallel locutions in Deut 25:17-19 and 1 Sam 15:2-3. The article also stresses the need for a thorough study of repeated phraseology in the narrative literature. <![CDATA[<b>Does God Care about the Oxen? Some Thoughts on the Protection of Animals in the Law Texts of the OT from a Canonical Perspective</b>]]> In 1 Cor 9:9, Paul cites Deut 25:4 ("Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain") and asks, "Is it about oxen that God is concerned?" This question seems to be waiting for the definitive answer, "No, it is not." Is Paul really saying that God is not concerned about the oxen? This paper considers various passages in the OT (especially law texts) that appear to deal with the protection of animals. The thesis is that God is indeed concerned about animals. Since God is the creator of everything, he cares for his entire creation. The article discusses the OT texts from a canonical perspective, looking for the common ideas instead of discussing possible developments of thoughts. It understands the biblical law texts concerning creation as examples of an "order of creation" (R. Murray), which lies behind these laws. <![CDATA[<b>"Go Out from Your Sign": Rashi to Genesis 15:5 as a Reference to Astrological Primary Direction -Its Background in Rabbinic Literature and Parallels in Abraham bar Hiyya</b>]]> This article suggests that Rashi's exegetical commentary to Gen 15:5, in which Abram counts the stars, is meant to invoke an association with the astrological technique known as Primary Directions (based on equating one degree of Right Ascension in the rotation of the earth around its axis with one year of life), which was one of the main methods of prognostication in pre-modern astrology - beginning already in Hellenistic times and quite central in Mediaeval astrological thinking. Rabbinic sources discussing the relevant biblical passage and the idea of Abraham as a supreme astrologer are analysed, along with parallel material from Abraham bar Hiyya and Ibn Ezra. The article examines both what Rashi kept and what he removed from his Rabbinic sources, and elaborates on the role of astrological thinking in his milieu. <![CDATA[<b>Le Ps 18 Reaffirmation Messianique Dans le Cadre du Psautier en Relation ä 1-2 Samuel et Divers Passages Bibliques</b>]]> The Messianic reaffirmation¹ of Ps 18 must be understood in the context of the influence of the book of Proverbs, more specifically the influence of Prov 30:1-14, upon the Psalter. However, it is not only the influence of Proverbs that is important. It goes further; for example; the psalm also responds to the denunciation of the fate of the poor at the return from the exile. These responses indicate some relations to late redactions of the Book of the Twelve, Jonah, Zephaniah (see Zechariah), Habakkuk, the Prayer of Hannah in 1 Sam 2:1-10 (which frames the books of Samuel together with 2 Sam 22 = Ps 18), or from the book of Job and some passages depending on Judges 5:4, later found in Ps 68, Dt 33:2 or Is 34 and 63:1-6. <![CDATA[<b>Quand Ça Fait Si Mal: Protestation, Subversion et Espérance Dans le Psaume 137</b>]]> Cet article examine le Psaume 137 à la lumière de chansons reggae de deux rastas ivoiriens. L 'objectif principal est de démontrer que ce Psaume participe de la construction d'une identité subversive en s'appuyant sur lepouvoir transformateur de la lamentation et de la mémoire collective. L'article s'articule autour de trois principaux axes: (1) le contexte socio-historique de la naissance du Psaume 137; (2) le contexte littéraire et canonique; et (3) l'analyse socio-théologique et comparative. La lecture comparative des différents textes permet de mettre en relief le caractère subversif et revendicatif du Psaume 137. Elle permet également de mettre en exergue le besoin réflexion sur le passé, la valeur des prises de décisions dans le présent et la nécessité d'aspirer à un avenir plus juste.<hr/>This article examines Psalm 137 in the light of reggae songs by two Ivorian Rastas. The main objective is to demonstrate that the Psalm participates in the construction of a subversive identity by insisting on the transformative power of lament and collective memory. The article is arranged into three main sections: (1) the socio-historical context of the birth of Psalm 137; (2) the literary and canonical context; and (3) socio-theological and comparative analysis. The comparative reading of the different texts makes it possible to highlight the subversive and protest character of Psalm 137. It also makes it possible to highlight the need for reflection on the past, the value of decision making in the present and the need to desire a future built on justice. <![CDATA[<b>Suffering and Vengeance in the Psalms</b>]]> In the Psalms, the sufferer frequently complains about the suffering he had to endure and asks for deliverance. In some instances, the plea for deliverance includes a cry for vengeance. This contribution examines the issue of suffering and vengeance in the Psalter, giving attention to suffering in the hand of enemies, the terms used, individual and collective suffering, and vengeance. Animosity is a central theme in the Psalter, and through laments, the poet asks for justice. For suffering, the terms used are the noun • and the related verb III ––•. For vengeance, the verbs —– , •–– and —“––, as well as related nouns, are used. Psalms 13, 31, 37, 91 and 94 are analysed in relation to individual suffering and vengeance and Pss 58, 79, 137 and 149 in relation to collective suffering and vengeance. Vengeance does feature in the Psalms, but very seldom is vengeance asked for as such. <![CDATA[<b>The Lord is my Shepherd in Suffering</b>]]> Although Ps 23 can be called a psalm of trust, its purpose is to impart comfort in concrete life. In times of sorrow and crisis, this psalm has struck home. The article starts by reading Ps 23 as composition, then turns to the reception history, and finally shows the resonance of this psalm in two contemporary poems. A network of metaphors is built around the shepherd motif. The motif of the shepherd is a central metaphor in this psalm. This motif is also found elsewhere in the OT. The shepherd takes care of his flock. This shepherd is identified as Yahweh. In the structure of Ps 23, v. 4b is the axis, as it is demonstrated by its occurrence precisely in the middle of the psalm. "You are with me." This confession is the heartbeat of the psalm. The second part of v. 4b indicates that the presence of Yahweh is a protective presence. Yahweh is not only the shepherd, but also the host who prepares a table before his guest. Yahweh also anoints the poet's head with oil before the commencement of the meal. The poet's cup overflows. Goodness and love will follow him. All the days of his life, he will experience the presence and protection of Yahweh. In the following part, the reception history of Psalm 23 is elucidated. The echoes of Ps 23 can be heard in two of my poems that were written in Afrikaans and superbly translated into English by the renowned translator, poet and novelist, Leon de Kock. <![CDATA[<b>The Righteous Suffering Servant: Observations about a Theological Problem in Four Individual Complaint Psalms</b>]]> This article examines the theological problem of a righteous sufferer in four psalms (Pss 22; 27; 69; 109), and what emerges is a coherent image. The psalmist(s) who refers to God feels himself like a righteous servant; he is a religious man, but he faces suffering. The righteous sufferer is also aware of his innocence and that his pain has no real, understandable explanation. The awareness of his innocence is also the motivation to complain and search for God because God is the only one who can give an answer and a meaning to the painful situation. In the end, the righteous sufferer also realise that he does not need to be healed from suffering, instead he had to recognise the importance of God's role in his life. This is the primary liberation that also allows him a real comprehension of his situation. <![CDATA[<b>Healing the Wounded: The Psalms and Therapy</b>]]> The dialogical spaces between the historicity of the written psalms and present experiences of suffering and loss are explored. It is found that the insights of Narrative Therapy resonate with the ways in which the psalmist(s) deal both with suffering and deliverance. This article describes how Ps 22 is used in training ministry students in the tenets of Narrative Therapy, and how Ps 46 functions in group therapy with women who have lost a child. The final section describes how the Psalms can serve - and have served - as intertexts in the therapeutic empowerment of people who are suffering because of a variety of losses. Here, the Psalms make an interdisciplinary landing between historical criticism and postmodernism, between tradition and experience. <![CDATA[<b>Cultural Trauma and the Song of Moses (Deut 32)</b>]]> The Song of Moses blames Israel for the idolatry that caused divine wrath and led to the people's near annihilation by their enemies. This article analyses the Song's structure and dynamics, its rhetoric of blaming and shaming, and its literary context within the book of Deuteronomy before re-evaluating the Song's message through the lens of psychological and sociological trauma theory. Psychological research on the relation between trauma and feelings of guilt and shame helps us to understand the divine message of blaming and shaming as an externalised transformation of self-blame. Through the lens of the sociological concept of cultural trauma, the Song can be seen as an intellectual 'working through' of past collective suffering that marks the community's identity for the future. <![CDATA[<b>Suffering in the Epic of Gilgamesh</b>]]> This article examines moments of suffering in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Initially Gilgamesh himself causes much suffering by abusing his power as king and tormenting his subjects day and night. Enkidu is created to curb the king's energy and to alleviate the distress of the people. Gilgamesh's greatest joy in finding a true friend also turns into his greatest sorrow when Enkidu becomes ill and dies. Gilgamesh is inconsolable and his suffering drives him away from his palace and his city, in search of life everlasting. When a snake snatches away his last hope of living forever, he realises that life eternal is to be found in life here and now. The article concludes with some suggestions of appropriating Elizabeth Kubler Ross'five stages of grief to the Epic of Gilgamesh.