Te Land of Israel in Bible, History, and Teology

Vetus Testamentum
Edited by the Board of the Quarterly
h.m. barstad – r.p. gordon – a. hurvitz – g.n. knoppers
a. van der kooij – a. lemaire – c.a. newsom – h. spieckermann
j. trebolle barrera – h.g.m. williamson
Te Land of Israel in Bible,
History, and Teology
Studies in Honour of Ed Noort
Edited by
Jacques van Ruiten and J. Cornelis de Vos
Tis book is printed on acid-free paper.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Te land of Israel in Bible, history, and theology : studies in honour of Ed Noort / edited by
Jacques van Ruiten and J. Cornelis de Vos.
p. cm. -- (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum ; v. 124)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-90-04-17515-0 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Palestine in the Bible. 2. Bible--History 3.
Palestine in Judaism. 4. Palestine--History. I. Noort, Edward. II. Ruiten, J. van (Jacques) III.
Vos, Jacobus Cornelis de, 1966- IV. Title. V. Series.
BS1199.P26L365 2009
ISSN 0083-5889
ISBN 978 90 04 17515 0
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List of Illustrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
List of Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv
v.v1 o×i
i.×u i× iosuU. .×u o1uiv
v.v1s oi 1ui oiu 1is1.mi×1
Translator’s Competence and Intention in ixx-Ioshua i . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Teo A.V. van der Louw
“Sound the Trumpet!” Redaction and Reception of Ioshua o:i–i- . . 19
Michael ^. van der Meer
“Is Tis Not Written in the Book of Iashar:” (Ioshua 1o:1:c):
References to Extra-Biblical Books in the Bible. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Kristin De Troyer
Te Geographical Shape of the Unconquered Land in Ioshua
1::i–- m1 and ixx. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Cornelis den Hertog
“Holv Land” in Ioshua 18:1–1o. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
I. Cornelis de Vos
“And the Land Was Subdued before Tem . . . ”: Some Remarks on
the Meaning of 23D in Ioshua 18:1 and Related Texts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Ute ^eumann-Gorsolke
Conquest of the Land, Loss of the Land: Where Does Ioshua ia
Belong: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Mladen Popovi´ c
Moses’ Preparation of the March to the Holv Land: A Dialogue
with Rolf P. Knierim on Numbers 1:1–1o:1o. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Horst Seebass
Understanding the Pentateuch bv Structuring the Desert:
Numbers i1 as Compositional Ioint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Christian Frevel
vi co×1i×1s
From Ioshua to Samuel: Some Remarks on the Origin of the Book
of Iudges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Klaas Spronk
Iudges - Reconsidered: Which Tribes: What Land: Whose Song: . . 151
Raymond de Hoop
Te Land in the Book of Hosea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Gert Kwakkel
Te Land in the Psalms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
Patrick D. Miller
Reversal of a Motif: Te Land Is Given into the Hand of the
Wicked. Te Gif of Land in Some Wisdom Texts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Emke Ielmer Keulen
Tobija und Nehemia: Ihre Feindschaf und deren Motive . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Klaus-Dietrich Schunck
v.v1 1wo
i.×u i× uis1ovv .×u 1uioiocv
Der heilige Ort im Leben und Glauben Altisraels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Valter Dietrich
Volk ohne Land: Überlegungen zur religiösen Neuorientierung des
jüdischen Volkes in der persischen Diaspora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Ruth Kofmann
Land and Covenant in Iubilees 1a . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
Iacques T.A.G.M. van Ruiten
New Ierusalem at Oumran and in the New Testament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Florentino Garcia Martinez
Te Desecration of “the Most Holv Temple of All the World” in the
“Holv Land”: Earlv Iewish and Earlv Christian Recollections of
Antiochus’ “Abomination of Desolation”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
George H. van Kooten
Te Mountain of Transfguration in the New Testament and in
Later Tradition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
Ton Hilhorst
co×1i×1s vii
Iosua im Urteil einiger Freidenker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339
Cornelis Houtman
Te Truth and Nothing but the Truth: Pietv, Prophecv, and the
Hermeneutics of Suspicion in 1Kings ii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 355
Eep Talstra
Monotheism and Violence: How to Handle a Dangerous Biblical
Tradition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Rainer Albertz
“And Iacob Set up a Pillar at Her Grave . . . ”: Material Memorials
and Landmarks in the Old Testament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
Rudiger Schmitt
Te Fascination for the Holv Land during the Centuries . . . . . . . . . . . . 405
C.H.I. de Geus
Bedouin Poetrv and Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415
Eveline I. van der Steen
A Bibliographv of Ed Noort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431
Index of Ancient Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441
1: Graded Holiness in Ioshua 1:–1o
i: “Iosua 1o” aus Historiae Sacrae Veteris o ^ovi Testamenti (Amsterdam
1o8o), 11¬.
:: Frid’Rick, “Das Wunder von Gibea (Ios 1o:1i–1a)” aus Léo Taxil, La Bible
amusante (Paris 188i), i¬a.
a: Section of the Madeba Mosaic Map showing Bethlehem, Ephratha, and
Ram afer H. Donner, Te Mosaic Map of Madeba (Kampen 1ooi), pl. B.
(courtesv of Peeters Publishers)
Te present volume has been compiled bv colleagues and friends as a
respectful tribute to Ed Noort. It is presented to him on the occasion of
his o-th birthdav, which coincides with his retirement as professor of the
historv of religion of ancient Israel and the exegesis of the Old Testament
at the Facultv of Teologv and Religious Studies of the Universitv of
Groningen (the Netherlands).
Ed Noort was born in Mav 1o, 1oaa, in Haarlem (the Netherlands),
and studied theologv at the Teologische Hogeschool (Reformed Teo-
logical Seminarv) at Kampen (1oo:–1ooo). In 1o¬1 he passed there his
doctoral exam as well as his exams for the function of minister in the
Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. In 1ooo he moved to Göttin-
gen (Germanv), where he broadened his studies with Semitic languages,
archaeologv of the Near East, and exegesis of the Old Testament (1ooo–
1o¬:). In 1o¬- he accomplished his Ph.D. at the Universitv of Göttingen
with his dissertationGotteswort in der Krise. Untersuchungen zumGottes-
bescheid in Mari und Israel under the supervision of Walther Zimmerli.
Ed Noort had a long career. He acted as minister of the Reformed
Church in Göttingen (1o¬1–1o¬:), was academic tutor of the Facultv of
Teologv of the Universitv of Göttingen (1o¬:–1o¬-), and was assistant
and instructor for Old Testament and the archaeologv of Palestine at the
same facultv (1o¬-–1o¬o). He then moved back to Kampen with a short
detour to act as visiting professor of the archaeologv of Palestine at the
Universitv of Hamburg (1o¬8–1o¬o). In 1o¬o he became professor of Old
Testament at the Teologische Hogeschool at Kampen where he staved
until 1o8o. From1o8o–1oo: he was inHamburg again, where he was pro-
fessor of Old Testament and the archaeologv of Palestine at the Facultv of
Teologv. From 1ooo through 1oo1 he taught the archaeological courses
(“Lehrkurse”) of the Deutsches Evangelisches Institut für Altertumswis-
senschaf in Ierusalem. From 1oo: until his retirement he was professor
of the historv of religion of ancient Israel and the exegesis of the Old Tes-
tament at the Facultv of Teologv and Religious Studies of the Universitv
of Groningen (the Netherlands). During this period he staved also for
a short period in India as visiting professor at the United Teological
College in Bangalore (during the academic vear 1oo-–1ooo) and in the
United States where he was visiting professor at Princeton Teological
xii vvii.ci
Seminarv (1oo8). He is Honorarv Professor at the Universitv of Stellen-
bosch in South Africa (iooo–iooo) and member of the Koninklijke Ne-
derlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (Roval Netherlands Academv
of Arts and Sciences) from 1oo8 onwards.
Alreadv at a voung age Ed showed organizational and administrative
ambitions. From 1o¬a until 1o¬¬ he was secretarv of the Congress of the
International Organization for the Studv of the Old Testament which was
held in Göttingen in 1o¬¬. From 1o¬- until 1o¬o he was “Stifsinspek-
tor” of the Teologisches Stif, Göttingen. He was also president of the
“Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap in Nederland” (Old Testament Soci-
etv) (1ooo–1ooo) and was the chair of the Committee of Dutch and East-
ern Europe Teological Faculties and Institutes (1ooo–iooo). During the
vears ioo-–ioo8 he was dean of the Facultv of Teologv and Religious
Studies of the Universitv of Groningen. In iooi he entered the Board of
the Roval Netherlands Academv of Arts and Sciences, where he became
vice-chair of the Board of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division
in ioo-, and foreign secretarv in ioo8. At the same time he was member
of several (editorial) boards and member of manv academic associations.
Ed’s personal and scholarlv life can be summarized to a large exent
with the two words: water and land. He not onlv works and lives on the
land at the waterside, with a sailing boat in the back of his garden, but
he also wrote on the sailors (Die Seevolker in Palästina, 1ooa), and the
dangers of the waters (“Te Stories of the Great Flood,” 1oo8; “Om het
menselijk geslacht te vernietigen,” iooo). Despite the fact that he loves
to express himself in sailing metaphors, he is reallv in form when land
is in sight (“Land in zicht . . . : Geloofsvisie, werkelijkheid en geschiede-
nis in het oudtestamentische spreken over het land,” 1o8o). He is espe-
ciallv interested in material culture and the archaeologv of Palestine, a
feld which is included in the descriptions of the teaching commitment
of his chair in Hamburg and Groningen. It was also an important theme
in his inaugural lecture in Kampen (Bijbels-archeologische hermeneutiek
en de uitleg van het Oude Testament, 1o¬o), and manv scholarlv publica-
tions were devoted to it. His love for the land of Israel and its historv is
also expressed in his lifelong journev with the book of Ioshua (manv of
his publications are devoted to this book), the editon of a travel guide of
Israel, a project he took over from H.H. Grosheide afer his death (Israel
ende westelijke Iordaanoever. Eenwerkboek voor Palestinareizigers, 1o8:),
and his studv tours with theological students in the Middle East. Ed’s
interest for the land of Israel was alwavs accompanied with a profound
interest in the theologv and the hermeneutic of the Old Testament (see,
vvii.ci xiii
e.g, “IHWH und das Böse,” 1o8a; “Het Ik-Zijn van IHWH,” 1o8-; “Der
Dekalog und die Teologie im Alten Testament,” iooa). He loves to dis-
cuss about methodological aspects of his feld and is keen on paradigm
shifs. During his academic life, Ed remained faithful to his vocation.
From the beginning until todav he is preaching within the Reformed
Church in the Netherlands and abroad. His profound preaching medi-
tations are included in his bibliographv.
It seems therefore most appropriate to the editors to focus this Fest-
schrif around the axes of land, Ioshua, historv, and theologv. In the frst
part, the concept of land inrelationto the book of Ioshua and other books
of the Old Testament is the central issue. Several contributions are also
dedicated to the reception historv of the book of Ioshua, especiallv in the
Septuagint. In the second part, the concept of land in relation to historv
and theologv is central, and several of the contributions focus on the
archeologv of Palestine.
It is as colleagues and as friends that we present this collection of essavs
to Ed, and we wish him and his familv manv more vears of health and
Iacques T.A.G.M. van Ruiten
I. Cornelis de Vos
R.i×iv Aiviv1z, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Senior Pro-
fessor in the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics in Pre-Modern
and Modern Cultures,” Facultv of Protestant Teologv, Universitv of
Münster, Germanv
Kvis1i× Di Tvoviv, Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, School
of Divinitv, Universitv of St Andrews, Scotland, Great Britain
W.i1iv Dii1vicu, Professor of Old Testament, Facultv of Teologv,
Universitv of Bern, Switzerland
Cuvis1i.× Fvivii, Professor of Old Testament, Facultv of Catholic
Teologv, Ruhr-Universitv, Bochum, Germanv
Fiovi×1i×oG.vcí.M.v1í×iz, Professor Emeritus of Religionand Lit-
erature of Earlv Iudaism, Facultv of Teologv and Religious Studies, Uni-
versitv of Groningen, the Netherlands, and Research Professor Emeritus,
Catholic Universitv of Louvain, Belgium
C.H.I. ui GiUs, Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Hebrew and Archaeologv,
Facultv of Arts, Universitv of Groningen, the Netherlands
Cov×iiis G. ui× Hiv1oc, Minister in the Protestant Church in the
Netherlands, Koudekerke, the Netherlands
A×1o×v Hiiuovs1, Senior Lecturer Emeritus in New Testament and
Earlv Christian Studies, Facultv of Teologv and Religious Studies, Uni-
versitv of Groningen, the Netherlands
R.vmo×u ui Hoov, Research Fellow, Department of Ancient Lan-
guages, Universitv of Pretoria, South Africa
Cov×iiis HoU1m.×, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Protestant
Teological Universitv Kampen, the Netherlands
xvi iis1 oi co×1vivU1ovs
Emxi Iiimiv KiUii×, Minister in the Protestant Church in the Nether-
lands, Heeg, the Netherlands
Giovci H. v.× Koo1i×, Professor of New Testament and Earlv Chris-
tian Studies, Facultv of Teologv and Religious Studies, Universitv of
Groningen, the Netherlands
RU1uKosm.××, Vicaresse, Congregation Duisburg-Meiderich, Protes-
tant Church in the Rhineland, Germanv
Giv1 Kw.xxii, Professor of Old Testament, Teological Universitv of
the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated), Kampen, Te
Tuio A.W. v.× uiv LoUw, Translation Consultant, Summer Institute of
Linguistics, currentlv based in the Netherlands
Micu.ii N. v.× uiv Miiv, Postdoc Researcher Old Testament, Leiden
Institute of Religious Studies, Leiden Universitv, the Netherlands
P.1vicx D. Miiiiv, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Teologv,
Princeton Teological Seminarv, Princeton, New Iersev, USA
U1i NiUm.××-Govsoixi, Lecturer in Old Testament, Department of
Protestant Teologv, Facultv of Humanities, Universitv of Hamburg,
Mi.ui× Povovi´ c, Postdoc Researcher in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Facultv
of Teologv and Religious Studies, Universitv of Groningen, the Nether-
I.coUis v.× RUi1i×, Senior Lecturer in Old Testament and Earlv Iuda-
ism, Facultv of Teologv and Religious Studies, Universitv of Groningen,
the Netherlands
R0uiciv Scumi11, Research Group Leader, Cluster of Excellence “Reli-
gion and Politics in Pre-Modern and Modern Cultures,” Universitv of
Münster, Germanv
iis1 oi co×1vivU1ovs xvii
Ki.Us-Dii1vicu ScuU×cx, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Fac-
ultv of Teologv, Universitv of Rostock, Germanv
Hovs1 Siiv.ss, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Facultv of Protes-
tant Teologv, Universitv of Bonn, Germanv
Ki..s Svvo×x, Professor of Old Testament, Protestant Teological Uni-
versitv, Kampen, the Netherlands
Eviii×i I. v.×uiv S1ii×, Honorarv Research Fellow, School of Archae-
ologv, Classics and Egvptologv, Universitv of Liverpool, Great Britain
Eiv T.is1v., Professor of Old Testament, Facultv of Teologv, Free
Universitv, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
I. Cov×iiis ui Vos, Lecturer in NewTestament and Iudaism, Institutum
Iudaicum Delitzschianum, Facultv of Protestant Teologv, Universitv of
Münster, Germanv
v.v1 o×i
Tuio A.W. v.× uiv LoUw
Te Greek Ioshua has attracted some of the best minds during the past
Since scholars seek challenges, their studies ofen deal either
with the book as a whole, its most dimcult passages, or its most bewil-
dering features. But how can we avoid the circular reasoning that easilv
clings to such ambitious approaches: For this article, I therefore took the
opposite route, hoping that the discussion of some “omissions” in a rel-
ativelv easv chapter (Ioshua i) would vield clues for the more dimcult
parts of the book and for clearing up some general issues. I follow the
method I outlined elsewhere.
Let us begin with the Greek text and ask what impression it must have
made on contemporaries. First of all, the majoritv of the narrative clauses
begin with καi. In other words, the svntax is pervaded bv co-ordination
or parataxis. InKoine Greek, parataxis was usual insimple narrative stvle,
but not to this extent. It was deemed inelegant in Greek with its elabo-
rate svstem of hvpotaxis. Especiallv disturbing are the cases of apodotic
καi (i:-, 8a). Second, the word order (verb-subject-object) deviates svs-
tematicallv from normal Greek word order, where it is limited to verba
Tird, manv items are unnatural or unnaturallv frequent, such
as λrγων “saving” (and its declensions) introducing direct speech
It is a pleasure to dedicate this article to Ed Noort, a Gelehrter und Mensch in the
true sense of the word.
For a survev, see M.N. van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation. Te Redaction of
the Book of Ioshua in the Light of the Oldest Textual Vitnesses (VTSup 1oi; Leiden iooa),
T.A.W. van der Louw, Transformations in the Septuagint. Towards an Interaction of
Septuagint Studies and Translation Studies (CBET a¬; Louvain ioo¬), esp. oo–oi; idem,
“Linguistic or Ideological Shifs: Te Problem-Oriented Studv of Transformations as a
Methodological Filter,” in Scripture in Transition. Essays on Septuagint, HebrewBible, and
Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of Raija Sollamo (ed. A. Voitila and I. Iokiranta; ISISup io;
Leiden ioo8), 1o¬–1i-.
F. Blass, A. Debrunner, and F. Rehkopf, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Grie-
chisch (1oth rev. ed.; Göttingen 1o8a), §a¬i (henceforth “BDR”).
Te pleonastic use of λrγων “saving” afer a verb of saving, e.g. rφη λrγων “he spoke,
a 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
i, :, a), the resumptive pleonastic pronoun
(i:1o, 18), repetition of pos-
sessive pronouns with co-ordinated items
(i:1:, 18), strange use of the
preposition rν
(i:1i), the semipreposition 0πò προσuπου “from the
face of ”
(i:1o, 11), nominal clauses
(i:11, 1a, 1o), διuκω “to follow”
followed bv oπiσω “behind” instead of a direct object (i:-, ¬, 1o), rκ-
ζητrω “to search” without direct object
(i:ii), ðμνυμι “to swear” with
oτι instead of an infnitive construction, unnatural participant tracking
(i:¬, 8), unknown expressions (i:1aa), the pleonastic collocation γí Αi-
γuπτος “the land of Egvpt”
(i:1o), and transcribed names that are not
adapted to Greek morphologv,
to mentiononlv a few. Fourth, manv fea-
tures that are tvpical of idiomatic Greek are absent from Ioshua i. As a
specimen of what to expect in an original Greek text, I have chosen Iose-
phus’ account of the same storv (Ant. -.1–1-), a section of equal length.
Even if we allow that Iosephus wrote in the Attic stvle,
the compari-
saving,” has parallels in Classical Greek (LSI 1o:a, sub III,¬). Its frequencv in the ixx,
however, is a stvlistic Hebraism (BDR §aio).
R. Sollamo, “Te Pleonastic Use of the Pronoun in Connection with the Relative
Pronoun in the Greek Pentateuch,” in VII Congress of the IOSCS, Leuven r;8; (ed.
C.E. Cox; SBLSCS :1; Atlanta 1oo1), ¬-–8-.
R. Sollamo, “Te Koine Background for the Repetition and Non-Repetition of the
Possessive PronouninCo-Ordinate Items,” inStudien zur Septuaginta, Robert Hanhart zu
Ehren (ed. D. Fraenkel et al.; MSU io; Göttingen 1ooo), -i–o:. On the ixx-Pentateuch,
see R. Sollamo, Repetition of the Possessive Pronoun in the Septuagint (SBLSCS ao; Atlanta
In e.g. Gen ia:aa, ao, and Iudg 1:ia (though a more literal book) this Hebraism is
R. Sollamo, Renderings of Hebrew Semiprepositions in the Septuagint (AASF 1o;
Helsinki 1o¬o), 8a–8o, :i8; BDR §i1¬.
Tev are probablv boundarv cases of the categories where Greek permits omission
of the copula rστiν, cf. H.W. Smvth, Greek Grammar (Cambridge, Mass., 1o-o), §oaa;
BDR §1i¬.
Πoσας τoς oδοuς is an accusative of extent (Smvth, Greek Grammar, §1-81; BDR
Οl 0νδρες (i:¬) refers back incorrectlv to the spies who have been called 0νδρες in
i:i, :, a, a, - and who are the last participants mentioned before v. ¬. In v. 8, α0τοi refers
to the pursuers, grammaticallv.
A TLG search reveals that it onlv occurs in literature dependent on the ixx, such as
Philo, the NT and ecclesiastical writers, but not in Iosephus’ works.
E.g. Σαττιν, Ναυη (sounds feminine), Ιεριχω, Ρααβ, Σηων, Ωγ; Iosephus (see
below) svstematicallv ofers naturalized transcriptions, e.g. `Ραoβη, `Ιεριχο0ς, 'Ελεoζα-
ρος, and omits names he considers irrelevant.
It counts -8o words, as opposed to -8a for ixx-Iosh i.
M. Harl, “L’originalité lexicale de la version grecque du Deutéronome (ixx) et la
“paraphrase” de Flavius Iosèphe (A.I. IV, 1¬o–::1),” in VIII Congress of the IOSCS, Paris
r;;: (ed. L. Greenspoon and O. Munnich; SBLSCS a1; Atlanta 1oo-), i.
1v.×si.1ov’s comvi1i×ci .×u i×1i×1io× i× ixx-iosuU. i -
son is instructive. Although the number of subordinate conjunctions is
comparable in both texts,
that does not implv the same degree of subor-
dination. Participium coniunctum, for example, attested in nearlv everv
sentence written bv Iosephus, occurs onlv in vv. 1, i, a, 11 of ixx-Ioshua
i. Te genitive absolute, which pervades Iosephus’ storv, occurs not even
once in Ioshua i. Te same holds true for particles like μrν . . . δr and
τr . . . καi and others, which could have been emploved proftablv in
Ioshua i. Discontinuous structures, frequent with Iosephus, are absent
from Ioshua i. Proper names svstematicallv lack the anaphoric article,
contrarv to Greek grammar.
Our conclusion, afer this far from exhaustive enumeration, is that
Ioshua i must have impressed the Greek reader as verv exotic.
text, stif with Hebraisms, cannot be linked anvhow to the stvles defned
bv Demetrius of Phaleron in De elocutione.
Tackerav’s judgement
that “Ioshua (part)” constitutes “good κοινi Greek” does not applv to
Ioshua i.
Seen in this light, it is strange that some scholars extol the translator’s
competence. Den Hertog, for example, states that the translator was verv
competent in the execution of his task.
What was the competence, we
might ask, of a translator who did not or could not write two idiomatic
Greek sentences in succession and whose text defes the basics of ancient
Tat his vocabularv is normal Greek and his use of tenses
Iosh i: εi (i:-, 1o, io), rως (i:1o), uς (i:-, ¬, 1a), πρiν í (i:8), oτε (i:1o), oτι (i:1o,
11, 1i, ia), as opposed to Ant. -.1–1-: εi (-.1a), rπεi (-.1o, 1i), íνiκα (-.1:), iνα (-.8),
oπως (-.1:), oτε (-.a, 1i, 1i), uς (-.¬, o, o).
Compare the words of a professor of Greek literature and papvri: “Die Vokabeln
sind griechisch, sonst aber ist die Sprache wie eine völlig fremde Sprache.” Tis judge-
ment, quoted bv I. Soisalon-Soininen, “Übersetzen—der Sprache Gewalt antun,” in VIII
Congress of the IOSCS, o:–oa, would be an apt evaluation of Ioshua i.
What is said about ixx-Gen i in Van der Louw, Transformations, oa–o-, holds
equallv true for ixx-Iosh i.
H.St.I. Tackerav, A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek (Cambridge 1ooo), 1:.
In mv view, Tackerav positioned Ioshua vis-a-vis other ixx-books, not vis-a-vis original
Greek writing.
C.G. den Hertog, Studien zur griechischen Ubersetzung des Buches Iosua (Giessen
1ooo), 1¬i. Similarlv S. Sipilä, “Te Septuagint Version of Ioshua :–a,” in VII Congress
of the IOSCS, oa, but later he changed his opinion, as witnesses Between Literalness and
Freedom. Translation Technique in the Septuagint of Ioshua and Iudges regarding the Clause
Connections Introduced by 1 and *D (Publications of the Finnish Exegetical Societv ¬-;
Göttingen 1ooo).
Van der Louw, Transformations, :¬–ai, :oo.
o 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
is grammatical
is not enough to earn insignia. If we browse through
the literature, the following characteristics are mentioned as signs of
competence: the translator’s grasp of Hebrew, creative exegesis, accurate
equivalents of words, variation in rendering the same Hebrew word, and
the occasional use of “good free renderings.”
Are Septuagint scholars equipped to pronounce judgements on the
translator’s competence: I think not. Tev lack a model for competence
assessment, and of what has been done in the feld of translation studies
thev are largelv ignorant. Te professed admiration for Ioshua’s translator
has no scholarlv basis, but is rather a scholar’s self-congratulation on the
worthiness of his research topic.
As a wav out, some scholars distinguishbetweenthe manandhis prod-
uct: the translator was verv competent, but unfortunatelv the translation
does not show it. According to Sipilä, occasional “good free renderings”
reveal the translator’s competence, but his method of translating bv small
segments and literalism as an “easv technique” were bound to result in
Hebraistic Greek.
Although the distinction between the man and his
product is a valid one, it raises a question that Sipilä does not pose. If
the translator “knew how to translate properlv,” then whv did he let his
competence be hampered bv the procedure of segmentation:
Moatti-Fine tries to locate the answer in the translator’s intention. She
stresses the readabilitv of the translation, which is “due a la precision
du vocabulaire mais aussi a la stabilité des équivalences qui ponctuent
le texte de repères.”
She admits that “la svntaxe est calqué sur le modèle
hébreu: ordre des mots, parataxe des propositions, successions d’infnitifs
non coordonnés, usage de prépositions, tours idiomatiques.”
But pre-
ciseness in meaning and svntactic literalism go well together. Accord-
Cf. the use of the perfect in i:i, :, a, 8, o and its interchange with the aorist; cf. also
the use of the imperfect in v. -.
A survev is found in B.E. Dimitrova, Expertise and Explicitation in the Translation
Process (BTL oa; Amsterdam ioo-).
Cf. the mindset expressed bv T. Muraoka, “Recent Discussions on Septuagint Lex-
icographv with Respect to the So-Called Interlinear Model,” in Die Septuaginta. Texte,
Kontexte, Lebenswelten (ed. M. Karrer and W. Kraus; WUNT i1o; Tübingen ioo8), i:1:
“I feel rather sorrv for those who have a rather lowview of the ixx and nonetheless make
it an object of their intellectual endeavour.”
Sipilä, Between Literalness and Freedom, 1ia, 1-¬, 1oi, i1i, etc.
I. Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue). Traduction du texte grec de la Septante. Introduction et
notes (La Bible d’Alexandrie o; Paris 1ooo), oo. I would like to ask, readabilitv for which
Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue), oo–o¬.
1v.×si.1ov’s comvi1i×ci .×u i×1i×1io× i× ixx-iosuU. i ¬
ing to Moatti-Fine, the Greek Ioshua is a readable text that arouses the
reader’s afection perhaps through the impression of foreignness. Tere-
fore, the instances of literalism that are not svntactic should be under-
stood in aesthetic terms, just as literallv translated but comprehensible
metaphors. Modern translators work diferentlv, as most of them aim
for naturalness.
Moatti-Fine concludes that the Ioshua translator did
not adhere to the source language passivelv. Rather, he activelv marked
his target text with a Hebraic stamp.
In other words, the translator
was deliberatelv creating a foreignizing text. Tis notion Moatti-Fine has
derived from authors like Walter Benjamin
and Henri Meschonnic.
A similar position is taken, with respect to the Septuagint as a whole,
bv Alexis Léonas.
He denies that the peculiarities of ixx Greek “should
be attributed to a linguistic svstem extraneous to Greek: thev can more
plausiblv be described as manifestations of a specifc stvle.”
to Léonas, the ixx translators attempted to write in the hieratic style, as
he calls it. Tis concept expresses “l’idée de manipulation préméditée de
la langue pour dire le sacré.”
Not onlv is this a non sequitur in a book concerned with reception
historv rather than the translation process,
but the term“hieratic stvle,”
which sounds more historical than it is, covers up an anachronistic
language view. With the French version of Benjamin’s “Die Aufgabe des
Übersetzers” fguring in his bibliographv, Léonas claims that the ixx
translators deliberatelv created a foreignizing text, intended to convev
sacredness. Now Benjamin’s 1oi: essav
has achieved a cult status in
Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue), o¬, quotes Meschonnic’s denouncement of moderntrans-
lators who smoothe out “l’organisation rhvthmique des signifants.”
Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue), o8.
Te relevant section in Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue), oo–o8, is titled “La “tache du
traducteur” ” with a reference to Benjamin’s famous article (see below). Her article, “La
“tache du traducteur” de Iosué/Iésus,” in Κατo τοìς o: Selon les Septante. Trente etudes
sur la Bible grecque des Septante en hommage à Marguerite Harl (eds. G. Dorival and
O. Munnich; Paris 1oo-), :i1–::i, despite its title, does not draw on Benjamin’s essav.
See, for example, A. Nouss, “La réception de l’essai sur la traduction dans le domaine
français,” online at http://www.erudit.org/revue/ttr/1oo¬/v1o/ni/ o:¬:ooar.pdf (:o Iulv,
A. Léonas, Recherches sur le langage de la Septante (OBO i11; Fribourg ioo-).
Léonas, Recherches, author’s abstract.
Léonas, Recherches, iao.
See mv review of Léonas, Recherches, in ISI :¬ (iooo) 1i¬–1io.
W. Benjamin, “Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers,” in Das Problem des Ubersetzens (ed.
H.I. Störig; Wege der Forschung 8; Darmstadt 1oo:), 1--–1oo; trans. as “Te Task of the
Translator,” in Te Translation Studies Reader (ed. L. Venuti; London iooo), 1-–i-.
8 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
the Francophone world thanks to its reception bv philosophers, notablv
Tis explains Moatti-Fine’s and Léonas’ familiaritv with it,
but Benjamin cannot serve to explain the textual make-up of the Greek
Ioshua. Tis is because Benjamin is an heir to German Romanticism and
its revolutionarv view of language, which found its classical expression
in Schleiermacher’s famous speech.
Te German Romantics coined their view of language in conscious
opposition to the French cultural imperialism in the Age of Classicism
and Enlightenment (which also explains whv German Romantics serve
French [post-]existentialists so well). Te “domesticating” theorv and
practice of translating prevalent in France were a heritage of Antiquitv.
According to the ancients, words refer to something outside language
(verbum est signum rei). In contrast, the Romantics held that language
is expression of the individual. Language was no longer considered an
instrument, but a universe in which the individual relates to itself. From
the exclusive concentration on the individual, Schleiermacher drew the
conclusion that there could be onlv one legitimate translation method.
Tus, he rejected the traditional genre division into historia, poetica et
rhetorica, with the diferent translation methods the ancients applied to
them. He also denied the traditional distinction between form and con-
tent: “Gedanke und Ausdruck sind ganz dasselbe.”
Form and content
are deliberate expressions of the author’s genius and refect his innermost
feelings. Terefore, translation is not the transfer of semantic meaning,
but the transfer of the author’s feelings. Onlv one method does justice to
that: foreignizing translation. Translating as naturallv as the author would
have done, had he mastered the target language, is an utter impossibilitv.
According to Schleiermacher, the ancients and the moderns (the French)
have never translated in the real sense.
Walter Benjamin, like his contemporaries Buber and Rosenzweig,
echoes Schleiermacher’s view of language and translation,
and so does
Meschonnic. Tis Romantic view of language and translation did not
I. Mundav, Introducing Translation Studies. Teories and Applications (London
ioo1), 1oo–1¬i, 1¬o.
F. Schleiermacher, “Ueber die verschiedenen Methoden des Uebersetzens,” in Das
Problem des Ubersetzens (ed. H.I. Störig), :8–¬o. Te following section is a summarv of
T.A.W. van der Louw, “Vertalen volgens de Duitse romantiek (Schleiermacher, Buber) en
soorten letterlijkheid,” Kerk en Teologie -¬ (iooo) -o–¬o.
Schleiermacher, “Ueber die verschiedenen Methoden des Uebersetzens,” oo.
Te Romantic view of language and translation was a cornerstone for the German
emancipation from the French cultural and political hegemonv.
W. Sdun, Probleme und Teorien des Ubersetzens in Deutschland vom r8. bis zum
1v.×si.1ov’s comvi1i×ci .×u i×1i×1io× i× ixx-iosuU. i o
exist in Antiquitv and, hence, we cannot ascribe a “foreignizing aesthetic”
to the Septuagint translators. Tis illustrates that an a priori belief in
the translator’s competence can lead to unfounded theories about his
intention. If we stop talking about the translator’s competence we no
longer need to tell ourselves that the textual make-up of ixx-Ioshua is
the logical outcome of the translator’s intention.
As “competence” and “intention” are such important pillars in theo-
rizing about the Septuagint, it is obvious that both concepts are equallv
susceptible to modern misinterpretation. We just saw that an unsubstan-
tiated belief in the translator’s competence made himend up as a German
Romantic inFrenchpost-war dress. Withrespect to the translator’s inten-
tion, a similar thing happens. For example, when Emanuel Tov discusses
the paradox that the Ioshua translator ofen renders his parent text quite
literallv, which shows faithfulness to the source, but that ixx-Ioshua also
has manv, sometimes signifcant “omissions,” he savs: “it is not feasible for
one translator to have faithfullv rendered the text and at the same time
omit signifcant elements. Moreover, no principle can be detected for a
supposed shortening bv the translator.”
What Tov expresses here is his
own western view of translation. If the Ioshua translator rose from his
grave, he would quote Ps -o:i1, “vou thought that I was one just like vour-
self!” I readilv believe that a Hebrew Universitv professor would never
translate a text literallv and at the same time omit signifcant elements,
but that does not make it unthinkable. On the contrarv, it is verv imagin-
able! Literal translation is alwavs the easiest and fastest method. Omitting
elements is also easv and fast, so it combines perfectlv well with literal-
Let us consider some examples of transformations that are relevant to the
question of the translator’s competence and intention, before focussing
on omissions.
In i:a, ]D ¨ORP1 is rendered as καi εiπεν α0τοtς λrγουσα “and she said
to them, saving.” Te translator did not render ]D as οIτως “thus” (its
normal counterpart). Instead, he produced the quotation formula with
:c. Iahrhundert (München 1oo¬), ¬¬–¬o; D. Weissbort and A. Evsteinsson, Translation—
Teory and Practice. A Historical Reader (Oxford iooo), io¬.
I concur with the caveats expressed bv A. Aejmelaeus, “Translation Technique and
the Intention of the Translator,” in VII Congress of the IOSCS, i:–:o.
E. Tov, “Te Growth of the Book of Ioshua in Light of the Evidence of the Sep-
tuagint,” in Te Greek and Hebrew Bible. Collected Essays on the Septuagint (VTSup ¬i;
Leiden 1ooo), :88; repr. from ScrHier :1 (1o8o) :i1–:ao.
1o 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
λrγων “saving” he knew so well from the Pentateuch.
Te same we fnd
in i:1o. In m1, Rahab savs that the Israelites went out D*¨3OO, but ixx
renders rκ γñς Αiγuπτου “from the land of Egvpt.” As an explicitation
it is superfuous. It is the translator’s familiaritv with the Pentateuch
and its phraseologv which made him produce a Hebraistic rendering
Tere are indications that the translator, who probablv knew the book
of Ioshua well exegeticallv, was not aware of linguistic problems involved
in translation. Again in i:a, the rendering of ]D ¨ORP1 as καi εiπεν
α0τοtς λrγουσα is telling. Te translator added α0τοtς to give εiπεν
an indirect object (as he did in i:i1a), but it causes confusion. Rahab
is talking here to the king’s agents, but the antecedent of α0τοtς is
τοuς 0νδρας “the men,” i.e. the spies! It is improbable that DH7 was
in the translator’s Vorlage.
Rather, he translated segment bv segment.
Apparentlv he wanted to make α0τοtς refer to the king’s agents, and that
seemed fne within the boundaries of the segment. But he did not see that
his intended antecedent was not in the written text, and the antecedent
fromthe previous segment hadslippedfromhis short termmemorv, with
an error as a result.
Alreadv the next verse hosts a similar case. In i:- occurs an un-Greek
apodotic καi “and.” Normallv such cases occur where the length of the
protasis made the translator lose contact with the sentence construction.
But here the protasis is short! Tat the translator even here lost contact
with the sentence construction points to a memorv untrained for either
translation or oral interpretation. For two reasons I consider it unlikelv
that the translator emploved apodotic καi, both in i:- and i:8,
purpose. First, we just saw that in i:a he inserted an erroneous pronoun
because he lost touch with the previous segment. Second, the translator
sometimes avoided apodotic καi, e.g in i:io.
Departure from the usual
Te claim that Hebraisms not rooted in m1 necessarilv point to a diferent Vorlage
(E. Tov, Te Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research [id ed.; Ierusalem
Biblical Studies 8; Ierusalem 1oo¬], 8:–8-) is all-too rigid.
S. Holmes, Ioshua. Te Hebrew and Greek Texts (Cambridge 1o1a), 1o, recognizes
this, but his own reconstruction is too ingenious to convince. He overlooked the svntactic
problem in Greek.
I take καi rγrνετο uς (i:¬) as the beginning of the temporal clause, and καi α0τí
0νrβη . . . (i:8) as apodosis, cf. Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue), 1o1, who observes, “La con-
struction de la phrase grecque est embarassée.” I do not agree with Sipilä, Between Liter-
alness and Freedom, 118, who proposes to regard καi α0τοi δr as apodosis (anacoluthon).
Cf. further, Sipilä, Between Literalness and Freedom, 11o–1io.
1v.×si.1ov’s comvi1i×ci .×u i×1i×1io× i× ixx-iosuU. i 11
strategv of literalism is more likelv to be intentional than his usual
literalism resulting in Hebraisms.
For a wider viewof the competence question, I took a sample of 1: ixx
minuses and two ixx pluses.
When a minus was more easilv explained
as a translator’s omission than as a scribal addition in m1, I looked for
the rationale. It appears that these 1- cases under review testifv to fve
diferent concerns on the part of the translator.
1. One omission fows from the
concern to avoid ungrammatical Greek.
i:11: Te causal clause lacks a copula, oτι κuριος o 0εòς íμuν 0εòς rν
ο0ραν u 0νω . . . “because the Lord vour God [is] God in heaven above
. . . ” In general or proverbial statements, Greek permits the omission
of a copula,
and Rahab’s confession could be considered as a general
statement. Hebrew does have a copula here, viz. a :d person pronoun
(R1H) serving as such.
In comparable passages, we fnd roughlv two alternatives.
Tere are
literal renderings, e.g. in Deut ¬:o, καi γνuσ¸η oτι κuριος o 0εóς σου
οìτος 0εóς “and vou will know that the Lord vour God he [is] God.”
A freer solution is attested in Ps oo (1oo)::, γνuτε oτι κuριος α0τóς
íστιν o 0εóς “and vou will know that the Lord he is God.” Te literal
rendering of R1H with α0τóς was not deemed natural enough, and was
supplied bv rστiν “is” (cf. Deut a::-). Aliteral option alwavs frst suggests
itself. In this case, that would have suited the translator’s strategv, but he
dismissed it, probablv because he found it awkward. He did not replace
the pronoun with rστiν or retain the pronoun and add rστiν, which other
Cf. Aejmelaeus, “Intention of the Translator,” i¬–i8.
I excluded ixx minuses that are rather m1 pluses, like i:a (*12, probablv a scribal
addition that makes the phrase refer unequivocallv to the spies instead of the king’s
messengers), those that can equallv well be m1 pluses: i:a (HOH ]*RO *P97* R71); i:i1 (1D7*1
]17H3 . . .) and those that deserve extensive discussion: i:o (DD*1DO . . . 1àO1 *D1); i:1a (H*H1);
i:1¬, io (11P932H ¨2R).
Smvth, Greek Grammar, §oaa; BDR §1i¬.
I restricted mv search to credal formulas, and also excluded cases with id person
pronouns, as these practicallv demand a form of εiναι (iKgdms ¬:i8; aKgdms 1o:1-; Isa
:¬:1o etc.). For a wider survev, see I. Soisalon-Soininen, “Die Wiedergabe des hebräischen
Personalpronomens als Subjekt im griechischen Pentateuch,” in Studien zur Septuaginta-
Syntax, ¬1–8-. He also stresses that omission was certainlv not the natural impulse of the
ixx translators (8a).
1i 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
ixx translators did. Te Ioshua translator thus stands apart bv having
taken the easiest solution, omission.
i. Te translator sometimes omits phrases where a literal
rendering would cause a problem of logic or consistency.
i:i: Troughout the Septuagint, H1H is rendered as iδοu “look!,” but here it
is omitted. Te NIV rendering shows whv: “Look! Some of the Israelites
have come here tonight to spv out the land.” When H1H is rendered as
“look!” or “see!,” it has to ft into the context. But here it does not, for
there is nothing to “see.” Te king does not see the spies, he is just told
about them.
i:i: Te problem that prompted the translator to omit H7*7H is hinted
at bv Ahituv. He savs that H7*7H does not mean “night” in strictu senso,
because Rahab tells the king that the spies lef before the gates closed at
dusk. “Te word H7*7 can refer here to the period before nightfall as it
does in Ruth ::i.”
In Greek, such a use of νuξ “night” is anomalous. Te
translator could have chosen words for “in the evening,” like τ¸I rσπrρα,
oψiας (the word Iosephus uses), or otherwise,
but he devoted no energv
to an alternative rendering. Probablv he considered that, to the king, the
presence of spies was more alarming than their time of arrival.
Te fact that τíν νuκτα “at night” does appear in i::, without counter-
part in m1, has led the few scholars who mention these two variants to
consider them together.
It is likelv that the ixx translator is responsible
for both, although Margolis’ explanation (confusion of 7*7H and ¨*7R)
seems far-fetched.
I think that the translator, who consciouslv dropped
“night” in i:i, realized that he could not miss it. Without anv word for
“night,” readers would picture the actions in broad davlight, and Rahab’s
S. Ahituv, Ioshua. Introduction and Commentary (Miqra leYisrael; Tel Aviv 1oo-),
8:. See also Gen 1o:-.
Gute Nachricht (henceforth GN) has “Noch am selben Abend wurde dem König
von Iericho gemeldet . . . ”
I.P. Floss, Kunden oder Kundschaþer? Literaturwissenschaþliche Untersuchung zu Ios
:. I. Text, Schichtung, Uberlieferung (ATSAT 1o; St. Ottilien 1o8i), -1–-i, who sees (here
as in manv other passages) a Hebrew editor reworking the more original ixx Vorlage;
M.L. Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek. According to the Critically Restored Text with
an Apparatus Containing the Variants of the Principal Recensions and of the Individual
Vitnesses, Part 1 (Publications of the Alexander Kohut Memorial Foundation; Paris
1o:1), 1¬–18.
Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek, 18.
1v.×si.1ov’s comvi1i×ci .×u i×1i×1io× i× ixx-iosuU. i 1:
mention of the closure of the gates in i:- would come as a surprise. Te
translator could place τíν νuκταverv naturallv in the mouth of the king’s
agents, speaking about the arrival time of a prostitute’s customers.
i:1o: Whereas m1 reads ²1O¨D* *O¨PR H1H* 2*31H¨*D, ixx has oτι κατε-
ξiρανεν κuριος o 0εòς τíν rρυ0ρoν 0oλασσαν (omitting “water”). Te
Septuagint translator did not sav that “the Lord dried up the water of
the Red Sea,” probablv because that borders on an oxvmoron. Καταξηρ-
αiνω/-ος does not normallv collocate with Iδωρ.
i:ii: According to m1, the spies staved inthe mountains for three davs,
“until the pursuers returned. Te pursuers searched all along the road but
did not fnd them.” Te clause in italics is missing from the Septuagint.
Te m1 verse has two logical problems, (1) how could the hiding spies
know that the pursuers had returned:, and (i) the search is mentioned
aþer the return of the pursuers.
Atranslator who omits the clause “until
the pursuers returned” kills these two birds with one stone. Converselv, if
we ascribe the clause to a Hebrew editor, as manv do, we should explain
whv he introduced these obvious problems in the immediate context,
where his alleged aim was to “harmonize” with i:1o.
:. Te translator avoids literal renderings that cause
misunderstandings or interpretation problems.
i:1: Following Ioshua’s commission, m1 reads, “thev went and entered the
house of a prostitute.” ixx has a plus, “having gone, the two young men
entered Iericho and entered the house of a prostitute woman.” Scholars
who believe that the Septuagint refects a longer Hebrew text assume
that a copvist omitted the phrase because repeated 1R3*1 caused para-
Bieberstein aptlv observes that the double 1R3*1 (in the recon-
struction) cannot be interpreted as resumptive wayyiqtol, but is rather a
“Dopplung,” refecting a secondarv growth of the text (in ixx).
For the question whv the translator did not go back to restore “night” at its expected
place (i:i), cf. T.A.W. van der Louw, “Te Dictation of the Septuagint Version,” ISI :o
(ioo8) ii:–iia.
GN solves it with a pluperfect, ‘Die Wächter hatten alle Wege . . . abgesucht, aber
niemand gefunden.’
Tev reconstruct 1R3*1 1H¨* 7R D*21RH *12 1R3*1 1D7*1¯, cf., summarizing, K. Bieber-
stein, Iosua—Iordan—Iericho. Archäologie, Geschichte und Teologie der Landnahmeer-
zählungen Iosua r–o (OBO 1a:; Freiburg 1oo-), 1o¬.
Bieberstein, Iosua—Iordan—Iericho, 1o¬.
1a 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
it is easv to see whv this piece of condensed storv-telling in m1 would
disturb a translator, for it suggests disobedience: the spies ignore their
task but go straightawav to a prostitute. Terefore the ixx translator
slowed the narration down bv inserting a clause about the arrival in
Iericho: εiσiλ0οσαν οl δuο νεανiσκοι εiς Ιεριχω “the two voung men
entered Iericho.” Tis verse hosts another illustration of the ixx tendencv
to screen the spies, who are said to “lodge there” (ixx), not to “sleep
there” (m1, with sexual overtones). Two such examples in one verse
point to a translator at work. Modern versions deal with this problem
in a similar wav. Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling (NBV) split the sentence: “De
mannen vertrokken. Toen ze in Iericho waren gekomen, . . . ” (“Te
men lef. When thev had arrived in Iericho, . . . ”), and similarlv Gute
Nachricht (GN).
i:o: Te translator replaced D*21RH 7R with πρòς α0τοuς “to them”
because literal οl 0νδρες “the men” would suggest a participant change,
and the spies have alreadv been referred to with pronouns in i:8.
i:1i: RSV renders m1 as follows, “Now then, swear to me bv the Lord
that as I have dealt kindlv with vou, vou also will deal kindlv with mv
father’s house, and give me a sure sign, . . . ” Te clause in italics is miss-
ing from ixx. Manv scholars believe that ixx refects a shorter Vorlage
and that the clause in question was added bv a Hebrew scribe, either “to
anticipate v. 18 where the scarlet cord is given to Rahab bv the spies” and
where PR was misread as P1R (Holmes) or to anticipate v. 1a where the
spies promise to do POR (Bieberstein). Bieberstein fnds a ixx shortening
improbable, because he sees no trigger for an inadvertent omission.
truth, however, is that the clause in question poses problems to transla-
tors. First, Bieberstein himself remarks that it is unclear whether POR P1R
refers to the oath or to the red cord. Translators have ofen tried to con-
nect it to v. 1:, so Vulgate Ms., “detisque mihi verum signum, ut salvetis
. . . ” (cf. NIPS). Tis solution was not accessible to the ixx translator be-
cause of the segmentation, which allows connections backward, not for-
ward. Another solution that lav bevond his horizon was the generaliza-
tion of POR P1R into “something” (CEV) or “certaintv” (NBV). Tese ver-
sions show there is a problem to tackle. Second, it is not at all clear from
v. 18 that it is the spies who give the red cord to Rahab, as Holmes claims.
It is not what emerges from the svntacticallv ambiguous ixx rendering
of v. 18. Omission rids the translator of an interpretational dimcultv.
From Holmes, Ioshua, io–i1, to Bieberstein, Iosua—Iordan—Iericho, 11o.
Bieberstein, Iosua—Iordan—Iericho, 11o.
1v.×si.1ov’s comvi1i×ci .×u i×1i×1io× i× ixx-iosuU. i 1-
a. If a translator feels that a ínon-)literal translation of
a culture-specifc item does not make sense to the intended
audience, he will oþen omit it, generally speaking.
i:1-: ixx has “and she let them down through the window,” and lacks
v. 1-b with the location of Rahab’s house in/on/at
the citv wall. Ascribal
addition of v. 1-b is not easilv explained on the Hebrew side.
stein’s explanation that the Iron Age conditions of a casemate wall were
no longer understood bv Hellenistic Iews, which made the translator
omit v. 1-b, matches fndings from translation studies (note oi). Te
Ioshua translator mav have reasoned that the remaining v. 1-a presup-
poses “ein Wohnen Rahabs an der Stadtmauer . . . , denn ein Abseilen aus
dem Fenster wäre innerhalb der Stadt sinnlos.”
-. Te translator omits redundant words or phrases.
Tere is no loss of meaning, because these words repeat something
that is implicitly or explicitly present in the context.
i:1: 2¨H “secretlv” is not represented bv a Greek word. It is said to have
lacked from the ixx Vorlage,
but is attested in all Hebrew manuscripts.
If a Hebrew editor added it as a gloss, what was his problem: Te word
for “spies,” D*7à¨O, was clear enough. Whv would an editor gloss it with
the rare 2¨H: Te problem is rather translational. Κατασκοπεuω “to spv
out” alreadv implies secrecv, and hence 2¨H is made implicit in ixx and
modern Bible versions.
i::: m1 has a redundant clause ¨P*37 1R3¨¨2R ¨*7R D*R3H D*21RH,
which scholars consider a confate reading. But the fact that ixx has τοuς
0νδρας τοuς εiσπεπορευμrνους εiς τíν οiκiαν σου “the men who have
entered vour house” does not prove that its Vorlage had a shorter text.
Te ixxtranslator condensed the redundancv of his parent text, as recent
D. Grit, “De vertaling van realia,” Filter a (1oo¬) ai–a8; for Roman Antiquitv,
A. Seele, Romische Ubersetzer. ^ote, Freiheiten, Absichten. Verfahren des literarischen
Ubersetzers in der griechisch-romischen Antike (Darmstadt 1oo:), aa, a-, 88.
“In”: NBV, NIPS, TEV; “on”: KIV, Luther 1-a-; “at”: Vulgate, GN.
With Bieberstein, Iosua—Iordan—Iericho, 11-–11o.
Bieberstein, Iosua—Iordan—Iericho, 11-.
Holmes, Ioshua, 1o; Tov, “Te Growth,” :oi, and others.
As, e.g. Holmes, Ioshua, 1o, holds.
1o 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
Bible versions have done.
Besides, ¨P*37 - εiς τíν οiκiαν belongs to
the gloss,
which makes it even more unlikelv that the translator had an
unglossed Hebrew text before him.
i::: According to the Septuagint, the Israelite men have come to κατα-
σκοπε0σαι τíν γIν “to spv out the countrv” (m1 “the whole countrv”).
Versions like GN, NBV, TEV, and CEV also omit 7D. Tus thev give
prominence to the fact that the men under Rahab’s roof are spies, and
whether thev have come to spv out the whole land or parts of it is irrele-
vant. Hebrew is lavish with 7D, and it is made implicit sometimes in the
and in more recent versions.
i:-: Te translator did not render D*21RH
, because it is redundant in
i:1-: Not onlv v. 1-b, but also “bv the rope” (73H3) was omitted or
made implicit,
which is dimcult to decide because we do not know
how the translator imagined the situation. Had he alreadv decided to
drop v. 1-b when he was rendering v. 1-a: Since the translator was
rendering segment bv segment, and was constantlv engaged in absorbing
source text material and producing output while trving to keep track
of the sentence, I deem it improbable that he made decisions ahead
where a translational problem had not vet arisen. In sum, I think that,
before dropping the “wall,” the translator made the rope implicit bv using
καταχαλoω “to let down,” just as in Mark i:a and Acts i¬::o χαλoω
implies the use of ropes.
Here, he is not just toning down redundancv,
he goes bevond it, as the rope is not present elsewhere in the text. Te
translator contents himself with a rendering that hints to the use of a
rope as the most natural implement.
For example, GN, NBV, TEV, CEV. It is one of the proposed “translation universals”
that in translation, repetition tends to be reduced compared to the source text. Cf.
A. Chesterman, “Hvpotheses about Translation Universals,” in Claims, Changes and
Challenges in Translation Studies (ed. G. Hansen and K. Malmkjaer; BTL -o; Amsterdam
iooa), 8.
Den Hertog, Studien, 1¬:; Bieberstein, Iosua—Iordan—Iericho, 11o.
E.g. Gen :o:a1; Numi::io; Ios 1o::-; 1Kgdms i:ii; iKgdms o:- (twice); Ps ¬o (m1
¬1):18; 1Chr 11:a; iChr :i::1; Iob 1:-; :¬:ia; Prov 8::o; i¬:¬; Ier ai (m1 :-):1¬; Mic 1:i.
See, e.g. Saadva’s interpretative renderings of 7D, mentioned in I. Blau and S. Hop-
kins, “Ancient Bible Translations into Iudaeo-Arabic,” Pe#amim 8: (iooo) - [Heb.]
Tov, “Te Growth,” :oi, claims that 73H3 is a “contextual addition” in m1, but does
not explain whv or how. Holmes, Ioshua, i1, suggests the ixx translator omitted it bv
So alreadv Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek, io.
1v.×si.1ov’s comvi1i×ci .×u i×1i×1io× i× ixx-iosuU. i 1¬
i:i:: While m1 has four verbs of movement (1R3*1 ,1¨39*1 ,17¨*1 ,132*1),
ixx lacks a rendering of 1R3*1. Ofen overlooked bv scholars, this variant
does not refect a diferent Vorlage. As even Holmes stated, the ixx
translator omitted 1R3*1 because he considered it redundant.
With the
elliptic διαβαiνωεiς, lit. “to cross to,”
he could condense 7R 1R3*1 1¨39*1
without loss of meaning.
Te transformations we surveved testifv to fve concerns on the part of
the translator. Other transformations in Ioshua i will refect the same
and some additional concerns. Bv “concern” I do not mean a systematic
preoccupation of the translator. For example, he omits a pronoun to
avoid ungrammatical Greek where he can easilv do so (i:11), but not
Te fve concerns we found underlie manv translations of all kinds,
both ancient and modern. In handling redundancv, the Ioshua translator
seems more pronounced than manv of his colleagues. But there are
indications that it was not redundancv per se that bothered him. First,
he also emploved additions, e.g. in i:1, :, 1o. Second, his familiaritv
with the Pentateuch sometimes made him come up with readv-made
phrases instead of renderings that would require processing efort to
strictlv refect the source text (i:a, 1o). Tird, in several instances we saw
our translator deal with the same problem as his modern colleagues, but
prefer omission as the quickest solution over alternatives requiring more
efort (i:i, 11, 1i, 1-, ii). Terefore I would propose that the omissions
in Ioshua i testifv to economy of labour rather than to a principle of
curtailment. Such an economv of labour can be explained bv assuming
that the translator was working under time pressure and/or on a tight
In all likelihood, the translator had no previous experience in
translating or interpreting, as witnesses his unfamiliaritv with linguistic
translation problems and his untrained short term memorv, resulting in
errors of grammar or content (i:a, -). In the light of his inexperience—
no competence without experience—and his preference for the easiest
solution we can no longer call the translator of ixx-Ioshua i competent.
Holmes, Ioshua, ii.
LSI :oib, II.i.
If we refuse to ascribe such factors to translators of Holv Writ, we are excluding
possibilities because of our a priori assumptions. We know too little about the actual
translators to justifv that.
18 1uio ..w. v.× uiv ioUw
Admittedlv, the dictation hvpothesis accounts for the possibilitv that
the translator/interpreter did not consult the manuscript but received
his source material from a reciter, segment bv segment.
When the
interpreter had fnished his oral translation of a segment that had been
read to him, and had dictated it to a scribe, a new segment was read to
him. Tis explains howthe interpreter lost touch with previous segments
and inserted a pronoun (α0τοtς in i:a) that referred to something in his
mental representation of the storv but clashed with the previous segment.
Nevertheless, in order to be called competent, an interpreter is expected
to keep track of the text he has translated so far, and certainlv not to forget
the verv last segment he rendered.
Te translator’s intention seldom rose above the boundaries of the
segment he was working on. In the case of the erroneous pronoun in i:a,
it is hard to believe that he intendedanerror. He intendedthe segments as
he produced them, but onlv in isolation, not connected as a meaningful
whole. Te translator/interpreter either had no access to the target text
as a whole; or rather the “target text as a whole” was no viable concept
for him. Tis would mean he was a native speaker of Greek, but without
rhetorical education, and thus lacking professional text awareness.
In “Te Dictation of the Septuagint Version,” i11–iio, I suggested that (parts of)
the Septuagint were translated through dictation, as was usual in Antiquitv.
Micu.ii N. v.× uiv Miiv
1. Introduction
Within the studv of redaction and reception of the book of Ioshua, to
which our honoree has made numerous distinctive contributions,
narrative of the fall of Iericho (Iosh o:i–i-) takes a special place. Not
onlv does this storv take a special position in the book of Ioshua and
the historv of Israel, it also forms the focus of several redaction-critical
studies whichaimto disentangle the complex character of the storv. From
a narrative point of view, the storv is rather lopsided as far as the balance
between preparations for the capture of the citv (Iosh o:i–1o) and the
actual conquest (Iosh o:io) is concerned. Te frst part of the narrative
is not onlv redundant and static,
it also contains several tensions and
Te chapter is also one of several in which the Old Greek translation
(ixx) difers drasticallv from the received Masoretic Text (m1). Tis old-
est textual witness to the book of Ioshua apparentlv lacks entire verses
I consider it a great honor to present this contribution to Ed Noort, from whom
I learnt so much about the historv of redaction and reception of the book of Ioshua. I
warmlv thank mv mentor Arie van der Kooij for his constructive comments on this essav.
See, e.g. E. Noort, Das Buch Iosua. Forschungsgeschichte und Problemfelder (EdF ioi;
Darmstadt 1oo8); idem, “Ioshua: Te Historv of Reception and Hermeneutics,” in Past,
Present, Future. Te Deuteronomistic History and the Prophets (ed. I.C. de Moor, H.F. van
Roov; OtSt aa; Leiden iooo), 1oo–i1-; idem, “Der reißende Wolf: Iosua in Überlieferung
und Geschichte,” in Congress Volume Leiden :cc, (ed. A. Lemaire; VTSup 1oo; Leiden
iooo), 1-:–1¬:.
Te Hebrew text of Iosh o:i–1o goes at great lengths to communicate the instruc-
tions dealing with the circumambulation of the citv, the specifcations regarding to the
division of responsibilities, particularlv with regard to the roles of the priests and the lav
people. Te stvle of these verses is remarkablv redundant and static, the number of verbs
in the narrative wayyiqtol remarkablv low (18 out of 81 clauses) over against other verbal
forms (yiqtol, we-qatal, infnitives and participles). Strikinglv, the Hebrewverb for move-
ment in these verses, ¨7H, “to go,” which is attested nine times in these verses, occurs onlv
in participial and infnitival forms (Iosh o:8, o [three times], 1: [fve times]).
io micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
and half verses (Iosh o::b–a, ob, 1-b, 1¬b, iob), amounting to approxi-
matelv one-third of the whole chapter. Aquick glance through the pluses
in m1 shows that manv of these deal with the carrving and sounding of
the trumpets and constitute much of the excess baggage of the narra-
tive. Terefore, manv scholars hold the view that the shorter ixx ver-
sion refects a Hebrew Vorlage that is not onlv diferent from m1, but
also attests to an earlv stage in the process of literarv growth prior to
the expansionistic longer Hebrew version attested bv m1. Hence these
shorter (ixx) and longer (m1) versions are ofen seen as two successive
stages in the literarv development of the chapter either bv wav of inter-
polation (Glossierung) or editorial activitv.
On the other hand the Greek version also refects numerous literarv
initiatives and interpretative translations,
which render a mono-causal
explanation for the variants problematic. Furthermore, the text of Ioshua
o in the oldest extant manuscript of the book, aOIosh
(frst half of
the frst centurv vci), where extant, almost completelv sides with m1.
Hence major advocates of the theorv that large-scale diferences between
H. Holzinger, Das Buch Iosua (KHC o; Tübingen 1oo1), 1-: “Wie ixx zeigt, ist
der Text hier noch lange im Fluss gewesen, so dass mit weitgehender Glossierung zu
rechnen ist”; C. Steuernagel, Ubersetzung und Erklärung der Bucher Deuteronomium
und Iosua und allgemeine Einleitung in den Hexateuch (HKAT 1.:; Göttingen 1ooo),
1¬o; M.R. Savignac, “La conquête de Iéricho (Iosué vi, 1–io),” RB ¬ (1o1o) :o–-:;
S. Holmes, Ioshua. Te Hebrew and Greek Texts (Cambridge 1o1a), 1o–1i; G.A. Cooke,
Te Book of Ioshua (Te Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges; Cambridge 1o18), a1;
C.D. Benjamin, Te Variations between the Hebrew and Greek Texts of Ioshua. Chapters
r–r: (PhD diss., Universitv of Pennsvlvania, 1oi1), :a–:¬; A. Fernandez, Commentarius
in librum Iosue (Cursus Scripturae Sacrae i.-; Paris 1o:8), 8o–8a; T.C. Butler, Ioshua
(WBC ¬; Waco 1o8:), o¬: “Te ixx reveals that literarv interpretation continued to
produce diferences in the material until a quite late date”; A.G. Auld, Ioshua. Iesus Son of
^au¯ e in Codex Vaticanus (Septuagint Commentarv Series; Leiden ioo-), 1:-.
I. Hollenberg, Der Charakter der alexandrinischen Uebersetzung des Buches Iosua
und ihr textkritischer Verth untersucht (Moers 18¬o), :–o; A. Dillmann, Die Bucher
^umeri, Deuteronomium und Iosua (Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum Alten
Testament; id ed. Leipzig 188o), ao:; M.L. Margolis, “Specimen of a New Edition of
the Greek Ioshua,” in Iewish Studies in Memory of Israel Abrahams by Te Faculty and
Visiting Teachers of the Iewish Institute of Religion (NewYork 1oi¬), :o¬–:i:; E. Otto, Das
Mazzotfest in Gilgal (BWANT1o¬; Stuttgart 1o¬-), o-–o8; I. Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue) (La
Bible d’Alexandrie o; Paris 1ooo), -:–-o, 1ii–1i8; K. Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho.
Archäologie, Geschichte und Teologie der Landnahmeerzählungen Iosua r–o (OBO 1a:;
Fribourg 1oo-), ia1–i-8.
E. Ulrich, “aOIosh
,” in Oumran Cave ,. IX. Deuteronomy to Kings (ed. E. Ulrich
et al.; DID XIV; Oxford 1oo-), 1a:–1-i. Given the close correspondence between the
Hebrewtexts of Ioshua o, the m1 has been taken as point of comparison. Variant readings
in aOIosh
are discussed in the footnotes below.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- i1
the Old Greek translation and the received Hebrew text (m1) attest to
successive stages in the literarv development of the biblical books, such
as Emanuel Tov and Eugene Ulrich, are remarkablv reluctant to applv
their theories to this chapter.
Another advocate of this theorv, Lea Mazor,
even fnds evidence for
a deliberate ideologicallv motivated curtailment of the longer version.
In her view the Greek version refects a secondarv, nomistic reworking
of the Hebrew version as attested bv m1. Te aim of this adaptation, she
argued, was to harmonize the statements about the blowing of the shofars
to the legislation in Num 1o:8. Tat passage reserves the right to blow
the trumpet exclusivelv to the priests, whereas the m1 of Iosh o:o, 1:
also mentions a rear-guard (²OROH) blowing the shofars. According to
Mazor, the Hebrew version underlving the Greek translation made sure
that it was the priests who were responsible for sounding the trumpets.
As result, the nomistic editor added the adjective “holv” to the word
“trumpet” in verse 8 and furthermore supplied the word “priests” three
times at places where the older version as attested bv m1 made no
reference to them:
o:8 rπτo σoλπιγγας lερoς D*731*H P1¨D12 H932
o:o καi οl lερεiς οl ο0ραγοjντες . . .
P1¨D123 91ÞP1 . . . ¨7H ²OROH1
o:1: καi οl lερεiς rσoλπισαν P1¨D123 91ÞP1
o:io καi rσoλπισαν ταtς σoλπιγξιν οl lερεiς P1¨D123 19ÞP*1
One wonders, however, how these additions to the m1 version relate to
the large minuses attested in the same secondarv ixx version. Te large
scale pluses in m1 verses :b–a and ob rather support than contradict this
nomistic intention since thev also deal with cultic matters.
E. Tov, “Te Growth of the Book of Ioshua in the Light of the Evidence of the
Septuagint,” in Te Greek and HebrewBible. Collected Essays on the Septuagint (ed. E. Tov;
VTSup ¬i; Leiden 1ooo), :8-–:oo. When Eugene Ulrich refers to the book of Ioshua
as example of his theorv of multiple literarv editions of biblical books, it is onlv with
reference to Ioshua - and 8::o–:-, see E. Ulrich, Te Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of
the Bible (Grand Rapids 1ooo), i¬–i8, 1oa–1o-, ii8.
See L. Mazor, Te Septuagint Translation of the Book of Ioshua. Its Contribution to
the Understanding of the Textual Transmission of the Book and Its Literary and Ideologi-
cal Development (PhDdiss., Hebrew Universitv Ierusalem, 1ooa). Te author kindlv pro-
vided me with a copv of her unpublished thesis. An English abstract of this Hebrewthesis
has been published in BIOSCS i¬ (1ooa) io–:8.
L. Mazor, “A Nomistic Re-Working of the Iericho Conquest Narrative Refected in
ixx to Ioshua o:1–io,” Textus 18 (1oo-) a¬–oi.
ii micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
Mv own investigations in related chapters of the book led me to
the conclusion that the large-scale diferences between the Hebrew and
Greek texts of Ioshua resulted from eforts bv the Greek translator to
harmonize the complex Hebrewtext.
Tus, the Deuteronomistic (DtrH)
additions to the older pre-Deuteronomistic version of the fall of Ai
(Ioshua 8) created a number of doublets and tensions which the Greek
translator removed bv means of stvlistic shortening.
Te Deuterono-
mistic addition of Iosh a:i1–-:8 to the pre-deuteronomistic statement in
Iosh -:o prompted the Greek translator to produce his much disputed
text about the two categories of Israelites circumcised bv Ioshua.
later nomistic-deuteronomistic editor (DtrN) transformed the address
of Yhwh to Ioshua for his own nomistic purposes (Iosh 1:¬–8). Te
Greek translator tried to solve the dimculties this insertion produced
bv modifving the seam between the two lavers and omitting the words
“all the torah” (H¨1PH¨7D).
Another DtrN addition, now found in Iosh
8::o–:-, placed our translator for problems of space and time, which he
overcame bv transposing the passage afer Iosh o:i.
Finallv, a Priestlv
redactor adapted the old notice of the eating of the frst fruits in Canaan
in Iosh -:o, 1ib to priestlv legislation (Iosh -:1ob–1ia).
Here too, the
Greek translator harmonized the diferent redactional strands into a
single coherent Greek text.
It is mv contention that something similar can be said about Ioshua
o:i–i-. In mv view, textual and literarv criticism do not overlap in the
case of Ioshua o. From a modern critical perspective, the Greek version
should rather be seen as another example of stvlistic shortening of a
redactionallv lavered Hebrew text. In order to substantiate mv thesis I
will frst present a svnopsis of the Greek and Hebrewtexts of the passage,
M.N. van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation. Te Redaction of the Book of
Ioshua in the Light of the Oldest Textual Vitnesses (VTSup 1oi; Leiden iooa).
Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, a1¬–a¬8. For a characterization of the
Deuteronomistic laver (DtrH) of the book of Ioshua, see ibid., 1i1–1i¬.
Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, iao–a1-.
Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, 1¬1–1¬8, i1o–iii. For a characteri-
zation of the nomistic laver (DtrN) of the book of Ioshua, see ibid., 1i¬–1:a.
In mv view, the Hebrew scribe responsible for the text of aOIosh
ofered a diferent
solution for the same problems bv duplicating Iosh 8::i, :a–:- before Iosh -:i, see Van
der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, a¬o–-ii.
Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, :11–:io. For a characterization of the
priestlv laver (RedP) of the book of Ioshua, see ibid., 1:a–1a:.
Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, :o:–ao8.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- i:
then a redaction-critical analvsis of the Hebrewtext and subsequentlv an
examination of the Greek text in its own context.
i. Ioshua o.:–:·. Te Greek and Hebrew Texts
In order to studv this chapter in detail we will have to take a closer look
at the Greek and Hebrew texts themselves. For the sake of convenience
I present mv own svnopsis of the text of verses i–i-,
leaving aside the
frst and fnal verses of what in medieval times has become known as
chapter o.
Te reconstruction of the Old Greek of Ioshua is based on
the editions of Rahlfs and Margolis.
i καi εiπεν κuριος πρòς 'Ιησο0ν 921H*¨7R H1H* ¨OR*1 i
'Ιδοu HR¨
íγc παραδiδωμι — — — τíν Ιεριχω
1H*¨*¨PR ¨7*3 *PP1
καi τòν βασιλrα α0τIς τoν íν
α:τ ñ ·
δυνατοìς oντας íν /σχ:ι :7*HH *¨13à
: σì δí περ/στησον α:τ ñ — τοuς —
μαχiμους κuκλ ω,
HOH7OH *21R¨7D ¨*9H¨PR DP3O1 :
Te following conventions have been followed: where the ixx has a minus vis-à-vis
the m1, I have placed a large hvphen for each Hebrew lexeme not represented in Greek.
Italics have been used to mark pluses in ixx vis-à-vis m1 as well as anv other (part of a)
Greek word that is not a strict literal rendering of the Hebrew text as found in m1. Te
bold fonts of parts of the Hebrew text anticipates the redaction-critical analvsis.
According to the ancient Hebrew paragraph svstem, Iosh o:1 constitues a single
parashah setumah together with Iosh -:1:–1-, whereas Iosh o:io–i¬ constitute together
with Iosh ¬:1–o a new parashah petuchah. Iosh o:io presents a text-critical problem of its
own as it contains a long plus that seems to have been taken from (m1-)1Kgs 1o::a.
A. Rahlfs, Septuaginta. Id est Vetus Testamentum graecum iuxta ixx interpretes
(Stuttgart 1o:-); M.L. Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek according to the Critically
Restored Text Containing the Variants of the Principal Recensions of the Individual Vit-
nesses (Publications of the Alexander Kohut Memorial Foundation in Trust at the Amer-
ican Academv for Iewish Research; Paris 1o:1–1o:8; Philadelphia 1ooi). In cases where
the two editions ofer diferent reconstructions of the Old Greek, I follow the conclusions
drawn bv C.G. den Hertog, Studien zur griechischen Ubersetzung des Buches Iosua (PhD
diss., Iustus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, 1ooo), :o–1oo.
Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek, ¬o–8o, has shown that the reading attested
bv codex Alexandrinus and adopted bv Rahlfs παραδiδωμι íποχεiριóν σου τíν Ιεριχω,
is the result of hexaplaric revision. Den Hertog, Studien, oo–o¬ further observes that the
grammatical construction attested bv the non-hexaplaric witnesses of ixx-Ioshua, is the
more natural one.
Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek, 8o, adopted the longer hexaplaric reading
ia micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
— — — — — PHR D9D ¨*9H¨PR ²*ÞH
— — — — :D*O* P22 H29P HD
— — — — — — úåøôåù äòáù åàùé íéðäë äòáùå a
— — — — — — ïåøàä éðôì íéìáåéä
— — — — — — — —
— —
øéòä­úà åáñú éòéáùä íåéáå
íéîòô òáù
— — — — — ºúåøôåùá åò÷úé íéðäëäå
- καi rσται H*H1 -
cς 0ν σαλπ/σητε τ ñ σoλπιγγι — — , 731*H ]¨Þ3 ¨2O3
— — — — — — — ¨D12H 71Þ¨PR
0νακραγíτω π0ς o λαòς 0μα — — , H717à H91¨P D9H¨7D 19*¨*
καi oνακραγoντων α:τcν
πεσεtται α:τoματα τo τεiχη τIς
πóλεως — — ,
H*PHP ¨*9H PO1H H7D11
καi ε/σελε:σεται π0ς o λαòς
D9H 1791
rκαστος κατo πρoσωπον ε/ς τnν
:17à1 2*R
o καi ε/σñλ0εν 'Ιησο0ς o τοj Ναυη
πρòς τοuς lερεtς
íéðäëä­ìà ïåð­ïá òùåäé àø÷éå o
καi εiπεν α0τοtς λíγων íäìà øîàéå
— — — — — úéøáä ïåøà­úà åàù
— — — — — — úåøôåù äòáù åàùé íéðäë äòáùå
— — — — — ºäåäé ïåøà éðôì íéìáåé
¬ Παραγγε/λατε τ u λα u D9H¨7R
1¨OR*1 ¬
περιελ0εiν 1¨39
καi κυκλuσαι τíν πóλιν, ¨*9H¨PR 13O1
καi οl μoχιμοι παραπορευrσ0ωσαν
íνωπλισμíνοι rναντiον — κυρiου·
:H1H* ]1¨R *1D7 ¨39* ?17HH1
8 — — — — — — — — íòä­ìà òùåäé øîàë éäéå 8
καi rπτo lερεtς iχοντες rπτo
σoλπιγγας lερoς — — —
äòáù íéàùð íéðäëä äòáùå
äåäé éðôì íéìáåéä úåøôåù
πoντας τοuς μαχiμους. Den Hertog, Studien, o¬, has shown that the shorter reading
attested bv manuscripts B, F¯, M, -o, ¬-, 1io, and -oo, as adopted bv Rahlfs, is preferable.
Te reading attested bv the Kethib with the preposition -3 instead of the -D (thus the
Oere DD9O2D and main witnesses to Tg. Ion. ]1D9O2OD) seems to be due to assimilation
to the preceding phrase ¨2O3 and is therefore secondarv.
See Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, 1o-, for the diference between
Ναυη (Rahlfs) and Ναυν (Margolis).
Te Kethib of the m1 has the plural form 1¨OR*1, whereas the Oere has the singular
¨OR*1. aOIosh
supports this reading as it amplifes the subject “Ioshua”: 9121H* ¨OR*1. Te
other ancient versions all read the singular: Tg. Ion. RO97 ¨OR1, Pesh. ~÷.\ -÷ˆˎ, Vulg.
ad populum quoque ait. Te Oere is therefore to be preferred over the Kethib.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- i-
παρελ0íτωσαν cσα:τως íναντ/ον
τοj κυρ/ου
καi σημαινíτωσαν ε:τoνως, úåøôåùá åò÷úå
καi í κιβωτòς τIς δια0iκης κυρiου
ºíäéøçà êìä äåäé úéøá ïåøàå
o οl δr μoχιμοι rμπροσ0εν — —
íéðäëä éðôì êìä õåìçäå o
— — — úåøôåùä
καi οl lερεiς οl ο0ραγοjντες —
oπiσω τIς κιβωτο0 τñς δια0nκης
ïåøàä éøçà êìä óñàîäå

— σαλπiζοντες — — ºúåøôåùá òå÷úå
1o τ u δí λα u rνετεiλατο 'Ιησο0ς λrγων ¨OR7 921H* H13 D9H¨PR1 1o
Μí βο0τε, 19*¨P R7
μηδr oκουσoτω μη0εiς ìμcν τíν
DD71Þ¨PR 19*O2P¨R71
— — — — — — — rως 0ν íμrραν D1* 79 ¨37 DD*DO R3*¨R71
α:τoς διαγγε/λ η — — DD*7R *¨OR
0ναβοIσαι, 19*¨H
καi τoτε 0ναβοiσετε. :DP9*¨H1
11 καi περιελ0οjσα í κιβωτòς τñς
δια0nκης τοj 0εοj τíν πóλιν
¨*9H¨PR H1H*¨]1¨R 3O*1 11
— — — PHR D9D ²ÞH
— ε:0íως 0πIλ0εν εiς τíν
H1HOH 1R3*1
καi rκοιμi0η íκεi. :H1HO3 11*7*1
1i καi τ ñ nμíρ α τ ñ δευτíρ α 0νrστη
'Ιησο0ς τò πρωi,
ø÷áá òùåäé íëùéå 1i
καi iραν οl lερεtς τíν κιβωτòν τñς
δια0nκης κυρiου,
ºäåäé ïåøà­úà íéðäëä åàùéå
1: καi οl rπτo lερεtς οl φrροντες τoς
σoλπιγγας τoς rπτo
íéàùð íéðäëä äòáùå
íéìáéä úåøôåù äòáù
— προεπορε:οντο rναντiον —
äåäé ïåøà éðôì
— — êåìä íéëìä
See Den Hertog, Studien, o¬, for a refutation of Margolis’s προπορευrσ0ωσαν.
Te Oere *9ÞP adjusts the verbal tense of the Kethib (19ÞP, perfect) to the tense of
the other verbs in the verse, which is active participle.
Te shorter Greek text adopted bv Margolis probablv refects the original Greek
text, whereas the longer text adopted bv Rahlfs, πορευóμενοι καi σαλπiζοντες, probablv
refects later correction towards m1, thus Den Hertog, Studien, oo.
io micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
— — — — úåøôåùá åò÷úå
καi μετo ταjτα ε/σεπορεuοντο οl
μoχιμοι — —
íäéðôì êìä õåìçäå
καi o λοιπoς oχλος — ðπισ0ε τIς
κιβωτο0 τñς δια0nκης κυρiου·
äåäé ïåøà éøçà êìä óñàîäå

καi οl lερεiς rσoλπισαν ταtς
ºúåøôåùá òå÷úå
1a καi o λοιπoς oχλος 0πας
περιεκuκλωσε τíν πóλιν íγγ:0εν
PHR D9D *12H D1*3 ¨*9H¨PR 13O*1 1a
καi 0πIλ0εν πoλιν εiς τíν
H1HOH 132*1
οIτως rποiει rπi iξ íμrρας :D*O* P22 129 HD
1- καi — τ¸ I íμrρ α τ¸ I rβδóμ¸ η *9*32H D1*3 *H*1 1-
—0νrστησαν ðρ0ρου, 1OD2*1
— — — — ¨H2H P179D
καi περιiλ0οσαν τíν πóλιν
— — — íξoκις .
D*O9D 932 H!H OD2OD ¨*9H¨PR 13O*1
— — — — — — — — — — — :D*O9D 932 ¨*9H¨PR 133O R1HH D1*3 Þ¨
1o καi — τ¸ I περιóδ ω τ¸ I rβδóμ¸ η úéòéáùä íòôá éäéå 1o
rσoλπισαν οl lερεtς — — , úåøôåùá íéðäëä åò÷ú
καi εiπεν 'Ιησο0ς τοiς υlοiς Ισραηλ D9H¨7R 921H* ¨OR*1
Κεκρoξατε· 19*¨H
παρrδωκεν γoρ κuριος íμtν τíν
:¨*9H¨PR DD7 H1H* ]P1¨*D
1¬ καi rσται í πóλις 0νo0εμα, D¨H ¨*9H HP*H1 1¬
α0τí καi πoντα, ¨7D1 R*H
oσα rστiν rν α0τ¸ I, κυρi ω σαβαω0· H1H*7 H3¨¨2R
πλíν Ρααβ τíν πóρνην
H*HP H11!H 3H¨ Þ¨
α0τíν καi — ¨7D1 R*H
oσα rστiν — — rν τ u οiκ ω α:τñς. P*33 HPR ¨2R¨7D1
— — — — — D*DR7OH¨PR HPR3HH *D
— — :11H72 ¨2R
18 oλλo íμεtς φυλoξασ0ε σφoδρα 0πò
το0 0να0rματος,
íøçä­ïî åøîù íúà­÷øå 18
μiποτε íν0υμη0íντες ìμεiς
Te Oere ¨17Hadjusts the aspect of the verb fromactive participle (¨7H, thus Kethib)
to infnitive absolute.
Te reading 1O*¨HP as attested bv m1 and Tg. Ion. makes less sense then the reading
17OHP as presupposed bv ixx (μiποτε rν0υμη0rντες íμεtς), see alreadv Hollenberg,
Der Charakter, 1i, and further Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho, ioo. Te Pesh. (~\ˋ
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- i¬
— α:τοi λoβητε 0πò το0
íøçä­ïî íúç÷ìå
καi ποιnσητε τíν παρεμβολíν τcν
υlcν Ισραηλ—0νo0εμα
íøçì ìàøùé äðçî­úà íúîùå
καi íκτρ/ψητε nμ0ς· ºåúåà íúøëòå
1o καi π0ν 0ργuριον i χρυσiον n —
χαλκòς n σiδηρος
ìæøáå úùçð éìëå áäæå óñë ìëå 1o
0γιον iσται τ u κυρi ω, äåäéì àåä ùã÷
εiς 0ησαυρòν κυρiου
ºàåáé äåäé øöåà
— — — — íòä òøéå io
io καi rσoλπισαν ταtς σoλπιγξιν οl
úåøôùá åò÷úéå
cς δí íκουσεν o λαòς τíν φωνíν
τcν σαλπiγγων,
¨D12H 71Þ¨PR D9H 9O2D *H*1
— íλoλαξεν π0ς o λαòς 0μα
0λαλαγμ u μεγoλ ω καi /σχυρ¸ c.
H717à H91¨P D9H 19*¨*1
καi rπεσεν 0παν τò τεtχος κ:κλ¸ ω, H*PHP HO1HH 7DP1
καi 0νrβη π0ς o λαòς εiς τíν πóλιν
— — —
17à1 2*R H¨*9H D9H 79*1
— — — — — :¨*9H¨PR 17D7*1
i1 καi 0νε0εμoτισεν α:τnν 'Ιησοjς καi

¨7D¨PR 1O*¨H*1 i1
oσα nν rν τ¸ I πóλει, ¨*93 ¨2R
0πò 0νδρòς καi rως γυναικóς, H2R¨791 2*RO
0πò νεανiσκου καi rως
]Þ!¨791 ¨91O
καi rως μóσχου
καi íποζυγiου, ¨1OH1 H21 ¨12 791
rν στóματι oομφαiας. :3¨H¨*D7
ii καi τοtς δυσiν νεανiσκοις D*21RH D*1271 ii
τοtς κατασκοπεuσασιν — — ?¨RH¨PR D*7à¨OH
εiπεν 'Ιησο0ς 921H* ¨OR
Εiσrλ0ατε εiς τíν οiκiαν τIς
γυναικòς — — ,
H11!H H2RH¨P*3 1R3
καi rξαγoγετε α:τnν rκεt0εν καi — ¨7D¨PR1 H2RH¨PR D2O 1R*31H1
oσα rστiν α0τ¸ I. H7¨¨2R
— — — — — :H7 DP9321 ¨2RD
˒¬-\», “and do not hide anvthing”) ofers an interpretative rendering based on the
Achan narrative (Iosh ¬:11, 1o), see also the plus in Iosh ¬:1 ,-\ˎ.
Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek, oo, thought that the minus καi προβoτου in
main witnesses of ixx-Ioshua (B, 1io, -8, ao¬, VL) “cannot be charged to the translator.”
As Den Hertog, Studien, oo, points out, such a statement requires substantiation, which
Margolis did not ofer. Te shorter text as adopted bv Rahlfs is to be seen as the original
Greek text.
i8 micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
i: καi εiσIλ0ον οl δuο νεανiσκοι D*¨91H 1R3*1 i:
οl κατασκοπεuσαντες τnν πoλιν ε/ς
τnν ο/κ/αν τñς γυναικoς
καi rξηγoγοσαν Ρααβ τnν πoρνην 3H¨¨PR 1R*3*1
καi τòν πατrρα α0τIς καi τíν
μητrρα α0τIς
καi τοuς 0δελφοuς α0τIς — — ¨7D¨PR1 H*HR¨PR1
— — — H7¨¨2R
τíν συγγrνειαν α0τIς — καi
1R*31H H*P1HD2O¨7D PR1
òσα nν α:τ ñ,
καi κατrστησαν α0τnν rξω τIς
παρεμβολIς Ισραηλ.
:7R¨2* H1HO7 ?1HO D1H*1*1
ia καi í πóλις rνεπρiσ0η íμπυρισμ¸ c
σìν π0σιν
¨7D1 2R3 1D¨2 ¨*9H1 ia
τοtς rν α0τ¸ I H3¨¨2R
πλíν—0ργυρiου καi — χρυσiου áäæäå óñëä ÷ø
καi — — χαλκο0 καi — σιδiρου ìæøáäå úùçðä éìëå
rδωκαν εiς 0ησαυρòν — κυρiου ºäåäé­úéá øöåà åðúð
i- καi Ρααβ τíν πóρνην καi πoντα τòν P*3¨PR1 H11!H 3H¨¨PR1 i-
οiκον τoν πατρικoν α0τIς — — ¨7D¨PR1 H*3R
— — — H7¨¨2R
íζcγρησεν 'Ιησο0ς, 921H* H*HH
καi κατ uκησεν rν — τ u Ισραηλ 7R¨2* 3¨Þ3 32P1
rως τIς σiμερον íμrρας, H!H D1*H 79
διóτι rκρυψεν τοuς
οIς 0πrστειλεν 'Ιησο0ς 921H* H72¨¨2R
κατασκοπε0σαι τíν Ιεριχω. :1H*¨*¨PR 7à¨7
Te plus π0σαν before τíν συγγrνειαν adopted bv Rahlfs is absent from main
witnesses of ixx-Ioshua (B, 1io, aa, o1o, ao¬) and refects secondarv revision towards
m1, thus Margolis, Te Book of Ioshua in Greek, o¬, and Den Hertog, Studien, oo.
Te sequence of the clauses καi τíν συγγrνειαν α0τIς and καi πoντα, oσα iν
α0τ¸ I in this order is attested bv the major witnesses of ixx-Ioshua. Te transposition as
foundinother witnesses andadoptedbv Rahlfs, corresponds to m1 andrefects secondarv
revision, see Den Hertog, Studien, o¬.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- io
:. Redaction History of Ioshua o.:–:·
Te historv of literarv formation and redaction of Ioshua o has remained
a puzzle for manv modern scholars. It has long been recognized that
the anachronistic reference to the temple treasurv in verses 1o and iab
most likelv refects later interpolation.
It is also commonplace to assign
verses ioa and iob to two diferent hands since it is said twice that the
people made a great noise (H717à H91¨P D9H 19*¨*1 . . . D9H 9¨*1). On the
basis of this doublet Iulius Wellhausen concluded that the chapter was
compiled of two diferent narrative strands: one strand allowed for a
single dav of circumambulation with a single person blowing a single
horn, the other with the well-known structure of seven davs and seven
Wellhausen did not ofer a complete literarv-critical analvsis
of the chapter, nor did other pioneers in the feld of literarv criticism,
such as Abraham Kuenen.
Over the last decades several attempts have been made to fll in this
gap, but the results of these proposals are widelv diverging and have
found little approval among scholars. Tus, Eckart Otto, Iacques Briend,
Ludger Schwienhorst, and Klaus Bieberstein all developed their own
reconstruction of the literarv historv of the chapter.
Te one point these
reconstructions have in common is that thev tend to reduce the nar-
rative to a verv small textual core narrative, while on the other hand
thev postulate a large number of subsequent redactions. Bieberstein, for
example, discerns no less than seven literarv strata, whereas Schwien-
See alreadv I.W. Colenso, Te Later Legislation of the Pentateuch (vol. o of Te
Pentateuch and Book of Ioshua Critically Examined; London 18¬1), 11a–11-. See fur-
ther Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho, ai¬–a:o; I. Briend, “Le trésor de YHWH en Ios
o,1o.iab,” Transeu io (iooo) 1o1–1oo.
I. Wellhausen, Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der historischen Bucher des Alten
Testaments (id ed.; Berlin 188o), 1i:–1i-.
A. Kuenen, De Tora en de historische boeken des Ouden Verbonds (vol. 1 of Histo-
risch-critisch onderzoek naar het ontstaan en de verzameling van de boeken des Ouden
Verbonds. Tweede, geheel omgewerkte uitgave; Leiden 188¬), 1-o. Scholars of that time
that did trv to draw a complete literarv-critical sketch of the chapter mainlv followed
Wellhausenand remained somewhat uncertainabout their ownresults, see, e.g. E. Albers,
Die Ouellenberichte in Iosua I–XII. Beitrag zur Ouellenkritik des Hexateuchs (Bonn 18o1),
8o–1oo; Steuernagel, Deuteronomium und Iosua, 1¬o–1¬-; Holzinger, Das Buch Iosua,
Otto, Mazzotfest, o8–8o; I. Briend, Bible et archeologie en Iosue o,r–8,:;. Recherches
sur la composition de Iosue r–r: (PhD diss., Institut Catholique de Paris, 1o¬8); L.
Schwienhorst, Die Eroberung Ierichos. Exegetische Untersuchung zu Iosua o (SBS 1ii;
Stuttgart 1o8o); Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho, i:o–io¬.
:o micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
horst identifes seven redactions of a core narrative. One wonders how
such a massive and paper consuming process of text accretion would ft
into the general picture of text production in Antiquitv that can be estab-
lishedonthe basis of parallels fromthe scribal culture fromneighbouring
Tere is no need to describe and discuss these theories in full, since
the honouree has done so in a verv clear and elaborate wav.
important for the present studv are his svnchronic observations,
form part of departure for mv own redaction-critical analvsis of the
chapter. Noort has made the important observation that the number
seven not onlv appears in the repeated reference to the seven priests
carrving seven trumpets (verses a, o, 8, 1:), but structures the whole of
the narrative in its fnal form. Noort discerns seven direct speeches and
seven corresponding narrative parts.
Te number seven (H932) itself
occurs 1a times, i.e. two times seven.
One could easilv extend his observations since the verbs “to encircle”
(33O) and “to shout” (91¨) are also attested seven times in the passage
under discussion, whereas the shofar occurs two times seven, i.e. four-
teen times. One should further observe that the number seven occurs
four times in combination with the priests (D*1HD).
It is also important
to note that these kevwords are frequentlv attested in the non-narrative
parts of the chapter, more specifcallv in the participial and infnitive
clauses (verses 8–o and 1:) that give the frst part of the narrative (Iosh
o:i–1o) its burdensome and static character.
On the basis of these observations it is possible to discern a priestlv
laver (RedP) in this chapter constituting of at least four text segments,
verses a, o, 8–o, and 1i–1:. Given the sevenfold repetition of several kev
terms, it is signifcant to note that these priestlv additions consist of 1o-,
that is: ffeen times seven, words. Tese passages all stress the role of
K. van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge,
Mass., ioo¬).
Noort, Das Buch Iosua, 1oa–1¬i.
E. Noort, “De val van de grote stad Iericho: Kanttekeningen bij svnchronische en
diachronische benaderingen,” ^edTT -o (1ooo) io-–i¬o.
Noort, “Kanttekeningen,” i¬a. Te seven textsegments with direct speech are, ac-
cording to Noort: o:i–-; o:o; o:¬; o:1o; o:1o–1o; o:ii, and o:io. Perhaps it is necessarv
to count the embedded direct speech in verse 1ob (DP9*¨H1 “19*¨H” :DD*7R *¨OR D1* 79)
as an independent segment of direct speech and consider verse io as part of a diferent
segment in line with the Masoretic paragraph division.
Iosh o:aa, ob, 8a, 1:a. Te D*1HD are mentioned fve more times, i.e., in verse ab, oa,
oa, 1i, and 1oa.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- :1
the priests in carrving (R21) and sounding (9ÞP) the shofars and show
great interest in cultic and ceremonial aspects concerning the procession
around Iericho. It stands to reason that the short mention in verse 1oa of
the priests blowing the shofars the seventh time Israel encircled the citv
also belongs to this priestlv laver. Tere are also good reasons to consider
verses 18–ioa and iab as respectivelv the sixth and seventh priestlv
intervention in the narrative since the theme of temple treasurv is of great
importance to the keepers of this treasurv, i.e. the priests. Together with
verse 1oa these passages consist of ao, i.e. seven times seven, words. As a
result, we can discern seven priestlv additions to Iosh o:i–i- consisting
of 1-a words, i.e. ii times seven, the number ii representing the number
of letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Tese priestlv additions gain even more profle when thev are con-
trasted with the non-priestlv part of the passage (Iosh o:i–:, -, ¬, 1o–
11, 1a–1-, 1ob–1¬, iob–iaa, i-). In this pre-priestlv laver the priests are
absent and all action evolves around Yhwh, Ioshua and the people. In this
pre-priestlv version instruction and execution correspond closelv:
o:- H717à H91¨P D9H¨7D 19*¨* ¨D12H 71Þ¨PR DD9O23 731*H ]¨Þ3 ¨2O3 *H*1
o:iob H717à H91¨P D9H 19*¨*1 ¨D12H 71Þ¨PR D9H 9O2D *H*1
Within this older literarv stratumof Ioshua o, there is onlv a single shofar.
Here the shofar has no cultic, but rather its ordinarv militarv function,
that is as a signal for the people to raise the battle-crv (H717à H91¨P).
priestlv additions, however, go at great lengths to ascertain the cultic role
of the shofars (now in the plural), and the role of the priests in handling
them. Since the pre-priestlv version emploved this word shofar in these
passages, the priestlv editor could not use the word “trumpet” (H¨33H)
emploved in the priestlv legislation of Num 1o:1–1o and related post-
exilic writings,
but adopted the term provided bv his source text.
In this respect, I follow the observations made bv Wellhausen. According to mv
analvsis, however, the element of seven rounds around the citv was alreadv part of the
older laver, see also V. Fritz, Das Buch Iosua (HAT 1.¬; Tübingen 1ooa), ¬o.
Te element of battle-crv has a close parallel in 1Sama:-–8, which is linked up with
the ark of the covenant (cf. Iosh o:¬, 11; 1Sama:-) and a reference to the Exodus narrative
(1Sam a:8, cf. Iosh -:o).
Num1o:i, 8, o, 1o (see below); :1:o; Ezra ::1o (see below); Neh 1i::-.a1 (see below);
1Chr 1::8 (see below); 1-:ia, i8; 1o:o, ai; iChr -:1i, 1:; 1::1i, 1a; 1-:1a; io:i8; i::1:,
1:; io:io, i¬, i8; Sir -o:1o; and a¬ times in 1OM cols. II–III, VII–X, XVI–XVIII with
parallels in the aO copies of the War Scroll: aOao1, aOaoa and aOaoo. See further iKgs
11:1a, 1a; 1i:1a; Hos -:8; and Ps o8:o.
:i micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
A comparison between the pre-priestlv stratum and the priestlv addi-
tions to Ioshua o furthermore shows that the interventions have been
inserted mainlv before the passage thev wish to modifv.
Tus the priest-
lv additioninIosho:a anticipates and modifes the instructionof Yhwhto
Ioshua giveninthe following verse. It ofers a specifcationof the frst part
of verse - dealing with the blowing of the shofar. Te same phenomenon
can be observed in verse o which relegates Ioshua’s address to the people
in verse ¬ to an address to the priests. Te addition in verses 8–o also
departs from verse ¬ but modifes the instruction to go forward (1¨39)
and transforms the militarv escort of the ark (H1H* ]1¨R *1D7 ¨39* ?17HH1)
into a priestlv procession centred around the seven priests (¨7H ?17HH1
D*1HDH *1D7).
While the fourth and ffh additions (verses 1i–1:, 1oa) do not intro-
duce new interests, but reassert the role of the priests, the addition in
verses 18–ioa modifv the theme of the
Whereas the
pre-priestlv version (verses 1¬, i1) refers to the complete extermination
of Iericho’s inhabitants,
the priestlv redactor twisted the meaning of the
word in order to stress the votive aspect. Whereas the pre-priestlv version
made an exception from complete annihilation made for Rahab and her
familv (verses 1¬b, ii–i:), the priestlv editor added another exception,
namelv all precious metal objects in order to secure them for deposit in
the temple treasurv, which implies priestlv custodv.
Verse 1¬ not onlv
repeats the proviso made in verse 1¬b (Þ¨ followed bv H*H Hiphil; trans-
formed into Þ¨ plus D¨H Hiphil), but also anticipates the priestlv narra-
tive of Achan’s sin (Iosh ¬:1, 1o–io) bv means of phrase “take from the
A parallel can be drawn with the priestlv version of the creation narrative (Genesis
1) which precedes the older version(Geni:a–a:i-) inorder to ofer its owninterpretation
Given the repeated insertion of word D*1HD in the priestlv additions, it comes
somewhat as a surprise that we do not fnd the word in verse ioa. Te plural form
of both the verb 19ÞP*1 and the noun P1¨D23 renders bevond doubt, to mv mind, that
the priests are implied here and that we are dealing with a priestlv modifcation of
verse iob, where the people start shouting onlv afer thev have heard the blast of the
Te use of the word D¨H is comparable to the Mesha stele, line 1¬: 2OD ¨P297 *D
HPO¨HH, “for I (i.e. Mesha) had devoted them(i.e. the inhabitants of Nebo) to destruction
for Ashtar-Chemosh.”
C. Brekelmans, De
Herem in het Oude Testament (PhD diss., Catholic Universitv
Nijmegen, 1o-o), 8a–oi, 18o, made a similar distinction between the two uses of the root
D¨H in Iosh o:1¬, i1, and o:18–1o. See further Lev i¬:i1, i8–io, for parallels for priestlv
appropriation of the D¨H.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- ::
herem” (D¨HH¨]O HÞ7, Iosh o:18; ¬:1, 11) and the expression “to entangle
into disorder” (¨D9, Iosh o:18; ¬:i- [i×]).
Te characteristic distinctive vocabularv of the priestlv additions to
Ioshua o has interesting parallels in post-exilic writings, such as Chron-
icles, Ezra and Nehemiah as well as priestlv passages in the Pentateuch.
One of the passages with a high densitv of the same vocabularv and ide-
ological motives as the priestlv laver in Ioshua o, is found in iChr 1::1o–
Inthis chapter, the Chronicler took up the record of the war between
king Abiam of Iudah with Ieroboam of Northern Israel in 1Kgs 1-:o–
¬ and placed a speech of his own making in the mouth of the former
emphasizing the legitimacv of the cult at Ierusalemversus the illegitimate
cult in the North. Te passage shares with the priestlv version of Ioshua o
the clear distinction between priests sounding the trumpets (iChr 1::1a:
P1¨33H3 D*¨33HO D*1HDH1) and lav people raising their battle-crv (iChr
1::1-: H71H* 2*R 19*¨*1). Here too, victorv is presented as the logical out-
come of correct cultic observance.
In Ezra ::1o–11 and Neh 1i:i¬–a: the same expressions occur but
now without anv militarv connotation. In Ezra ::1o–11, priests with
trumpets (P1¨33H3 D*237O D*1HDH) and lav people with their shouting
(H717à H91¨P) mark the dedication of the Second Temple. Ezra o:1o–ii
ofers an interesting parallel to the (priestlv) passage preceding Ioshua
o, namelv Iosh -:1ob–1ia. Both passages describe the celebration of
Passover as inauguration of a new era, either afer the exile (Ezra o) or
the desert wandering (Ioshua -). Tese elements of inauguration and
dedication are also clearlv discernable in the narrative of the dedication
of the wall of Ierusalem in Neh 1i:i¬–a:. Te passage describes in great
detail the festivities and cultic processions (PD7HP) around the wall of the
rebuild citv. Of special importance for Ioshua o is the fact that here too
we fnd seven priests carrving trumpets (P1¨33H).
Finallv, the cultic emphasis is also manifest in the priestlv legislation
found in Num 1o:1–1o. Tat passage goes at lengths to ascertain the role
of the Aaronide priests in handling these instruments as well as their
ceremonial function (Num 1o:8 P1¨33H3 19ÞP* D*1HDH ]¨HR *131). Tis
passage not onlv shares much of the motives and expressions found in
the priestlv version of Ioshua o, it also forms part of the great priestlv
See Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, 1:a–1a:, 1-i.
As pointed out alreadv bv Schwienhorst, Die Eroberung Ierichos, 1i¬–1i8, 1::.
Tus Schwienhorst, Die Eroberung, 1i¬–1io; Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho,
:a micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
overarching of the wilderness narrative. According to the priestlv pre-
sentation, the period of desert wandering which ended in Ioshua :–o,
started in Num 1o:11, right afer the pericope just discussed. Interesting
is also the fact that both at the beginning and end of this inclusio, we
fnd a priestlv narrative of the celebration of Passover (Num o:1–-; Iosh
On the basis of these parallels it becomes clear that the priestlv laver
of Ioshua o served several motives. It ascertained the role of the priests
over against the lav people bv introducing this bodv of priests within
the narrative, as well as their object of interest and source of power, viz.
the temple treasurv. It created a literarv link with the Sinai narrative
in order to inaugurate Israel’s entrance into the sacred land in a wav
similar to the dedication of the Temple and the citv wall afer the exile
(Ezra ::1o–11; Neh 1i:i¬–a1).
Finallv, it also serves the demilitarizing
tendencies of the priestlv writers discernable throughout the whole of
priestlv additions to the narratives of Genesis up to Ioshua.
a. Te Greek translation of Ioshua o.:–:·
If the doublets, tensions, as well as the redundant and static stvle of
the Hebrew version of Iosh o:i–i- should be seen as resulting from the
priestlv redaction of the chapter in the wav just described, it becomes
clear that the shorter Greek version does not attest to the stage of redac-
tion prior to the priestlv revision. Te minuses in the Greek version do
not square with the priestlv additions in the Hebrew text. In Iosh o::–
a, the Greek version lacks not onlv the priestlv addition of verse a, but
also part of the pre-priestlv version found in verses i–:. In verse o onlv
Perhaps this explains whv the priestlv editors did not purge the now truncated
narrative Iosh -:1:–1- altogether. Te angelic being declares the Israelite ground, which
Ioshua has reachedafer the crossing of the Iordan, tobe holv, since it was nowunderstood
as a reference to the whole of Cisjordanian Israel.
S.E. McEvenue, Te ^arrative Style of the Priestly Vriter (AnBib -o; Rome 1o¬1),
11¬–1i:; N. Lohfnk, “Die Priesterschrif und die Geschichte,” in Congress Volume. Got-
tingen r;// (VTSup io; Leiden1o¬8), 18o–ii-; andespeciallv N. Lohfnk, “Die Schichten
des Pentateuch und der Krieg,” in Gewalt und Gewaltlosigkeit im Alten Testament (ed.
N. Lohfnk; OD oo; Freiburg 1o8:), -1–11o; repr. as pages i1:–i-: and i--–:1- respec-
tivelv in Studien zum Pentateuch (ed. N. Lohfnk; SBAB a; Stuttgart 1o88). Both McEv-
enue and Lohfnk adhere to the classical hvpothesis of distinct sources (IE and P
) woven
together bv a later redactor. To mv mind, the priestlv additions in these books never
existed independentlv from the older laver which thev sought to extend and emend.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- :-
the second half of the priestlv addition is absent from the Greek text.
Most of the other priestlv interventions in verses 8–o and 1:, 1oa, 18–1o,
and iab are refected in the Greek text as well. Hence, the Greek version
presupposes this heterogeneous, lavered text. Te numerous deviations
from the Hebrew text should be considered in terms of stvlistic shorten-
ing and strengthening of the narrative and militarv elements of the storv.
In order to substantiate this thesis, I will frst point to a number of qual-
itative variants between the Greek and Hebrew versions of the passage
that can onlv be attributed to the Greek translator before turning to the
larger quantitative variants.
Starting frst withsvntactical features, the Greek translationof Ioshua o
is characterized bv a relativelv high number of genuine Greek svntactical
genitivus absolutus:
καi 0νακραγóντων α0τuν (o:-)
participium coniunctum:
καi περιελ0οjσα í κιβωτòς . . . ε00rως 0πIλ0εν
third person imperative:
0νακραγíτω (o:-), παραπορευrσ0ωσαν (o:¬),
παρελ0íτωσαν (o:8), σημαινíτωσαν (o:8),
rπακολου0ε/τω (o:8), παραπορευíσ0ωσαν (o:o),
0κουσoτω (o:11).
Of special interest for a studv of the interpretation of the Greek trans-
lation are the Greek clause connectors, since thev reveal the translator’s
understanding of the macro-svntactical structure of the chapter:
δr (o::, o, 1o, 1o, io) and uς δr (o:io) for Hebrew -1 vis-a-vis aa
instances of καi.
See I. Soisalon-Soininen, “Der Gebrauch des genitivus absolutus in der Septuaginta,”
in vol. a of Proceedings of the Fiþh Vorld Congress of Iewish Studies (ed. P. Peli; Ierusalem
1o¬:), 1:1–1:o; repr. pages 1¬-–18o in Studien zur Septuaginta-Syntax (ed. A. Aejme-
laeus and R. Sollamo, AASF i:¬; Helsinki 1o8¬); Den Hertog, Studien, 1¬o; S. Sipilä,
Between Literalness and Freedom. Translation Technique in the Septuagint of Ioshua and
Iudges regarding the Clause Connections Introduced by 1 and *D (Publications of the Finnish
Exegetical Societv ¬-; Göttingen 1ooo), oa–o¬.
See the discussion of participium coniunctum in Sipilä, Between Literalness and
Freedom, -o–oa; and further, Den Hertog, Studien, 1¬-.
Although the third person imperative in Greek would form a nice counterpart to
the iussive in Classical Hebrew, the former Greek construction occurs onlv rarelv in the
Although the ratio -:aa for δr:καi as clause connectors in chapter o still points to
the high degree of interference from the Semitic source text when compared to genuine
Greek compositions, it is nevertheless twice as high as the general ratio in other parts of
the Greek Ioshua, see Sipilä, Between Literalness and Freedom, :-–ai.
:o micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
μηδr (o:1o) for Hebrew R71.
0λλo for Hebrew Þ¨1 (o:18) vis-a-vis πλiν (o:1¬, ia).
γoρ (o:1o) and διóτι for Hebrew *D.
Also on the level of translation equivalents we fnd a varietv of Greek
equivalents for the same Hebrewexpression. In these cases too, there can
be no doubt that this variation points to literarv initiatives of the Greek
91¨ Hi. 0νακρoζω (o:-, -), βοoω (o:1o), 0ναβοoω (o:1o, 1o), κρoζω
(o:1o), 0λαλoζω (o:io)
¨7H rπακολου0rω (o:8), παραπορεuομαι (o:o), πορεuομαι (o:o),
προπορεuομαι (o:1:), εiσπορεuομαι (o:1:)
33O περιiστημι (o::), κυκλóω (o:¬), περιrρχομαι (o:11, 1-),
περικυκλóω (o:1:)
R21 rχω (o:8), αiρω (o:1i), φrρω (o:1:)
(¨Þ33) DD2 Hi. 0νiστημι (o:1i), 0νiστημι ðρ0ρου (o:1-), cf. oρ0ρiζω τò
πρωi (::1; 8:1o)
¨39 περιrρχομαι (o:¬), παραπορεuομαι (o:¬), παρrρχομαι (o:8)
H*H Hi. περιποιrω (o:1¬), ζωγρrω (o:i-)
9ÞP σαλπiζω (o:-, o, 1:, 1o, io), σημαiνω (o:o)
Furthermore, the Greek version of Ioshua o contains a remarkablv high
number of short adverbial phrases that lack a clear counterpart in Classi-
cal Hebrew.
From a quantitative point of view, these adverbial phrases
are pluses of the Greek text vis-à-vis the Hebrew. Froma translation tech-
nical point of view, such adverbial phrases, particularlv the adverbial par-
ticiples, are ofen seen as indicators for either genuine Greek composi-
tions or relativelv free Greek translations.
Finallv, fromthe point of view
of the composition of the Greek version of Ioshua o, thev are of special
importance as these adverbial phrases add specifc nuances to the storv.
See the discussion of the varietv of renderings in ixx-Ioshua for R71 in Sipilä,
Between Literalness and Freedom, a-–-o.
Sipilä, Between Literalness and Freedom, -i–-a.
Sipilä, Between Literalness and Freedom, 1-:–1-o.
See alreadv Hollenberg, Der Charakter, -, who classifed these exampes under his
categorv: “das Bestreben . . . die Monotonie der hebr. Darstellung, welche dieselbe Sache
wiederholt mit demselben Ausdruck bezeichnet, durch Abwechselung im Gebrauch der
Worte zu vermeiden.” See further Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho, iao–ia:.
For the sake of brevitv, no distinction is made here between Greek adverbs proper
and participles or adjectives used in an adverbial manner.
See R.A. Martin, Syntactical Evidence of Semitic Sources in Greek Documents (SCS :;
Cambridge, Mass., 1o¬a).
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- :¬
Tev color the static narrative of the present Hebrewtext as thev raise the
dramatic tension of the narrative.
o:- α0τóματα. Whereas the Hebrew text states that the wall of Iericho will
fall fat (H*PHP), the Greek version makes clear that the walls will fall
Te adjective α0τóματος has no counterpart in Classical
It adds a specifc nuance to the storv that could onlv have
originated on the level of the Greek translation.
o:- oρμiσας. Te Greek verb oρμoω, “to put oneself in motion,” used here as
aorist participle, is a common word in Greek writings from Antiquitv.
In the Septuagint it occurs onlv sparinglv and where it does, it is either
without a Hebrewcounterpart or it is a unique rendering.
On the level of
the Greek version of Ioshua as a document in its own right, a connection
exists between Iosh o:- and a:18, where the same verb occurs to indicate
the rushing movement of the river Iordan afer the priests carrving the ark
had lef their position at the riverbed (uς rξrβησαν οl lερεtς . . . , uρμησεν
τò Iδωρ το0 Ιορδoνου κατo χuραν). Apparentlv, the Greek version of
Iosh o:- convevs a similar idea: the Israelite people are commanded to rush
into the citv afer the action taken bv the priests just as the water of the
Iordan continues its course afer the priests had come into motion.
o:¬ rνωπλισμrνοι, “heavv armed.” Te verb rνοπλiζωis attestedonlv tentimes
in the Septuagint, exclusivelv as aorist middle participle with the meaning
“armed.” In Num :1:-; :i:1¬, i¬, io, :o, :i; and Deut ::18, it renders
Hebrew ?17H, “equipped for battle.” Tat Hebrew participle passive occurs
also in Iosh o:¬ as well as in verses o and 1:, but here the word has
been rendered bv the Greek phrase οl μoχιμοι. Tat Greek expression,
Defnitions for Septuagint lexemes follow for the larger part those given bv T. Mu-
raoka, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint. Chiefy of the Pentateuch and the Twelve
Prophets (Louvain iooi).
Butler, Ioshua, -o. For a discussion of the word, see C. Spicq, “α0τóματος,” TL^T
1:i:1–i:a. Te word occurs onlv fve more times in the Septuagint. Its use in ixx-Lev
i-:-, 11 for Hebrew H*DO, “second growth” is no less interpretative than the equation
found in ixx-Iosh o:-. Te same equation H*DO-α0τóματος in ixx-aKgdms 1o:io (as
well as Isa :¬::o inthe versions of Teodotion, Aquila andSvmmachus) probablv depends
on the Pentateuchal passage. In ixx-Iob ia:ia α0τóματος has been emploved in a free
rephrasing of the Hebrew, whereas the last attestation (Wis 1¬:o) is in a genuine Greek
LSI 1i-ib–1i-:a. Te word is also frequentlv attested in the documentarv papvri
fromHellenistic and RomanEgvpt, see F. Preisigke, Vorterbuch der griechischen Papyrus-
urkunden mit Einschluf der griechischen Inschriþen, Aufschriþen, Ostraka, Mumien-
schilder usw. aus Ágypten (Berlin 1oi¬), i:ioo–io1.
In ixx-Gen :1:i1 the verb squares Hebrew 1*1D¨PR 312, in ixx-Num 1o:ai H1D,
in ixx-Iosh a:18 312, in ixx
-Iudg io::¬ 21H Hiphil, in ixx-1Kgdms 1-:1o O*9, and
ixx-Nah ::1o O2D, see HRCS 1o1aa. See further G. Bertram, “oρμi, oρμημα, oρμoω,
0φορμi,” TV^T -:ao8–a¬-. Hollenberg, Der Charakter, ¬, listed the word inhis categorv
of “kleine Zusätze.”
:8 micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
however, fts the Hebrew phrase HOH7OH *21R better, as can be seen from
that equation in Iosh o:: and -:o, whereas the phrase ?17H, “equipped for
battle,” fnds an apt rendering in Iosh a:1: εuζωνοι εiς μoχην. Apparentlv,
the Greek translator of Ioshua was not given to stereotvped renderings, but
rather varied in his equivalents for specifc reasons.
In Iosh o:¬ the phrase
qualifes both subject (οl μoχιμοι) and fnite verb (παραπορευrσ0ωσαν)
and adds the notion of the heavv guard with the large shields (τo oπλα) in
front of the priests and the ark.
o:8 uσαuτως, “likewise,” lacks a counterpart in the Hebrew text of Iosh o:8.
Te adverb occurs relativelv seldom in the Septuagint and renders various
Hebrew words (17H* ,-D ,PR!D ,1HOD ,]D).
In ixx-Iosh o:¬–8 it establishes
a link between the groups of warriors and priests accompanving the ark.
o:8 ε0τóνως, “vigorouslv,” occurs onlv here in the entire Septuagint. Te cog-
nate adjective εuτονος occurs onlv iniMacc 1i:i: and aMacc ¬:1o. Mazor
takes the adverb as proof for a Hebrew Vorlage !9 7D3 which would have
been a corruption from !9 *7D3 which on its turn would have been a
substitution for P1¨D123.
Even if this chain of changes on the Hebrew
level would have taken place, a Greek rendering of this deviant Hebrew
text would have been rν πoσ¸ η iσχuι. It is more probable therefore that
the adverb ε0τóνως refects a literarv initiative of the Greek translator to
strengthen the notion of the clarion call (σημαiνω, another literarv initia-
tive of the translator).
o:11 Te adverb ε00rως, “straightawav,” occurs onlv fourteen times in the
Greek Old Testament, predominantlv in the genuine Greek composi-
and also lacks a direct counterpart in Classical Hebrew.
Hollenberg, Der Charakter, ¬.
See HRCS 1ao-c–1aooa. See also Hollenberg, Der Charakter, ¬.
Mazor, “A Nomistic Re-Working,” -a–-o. As Moatti-Fine, Iesus, 1ia, has pointed
out, σoλπιγξ is not a literal rendering of ¨D12, but rather of H¨33H. A literal rendering
of ¨D12 would rather be κερατiνη, as witnessed bv the frequent substitutions attested
in hexaplaric witnesses to ixx-Iosh o, deriving perhaps from Teodotion’s version, thus
O. Pretzl, “Die griechischenHandschrifengruppenimBuche Iosua untersucht nachihrer
Eigenart und ihrem Verhältnis zueinander,” Bib o (1oi8) :¬¬–ai¬, here a1a, see also
HRCS ¬oob.
Tus alreadv Hollenberg, Der Charakter, o.
1Esd 1::o; ixx-Sus io; Wis -:1i; iMacc ::8; a:1o; o:1:, i8; 8:11; 1a:1i, 1o; :Macc
¬:1o; and aMacc 1o:¬. In ixx-Iob -:: it is a successful rendering of Hebrew DRPD,
“suddenlv,” see HRCS -¬ob.
Cf. Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho, i-¬. Te reverse is true for the Hebrew word
D9D, which cannot be literallv expressed in Greek, hence the varietv of equivalents not
onlv in the Septuagint (see, e.g. Iosh 1o:ai PHR D9D-εiς 0παξ), but even in Aquila’s
translation, see T. Muraoka, Hebrew/Aramaic Index to the Septuagint Keyed to the Hatch-
Redpath Concordance (Grand Rapids, Mich. 1oo8), 1ioc; I. Reider and N. Turner, An
Index to Aquila (VTSup 1i; Leiden 1ooo), :o:a. Te statement made bv Holmes, Ioshua,
:a, that “the translator does not appear to have known the meaning of D9D,” cannot be
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- :o
the Hebrew version of Iosh o:11 makes clear that the Israelites returned to
their camp afer the ark had made a single circuit (PHR D9D) around the
citv, the Greek version stresses the immediate return of the ark.
o:1: Te adverb rγγu0εν, “from close bv,” is another raritv within the Greek
Bible and occurs onlv two more times (ixx-Iosh o:1o; ixx-Ezek ¬:-). In
ixx-Iosh o:1: the adverb describes the movement of the Israelite crowd
(o λοιπòς ðχλος) encircling the citv from close bv. Since Iosh o:1i–1a
describes the action on the second dav, it seems likelv that the Greek
translator introduced this adverb to heighten the tension. On the frst
dav the procession returned quicklv (ε00rως) to the camp. Te adverbial
participles in verses - and ¬ also stress the militarv precautions taken bv
Ioshua. As militarv action from the inhabitants of Iericho failed to occur,
the Israelites could feel more secure and could therefore close in on the
citv, according to the Greek version.
o:1a Although the adverb πoλιν, “again,” occurs more ofen in the Septuagint,
it is mostlv in combination with Greek expressions rendering the sin-
gle Hebrew word 312, or without a clear Hebrew equivalent at all.
against the corresponding clause in o:11 (ε00rως 0πIλ0εν εiς τíν παρεμ-
βολíν) the adverb πoλιν in o:1: (καi 0πIλ0εν πoλιν εiς τíν παρεμβολiν)
mav have been introduced bv the Greek translator in order to ofer some
variation in his narrative and accentuate the ease with which the Israelites
returned to their camp.
o:io Te climax of the narrative, Iosh o:io, is accentuated in the Greek ver-
sion bv means of 0μα, and 0παν. Te former adverb expresses congruitv:
“together,” “at the same time,” in a succinct wav that is not possible in Clas-
sical Hebrew.
In ixx-Iosh o:io as well as in the corresponding verse -,
the adverb indicates the combined efort of the people in their war-crv
(íλoλαξεν π0ς o λαòς 0μα0λαλαγμ uμεγoλ ωκαi iσχυρ u). Te fall of the
wall is marked in the Greek text bv the adjective 0πας used in an adverbial
wav. Here too, the Greek phrase lacks a counterpart in the Hebrew text.
Te two adverbs stress the joint efort of the Israelites and the complete
result of their action.
Onlv a full-fedged commentarv to the Septuagint of Ioshua o can do
full justice to these and other literarv initiatives introduced bv the Greek
translator. Nevertheless, the observations made thus far sumce to show
that the translator deliberatelv reshaped the narrative in order to stress
the militarv elements in the narrative and enhance the dvnamics of the
repetitive storv.
HRCS 1o-1c–1o-ia.
Te adverb occurs 1ia times in the Septuagint, out of which fve times in the Greek
Ioshua, where it refers to the collectivitv of the twelve stones taken from the Iordan river
(ixx-Iosh a::, 8) and the combined forces of the Canaanite kings (ixx-Iosh o:i).
Butler, Ioshua, oo.
ao micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
Te large minuses in the Greek version ft this pattern of stvlistic
remodelling of the underlving Hebrew text, as a studv of the structure
of the Greek text in its own right makes clear.
Whereas the Hebrew
version of Iosh o:i–1o in its fnal, priestlv version contains fve segments
of direct speech (o:i–-, o, ¬, 1o with an embedded direct speech), the
Greek version contains onlv three, i.e. the Lord’s address to Ioshua (o:i–
-), Ioshua’s instructions to the priests (o:o–o), and Ioshua’s instruction to
the people (o:1o). Te priestlv insertion Iosh o:8–o has been transformed
from narrative describing the execution of the preceding instructions
(o:ob) into part of the direct speech. Te narrative introduction to the
direct speech in the Hebrew text of o:¬ (Oere: D9H¨7R ¨OR*1) has been
transformed into the opening words of Ioshua’s address to the priests
(Παραγγεiλατε τ u λα u).
Tis Greek clause serves as an introduction
to a part of indirect speech. Tus the short priestlv instruction (o:ob) and
its execution (o:8–o) of the Hebrewtext has been telescoped into a single
stvlized direct speech. Bv omitting these instructions in the direct speech
of the Lord to Ioshua (o:a), the Greek translator reduced the interest of
the priestlv redactors into a militarv stratagem of Ioshua.
Perhaps this
also explains whv the Greek translator added the distinction between
Yhwh (rγu) and Ioshua (σu δr) in verses i–: and changed the number
of the verb at the beginning of verse : from plural (DP3O1) into singular
In the following verses o:11–1o the Greek translator modifed the nar-
rative account bv amplifving in verse 1i that it was “on the second dav”
(τ¸I íμrρα τ¸I δευτrρα) that the following action took place. Bv omitting
in verse 1- the fnal clause and modifving the number of the Hebrew
text “seven times” (D*O9D 932) into “six times” (rξoκις), the translator
Onlv Fernandez, Commentarius, 81–8a, has paid attention to the structure of the
Greek version of Iosh o.
Te use of the Greek verb παραγγrλλω, “to proclaim,” points to a(nother) literarv
initiative bv the Greek translator, since the word lacks a direct equivalent in Classical
Hebrew. Where the verb has been emploved bv the Greek translators of other biblical
books, it renders a varietv of Hebrew verbs, each with a meaning less distinct than the
Greek one. Tus in ixx
-Iudg a:1o it renders Þ9! Hiphil, “to utter a crv,” in ixx-1Kgdms
1o:1¬ Þ93 Hiphil, “to call,” in ixx-:Kgdms 1i:o ?9* Niphal, “to take advise,” in ixx-iChr
:o:ii andiEsd1:1 ¨39 Hiphil, “to cause to pass,” andinixx-1Kgdms 1-:a; i::8; :Kgdms
1-:ii; and ixx-Ier io(ao):1a; i¬(-o):io; i8(-1):i¬, 9O2 Hiphil, “to cause to hear.” In ixx-
Dan::a, the word renders Aramaic ¨OR. See further HRCS 1o-ob, C. Spicq, “παραγγελiα,
παραγγrλλω,” TL^T ::o–11, Moatti-Fine, Iesus, 1i:, and Auld, Ioshua, 1:-.
Moatti-Fine, Iesus, 1ia.
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- a1
reserved all the decisive action in verses 1o–io for the seventh circuit (τ¸I
περιóδω τ¸I rβδóμ¸η).
In a similar vein, the Greek translator brings down the twofold men-
tion of the reason whv Rahab and her familv was spared (m1-Iosh o:1¬b,
i-b) to one (ixx-Iosh o:i-b) and removes the doublet at the beginning
of verse io where we fnd both the pre-priestlv version of the people crv-
ing and its priestlv correction close together. In all these cases, the Greek
translator rendered the second of two similar clauses and sentences and
omitted the frst. As a result the balance between narrated time and nar-
rative time is restored.
In the light of these observations the claim that the Greek translator
held a specifc interest in priestlv matters, as argued bv Mazor and
can no longer be upheld. Te translator did introduce
the subject οl lερεtς a few times at places where the Hebrew text lacks
a reference to the priests, but did so in order to compensate for the
drastic curtailments in verses :b–a and o.
Te Greek translator did not
purge the narrative completelv from the substantive priestlv reworking
of the storv, but further integrated the interventions into the narrative.
Apparentlv then, it was not primarilv an interest in priestlv privileges, but
rather in strategic and historical probabilitv, evident also in other parts
of his translation, that motivated the reworking of the narrative.
Tis conclusion can be further substantiated bv a studv of the Greek
vocabularv of the passage in the light of contemporarv Greek writings.
Te closest parallels to the Greek version of Ioshua o come from Greek
Cf. Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho, i-a–i-8.
Mazor, “A Nomistic Re-Working,” Bieberstein, Iosua-Iordan-Iericho, iaa–i-8.
Te Greek translator also carefullv avoided the common Greek word for religious
procession, κωμασiα, which is well attested in papvri and inscriptions from Ptolemaic
Egvpt, see, e.g. OGIS -1 (i8-–iaovci), P. Tebt. II io8 (1o¬–1o8ci), P.Oxv. III -1o
(third centurv ci), which explicitlv mentions the wages for the trumpeter (line 1o: τ¸ I
σαλπικτ¸I), probablv not onlv for reasons of limited interest in cultic aspects, but also
because that word was used particularlv for the procession of the images of the gods of
Egvpt, thus LSI 1o1¬b and Preisigke, Vorterbuch, s.v.
Flavius Iosephus, Ant. -.ii–:o ofers a further step in this process of stvlistic
shortening. He also telescoped the narratives of the Passover (Iosh -:1o–1i) and the
siege of Iericho (Ioshua o), bv correlating the twofold mention of seven davs, as becomes
evident from Ant. -.ii: καi τ¸I πρuτ¸η τIς rορτIς íμrρα. Another parallel to the stvlistic
shortening of Iosh o can be found in the so-called Samaritan version of Ioshua, where
verse o is omittedand1: drasticallv reduced, see M. Gaster, “Das BuchIosua inhebräisch-
samaritanischer Rezension,” ZDMGoi (1oo8) iaa–ia-, andI. Macdonald, Te Samaritan
Chronicle ^o. II íor. Sepher Ha-Yamim). From Ioshua to ^ebuchadnezzar (BZAW 1o¬;
Berlin: de Gruvter, 1ooo), 8:–8a, 1:–1a¯.
Van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation, ao8–a1:, ao-–a¬o, -1o.
ai micu.ii ×. v.× uiv miiv
historical writings, such as Xenophon,
and a militarv treatise written
around :oovci bv Aeneas Tacticus entitled On the Defense of Fortifed
As the manv references to the work in the historv written bv
Polvbius makes clear, Aeneas’ handbook was widelv read and studied in
Hellenistic times.
It is tempting to see a link here with the training and administrative
and militarv career of a Iewish court omcial, Dositheos son of Drimv-
los. As I have argued elsewhere, this person fts the profle of the Greek
translator of Ioshua and mav perhaps be seen as the author of the Greek
As íπομνηματογραφóς at the courts of the third and fourth
Ptolemies, Euergetes I (iao–iiivci) and Philopator (iii–io-vci),
Dositheos must have had a good Greek education, which included writ-
ing and warfare.
Furthermore, he must have put his militarv knowledge
into practise during the fourth Svrian war, in which he saved the life of
his king (:Macc 1::; Polvbius -.81). If his father Drimvlos is identical to
the local guide in Palestine for Zenon’s journev through this part of the
Ptolemaic empire, Dositheos must have been well informed about the
citv of Iericho and its environment.
However, in the absence of further
external data, this hvpothetical link between this historical fgure and the
Greek version of Ioshua o is deemed to remain speculative. Nevertheless,
whoever produced the Greek translation of Ioshua must have done so
with good knowledge of contemporarv Hellenistic warfare.
Xenophon, Anab. o.-.i-–i¬, contains the combination of phrases for sounding the
trumpet (σημαiνω τ¸I σoλπιγγι), making a battle-crv (0λαλoζω) and moving into the
battlefeld (oρμoω). Similar combinations can be found in OGIS oo (the Rosetta stone,
1oovci), line 1of., I.Panamara i (c. :ovci) and Appian, Te Hannibalic Var a¬.
Aeneas Tacticus. Asclepiodotus. Onasander (Te Illinois Greek Club. LCL). Of spe-
cial interest are sections ii on guards and the importance of signals bv the trumpet (σoλ-
πιγξ), io on patrols (περιοδεtαι), and io on smuggling arms into a citv especiallv during
a festival. For a studv of the vocabularv see D. Barends, Lexicon Aeneium. A Lexicon and
Index to Aeneas Tacticus’ Military Manual “On the Defence of Fortifed Positions” (PhD
diss., Universitv of Utrecht; Assen1o--).
M.N. van der Meer, “Provenance, Profle, and Purpose of the Greek Ioshua,” in XIIth
Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, Leiden,
:cc, (ed. M. Peters; SBLSCS -a; Atlanta: iooo), --–8o.
On Greek education in Ptolemaic Egvpt, see, e.g. U. Wilcken, Grundzuge und
Chrestomathie der Papyruskunde 1.1 (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1o1i), 1:o–1a-; and H.-A. Rup-
precht, Kleine Einfuhrung in die Papyruskunde (Darmstadt: Wissenschafliche Buchge-
sellschaf, 1ooa), i11–i1:.
Iericho is mentioned in P.Cair.Zen. I -oooa, line a. See Van der Meer, “Profle,” o:–
viu.c1io× .×u viciv1io× oi iosuU. o:i–i- a:
-. Conclusions
Although at frst sight it might seem that textual and literarv criticism
overlap in Iosh o:i–i-, a closer inspection reveals that the pluses in m1
vis-à-vis the much shorter ixx are not the result of glossation or a second
edition of the chapter. A redaction-critical analvsis of the Hebrew text in
its own right makes clear that the tensions and doublets in the text are
the result of a single coherent priestlv redaction of the text (o:a, o, 8–o,
1i–1:, 1oa, 18–ioa, iab). With its ii times seven words, its repetition of
kev terms concerning priests and priestlv privileges and priestlv propertv,
this redaction transformed an older narrative (o:i–:, -, ¬, 1o–11, 1a–1-,
1ob–1¬, iob–iaa, i-) into the present cultic ceremonv.
A studv of the Greek version in its own right makes clear that the
translator sought to stvlize the static and lavered text. Te numerous
literarv initiatives taken bv the translator were aimed to restore the
dvnamics of the narrative and stress the militarv aspects of the storv,
rather than the cultic aspects. Te Greek version does not refect nomistic
reworking, but mav refect the wav someone with direct experience with
warfare in the land of Palestine envisaged a memorable victorv of people
coming from Egvpt.
Whereas the last stage in the redaction of the book resulted into
substantial additions to the text, the frst stage in the reception of that
passage resulted into drastic curtailment and stvlistic shortening. What
the priestlv editors and the Greek translator of our passage have in
common is the fact that thev lef their personal imprints on the text.
Te priests literallv wrote themselves into the text, whereas the Greek
translator adapted the text to his own historical and militarv interests.
Perhaps in this respect a comparison can be made with the work of our
jubilee, whichhas lefhis owndistinctive imprint onthe studv of the book
of Ioshua.
Kvis1i× Di Tvoviv
In his survev on books, Van der Woude summarizes what is known
about “lost books” in Israel.
Indeed, there are in the Hebrew Bible/Old
Testament references to books that are now lost. In Iosh 1o:1ib–1:a, for
instance, there is the famous quote: “Sun, standstill at Gibeon, andMoon,
in the vallev of Aijalon” (1o:1icβ–γ). Te text continues: “And the sun
stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on
their enemies” (1o:1:a–b). Ten the section ends with a question and a
narrative recapitulation: “Is this not written in the book of Iashar: Te
sun stopped in mid heaven, and did not hurrv to set for about a whole
dav” (1o:1:c–d).
In iSam 1:1o–i¬ there is a second quote from the book of Iashar (the
title of the book itself is mentioned in 1:18): “Your glorv, O Israel, lies
slain upon vour high places! How the mightv have fallen! Tell it not in
Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon; or the daughters of the
Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult . . . ”
Aside from the book of Iashar, other books are referred to in the
Bible. Tere are, inter alia, “historical books.” For instance, the books of
the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (7R¨2* *D7O7 D*O*H *¨37 ¨DO) are
mentioned in: 1Kgs 1a:1o; 1-::; iKgs 1o::a; the book of the Chronicles
of the Kings of Iudah (H71H* *D7O7 D*O*H *¨37 ¨DO) in 1Kgs 1a:io; 1-:¬;
iKgs 8:i:. Moreover, there are diferent references to some sort of “book
of the Kings.” Tere is frst the book of the Kings of Iudah and Israel (¨DO
7R¨2*1 H71H*7 D*D7O) in iChron 1o:11; i-:io; i8:io; :i::i. Ten, there
is the book of the Kings of Israel and Iudah (H71H*1 7R¨2* *D7O ¨DO) in
iChron i¬:¬; :-:i¬; :o:8. Also, there is the book of the King of Israel
(7R¨2* *D7O ¨DO) 1Chron o:1; iChron io::a; and the Annals of the
King of Israel (7R¨2* *D7O *¨37¨79) iChron :::18. And fnallv, there is
T.C. Vriezen and A.S. van der Woude, Ancient Israelite and Early Iewish Literature
(Leiden ioo-), a–¬.
ao xvis1i× ui 1voviv
a reference made to the comments on the book of the Kings in iChron
ia:i¬ (D*D7OH ¨DO 2¨7O).
Now, the problem with the book of Iashar is that it is not mentioned
as such in the Old Greek of Ioshua. Te quote of Iosh 1o:1ib–1: is still
present in the Old Greek translation of Ioshua; the reference to the title
of the book, however, is not in the text. Did it disappear in translation:
Or, did the translator not have a reference to the book in his/her Vorlage:
Tis article will investigate whether or not other references to books, like
the book of Iashar, have also “disappeared”:
In the Old Greek of Ioshua the reference was not there. Elsewhere, I
have come to the conclusion that the Old Greek of Ioshua is a reference
to a proto-Masoretic text, and hence, “omissions” in comparison with the
Masoretic Text turned out to be “pluses” of the Hebrew text.
But what is
the situation in the textuallv complicated books such as Samuel, Kings,
and Chronicles: Te references to these “books” allowme to dive into the
diferent texts of the said books.
For Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles we have the following interesting
witnesses: the Old Greek or, in some sections, the Kaige Text (as pub-
lished bv Ralhfs),
the Antiochian Text,
the Masoretic Text,
and the
Oumran Cave a texts. Codex Vaticanus ofers in the following sections—
also indicated with βγ and γδ—of Samuel and Kings, labeled “King-
doms” in the Septuaginta, not the Old Greek text, but the Kaige recen-
sion: iKgdms 11:i–:Kgdms i:11 (βγ) and :Kgdms ii:1–aKgdms i-::o
(γδ). Te Old Greek translation is in these passages no longer avail-
able. Now, there is quite a discussion about the earliest laver of the Anti-
ochian Text:
was it alreadv revised towards a Hebrewtext (Cross, Ulrich,
See K. De Trover, Rewriting the Sacred Text. Vhat the Old Greek Texts Tell Us about
the Literary Growth of the Bible (Text-Critical Studies; Atlanta, Ga ioo:).
A. Rahlfs and R. Hanhart, Septuaginta. Id est Vetus Testamentum graece iuxta ixx
interpretes. Editio altera (Stutgart iooo).
N. Fernandez Marcos and I.R. Busto Saiz, El texto antioqueno de la Biblia griega. r–
:Samuel (Textos v Estudios Cardinal Cisneros -o; Madrid 1o8o); N. Fernandez Marcos
and I.R. Busto Saiz, El texto antioqueno de la Biblia griega. r–: Reyes (Textos v Estudios
Cardinal Cisneros -:; Madrid 1ooi); N. Fernandez Marcos and I.R. Busto Saiz, El texto
antioqueno de la Biblia griega, r–: Cronicas (Textos v Estudios Cardinal Cisneros oo;
Madrid 1ooo).
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Stuttgart 1o8:).
K. de Trover, “Te Septuagint,” in Te Hellenistic Age, (vol. i of Te ^ew Cambridge
History of the Bible; eds. I. Schaper and I.C. Paget; Cambridge, Mass.) (forthcoming);
idem, “Der lukianische Text: Mit einer Diskusion des A-Textes des Estherbuches,” in
Im Brennpunkt. Die Septuaginta. Studien zur Entstehung und Bedeutung der Griechischen
Bibel (ed. S. Kreuzer and I.P. Lesch; BWANT 1 n.F.; Stuttgart iooa), i:iio–iao.
“is 1uis ×o1 wvi11i× i× 1ui voox oi i.su.v·” a¬
Fernandez Marcos), or was it onlv a polishing of the Greek (Barthélemv’s
oldest perspective).
Another discussion is whether or not the basis text
on which the recension/revision was undertaken was the Old Greek
text (Aejmelaeus) or one of the Old Greek texts (Tov).
According to
Cross, aOSam
is about the text to which the Old Greek text was revised,
resulting in what Cross labels the proto-Lucianic text.
is a text
that has much in common with Chronicles. Tis complicates the debate
about the place in historv and amongst the textual witnesses of aOSam
Unfortunatelv, there are no Oumran text fragments available for the texts
dealt with in the following.
We will now review the data for the references to the lost books and
focus on the diferent sorts of “books of the Kings.”
Te Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel
1Kings 1a:1o
Kaige: no reference
Antiochian Text: no reference
Te Kaige text, nor the Antiochian text have a reference to the book of the Chronicles
of Israel. In the apparatus, however, of the Antiochian text, there is a notation of
the following hexaplaric reading: rπi βιβλiου oηματuν τuν íμερuν τuν 'Ισραiλ.
One can thus surmise that most likelv the reference to the book was added to the
text at a later stage of the text.
1Kings 1-::1
Old Greek: rν βιβλiω λóγων τuν íμερuν τοtς βασιλε0σιν 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου λóγων τuν íμερuν βασιλrων 'Ισραiλ
iKings 1o::a
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiου λóγων τuν íμερuν τοtς βασιλε0σιν 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου λóγων τuν íμερuν τuν βασιλrων 'Ισραiλ
F.M. Cross, “Te Historv of the Biblical Text in the Light of Discoveries in the
Iudaean Desert,” in Oumran and the History of the Biblical Text (ed. F.M. Cross and
S. Talmon; Cambridge, Mass., 1o¬-), 1¬¬–1o- (=HTR-¬ [1ooa] i81–ioo); E. Ulrich, Te
Oumran Text of Samuel and Iosephus (HSM 1o; Chico, CA, 1o¬8); N. Fernandez Marcos,
Te Septuagint in Context. Introduction to the Greek Versions of the Bible (Leiden iooo),
especiallv ch. 1a (“Te Lucianic Recension”); D. Barthélemv, Les devanciers d’Aquila
(VTSup 1o; Leiden 1oo:).
A. Aejmelaeus, On the Trail of the Septuagint Translators. Collected Essays (CBET-o;
Louvain ioo¬), 1i:–1a1; E. Tov, Te Greek and the Hebrew Bible. Collected Essays on the
Septuagint (VTSup ¬i; Leiden 1ooo), a¬¬–a88.
F.M. Cross, “Te Historv of the Biblical Text,” 188–1o:; See also idem, “Te Evo-
lution of a Teorv of Local Texts,” in Oumran and the History of the Biblical Text, (ed.
F.M. Cross and S. Talmon; Cambridge, Mass., 1o¬-), :oo–:io, esp. :11, :1i–:1-.
a8 xvis1i× ui 1voviv
Te Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Iudah
1Kings 1a:io
Old Greek: rν βιβλiω λóγων τuν íμερuν τοtς βασιλε0σιν 'Ιοuδα
Antiochian Text (the parallel to 1Kings 1a:io is found in Antiochian Text 1a:a:): rπi
βιβλiου λóγων τuν íμερuν τuν βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα
1Kings 1-:¬
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiω λóγων τuν íμερuν τοtς βασιλευσtν 'Ιοuδα
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου λóγων τuν íμερuν τuν βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα
iKings 8:i:
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiω λóγων τuν íμερuν τοtς βασιλευσtν 'Ιοuδα
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου λóγων τuν íμερuν τuν βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα
Te Book of the Kings of Iudah and Israel
iChron 1o:11
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiου λóγων βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου λóγων βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
iChron i-:io
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiου λóγων βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου λóγων βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
iChron i8:io
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
iChron :i::i
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
Te Book of the Kings of Israel and Iudah
iChron i¬:¬
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiου λογuν βασιλrων 'Ιοuδα καi 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ισραiλ καi 'Ιοuδα
iChron :-:i¬
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ισραiλ καi 'Ιοuδα
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ισραiλ καi 'Ιοuδα
“is 1uis ×o1 wvi11i× i× 1ui voox oi i.su.v·” ao
iChron :o:8
Old Greek: rπi βιβλiω λóγων íμερuν τοtς βασιλε0σιν 'Ιοuδα
Antiochian Text: rν βιβλiω λóγων íμερuν τοtς βασιλε0σιν 'Ιοuδα
Te Book of the King of Israel
1Chron o:1
Old Greek: rν βιβλiω τuν βασιλεuν 'Ισραiλ καi 'Ιοuδα
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου βασιλrων 'Ισραiλ καi 'Ιοuδα
iChron io::a
Old Greek: βιβλiον βασιλrων 'Ισραiλ
Antiochian Text: rπi βιβλiου βασιλεuν 'Ισραiλ καi 'Ιοuδα
Te Annals of the King of Israel
iChron :::18
Old Greek: no reference to the said book
Antiochian Text: no reference to the said book
Te Comments on the Book of the Kings
iChron ia:i¬
Old Greek: rπi τíν γραφíν τuν βασιλrων
Antiochian Text: rπi τíν γραφíν βιβλiου τuν βασιλrων
In the following cases, the Antiochian Text revised the Greek of the
Old Greek: 1Kgs 1-::1; iKgs 1o::a; 1Kgs 1a:io; 1Kgs 1-:¬; iKgs 8:i:;
iChron :o:8. In the following case, the Antiochian Text does not change
anvthing: iChron 1o:11; iChron i-:io; iChron i8:io; iChron :i::i;
iChron i¬:¬; iChron :-:i¬. Te Antiochian Text takes over and revises
the text of the Old Greek in 1Chron o:1, but both texts added a section to
the text in comparison to the Masoretic Text. Whereas the Masoretic Text
refers to the Kings of Israel, the Old Greek and the Antiochian Text refer
to the Kings of Israel and Iudah. On the other hand, the Masoretic Text
reads in iChron :o:8 a reference to the books of the Kings of Israel and
Iudah, but the Old Greek and Antiochian Text onlv read Iudah. Finallv,
there is in the Masoretic Text a reference in iChron :::18 to the Annals
of the King of Israel, but that reference is not found in the Old Greek and
the Antiochian Text.
-o xvis1i× ui 1voviv
Now, what happened in the existing versions with the second reference
to the book of Iashar in iSam1:18: First the reference to the book is kept,
although the title is diferent. It is no longer the book of Iashar! Both the
Old Greek and the Antiochian Text read rπi βιβλiου το0 ε00ο0ς. Again,
there is no Samuel Oumran text available.
Hence, we can conclude that the quotes of the book of Iashar were
known for a long time. But the title of the book was not well known.
In the Old Greek of Ioshua the title is not mentioned and in the Old
Greek of iSamuel the title runs diferentlv. So, the question remains as to
how the book of Iashar got its title in the Hebrew Bible: Mavbe a scribe,
possiblv with the name Iashar, inserted the reference to the title of the
book afer the Old Greek translation of both Ioshua and iSamuel was
alreadv produced:
On a positive note, we can surelv sav that there were indeed books of
Kings and that thev were well known.
Cov×iiis ui× Hiv1oc
1. Introduction
In spite of more than a centurv of thorough investigation into the Greek
translation of Ioshua, there are still manv riddles to be solved. One of
these is the relationship between the Greek and Hebrew texts of Iosh
Te storv of the conquest of the promised land was concluded in
Ioshua 1i bv summing up the cities whose kings had been defeated
bv Ioshua and the Israelites. In Iosh 1::1 the Lord addresses Ioshua in
the same fundamental wav as he did in Ioshua 1. Afer the successful
conquest the land now has to be divided among the tribes. In the next
passage (Iosh 1::i–o), however, two regions are described that have not
been conquered, but vet have to be included in the territorv to be allotted
to the nine-and-a-half tribes.
First (Iosh 1::i–aa) the Philistine area
in the southwest is described, roughlv speaking from south to north,
secondlv (Iosh 1::ab–-) the Phoenician territorv in the north. As we are
not able to identifv, neither D*17*37 ¨2R H¨9O (“[the] cave which belongs
to the Sidonians”) nor HÞDR (Apheq[a]) with anv reasonable degree of
certaintv, in the case of Phoenicia it is not clear whether the description
runs from north to south
or from south to north.
Te Hebrew (Masoretic) text of Iosh 1::i–- is not easv to explain. We
are faced with evengreater dimculties whenwe turnto the Old Greek text
of these verses.
It displavs manv smaller diferences. In sum, however,
these variants produce a quite diferent geographical picture. Tev seem
Commonlv, the passage Iosh 1::i–o is considered to be a late element in the literarv
historv of the book of Ioshua, see E. Noort, Das Buch Iosua. Forschungsgeschichte und
Problemfelder (EdF ioi; Darmstadt 1oo8), ao, ¬i, 8o, oa, 111, 18o.
M. Noth, Das Buch Iosua (HAT 1.¬; Tübingen 1o¬1 [:d ed.= id ed. 1o-i]), ¬-.
So apparentlv V. Fritz, Das Buch Iosua (HAT 1.¬; Tübingen 1ooa), 1ao–1a¬.
A.G. Auld, Ioshua. Iesus Son of ^au¯ e in Codex Vaticanus (Septuagint Commentarv
Series; Leiden ioo-), 1¬i.
-i cov×iiis ui× uiv1oc
to extend the description of the Philistine territorv until the beginning
of Iosh 1::-, reducing the discussion of the Phoenician territorv to the
second half of Iosh 1::- and 1::o. Te basic question is whether the Greek
text should be explained as a free translation of a Hebrew text, similar to
m1, or has to be read as a faithful translation of a more or less diferent
Hebrew text. Tis is not an easv question to answer and for that reason
we will approach the problemon a general scale frst and then discuss the
text in detail.
i. Te Geographical Competence of the Greek Translator of Ioshua
Te relationship between the Hebrewand Greek texts of Ioshua has been
subject to discussion for manv decades.
In his thorough investigation
of three chapters, deemed to be representative, Michael N. van der Meer
came to the conclusion that “there has been no reason to assume that
the divergencies between m1 and ixx stem from a Hebrew Vorlage that
refects an older stage in the literarv historv of the book. Although the
Greek translator’s Vorlage mav from time to time have difered from
m1, the scale of these variants does not exceed that of the divergen-
cies between m1 and other Hebrew witnesses such as aOIosh
, aOIosh
(apart from the expansion in a:io–-:1) and the Mediaeval Masoretic
manuscripts. Bv far the majoritv of the m1-ixx variants can be ascribed
to literarv initiatives introduced bv the Greek translator.”
In a short com-
mentarv on the Greek Ioshua in the context of the German translation of
the ixx the present author reached similar conclusions.
Alook at the presentation of the translator’s treatment of geographical
names in the fne volume on Ioshua bv Iacqueline Moatti-Fine
at once
makes clear that the Ioshua translator was a man of considerable varietv.
He freelv makes use, not onlv of transliterations, but also of Hellenistic
forms, even for one and the same Hebrew toponvm. Tis suggests that
he was familiar with the geographv of Palestine in his own time. Never-
theless we should be cautious, as mav be demonstrated bv the following
Noort, Das Buch Iosua, ao–-o.
M.N. van der Meer, Formation and Reformulation. Te Redaction of the Book of
Ioshua in the Light of the Oldest Textual Vitnesses (VTSup 1oi; Leiden iooa), -:a.
To be published bv the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaf (Stuttgart) in the course of the
next few vears.
I. Moatti-Fine, Iesus íIosue) (La Bible d’Alexandrie o; Paris 1ooo), oo–88.
1ui ciocv.vuic.i su.vi oi 1ui U×co×oUiviu i.×u -:
Te translator uses some toponvms of the tvpicallv Ptolemaic -tτις
pattern: Γαλααδtτις (1::11; 1¬:1), Βασανtτις (1::11, 1i, :o, :1; 1¬:1;
io:8; i1:i¬; ii:¬) and Μαδβαρtτις (-:o; 18:1i; cf. 1-:o1). Of these, onlv
Γαλααδtτις is broadlv attested, inside and outside the ixx. Μαδβαρtτις
fgures onlv in the book of Ioshua and certainlv had no counterpart in
the historical geographv of earlv Hellenistic Palestine. Te originalitv of
the name Βασανtτις is verv suspicious too, although it is (borrowed from
the Greek Ioshua:) attested in ixx Ezechiel and Dodekapropheton—not,
however, bevond the ixx. Greek Βασανtτις is derived from Hebrew ]23.
Linguisticallv spoken, ]23 is a cognate of

btn. Te regular Aramaic
equivalent of
btn is ]P3, which perfectlv fts the well-attested Hellenistic
toponvmΒαταναiα. We know that in Hellenistic times Aramaic was the
lingua franca of northernTransjordaningeneral, andthus alsoof Bashan.
Terefore, as far as historical plausibilitv is concerned, Βαταναiα is far
more likelv to be the original Greek name of this region than Βασανtτις.
We mav thus assume that the Greek translator of Ioshua worked outside
Palestine—more specifcallv: within the realm of the Ptolemies—, where
he could aford himself to use pseudo-geographical designations, such
as Βασανtτις. Consequentlv, we should not overestimate his general
knowledge of Palestinian geographv.
:. Ioshua r+.:–·. Te Hebrew and Greek texts
Before entering into the discussion of the relationship between the He-
brewand Greek texts of Iosh 1::i–-, we present themfor the convenience
of the reader in a svnoptic overview, together with a small critical appara-
“Um ioo v. Chr. kannte man in Agvpten die meisten Ortsnamen von Ios 1-
ofenkundig nicht. Das erklärt auch die Tatsache, dass viele ‘unbekannte’ Ortsnamen
durch bekannte ersetzt wurden . . . Vielleicht haben die Übersetzer bei der Arbeit an
der geographischen Liste aus Desinteresse und/oder Unachtsamkeit die vielen Fehler
gemacht. Ebenso ist es möglich, dass sie den Großteil der Orte nicht kannten, weil diese
entweder nicht mehr bestanden, und/oder die geographische Distanz Agvpten-Palästina
zu groß war. Doch ist eines sicher: Hätte man die Orte für wichtig gehalten, wären sie
mit mehr Vorsicht behandelt worden.” Tese remarks of I.C. de Vos, Das Los Iudas. Uber
Entstehung und Ziele der Landbeschreibung in Iosua r· (VTSup o-; Leiden ioo:), oo–
o1, mav with equal right be said to cover the whole book of Ioshua. Te substitution of
unknown place names bv more familiar ones will, however, have taken place in the course
of the transmission of the Greek text, rather than in the course of the translation process,
as suggested bv De Vos. Afer all, our oldest witnesses of the Greek Ioshua were written
some fve or six centuries afer the completion of the translation. Hence, a substantial part
of the text historv of the Greek Ioshua lies bevond our perception.
-a cov×iiis ui× uiv1oc
tus as well as the French and English translations of the ixx bv Iacqueline
and A. Graeme Auld,
respectivelv. Te Greek text is the
one of Rahlfs’ critical edition.
i ?¨RH PR! καi αIτη í γI
P¨R21H í καταλελειμμrνη
P17*7à¨7D . . . òρια
D*P27DH Φυλιστιιμ,
*¨12àH¨7D1 . . . o Γεσιρι καi o Χαναναiος·
í i°] > BΘ pauci
Γεσιρι ] Γεσουρι ANΘ¯ multi
Moatti-Fine voici la terre qui reste: territoires philistins, le Gesiri et le Khananéen;
Auld And this is the land lef behind, borders of Pulistieim [Philistines], the
Geseirei and the Kananai:
: ¨1H*2H¨]O 0πò τIς 0οικiτου
¨2R τIς
D*¨3O *1D¨79 κατo πρóσωπον Αiγuπτου
]1¨Þ9 713à 791 . . . rως τuν oρiων Ακκαρων
H11D3 rξ ε0ωνuμων
32HP *191D7 τuν Χαναναiων προσλογiζεται
P2OH ταtς πrντε
D*P27D *1¨O σατραπεiαις τuν Φυλιστιιμ,
*7172RH1 *P!9H τ u Γαζαi ω καi τ u 'Αζωτi u
*PàH *117Þ2RH καi τu 'Ασκαλωνiτ¸η καi τ u Γε00αi ω
D*19H1 *11¨Þ9H1 καi τ u 'Ακκαρωνiτ¸ I καi τ u 'Ευαi u
Moatti-Fine depuis la région inhabitée en face de l’Egvpte jusqu’au territoire d’Akkaron,
a gauche des Khananéens, compte aux cinq satrapies des Philistins, celles
de Gaza, d’Azotos, d’Askalon, de Geth et d’Akkaron; et a l’Evéen,
Auld from the uninhabited [land] opposite Egvpt as far as the borders of Akka-
r¯ on [Ekron] from the “well-named” side of the Kananai is being reckoned
in addition to the fve satrapies of the Pulistieim, the Gazai and the Azotei
and the Askaloneis and the Gettai and the Akkaroneis and the Euai
a ]O*PO rκ Θαιμαν
*191DH ?¨R¨7D καi πoσ¸ η γ¸ I Χανααν
H¨9O1 íναντ/ον Γoζης,
D*17*37 ¨2R καi οl Σιδuνιοι
HÞDR¨79 rως Αφεκ
*¨ORH 713à 79 rως τuν oρiων τuν 'Αμορραiων
πoσ¸ η γ¸ I] (ú)πoσα í γI -a.¬-.1i¬.118.:1a.8a.1:a.¬a.¬o.1oo.1o¬.o1o.aa
γ¸I] praem. τ¸ I AGNΘ multi
Γoζης] > ANΘ pauci
Moatti-Fine, Iesus.
Auld, Ioshua.
1ui ciocv.vuic.i su.vi oi 1ui U×co×oUiviu i.×u --
Αφεκ multi] Αφεκα AGN plurimi; Ταφεκ B 1io.1io.--
Moatti-Fine a partir de Taiman et a tout le pavs de Khanaan, devant Gaza; et les
Sidoniens ont jusqu’a Aphek, aux confns des Amorrhéens
Auld from Taiman and to all the land of Kanaan facing Gaza; and the Sidonians
[have] as far as Tapek, as far as the borders of the Amorrai;
- *73àH ?¨RH1 καi π0σαν τíν γIν Γαβλι Φυλιστιιμ
]1137H¨7D1 καi πoντα τòν Λiβανον
2O2H H¨!O 0πò 0νατολuν íλiου
7à 793O 0πò Γαλγαλ
]1O¨H¨¨H PHP íπò τò ðρος τò Αερμων
POH R137 79 rως τIς εiσóδου Εμα0
Γαβλι, AGNΘ plurimi (Γαβαι pauci)] Γαλια0 B 8i; Ταλια0 --; Γαλιλα0, Γαλιλαδ multi
Γαλγαλ ANΘ multi] Γαλγαα B (unice)
Moatti-Fine et toute la terre gablite des Philistins et tout le Liban au soleil levant, depuis
Galgal sous le mont Aermon jusqu’a l’Entrée-d’Emath;
Auld and all the land [of:] Galiat Pulistieim and all the Libanos towards sunrise,
from Galgaa under the mountain the Aerm¯ on as far as the entrance of
:.1. Ioshua r+.· m1 and ixx. A Minor Correction in Rahlfs’ Critical Text
In 1::- the witnesses B and 8i read Γαλια0, whereas -- reads the simi-
lar Ταλια0 (regular confusion of Γ and Τ). Tis mav be a slight corrup-
tion of the Γαλιλα0, Γαλιλαδ, found in manv witnesses: as Α, Δ and
Λ are confused quite regularlv because of their similar shape, Γαλια0
would seem to be nothing more than a semi-haplographv of Γαλιλα0.
Alternativelv it might be a corruption towards the name of the Philistine
hero Goliath that was killed bv David.
A larger group of manuscripts—
among them also the uncials AGNΘ—has Γαβλι, which corresponds to
m1 *73à; Rahlfs took this to be the original reading of the ixx. However,
as the manuscripts in question repeatedlv contain variants which can be
interpreted as (pre-Hexaplaric) corrections according to (proto-)m1, this
mav also hold true for the present case. Tis alone would sumce to prefer
B’s Γαλια0 or, even more probable, the broadlv supported reading Γαλι-
λα0. Now A.G. Auld in his intelligent volume on the Greek Ioshua has
justlv pointed to the fact that the correspondence of *73à and the sup-
posedlv original Γαλιλα0 in 1::- “marks a textual shif in the opposite
direction from v. i, where oρεια [Φυλιστιειμ] attests 713à, and m1 ofers
Γολια0. It seems hardlv probable that the book of Ioshua was translated in Greek
afer the Books of Samuel; the diference Γολια0/Γαλια0 therefore is not signifcant.
-o cov×iiis ui× uiv1oc
With respect to the consonants, *73à (v. -) and 7(1)3à (v. i, as the
ixx translator mav have read) difer onlv slightlv, indeed. Auld’s proposal
to assume an interchange between v. i and v. - in m1 and ixx is convinc-
ing and makes Moatti-Fine’s assessment of ixx’s plus Φυλιστιιμ in v. -
as a gloss which was added in the wake of the corruption of the—in her
opinion—original Γαβλι into Γαλια0 or Γαλιλα0, improbable.
Tis is
all the more true, as the alleged gloss Φυλιστιιμ is universallv attested,
even in clearlv Hexaplaric manuscripts (onlv G sub ob).
:.i. Ioshua r+.:–· m1 and ixx. Ouantitative Diferences
We nowturn to the quantitative diferences between m1 and ixx, i.e., the
cases where either m1 or ixx present an addition (or an omission, for
that case). Te omission or addition of the copula in 1::i (*¨12àH¨7D1/ . . .
o Γεσιρι), as well as in 1::: (]1¨Þ9 713à 791/ . . . rως τuν oρiων Ακκαρων;
*PàH *117Þ2RH/καi τu 'Ασκαλωνiτ¸η καi τu Γε00αiω) and 1::a (?¨R¨7D
*191DH/καi πoσ¸ η γ¸ I Χανααν) is too common a phenomenon in ixx
Ioshua to be paid much attention to.
In 1::i (twice) and 1::-, m1’s 7D has no counterpart in ixx. Within
the Greek Ioshua omissions or additions of this kind can be observed
repeatedlv (e.g. i::; -:1; o:i-; ¬:i-; 8:1-, i-; o:1, :, -); this must not cause
us to assume a diferent Vorlage.
In the end of 1::i ixx adds καi o Χαναναtος. Tere is no justifcation
to suppose that the Greek translator added these words freelv; therefore
we have to assume that he read *191DH1 or a similar phrase in his Vorlage.
Te additional Φυλιστιιμ in 1::- was discussed in :.1 above.
:.:. Ioshua r+.:–· m1 and ixx. Oualitative diferences
Oualitative diferences are those instances, where m1 and ixx are at odds
in such a wav that we can not retrieve one of them to (the Vorlage of) the
other. As to the translation of P17*7à bv oρια in 1::i, see :.1 above.
1::: rξ ε0ωνuμων seems to refect a Hebrew Vorlage reading ]1D3O.
Tis would result in a formal parallel with ]O*PO/rκ Θαιμαν in 1::a.
It is hard to decide whether this parallel was produced bv the Greek
translator or was inherent to the Hebrew Vorlage. Te most natural
understanding of the Hebrew text is that the area from the Shihor in the
Auld, Ioshua, 1¬:.
Moatti-Fine, Iesus, 1o¬.
1ui ciocv.vuic.i su.vi oi 1ui U×co×oUiviu i.×u -¬
south until the territorv of the Philistine citv of Ekron in the north is
considered to be Canaanite territorv. In the Greek text, which for that
case seems to suppose the same Hebrew Vorlage, H11D3 is combined with
*191D7: “to the north of the Canaanite.” In the following *1¨O P2OH 32HP
D*P27D, apparentlv D*P27D *1¨O P2OH is taken to be the complementarv
nominative. Tis understanding of the Hebrewtext (m1) is not altogether
impossible, though it is not verv probable either.
In 1::a the Greek rναντiον Γoζης in place of m1’s H¨9O1 has to be
explained either as an attempt to make sense of an embarrassing Vorlage,
or else as a free translation of the Hebrew consonantal text according to
an interpretation difering from m1.
Te remarkable Greek nominative καi οl Σιδuνιοι for m1’s [¨2R]
D*17*37 apparentlv is the translationof a diferent Hebrewtext. It is useless
to guess what the shape of this text mav have been.
Te diferent character of 1::- ixx and m1 can onlv be grasped if we
look at the broader context. As to the qualitative diferences, we have
to explain the alternative 7à 793 (m1)/Γαλγαλ (ixx). Te easiest wav to
account for these diferent text forms seems to be to consider ixx’s Γαλ-
γαλ as a corruption of an original
Β(Α)ΑΛΓΑΔ. Tis, however, would
not do justice to the general tendencv that mav be observed in the Greek
text. In the introduction above we have alreadv observed that both H¨9O
and HÞD9 in 1::a do not allowa satisfving geographical identifcation. Of
these, Aphek is usuallv located somewhere in the northern part of Pales-
tine or even in the Lebanon. As the enigmatic H¨9O is combined with the
phrase D*17*37 ¨2R, the place in question has to be sought somewhere
in Phoenicia. Tis is confrmed bv the continuation in 1::- m1 where
everv detail of the text points to the Lebanon-Antilebanon area. Now,
when we turn to the Greek text, we are facing a totallv diferent picture.
In 1::a, the Greek counterpart of m1’s H¨9O is rναντiον Γoζης, which
brings us to the Philistine area in the southwestern part of Palestine. If
we accept the choice for an original Γαλιλα0Φυλιστιιμ in 1::-, as argued
above (:.1), we fnd a consistent continuation of 1::a. Tis observation is
not questioned but even confrmed bv ixx’s Γαλγαλ. In his Onomasticon
Eusebius mentions a town named Γαλγουλις, lving in the coastal plain, a
According to D. Barthélemv, Critique textuelle de l’Ancien Testament. r. Iosue, Iuges,
Ruth, Samuel, Rois, Chroniques, Esdras, ^ehemie, Esther (OBO -o.i; Fribourg 1o8i), i¬–
i8, the Old Greek read 0πò Γoζης and leads to an original H¨9O. In his opinion, F.-
M. Abel (“La prétendue caverne des Sidoniens et la localisation de la ville de #Ara,” RB
-8 [1o-1]: a¬–-:) was right in combining this alleged toponvm ¯ H¨9 with the #-r-n of
Egvptian topographical lists and locating it at modern Tell #Ara, not far from Megiddo.
-8 cov×iiis ui× uiv1oc
fewmiles north fromAphek/Antipatris.
If we suppose that in the Greek
text this Γαλγαλ/Γαλγουλις is meant, 1::- seems to present two parallel
geographical movements, both starting in the coastal plain and ending
up in Phoenicia:
and all the land of Galilat Pulistiim and all the Libanos towards sunrise, /
from Galgal, (along) under the mountain Aerm¯ on as far as the entrance
of Emat.
In 1::o the description of the promised land to be allotted to the nine-
and-a-half tribes consistentlv continues with a description covering the
Phoenician realm.
a. Synthesis. ixx Ioshua r+.:–· Considered as a Vhole
In the discussion above we hinted at a possible explanation for the
diferent shape of the Greek text of Iosh 1::i–- and for the diferent
geographical picture involved. In the Greek translation the description
of the Philistine, or at least: of the southwestern Palestinian area, does
not end with 1:::, but is continued until the beginning of 1::-. It seems,
however, that there is a strong counterargument against this solution In
1::a we fnd the Sidonians mentioned in the Greek text. Tev clearlv
belong to the Phoenician realm.
In section i it was argued that the Greek translators’ knowledge of
Palestinian geographv was not verv much developed. Consequentlv we
might plead upon the ignorance of the translator to account for a con-
fusion of Philistea and Phoenicia. Tis would not be verv convincing,
though, as we mav suppose that the coastal area of Svria-Palestine with
its important trade routes was fairlv well known in Ptolemaic Egvpt,
where the Greek translation of Ioshua will have originated. It is surelv
not just accidental that Gaza, Marissa, Straton’s Tower, Tvre and Sidon are
among the Svro-Palestinian place names mentioned in the Zenon archive
(among ioovci).
It is the Greek Ioshua itself that brings us to a better solution. In Iosh
-:1 the “kings of Phoenicia” (*191DH *D7O/οl βασιλεtς τIς Φοινiκης) are
mentioned for the land west of the river Iordan. Tere is no reason to sup-
pose that the translator thought of the Phoenicians in the Lebanon area.
Eusebius. Das Onomasticon der biblischen Ortsnamen (ed. E. Klostermann; Leipzig
1ooa; repr. Hildesheim: 1ooo), o8,1a–1o.
1ui ciocv.vuic.i su.vi oi 1ui U×co×oUiviu i.×u -o
In -:1i we fnd τíν χuραν τuν Φοινiκων for Hebrew ]91D ?¨R, indicat-
ing the countrvside that was harvested bv the Israelites immediatelv afer
thev passed the river Iordan to enter the promised land. Tis choice once
more makes clear that the translation of “Phoenicia” for Canaan in -:1
was not just a slip of the translator’s pen. How, then, can we account for
the presence of “Sidonians” or “Phoenicians” in Palestine proper:
We know that in Persian times the political and economical admin-
istration of the coastal region of Palestine was entrusted to the Phoeni-
cians, more specifcallv to the kings of Tvre and Sidon.
For the fourth
centurv vci, this state of afairs is confrmed bv the descriptionof the Svr-
ian and Phoenician coast bv a Greek author whose work was transmitted
under the name of Skvlax.
He mentions an “Adarus (reconstruction of
the [corrupt] name bv Galling), town of the Sidonians”; “Dor, town of the
Sidonians”; “Krokodilon polis of the Tvrians”; “Ioppe” (mention of aml-
iation vacat) and “Ascalon, town of the Tvrians.” In this region we fnd
roval mints in Ioppe and Ascalon under the Ptolemies. Tis would sug-
gest that the administration of these towns was no longer in the hands
of the Phoenicians. Tev will have been ruled bv a Ptolemaic omcial.
Yet, there can be no doubt that the Phoenicians had their trading posts in
these areas, most likelv in their capitals. In the middle of the third centurv
vci we even fnd a Sidonian trading post in the Hinterland, in the Idu-
maean capital Marissa, at an important crossroads. Formallv thev con-
stituted an independent πολiτευμα.
Consequentlv, for the Greek trans-
lator of Ioshua it was not surprising to fnd Phoenicians/Sidonians in a
geographical area whichhe otherwise consideredtobe Philistine. He mav
have found a confrmation of this view in the text of Ioel a:a where we
fnd Tvre, Sidon and P27D P17*7à mentioned in one and the same context.
See A. Alt, “Galiläische Probleme i: Die assvrische Provinz Megiddo und ihr
späteres Schicksal,” in: idem, Kleine Schriþen zur Geschichte des Volkes Israel II (id ed.;
Munich 1o-o), :¬a–:8a, esp. :81–:8:.
K. Galling, “Die svrisch-palästinische Küste nach der Beschreibung bei Pseudo-
Skvlax,” in idem, Studien zur Geschichte Israels im persischen Zeitalter (Tübingen 1ooa),
18-–ioo, esp. 1o¬–ioo.
See U. Kahrstedt, Syrische Territorien in hellenistischer Zeit (Abhandlungen der
Gesellschaf der Wissenschafen zu Göttingen Philosophisch-historische Klasse, Neue
Folge XIX.i; Berlin 1oio), ai.
M. Hengel, Iudentumund Hellenismus. Studien zu ihrer Begegnung unter besonderer
Berucksichtigung Palästinas bis zur Mitte des :. Ih.s v. Chr. (:d ed.; WUNT 1o; Tübingen
1o88), 8a (lit.).
oo cov×iiis ui× uiv1oc
-. Conclusion
Our discussion of Iosh 1::i–- vielded the following results. Te Greek
text displavs a number of smaller variants which mav be classifed as
free renderings of a text similar to or identical with m1. In other cases
the Greek Ioshua apparentlv witnesses to a text diferent from m1, or he
refects an attempt of the Greek translator to make sense of a Vorlage that
was incomprehensible or corrupt. Alternativelv, his Vorlage itself mav
have been the result of an earlier attempt to make sense of a corrupt
Hebrew text. As a result, the geographical picture of Iosh 1::i–- ixx
enlarges on the description of the Philistine area to be allotted to the
Israelite tribes, at the expense of the treatment of the Phoenicianterritorv.
Consequentlv, as the Greek text of Iosh 1::i–- displavs a more or less
consistent description, it should not be used to “improve” the Hebrew
text on an incidental scale (e.g. bv correcting H¨9O in 1::a into H\9O or
H¨9O, but see the pertinent footnote 1- above).
I. Cov×iiis ui Vos
1. Introduction
Te second part of the book of Ioshua, chapters 1:–i1, which deals with
the distribution of the land, belongs to a late phase in the literarv historv
of the HebrewBible. God no longer plavs an active role, as he had done in
larger parts of the Pentateuch. He is rather perceived to be present in the
land. Tis implied presence of God makes the land implicitlv holv. I will
illustrate this bv a closer look at the text and the historv of Iosh 18:1–1o.
i. Ioshua r8.r–rc as the Centre of the Land Division
Ioshua 18:1–1o forms the core of the chapters about the distribution of
the land. It is the compositional, geographical, ritual, and theological
Te chapters about the distribution of the land begin with an incite-
ment to take into possession the remaining land and with a statement
that the Transjordanian tribes had alreadv received their land directlv
from Moses (Ioshua 1:; a recapitulation of Numbers :i). Afer having
dealt with the area of the Transjordanian tribes, chapter 1a reintroduces
the land division, now for the Cisjordanian tribes (1a:1–-). Afer a storv
about Kaleb (1a:o–1-), in chapters 1- through 1¬, the frst parts of the
Cisjordanian land are allotted: frst to the tribe of Iudah (ch. 1-), and then
to the house of Ioseph, consisting of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh
(chs. 1o–1¬).
I am happv to dedicate this article to Ed Noort, “Doktorvater” for a couple of vears,
but a friend before, during, and afer this period. Ad multos annos!—Adrafof this article
was read at the Groningen congress of the Societv of Biblical Literature, Iulv i8, iooa
under the title “God Plaving a Backstage Role in the Book of Ioshua.”
See for detailed analvses for the following exposition: I.C. de Vos, Das Los Iudas.
Uber Entstehung und Ziele der Landbeschreibung in Iosua r· (VTSup o-; Leiden ioo:),
oi i. cov×iiis ui vos
With Iosh 18:1–1o, there is a break afer this frst distribution. Prepa-
rations are made for the distribution of the land to the seven remaining
tribes: Te tent of meeting is pitched in Shiloh, a commission of three
men per tribe inspects the remaining land, and Ioshua casts lots to deter-
mine which part of land goes to which tribe. Afer this break, in 18:11
until the end of chapter 1o, the remaining land is distributed bv lots to
the seven remaining tribes.
Ioshua 18:1–1o thus appears in the centre of the narrative about the
distribution of the Cisjordanian land, distinguishing the more important
tribes of Iudah and Ioseph from the seven less important remaining
However, it is also central in another wav. Bv allotting a frst part
of land, a geographical centre is created: approximatelv between the area
of Iudah and Ioseph, in Shiloh. As will be outlined, it is irrelevant that this
centre is not exactlv in the middle between the areas of Iudah and Ioseph.
It is a cognitive geographical centre, a centre in a mental map. And here
applies the famous slogan of Ionathan Z. Smith: “map is not territorv.”
Tis textual and mental map centre can furthermore be understood
rituallv: the text notes that 7R¨2*¨*13 P79¨7D, “the whole assemblv of
the Israelites,” a phrase with ritual connotations and well known from
the Priestlv writer,
gets together in Shiloh, where the tent of meeting is
pitched, and the ritual lots are cast.
:. ^aming “God” in Ioshua r8.r–rc
Ioshua 18:1–1o is also a theological centre. Contrarv to most of Ioshua
1:–1o, where God is hardlv ever mentioned, in Iosh 18:1–1o H1H*,
“Yhwh,” occurs six times.
In verse : “the Lord, the God of vour fathers,”
esp. 18-–io8, io8–i¬o, and io8–ioo. See for a recent detailed treatment of Iosh 18:1–1o:
H. Seebass, “Versuch zu Iosua XVIII 1–1o,” VT -o (iooo) :¬o–:8-.
It is obvious that the tribe of Iudah is the most important one within Ioshua 1a–1o,
the part about the Cisjordanian tribes. Te description of its area is the frst and most
extensive of all subsequent descriptions. Te area of Ioseph comes directlv afer the one
of Iudah. It is less extensive than the one of Iudah and comparable with the description of
the area of Benjamin, whose tribe, onits turn, is the most important tribe of the remaining
seven. More arguments are ofered in the course of this article.
I.Z. Smith, Map is not Territory. Studies in the History of Religions (Chicago 1oo:),
esp. i8o–:oo.
Cf. Exod 1i::, o; 1o:1, i, o, 1o inter alia.
Iosh 18::, o, ¬ (i×), 8, 1o. In the remaining corpus of Ioshua 1:–1o, H1H* occurs onlv
in 1::1, 8, 1a, ::; 1a:i, -, o, ¬, 8, o, 1o (i×), 1i (:×), 1a; 1-:1:; 1¬:a (i×), 1a; 1o:-o, -1.
“uoiv i.×u” i× iosuU. 18:1–1o o:
is recalled, and everv time the lot is mentioned it is made clear that the lot
will be or is cast “before the Lord.”
However, God is hardlv ever directly
responsible for the distribution of the land. We onlv hear that the lot
is cast “before the Lord,” which implies that God indirectly controls the
decision bv lot.
Returning to the frst verse of chapter 18 we can fnd a more important
reference to God: the tent of meeting is pitched, traditionallv the place
where God can be met (Exod :::¬–11 inter alia). However, a closer look
at this phrase reveals that it is awkward, to sav the least. It reads 11*D2*1
791O 7HR¨PR D2, literarilv “and thev let dwell (]D2 Hiphil) there the tent
of meeting.” Tis is strange because either one dwells in a tent or one
pitches a tent. It would be more usual to sav: “thev pitched a tent to stav
in” or “thev pitched a tent to have someone stav in that tent.” In the
special case of the tent of meeting, God must be present in this tent in
some wav.
Te peculiar phrase “thev let dwell there the tent of meeting”
occurs onlv here.
However, the phrase can also be read diferentlv: D2,
“there,” can, without the vowel, be read as D2, meaning “name,” and
thus “name of God.” Terefore it becomes possible to read “and thev let
the name, namelv, the name of God, dwell,” a theme known from, e.g.
Deuteronomv 1i.
Furthermore 11*D2*1 alludes paronomasticallv to ]D2O,
“the tabernacle.” Admittedlv, this proposal is speculative, but not at all
impossible. If this observation is correct, there are three references to the
presence of Yhwh on earth hidden in this verse: the tabernacle, the tent
of meeting, and God’s name.
Word plavs occur throughout the literarv historv of the Bible, but
word plavs referring to broad theological themes are generallv of a later
date, since the theologoumena referred to, must, in some wav, alreadv
belong to the socio-religious normative memorv, in order to take efect.
Iosh 18:o, 8, 1o.
Cf. the frequent connection of 791O 7HR (HPD), “(the entrance of) the tent of
meeting,” with H1H* (*1D7), “(before) Yhwh”; see out of manv examples Exod io:i1.
Cf. with similar, but diferent wordings Ps ¬8:oo and furthermore Num o:1¬; Ier
¬:1i; Iosh ii:o, 1i, 1o.
Deut 1i:-, 11, and further: 1a:i:; 1o:i, o, 11; io:i; Neh 1:o. Cf. the studv of
S.L. Richter, Te Deuteronomistic History and the ^ame Teology. leshakken shemo sham
in the Bible and the Ancient ^ear East (BZAW :18; Berlin iooi). Interestinglv, in the
Mishnah Iosh 18:1 is seen in connection with Deut 1i:o (mZeba
h. 1a:-); cf. I. Neusner,
Introduction to Rabbinic Literature (ABRL; New York 1ooa), 11o.
For wordplavs inthe Bible ingeneral see, among others, E.L. Greenstein, “Wordplav,
Hebrew,” ABD o:oo8–o¬1.
oa i. cov×iiis ui vos
Tev frequentlv occur in later Iewish writings such as the Septuagint,
and verv ofen in rabbinic writings, as well as in the New Testament,
all of these being text corpuses that draw on another text corpus, that
is, (parts of) the so-called Old Testament.
Te Septuagint translators,
for example, rendered the Hebrew verb ]D2, “to dwell, to stav,” with the
Greek verb σκηνóω, literallv “to pitch a tent,” onlv to reach assonance in
the consonants s-k-n; a procedure that was taken over bv the translator of
Ben Sira (Sir ia:a, 8) and bv the writer of the Gospel of Iohn (Iohn 1:1a)
among others.
Once our ears are tuned into such word plav, more could be discerned
within the text of Iosh 18:1–1o, of which I will onlv give one example.
In mv opinion, DPÞ7HOD in 18:1ob could verv well be a pun.
Its stem is
Þ7H, “to divide,” and within the context DPÞ7HOD means something like
“and Ioshua divided the land to the Israelites according to their divisions.”
It is not quite clear what is meant bv the phrase “according to their
divisions,” which had not been introduced; and it also contradicts other
criteria of land distribution in the text, such as inheritances (DP7H1 *D7)
in 18:a and cities (D*¨97) in 18:o. Te most common context for PÞ7HO,
“division,” are the divisions of the Levites, the temple personnel, and
those from the people of Israel who serve one month at the temple as
described in 1Chronicles i:–i¬.
Strikinglv, in 1Chronicles i:–i¬ it is
Especiallv in the Mishnah puns occur in almost everv sentence. See B. Kirschner,
“Wortspiele,” in Iudisches Lexikon. Ein enzyklopädisches Handbuch des judischen Vissens
in vier Bänden (ed. G. Herlitz and B. Kirschner; Berlin 1o:o), a.i:1-o-–1-o8.
Sir ia:a, 8: “Ladv Wisdom,” a hvpostasis of God, pitches her tent (κατασκηνóω)
in Heaven and among Israel (a Hebrew text of ch. ia is not extant). In Iohn 1:1a, it is no
coincidence that the δóξα(713D) is referredtobesides σκηνóω, as thev are bothreferences
to God. Cf. also Exod io:a-; Ps ¬8 (¬¬):oo; Ps io (i-):8; Ioel a:1¬; Ezek :¬:io; Lev
io:1i; Sach i:1a. See for further examples G.B. Caird, “Homoeophonv in the Septuagint,”
in Iews, Greeks and Christians. Religious Cultures in Late Antiquity. Essays in Honor of
Villiam David Davies (ed. R. Hamerton-Kellv and R. Scroggs; SILA i1; Leiden 1o¬o),
¬a–88; F. Siegert, Zwischen Hebräischer Bibel und Altem Testament. Eine Einfuhrung in
die Septuaginta (Münsteraner Iudaistische Studieno; Münster ioo1), 1:-–1:o; E. Tov, Te
Greek and HebrewBible. Collected Essays on the Septuagint (VTSup ¬i; Leiden 1ooo), 1oo,
1¬o–1¬a; see for a defnitionp. 1oo: “Homophony (sound-resemblance), that is, the choice
of Greek equivalents which resemble the sound of their Hebrew-Aramaic counterparts
but difer in meaning.”
Te remaining word plavs are: DH72R1 (18:a), “and I will send them,” assonates with
¨*72R (18:8) and ¨72*1 (18:1o), both connected to casting the lots; 1Þ7HP*, “thev shall
divide,” (18:-) assonates with the unusual Hitpael form 1D7HPH of the verb ¨7H, “thev
went,” (18:8).
1Chron i::o; ia:1; io:1, 1i, 1o; i¬:1, i, a, -, o; i8:1, 1:, i1; iChron -:11; 8:1a;
i::8; :1:i, 1-, 1o, 1¬; :-:a, 1o; Neh 11::o. As Seebass rightlv points out, there are
“uoiv i.×u” i× iosuU. 18:1–1o o-
the lot that determines the timetable of the tasks, just as in Iosh 18:1–1o
it is the lot which determines the tribal allotments. Terefore, it could be
possible that DPÞ7HOD forms an allusion not to the division of the land,
but to the sections of temple personnel. If read in such an intertextual
wav, the divisions of land could be seen as “servants” of the sanctuarv
(Iosh 18:1) in analogv to the servants of the temple.
Tis sounds all highlv speculative and presupposes a compositional
date of Ioshua 18:1–1o afer or contemporarv with 1Chronicles i:–i¬.
Te question is if it is feasible that the author of Iosh 18:1, respectivelv
18:1–1o is apt to use such a word plav, since this seems to be a feature of
the :rd centurv vci onwards. To state that Iosh 18:1 is a late text would
be a circular argument. However, this is exactlv what I shall trv to prove
in the following bv literarv-critical arguments. I will not be able to date
it to a particular centurv, onlv to a late phase in the literarv growth of the
book of Ioshua and to the Hebrew Bible in general.
a. Lots as Instruments for Determining God’s Vill
Similar to the division of tasks bv lots in 1Chronicles i:–i¬ the land
in Ioshua is divided bv lots. In ancient times these lots were thought
to reveal the will of God.
However, it is mv opinion that the whole
theme of land distribution bv lot is secondarv, in Ioshua 1:–1o and in
the announcements in the book of Numbers.
To give a fewexamples: in
the announcement of the land division in Num io:--–oo, the role of lots
is unclear. In Num io:1–-i the people are counted, afer which it is said
that each house receives a part of land according to the amount of people
also occurrences in which PÞ7HO is connected to the division of the land (“Versuch zu
Iosua XVIII 1–1o,” :¬a n. 1a). I do not think, however, that Ezek a8:io can be a proof for
this use, since the description of the land in Ezekiel a¬–a8 is highlv ideological with the
temple and the cult of Ierusalem in the foreground. Tis text would rather support mv
thesis. Onlv the occurrences of Iosh 11:i: and 1i:¬ remain as proof texts for a connection
of PÞ7HO and land division. However, the understanding and function of the phrase
DPÞ7HOD in both texts is as problematic as in 18:1ob.
See esp. A.M. Kitz, “Te Hebrew Terminologv of Lot Casting and Its Ancient Near
Eastern Context,” CBO oi (iooo) io¬–i1a, and idem, “Undivided Inheritance and Lot
Casting in the Book of Ioshua,” IBL 11o (iooo) oo1–o18. Unfortunatelv, Kitz dwells
upon the ancient Mesopotamian rites as background without reallv going into the textual
function of lot casting in the Bible.
Pace Seebass, “Versuch zu Iosua XVIII 1–1o.”
oo i. cov×iiis ui vos
belonging to that house. Inother words, if a house consists of manv mem-
bers, it receives a larger part of land, and a smaller house gets a smaller
part of land. Tis announcement is harshlv interrupted, introduced bv
¨R “however,” bv the announcement that the land shall be divided bv lot
(7¨1à). Tis does not ft with a division according to the number of people,
which is awkwardlv corrected bv the following statement: “Teir inher-
itance shall be apportioned according to lot between the larger and the
smaller” (Numio:-o). But then, division bv lots becomes useless.
allv, we have the same problem in Iosh 18:1–1o. Although it is not said
that the land is divided according to the number of members of a tribe,
it is to be asked, what else could have been the function of the commis-
sion that inspected the land. If the land had to be divided in equal parts
to the tribes, afer which the lots onlv had to decide which part goes to
which tribe, this should surelv have been stated. Also in the introduc-
tion to the division of the Cisjordanian land (Iosh 1a:1–-), a division bv
the lot seems to be inserted later (see §-). “Lot” comes too late (1a:ia)
afer no less than three preceding division instances mentioned in 1a:1.
It occurs just before the fulflment formula in 1a:ib, so that a connection
to the announcement in Numbers is established.
If this is true, then we have to pav special attention to the use of
7¨1à, “lot,” in Ioshua 1:–1o in order to know how a redactor/interpolator
wanted to adapt the meaning of the text. In Ioshua 18 and 1o the lots
are cast, literallv “come out” or “come up” (7¨1à + R3* or H79), for the
seven remaining tribes; in chapters 1-–1¬ the territories of Iudah and
Ioseph are lots (7¨1à + H*H), and there are no lots, which are cast.
the frst instance, the lots are instruments bv which the allocation of the
Diferentlv R. Achenbach, Die Vollendung der Tora. Studienzur Redaktionsgeschichte
des ^umeribuches im Kontext von Hexateuch und Pentateuch (Beihefe zur Zeitschrif für
altorientalische und biblische Rechtsgeschichte :; München ioo:), a-8–ao1, esp. aoo.
7¨1à + H79: Iosh 18:11; 1o:1o; 7¨1à + R3*: Iosh 1o:1, 1¬, ia, :i, ao; 7¨1à + H*H: Iosh
1-:1; 1¬:1; See the table in De Vos, Das Los Iudas, -8¬. Te fact that 7¨1à + R3* also occurs
in Iosh 1o:1 has to do with the redaction-historical process in which a description of
the house of Ioseph (1o:1–a) was inserted before those of the tribes of Manasseh (1¬:1–
1:) and Ephraim (1o:-–1o); see, for example, A. Elliger, Die Fruhgeschichte der Stämme
Ephraim und Manasse (unpublished diss.; Rostock 1o¬1); H. Seebass, “Zur Exegese der
Grenzbeschreibungen von Ios. 1o,1–1¬,1:,” ZDPV 1oo (1o8a) ¬o–8:; C.H.I. de Geus,
“Manasseh (Place). Manassite,” ABD a:aoa–aoo. For the 1i-tribes svstem, in which the
tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim were summarised as House of Ioseph to enable the
Levites to enter the svstem, see C.H.I. de Geus, Te Tribes of Israel. An Investigation
into Some of the Presuppositions of M. ^oth’s Amphictiony Hypothesis (SSN 18; Assen
“uoiv i.×u” i× iosuU. 18:1–1o o¬
areas to the tribes is determined; in the second instance, the lots are areas
which are allotted to the tribes (“allotments”). No lots could be cast here,
because it is not until Iosh 18:1–1o that the casting of lots is formallv
introduced. Te question remains, however, whv the territories of Iudah
and Ioseph are addressed as lots. If thev had not been called “lots,” thev
would have been profane parts of land, in which the ritual casting of lots
could not have taken place, because lot casting would, in that case, have
taken place in a part of the land which would have had no connection
with God, or, to word it diferentlv: which would not have been a holv
area. Tis is moreover the reason whv not all of the areas could be divided
bv lot—when the lot casting would have started, there would not have
been a holv area vet. In the composition at hand concerning the division
of the land in the book of Ioshua a graded holiness, to use a concept
worked out bv Philip Peter Ienson, can be discerned.
On the one hand,
there is a part of the land that as lots is more directlv connected to the
will of God, namelv the territories of Iudah and Ioseph. On the other
hand, there is a piece of land that, being assigned by lots, is indirectlv
connected to the will of God. Shiloh (18:1) is assigned to the middle of
the former between “Iudah continuining in its territorv on the south, and
the house of Ioseph in their territorv on the north” (18:-). In the centre
of this area, so to sav, the holier area, the tent of meeting is erected, and
as allusions to his Name and to the tabernacle insinuate, God seems to
dwell there.
P.P. Ienson, Graded Holiness. AKey to the Priestly Conception of the Vorld (ISOTSup
1oo; Shemeld 1ooi).
It is clear that Seebass uses a diferent approach when he writes that “die Überlegun-
gen von de Vos, Los, S. 18o zum Zelt der Begegnung als ideeller Mitte der Stämme ver-
fehlt [sind]; denn Silo lag in Efraim, nicht in der Mitte zwischen Iuda und Ioseph, zu
dem Efraim gehörte” (Versuch zu Iosua XVIII r–rc, :¬a n. 18). He considers 18:-b to be
a purelv geographic description (ibid., i¬- n. 1o). However, I agree with his critique on
mv earlier argument that H72, “Shiloh,” (18:1, 8, o, 1o) is an interpolation in this pericope
(ibid., :¬a–:¬-, :¬a n. 18, and :¬- n. 1o). Nevertheless, we should be aware of the fact
that in later times, Shiloh comes to the fore—in retving to older traditions—, for exam-
ple in the ixx (cf. in Ioshua: ia:1, i-, where “Shiloh” replaces “Shechem”) as well as in
some writings from the second/frst centurv vci up to the frst centurv ci; see E. Noort
“Der Streit umden Altar: Iosua ii und seine Rezeptionsgeschichte,” in Kult, Konfikt und
Versohnung. Beiträge zur kultischen Suhne in religiosen, sozialen und politischen Auseinan-
dersetzungen des antiken Mittelmeerraumes (ed. R. Albertz; AOAT i8-; Münster ioo1),
o8 i. cov×iiis ui vos
-. Te Absence of God in the Second Part of the Book of Ioshua
All said before is on an ideal, cognitive level. On the level of narrative
analvsis, God does not plav a signifcant role in the texts about the
distribution of the land. For example, God does not speak directlv in
Iosh 18:1–1o. In most texts of the second part of the book of Ioshua
there are onlv references to God, and then mostlv to commandments
given to Moses. God seems to speak directlv onlv with Moses, not with
Ioshua, apart from a few exceptions.
Even in the introduction to the
distribution of the Cisjordanian land, God plavs a backstage role. It is
said in Iosh 1a:1–i (NRSV):
Tese are the inheritances that the Israelites received inthe land of Canaan,
which the priest Eleazar, and Ioshua son of Nun, and the heads of the
families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed to them. Teir inheritance
was bv lot, as the Lord had commanded Moses for the nine and one-half
It seems as if these statements have consecutivelv been corrected: 1. the
Israelites receive their land totallv profane; i. a commission of three
groups, namelv a priest, Ioshua, and the heads of the families of the
tribes, distribute the land. It therefore becomes less profane. :. Te land
is divided bv lot, the instrument used to know the will of God. Tis
corresponds to the commandment of the Lord to Moses. Eventuallv God
has some infuence, but still indirectlv, and God does not speak to Ioshua.
Two arguments e silentio can be added: Te glorv (713D) of God is
there is no mention of the tent of meeting apart from 18:1 and
its resumption in 1o:-1. Te ]D2O, “the tabernacle,” is onlv mentioned
outside our text complex, in Iosh ii:1o and io.
o. Te Redaction-History of Ioshua r8.r–rc
In order to determine at what (relative) time the second part of the book
of Ioshua was composed, one must closelv compare it to the later parts of
the book of Numbers. Interestinglv, we have manv literarv connections
between Ioshua 1:–1o and Numbers io–:o, which are not mere coin-
cidences. Tese texts are, in some wav, related to each other. Numbers
Iosh 1-:1:; io:1. In 1o:-o it is not clear to whom God speaks.
713D occurs within the book of Ioshua onlv in ¬:1o, but there it has a diferent
“uoiv i.×u” i× iosuU. 18:1–1o oo
io–:o is generallv considered to be late on the basis of language and con-
tent. Both texts do not belong to the Priestlv Document, because essential
themes are absent or are not P-like. In P, God or the glorv of God is not
bound to the land.
God travels with the people of Israel, but is not tied
to the soil of Israel. In Iosh 18:1 the reverse seems to be the case. Te
presence of Yhwh seems to be bound to the land (the Cisjordanian), and
Yhwh converts, bv this presence, the land into a holv land.
Te theological notions in Iosh 18:1 refect the concerns of both the
Priestlv writer—bv words such as 7HÞ Niphal, H79, 791O 7HR, the possible
allusion to ]D2O, and 23D Niphal
—and the Deuteronomistic writer, bv
the connection of D2 with ]D2 Hiphil.
Tis, then, causes me to consider
a compositional date for the latest composition stage of Iosh 18:1–1o afer
both writings had held some sort of canonical status. Indeed, if DPÞ7HOD
in 18:1ob is reallv an allusion to topics represented in 1Chronicles i:–i¬,
then Iosh 18:1–1o must be verv late in the literarv historv of the Bible.
It is mv view that Iosh 18:1–1o is to be situated at a time in which
the Torah and Moses were interconnected and in which God’s direct
actions and speeches could be described as over. Nevertheless, the later
writers on the distribution of the land looked for a divine legitimation
of its distribution, so thev attempted to show that God plaved a role,
albeit indirectlv. Tev achieved their aim bv alluding to theologoumena
of the Pentateuch and bv the narratives about the use of lots, thus reviving
an old metaphor that had long been theologicallv sanctioned. Te time
of Moses’ dialogue with God and the time of the development of the
Pentateuch were over.
Place and form of Iosh 18:1–1o are not original. Te number of three
men from seven tribes is in two wavs uncommon: nowhere in the Bible
a tradition of seven tribes can be discerned. Either there are twelve
“Glorv of God” is absent in the later parts of Numbers as well.
For 23D Niphal see the contribution of U. Neumann-Gorsolke, “And the Land Was
Subdued before Tem . . . ”: Some Remarks on the Meaning of 23D in Iosh 18:1 and
Related Texts,” in this volume. See B.D. Sommer, “Conficting Constructions of Divine
Presence in the Priestlv Tabernacle,” BibInt o (ioo1), a1–o:, with respect to 7HR, 7HR
791O, and ]D2O.
Iosh 18:: looks also Deuteronomistic.
Cf. I. Maier, Pentateuch, Torah und Recht zwischen Oumran und Septuaginta (Stu-
dien zur jüdischen Bibel und ihrer Geschichte i8; Berlin iooa), 118–1ia at 118: “Wer
war befügt, etwas als Torah zu proklamieren, und wie lange funktionierte diese Instanz:”
(118). Cf. also idem, “Der Lehrer der Gerechtigkeit,” in: Interesse amIudentum. Die Franz-
Delitzsch-Vorlesungen r;8;–:cc8 (ed. I.C. de Vos and F. Siegert; Münsteraner Iudaistische
Studien i:; Münster ioo8), ¬i–1o:.
¬o i. cov×iiis ui vos
Israelite tribes, or there are ten Cisjordanian tribes; or no number is
mentioned at all, and instead, the tribes are referred to as “the tribes
of Israel.” Besides, three men from seven tribes makes i1 men, which
is an “unelegant” number. It is verv likelv that the number seven was
added later, since there are several occasions where 18:1–1o addresses
the Israelites in general.
Te awkward position of the appended second
subject D*O32 H932, “seven tribes,” at the verv end of Iosh 18:i makes this
particularlv clear.
Te other occurrences of “seven” (18:-, o, o) can also
be cut out without problems.
At an initial stage the corpus of the land
division, without the device of the lots, dealt with the Israelites in general
and the land in general (1::1, ¬aα; 1a:1, -). Onlv aferwards this was
corrected bv specifving and explaining the number of the nine tribes and
the half-tribe of Manasseh (1::¬aβ, b; 1a:ib, :, a). Remnants of this initial
stage can be found in Iosh 18:1–1o as well. Iosh 18:i (without “the seven
tribes”), :, a¯, 8bα, o¯, 1ob¯ follow what is announced in Iosh 1::1: the
remaining land must be possessed (2¨*: 1::1; 18::). Ioshua commands a
foor commission of three men per tribe to inspect the land.
Afer their
return, the land is divided to the tribes.
At this initial stage, the whole corpus of the distribution of the tribal
areas had onlv one introduction: 1::1, ¬aα; 1a,1, -. At a later phase, in
order to alineate Ioshua and the Pentateuch, chapter 1: dealt mainlv
with the Transjordanian tribes, which had alreadv received their por-
tions directlv from Moses (Numbers :i).
For the tribes which had not
7R¨2* *13: 18:1, i, :, 1o, as well as H79 in 18:1. Also DD*P13R, “vour ancestors”
(18::), and 11*H7R, “our God” (18:o), point indirectlv to all Israel as well as the undefned
distributive use of O32, “tribe” (18:a).
Te frst subject is the whole phrase DP7H1¨PR 1Þ7H¨R7 ¨2R, “those whose inheri-
tance had not vet been apportioned.”
I would like to reverse the statement of Seebass: “Schließlich ist an xviii 1–1o längst
aufgefallen, daß mal die ganze ‘Gemeinde’ (H79) oder die Israeliten insgesamt, mal nur
sieben Stämme unter ihnen, Iosuas Gegenüber bilden, aber nur die Siebenzahl seine
jetzige Stelle erklärt, . . . ” (“Versuch zu Iosua XVIII 1–1o,” :¬o) into the statement that
“die jetzige Stelle die Siebenzahl erklärt.” Seebass himself considers 18:i, -–o, and 8b as
not belonging to his “Grundschicht” of Iosh 18:1–1o. So for him onlv the occurrence
of “seven” in 18:oa remains (ibid. :¬o). “[Dort] lässt sich die Siebenzahl nicht so einfach
herauslösen, und v. o ist der Erzählung sicher unentbehrlich” (ibid., :¬o). It is mv opinion
that v. oa belongs to the Grundschicht, but onlv until H13PD*1, “thev wrote it [sc. the land]
down,” and mavbe until D*¨97, “according to cities.” Tat what comes aferwards (H9327
¨DO¨79 D*Þ7H, “in seven divisions in a book”) is not necessarv for the narrative.
For the term “foor commission” (“Flurkommission”) see O. Bächli, “Von der Liste
zur Beschreibung: Beobachtungen und Erwägungen zu Ios. 1:–1o,” ZDPV 8o (1o¬:) 1–
1a, esp. 11.
See for the status of Transjordan in Ioshua 1:: E. Noort, “Transjordan in Ioshua
“uoiv i.×u” i× iosuU. 18:1–1o ¬1
received their land from Moses, a new introduction had to be created
(Iosh 1a:1–-). Bv bringing in the device of the lot, a further introduction
was needed, because, frstlv, a piece of holv land had to be established, as
outlined above, in order to cast the lots. At this stage Iosh 18:1–1o was
moved to its present position and it became necessarv to mention and
explain the number seven of the seven remaining tribes (18:i, -, o, ¬, o).
Bv this move a “holv centre” of land was created.
¬. Conclusion
Ioshua 1:–1o is a late composition. It uses P- and Dtr-like language
and plavs with their theological concepts. Te time of an “unbiased”
encounter between God and the leaders of the Israelite people is over.
God can onlv be perceived implicitlv as being present in the land.
Bv compositional processes within Ioshua 1:–1o a graded holiness
of the land was achieved. Te centre of Israel lies in Shiloh (Iosh 18:1–
1o). It is there where the tent of meeting is erected, and where the lots
are cast before Yhwh, both attestations of the presence of God. If I am
correct with mv claim that there are allusions to the tabernacle and that
the name of God is hidden in Iosh 18:1, then the implied presence of
God is even reinforced. Tis, so to sav holv centre lies between the area
of Iudah and that of the house of Ioseph (18:-), being areas, which had in
Ioshua 1-–1¬ been described as lots (allotments). So, the areas itself are
lots, and this, as the decision of the lots comes from God, makes them in
some wav divine. At the holv centre in Shiloh between the two less holier
parts of the allotments of Iudah and Ioseph the lots are cast for the seven
remaining tribes. Teir areas are assigned by lots, thev are themselves no
lots. If PÞ7HO, “division,” in 18:1ob is reallv an allusion to the divisions
of cultic personnel as known from Neh 11::o and 1Chronicles i:–i¬,
then the tribal areas function as kinds of “servants” around the holv
centre in Shiloh, making the whole area holv, although graded from
centre to peripherv. Onlv the status of the Transjordanian area and its
tribes remains unclear. Tev are important insofar as thev had received
1:: Some Aspects,” in Lectures Held at the Tird International Conference on the History
and Archaeology of Iordan (vol. : of Studies in the History and Archaeology of Iordan; ed.
A. Hadidi; London 1o8¬), 1i-–1io.
Also Seebass (“Versuch zu Iosua XVIII 1–1o”) concludes that Iosh 18:1–1o was
secondarilv added to its present position.
¬i i. cov×iiis ui vos
their portions directlv from Moses (Numbers :i; Ioshua 1:). In Ioshua
ii thev seem, however, to live bevond the borders of the land of Yhwh
(Iosh ii:1o).
Te evoked mental map of Ioshua 1:–1o can therefore be
visualised as follows:
Fig. 1: Graded Holiness in Ioshua 1:–1o.
Noort “Der Streit um den Altar,” 1oo: “Die eigentliche Frage ist aber die nach
dem Verhältnis zwischen Cis- und Transjordanien. Lang sind die Zeiten her, daß in
einer deuteronomistischen Sicht Transjordanien noch zumverheißenemLand gerechnet
wurde und eben dieses verheißene Land nicht beim Iordan, sondern beim Arnon anfng.
Die Provinz Gilead ist politisches Ausland. Und in der schillernden Geschichte zwischen
West und Ost kann die vermutete Unreinheit des Ostjordanlandes tiefe Wurzel haben.
Das Land mag Ausland sein, aber die dort wohnenden, ethnisch verwandten Gruppen
gehören sehr wohl zum Volk YHWHs.” D.A. Knight, “Ioshua ii and the Ideologv of
Space,” in Imagining Biblical Vorlds. Studies in Spatial, Social, and Historical Constructs
in Honor of Iames V. Flanagan (eds. D.M. Gunn and P.M. McNutt, ISOTSup :-o;
London iooi), -1–o:, observes the same discrepancv and postulates a confict between
inhabitants of Yehud and those in exile in the east.
U1i NiUm.××-Govsoixi
1. Introduction
As E. Noort stated manv scholars dealing with the Priestlv source have
pointed out a relationship between Iosh 18:1 and Gen 1:i8P.
One of
the main reasons for this opinion is the verb 23D that occurs in both
verses together with ?¨R “earth/land.”
Terefore it has been assumed
that Iosh 18:1 belongs to the Priestlv source or is at least the work of
a Priestlv or post-Priestlv redactor.
While Lohfnk saw Iosh 18:1 as
“die Erfüllungsnotiz von Gen 1:i8,”
nowadavs the opinio communis has
come up that Iosh 18:1 is part of a redactional Priestlv work.
While the literarv preference of Gen 1:i8 to Iosh 18:1 seems to be
refected carefullv bv manv scholars, the understanding of 23D which
occurs in Oal in Gen 1:i8 but in Niphal in Iosh 18:1 lacks this intensive
For Ed Noort on the occasion of his o-th birthdav with best wishes from Hamburg.
E. Noort, Das Buch Iosua: Forschungsgeschichte und Problemfelder (EdF ioi;
Darmstadt 1oo8), 1¬8–1¬o.
Other indications are the priestlv words 7R¨2* *13 P79, “the congregation of the
Israelites,” and 791O 7HR, “tent of meeting,” in Iosh 18:1.
Cf. Noort, Iosua, 1¬¬–181. Noort refers to the works and articles of I. Blenkinsopp,
“Te Structure of P,” CBO :8 (1o¬o) i¬-–ioi; N. Lohfnk, Die Priesterschriþ und die
Geschichte (VTSup io; Leiden 1o¬8), 18o–ii-; A.G. Auld, “Creation and Land: Sources
and Exegesis,” in Proceedings of the Vorld Congress of Iewish Studies 8A (Ierusalem
1o8i), ¬–1:; E. Zenger, Gottes Bogen in den Volken. Untersuchungen zu Komposition und
Teologie der priesterschriþlichen Urgeschichte (SBS 11i; Stuttgart 1o8:); and E. Cortese,
Iosua r+–:r. Ein priesterschriþlicher Abschnitt im deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk
(OBO oa; Freiburg 1ooo); Zenger, Gottes Bogen, ao, frst thought that Gen 1:i8 depends
on Iosh 18:1 and projects the gif of the land onto the creation storv, but he revokes this
idea in the id edition of 1o8¬, i1a.
Lohfnk, Priesterschriþ, 1oo n. :o.
Cf., for example, Cortese, Iosua, oa–oo, and V. Fritz, Das Buch Iosua (HAT 1.¬;
Tübingen 1oo:), 1¬¬.
¬a U1i ×iUm.××-covsoixi
refection. In both cases—and even for the further occurences
translation of 23D “to subdue” (Oal) or “to be subdued” (Niphal) is the
common one and seems to be inspired bv the idea of oppression and
(land) conquering. Te following table of versions of the Bible illustrates
Translation Gen r.:8: H23D1 Iosh r8.r: DH*1D7 H23D1 ?¨RH1
ixx καi κατακυριεuσατε α0τIς καi í γI rκρατi0η íπ' α0τuν
Vulgata . . . subicite eam . . . et fuit eis terra subiecta
Luther (1o8a) . . . machet sie euch untertan . . . und das Land war ihnen
New King Iames
. . . and subdue it; And the land was subdued
before them.
New Revised
Standard Version
. . . and subdue it. Te land lav subdued before
New Ierusalem Bible . . . and subdue it. . . . the whole countrv had
been subdued for them.
. . . en onderwerpt haar . . . aangezien de streek
onderworpen was en te
hunner beschikking stond
Groot Nieuws Bijbel
Iullie moeten de aarde aan je
Het land was al door de
Israëlieten onderworpen
. . . en breng haar onder je
Het land was al veroverd.
One could easilv complete this table bv mentioning translations of difer-
ent commentaries on the books of Genesis and Ioshua. In our case onlv a
few examples concerning Iosh 18:1 will be enough.
M. Noth translated
“. . . das ganze Land aber lag unterworfen vor ihnen,”
and the new com-
mentarv bv V. Fritz repeats this translation.
R.G. Boling also underlines
this understanding of 23D in his commentarv in 1o8i: “Te land had
been subdued before them.”
See Ier :a:11 (Hiphil), 1o; Neh -:-; iChr i8:1o; Esth ¬:8; iSam 8:11; Mic ¬:1oaβ;
Num :i:ii, io; 1Chr ii:18.
For Gen 1:i8 cf. U. Neumann-Gorsolke, Herrschen in den Grenzen der Schopfung.
Aspekte alttestamentlicher Anthropologie am Beispiel von Psalm 8, Genesis r und ver-
wandten Texten (WMANT 1o1; Neukirchen-Vluvn iooa), i¬a n. o.
M. Noth, Das Buch Iosua (HAT 1.¬; Tübingen 1o:8), ¬8.
Fritz, Iosua, 1¬¬.
R.G. Boling; Ioshua: A ^ew Translation with ^otes and Commentary (AB o; Garden
Citv 1o8i).
“.×u 1ui i.×u w.s sUvuUiu viiovi 1uim . . . ”· ¬-
N. Lohfnk,
K. Koch, and other scholars have alreadv criticized the
“violant” understanding of 23D in Gen 1:i8 and have stated that “die
europäischenÜbersetzungender Bibel [untermauerndas] gängig gewor-
dene Verständnis . . . , in Gen 1,i8 würden Erde und Tiere den Menschen
zu schrankenloser Verfügung und beliebiger Ausbeutung übereignet”
though the idea of subduing the earth does not go well with the situation
of a just created world without anv enemies and with the idea of a rich
world of trees and green that gives food to men and animals. Neverthe-
less, the idea of oppression and conquering seems to match the book of
Ioshua and there seems, at frst sight, no need for further refection about
the translation “and the land was subdued before them.” But if there is
a relation between Gen 1:i8 and Iosh 18:1, one has to ask whether the
situation in Iosh 18:1 is not much the same as in Gen 1:i8: a situation
of warfare is not mentioned in the latter text. Te land is thought to be
without inhabitants in both cases.
How can an understanding of 23D as
“subdued” then be convincing:
Besides, the use of the preposition plus sumx D*H1D7 is exceptional in
relation to a situation of subduing.
Some translations even take it as
the logical subject of the H23D1 action and translate: “bv them” (cf. ixx
and Groot Nieuws Bijbel), but this is not within the grammatical rules
and it is not in harmonv with the intention of the verse. Iosh 18:1 tells
that the congregation of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh and set up the
tent of meeting. Tis resembles a cultic situation, and the Israelites are
waiting for the apportioning of their inheritance. Te phrase H23D1 ?¨RH1
DH*1D7, mostlv translated with “and the land was subdued before them,”
is a statement concerning the land, and the Israelites remain passive.
Te idea of oppression and violence seems to be strange in this priestlv
N. Lohfnk, “‘Machet euch die Erde untertan’?” Orientierung :8 (1o¬a) 1o¬–1ai.
K. Koch, “Gestaltet die Erde, doch heget das Leben! Einige Klarstellungen zum
dominium terrae in Gen 1” (1o8:), in idem, Spuren des hebräischen Denkens. Beiträge
zur alttestamentlichen Teologie (Gesammelte Aufsätze 1; ed. B. Ianowski and M. Krause;
Neukirchen-Vluvn 1oo1), ii:–i:¬ at iia. See also Neumann-Gorsolke, Herrschen.
Everv time the idea of expelling or suppression is mentioned, the verb 2¨* Hiphil
and a personal object are used; cf. Iosh 1a:1a; 1o:o:; 1¬:1:, 18, while the possession of the
land is expressed bv the idea of stepping with the feet on the land (cf. Iosh 1::; 1a:o).
See the exegesis of Num :i:ii, io; and 1Chr ii:18 below.
“In the complete passive, the agent mav be indicated bv a prepositional phrase in 3
. . . or 7 . . . ; the means or instrument mav be given afer 3 . . . or ]O . . . ” (B.K. Waltke and
M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax [Winona Lake, Ind., 1ooo] :8-:
i:.i.i–:; cf. W. Gesenius et al., Hebräische Grammatik [Darmstadt 1oo1], §1i1–1ii).
S. Wagner, “23D,” TVAT a:--, is of the opinion that in all cases where kbˇs and earth
are mentioned the Israelites are the logical subject.
¬o U1i ×iUm.××-covsoixi
infuenced context. So the question is how this phrase and especiallv
23D can be understood in Iosh 18:1 and whether one can fnd a more
convincing translation/understanding than “to be subdued.”
Te further investigation frst deals with the Semitic root kbˇs and
its diferent semantic realizations, especiallv when mentioned in rela-
tion to “land/earth” (i). Ten, the biblical parallels in Numbers :i and
1Chronicles ii that also share the svntagma DH*1D7 are examined and
compared with Iosh 18:1 (:). Finallv, in the summarv we present the new
wav of understanding 23D and introduce its theological implication (a).
i. Te Semitic Root kbˇs
Te dictionaries show the same picture about the Hebrew root 23D as
mentioned above. For instance, Brown-Driver-Briggs has as its general
meaning “to subdue” (with regard to Mic ¬:1o thev mention a fgurative
sense) and in a context of slaverv thev have “to bring into bondage”
as the dominant meaning of 23D. Comparable translations are proposed
bv D.I.A. Clines in his “Dictionarv of Classical Hebrew.” Corresponding
to diferent objects he suggests a dominant meaning “subdue, make
subservient, rape woman.”
S. Wagner
is also of the opinion that Hebrew 23D represents the
Semitic root kbˇs and has the overall meaning “unterwerfen,” i.e. to sub-
due. Besides this, Wagner formulates two main characteristics of this
root. (1) 23D belongs to those Hebrew verbs that articulate oppression
and violence. (i) 23D has alwavs a “stronger” subject and a “weaker”
Tose characterisations might make sense when a relation between
people is referred to, but it must be questioned whether thev are helpful
when the relation between the Israelites and their promised land is
implied, especiallv when no further inhabitants are spoken of.
Terefore—in mv opinion—it is necessarv to look whether there are
diferent understandings of the root kbˇs in other Semitic languages that
can give a new input for this semantic discussion. Brown-Drivers-Briggs
F. Brown, S.R. Driver, and C.A. Briggs, eds., A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the
Old Testament with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic. Based on the Lexicon of
Villiam Gesenius (Oxford 1o-¬), ao1.
D.I.A. Clines, ed., Te Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Shemeld 1oo8), a::o1.
Wagner, TVAT a:-a–oo.
Wagner, TVAT a:-8.
“.×u 1ui i.×u w.s sUvuUiu viiovi 1uim . . . ”· ¬¬
refers to the root kbˇs in Aramaic and Arabian meaning “tread down, beat
or make a path, (subdue).”
Te idea of “tread down” or “to step on”
that fts the related Hebrew noun 23D “footstool” mentioned in iChr
o:18 is also well known for Akkadian/Assvrian kab¯ asu. Te Akkadisches
Handworterbuch and the Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of
the University of Chicago
put the meaning “to step upon” in the frst
place and then in the second place “to trample, to crush, to defeat an
enemv” and so on. It is of great interest that because of the wider spread
occurrence of the verb kab¯ asu the Assvrian dictionaries have much more
semantic diferentiations that depend on the specifc contexts of the verb
than the Hebrew dictionaries. With objects such as “land” or “area” the
meaning “subdue” is not mentioned
but “betreten, treten auf ” (AHw)
or “to stride, to walk upon, to pace of” (CAD 1). Some examples might
show that this understanding of kab¯ asu is convincing in this context.
In a building inscription of Esarhaddon from Ninive one fnds the
. . . the mountains on which none of mv roval predecessors ever set foot.
(ˇsa ina ˇsarr¯ ani abb¯ eja mamma la ik-bu-su)
Probablv Esarhaddon wants to underline that his campaign has reached
areas that no one else before even stepped upon. So he succeeded in
increasing the territorv of Assvria, i.e. “prevailing of cosmos over the
surrounding chaos,”
one of his roval duties.
Cf. Brown, Lexicon, ao1.
W. von Soden, Akkadisches Handworterbuch (vol. 1; Wiesbaden 1o8-) and I.A.
Brinkman et al., eds., Te Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University
of Chicago (vol. 8; Chicago 1o¬1).
Kab¯ asu can have the meaning “to subdue” in combination with “land,” but onlv if
“land” is understood as a metonvmfor hostile inhabitants of the land. See for example the
so called Nimrud-Letters, Letters of Sargon II (¬ii–¬o-vc), cf. ND i¬-o, pl. XXXVII,
-i–-:: “Now Aˇsˇsur, Iˇstar, Bel and Nabu (the apposition ‘mv gods’ is missing in this
translation, U.N.-G.) have put this land under vour feet. It shall be subjugated (ta-at-
tak-ba-as-as ki-i lib-bi-k [a d]u-u [l] u)” (text and translation H.W.F. Saggs, “Te Nimrud-
Letters 1o-i—Part IV,” Iraq io [1o-8] 18:–18a), cf. R.F. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian
Letters (vols. 1–:; Chicago 18oi–1o1a), ioi. Tese examples are comparable with iSam
8:11, that also deals with the subduing of countries and their people.
R. Borger, Die Inschriþen Asarhaddons, Konigs von Assyrien (AfOB o; Graz 1o-o),
-- Episode 1oA; IV a8 (English text: CAD 1.8).
M. Liverani, “Te Ideologv of the Assvrian Empire,” in Power and Propaganda. A
Symposium on Ancient Empires (ed. M.T. Larsen; Mesopotamia ¬; Copenhagen 1o¬o)
io¬–:1¬ at :o¬.
Te same idea is expressed in Borger, Asarhaddon, -a Episode 1- A, IV :o, where
¬8 U1i ×iUm.××-covsoixi
On the Rassam-Cvlinder col. VI o-–oo Ashurbanipal tells about his
campaignagainst Elamandemphasizes that he didnot evenstopentering
the sacred groves and destroving the mvsteries bv fre:
. . . the sacred groves into which no alien is admitted and within whose
boundaries no alien mav walk (la i-ka-ba-su i-ta-ˇsi-in).
Tis example also shows that the understanding “to step on/to walk”
for kab¯ asu is convincing: Ashurbanipal wants to make clear that no
part of the area of Elam was not conquered bv the Assvrians. Even the
sacred places were walked upon what perhaps implies that thev lost their
sacredness and now belong to the Assvrians.
A further example from the Rassam-Cvlinder col. II 1-–1o mentions
the campaign of Ashurbanipal against Egvpt. Ashurbanipal’s coming and
setting foot on the land made the leader of Memphis fee and implies
that now Ashurbanipal was considered as possessor of the land of Egvpt.
kab¯ asu with object matu “land” needs not to be understood as “to sub-
due” but just as “to step on/to set foot on the land”:
. . . as soon as I set foot on Egvptian territorv he abandoned Memphis (ˇsa
sir m¯ at Mu
me-im-pi u-maˇs-ˇsir-ma) and fed to Ni’ to
save his life.
Te Rassam-Cvlinder also uses the root kab¯ asu with the object “land
of Assvria” to emphasize that Ashurbanipal has come back to his own
kingdom afer a successful campaign against Kirbet and the Mannians
(col. III o8–¬o):
Mit vieler Beute (und) schweren Geschenken kehrte ich wohlbehalten
zurück (und) betrat das Gebiet vonAssvrien(ak-bu-sa mi-
To step on the territorv of Assvria means to come back to his possession,
and it emphasizes that Assvria is no longer without a king and therefore
is no longer in danger to lose its stabilitv and safetv that the king is a
guarantee for. In queries to the Sungod during the Sargonid period, one
verv ofen fnds the question whether the king or the chief eunuch and
the armv at his disposal will return safelv from a campaign and “set foot
is mentioned that the Medes never stepped upon Assvrian land during the time of
Esarhaddon’s predecessors (la ik-bu-su qaqqarˇsa).
Text cf. M. Streck, Assurbanipal und die letzten Assyrischen Konige bis zum Unter-
gang ^inives (VAB ¬.i; Leipzig 1o1o), -a–--; translation: CAD 1.8.
Text: Streck, Assurbanipal, 1o–1¬; translation: cf. CAD 1.8.
Text and translation Streck, Assurbanipal, 1oi–1o:.
“.×u 1ui i.×u w.s sUvuUiu viiovi 1uim . . . ”· ¬o
on Assvrian soil.” One example will be enough to illustrate this use of
kab¯ asu:
[Will Esarhaddon, king of Assvria], with his troops and camp, [return
and set fo]ot [on Assvrian soil: Will he safelv enter] his palace in Nin-
eveh: [
aˇs-ˇsur–ˇsrˇs–scm-na icczi xcv–aˇs-ˇsur].xi a-di rvim.ui-ˇsu ù xi-
xzixnzu-ˇsu [ccv.mrˇ s-ni-i mi-
sir xcv–aˇs-ˇsur i-kab]-ba-su-u i-na r.czi-ˇsu
ˇsa cvc.ni-na-a.
Te returnof the king or his eunuchtogether withthe troops into the own
countrv cannot implv the idea of subduing, but to set foot on Assvrian
soil means the return of Assvrian power, might and strength. When the
king and the troops set foot on the area of Assvria the danger of chaos and
instabilitv is gone: the king takes possession of his land again. So there
might be again the notion of “taking the land as possession” in the root
kab¯ asu in this case.
Te last example is from an astrological report to an Assvrian king bv
If the moon is surrounded bv a halo, and Ninurta stands in it: mv troops
will set foot in the enemv’s land. (xi xcv xcv rvim-ni i-kab-ba-a[s]).
Tis astrological report tells the condition for conquering an enemv’s
land, but warfare or violence is not mentioned. Taking possession of the
land is expressed bv the idea of setting foot on the land. Tis is a well
known svmbolic act in Ancient Near East and also in the HebrewBible.
M. Malul has shown that in Nuzi the transfer of propertv in sales adoptions
was svmbolized bv a specifc act: the adopter raised his foot from the
propertv and placed the adoptee’s foot upon it.
Tis is to be understood
as “a legal instrument of propertv transfer.”
Tis svmbolic act seems to be the background of several Old Testament
texts concerning the transfer of propertv, especiallv land. Evena shoe could
I. Starr, Oueries to the Sungod. Divination and Politics in Sargonid Assyria (SAA a;
Helsinki 1ooo), nos. 8¬.1o–11, cf. nos. oa.1o; ¬o.11; ¬o (r).1o; 8o.o.
See, for example Rassam-Cvlinder col. II 1-–1o.
H. Hunger, ed., Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings (SAA 8; Helsinki 1ooi),
no. 1-a, o.
Cf. M. Malul, Studies inMesopotamienLegal Symbolism(AOATii1; Kevelaer 1o88),
Te phrase ˇs¯ epaím) ˇsuluím) u ˇs¯ epaím) ˇsakanuím) occurs in real adoption formulas
as well as insale-adoptionformulas. Inthe secondcase the transfer of propertv is focussed
while in the frst case a familv relationship is touched as well; cf. E. Cassin, Symboles de
cession immobilière dans l’ancien droit mesopotamien (1o-i), in Le semblabe et le diferent.
Symbolismes du pouvoir dans le proche-orient ancien, (ed. E. Cassin; Paris 1o8¬), i8o–::¬.
Malul, Symbolism, :o1.
8o U1i ×iUm.××-covsoixi
represent this svmbolic act, as one can see in Ps oo:1o = 1o8:1o: “. . . upon
Edom I toss mv sandal” which demonstrates the will to possess the land.
“D’après Rt a,¬ c’était autrefois la coutume en Israël de valider ainsi toute
transaction: l’une des parties tirait sa sandale et la donnait a l’autre. Ce geste
accompli devant témoins signifait l’abandon d’un droit. Ainsi le premier
go"el de Noémi renonce en faveur de Booz a son droit de préemption, Rt
a,8; . . . ”
And even God’s request to Abram in Gen 1::1¬: “Rise up, walk through
the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to vou” with the
kevword ¨7HPH alludes to the idea that it is necessarv to step on the land
before it will be one’s own propertv.
Let us now summarize the investigation of the Akkadian root kab¯ asu:
(1) Akkadian kab¯ asu with object land/area/countrv seems to be best un-
derstood as “to step (up-)on, to set foot on.” Tere is no need to suppose
that a notion of violence or warfare is included. Especiallv when the return
of the Assvrian king and his troops is described bv the verb kab¯ asu, anv
idea of subduing is obviouslv missing.
(i) Furthermore, some examples mentioned above bear the possibilitv to
understand kab¯ asu “to set foot on (the land)” as a svmbolic act of acquiring
Te Akkadian root kab¯ asu ofers an alternative concept of understanding
the root kbˇs that avoids the idea of subduing. In the following section it
has to be proofed whether this understanding fts Iosh 18:1 as well as the
related texts in Num :i:ii, io, and 1Chr ii:18 that also have the same
“Worthof ” (K. Koch) as Iosh 18:1.
:. 23D ^iphal + ?¨RH + *1D7 in ^umbers +:.::,
:;, rChronicles ::.r8, and Ioshua r8.r
Numbers :i:ii, io, and 1Chr ii:18 show the same grammatical struc-
ture as Iosh 18:1: 23D Niphal has the logical object ?¨RH followed bv the
preposition *1D7 + Yhwh or the Israelites. And all three biblical texts con-
cern the gif of the promised land. Arelationship between these texts can
be supposed. Te proposed translations for instance agree with the one
mentioned for Iosh 18:1: “the land was subdued before ××.”
R. de Vaux, Le nomadisme et ses survivances. Institutions familiales. Institutions
civiles (vol. 1 of Les institutions de L’Ancien Testament; Paris 1o-8), i-8.
Cf. Iosh 18:a, 8; 1Kgs i1:1o.
Cf. P.I. Budd, ^umbers (WBC-; Waco 1o8a), ::o. See also M. Noth, Das vierte Buch
“.×u 1ui i.×u w.s sUvuUiu viiovi 1uim . . . ”· 81
Besides all diferences, scholars are of the opinion that Numbers :i is
not a literarv unit but “a complex compilation”
with Deuteronomistic
and priestlv adaptations. Te extent of these Deuteronomistic and priest-
lv parts are discussed controversiallv. Some scholars regard the verses i8–
:i(::) as priestlv and perhaps also v. iib; the older commentators see
priestlv work also in vv. 1o–:i (A. Kuenen) or io–:: (M. Noth).
In mv
opinion the identical structure of v. ii and v. io seems to be a hint for
the same origin or at least for an intended close relationship, so that both
verses mav be the work of Priestlv redaction(s).
But what does the phrase *1D7 H23D1 ?¨RH mean in the context of
Numbers :i: Te verses io–i¬ and i8–:: repeat the situation of vv. 1o–
1o, frst as a speech of Moses to the two tribes Reuben and Gad, then
to Eleazar, Ioshua, and to the heads of the ancestral houses: the sons of
Reuben and of Gad will get the land of Gilead, which has alreadv been
conquered (HDH; v. a), as possession if thev cross the Iordan and help the
other tribes to conquer the western part of the promised land. Te phrase
H1H* *1D7 ?¨RH H23D1 concerns the western part of the land:
io And Moses said to them, “If vou will do this, if vou will indeed take up
arms to get in the presence of Yhwh (H1H* *1D7) for the war,
i1 and everv armed man of vou will indeed pass over the Iordan in the
presence of Yhwh (H1H* *1D7), until he has driven out (2¨* Hiphil) his
enemies from before him (1*1DO),
ii and the land can be stepped upon (H23D1) in the presence of Yhwh (*1D7
H1H*), then, afer that, vou shall indeed return, and be free of obligation to
Yhwh and to Israel, and this land shall be vour possession (H!HR) in the
presence of Yhwh (H1H* *1D7).” (Num :i:io–ii)
At frst glance these verses seem to indicate a militarv action of the two
tribes Reuben and Gad
but v. i1b changes the perspective and the
subject of the action to make clear that it is Yhwh alone who will drive out
Mose. ^umeri (ATD ¬; Göttingen 1ooo), ioi: “. . . und das Land vor Iahwe unterworfen
daliegt”; L.E. Elliot-Binns, Te Book of ^umbers (WC; London 1oi¬), i1i: “. . . And the
land be subdued before the Lord.”
Budd, ^umbers, ::¬.
Cf. Budd, ^umbers, ::¬–:a1.
As far as I see, this connection is never mentioned in the commentaries, while the
relation between H!HR in v. ii and v. io and the verb 1!HR11 in v. :o is stressed everv time;
cf. B.A. Levine, ^umbers :r–+o. A ^ew Translation with Introduction and Commentary
(AB aA, New York 1oo:), aoa.
In Num :i:io Levine translated H1H* *1D7 “in advance of YHWH” which means that
“the Transjordanian forces did not have the God of Israel marching ahead of them or
alongside them; thev were on their own! God was marching with the main settlement of
8i U1i ×iUm.××-covsoixi
(2¨* Hiphil) the enemies of Israel who are also his enemies. Te presence
of Yhwh is the main point of view, expressed three times bv the phrase
H1H* *1D7.
He is the one who gives the land to the Israelites. Because of
his intervention the land is now without inhabitants. Here the ideal wav
of receiving the land is stressed: Yhwh drives out the former inhabitants
so that the Israelites can march into an emptv land, their promised land.
H23D1 describes the relation between the land and the tribes moving in.
Not the idea of warfare or conquering is signifcant for 23D here, but
the notion of taking possession of the land in the presence of Yhwh and
under his guidance. Inspiredbv the semantic varietv of the Akkadianroot
kab¯ asu this notion can be expressed bv “to step upon the land.” For the
Niphal-stem one can suggest a translation like “the land can be stepped
upon” (see the translation above).
In a short wav the content of Num :i:io–ii is repeated in :i:io,
Moses’ speech to Eleazar, Ioshua, and the heads of the ancestral houses
of the tribes:
If the Gadites and Reubenites [indeed] cross the Iordan together with vou,
armed for the battle in the presence of Yhwh (H1H* *1D7) with the result that
the land can be stepped upon (H23D1) before vou (DD*1D7), vou shall grant
to them the land of Gilead as an acquired estate (H!HR7).
Afer a battle of all Israelites in the presence of Yhwh—a fghting scene
is not described in detail because that is not the main feature of these
verses—the land is imagined to be emptv and without anv inhabitants
so that the Israelite tribes can take possession of it. Te phrase H1H* *1D7
underlines the powerful presence of Yhwh who gives the victorv over the
enemies, while DD*1D7, in mv opinion, has another nuance: it stresses the
more passive role of the Israelites as spectators (“in front of the eves of ”)
and shows that thev are the ones who are given the land.
Canaan, the Promised Land” (^umbers, aoi). But v. i1b does not go well with this inter-
pretation of H1H* *1D7; here it is emphasized that it is Yhwh alone who drives out the
Levine, ^umbers, aoi, pointed out that H1H* *1D7 constitutes a virtual Leitmotif in
ch. :i and is “subtlv nuanced” (ibid.). For the diferent aspects of this phrase see A.S. van
der Woude, “D*1D ‘Angesicht,’ ” THAT, :d ed., i:a:i–aoo at aaa–aa-, and E. Ienni, Die
Präposition Lamed (vol. : of Die hebräischen Präpositionen; Stuttgart iooo), ioi–io:.
Tere is a close relation between the Oal and the Niphal form of the verb: “Te
^iphal is related according to its meaning mostlv to Oal; it is (a) refexive of Oal—
occasionallv (b) in a reciprocal sense—still more frequentlv (c) passive. From the passive
meaning is derived the sense of ‘to allow something be done to someone’ ” (Waltke and
O’Connor, Introduction, :¬o:i:.1d.).
Cf. F. Hartenstein, Das Angesicht Gottes. Studien zu einem hofschen und kultischen
Bedeutungshintergrund in den Psalmen und in Exodus +:–+, (FAT --; Tübingen ioo8),
“.×u 1ui i.×u w.s sUvuUiu viiovi 1uim . . . ”· 8:
Te phrase *1D7 H23D1 ?¨RH is also used in 1Chr ii:18, within the
text 1Chr ii:1¬–1o, a secondarv addition to the report about David’s
efort to prepare the building of the temple, “der Davids Kriegsführung
theologisch interpretieren soll.”
David gives instructions to the omcials
to support his son Salomo.
First David reminds the omcials of the past
alluding to the conquest of the promised land. In the view of Chronicles
the promise of the land fnallv comes to an end at the time of David:
18 Is not Yhwh vour God with vou: And has he not given vou rest on everv
side: For he has given the people of the land into mv hands, so that the
land can be stepped upon (H23D1) in the presence of Yhwh (H1H* *1D7) and
before his people (1O9 *1D7).
1o So now devote heart and soul to searching for Yhwh vour God. Set to and
build the sanctuarv of Yhwh God, so that vou can bring the ark of the
covenant of Yhwh and the holv vessels of God into the house built for the
name of Yhwh. (1Chr ii:18–1o)
Yhwh gave the land as a place to rest for the Israelites and for building the
sanctuarv. Terefore Yhwh gave the inhabitants into the hands of David,
i.e. thev do not plav a role anv more, and “there are no wars to fght.”
Te land is free for peaceful settlement (see the rhetorical questions in
1Chr ii:18), free to set foot on the land and take possession of it. Tat is
the condition for building the temple, the real aim of all the promises of
Yhwh. Te land is an important part of these promises, and the idea of
subduing is strange to it.
Now we come back to our starting point Iosh 18:1 to compare this text
with Numbers :i and 1Chronicles ii. Even clearer than in these texts,
Iosh 18:1 has no notions of warfare. As mentioned above, the situation
has more of a cultic scene than of a conquest:
1 Ten the whole congregation of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh, and set
up the tent of meeting there. Te land could be stepped upon before them
(DH*1D7 H23D1 ?¨RH).
¬i: “Die präpositionalen Fügungen *1D7 ‘vor’ und *1DO ‘von her’ implizieren einen an
der räumlichen (Seh-)Achse in der Horizontalen orientierten Zwischenraum”—in other
words: *1D7 implies a being “in front of ” and at the same time a distance to see the ones
being in front.
Wagner, TVAT a:--.
Cf. S.I. de Vries, r and :Chronicles (FOTL 11; Grand Rapids 1o8o), 18i.
Cf. Koch, dominium terrae, iio.
De Vries, Chronicles, 18i.
Cf. Koch, Dominium terrae, iio.
8a U1i ×iUm.××-covsoixi
i Tere remained among the Israelites seven tribes whose inheritance had
not vet been apportioned. (Iosh 18:1–i)
Seven tribes of the Israelites are waiting for the apportioning of their
inheritance, their onlv activitv is to set up the tent of meeting, but there
is no hint that a conquering scene is thought of. Te following verses
indicate that even the kevword 2¨* has no longer a warlike sense (Iosh
18::). Ioshua requests three men of each tribe to start going through the
land (?¨R3 1D7HP*1) to “survev it according to their inheritance.” ¨7HPH
must be concerned as a terminus technicus for taking possession of the
land (cf. Gen 1::1¬)
which is corresponding to H23D1. Tat means:
the land is imagined to be free and emptv before them (DH*1D7) as in
Numbers :i and the Israelites have to set foot on the land to make it
their own. While the tent of meeting represents the powerful presence of
Yhwh here, DH*1D7 emphasizes—comparable to Num :i:io—the passive
role of the Israelites and underlines the fact that the promised land is a
gif of Yhwh. So the understanding “to set foot on” for Hebrew 23D goes
well with Iosh 18:1 as well as Numbers :i and 1Chronicles ii.
a. Summary
Te Hebrew root 23D with (logical) object ?¨R does not need to be
translated as “to subdue” or “to be subdued.” As the use of the Akkadian
root kab¯ asu with equivalent objects showed, not a violent or militarv
action must be expressed bv this root, but it simplv means a movement
of the feet: “to step upon (land)” or “to set foot on (the land).” Tis
understanding fts the Hebrew word 23D “footstool” as well as to the Old
Testament texts Num :i:ii, io, 1Chr ii:18, and Iosh 18:1 as it does to
Gen 1:i8aγ.
In the Ancient Near East “to set foot on” is verv ofen a svmbolic act
that expresses the idea of taking possession of land for instance. Even this
notion corresponds to Iosh 18:1
and the related texts, including Gen
It is signifcant that the Old Testament phrase *1D7 H23D1 ?¨RH is found
in contexts concerning the gif of the land bv Yhwh. Besides that, 23D
See above p. 8o.
See Neumann-Gorsolke, Herrschen, io8–:oo.
In Iosh 1:: and 1a:o one can fnd a corresponding phrase that also alludes to the
svmbolic act of stepping on the land as a sign of taking possession of the land.
“.×u 1ui i.×u w.s sUvuUiu viiovi 1uim . . . ”· 8-
with object ?¨R is onlv found in Gen 1:i8aγ. Terefore a relationship
between Genesis 1 and Iosh 18:1; Numbers :i; and 1Chr ii:18 can be
assumed. In mv opinion *1D7 H23D1 ?¨RH is a late priestlv infuenced
phrase referring to Gen 1:i8: Tis creation background emphasizes that
the gif of the land is the gif of the creator of the world and that fnallv
the creation storv reaches its aim when the Israelites take possession of
the promised land. So the land gets its theological foundation. And this
theological aspect is another argument that Hebrew23D in Iosh 18:1 and
related texts does not carrv the notion of subduing, for ?¨R is the place
of divine blessing.
Cf. Koch, Dominium terrae, iio. See also Boling, Ioshua, ai-: “In this wav the sense
of the land as a gif, sheer grace, is elevated and that of possession bv right of conquest is
plaved down.”
Mi.ui× Povovi´ c
Afer the conquest of the land, Ioshua gathered all the people of Israel
and addressed them. According to the book of Ioshua he did so twice.
Despite some commonalities, the content and language of the speeches
in Ioshua i: and ia difer, and each has its own distinct themes.
Te two important themes in Ioshua i: are strict observance of the
Torah and the relationship with the nations that remain in the land. Afer
the complete and successful conquest of the land, noted in Iosh i1:a:–a-,
Ioshua’s exhortation introduces a dark perspective. If the Israelites do not
keep to evervthing written in the book of the law of Moses, if thev mix
with the nations that remain and serve their gods, then (1) God will not
drive out the remaining nations fromthe land, but rather (i) the Israelites
will be the ones to be destroved and driven from the good land that God
has given them.
Te central theme in Ioshua ia is the choice to serve God in the land
given to Israel. Or to put it diferentlv: who is to be God in the land of
Israel: God has alwavs protected Israel from its enemies and has given
it this land. Ioshua, therefore, calls upon the people to serve God and to
set aside the foreign gods that their forefathers served. But if Israel does
not wish to serve God, Ioshua urges them to choose between the gods of
their ancestors and the gods of the land thev now live in.
In the fnal form of the book of Ioshua, the conquest of the promised
land is qualifed and conditioned bv these two texts, Ioshua i: and
ia, each text signaling a particular emphasis. Tese diferent perspec-
tives at the end of the conquest of the land have proven useful for
As a former student, friend and colleague of Ed, it is a great pleasure for me to
contribute to this book in his honor. With enthusiasmand vast knowledge, Ed introduced
me to biblical studies and archaeologv. Under his supervision I wrote mv MA thesis
on the fnal two chapters of the book of Ioshua, afer which I ventured into the area
of Second Temple Iudaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls. It seems, therefore, ftting that in
mv contribution in honor of Ed I return to this chapter that stands at the closure of the
conquest of the land.
88 mi.ui× vovovi´ c
understanding the formation and composition of larger bodies of lit-
erature in the Hebrew Bible. Te double ending of the book of Ioshua,
together with Iosh ia:io–:1 and ia::i–::, as well as the double begin-
ning of the book of Iudges, marked bv Iudg 1:1 and i:8,
has presented
biblical scholars with a primarv test case for hvpotheses about a Hexa-
teuch, a Deuteronomistic Historv and an Enneateuch. Ioshua ia espe-
ciallv has proven to be a kev text.
In 1oo8, in his Forschungsgeschichte of the book of Ioshua, Ed Noort
could still consider a Hexateuch model on the basis of Ioshua ia as a
thing of the past.
But since then this text has served as the basis for a
resurgence of hvpotheses about the relativelv short existence of a Hex-
ateuch in postexilic Iudah. While from a form-critical perspective Ger-
hard von Rad called Iosh ia:i–1: “einen Hexateuch in kleinster Form,”
recent scholars have taken Ioshua ia not as preceding the formation of
a Hexateuch, as von Rad did, but as evidence of and the conclusion to
an actual Hexateuch.
Tese scholars consider Ioshua ia to be a post-
Deuteronomistic and postexilic composition. In addition to Hexateuch
hvpotheses, the late dating nowin vogue for Ioshua ia has led scholars to
consider the text as pivotal in the composition of an Enneateuch.
recent interpretations of Ioshua ia have extended well bevond the con-
fnes of the Deuteronomistic Historv.
Concomitant with a reappraisal of Martin Noth’s Deuteronomistic
Historv hvpothesis,
the analvsis of Ioshua i:, as well as the thornv ques-
tion of its relationship with Ioshua ia, has also attracted renewed atten-
tion. Manv scholars nowupholdthe prioritv of Ioshua i: over andagainst
Ioshua ia.
Ioshua i: is understood to be frmlv set within the frame-
Strictlv speaking onlv Iosh ia:i8–:1 and Iudg i:o–o present a repetition.
E. Noort, Das Buch Iosua. Forschungsgeschichte und Problemfelder (EdF ioi; Darm-
1oo8), ioo: “Noch in den achtziger Iahren konnte anhand von Ios ia ein Hexateuch-
modell verteidigt werden.”
G. von Rad, Das formgeschichtliche Problem des Hexateuchs (Stuttgart 1o:8), ¬. Cf.
recentlv A. Rofé, “Te Formcritical Problem of the Hexateuch—Revisited,” in Das Alte
Testament—Ein Geschichtsbuch? (ed. E. Blum et al.; Münster ioo-), a1–ao, esp. aa.
See, e.g. Les dernières redactions du Pentateuque, de l’Hexateuque et de l’Enneateuque
(ed. T. Römer and K. Schmid; Louvain, ioo¬).
For a convenient overview, see T.C. Römer, Te So-Called Deuteronomistic History.
A Sociological, Historical and Literary Introduction (London ioo-).
But, for an opposite view, see recentlv U. Becker, “Endredaktionelle Kontextver-
netzungen des Iosua-Buches,” in Die deuteronomischen Geschichtswerke. Redaktions-
und religionsgeschichtliche Perspektiven zur “Deuteronomismus”-Diskussion in Tora und
co×oUis1 oi 1ui i.×u, ioss oi 1ui i.×u 8o
work of Deuteronomistic activitv. But scholars disagree as to whether
the text represents a literarv unitv or exhibits diferent literarv lavers of
Deuteronomistic hands.
With Ioshua ia, matters are less clear. Te text
cannot easilv be pinpointed to one specifc laver of literarv activitv or
redaction. Te text is trulv multi-interpretable and seems fexible enough
to ft the verv diferent historical contexts proposed bv scholars, ranging
from the transition between the Late Bronze Age and the Earlv Iron Age
to the postexilic period. In addition to the dimcultv of anchoring the
literarv and historical context of Ioshua ia, there is disagreement as to
whether the text is a literarv unitv or not. Te dimculties surrounding
Ioshua ia are well illustrated bv Noth, who could not make up his mind
and changed his position at least four times.
Despite or perhaps rather due to all this, the onlv real certaintv seems
to be that Ioshua ia will continue to ofen be used to carrv the weight of
entire hvpotheses. Ioshua ia was once believed to contain the historical
kernel of a coalition of tribes pledging a covenant at Shechem sometime
in the twelfh centurv vci, but Lothar Perlitt demonstrated that there was
no basis for supposing that the text had transmitted anv such historical
Te question is which historical context best fts Ioshua ia,
understood as a literarv fction: pre- or post-Deuteronomistic: Does it
Vorderen Propheten (ed. M. Witte et al.; Berlin iooo), 1:o–1-o, esp. 1ao–1-1; H.M. Rösel,
“Lässt sich eine nomistische Redaktion imBuch Iosua feststellen:” ZAV 11o (ioo¬) 18a–
18o, esp. 188.
Literarv unitv: in addition to most previous scholarship, see recentlv, e.g. I. Nen-
tel, Trägerschaþ und Intentionen des deuteronomischen Geschichtswerks. Untersuchungen
zu den Refexionsreden Ios r, :+, :,, rSam r: und r Kon 8 (Berlin iooo), --–-o. Dif-
ferent lavers: e.g. R.G. Kratz, Die Komposition der erzählenden Bucher des Alten Tes-
taments. Grundwissen der Bibelkritik (Göttingen iooo), ioa–io8; idem, “Der vor- und
der nachpriesterliche Hexateuch,” in Abschied vom Iahwisten. Die Komposition des Hex-
ateuch in der jungsten Diskussion (ed. I.C. Gertz et al.; Berlin iooi), io-–:i:, esp. :oo;
E. Aurelius, Zukunþ jenseits des Gerichts. Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Studie zumEnnea-
teuch (Berlin ioo:), 1¬i–1¬a; R. Müller, Konigtumund Gottesherrschaþ. Untersuchungen
zur alttestamentlichen Monarchiekritiek (Tübingen iooa), i::–i:o; Becker, “Endredak-
tionelle Kontextvernetzungen des Iosua-Buches,” 1ao–1-1; T. Römer, “Das doppelte
Ende des Iosuabuches: Einige Anmerkungen zur aktuellen Diskussion um ‘deuterono-
mistisches Geschichtswerk’ und ‘Hexateuch’, ” ZAV 118 (iooo) -i:–-a8, esp. -io–
M. Noth, Das Systemder zwolf Stämme Israels (Stuttgart 1o:o); idem, Das Buch Iosua
(Tübingen 1o:8); idem, Uberlieferungsgeschicktliche Studien, Erster Teil. Die sammelnden
und bearbeitenden Geschichtswerke im Alten Testament (Halle 1oa:); idem, Das Buch
Iosua (id ed.; Tübingen 1o-:).
L. Perlitt, Bundestheologie im Alten Testament (Neukirchen-Vluvn 1ooo), i:o–i8a.
oo mi.ui× vovovi´ c
belong to a pre-Deuteronomistic conquest tradition or is it part of a
postexilic tradition that was onlv too familiar with the loss of the land:
In his contribution to the Festschriþ for the ¬oth birthdav of Adam
van der Woude, Ed Noort opposed a postexilic dating for Ioshua ia.
Modifving Perlitt’s hvpothesis, he argued in favor of a preexilic and
pre-Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic date afer the Assvrian conquest of
the northern kingdom of Israel in the late eighth centurv vci.
Noort acknowledged that Ioshua ia had Deuteronomistic elements and
expressions, as well as elements that were non-Deuteronomistic or at
odds with Deuteronomistic perspectives. But he remained unconvinced
bv scholarlv distinctions between literarv or redactional lavers in Ioshua
ia. Ed Noort approached the text as a literarv unitv.
Ioshua ia is a text sui generis, a “merkwürdige Mischung,”
combines exegesis and Fortschreibung of pentateuchal traditions with
other traditions that cannot be related to either pentateuchal ones or
to Ioshua 1–1i and its Deuteronomistic reception. Te matter of fact
statement that Yahweh gave Esau Seir to possess (Iosh ia:ab) seems
dimcult to reconcile with exilic-postexilic texts that show a negative
evaluation of Edom’s role in Iudah’s exile. Te parallel in Deut i:- is
preceded bv a reference in Deut i:a to the sons of Esau, the Edomites, as
“brothers.” Tis Deuteronomistic text is later than Iosh ia:ab and is “eine
programmatische Aussage als Gegenwicht zur Negativbeurteilungen der
Rolle Edoms bei der Exilierung Iudas,” but “[d]avon scheint Ios ia,a
nichts zu wissen.”
Te idea that the citizens of Iericho fght Israel (Iosh
ia:11) difers signifcantlv from the traditions in Ioshua i and o, where
Iericho does not put up a fght at all. Tese traditions are simplv ignored:
“Es ist diese Art der Abweichungen, die einer globalen dtr Zuweisung
im Wege stehen.”
Te choice between Yahweh and the other gods (Iosh
ia:1a–ia) has a parallel in 1Kings 18, which opens up the possibilitv that
E. Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven: Der Glaube Israels zwischen Religions-
geschichte und Teologie, der Fall Iosua ia,” in Perspectives in the Study of the Old Tes-
tament and Early Iudaism. A Symposium in Honour of Adam S. van der Voude on the
Occasion of His /cth Birthday (ed. F. García Martínez and E. Noort; Leiden 1oo8), 8i–
1o8, esp. 1oa. See also Noort, Das Buch Iosua, iii.
Te tensionbetweenthese diferent considerations is noted, but not resolved; Noort,
“Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” o-.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1o:.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” oo.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1o1.
co×oUis1 oi 1ui i.×u, ioss oi 1ui i.×u o1
this motif in Ioshua ia has preexilic roots. Te statement that the people
are not capable of serving Yahweh mav point in the same direction.
Tis statement is problematic froma Deuteronomistic perspective, which
presupposes that not onlv is it the best option to serve and obev Yahweh,
but that it is also possible to do so.
Te motif of the stone that hears (Iosh
ia:io–i¬) is at odds with a Deuteronomistic perspective where stones are
used to write the law on, but do not have anv independent function. Te
nearest parallel is Gen :1:aa–a-, which suggests pre-Deuteronomistic
In light of these elements, seen as “nicht-ableitbaren, nicht einfach als
Midrash oder weiter refektierende Bearbeitungen zu erklärenden Ele-
mente,” Ed Noort suggested dating Ioshua ia earlier than an exclusivelv
Deuteronomic-Deuteronomistic context. Since “who is God in Israel:”
is the text’s main theme, Ioshua ia should, according to Ed Noort,
be understood as a “Refexion auf den königszeitlichen Svnkretismus,
auf den Fall des Nordreiches und die damit gegebene Bedrohung des
Ed Noort argued that Ioshua ia, together with Iosh i1:a:–a-, presents
the climax of the complete fulfllment of the conquest of the land in the
book of Ioshua. Te exile is not present inIoshua ia, whereas inIoshua i:
it is verv much so.
In accordance with the Göttinger model for detecting
redactional lavers in the Deuteronomistic Historv, initiated bv Rudolf
Ed Noort considered Ioshua i: to be a later Deuteronomistic
composition that picked up on Iosh i1:a:–a-, but changed its message
from that of a total, successful conquest of the land into one of “up until
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1o1–1oi.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1o:.
Cf. also Perlitt, Bundestheologie, i-¬.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1o:, 1oa, 1o8.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1oa, 1o¬.
R. Smend, “Das Gesetz unddie Völker: EinBeitrag zur deuteronomistischenRedak-
tionsgeschichte,” in Probleme biblischer Teologie. Gerhard von Rad zum /c. Geburtstag
(ed. H.W. Wolf; München 1o¬1), aoa–-oo; idem, Die Entstehung des Alten Testaments
(Stuttgart 1o¬8), 11a–11-. Other scholars had alreadv pointed out this secondarv charac-
ter of Ioshua i:, but it was Smend who explained it in a redactional model bv attributing
Ioshua i: to a nomistic redactor. See W. Richter, Die Bearbeitungen des “Retterbuches”
in der deuteronomischen Epoche (Bonn 1ooa), aa–ao; C.H.I. de Geus, “Richteren 1:1–
i:-,” Vox Teologica :o (1ooo) :i–-:; G. Schmitt, Du sollst keinen Frieden schliefen mit
den Bewohnern des Landes. Die Veisungen gegen die Kanaanäer in Israels Geschichte und
Geschichtsschreibung (Stuttgart 1o¬o), ao–a1, 1ao–1-o.
oi mi.ui× vovovi´ c
now.” Te promise of the land has been fulflled so far, but whether it will
be completelv fulflled depends on Israel’s obedience to and observance
of the Torah.
But do the non-Deuteronomistic elements in Ioshua ia necessarilv point
to a pre-Deuteronomistic context for the text’s composition: For exam-
ple, the stone that serves as a witness in Iosh ia:io–i¬ does not appear
as an isolated element, but is actuallv part of a scene where it is set up
under the oak (H7R) in the sanctuarv of Yahweh (H1H* 27ÞO). It must
be understood in conjunction with these other elements. In addition to
Gen :1:aa–a-, Iosh ia:io–i¬ should be seen in relation to Gen :-:a,
where Iacob is said to have hidden the foreign gods under the oak near
Whether Gen :-:a is part of a post-Deuteronomistic tradi-
tion that aims at establishing a compositional framework for a Hexa-
or, like Gen :1:aa–a-, should be ascribed to the Elohist,
ia:io–i¬ can still be understood as following these texts from the Iacob
tradition. Tere is, therefore, no need to suppose pre-Deuteronomistic
reminiscences for the stone that hears. Furthermore, the term “sanctu-
arv of Yahweh” onlv appears in texts from the exilic or post-exilic period
(Num 1o:io; Ezek a8:1o; 1Chr ii:1o).
Te entire setting of witnessing
stone, oak, and sanctuarv of Yahweh should be understood as a post-
Deuteronomistic exegesis of some elements from the Iacob and Moses
traditions. In tune with the Iacob tradition, Ioshua set up a stone to mark
a covenant. Te place where he set up the stone under the oak occupies
the same location as the one where Iacob hid the foreign gods under
the oak near Shechem. Te motif of doing awav with the foreign gods
strengthens this connection. Ioshua mirrors Moses in several respects
also: “parce que Moïse a conclu une alliance fondamentale, l’auteur du
récit a attribué a Iosué la conclusion d’une alliance; parce que Moïse a
promulgué des lois, il a attribué a Iosué la promulgation des lois; parce
que Moïse a écrit dans un livre, il a attribué a Iosué l’écriture dans un
E. Noort, Een plek om te zijn. Over de theologie van het land aan de hand van
Iozua 8.+c–+· (Kampen 1oo:), 18; idem, Das Buch Iosua, ioi; idem, “Zu Stand und
Perspektiven,” 1o-, 1o¬.
E. Blum, Die Komposition der Vätergeschichte (Neukirchen-Vluvn 1o8a), a:–a-;
M. Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de SichemíIosue :,.r–:8) (Frankfurt a.M. 1ooi), o¬–o8, 1:o–
Blum, Die Komposition der Vätergeschichte, ao, aa–a-, oo–o-.
Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, o¬–o8.
Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 8a–8-.
co×oUis1 oi 1ui i.×u, ioss oi 1ui i.×u o:
livre et comme Moïse a dressé des stèles a l’occasion de la conclusion de
l’alliance, il a attribué a Iosué l’érection d’une pierre, sous l’infuence cette
fois du récit de Iacob.”
Te choice that the people are called upon to make between Yahweh
and the gods that their forefathers served (Iosh ia:1a–ia) is unique and,
therefore, not easv to situate. Fromthe perspective of the Deuteronomis-
tic Historv, it is Yahweh who is the one who has chosen Israel to be his
people (Deut a::¬; ¬:o–8; 1o:1-; 1a:i; 1Kgs ::8), instead of the other wav
around. In referring to the gods that the forefathers served, Ioshua ia
uses both the Deuteronomistic expression D*¨HR D*H7R (Iosh ia:i, 1o)
as well as the later phrase ¨D1 *H7R (Iosh ia:io, i:).
Te expression to
“turn aside the foreign gods” (¨1O Hiphil + ¨D1 *H7R) is paralleled in late
texts such as Gen :-:i, Iudg 1o:1o, 1Sam ¬::, and iChr :::1-. Ed Noort
argued: “Die Aussage über denDienst ananderenGötterninVerbindung
mit dem Entscheidungsruf von V.1- kennt den Fall des Südstaates noch
nicht. Mit dem Aufruf sind wir in vorexilischen Geflden.”
1Kings 18 as a parallel
and “[w]ie andersartig 1Kön 18 auch verwurzelt
sein mag,” it “eröfnet auf jeden Fall die Möglichkeit, daß die in Ios ia ver-
wendeten Motive vorexilisch anzusiedeln sind.”
Indeed, conceptuallv
the choice between Yahweh and other gods does have preexilic roots,
but the language in which this is couched in Ioshua ia stronglv suggests
that it was formulated during the exilic or postexilic period.
In addi-
tion, Ier -:1o is important here. It speaks of serving foreign gods in the
land of Israel as being the reason for Yahweh’s anger and Iudah’s exile.
Cf. Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 1:¬.
Cf. Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, ¬1.
Gen :-:a; Deut :1:1o; :i:1i; iChr :::1-; Ier -:1o; Mal i:11; Ps 81:1o; Dan 11::o.
Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 8o–8i.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” o8.
Cf. also Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 1:1, who situates the possibilitv of choice
between Yahweh and the foreign gods in the postexilic period, however; and Becker,
“Endredaktionelle Kontextvernetzungen des Iosua-Buches,” 1a1–1ai, who opts for a late
Deuteronomistic setting (1ao).
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1oi.
See also Iudg -:8: “When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates.”
Other scholars who, for diferent reasons, situate this concept in the exilic-postexilic
period: Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 1i¬–1:i; Nentel, Trägerschaþ und Inten-
tionen des deuteronomischen Geschichtswerks, 8o–8-, oo; T.C. Römer and M.C. Bret-
tler, “Deuteronomv :a and the Case for a Persian Hexateuch,” IBL 11o (iooo) ao1–a1o,
esp. a1o–a11; Aurelius, Zukunþ jenseits des Gerichts, 1¬a–1¬-; Müller, Konigtum und
Gottesherrschaþ, iia–i:i; Becker, “Endredaktionelle Kontextvernetzungen des Iosua-
Buches,” 1ao.
oa mi.ui× vovovi´ c
Ieremiah -:1o refers to one of the choices that we meet also in Ioshua
ia and he, Ieremiah, clearlv connects this with the notion of the exile.
In Ioshua ia as well, this is exactlv the threatening consequence, should
the people choose the option of serving foreign gods in the land of Israel.
Ioshua ia:io is familiar with Iudah’s exile.
According to Noth it mav
have been “ex eventu im Exil zugesetzt auf Grund der Einsicht, daß ein
Abfall nach erfolgter Entscheidung für Iahwe eine grundsätzlich andere
Verantwortung bedeutet als das Verharren im Heidentum.”
the choice that the people are called upon to make between Yahweh and
the gods that their forefathers served (Iosh ia:1af.) should not be dated
to the pre-Deuteronomistic period, but to the exilic-postexilic period.
Te fact that Iosh ia:11 does not make use of the Iericho traditions
from Ioshua i and o does not mean it must precede Deuteronomistic
activitv. Ioshua ia:11 does not contain an independent Iericho tradi-
tion. Te manner in which the conquest of the land west of the Ior-
dan is portraved in Iosh ia:11–1: follows the main motif of the entire
historical summarv: Israel is not responsible for anv of its accomplish-
ments; Yahweh alone has been the driving force behind Israel’s his-
torv. Ioshua ia:11 is comparable to the manner in which the Balak
storv is treated in Iosh ia:o. Ioshua ia:o difers from other texts about
Balak where he does not appear as fghting Israel (Numbers ii–ia; Iudg
11:i-; Mic o:-). Tis might well be inferred from Num ii:o, 11,
is hardlv necessarv. Iudges 11:i- demonstrates quite the opposite. Te
reason that Iosh ia:o presents Balak as fghting against Israel is due to
the intention and structure of Ioshua ia: Israel is under attack (bv the
Egvptians, the Amorites), but Yahweh delivers Israel’s enemies into its
hands. Tus, the citizens of Iericho, together with seven other peoples,
fght Israel in order that Yahweh can deliver them into the hands of
Israel. Iust as Yahweh saved Israel from the Egvptians and in Transjor-
dan from the Amorites, and from Balak because thev went to war with
Israel, so Yahweh again delivered the peoples west of the Iordan into
Israel’s hands. Te Iericho tradition from Ioshua o does not ft the inten-
tion found in Ioshua ia, because in Ioshua o Israel also contributes to
the defeat of Iericho. Regarding the conquest of the land, the empha-
sis in Iosh ia:11–1: is on the fact that Israel made no contribution to
its conquest (ia:1i), nor to its cultivation (ia:1:): “It was not bv vour
Cf. Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 1ao.
Noth, Das Buch Iosua, 1:o.
Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 1ia; Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1o1.
co×oUis1 oi 1ui i.×u, ioss oi 1ui i.×u o-
sword or bv vour bow. And I gave vou a land on which vou had not
labored and cities that vou had not built, and vou live in them; vinevards
and olive vards that vou did not plant, vou eat (from).”
Tus, the fact
that Iosh ia:11 does not pick up on Ioshua o does not point to a pre-
Deuteronomistic context.
Ioshua ia:a mav precede Deut i:-,
but this does not necessarilv
mean it is also pre-Deuteronomistic.
Te phrase 1P1R P2¨7 in Iosh
ia:a is Deuteronomistic.
Te language used is not in favor of a pre-
Deuteronomistic date. However, since the matter of fact statement about
Esau receiving Seir ignores the negative view of Edom and apparentlv
does not oppose such a negative stance in the wav that Deut i:a or
Deut i::8, for that matter, do bv referring to the Edomites as brothers,
Ed Noort has suggested that the Esau-Landgabe points to the preexilic
Indeed, the references to Esau/Edomin Deut i:a, i::8, and Iosh
ia:a contrast sharplv with all other biblical texts about Edom. Te view
of Edom as Iudah’s archetvpal foe expands and gathers strength preciselv
in the exilic-postexilic period and achieves eschatological proportions
in prophetic texts that date from afer the destruction. Tese texts mav
refect Edomite participation in the Babvlonian conquest of Iudah in
-8¬vci and the subsequent occupation of some of the territorv formerlv
belonging to Iudah.
But this does not necessarilv mean that Iosh ia:a
cannot be situated in the exilic-postexilic period.
On the contrarv,
Iosh ia:1: parallels Deut o:1o–11. Some scholars have suggested that Iosh ia:1:
precedes Deut o:1o–11 (e.g. S.D. Sperling, “Ioshua ia Re-examined,” HUCA -8 [1o8¬]
11o–1:o, esp. 1i8; Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” 1o1), others that it follows upon
the passage in Deuteronomv (Noth, Das Buch Iosua, 1:-; T. Römer, Israels Väter. Unter-
suchungen zur Väterthematik im Deuteronomium und in der deuteronomistischen Tradi-
tion [Freiburg, Schweiz, 1ooo], i::; Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, o:, 1io–1i¬), or
that it is contemporarv with it (Nentel, Trägerschaþund Intentionen des deuteronomischen
Geschichtswerks, ¬8–¬o). Iosh ia:1: contrasts with Isa oi:8 and o-:i1–i:.
Cf. also Nentel, Trägerschaþ und Intentionen des deuteronomischen Geschichtswerks,
o- n. i1:.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” oo.
Cf. also Nentel, Trägerschaþ und Intentionen des deuteronomischen Geschichtswerks,
o- n. i1:.
Noth, Das Buch Iosua, 1:-; Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, ¬i.
Noort, “Zu Stand und Perspektiven,” oo.
B. Glazier-McDonald, “Edomin the Prophetical Corpus,” in You Shall ^ot Abhor an
Edomite for He is Your Brother. Edomand Seir in History and Tradition (ed. D.V. Edelman;
Atlanta, Ga., 1oo-), i:–:i; E. Assis, “Whv Edom: On the Hostilitv towards Iacob’s
Brother in Prophetic Sources,” VT -o (iooo) 1–io; B.L. Crowell, “Nabonidus, as-Sila#,
and the Beginning of the End of Edom,” BASOR :a8 (ioo¬) ¬-–88, esp. ¬¬–¬8.
Anbar, Iosue et l’alliance de Sichem, 1i:–1ia.
oo mi.ui× vovovi´ c
the language used fts such a date. And the reference to Esau’s sons
as brothers and the Esau-Landgabe in Deut i:a mav belong to a later
Deuteronomistic author.
Tus, the Esau-Landgabe in Iosh ia:a does not
point to the preexilic period. Iohn Bartlett has suggested that Deut i:a
and i::8 come fromanauthor who writes froma late, postexilic situation,
when the Edomites are no longer a threat, and so seems to deliberatelv
tone down the tradition of Edom’s archetvpal hostilitv.
Te positive
or neutral references to Edom in Deut i:a, i::8, and Iosh ia:a remain
isolated amid other biblical references to Edom. Te fact that Iosh ia:a
makes no reference to Esau as a brother seems to set this verse apart from
Deut i:a and i::8, but the lack of such a reference does not alone preclude
an exilic-postexilic date. Ioshua ia:a should, therefore, be dated to the
exilic-postexilic period in close proximitv to Deut i:a and i::8.
A number of elements that Ed Noort deemed pre-Deuteronomistic have
been singled out, and I have argued that these ought to be dated to the
exilic or postexilic period. In light of the above, it would seemimprobable
for Ioshua ia to retain anv pre-Deuteronomistic reminiscences. More-
over, if Ed Noort approaches the text as a literarv unitv,
it is not clear
how he would take into account the undisputed Deuteronomistic ele-
ments, never mind the non-Deuteronomistic elements.
Nentel, Trägerschaþ und Intentionen des deuteronomischen Geschichtswerks, o-
n. i1:.
I.R. Bartlett, “Edom in the Nonprophetic Corpus,” in You Shall ^ot Abhor an
Edomite for He is Your Brother. Edomand Seir in History and Tradition (ed. D.V. Edelman;
Atlanta, Ga., 1oo-), 1:–i1, esp. 18, io.
Scholars have recentlv proposed various distinctions in Ioshua ia. Nentel, Träger-
schaþ und Intentionen des deuteronomischen Geschichtswerks, ¬o–88, assigned the origi-
nal version, Iosh ia:1¯, i–1:¯, 1aa, 1o–1¬¯, 18b¯, i-a, iobαβ, i¬–i8, io–:1, to (DtrH)
and the redactional additions, Iosh ia:1bα, i¯, -–¬a¯, o–1o, 11aγ¯, 1ia¯, 1ab, 1-, 1oaβ,
b, 1¬a¯, 18a¯, bα¯, 1o–ia, ioa, :i–::, to DtrS; Kratz, Die Komposition der erzählenden
Bucher, ioa–io8, reconstructed an original fnal address of a Deuteronomistic redactor
inboth Ioshua i: and ia (Iosh i::1b–:; ia:1aa, 1-–1o, 18b, ii, i8); Aurelius, Zukunþjen-
seits des Gerichts, 1¬a, followed Kratz; Müller, Konigtum und Gottesherrschaþ, i1-–iia,
argued for a core text in Iosh ia:1a, bβ, iaα
, 1-aα
, b, 1o, 18, ii; Becker, “Endredak-
tionelle Kontextvernetzungen des Iosua-Buches,” 1aa–1ao, distinguished a core text in
Iosh ia:1–ia, 1aa, 1-a¯b, 1o, 18b, ii, i8; Römer, “Das doppelte Ende des Iosuabuches,”
-:o–-:o, saw Ioshua ia as a literarv unitv, but also understood Iosh ia:1o–i1 and minor
elements in ia:i, -, 11, 1i, 1a, 1¬, 18, and ii as later additions; C. Nihan, “Te Torah
between Samaria and Iudah: Shechem and Gerizim in Deuteronomv and Ioshua,” in Te
Pentateuch as Torah. ^ew Models for Understanding Its Promulgation and Acceptance (ed.
G.N. Knoppers and B.M. Levinson; Winona Lake, Ind., ioo¬), 18¬–ii:, esp. 1o:–1oa,
followed Römer.
co×oUis1 oi 1ui i.×u, ioss oi 1ui i.×u o¬
It would seem that to take Ioshua ia as a literarv unitv would neces-
sitate a post-Deuteronomistic dating for the composition as a whole.
Te overview of Israel’s historv in Iosh ia:i–1: has been determined bv
the intention to emphasize Yahweh as the driving force behind Israel and
present Israel itself as completelv dependent on Yahweh. Tis explains,
for example, the manner in which Balak and Iericho appear. In manv
instances the historical summarv is dependent on pentateuchal tradi-
tions from I, E and P, which are sometimes rendered in Deuteronomistic
language. But Iosh ia:i–1: difers from those Deuteronomistic histor-
ical summaries where neither the patriarchs nor the Red Sea tradition
appear. Te dialogue in Iosh ia:1a–ia shows the use of Deuteronomistic
and post-Deuteronomistic language and such late features can also be
detected in the framework of Iosh ia:1, i-–i¬. Tese considerations lead
to a post-Deuteronomistic date for the composition of Ioshua ia.
Furthermore, a pre-Deuteronomistic date for the composition of
Ioshua ia might well raise another problem. Unless one assumes that
Ioshua ia was alreadv connected to the pre-Deuteronomistic conquest
stories in Iosh i–1i, the question might well come up as to how to
explain the tradition historv (Uberlieferungsgeschichte) of the text. Al-
though Noth did assume a pre-Deuteronomistic core in Ioshua ia, it
remained an “überlieferungsgeschichtlich selbständiges und isoliertes
A literarv connection between Ioshua ia and the pre-Deuter-
onomistic conquest tradition in the frst half of the book of Ioshua could
not be ascertained.
Te suggestion that Ioshua ia was composed in
the pre-Deuteronomistic period, but placed in the book of Ioshua in the
post-Deuteronomistic period, is unsatisfactorv, creating the impression
“of Iosh. ia foating in limbo for vears until it was reinserted in its proper
A post-Deuteronomistic date for the composition of Ioshua ia
circumvents this problem of the text’s tradition historv. Ioshua ia was
not onlv placed late at the end of the book of Ioshua, but was also com-
posed late. Ioshua ia was familiar with the exile (ia:io) and its compo-
sition dates from afer the loss of the land during the Babvlonian con-
Cf. also Römer, “Das doppelte Ende des Iosuabuches,” -ao; Nihan, “Te Torah
between Samaria and Iudah,” 1oo.
M. Noth, Uberlieferungsgeschicktliche Studien, Erster Teil. Die sammelnden und
bearbeitenden Geschichtswerke im Alten Testament (id ed.; Tübingen 1o-¬), o n. 1.
Noth, Das Buch Iosua, 1-–1o.
R.D. Nelson, Te Double Redaction of the Deuteronomistic History (Shemeld 1o81),
1ao n. 1¬:.
o8 mi.ui× vovovi´ c
Whether this post-Deuteronomistic date for Ioshua ia also implies
that the text concluded a Hexateuch or provided the hinge in an Ennea-
teuch as separate bodies of literature in Persian-period Iudah remains to
be seen; this cannot be dealt with here.
For recent proposals concerning the place and functionof Ioshua ia, see, e.g. Römer
and Brettler, “Deuteronomv :a”; N. Na"aman, “Te Law of the Altar in Deuteronomv
and the Cultic Site Near Shechem,” in Rethinking the Foundations. Historiography in the
Ancient Vorld and in the Bible. Essays in Honour of Iohn Van Seters (ed. S.L. McKenzie and
T. Römer; Berlin iooo), 1a1–1o1; Nentel, Trägerschaþ und Intentionen des deuteronomis-
chen Geschichtswerk, ao–1:o; Kratz, Die Komposition der erzählenden Bucher, ioa–io8;
idem, “Der vor- und der nachpriesterliche Hexateuch”; Aurelius, Zukunþ jenseits des
Gerichts, 1o8–1oo; Becker, “Endredaktionelle Kontextvernetzungen des Iosua-Buches”;
Römer, “Das doppelte Ende des Iosuabuches”; idem, “La construction du Pentateuque,
de l’Hexateuque et de l’Enneateuque: Investigations préliminaires sur la formation des
grands ensembles littéraires de la Bible hébraïque,” in Les dernières redactions du Penta-
teuque, de l’Hexateuque et de l’Enneateuque (ed. T. Römer and K. Schmid; Louvain ioo¬),
o–:a; E. Blum, “Pentateuch—Hexateuch—Enneateuch: oder: Woran erkennt man ein
literarisches Werk in der hebräischen Bibel,” in Les dernières redactions du Pentateuque,
de l’Hexateuque et de l’Enneateuque (ed. T. Römer and K. Schmid; Louvain ioo¬), o¬–
o¬; E.A. Knauf, “Buchschlüsse in Iosua,” in Les dernières redactions du Pentateuque, de
l’Hexateuque et de l’Enneateuque (ed. T. Römer and K. Schmid; Louvain ioo¬), i1¬–iia;
Nihan, “Te Torah between Samaria and Iudah.”
Hovs1 Siiv.ss
In his part of the commentarv on Numbers, which he published together
with George W. Coats, Rolf P. Knierim gave a brilliant analvsis of form,
setting, and genre of Num 1:1–1o::o under the heading “Israel’s migra-
torv campaign to the Holv land.”
Te gist of his analvsis is to be found
in his thesis that Numbers 1–a develop a “sanctuarv militarv campaign,”
fnding no proper sequel in Num -:1–1o:1o (as most older scholarship
thought too); for Numbers 1–i envisions a grand picture of Israel’s mili-
tia mustered in Numbers 1 and organized through an enormous militarv
camp in Numbers i, divided into four smaller campsites around the tent
of meeting. Numbers :–a then develop a new theme of the Pentateuch:
the election of the Levites for the service of the holv tent under the leader-
ship of the Aaronic priests. In comparison with this grand picture of the
preparation for the march to the Holv Land through a dangerous desert,
Num -:1–1o:1o seems to have nothing reallv compatible, but shows a
collection of eleven
pericopes from which six
develop alreadv known
Tis article is in honor of mv verv distinguished friend Ed Noort. I alreadv wrote on
the Canaan of Num:a:1–1- as Yahweh’s land, difering fromthe land of Israel because the
Eastjordanian tribes of Gad and Reuben are not excluded from Israel’s land (Num:a:1:–
1-), see H. Seebass, ^umeri Kap. ::.:–+o.r+ (BKAT a.:; Neukirchen-Vluvn ioo¬), :o1–
a1:. In this occasion, I decided to write on a part of the Old Testament that looks forward
with utter hope to the land promised bv Israel’s God as their destination: Num1:1–1o:1o.
A frst draf of this paper was read at the SBL-meeting in Vienna on Iulv i-, ioo¬, but
it has now been revised on manv points because of the ongoing work in commenting
Numbers (see note o).
G.W. Coats and R.P. Knierim, ^umbers (FOTL a; Grand Rapids ioo-), here: 1–1:a
and 1a8–1¬o. In mv opinion, Knierim is at the moment a necessarv and verv helpful
partner to discuss the biblical text of Numbers because he regularlv and explicitlv begins
with the analvsis of the Hebrew text in its fnal form. I agree with him that everv
diachronic analvsis of the Old Testament texts has to begin with the text in its fnal form.
Counted afer omission of the postcompositional elements ¬:1–88 and o:1–1a. Tev
are: -:1–a, -–1o, 11–:1; o:1–i1, ii–i¬; ¬:8o; 8:1–a, -–ii, i:–io; o:1-–i:; 1o:1–1o. For
reasons see below, for the term “postcompositional” see note 1i.
Num -:1–a goes back to Leviticus 1:–1-; Num -:-–1o to Leviticus -; Num ¬:8o to
1oo uovs1 siiv.ss
traditions. So the conjunction of Numbers 1–a and of -:1–1o:1o does not
make much sense for Knierim.
As a matter of fact, Num 1:1–1o:1o is in need of an approach which
would help to get it awav from the fame to be a rather unbalanced part
of the book of Numbers which probablv is one of the more dimcult
parts of the Pentateuch to be explained in a critical and theological
Mv thesis will be: Numbers 1–a have to be reduced to the
parts of P
totalling all in all about aoº of the outstanding text.
earlier form of Numbers 1–a had a convincing continuation at least in
-:1–a, o:ii–i¬, ¬:8o, 8:1–a, 8:-–ii, (supplemented bv the late 8:i:–io),
and o:1-–i: (see below). Later additions then changed Numbers 1–a¯ so
heavilv to its present form that it became oppressing militarilv through
the muster of the troops in 1:io–ao and their numbers in Numbers i,
followed bv an overwhelminglv voluminous introduction of the Levites
in Numbers :–a.
I propose that Numbers 1 can legitimatelv be reduced
to the groundwork of a militarv muster bv excluding the late addition
of the extremelv high numbers of the militarv in Numbers 1:io–ao and
Numbers i. Tis helps in understanding the main thrust of Numbers 1–
i more clearlv: Israel’s God took the initiative to prepare his people
for its great aim to receive possession of the promised land. Although
Knierimshows a convincing organizational structure of the last editionof
Numbers :–a, a literarv critical analvsis of Numbers :–a is able to reduce
the complex tradition to a convincinglv structured groundwork too. It
can explain the development of the text up to the present form.
critical analvsis helps to get even a much better insight into the present
Exod i-:ii; Num 8:1–a to Exod i-::1–ao; Num 8:i:–io to Numbers a; Num o:1-–i1 to
Exod ao::o–:8.
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, o–io.
See I. Sturdv, ^umbers (CBC; Cambridge 1o¬o), 1o. In the meantime there have
been other voices, but Sturdv’s comment should not be put aside.
On the possibilitv of this reduction see Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, a1–o¬. In spite
of a whole school of scholars who denv P
from Exodus :o through either Leviticus o or
Leviticus 1o, there are good reasons to fnd P
in the book of Numbers. On this point I
agree for a large part with I.-L. Ska, Introduction à la lecture du Pentateuque. Cles pour
l’interpretation des cinq premiers livres de la Bible (Le livre et le rouleau -; Brussels ioo1),
io8f. (translated as Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch, Winona Lake iooo, 1-:f.),
though he criticizes the I/E-hvpothesis which I use for the analvsis of Numbers 11–1o¯;
io–i-; :i; see below, note o.
Tis is one of the important theses of T. Pola, Die ursprungliche Priesterschriþ.
Beobachtungen zur Literarkritik von P
(WMANT ¬o; Neukirchen-Vluvn 1oo-), -1–oo.
Knierim in Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, o¬, demanded convincinglv for a literarv
solution which he thought to be possible.
mosis’ vviv.v.1io× oi 1ui m.vcu 1o 1ui uoiv i.×u 1o1
form of Numbers 1–a. Both critical reductions allow a more plausible
continuation of traditions in -:1–1o:1o than the present text and prepare
aptlv for a better understanding of their last version. For it will have the
efect that the composition of Num 1:1–1o:1o as a whole is much better
structured than mostlv thought of.
Since all the necessarv details can onlv be worked out in mv commen-
I argue comprehensivelv here.
(1) Knierim did not consider Numbers 1–a as describing not the real
camp of the #edah.
Israel’s camp was never without women and chil-
dren, but Numbers 1–a musters and organizes onlv the militarv men
above twentv vears and the male Levites above one month. Knierimdoes
observe this in analvzing Numbers 1, but he does not draw conclusions
from this. However, -:1–a is the direct continuation of Numbers 1–a
on ritual cleansing of the camp actuallv mentioning (men and) women,
which has a parallel in o:1–i1 (see o:i for women), both including -:11–
:1, the important case of women in the problematic situation of being
accused of adulterv without witnesses; that is whv the scene is at the
Tis opens the possibilitv that -:1–1o:1o incorporates more
elements that might continue the lead of Numbers 1–a. Its last formwith
its overlv pressing militarv and its collection of manv Levitical traditions,
but with some repetitions, mav be artifciallv done, and should, therefore,
be analvzed criticallv.
(i) I do not agree with Knierim and others not to exclude ¬:1–88 and
o:1–1a as clearlv postcompositional in the context of 1:1–1o:1o.
indicate their postcompositional character themselves. For o:1–1a, the
H. Seebass, ^umeri Kap. r.r–rc.rc (BKAT a.1; Neukirchen-Vluvn; forthcoming)
afer the two volumes. beforehand: idem, ^umeri Kap. rc.rr–::.r (BKAT a.i; Neukir-
chen-Vluvn ioo:); idem, ^umeri Kap. ::.:–+o.r+ (BKAT a.:; Neukirchen-Vluvn ioo¬).
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, ai–¬o.
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, :1.
In his exegesis he leaves no doubt that both are secondarv. See Coats and Knierim,
^umbers, o8–1oa, and 11¬–1i-. I propose to coin a new term for a defnition that
sometimes is called postcanonical, sometimes “nachendredaktionell,” or similarlv. But
the term“nachendredaktionell” is illogical, because there can onlv be one fnal redaction.
Te term “postcanonical” goes back to the much later concept of an Old Testament
canon (or Pentateuch canon) which the evidence of the Oumran texts show to be at least
somewhat later than the frst centurv ci Te last version of Numbers I call the “Numbers
composition,” and for this reason I propose to use the term “postcompositional.” Te
reasons for excluding ¬:1–88 and o:1–1a from the Numbers composition are simplifed
here. Full discussion will be in the forthcoming volume of mv commentarv, see note o.
1oi uovs1 siiv.ss
case of a second Passah date, goes back bv its date behind the date of
1:1, ofering a competing speech formula in o:1, the volume of which is
like that of 1:1.
Te repetition of the list of verv grand donations bv
the twelve leaders of the secular tribes (¬:1, 1o, 8a) reveals a date earlier
than Num 1:1. Excluding these pericopes as postcompositional does not
mean that thev are not worth to be considered. Numbers o:1–1a presents
a convincing theological decision on the Passah and is impressive even
as a postcompositional law. Numbers ¬:1–88 present a lengthv eulogv of
willingness for donations of the twelve tribes beginning a month earlier
than 1:1.
(:) It has alreadv been observed bv others that the numbers of the
militarv in i:1–:a are out of place in a divine command to build a camp
for the #edah.
But it is clearlv God’s purpose as the leader of Israel’s
militarv (so Numbers 1) to organize the militarv camp bv dividing it
into four parts around the holv tent in its middle and to initiate the
commanders of the twelve tribes bv a further command.
Tough the
numbers of the militarv in Numbers i, together with vv. :i–::, are
all later additions (vv. a, o, 8, oa, 11, 1:, 1-, 1oa, 1o, i1, i:, iaa, io,
i8, :o, :1a) leaving onlv half of the text as the groundwork, its overall
structure remains totallv untouched: the organizationopposite to the tent
of meeting into four main camps of three tribes each, the command for
God’s commanders, and the marching order for a time coming soon. It
certainlv makes better sense than the last edition. All scholarlv proposals
to draw a plan of the great militarv camp in Numbers i do not organize
it on the basis of the far too high numbers, but on a verv small scale. For
the militarv of oo:,--o would mean i.- to : million people comprising
women and children and containing the necessarv logistics needing
In the Festschrif for Hans Ioachim Boecker (ed. T. Wagner, Kontexte. Biografsche
und forschungsgeschichtliche Schnittpunkte der alttestamentlichen Vissenschaþ. Festschriþ
fur Hans Iochen Boecker zum 8c. Geburtstag, Neukirchen-Vluvn ioo8), i-:–ioi, I gave a
short interpretation of Numbers o:1–1a.
See alreadv B. Baentsch, ^umeri (HAT 1.i; Göttingen 1oo:), a-1. D. Kellermann,
Die Priesterschriþ von ^umeri r,r bis rc,rc (BZAW 1io; Berlin 1o¬o), :1, met the point:
“Das statistische Material paßt schlecht in die als Iahwerede stilisierte ursprüngliche
Form der Lagerordnung . . . ” Num i:i–:1 is one great command of Israel’s God ordering
not onlv the four camps of the Israelite tribes, but also the twelve commanders of the
tribes. In God’s command there is no place for repeating the count of the militarv as in
1:io–ao, as there is no place for repeating 1:a¬, -a in i:::–:a.
Pace Kellermann, Priesterschriþ, :1, on this point.
mosis’ vviv.v.1io× oi 1ui m.vcu 1o 1ui uoiv i.×u 1o:
animals and propablv carts.
Against this, the idea of P
was that of a
small tribal militarv camp led bv the Deitv through the holv tent with a
marching order for the tribes, but without totaling numbers.
(a) Knierim made an important observation on the muster of the mili-
tarv in 1:1–a¬.
He registered that 1:i–: contain two diferent kinds of
a militarv gathering. Vv. ia and :a order a head count
with the conse-
quence that all the counted men had to be present personallv. But v. ib
orders a diferent count, based on the names of the men. Tese names
were available in genealogical lists of all men as described in v. 18 (see
below). Te personal presence of everv man counted was not necessarv.
Onlv, the secondmuster canbe executedonone dav as vv. 1¬–1oa sav. It is
obvious that vv. io–ao aimat this second kind of muster (see 177*P*1 “reg-
istered in genealogical lists” in v. 18 and P1771P “descendants” in vv. io–
-a). Knierimcalled it a militarv protocol, which was in use in the admin-
istrations of all kingdoms in the Ancient Near East, here understanding
Yahweh as the chief commander.
Kellermann alreadv argued that this
protocol cannot be part of P
. Instead he postulated a reconstruction con-
taining onlv the words “sons of tribe Reuben, Simeon . . . ” and the pure
numbers of vv. io–ao.
Knierim, however, convincinglv objected (a) that
this wording has anv textual support and (b) and worked out that vv. io–
ao are, instead, a late haggadah to Exod :o:11–1o and :8:i-–io where
the number oo:,--o was alreadv developed as that of the men who had to
pav a half-shekel when collected secularlv.
(In Numbers 1 no pavment
to the sanctuarv is necessarv as in Exod :o:11–1o and :8:i-–io because
the Deitv was ordering the muster.) So the old tradition of Numbers 1
consisted onlv of a small frame (excluding 1:a8–-: too):
vv. 1–ia, :a,
Tev would probablv need between 1- to i- square kilometer, as explained on -:1–a
in mv new commentarv on 1:1–1o:1o (forthcoming), see note o.
Te necessarv reasoning will be found in mv commentarv, see note o. In Num i:1¬
onlv the words “the camp of the Levites” are secondarv. Te far too high numbers in
chapters 1–i make sense in the verv late Numbers composition as the reminiscence of a
golden age as in the grand vision of Daniel ¬.
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, ao.
2R¨ in v. ia should not be translated bv “sum” (which is a possible translation
lexicographicallv) since ib uses the explaining word P7à7à “crane.”
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, ai, a¬–a8.
Kellermann, Die Priesterschriþ, o–1¬.
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, 8–o. See, too, Seebass, ^umeri Kap. ::,:–+o,r+, 1oi–
1o: (see note o).
As most authors do. But I shall propose that 1:a8–-: is not as late as the far too high
numbers of the militarv; see mv forthcoming commentarv on 1:1–1o:1o (see note o).
1oa uovs1 siiv.ss
a–1-, 1ob, a¬, and -a.
Te headcount begins (vv. 1–ia, :a), the list of
the princes follows (vv. a–1-), Moses is mustering alone (v. 1ob), leav-
ing the Levites non-mustered as non-militarv (v. a¬), and at last there is
the happv statement that the Israelites did all what Yahweh had ordered
(v. -a), in sharp contrast to Numbers 11–1¬; io; i-. So the camp of Num-
bers i was the real aim of P
in Numbers 1–i with about :oº of the later
text, which is certainlv able to explain the development leading to the last
(-) Knierim proposes an organization of the last edition of Numbers :–
a, based on the election, the camp, and the work of the Levites as an
important new element in P.
Literarv critical analvsis is not dimcult
if one follows the lead of Knierim.
For the purpose of this exposé
it is enough to sum up in onlv two sentences how Knierim organized
chapters :–a. Tere are two main parts: frstlv, the verv short ::1–a on
the Aaronide priests, and, secondlv, the extremelv long ::-–a:ao on the
Levites. Tis second part is structured as follows: (a) ::-–1: as Yahweh’s
program speech; and (b) two accompanving parts following: (1) the
description of the Levitical clans in ::1a–:o, (ao–-1) exemplifving the
divine election of the Levites in ::11–1:, together with their diferent
responsibilities for the tent of meeting, and (i) a:1–ao explains ::-–1o, bv
using a chiasm, through the actual Levitical duties under the leadership
of the priests as the hard work (H7139) for the tent, taking onlv the men
from thirtv to ffv vears of age. Since nearlv all scholars agree that ::1–
a on the Aaronide priests is a late addition to Numbers :–a,
I analvse
onlv ::-–a:ao. Numbers ::-–1: is programmatic, indeed, for the whole
of ::-–a:ao. Antonius Gunneweg demonstrated alreadv in 1oo- that ::-–
1: is the P
form of an old “Levitenregel,” dominating the whole of ::-–
Tis formunites two points: a) the Levites hadto serve the Aaronic
V. a¬ was necessarv for P
because the tribe of Levi belonged to Israel but should
not be mustered militarilv, and v. -a is important because at the beginning of the march,
Israel accepted God’s leadership willinglv. Vv. ib, 1¬–1oa, together with vv. io–ao, are
verv late, vv. 1o and aa–a- are probablv pure scribal additions.
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, -a–o1.
Coats and Knierim, ^umbers, o¬.
Derived from Exod o:1o–1o on the one hand and from Lev 1o:1–- on the other.
A.H.I. Gunneweg, Priester und Leviten (FRLANT 8o; Göttingen 1oo-), 1:8f. A
full discussion of this thesis which had alreadv been developed bv G.B. Grav, A Critical
and Exegetical Commentary on ^umbers (ICC; Edinburgh 1oo:), ii–i:, is found in mv
forthcoming commentarv (see note o).
mosis’ vviv.v.1io× oi 1ui m.vcu 1o 1ui uoiv i.×u 1o-
priests in all matters of the sanctuarv except those of a purelv priestlv
competence; b) the priests had no competence to elect the Levites but
had to accept the election of the Levites by and for the Deitv (so 18:1–¬
too). Trough this ruling P
changed the Torah of Deut 18:1–8 where
all Levites would be priests as elected bv Yahweh. Instead, Numbers’
new rule interpreted an old ritual law on the dedication of all frstborn
male children in a new wav. At the one hand, the sacrifce of the sheep
is a thanksgiving for the happv breaking of the motherlv womb (Exod
:a:1¬b, io; 1::1:; cf. ii:i8b), mentioned in Num 18:1- as well; at the
other hand, the male frstborn is reallv to be dedicated to the service of
Yahweh. Michael Fishbane pointed to the fact that Exod 1::1–i savs just
this without anv other modifcation.
Tis sort of dedication had never
before been actualized. Since P
does not stand in the Zadokite tradition,
but in that of Aaron, it was able to propose an independent priestlv
It said that Yahweh ordered a ransom in dedicating a Levitical
male child of one month for everv male secular Israelite frstborn bv the
#edah, in this wav preserving the election of the Levites for God’s service
at the sanctuarv (see once more 18:1–¬ P
). Tis solution seems to be an
example of what Bernard M. Levinson demonstrated on a much broader
for the election of the Levites as pronounced in Deut 18:1–8 is
stronglv emphasized, but modifedtechnicallv because the Levites should
no longer be priests though serving at the sanctuarv.
(o) If one regards ::-–1: as the programmatic ruling in P
, it is easv to
identifv the twocorresponding parts of the older traditioninNumbers :–
a. Tere is a longstanding scholarlv conviction that one of the older parts
of it is found in ::iob–:o. It deals with the genealogical order of the
Levites with the following aspects: sequence of a) the clans Gershon–
Kohath–Merari; b) their headcount; c) the names of their princes; and
d) their diferent special duties (excluding the grammaticallv not inte-
grated notes with the verb H1H “to camp” in the impf.: i:b, io, :-b plus
:8a). Te ii,ooo male frstborn Israelites of :::o lead to a much lower
M. Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon, 1o8-),
See I. Schaper, “Aaron,” RGG, ath ed., 1:i–:, for the thesis of a possible origin at the
sanctuarv of Bethel.
B.M. Levinson, L’hermeneutique de l’innovation. Canon et exegèse dans l’Israel bibli-
que (Le livre et le rouleau ia; Brussels iooo).
1oo uovs1 siiv.ss
number of the militarv men than 1:io–ao.
Te other older part, con-
vincinglv determined bv Ervl W. Davies
in evaluating Kellermann,
to be found in a::a–ao which addresses the Kohathites, Gershonites, and
Merarites on the actual hard work (H7139) of all male Levites from thirtv
to ffv vears (a:1–:, ii–i:, io–:o), with the tribes; now, not genealogi-
callv ordered anv more, but in the order of the sanctitv of their work at
the holv tent. All the rest of Numbers :–a was easilv flled up with addi-
tional traditions (a) such as ::ao–-1, the ransom of the male Levites for
the frstborn male Israelites and the pavment for i¬: more male Israelite
frstborn, (b) such as ::1¬–ioa which is a parallel to Exod o:1o–1o P
Levitical tribes (P
had mentioned the clans in accordance with ::1a),
and c) such as a:a–i1, ia–i8, :1–::, detailing parts of ::iob–:o on the
basis of later additions in Exodus :o–:1, :-–:o (with a:1¬–io P
, a spe-
cial admonition regarding the Kohathites). So all in all, Numbers 1–a¯ P
is the continuation of Leviticus 8–o¯ P
(¬) So the old traditions of Numbers 1–i show a not oppressing militarv
organized as a camp around God’s commanding tent of meeting and
that of Numbers :–a as a much smaller, but clear cut and sumcient
basis for the Levites. Te profle of these old traditions makes it possible,
indeed, to continue with some of the traditions contained in -:1–1o:1o.
Te criterion for the continuation of texts in -:1–1o:1o should be the
compatibilitv with the idea of a preparation for the march to the Holv
Land. Ten it cannot be doubted that -:1–a, the divine actual command
for the exclusion of the unclean men and women from Yahweh’s camp,
(not as a law, but ordered and done at once) is a plausible and, because of
the mention of women, a necessarv continuation of the reconstructed
Numbers 1–a¯ and even for the non-reconstructed. Te same is true
for o:ii–i¬. Moses transmitted the Aaronic blessing, because the camp
with Yahweh in its centre should certainlv not be without the Deitv’s
In mv forthcoming commentarv on Num 1:1–1o:1o, I shall trv to show that these
ii,ooo male frstbornIsraelite childrenleadtoonlv 1/ 1othof the numbers inNumbers 1–
i. Tis is an argument for the older P
E.W. Davies, ^umbers (NCBC; London 1oo-), :o–:¬.
Kellermann, Priesterschriþ, ao–oi.
I am fullv aware of a broad spectrum of theses regarding the end of P
, as for
instance in Exodus io, in Exodus ao, in Leviticus 1o (recentlv C. Nihan and T. Römer, in
Introduction à l’Ancien Testament [ed. T. Römer et al.; Le Monde de la Bible ao; Geneva
iooa], 8-–1oa. Against this see especiallv C. Frevel, Mit Blick auf das Land die Schopfung
erinnern. Zum Ende der Priestergrundschriþ [HBS i:; Freiburg im Breisgau iooo]).
mosis’ vviv.v.1io× oi 1ui m.vcu 1o 1ui uoiv i.×u 1o¬
Afer the exclusion of ¬:1–88 (see above no. i) it is important
to regard ¬:8o as a conclusion of o:ii–i¬
since ¬:8o mentions Moses as
the unique advisor of Yahweh (¨37 Hitpael), who is leading the militarv
camp from within the holv tent: the fulfllment of Exod i-:ii. Afer that,
8:1–a goes back to Exod i-::o–:8 where the construction of a lamp stand
was ordered, 8:1–a now adding a special service of Aaron for the light
in the holv tent as the center of the march. Tis is certainlv a possible
sequence in preparing the march, though of a minor basis. Numbers 8:-–
ii is clearlv in line with the program of ::-–1: since it narrates the
tenuphah, the elevation ofering of the Levites through the hands of
Moses and Aaron as an act of transmission bv the #edah. Numbers 8:i:–
io is a later addition because it changes the beginning of the Levitical
service from thirtv to twentv-fve vears, and allows for a sofer service
afer the age of ffv in comparison with Numbers a. As a later addition
it is at least possible as continuing the P
parts of Numbers 1–a¯. We
have excluded o:1–1a (see above no. i). Te following part, o:1-–i:, has
its parallel in Exod ao::o–:8, where it forms an addition, although with
diferent words. So the same tradition seems to appear in two versions.
Interestinglv o:1-–i: is not especiallv interested in the departure of the
Israelite camp but in the exact obedience of the #edah on the following
march according to the signs of God’s cloud. If the cloud staved above
the tabernacle, the camp staved. If the cloud lifed, the camp lifed too—
o:1-–i: looking into the far future of the soon following march. Tis is
a meaningful continuation of Numbers 1–a¯, though certainlv not P
At last, 1o:1–1o, the pericope of the silver trumpets, is rather complex.
Taking the main point, it seems that the trumpets were to be heard onlv
for an inner circle of the camp, not for i.- or : million persons. On
the whole, 1o:1–1o looks more like a late addition, mavbe especiallv to
(8) Te same question of compatibilitv with the beginning of the march
to the Holv Land is to be asked for -:1–o:i¬. Numbers -:-–1o is repeating
Lev -:ii–io, as is well known. Te onlv new element in it is v. 8. It states
that if the guiltv person could not fnd the person he had done evil nor
See H. Seebass, “YHWH’s Name in the Aaronic Blessing (Num o:ii–i¬),” in Te
Revelation of the ^ame YHVH to Moses. Perspectives from Iudaism, the Pagan Graeco-
Roman Vorld, and Early Christianity (ed. G.H. van Kooten; Temes in Biblical Narratives
o; Leiden iooo), :¬–-a.
So alreadv Seebass, “Name,” a¬–-i.
1o8 uovs1 siiv.ss
his go"el, he had to pav his ransomplus ioºto the sanctuarv represented
bv the omciating priest. Vv. o–1o add further prescriptions on how the
priests had to handle all sanctifed gifs in the sanctuarv. Te main part of
-:-–1o was alreadv ruled through Lev -:ii–io; so on the whole, it is not
speciallv continuing the idea of the march in Numbers 1–a P
. Te same
is true for o:1–i1, the pericope on the vow of man or woman to abstain
from wine, not to touch a dead person and not to cut the hair. For in the
context of a march through the desert with possible acts of war it does not
make sense for a man above twentv to vowfor abstinence of contacts with
dead persons, because this would mean being abstinent of the militarv.
Numbers -:11–:1, dealing with the case of a husband being jealous of his
wife who might have gone astrav, does not need to be explained here in
detail. Te main question in our discussion is: will this priestlv ritual be
compatible withthe situationof the coming marchtothe Holv Land: Tis
seems improbable (though the tradition is sanctuarv-centred), because it
is summing up diferent cultural strata as in use of the Holv Land.
-:11–:1 seems to be one of the late additions in -:1–1o:1o too.
(o) Te result is: (a) -:1–a; o:ii–i¬; ¬:8o; 8:1–a, -–ii, (i:–io); o:1-–
i:, all in all six (seven) pericopes, are continuing the old P
in Numbers 1–a. (b) -:-–1o, -:11–:1; o:1–i1, and 1o:1–1o, these four,
seem to be added as late as the last version of Numbers 1–a which I
call Numbers composition. (c) ¬:1–88 and o:1–1a are postcompositional
elements in the book of Numbers, though worth to be appreciated.
To sum up, the reconstruction of P
in Num 1:1–1o:1o has the following
results: 1:1–ia, :a, a–1-, 1ob, a¬, -a (Israel counts its militarv according
to God’s order); i:1–:, -, ¬, ob–1o, 1i, 1a, 1ob, 1¬¯, 18, io, ii, iab, i-,
i¬, io, :1b, :a (Israel’s camp); ::-–1:aα¯, iob–ii, ia–ioaα, iobβ, i¬–
i8, :o–:1, ::–:-a, :o–:¬, :8b–:o; a:1–:, ii–i:, io–:o, :a–:¬a, :8–a1a,
ai–a-a, ao–ao (the initiation of the Levites for the tent of meeting).
In mv opinion it is possible that an old laver of 8:-–ii (without the
reworking to give Aaron a role in the ritual) was a part of P
Reasons for this argument will be given in mv commentarv; as is well known, the
interpretation of -:11–:1 is verv diferentlv and in parts brilliantlv discussed.
mosis’ vviv.v.1io× oi 1ui m.vcu 1o 1ui uoiv i.×u 1oo
Te reconstruction of a suitable continuation (P
, probablv not P
) of
the reconstructed P
-laver is to be found in -:1–a; o:ii–i¬; ¬:8o; 8:1–a,
-–ii (last version); o:1-–i:.
Tis means that the problemofen found in the seeminglv problematic
continuation of -:1–1o:1o is the result of the addition of onlv three peri-
copes in the neighborhood of Numbers 1–a: -:-–1o, -:11–:1, and o:1–i1
(while 8:i:–io seems onlv to be a later adjustment to the beginning and
end of the Levitical work in Numbers a, and 1o:1–1o a late addition lead-
ing to 1o:11–:o). Whv are those three pericopes placed just where thev
are now: Te onlv reasonable answer seems to be that -:1–o:i¬ should
make a balance of narratives on priestlv competence to the bulk of Levit-
ical traditions in Numbers :–a as some alreadv proposed.
On the whole, it should be possible to get Num 1:1–1o:1o out of its
seeming positionas a mainlv boring part of Numbers. As the great bulk of
Numbers 1–a shows, it opens up as a grand vision of God’s people before
taking its wav to the land of great promises, which it would not reach in a
simple and direct wav, but had to go through the death of one generation.
Because Numbers :–a introduce the Levites as an important and quite
numerous element of a special service besides that of the priests, the
Numbers composition felt it necessarv to balance the volume of the
Levitical traditions bv God’s special orders on priestlv competence in
-:1–o:i¬. Tev add up to especiallv late elements of the ongoing book
of Numbers which added the motif of (high) priestlv leadership for the
whole communitv of Israel,
all going back to the late ::1–a. For both
the priests and the Levites were necessarv for the service of the tent of
meeting as the center of life for all of Israel. Excluding ¬:1–88 and o:1–1a
as postcompositional additions, Numbers 1–o¯ were, then, followed bv
traditions preparing the great march to Yahweh’s land (:i:a) markedlv
P.I. Budd, ^umbers (WBC -; Waco 1o8a), xvii; I. Milgrom, ^umbers (Te IPS Torah
Commentarv; Philadelphia 1ooo), xiv. Note that two of these pericopes are important
theologicallv. a) For the frst time in priestlv legislation the confession of a guiltv person
leads to the forgiving of a main 79O in -:-–1o allowing for a simple restitution of the
original debt plus ioº plus a guilt ofering. b) In -:11–:1 the important organizing
principle in the dimcult ritual is that the Deitv alone should be the judge (vv. 1o–ii).
Is it fortuitous that two of the later added pericopes, -:11–:1 and o:1–i1, are expresslv
mentioning women who were not thought of in Numbers 1–a (though part of the Levites
in their camp ::1a–-1¯):
Cf. the last version of the great confict between Korah the Levite and the leading
priest Aaron in Numbers 1o–1¬, the role of Aaron in Numbers 18; io:1–1:, ii–i¬; the
redaction of Num io:1–:, -o–o1, o:; i¬:1–11; :1:i1–ia; :i:i, i8–:i; :::1, :8–:o; :a:1¬
on Eleasar.
11o uovs1 siiv.ss
opened up bv ¬:8o, the tradition of Moses being God’s advisor in the tent
of meeting for the whole of the camp, and unto the land. While 8:1–a
gives a special tradition on Aaron’s role in the service of the tent, 8:-–ii is
a necessarv element as commissioning the Levites bv the #edah, and o:1-–
i: as the ideal picture of the people’s obedience before the breakdown of
11:1–: and following. Te tale of the militarv sanctuarv campaign to the
promised land could then begin.
Cuvis1i.× Fvivii
Since the declining of the sun of source criticism in the ioth centurv
the book of Numbers has become a “sleeping beautv.” Tere are a lot
of prejudices against this book, be it its legal content or the mostlv
misunderstood alternation of storv and law. Te Christian prejudices of
the 1oth centurv are still perceptible. Onlv one example of an infuential
judgment shall underline this, namelv Bruno Baentsch’s comment on
Numbers 1–1o:
Übrigens gehört der ganze Abschnitt so ziemlich zu dem Odesten, das in
der Literatur jemals produziert worden ist. Aber wie eine Perle in wert-
loser Schale liegt darin doch der herrliche Priestersegen o
tet, und die Eifersuchts-Tora in -
gehört zu den in kulturhistorischer
Beziehung interessantesten Dokumenten des Pentateuchs.
Numbers is interesting, but not relevant. Te source critical model
worked out well in Genesis. It worked less well in Exodus, but in Num-
bers onlv roughlv, and sometimes with violence. Martin Noth has set a
landmark with his exegesis of Ioshua, in which he neglected the tradi-
tional sources and found the Deuteronomistic Historv instead.
In his
commentarv on Numbers on the one hand he held fast to the sources in
this book, but on the other hand he recognized the pressure of the doc-
umentarv hvpothesis, which seeks to trace the lines starting in Genesis.
Noth respected the bridge-building functionof the book of Numbers and
I am grateful to contribute with some compositional and diachronic remarks to the
book of Numbers in the Festschrif in honor of a Ioshua commentator. Ed Noort is an
admired teacher and colleague who has introduced the author into the world of Levantine
archaeologv and the fascinating shape and historv of the land of Israel bv conducting
the “Lehrkurs” of the “Deutsches Evangelisches Institut für Altertumswissenschaf des
Heiligen Landes/German Protestant Institute of Archaeologv” in 1ooo.
B. Baentsch, Exodus, Leviticus, ^umeri (HK 1.i; Göttingen 1ooi), aaa.
See C. Frevel, “Deuteronomistisches Geschichtswerk oder Geschichtswerke: Die
Tese Martin Noths zwischen Tetrateuch, Hexateuch und Enneateuch,” in Martin ^oth.
Aus der Sicht heutiger Forschung (ed. U. Rüterswörden; Neukirchen-Vluvn iooa), oo–o-.
11i cuvis1i.× ivivii
searched for Hexateuchal and Enneateuchal solutions. But in the mean-
while the source critical model as a base for Old Testament exegesis of the
Pentateuch has been broken. Te Yahwist is challenged just as the Priestlv
source. One of the new arising battlefelds can be found in Numbers. To
give just one example: if one asks for the end of the Priestlv source (P
the alternative between the Sinai pericope and the traditional end with
the death of Moses in Deut :a:8 or o is not decided in Exodus, Leviti-
cus, or Deuteronomv: the crucial point is the existence of a P-version
of the spv storv in Numbers.
During the last decade the book of Num-
bers is re-evaluated in Pentateuchal discussions as well as in redactional
Tis is due to the broad studv Die Vollendung der Tora of Rein-
hard Achenbach,
the studies of Oliver Artus
and Ulrich Fistill,
or the
famous compositional analvsis of Won Lee.
Certainlv, the structure is a challenge to manv and was ofen mis-
understood as chaotic or “reichlich undurchsichtig” (“amplv obscure”).
Tomas C. Römer has characterized the situation felicitouslv: “Numbers
is indeed the onlv book of the Pentateuch where commentators need sev-
eral pages to justifv their idea of the structure of the book and to refute
See C. Frevel, Mit Blick auf das Land die Schopfung erinnern. Zum Ende der Priester-
grundschriþ (HBS i:; Freiburg iooo). Te last overviewwas given bv T.C. Römer, “Israel’s
Sojourn in the Wilderness and the Construction of the Book of Numbers,” in Refec-
tion and Refraction. Studies in Biblical Historiography in Honour of A. Graeme Auld (ed.
R. Rezetko et al.; VTSup 11:; Leiden ioo¬), a1o–aa-, esp. ai:–ai¬, regrettablv without
taking mv counter-arguments of an earlv end of P in Exodus, Leviticus, or Numbers into
See T.C. Römer, “De la périphérie au centre,” in Te Books of Leviticus and ^umbers
(ed. idem; BETL i1-; Louvain; inpress); idem, “Israel’s Sojourn,” a1o–aa-, esp. a1o–ai¬;
idem, “Nombres,” in Introduction à l’Ancien Testament (ed. T.C. Römer and I.-D. Macchi;
Le Monde de la Bible ao; Geneva iooa), 1oo–i1o; O. Artus, “Les dernières rédactions du
livre des Nombres et l’unité littéraire du livre,” in Les dernières redactions du Pentateuque,
de l’Hexateuque et de l’Enneateuque (ed. T.C. Römer and K. Schmid; BETL io:; Louvain
ioo¬), 1io–1aa; H. Seebass, “Holv Land in the Old Testament: Numbers and Ioshua,” VT
-o (iooo) oi–1oa, esp. 1oa.
R. Achenbach, Die Vollendung der Tora. Studien zur Redaktionsgeschichte des ^ume-
ribuches im Kontext von Hexateuch und Pentateuch (BZABR :; Wiesbaden ioo:).
O. Artus, Etudes sur le livre des ^ombres. Recit, histoire et loi en ^b r+,r–:c,r+
(OBO 1-¬; Fribourg 1oo¬).
U. Fistill, Israel und das Ostjordanland. Untersuchungen zur Komposition von ^um
:r,:r–+o,r+ im Hinblick auf die Entstehung des Buches ^umeri (OBS :o; Frankfurt a.M.
W.W. Lee, Punishment and Forgiveness in Israel’s Migratory Campaign (Grand Rap-
ids ioo:).
M. Noth, Das vierte Buch Mose. ^umeri (:d ed.; ATD ¬.a; Göttingen 1o¬¬), -; see
ch. ¬, where Noth calls it “verworrene Anordnung des Inhalts.”
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 11:
Here I do not discuss the proposals of a twofold, threefold, or
fvefold structure of Numbers in detail,
but will focus on the signif-
cance of “space” and “land” in the book of Numbers, especiallv in its
latter part. Te starting point of mv argumentation is the proposal of
structuring Numbers in fve parts: Num 1:1–1o:1o; 1o:11–1a:::; 1-:1–
io:i8; i1:1–i-:18; i-:1o–:o:1: predominantlv-overlaving the twofold
structure of an old and a new generation (Num 1:1–i-:18; i-:1o respec-
tivelv io:1–:o:1:).
In the frst part I analvse the structure of the posterior parts of Num-
bers svnchronicallv bv taking the end of the book as the point of depar-
ture. Tis illustrates that the spatial dimension and the “land”-theme are
crucial for the arrangement of Numbers in a Hexateuchal context: Num-
bers is a Hexateuchal not a Pentateuchal book. In the second part of this
article Numbers i1 is considered as a transitional chapter and turning
point of the composition of Numbers proceeding from failure to suc-
cess or from refusal to realisation. Te argumentation brings about some
diachronic aspects of Numbers i1. At the end of this article I draw some
lines of the origins of the narrative material behind the text, respectivelv
behind the redactional lavers of the book of Numbers, bv taking Num-
bers i1 as example. Tis sheds light on the interrelation between histor-
ical (diachronic) and compositional (svnchronic) analvsis.
1. Te Book of ^umbers as a Composition
Tere is no doubt that the book of Numbers is part of a larger literarv
unit. It is chronologicallv attached to the time frame of Exodus ao and
Leviticus 8–o and continues the narrative threads of the Sinai narrative.
It carries on this narrative not onlv chronologicallv, but spatiallv, too. It
begins at the foot of the mountain thus underlining the centripetal power
of the Sinai and its central theme, the reconciling nearness of God. Tus,
it is looking back to Sinai. At the same time it ends at the border of
Römer, “Israel’s Sojourn,” ai¬.
See D.T. Olson, Te Death of the Old and the Birth of the ^ew. Te Framework of the
Book of ^umbers and the Pentateuch (BISt ¬1; Chico 1o8-), o–ao; Fistill, Israel, ia–:-;
E. Zenger and C. Frevel, “Die Bücher Levitikus und Numeri als Teile der Pentateuchkom-
position,” in Te Books of Leviticus and ^umbers (ed. T.C. Römer; BETL i1-; Louvain
ioo8), :-–¬a, ao–ao.
See C. Frevel, “Numeri,” in Stuttgarter Altes Testament (ed. E. Zenger; Stuttgart iooa
[:d ed.; ioo-]), i1i–:o1, esp. i1a–i1-.
11a cuvis1i.× ivivii
the land where the events described in Deuteronomv take place. Tus,
the book of Numbers bridges the gap between Sinai and promised land
bv the transition from Sinai to Paran/Kadesh (Num 1o:11–1i:1o) and
fromKadesh to Moab (Numio:ii–i1:io; ii:1) at the border of the land.
In that wav it continues the movement, which started with the Exodus
and which was grounded in the promise to the fathers. In announcing
and preparing the death of Moses in Numbers io and i¬ the book of
Numbers refers relativelv earlv to Deuteronomv and to the end of the
Pentateuch. With the division of the land of Canaan it points far bevond
the death of Moses to its actualization in the book of Ioshua. Alreadv this
simplifcation of the plot sheds light on the signifcance of the “land”-
theme in the book of Numbers. Tis is obvious in the topics of the last
part of Numbers i-:1o–:o:1:: the “newgeneration” which will come into
the land, the appointment of Ioshua as leader, and the announcement
of the death of Moses as the last one of the Exodus generation, the
allocation of the land east of the river Iordan, and the inheriting of
the land bv the daughters of Zelophehad. However, the signifcance of
the land-theme is present from start to fnish with graduallv increasing
impact. Te book of Numbers has a Ianus face looking back and ahead,
and keeping in mind the importance of Sinai on the one hand and
the land on the other hand.
Te shif from refusal of the land and
resistance against God and his chosen leader in Num 11:1–1a::: to the
beginning realization of inheritance in Num i-:1o–:o:1: presupposes
the death of the old generation. It is important that this demographic
decline in the middle parts Num 1-:1–io:i8 and Num i1:1–i-:18 is
amliated with, frst partlv and then fullv, preservation notwithstanding
newsins, insurgencies, skepticism, and disbelief. While this development
is gradual, Numbers i1 is a turning point in several respects. Tis will be
unfolded below, but frst we have to look at the spatial markers and the
importance of Moab in Num i1:1–i-:18.
i. Unfolding the Structure from the End. Te Compositional
Function of 3R1O P3¨93 í“in the Plains of Moab”)
At the end of the book the legislation of some of the laws which were
given before is located “in the plains of Moab bv the Iordan at Iericho.”
See for details Zenger and Frevel, “Die Bücher Levitikus und Numeri,” a-–¬o.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 11-
Te spatial dimension of Num:o:1: is crucial. It is a structuring element
in the last part of the book; besides that, it builds bridges to Num i1:1–
i-:18. As a kind of “cascade” Num:o:1: refers back to Numii:1 via Num
:-:1; :::-o; :::a8; io:o:; io::. In Numii:1 Israel is said to encamp in the
plains of Moab (1H¨* ]7¨*7 ¨39O 3R1O P13¨93 11H*1); geographicallv spoken
the ˙ g¯ or el-bel
ka are the lowlands of the Iordan estuarv. Te localization
1H¨* ]7¨* 79 3R1O P3¨93 in Num :o:1: takes up the introduction of the
speech in Num :-:1. Te last two divine speeches of the whole book are
found in Numbers :- (introduction formulae in Num:-:1, o) mentioning
the selection of the cities of refuge. Numbers :o does not contain divine
speeches in direct manner anvmore. Te selection of the cities of refuge
and the Levitical cities refer explicitlv to the territories of the East and
West Iordan as well (Num :-:8, 1a). Consequentlv, Num :-:1a recalls
the actual position and refers to Canaan as the fnal destination. Tat is
underlined bv referring to the time afer the Israelites will have crossed
the Iordan. Numbers :- deals with the Levitical cities and the cities of
refuge and points therewith to its textual counterpart in Ioshua io–i1.
Tus, the expression 1H¨* ]7¨* 79 3R1O P3¨93 seems to be inappropriate
to mark the closure of the book, because it strengthens the Hexateuchal
Before Num :-:1 the localization in this exact form is attested twice in
Num :::a8 and :::-o. First, it is referring to the last stage of the Exodus
fromRameses in Egvpt in the itinerarv v. a8. With this reference the cur-
rent position in Moab at the end of Numbers is confgured as conclusion
of the events of the Exodus and the act of liberation. Tis fact indicates
that the turning point inthe book of Numbers fromwrathful annihilation
(Num 1a:i1–i:) up to the blessing at the end (Num ii:1i) has alreadv
beenaccomplished. Tis altered prospect becomes obvious inthe Balaam
storv as well as in the division of the land in the east and it is underlined
bv the changed perspective in the “Landgabeformel.”
From Num io:1i
onwards the land which was promised to the fathers is given alreadv on
a text level, namelv svntacticallv bv the shif from ]P1 yiqtol to ]P1 qatal.
Whereas this is merelv stated bv God in Num io:1i, it is becoming to be
accomplished from Num i1:1 onwards as will be seen below.
See N. Lohfnk, “Wann hat Gott dem Volk Israel das den Vätern verheißene Land
gegeben: Zu einemrätselhafen Befund imBuch Numeri,” in Väter der Kirche. Ekklesiales
Denken von den Anfängen bis in die ^euzeit (ed. I. Arnold et al.; Paderborn iooa),
o–:o; idem, “Die Landübereignung in Numeri und das Ende der Priesterschrif: Zu
einem rätselhafen Befund im Buch Numeri,” in Studien zum Deuteronomium und zur
deuteronomistischen Literatur (ed. idem; SBAB :8; Stuttgart ioo-), -:i¬:–ioi.
11o cuvis1i.× ivivii
We consider now the signifcance of the phrase ]7¨* 79 3R1O P3¨93
1H¨* in Num :::a8 and -o. Although there are still three chapters of
Numbers and the whole Deuteronomv to come, the localization “in the
plains of Moab bv the Iordan of Iericho” in the itinerarv (Num:::a8) can
be seen as a gravitational push towards the end of the book of Numbers.
Te second attestation of the phrase in the fnal divine speech in Num
:::-o–-o establishes a signifcant link to the end of the book. Num :::-o
expands the introduction formula ¨OR7 H2O¨7R H1H* ¨37*1 with the exact
localization 1H¨* ]7¨* 79 3R1O P3¨93 and difers therebv from most of the
speech-introductions in Numbers. Te speech “in the plains of Moab
bv the Iordan of Iericho” in vv. -o–-o is clearlv infuenced bv the late
Deuteronomistic language and presents the classical late mixed stvle of
the book of Numbers. It takes into account the conquest of Canaan and
orders the distribution of the western part of the land, which is given
alreadv (v. -: HPR P2¨7 ?¨RH¨PR *PP1 DD7 *D). Te short Yhwh-speech
has its compositional counterpart in Numbers :i in the allocation of
the land east of the Iordan. It is verv important with respect to the
composition that the long itinerarv in Numbers :: stands between the
distribution of Gilead (Numbers :i) and the instructions howto manage
the distribution of Canaan (Num :::-o–:a:io) which is narrated in Iosh
1a:1–1o:-1. We cannot neglect that the distribution in Numbers :i is a
hvbrid between “alreadv” and “not vet”: the eastern tribes are confronted
with the refusal of the land bv the fathers (Num :i:8–1-) and the threat
of the continuation of the stav in the desert. Hence, thev confess to join
the whole of Israel in conquering Canaan. Tus, Numbers :: is both a
retrospect and the beginning of something new.
On the one hand Num :::-o–-o points to the book of Ioshua and
bevond, on the other hand it is connected with Num :o:1:. Tere is
no doubt that Num :o:1: signals a conclusion as well as an open end.
Tat becomes quite clear, when one includes the frst instance of the
localization in the book of Numbers. 1H¨* ]7¨* 79 3R1O P3¨93 is also
found exactlv in Numio:: and o: as the location of the second census. Bv
spanning Numio:: with :o:1: the phrase constitutes a main subdivision
of the book of Numbers. Tus, Num i-:1o–:o:1: are confgured as an
independent part of the book supporting the suggestion of a two-part
structure of Numbers bv Dennis Olson and others.
See Olson, Death, --–1i-; idem, ^umbers (Interpretation; Louisville 1ooo), :–o.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 11¬
Te second census in Numbers io is the clear signal that the alreadv
mentioned turning point in Numbers i1 reached its climax. Te gen-
eration of the exodus that rebelled against the qualitv of the land and
to whom the death in the desert had been announced (Num 1a:io–
i:; bevond the last reduction narrative of Numbers i-), except Moses,
alreadv died out (Num io:oa–o-). Afer the death of the old, the new
raises. Tis is presented bv the newlv patterned Israel, and it is located at
the border of the land, too. Towards this newgeneration the promise is to
be realized. Onlv the death of Moses which is announced shortlv afer the
census in Num i¬:1i–1a is still outstanding and it takes several chapters
until the leader dies in Deut :a:-.
Te tension that the promise will not
be fulflled persists as long as Moses lives.
Bv the link betweenNumio:: and :o:1: a unit of the book of Numbers
is created. However, this unit cannot stand alone. It even crosses the
borders of the Pentateuch and thus evokes certain dvnamics towards the
land in the last part of Numbers.
Te spatial connection overarches both sides of this part of the book.
Although not the same words are used, the determination “in the plains
of Moab” can be found across the borders of the last part of the book of
Numbers, both before and afer Num i-:1o–:o:1:. Te onlv occurrence
of H3¨9 in the book of Numbers (except from the alreadv mentioned)
can be found in Num ii:1. Israel dwells 1H¨* ]7¨*7 ¨39O 3R1O P13¨93. Bv
using the prepositional phrase 7 ¨39O the form difers from the alreadv
discussed formwith the preposition 79. Tere is no diference in the local
position, because fromNumii:1 to Iosh ::1 Israel dwells in Shittim. Tis
site is mentioned explicitlv in Num i-:1 at frst, and from there Israel
departs to cross the Iordan in Iosh i:1; ::1. Te local data strengthens
the Hexateuchal frame as a presupposition to understand Numbers.
Nonetheless, the slight diference in the formulation is quite important,
because it is the presuppositionfor the constitutionof Numio:1–:o:1: as
an independent part of the book of Numbers. From Num ii:1 a literallv
overarching feature is present, not onlv looselv in the overall structure
of the local data in Deut 1:1–-, but it is even more obvious at the end
in Deuteronomv :a. Te localization 3R1O P13¨9 can be found in Deut
:a:1 and 8 for the last time. Tus, the whole “plain of Moab”-section
(Num ii:1–Deut :a:8, respectivelv Ioshua :) is considered the last stage
of the wilderness period. Te signifcant phrase “in the plains of Moab”
For the analvsis of the death notices in Numbers and Deuteronomv see Frevel, Blick,
118 cuvis1i.× ivivii
can be further subdivided. While Moab plavs a signifcant role in the
Balaamstorv (Numii:1–ia:i-),
the nomenpropriumis attested8 times
before Numbers ii:1. Tus, the realitv of Moab is present in the book of
Numbers before Num ii:1, frst in the encamping notice of Num i1:11.
However, Ive-Abarim is not located in proper Moab but in the desert
east of Moab (2O2H H¨!OO 3R1O *1D¨79 ¨2R ¨37O3 D*¨39H **93 11H*1).
Te other references of Moab in Numbers i1 are geographicallv deviant
in a comparable wav: in Num i1:1: Moab is used twice to distinguish
the location of Israel from Moab. Num i1:1-, io, i8, io are poetical
references which do not denote the position of Israel. Onlv in Num
i1:io, at the end of the fragmentarv itinerarv of Num i1:18b–io, the
location is: “to the vallev lving in the region of Moab, bv the top of Pisgah,
which overlooks the wasteland” (]O*2*H *1D¨79 HDÞ211 HàODH 2R¨ 3R1O
H723 ¨2R R*àH).
Diferent from other itinerarv notices in the book of
Numbers this itinerarv lacks the verbs 9O1 and ]H*. Israel is not encamping
explicitlv in Moab. Tis is said onlv in Numii:1 bv the mentioned phrase
1H¨* ]7¨*7 ¨39O 3R1O P13¨93.
Nearlv everv single phrase inNumi1:io is
signifcant in its textual reference, especiallv to the Balaam storv (where
Moab plavs a signifcant role too), Num ii:1, and Deuteronomv :a.
is clear that Numi1:io has a structuring function. Tis is, however, quite
diferent fromthe reference svstemdescribed above. Tus, there is a clear
distinction between the references to Moab in Numbers i1 and Num
ii:1. Moab is spatiallv present, but not the “plains of Moab,” and Israel
is not encamping explicitlv inside the borders of Moab. It is important
that Num ii:1 locates Israel 1H¨* ]7¨*7 ¨39O. Numbers i1 is in some
wav “in-between.” We will look closer to the compositional function of
Numbers i1 below.
In total 1- records: Num ii:1, : bis, a bis, ¬, 8, 1o, 1a, i1, :o; i::o, ¬, 1¬; ia:1¬. Te
onlv instances beside the Balaam storv are the 3R1O P113 in Num i-:1. Tev have their
own compositional signifcance which cannot be discussed here.
See for the vague localization of Ive-Abarim I.M. Miller, “Te Israelite Iournev
through (around) Moab and Moabite Toponvmv,” IBL 1o8 (1o8o) -¬¬–-o-, esp. -8o;
B. MacDonald, “East of the Iordan”. Territories and Sites of the Hebrew Scriptures (ASOR
Books o; Boston iooo), i1o: “In SE plain of the Dead Sea between Wadi Khanazir and
Bab adh Dhra".”
Translation P.I. Budd, ^umbers (WBC -; Waco 1o8a), i:¬.
Fistill is missing this crucial point bv characterizing Numii:1 onlv as “überleitende
undeinleitende Ortsangabe, welche die nachfolgende Perikope indiesenZusammenhang
einreiht” (Israel, :i).
R*à (the onlv reference of this lexeme in Numbers) is pointing to Deut ::io; a:ao;
:a:o; HàODH 2R¨ is pointing to Num i::1a; Deut ::1¬, i¬; :a:1, and ²Þ2 N-stem with ¨79
]O*2*H *1D is pointing clearlv to Num i::18.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 11o
Let us summarize: our starting point was the last verse of Numbers
(Num:o:1:) and the intertextual references. Tis verse reveals the spatial
dimension of the last part of the book of Numbers. Taken together,
the local data form several overarching structures, which shape the last
part of the book and bridge the central part of the book of Numbers.
Moreover, the framework of the last chapters of Numbers points far
bevond Deuteronomv into a Hexateuchal context of understanding.
Te spatial dimension is trulv important for the composition of the
book of Numbers. Num :o:1: establishes and concludes the last part of
the book bv its resumption of Num io::. Tus, it becomes a colophon.
Tis is not onlv so because of the spatial dimension of the verse, but also
because of the similaritv with the last and concluding verse of Leviticus
Tis cannot be unfolded in length here, but we can summarize
with Norbert Lohfnk: “Man verbindet die Kolophone am besten mit der
Größe “Buch” . . . Es sind Buchabschlüsse.”
Numbers io–:o must be analvsed within the scope of the Hexateuch,
since it is incomplete on its own and needs Ioshua 1:–ii to be under-
stood. No other passage in the Tetrateuch necessitates the Hexateuch
more than Numbers io–:o. But frst we look more closelv at the central
part of Numbers.
:. Between Kadesh and Moab. Te Spatial Structure of the Centre
Te fringe of the book has shown a far reaching perspective, bevond the
borders of the book of Numbers and even bevond those of the Penta-
teuch. I cannot deal here in detail with the frst part of Numbers, Num-
bers 1–1o, but the results are the same.
Te book is anchored frmlv
in the Sinai narrative of Exodus and Leviticus. Num 1:1 begins some-
thing new and is simultaneouslv a continuation of the foregoing. Tus,
the book of Numbers is encamped “between” Exodus and Ioshua and is
embedded in Exodus and Ioshua bv a structure with a starting point and
a destination. Te structure of the book of Numbers is designed bv the
spatial axis “Egvpt–Sinai–Desert–Moab–Canaan” whereas the narrative
See Zenger and Frevel, “Die Bücher Levitikus und Numeri,” -1–-:.
N. Lohfnk, “Prolegomena zu einer Rechtshermeneutik des Pentateuchs,” in Studien
zumDeuteronomiumund zur deuteronomistischen Literatur (ed. idem; SBAB:8; Stuttgart
ioo-), -:18a.
See Zenger and Frevel, “Die Bücher Levitikus und Numeri,” -:–--, o1–o8.
1io cuvis1i.× ivivii
location of the book of Numbers is restricted to the middle three. Te fol-
lowing will reveal the important transition area between Kadesh in Num
io:ii and the encamping of Israel in the lowlands of Moab Num ii:1.
In Exodus and in the frst part of the book (Num 1:1, 1o; ::a, 1a;
o:1, -; 1o:1i) the desert as the location for the camp was fundamental;
but in the following chapters the ¨37O, “desert,” is even more important.
Half of all the attestations of ¨37O in the book of Numbers (a8 times) is
found in the section from Num 1o:11 through i1:i: respectivelv i1::-.
Tis desert area is marked bv an obvious svstem of three geographical
connections: Kadesh, Red Sea, and Hormah. It svmbolizes a situation
between an endangering of life and the life giving promised land. Kadesh
at the border of the cultivated land has, thus, a liminal function.
Te spies in Numbers 1:, who are to inspect the land of Canaan
depart from Kadesh (Num 1::io). When thev are back at Kadesh, their
report provokes detraction and rejection of the divine gif, the promised
land. Te storv is the crucial turning point of Numbers as well as the
anti-climax. It evokes the wrath of Yhwh, which causes the delav of
entering the land and the wilderness journev. Also from Kadesh as point
of departure, Moses sends messengers to Edom(Numio:1a, 1o, ii). Tis
causes a detour again. Both stories are linked to the ²1O¨D* ¨¨7, “the wav
to the Sea of Reeds,” phrase (Num 1a:i-; i1:a). In both instances—but
especiallv in Num i1:a—the wav to the Sea of Reeds is a textual cipher
signalising a setback rather than a concrete geographical specifcation.
In Num 1a:a- the alreadv failed conquest amounts to the “disaster of
Hormah” (HO¨H). Like the ²1O¨D* ¨¨7 there are onlv two attestations of
this location in the book of Numbers, and it is again Numbers i1, where
the term appears (Num i1::). However, the situation has changed: in
Numbers 1a, Yhwh was not with Israel, so Israel was defeated (Num
1a:ai); in Numbers i1 Yhwh drives the Canaanites into the hands of
the Israelites (Num i1::).
It is not bv chance that Numbers i1 is
the turning point from destruction to blessing: (1) Num i1:a–o: the
power of the copper serpent as a continual and thus lasting prevention;
(i) Numii:1–ia:i-: preservation of Israel bv the failing curse of Balaam;
I will leave aside the parallels in Deuteronomv 1–: which are—following the plot of
the Pentateuch—not relevant in compositional respect here. I want to emphasize the fact
that the diachronical relation between Numbers 1:–1a; io–i1; and Deuteronomv 1–: is
rather complex and would have needed a too lengthv argumentation here.
Fistill underestimates the signifcance of the turning point in Num i1:1–: bv
characterizing the militarv success as “Zwischenfall” without compositional signifcance
(Israel, :i).
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1i1
and, thus, the confrmation of the blessing of Israel; (:) Num i-:1–o:
uncultic expiation and preservation through the act of Phinehas; (a)
Num i-:1o–io:o-: attested preservation in the second census which
signifes the minimal loss in quantitv. Te section from Numbers i1 to
Numbers io is crucial for the development of the theological message
of the book of Numbers, namelv preservation and saving bv Yhwh (due
to his promise and his steadfast grace) in spite of disobedience of Israel
in the past.
It is not accidental that this area, which is connected with
“preservation,” is especiallv marked bv the encounter with the peoples
of the lands the Israelites are crossing through (Edomites, Canaanites,
Amorites, Moabites, and Midianites).
In contrast, the preceding part, which is enclosed bv the mention of
Kadesh (Num1::io; io:1), is marked bv loss and rebellion. It seems to be
intentional that the trespass of the leaders and the passing bv of Miriam
and Aaron are positioned at the end of this subsection, and that Kadesh
is mentioned four times in Numbers io. Numbers i1 forms a transitional
area in compositional regards; it leads over fromthe wilderness period to
the “conquest period” as Martin Noth alreadv noted in a seminal article
from 1oa1.
It is obvious that spatial tags with structuring functions characterize
the central part of the book. Te encampment and decampment itinerarv
notices that occur three times each at the beginning and the end of
the Kadesh block (Num 1o:11–1i; 11::-; 1i:1o; and Num io:ii; i1:a,
1o–1:) makes this structuring function even clearer. Te last notice in
Num ii:1 is situated in the plains of Moab whose signifcance we have
discussed alreadv. Tough it is impossible to reconstruct a route based
on the itineraries geographicallv, it is obvious that the notices mark the
transition and the in-between of the three poles Sinai–Kadesh–Moab.
Te citation of the grace formulae of Exod :a:o–¬ in Num 1a:18–1o is the onlv
instance of 7OH in the book of Numbers. Note the H1H¨791 D*¨3OO H!H D97 HPR21 ¨2RD1
in Num 1a:1o and the important ascertainment in v. io, ¨¨37D *PH7O, referring to the
citation of Exod :a:o–¬ bv Moses.
M. Noth, “Num i1 als Glied der ‘Hexateuch’-Erzählung,” ZAV -8 (1oao/ a1) 1o1–
18o, reprintedinidem, Aufsätze zur biblischenLandes- und Altertumskunde (Neukirchen-
Vluvn 1o¬1), 1:¬-–1o1.
1ii cuvis1i.× ivivii
a. ^umbers :r as Transitional Area
If our observations concerning the spatial structure of the core of the
book of Numbers are correct, the localization of Num ii:1 in the plains
of Moab is not bv chance. It opens the posterior part of the central part
up to Numbers io as a new beginning. As we have alreadv mentioned,
in Numbers io the change is completed. Te short statement “afer
the plague” (HDàOH *¨HR *H*1) in Num i-:1o signals that “it is over.”
Ten Eleazar as successor of Aaron is addressed (H2O¨7R H1H* ¨OR*1
¨OR7 ]HDH ]¨HR¨]3 ¨!97R 7R1) signalizing: “it will go on.” Numbers io
is the kevstone of the “new generation” which will enter the land. Te
section about the daughters of Zelophehad frames this last section in
Num i¬:1–11 and :o:1–1i. Tus, Num ii:1–i-:18 has the function
of an interlude taking place in the 3R1O P13¨9, onlv a stone’s throw
awav from the promised land. It plavs with the “alreadv” and the “not
However, one would expect the interlude to begin in chapter i1 be-
cause the most signifcant change of mood is to be found there. But it
seems to be relevant that Israel enters the plains of Moab afer Num-
bers i1. Ulrich Fistill has seen the tension between the geographicallv
structuring function on the one hand (Num ii:1) and of Numbers i1
being a turning point on the other hand. Following Rolf Knierim in
assuming a twofold structure of Numbers (Num 1:1–1o:1o and 1o:11–
in general, Fistill wants to divide the second part of Numbers in
two parts Num 1o:11–i1:io and i1:i1–:o:1:: “Es spricht einiges dafür,
den Beginn des zweiten Teilabschnittes bei Num i1,i1 anzusetzen.”
But as we have seen alreadv, the text seems to be aware of the remark-
able diference between Num i1:io and Num ii:1 in referring to Moab
as place of sojourn. Furthermore, Num i1:io is not part of the spa-
tial reference svstem in the second part of Numbers. And third, Num
i1:1–: is the turning point from decimation to preservation afer the
death of Aaron which has alreadv been mentioned.
It seems quite clear
See R. Knierim, “Te Book of Numbers,” in Die Hebräische Bibel und ihre zweifache
^achgeschichte (ed. E. Blum et al.; Neukirchen-Vluvn 1ooo), 1--–1o:; R. Knierim and
G.W. Coats, ^umbers (FOTL a; Grand Rapids ioo-), o–1o; see further Lee, Punishment,
Fistill, Israel, :i. See alreadv I.L. Ska, Introduction à la lecture du Pentateuque. Cles
pour l’interpretation des cinq premiers livres de la Bible (Le Livre et le rouleau -; Brussels
iooo), -o–oo.
Fistill tries to emphasize his proposal bv adding a religious aspect: “Im ersten Teil-
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1i:
that Numbers i1 stands on its own in a somewhat intermediate posi-
tion, being part of both Num 1o:11–io:i8 respectivelv 1-:1–io:i8 and
of Num ii:1–io:--.
Numbers i1 functions as a compositional hinge
(see below): there seems to be a diference between the geographical area
between the south and the north of the Arnon and the Moabite Plain.
While the land of Moab south of the Arnon (Num i1:1:) is neither con-
quered nor occupied, the land of the Amorites ranging fromthe Arnon to
the Iabbok is conquered and settled (Num i1:i-, :-). Tus, Numbers i1
is the transitional area between the desert existence and living in the land.
From Num i1::- onwards Moabites are neighbors and not onlv enemies
in transition. Tis compositional argument seems plausible, but is in fact
not compelling. It is rather obvious to presume that there is more than
one compositional structure in Numbers or that the background of the
inconsistencies in compositional respect is due to diachronic reasons. It
is communis opinio that in diachronic respect, especiallv chapters io–i-
contain various older material which were blended together almost with-
out order. We can take this position paradigmaticallv to comment rather
scantlv on some questions of literarv artwork and diachronv, tradition,
and oral transmission of the Pentateuchal traditions.
Focussing on Numbers i1 we have to struggle with the structure of
the disparate material. With relative consensus we can roughlv subdivide
it into the following sections: Num i1:1–:; a–o; 1o–io; i1–:1; :i–:-
being aware that we have neglected therefore the structuring function of
the back references and the poetical passages.
abschnitt (Num 1o,11–i1,io) geraten die Israeliten in mehrere Glaubenskrisen und das
Vorhaben scheitert; sie müssen militärische Einbußen hinnehmen und interne religiöse
Streitfragen lösen. Im zweiten Unterabschnitt (Num i1,i1–:o,1:) ist Israel wieder zu
neuer Einheit erstarkt und kann sowohl seine “rein militärischen” (Num i1,i1–:-) wie
auch “kultischen” Feldzüge (Num :1) erfolgreich austragen” (Israel, :a–:-). Terebv he
neglects the importance of Numbers i- as the last part of resistance of the people.
For Num 1-:1 as signifcant break see Frevel, “Numeri,” i1a and i-1; Lee, Punish-
ment, 1:-–1:o, i8o, ioo; Seebass, “Holv Land,” o-.
Cf. Knierim and Coats, ^umbers, i:-–iao; Lee, Punishment, 1-¬–1oo; H. Seebass,
^umeri rc,rr–::,r (BKAT a.i; Neukirchen-Vluvn ioo:), :o-–:o¬ (adding Num ii:1)
and L. Schmidt, Das vierte Buch Mose. ^umeri rc,rr–+o,r+ (ATD ¬; Göttingen iooa),
1oo–11o (not dividing Num i1:i1–:- strictlv).
1ia cuvis1i.× ivivii
-. ^either Hexateuchal nor Pentateuchal. ^umbers :r.r–+
Seebass reminds us to be careful withthe interpretationof the conquest of
Hormah described in Num i1:1–:: “Die Erklärung dieser kurzen Notiz
leidet unter Eisegesen.”
As alreadv noted, Num i1:1–: is the shif from
failure to militarv success in conquering the land; and Num i1:a–o, the
section about the bronze serpent, is the transition to preservation instead
of obliteration (the storv ends signifcantlv with *H1 “and he survived”).
To understand this signifcant change, it is necessarv to go back to
the Kadesh chapter in Numbers io. Tis chapter is the climax of the
wilderness rebellion and the climax of the “death of the old.” Miriam’s
death is unfounded—she dies as frst of the leader trio, and it is explicitlv
stated that she died in Kadesh. Te trespass storv of the main leaders
is in some wav mvsterious because it misses an explicit rationale for
their being discharged from leadership in v. 1i. Te storv ends with
a likewise mvsterious wordplav on the location Kadesh in Num io:1:
(D3 27Þ*1 H1H*¨PR 7R¨2*¨*13 13¨¨¨2R H3*¨O *O HOH). Ten Israel sets out
from Kadesh in Num io:ii, but again bv a devious route. Te direction
of the route is given bv the refusal of the king of Edom to cross his
area (Num io:1a–i1). Not bv chance, the negotiations with the King
of Edom include a fashback to the Exodus storv in vv. 1o–1¬. It is the
turning point of the wilderness journev. Te ¨39P R7 spoken bv the
king of Edom is thrown upon Israel as an almost unbearable obstacle
on the journev to the land (HÞ!H 7*31 73D D93). Te refusal to let the
Israelites pass causes them to proceed on the wav to Mount Hor. Te
problems concerning the identifcation of this place are well known. It
seems impossible to get a clear geographical orientation.
Tis fts in
verv well with the geographical chaos which is part of Numbers io–i1
concerning the geographical connection between Kadesh, Hor, the wav
of Atarim, the Iabbok as border of the Ammonites, and the itinerarv in
Seebass, ^umeri, :oo.
Te proposal of Y. Aharoni was to locate Hor near Kadesh on the wav to Arad (ed.
A.F. Rainev, Te Land of the Bible. A Historical Geography [Philadelphia 1o¬o], io1–ioi;
he mentions the hill #Im¯ aret el-
Hur¯ eˇse / #Ameret
Huraˇse). Since Iosephus (Ant. a.8i–8:;
a.1o1) Hor was located in the vicinitv of Petra, since Bvzantine times on the
Gebel Ha¯ run
(cf. Der Suden [vol. i of Orte und Landschaþen der Bibel; ed. O. Keel and M. Küchler; Göt-
tingen 1o8i], 1¬o); W. Zwickel, “Der Durchzug der Israeliten durch das Ostjordanland,”
UF ii (1ooo) a¬-–ao-, a8:–a8a. Te proposal of a complete artifcial denotation Sin
or Abarim (cf. P. Weimar, “Der Tod Aarons und das Schicksal Israels: Num io,ii–io¯,”
in Biblische Teologie und gesellschaþlicher Vandel [ed. G. Braulik; Freiburg 1oo:], :-a–
:--) is somehow sophisticated, because the sense of ¨HH ¨H as artifce remains obscure.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1i-
i1:i1 etc. Anvwav, in Num i1:1 the king of Arad or the *191DH attack
Israel and take prisoners (*32 11OO 32*1), and this is the reversal of the
liberation of the exodus. Tus, there has to be a change if the promise
of Yhwh shall go forth and be actualized. Israel makes a vow to ban
(D¨H) the cities of the Canaanites. Tis is a contradiction to the conquest
narrative, but also a clear Hexateuchal link to the book of Ioshua: on the
one hand—as R. Achenbach has pointed out—it is the counterpart to
the refusal of taking the “land of the giants” in Numbers 1:–1a.
becomes obvious bv the explicit resumption of the alreadv mentioned
place name HO¨H in v. :. But as the reader knows, the vow to conquer the
cities of Canaan is not fulflled immediatelv, but has to wait until Ioshua
o–11, where D¨H is used frequentlv in the context of the conquest of the
Canaanite cities (Iosh o:1¬, 18, i1; ¬:1, 11, 1i, 1:, 1-; 8:io; 1o:1, i8, :-,
:¬, :o, ao; 11:11, 1i, io, i1). Contrarilv, we read in Num i1:: H1H* 9O2*1
*191DH¨PR ]P*1 7R¨2* 71Þ3. Te elliptical formulation lacks 17*3, but it can
onlv be understood as narrative of the conquest of the Canaanite cities.
Te text continues DH*¨9¨PR1 DHPR D¨H*1 “and thev banned them and
their cities.” Tis is clearlv anachronistic. If Yhwh has given the cities
of Canaan to Israel, and if Israel has conquered the cities entirelv, whv
does Israel accept a further delav in taking possession of Canaan, and
whv does Israel keep staving in the wilderness: Te problems have led
to diferent solutions in the historv of research. Te fathers of source
criticism assigned the passage to the Yehowist or Yahwist
as Horst
Seebass and others recentlv do.
Other exegetes challenge anv source
amliation and see an editorial construct.
Since the passage does not
seem to ft in here, it was ofen opted in favor of a displacement. Martin
Noth has written: “Seine jetzige Stelle gibt auch ihm den Charakter eines
Nachtrags zur Wüstenüberlieferung; doch diese Stelle verdankt es erst
anscheinend der redaktionellen Anordnung der Dinge.”
Because of
the obvious and conficting parallel to Iudg 1:1¬, Achenbach sees the
fngerprint of the “Hexateuchredaktor” and a refection on the conficts
Achenbach, Vollendung, :ao.
See Budd, ^umbers, iio–i:o.
Cf. Seebass, ^umeri, :o¬–:oo; Knierim and Coats, ^umbers, i:o.
See the reference in Achenbach, Vollendung, :a-; C. Levin, Der Iahwist (FRLANT
1-¬; Göttingen 1oo:), :¬o.
Noth, Das vierte Buch Mose. ^umeri, o:; cf. idem, “Num i1,” 18o, attributing Num
i1:1–: to the Yahwist: “Woher sie stammt, ist nicht mehr festzustellen; sie könnte einmal
an irgendeiner Stelle in der I-Erzählung gestanden haben und später redaktionell an den
hiesigen Platz versetzt worden sein.”
1io cuvis1i.× ivivii
of possession regarding the southern ^egev in post-exilic times.
it is not onlv the “south” or the “Negev” that is mentioned here; it is
the whole land of Canaan and all the cities of the Canaanites; and that
contradicts the Hexateuchal thread and perspective. Ludwig Schmidt has
recentlv suggested the latest date: “Die kleine Erzählung ist jünger als
die Pentateuchredaktion.”
Te onlv background for this assumption
is the attribution of Num i1:aa to the “Pentateuchredaktor” and the
HO¨H ¨*9H¨D2¨PR R¨Þ*1 in Iudg 1:1¬. Tere is an obvious contradiction
between the itinerarv in v. a, which mentions that Israel departed from
the mountain Hor (²1O¨D* ¨¨7 ¨HH ¨HO 19O*1) which is the continuation
of Num io:i:–io, and the itinerarv in Num i1:1, which mentions that
Israel is on the wav of Atarim(D*¨PRH ¨¨7 7R¨2* R3 *D). But in attributing
vv. 1–: to the verv late redaction without anv relation to a tradition,
Schmidt makes the author responsible for the syntactical discordance
between the single place name and the manv cities. Would it not be more
convincing to take the etiologv HO¨H D1ÞOH¨D2 R¨Þ*1 as a later addition
borrowing the phrase from Iudg 1:1¬: Te naming of the conquered
place as HO¨H fts in with the singular HP1R 1O*¨H*1 in Iudg 1:1¬ and
not in Num i1::. Tus, it seems obvious that Num i1::b is an editorial
addition which aims to link the phrase up to Num 1a:a- bv consciouslv
ignoring the tradition of Iudg 1:1¬ and the geographical accuracv. Te
same holds probablv true for the ²1O¨D* ¨¨7 in Numi1:a, which does not
ft in with the geographical facts, wherever Hor is to be localized.
redactor wanted to link up the wilderness period from Numbers 1a up
to Numbers i1: the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Canaan on Israel’s
own responsibilitv in Num 1a:ao–a-, and the successful counterpart in
Num i1:1–:. Te disobedience of the people is replaced bv obedience
and therefore the storv motivates to go bevond murmur and towards the
successful conquest. Since this redactor uses Iudg 1:1¬ without anv need
of harmonization, he, of course, did not have an Enneateuchal context
in his mind. It is the “composition”-laver of the book of Numbers which
organized the whole Hexateuchal material as one account. I do not want
to call it “Hexateuchredaktion” as E. Otto and R. Achenbach do, because
See Achenbach, Vollendung, :a-, :a¬, with the assumption of a displacement in the
Schmidt, Das vierte Buch Mose, 1oo.
Presupposed is the identifcation of the Reed Sea with the Red Sea, the Gulf of
Eilat, which is bv no means clear and depends on the date of everv single attestation,
see H. Lambertv-Zielinskv, Das “Schilfmeer”. Herkunþ, Bedeutung und Funktion eines
alttestamentlichen Exodusbegrifs (BBB ¬8; Frankfurt a.M. 1oo:), io1–ioi, i:o–iao.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1i¬
mv accents and dates are diferent, but it has a Hexateuchal background
and it is indeed dated aþer the P-Tradition and the “Pentateuchredaktor.”
But who is responsible for the short narrative about the violent resis-
tance of the king of Arad against Israel: On the one hand it reveals a
Pentateuchal horizon, because it skips or in some wav replaces the Ioshua
account of the conquest. Tus, it can ft the so-called “Pentateuchredak-
tor” who attests no conquest of the land in the book of Ioshua. But, on
the other hand, the storv itself does not ft into the horizon of the so-
called “Pentateuchredaktion” if we take the portraval of the conquest
of the Canaanites as revenge.
Te “Pentateuchredaktor” cannot be the
author of this narrative. It seems to be associated with an older tradi-
tion. It is striking that the onlv four occurrences of the verb DH7 can be
found in Num i1:1, i:, io, and Num ii:11. Te storv of Sihon is ofen
claimed to belong to an older tradition.
Te same is true for the Balaam
storv. Mavbe the Yahwist or the Yehowist is responsible, but that is bv
no means clear.
Tus, it is likewise possible that the “older” tradition of
Numi1:1–:¯ was part of the Yahwistic or Yehowistic account of the con-
quest of Cisjordan. But this assumption is rather due to the need of a link
in the older tradition. However, it was picked up bv the so-called “Pen-
tateuchredaktor” and brought together with the P-source, to which we
have attributed the preceding narrative of Aaron’s death and the itinerarv
of Num i1:aaα; ii:1.
Eventuallv, this can also explain whv the incident
is not mentioned in Deuteronomv i.
In sum: not the “Hexateuchredaktor” picked up the older traditions
(R. Achenbach) in this case, but—comparativelv conventional—the so-
called “Pentateuchredaktor” did. Certainlv, Achenbach is right in dem-
onstrating the Hexateuchal face of the last formative redaction of Num-
bers. Tis redaction took up the link between the end of Numbers 1a
and Numbers i1 and strengthened it, neglecting the concrete contra-
diction between Ioshua and Numbers i1::a. Te suggested sequence of
the redactional lavers in Numbers hints to the fact that there should be
We have to compare this carefullv to Numbers :1 where the war against the
Midianites seems to be a sort of revenge.
In older source critical studies it is usuallv attributed to E, cf. Noth, “Num i1,” and
his commentarv.
See C. Frevel, “Are Tere Anv Reasons Whv Balaam Has to Die: Prophecv, Pseudo-
Prophecv and Sorcerv in the Book of Numbers,” in Te Torah in Psalms and Prophets (ed.
I. Le Roux and E. Otto; ISOTSup; Shemeld; in print).
Or in a more elaborate manner: Num i1:a¯, 1o–11; ii:1; for discussion see Frevel,
Blick, :-o.
1i8 cuvis1i.× ivivii
more thanone Hexateuchal redaction. Te one we have proposedinNum
i1::a and the one we hold responsible for the end-redaction of Numbers
should be dated subsequent to the “Pentateuchredaktor.”
o. Oozing Sources or Sources Oozing out of ^umbers :r.,–;?
Interestinglv enough the following tradition is similar in function and
Te storv of the bronze serpent (Num i1:a–o) is the last real
murmuring storv which is linked to Numbers 11–io and especiallv to
the beginning of the murmuring stories Numbers 11 in manv wavs:
(1) It begins with the faint-heartedness of the people, which is literallv
expressed as “the næfæˇs of the people became short on the wav” (¨3ÞP1
¨¨73 D9H¨2D1). Te onlv incidence of the root ¨3Þ in Numbers is the
question of Yhwh in Num 11:i: ¨3ÞP H1H* 7*H, “is the hand of Yhwh too
(i) 3 ¨37, “to speak against” in v. - which is attested two times in
Numbers i1 (cf. v. ¬). Tis phrase is a clear link to the onlv other instances
of this phrase in Num 1i:1, 8, where Miriam and Aaron speak against
Moses (v. 1 H2O3 ]¨HR1 D*¨O ¨37P1; v. 8 H2O3 *7393 ¨377).
(:) Te question D*¨3OO 11P*79H HO7, “whv have vou brought us up out
of Egvpt:,” of i1:- is attested likewise in io:- and—even though with R3*
Oal instead of H79 Hiphil—attested in Num 11:io.
(a) 7Þ7ÞH DH73 H3Þ 112D11, “and we detest this miserable food” (Num
i1:-) states the disgust against the food which was announced with
reference to the quails in Num 11:io with a completelv diferent wording
(R¨!7 DD7 H*H1, “and becomes loathsome to vou”). Te DD7, “to vou,”
points to the manna which was criticized alreadv in Num 11:o ¨7R *P73
11*1*9 ]OH, “except for this manna to look at.”
Te following remarks on the redactional shape of Num i1:a–o cannot discuss
the elaborate positions in research of the last two decades. I mention onlv H. See-
bass, “Biblisch-theologischer Versuch zu Num io,1–1: und i1,a–o,” in Altes Testament.
Forschung und Virkung. Festschriþ fur Henning Graf Reventlow (ed. P. Mommer and
W. Tiel; Frankfurt a.M. 1ooa), i1o–iio; S. Beverle, “Die ‘Eherne Schlange’ Numi1,a–o:
Svnchron und diachron gelesen,” ZAV 111 (1ooo) i:–aa; K. Koenen, “Eherne Schlange
und goldenes Kalb: Ein Vergleich der Überlieferungen,” ZAV 111 (1ooo) :-:–:¬i.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1io
(-) Te confession of the people with 11ROH, “we have sinned,” (Numi1:¬)
refers to the two other attestations of this form in the book of Numbers
in Num 1i:11; 1a:ao.
(o) 77D Hitpael, “to plea, to prav,” is the next explicit link. We can fnd this
verb in Numbers onlv in 11:i and i1:¬. Te sentence H1H*¨7R H2O 77DP*1,
“andMoses pravedtoGod,” is dividedintothe request H1H*¨7R 77DPH and
the execution H2O 77DP*1.
Taken altogether, there is no doubt that these relations are not bv
chance. Erik Aurelius has characterized the end-form of Num i1:a–o
rightlv as “ziemlich schrifgelehrte[s] Murren.”
Ludwig Schmidt has
pointed out that v. - summarizes diferent reasons which cause mur-
muring. But contrarilv to E. Aurelius and R. Achenbach,
it is not Num
11:1–: which is the main point of reference, but preponderantlv Num
11:a–11 and Numbers 1i.
Te parallelization to Num 11:1–: is rather
of structural nature. However, the narrative in Num i1:a–o seems to be
intended as a closing parenthesis of the murmuring tradition. It is care-
fullv composed and related to the other wilderness narratives. Whether
we have to relate the narrative material to anv late redaction is doubtful
because there remain certain withstanding moments: (1) unlike the other
murmuring stories, there is no remedv of the shortcomings of water and
food, which is presented as the cause of the murmur. So there seems to
be a break between vv. - and o. (i) Te diferent designations of the ser-
pents as D*D¨2H D*2H1H in v. o, 2H1H in v. ¬, ²¨2 in v. 8, and again 2H1 in v. o
remain puzzling. Deut 8:1- with its ²¨2 2H1 crosses one’s mind. However,
are the inconsistencies the work of a redactor alone: Several analvses in
recent times have disproved the assumption of traditional sources in this
Alreadv Martin Noth has written:
E. Aurelius, Der Furbitter Israels. Eine Studie zum Mosebild im Alten Testament
(ConBOT i¬; Stockholm 1o88), 1a¬. Whether this has the post-R
-origin as the onlv
consequence, as Aurelius, Furbitter, 1-:, thinks, is an open question. Schmidt, Das vierte
Buch Mose, 1o:, allocates the narrative to the “Pentateuchredaktor.”
See Achenbach, Vollendung, :a¬. Te parallels to Num11:1–: are mostlv structural,
so rightlv Aurelius, Furbitter, 1a1–1oo, and Schmidt, Das vierte Buch Mose, 1oi–1o:.
I cannot follow Achenbach, that Num i1:a–o is related to Exod 1-:ii–io and Exod
:i:1–o as “ein Gegenstück zur Murr- und Wandererählung amBeginn des Wüstenzuges”
(Vollendung, :ao).
Recentlv Seebass ofered resistance and deploved the Yehowist again in vv. ab, -a¯,
b, oaß–¬, o; see Seebass, ^umeri, :1-–:1o, cf. Budd, ^umbers, i:i, with reference to
A. Dillmann, I. Wellhausen, and A. Kuenen: “Tere is general acceptance of the view that
this passage belongs to IE.”
1:o cuvis1i.× ivivii
Aus methodischen Gründen muß Einspruch erhoben werden gegen die
Begründung einer Ouellenscheidung auf vereinzelte und unter sich weder
formal noch sachlich zusammenhängende Unebenheiten im Text; die Er-
fahrung lehrt, daß dadurch die Ouellenscheidung zu einer Schraube ohne
Ende wird und sich zu unrecht selbst ad absurdum führt.
We cannot discuss the problems of Num i1:a–o here in length, but
there are reasons for troubling oneself with source material, tradition
or at least oral historv.
Te tradition was taken up bv a late redaction
which aimed to clamp the murmuring stories with a last and new one.
Te impeachment does not cease, but instead, the threat of the justifed
wrath of Yhwh ceases. Instead of doubts there is confdence that God
will heal and preserve from death. Te monotone pattern of murmuring
is replaced bv repentance and trust in the intercession of the leader. As in
Numbers 1i and 1a, the intercessional function of Moses is accentuated.
Te wrath of Yhwh, which was justifed, ceases durablv—not because of a
vow like in Num i1:1–:a—but because of the penitential confession and
the intercession of the mediator Moses. Te older tradition concerning
a snake plague (with or without the murmuring v. -:), which cannot be
reconstructed in detail, has been completelv integrated into this text.
How to locate this redaction: Deut 8:1- cannot provide an anchor,
even though the notice is one of the stimuli for our artistic work.
ing into account the recent debate on the redactional lavers in Num-
bers, we have certain possibilities: (1) the so-called “Hexateuchredak-
tion” of Reinhard Achenbach, which is dated post-P and post-D in the
ffh centurv prior to the “Pentateuchredaktion” and described to the
point as “réécriture.” (i) If we follow the traditional older hvpothesis, the
“Pentateuchredaktion” shapes the book of Numbers in combining pre-
P-material with the P-Source (in whatever extended stage). (:) Te for-
Noth, “Num i1,” 1¬¬–1¬8. Noth assumes a late formation with an E core in the
tradition historv. In his commentarv he wrote on Num i1:a–o: “Gleichwohl ist an eine
Aufspaltung des Stücks in verschiedene “Ouellen” nicht zu denken, da die Erzählung
ohne Unebenheiten und Dubletten einfach und folgerichtig fortschreitet. . . . Da in der
Pentateucherzählung ganz überwiegend der Gottesname Iahwe gebraucht wird, liegt das
Aufallende in demVorkommen des Appellativums “Gott” in v. -. Daher ist man geneigt,
dieses Vorkommenfür ursprünglich zu haltenund inder Verwendung des Gottesnamens
Iahwe eine sekundäre Angleichung an das im allgemeinen Übliche zu vermuten. Danach
wäre das Stück der Ouelle E zuzuweisen” (Das vierte Buch Mose. ^umeri, 1:¬).
See Seebass, ^umeri, :1-: “. . . deutet eher auf eine Bearbeitung als auf späte
Whether there was a second tradition narrating the murmur of the people, is
See correctlv Seebass, ^umeri, :1o.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1:1
merlv exposed end-redaction of Numbers which constructs the whole
book within a Hexateuchal context. It is of course a case of “réécriture,”
while the older tradition cannot be located accuratelv. With caution, it
could be the last formative redaction of Numbers as well, which is orga-
nizing the material in transition. In that case we would have a signal that
the taking over of “older” material is not restricted to one redaction and
not to the time before the “Pentateuchredaktion.” In mv view “the Penta-
teuch” is rather an issue of textual reference than a redactional separated
literarv corpus.
It seems important to emphasize that the emergence of
narrative traditions is not restricted to the earlv phase of Israel and can
be assumed to be contemporarv to the redactional process.
¬. ^umbers :r.rc–:c as Geographical
and Redactional Hodgepodge?
Te next passage in Numbers i1, the itinerarv of vv. 1o–io, reveals a
similar picture. It is full of unsolvable textual problems in the Masoretic
Text which cannot be discussed here.
Its importance in the historv of
research cannot be overestimated as Tomas Dozeman has shown in
Abschied vom Iahwisten.
Te source critical exegesis has alwavs rightlv
signed it a “hard nut to crack.” Te main problem is that this passage
seems to be pivotal for the transition from wilderness to conquest and
that it is part of the geographical linkage between the spv storv and the
Balaam storv. However, it does not ft in with anv of the sources.
Martin Noth has marked the limits clearlv:
Denn zu den sicheren Feststellungen gehört die, dass in Num. i1 mit
der einfachen Zerlegung des überlieferten Bestandes in die vor allem aus
Gen. und Ex. bekannten “Ouellen” nicht durchzukommen ist, dass hier
vielmehr die redaktionelle Arbeit tiefer eingegrifen und spätere Ergänz-
ungen einen breiteren Raum eingenommen haben, als man gewöhnlich
See the tentative suggestion in C. Frevel, “Ein vielsagender Abschied: Exegetische
Blicke auf den Tod des Mose,” BZ a- (ioo1) ioo–i:a, esp. i::–i:a.
See H. Seebass, “Edom und seine Umgehung nach Numeri XX–XXI: Zu Numeri
XXI 1o–1:,” VT a¬ (1oo¬) i--–ioi, esp. i-o–i-¬.
T.B. Dozeman, “Geographv and Ideologv in the Wilderness Iournev from Kadesh
through the Transjordan,” in Abschied vom Iahwisten. Die Komposition des Hexateuch in
der jungsten Diskussion (ed. I.C. Geertz; BZAW :1-; Berlin iooi), 1¬:–1oo.
Noth, “Num i1,” 1¬o–1¬1. It is not our concern to struggle with the continuation
of the pre-Priestlv Pentateuch here, see for instance Schmidt, Das vierte Buch Mose, 1o8:
vv. 11b¯, 1:aα¯.
1:i cuvis1i.× ivivii
annimmt. Daraus musste sich notwendig eine Verkomplizierung des lite-
rarischen Tatbestandes ergeben, die es uns unmöglich macht, alle Einzel-
heiten des literarischen Werdegangs noch einwandfrei und sicher zu klä-
ren und uns zwingt, notgedrungen auch mit Wahrscheinlichkeiten und
Vermutungen zu arbeiten.
Or in one sentence: “Iede Ouellenscheidung ist an diesem Stück verge-
bene Liebesmüh.”
But let us have a look at the content: frst we have in vv. 1o–1: pieces of
an itinerarv which mentions two stations from Num :::aa (Oboth and
and with the rivers Sered (V¯ ad¯ı el-
Hes¯ a) and the Arnon
(V¯ ad¯ı el-M¯ u˘ g¯ıb) two stations which are attested in Deuteronomv i
(Sered: Deut i:1:–1a; Arnon: Deut i:ia). Besides, we fndthree other sta-
tions in vv. 18b–io which are not attested elsewhere (Mattanah, Nahaliel,
“Commentators and biblical cartographers have struggled
with Num i1:1o–io for vears on the mistaken assumption that it is sup-
posed to make geographical sense. But it simplv does not.”
Te route
is not exact in geographical respect, or to sav it with I.M. Miller boldlv
though strictlv to the point “a geographical hodgepodge.”
it describes the wav to detour Edom.
Te wav ends with three locations
which are all linked to the setting of the following stories of Balaam (see
above). Te “vallev in the feld of Moab” is not mentioned in the Balaam
storv—comparable to Bamoth Num i1:1o, io which associates Bamoth-
Baal in Num ii:a1—but it alludes to the region where the Baalam storv
takes place. Te last two (oddlv enough divided bv a svndetic waw) are
mentioned explicitlv in the Balaam storv in Num i::i8.
Noth, “Num i1,” 1¬8.
See for example M. Noth, “Der Wallfahrtsweg zum Sinai (Num ::),” PI :o (1oao)
-–i8; G.I. Davies, Te Vay of the Vilderness. A Geographical Study of the Vilderness
Itineraries in the Old Testament (SOTS -; Cambridge 1o¬o); Miller, “Iournev,” -8-–-8¬.
Te identifcations cannot be discussed here. Zwickel suggests to identifv
Hirbet el-
Mud¯ eyine with Mattanah (“Durchzug,” ao1), but there are reasons to follow Y. Aharoni
and A. Dearman (“Te Location of Iahaz,” ZDPV 1oo [1o8a] 1ii–1io), I. Finkelstein
(“Omride architecture,” ZDPV 11o [iooo] 11a–1:8), and others in identifving
Hirbet el-
Mud¯ eyine with Iahaz. Cf. Seebass, “Edom,” ioo (locating it aferwards aberrantlv at
Rum¯ el).
Miller, “Iournev,” -8-.
Ibid., -8¬.
For discussion see Dozeman, “Geographv,” 1¬:; Seebass, “Edom,” i--–ioi; idem,
^umeri, ::-–::o (with some unconventional solutions); MacDonald, East, oo–oo;
Zwickel, “Durchzug,” aoi, suggests an exact date for Numbers i1 in the ¬th/oth centurv
vc. Te presupposition of this proposal (ibid., a8o), that Numbers i1 and Numbers ::
represent two phases of writing down the same oral tradition, is not convincing.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1::
Tus, the itinerarv is divided into two parts (Num i1:1o–1:, 18b–
io) which are formulated in diferent stvles and for diferent purposes.
Between them, two short traditions are interwoven which are both linked
to the itinerarv in some wav. Te frst is introduced as a citation of the
POH7O ¨DO and links up to the Arnon complex (Num i1:1a–1-). It is
framed bv the mention of the borders of Moab (3R1O 713à Num i1:1:b,
Later on, the itinerarv proceeds with one station introduced bv
the unusual D2O and marked bv the he-locale:
Beer, which is the textual
anchor for the “song of the well” (Numi1:1ob, 1¬, 18a). Te introduction
v. 1:b resembles the song of the sea of Exod 1-:1 verv clearlv. Tus,
passing the Arnon is marked as a parallel to the liberation bv passing the
Red Sea. Again it is obvious, that Numbers i1 has an important function
as compositional hinge between “desert” and “land.”
Te literarv character of this piece is highlv sophisticated and inter-
woven with Deuteronomv i, Iudges 11, and Numbers :: on the one
hand and the Baalam storv on the other. Its compilatorv character is
widelv accepted, following the basic studv of Martin Noth from 1oa1.
But whose hand has formed the interplav between poetrv and geog-
raphv: In Achenbach’s analvsis the passage is debris-like and “nach-
endredaktionell” bv onlv attributing v. 1i–1:a to the “Hexateuchredak-
But beginning with D2O these verses cannot stand alone.
from this less-than-ideal solution, it is not convincing, because it under-
estimates that this chapter is the main compositional link between the
wilderness journev and the beginning of the conquest. We see basicallv
the same tendencv here: diferent material of various provenances, e.g.
Oboth and Ive-Abarim, two place names which have been borrowed
from a late compilatorv text (Numbers ::), old poetic material in the
two songs, partlv invention in the itinerarv, partlv older material, partlv
linkage to the Baalam storv. In short, a highlv networked coupler which
has the book of Numbers as a backbone.
E. Blum, Studien zur Komposition des Pentateuch (BZAW 18o; Berlin 1ooo), 1io,
points further to the connection between Num i1:1a–1- and Num i1:io–:o.
Because of the he-locale H¨R3 shouldbe readas place-name, contra Seebass, ^umeri,
::i, ::a.
See the historv of researchinDozeman, “Geographv,” (for M. Noth, 1¬o–18i); Budd,
^umbers, i:o–iao.
Achenbach, Vollendung, :-¬.
Tere is no connection to Num io:iia, which is the last itinerarv fragment at-
tributed bv Achenbach to HexRed, because according to Achenbach Num i1:1–: is
HexRed just like Num i1:a–o (Vollendung, :a-–:-i). Te short itinerarv deviation with
the noticed death of Aaron in Deut 1o:¬ is not comparable and cannot support his view.
1:a cuvis1i.× ivivii
Again we can fnd a redactional laver, which is, on the one hand,
depending on relativelv late Deuteronomistic and post-Deuteronomistic
traditions and, onthe other hand, taking up old or at least older traditions
which do not ft the context completelv. As in the preceding passages,
there are several links to the composition of Numbers. Te blessing
becomes visible here as well. While in Num i1:- the people lamented
that the lack of water and the plea was not fulflled, now Yhwh gives
water spontaneouslv.
Afer the station which is called ¨R3, “Beer,” the
aetiologv savs: D*O DH7 H1PR1 D9H¨PR ²OR H2O7 H1H* ¨OR ¨2R ¨R3H R1H,
“that is the well of whichYhwhsaidto Moses, ‘Gather the people together,
and I will give them water’ ” (Num i1:1o). Yhwh is supplving Israel with
care, which is exceeding the needs to a durable preservation.
8. Conclusions
Te diachronic refection on the svnchronic structure and diachronical
relief of Numbers i1 has to come to an end. Tere would be much to
sav about Sihon, the song of Heshbon and the spv storv of Iazer, and I
am aware of the pitfalls in this part of Numbers i1 and of its relation
to Deuteronomv 1–: and Iudges 11. Overlooking the recent historv of
the tendencv seems to be the same. Te transition area of
Numbers i1 contains partlv, but undisputable, old(er) material which
was combined with redactional interest. Te material is not integrated
entirelv into the context, and tensions remain. Its origin is not traceable,
and there are bv no means clear connections to traditional sources or
source material. Composition and redaction are mutuallv dependent on
each other. It is remarkable that it is even the transition area of composi-
tionbetweenNum1-:1–io:i8 and Numii:1–io::8 where this technique
is apparent. Te vounger redactional lavers have not onlv integrated nar-
ratives from diferent older or mavbe contemporarv traditions but thev
also have had a verv straight idea of the composition of the book of Num-
bers which was discussed above.
See Blum, Studien zur Komposition des Pentateuch, 1io–1i¬: “Ia, wahrscheinlich
markiert sie . . . bewußt so etwas wie einen ungetrübten, heilvollen Abschluß der Zeit in
der Wüste.”
See Dozeman, “Geographv,” esp. 18a–18¬; Blum, Studien zur Komposition des Pen-
tateuch, 1ia–1:o; E. Otto, Das Deuteronomium im Pentateuch und Hexateuch (FAT :o;
Tübingen iooo), 1:a–1:-; Achenbach, Vollendung, :oo–:oo.
U×uivs1.×ui×c 1ui vi×1.1iUcu 1:-
Arranging the material in an increasing axis of blessing, preservation,
and fulfllment of promise from Numbers i1 onwards, seems to be the
central issue of this redactional interest. Te redactional impact is a clear
spatial structure of Numbers in a Hexateuchal perspective on the one
hand, and the inner organization of Numbers as a book in itself on the
other hand. It is obvious that the inner organization of Numbers is the
foreground and the Hexateuch the background. It is not a redaction
which “forms” the Hexateuch but it implies an existing Hexateuch. Te
redactional material is older than the redaction itself, but verv disparate.
In Numbers i1 we have to struggle with material which is apparentlv
not part of anv older source (Yahwist or Yehowist). It uses names and
terminologv that are on the one hand refecting concrete geographical
circumstances, but that has—as alreadv I.M. Miller suggested
—on the
other hand paradoxicallv no connection to our known (geo-)political
historv in the time of our supposed redactions. Tus, in methodological
respect, it seems to me more appropriate to re-establish the capabilitv
of oral tradition without trving harder to understand the edition and
all the more the composition of the Pentateuch. Te assumption of oral
tradition does not necessarilv implv a verv old date. It has just to precede
the redaction which integrates it. However, this issue would require more
attention and further research.
Cf. Miller, “Iournev,” -88.
Ki..s Svvo×x
1. Introduction
Te basic problem or challenge a modern commentator on books such
as Ioshua and Iudges faces is that he/she has to take a deliberate stand
in the ongoing discussion on the Deuteronomistic historv.
We are no
longer in the enviable position of I. Alberto Soggin, who could write,
almost thirtv vears ago, in the preface of his commentarv on the book
of Iudges: “I think that the hvpothesis of a Deuteronomistic redaction of
the ‘former prophets’ has now been established.”
Todav anvone stating
something like that can be accused of not keeping up with recent research
or of having a one-sided view ignoring manv other exegetical positions.
Te refnement of and alternatives to Martin Noth’s theorv have in the
recent decades led to an “unsettling wide arrav of conficting options that
encourage skepticism of past attempts to sort out discrete redactional
lavers in the Dtr historv.”
It is tempting to conclude fromthis situationthat the classic diachronic
approach fnds itself here in a cul-de-sac and we can simplv ignore its
arguments. However, one cannot easilv fee into the assumption that the
book can be studied as one coherent unit. A survev of the feld of svn-
I am happv to be able to present this article as a token of gratitude and respect to
mv esteemed teacher Ed Noort. Parts of this article have been read on the international
meetings of the SBL in Edinburgh (iooo), Vienna (ioo¬), and Auckland (ioo8).
For a survev on the historv of research on the book of Iudges and its reception
historv, see: K. Spronk, “Het boek Richteren: Een overzicht van het recente onderzoek,”
ACEBT 1o (ioo1) 1–:o; C. Houtman and K. Spronk, Ein Held des Glaubens? Rezeptions-
geschichtliche Studien zu den Simson-Erzählungen (CBET :o; Leuven iooa); C. Houtman
and K. Spronk, Ieþa und seine Tochter. Rezeptionsgeschichtliche Studien zu Richter, rr,
:;–,c (Altes Testament und Moderne i1; Münster ioo¬).
I.A. Soggin, Iudges. A Commentary (OTL; London 1o81), xi.
S.A. Meier, “Review of Ravmond F. Person Ir., Te Deuteronomic School. History,
Social Setting, and Literature,” IBL 1ii (ioo:) 1oo–1o- at 1oo.
1:8 xi..s svvo×x
chronic studies leads to a similar disturbing list of contradicting results
with lots of recreated overall structures or assumed central themes.
withthis approachthe theories tendto get more complicatedbut less con-
In this article I hope to show that it is possible to proft from the
arguments used in both the diachronic and the svnchronic approach—
thev are ofen the same though interpreted diferentlv—in an attempt to
ofer a plausible sketch of the origin of the book. Tere appear to be manv
good reasons to assume that the book of Iudges in its present form can
be explained as a bridge that was laid relativelv late between the books of
Ioshua and Samuel. Tis has also consequences for the interpretation of
the ending of the book of Ioshua.
i. Te Problems of Iudges r
In her recent monograph on Iudges 1 Mareike Rake makes a new, impres-
sive efort to explain the inconsistencies, contradictions, and unexpected
repetitions the reader comes across in the transition from the book of
Ioshua to the book of Iudges.
Most obvious are the diferent reports
about Ierusalem (taken bv Iudah according to Iudg 1:8, but lef to the
Iebusites bv Benjamin according to 1:i1) and the repeated mention of
Ioshua’s death and burial (Iosh ia:io–:o and Iudg i:8–o). In the line
of among others Rudolph Smend, who supervised this doctoral thesis,
Rake assumes that we are dealing here with the result of manv redactional
activities which can be unraveled bv a precise literarv analvsis. She there-
fore starts with reconstructing the original text, which leaves about half
of the Masoretic text. Ten she compares the text to the parallel passages
inthe book of Ioshua. She concludes that insome cases the texts inIoshua
are dependent upon those in Iudges 1, although she admits that things
appear to be verv complicated here: sometimes the dependence mav also
be the other wav around, whereas one also has to reckon with the possi-
bilitv that in a next stage the older text mav have been edited on the basis
of the later text. Originallv, the transition between the two books would
Cf. G. Andersson, Te Book and Its ^arratives. A Critical Examination of Some Syn-
chronic Studies of the Book of Iudges (Orebro ioo1). Cf. also the response bv G. Wong,
“Narratives and Teir Contexts: A Critique of Greger Andersson with Respect to Narra-
tive Autonomv,” SIOT io (iooo) i1o–i:o.
M. Rake, “Iuda wird aufsteigen!”. Untersuchungen zum ersten Kapitel des Richter-
buches (BZAW :o¬; Berlin iooo).
somi vim.vxs o× 1ui ovici× oi 1ui voox oi iUucis 1:o
have been from Iosh ia:i8 (Ioshua releasing the people) to Iudg i:¬–o
(about Ioshua’s death). In a next phase i:1–- (the episode of the mes-
senger of Yhwh at Bochim) would have been added.
Te duplication of
the report of Ioshua’s death at the end of the book of Ioshua is attributed
bv Rake to a later redactor, whereas the present frst chapter would have
received its place between these two moments in the redaction historv.
Te introduction in 1:1aα(“It happened afer the death of Ioshua”) would
mark together with the inclusion of the death of Ioshua in Iosh ia:io–:o
a fnal phase, in connection with the separation of the two books.
Te problem with this theorv is that it appears to be easier to cut the
text into pieces than to reconstruct the process in which thev reached
their present unitv. Rake has to admit that there are more wavs to bring
the pieces together, as could be derived alreadv from the historv of
research, for instance, from the fact that Erhard Blum using the same
method comes to diferent conclusions concerning the unraveling of this
“compositional knot.”
Te suggestion that the report of Ioshua’s death
in Iudg i:¬–o should be dated earlier than the version in Ioshua ia goes
against the outcomes of manv other redaction-critical studies.
It would
be convincing when the reconstructed redactional lavers were clearlv
coherent, but thev are not. We have to imagine that at one stage Ioshia:i8
was followed bv Iudg i:1 and that withinsix verses the reference to Ioshua
releasing the people was repeated. Rake, who in her studv is verv strict
with regard to tensions in the text, is less critical in this case when she
simplv states that this does not disturb the line of the storv verv much.
Also the suggestion that in a later stage Iosh ia:i8 was followed bv Iudg
1:1aβ (“and the people asked Yhwh: who shall go up frst:”), without the
reference to the death of Ioshua, is not compelling.
Another problem is the relation between Iudg 1:1–i:o and the rest
of the book. Rake completelv ignores the results of svnchronic stud-
ies describing the manv relations within the book as indications of its
Rake, “Iuda,” 1i¬.
Rake, “Iuda,” 1:1–1:i.
E. Blum, “Der kompositionelle Knoten amÜbergang von Iosua zu Richter: Ein Ent-
fechtungsvorschlag,” in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Literature. Festschriþ C.H.V.
Brekelmans (ed. M. Vervenne and I. Lust; BETL 1::; Leiden 1oo¬), 181–i1i.
Cf., amongst others, E. Noort, “Iosua ia,i8–:1, Richter i,o–o und das Iosuagrab:
Gedanken zu einem Straßenbild,” in Biblische Velten. Festschriþ fur Martin Metzger zu
seinem o·. Geburtstag (ed. W. Zwickel; OBO 1i:; Göttingen 1oo:), 1oo–1:o at 11:–11-;
H.N. Rösel, “Lässt sich eine nomistische Redaktion imBuch Iosua feststellen:” ZAV 11o
(ioo¬) 18a–18o.
Rake, “Iuda,” 1i¬: “stellt hier keine allzu große erzählerische Härte dar.”
1ao xi..s svvo×x
inner coherence.
Recentlv, Gregorv Wong indicated the interaction
between the introduction (1:1–i:-), central section (i:o–1o::1) and epi-
logue (1¬:1–i1:i-) of the book.
He notes a number of clear thematic
links, such as the Iebusite threat (1:i1; 1o:11–1i), oracular consulta-
tions (1:i; io:18), specifc militarv action (1:1¬; i1:11), weeping at Bethel
(i:a; i1:i), arranged marriages (1:1i; i1:1o–ii). Wong also points to the
shared dependence on the book of Ioshua: allusions to the taking of Ieri-
cho and Ai (1:ii–io; io:io–a8), sending out spies (18:i), dealing with
potential transgressors (ch. io). Rake onlv discusses—in a footnote

the clear correspondence between io:18 and 1:1–i. In both texts the peo-
ple ask who shall go up frst and then God answers that it must be Iudah.
She states that this reference to Iudah in chapter io is inserted bv a redac-
tor afer chapter 1 had been added to the book. According to Rake, orig-
inallv the tribe of Iudah plaved no part in the stories of the judges. Tis
would be in line with the positive view on this tribe: it has nothing to do
with the following negative period in the historv of Israel. Te added frst
chapter should be regarded then as a kind of bookmarker emphasizing
this diference between Iudah and the other tribes.
Most interpreters of the book will share the idea of the positive viewon
Iudah in the book of Iudges, but Rake’s arguments for restricting this to
the frst chapter and to a later edition of the book are not convincing. It is
also possible to see this presentation of Iudah as an element of a more
general, well considered wav of arranging and editing existing stories
and traditions bv one writer/editor, who had or gave himself the task to
connect the alreadv existing books of Ioshua and Samuel. Tis possibilitv
shall be worked out now.
:. Te Book of Iudges as an Introduction to the Books of Samuel
Tere is a tendencv among modern scholars to look at the Former
Prophets from a new angle: not—like Martin Noth—from the book
of Deuteronomv looking forward, but looking back from the book of
Good examples are the studies of B.G. Webb, Te Book of Iudges. An Integrated
Reading (ISOTSup ao; Shemeld 1o8¬) and Y. Amit, Te Book of Iudges. Te Art of Editing
(BIS :8; Leiden 1ooo).
G. Wong, Compositional Strategy of the Book of Iudges. AnInductive, Rhetorical Study
(VTSup 111; Leiden iooo).
Rake, “Iuda,” 1ao–1a1 n. aao.
somi vim.vxs o× 1ui ovici× oi 1ui voox oi iUucis 1a1
According to A. Graeme Auld stories in the book of Iudges
contain “pre-plaving elements of the roval storv.”
Te book of Iudges
would have been written with the books of Samuel and Kings in mind.
Mark Brettler calls the judges “protokings.”
On the literarv level this
is clearlv indicated bv the repeated phrase “in these davs there was no
king in Israel” (1¬:o; 18:1; 1o:1). Tis is generallv acknowledged as a pro-
monarchal refrain, using the horrible stories in the last chapters of the
book of Iudges as arguments in favor of the appointment of a king with
the power to bring peace and justice.
Next to this there are a number of
topographical correspondences betweenthe books of Iudges and Samuel.
Te storv of the outrage in Gibea foreshadows the controversv between
Saul and David, because it takes place in towns related to these future
kings. Te travelers wronglv pass bv the later citv of David, Iebus (1o:1o–
1i, with the hardlv accidental remark that this is Ierusalem), to get into
trouble in Gibea, the home town of Saul. To this can be added that in
1o:1: also Rama is mentioned. Within the storv there is no clear reason
for this, so this also seems to have been meant to relate this storv to
coming events, namelv the appearance of Samuel, who was born there
(1Sam 1:1o; i:11). Te mentioning of Silo in 18::1; i1:1i, 1o and i1
has a counterpart in 1Samuel 1, where it is mentioned as the place of
the temple. Within this framework it is also possible to assume that the
location Mizpa as the place of the gathering of the tribes for the battle
Cf. E. Würthwein, “Erwägungen zum sog. deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk,”
in idem, Studien zum Deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk (BZAW ii¬; Berlin 1ooa),
1–11; A.G. Auld, “Te Deuteronomists and the Former Prophets: Or What Makes the
Former Prophets Deuteronomistic,” in Tose Elusive Deuteronomists. Te Phenomenon
of Pan-Deuteronomism (ed. L.S. Schearing and S.L. McKenzie; ISOTSup io8; Shemeld
1ooo), 11o–1io (reprinted in A.G. Auld, Samuel at the Treshold. Selected Vorks [SOTS
Monographs; Ashgate iooa], 18-–1oi); R.G. Kratz, Die Komposition der erzählenden
Bucher des Alten Testaments. Grundwissen der Bibelkritik (Göttingen iooo), 1oo.
A.G. Auld, “Te Deuteronomist betweenHistorv andTeologv,” inCongress Volume
Oslo r;;8 (ed. A. Lemaire and M. Sæbo; VTSup 8o, Leiden iooo), :-:–:o¬ at :--; cf. also
his “Samuel and Genesis: Some Ouestions of Iohn Van Seter’s ‘Yahwist,’ ” in Rethinking the
Foundations. Essays in Honour of Iohn Van Seters (ed. S.L. McKenzie et al.; BZAW ioa;
Berlin iooo), i:–:i (reprinted in Auld, Samuel, io-–i1i), esp. ia–i-.
M.Z. Brettler, “Te Book of Iudges: Literature as Politics,” IBL 1o8 (1o8o) :o-–a18,
esp. ao¬. Cf. also P.I. van Midden, “A Hidden Message: Iudges as Foreword to the Book
of Kings,” in Unless Some One Guide Me . . . Festschriþ for Karel A. Deurloo (ed. I.W. Dvk
et al.; ACEBTSup i; Maastricht iooi), ¬¬–8o.
Wong, Compositional Strategy, 1o1–ii:, explains the refrain as a reference to the
divine king, Yhwh. He has to go a long wav to prove his case, piling up a lot of circum-
stantial evidence, like a farfetched comparison with iChron 1-::, and is, therefore, hardlv
1ai xi..s svvo×x
against the Benjaminites (io:1, :; i1:1, -, 8) has something to do with
the fact that in the same place the Israelites guided bv Samuel defeated
the Philistines (1Sam ¬:-–1a).
Next to these topographical correspondences it does not seem too
farfetched to see a relation between the extraordinarv behavior of a man
cutting his dead wife into twelve pieces sending them to all the tribes of
Israel (Iudg 1o:io) with Saul’s wav of convoking the Israelites bv sending
them the pieces of his oxen (1Sam 11:¬). As what is told of the man in
Iudg 1o is the most uncommon, one mav assume that it was modeled on
the storv of Saul.
Another interesting correspondence between the books of Samuel and
the book of Iudges is the use of the phrase D*H7R3 7R2. Within the stories
of Saul and David this wav of asking the will of God can be regarded as a
Te downfall of Saul is connected with it, as becomes clear
in the storv of his attempt to make contact with the spirit of the dead
Samuel, when it is no longer possible for himto make contact with Yhwh
(1Sam i8:o, 1o). Te rise to power of David on the other end is related
to his successful attempts to get divine advice. Good examples of this can
be found in 1Sam ii:1o, 1:, and especiallv iSam i:1 (David asks Yhwh:
“Shall I go up:”). Te wav it is described there has its closest parallel inthe
Old Testament in the scene in Iudg 18:-–o, where the oracle is also given
to people on their wav.
In the book of Iudges the expression also returns
in the alreadv mentioned repeated question asking God who shall go up
frst (1:1; io:18). Tis too can be seen as an indication that the attested
deliberate references to the next book in the fnal chapters of Iudges are
part of the overall design of the book. Acloser look at the storv of Samson
will confrm this.
Tere are manv parallels between 1Samuel 1 and Iudges 1:. Both
stories begin with presenting the problemof a woman having no children
and introduce her husband with exactlv the same words: “And there
was a certain man of Zorah, of the familv of the Danites, and his name
was Manoah” (Iudg 1::i); “And there was a certain man of Ramathaim-
Zophim, of the hill-countrv of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah”
(1Sam 1:1). Te introduction of a storv with ]O 7HR 2*R *H*1 mav seem to
be verv common, but it is not. Within the Old Testament we onlv fnd it
in preciselv these two places.
In both stories the woman eventuallv gives
H.-F. Fuhs, “7R2 ˇs¯ a"al,” TVAT ¬:o1o–oio at oi1.
Fuhs, TVAT ¬:oio.
It is used without 7HR also in Gen :o:i; Iudg 1¬:1; 1o:1; 1Sam o:1; iSam i1:io;
somi vim.vxs o× 1ui ovici× oi 1ui voox oi iUucis 1a:
birth to a son who was promised bv God under the condition of keeping
to a number of prescriptions. In Iudges 1: the messenger of Yhwh gives
them to the unnamed woman: she is not allowed to drink wine or strong
drink or eat something unclean and no razor shall come upon the head
of her son, because he shall be a Nazirite for life. In 1Sam 1:11 Hannah
makes a vowherself: “I will give himunto Yhwhall the davs of his life, and
there shall no razor come upon his head.” Afer that, she has to declare
to the priest misunderstanding her behavior that she had not drunk too
much strong drink.
Te best wav to explain these parallels is that the author of the storv
of Samson was familiar with the storv of the birth of Samuel.
correspondences in form and content can hardlv be coincidental or
ascribed to a common pattern of miraculous birth stories. Compared to
each other a number of elements seem to have been added in Iudges 1:,
making the storv more miraculous with a messenger of Yhwh taking the
place of the priest. Te element of non drinking is also more natural in
the storv of Hannah. Naming the son a Nazirite can also be regarded as
a later, exaggerating and in fact an incorrect interpretation of the given
prescriptions. Te motive for relating Samson to Samuel can be found
in the words of the messenger of Yhwh: “the child shall be a Nazirite of
God from the womb. And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand
of the Philistines” (Iudg 1::-). When the woman repeats these words
to her husband she changes the reference of the deliverance from the
Philistines to a reference to Samson’s death: “the child shall be a Nazirite
of God fromthe womb to the dav of his death” (1::¬). Tis can be seen as
references to the later battles against the Philistines bv Samuel, Saul and
David. During his lifetime Samsonwas not able to defeat these enemies. It
was onlv under the reign of King David that the Philistines were defeated
All this can be interpreted as indicating that in its present form the
stories about Samson were meant as an introduction to the historv as
recounted in the books of Samuel. Once the reader is put on this track he
and 1Chron io:o. See on the discussion about the repetition of this expression as an
argument in redaction critical studies M. Leuchter, “ ‘Now Tere Was a [Certain] Man’:
Compositional Chronologv inIudges—1Samuel,” CBOoo (ioo¬) aio–a:o. He lists 1Sam
o:1 among the texts using the expression with 7HR without indicating that this is found
in onlv a minoritv of manuscripts. It is most likelv that in these manuscripts the Hebrew
text was adapted to 1Sam 1:1.
Cf. R. Bartelmus, Heroentum in Israel und seiner Umwelt (ATANT o-; Zürich
1o¬o), 8-–8o.
1aa xi..s svvo×x
mav notice more common elements: Samson being driven bv the spirit of
Yhwh like king Saul, Samson inventing unsolvable riddles and in this wav
showing to be wise like Salomon, Samson getting involved with foreign
women, which reminds of the riskv marriage policv of king Salomon and
of king Ahab, Samson bound and blinded like the last king of Iudah,
Zedekiah. All these possible associations turn this at frst sight rather
banal stories about a violent hero into an ominous parable.
Te relation with the books of Samuel is a common element of Iudges
1:–1o and 1¬–i1. Next to this one can note the inner cohesion of these
Te chapters 1: and 18 are connected bv the reference to
the tribe of Dan, indicated onlv here in 1::i and 18:1, 11, :o (next to
1Chron 1i::-) as *17H. What catches the eve is also that the number of
eleven hundred silver peaces Delilah received from the Philistine lords is
the same as the amount of stolen monev mentioned in the beginning of
chapter 1¬. We mav also note the use of the verb 77H Hiphil, “to begin,”
both in 1::-, i-; 1o:1o, ii; and in io::1, :o, ao; and the use of the verb
3¨R “lie in ambush” in 1o:i, o, 1i; and in io:io, ::, :o, :¬; i1:io. Te
writer/redactor who combined these stories as an introduction to the
historv of Samuel and the kings also lef some traces of his work when
he used the alreadv mentioned simple, but within the Old Testament
uncommon phrase 2*R *H*1 not onlv in 1::i but also in 1¬:1 and 1o:1.
With regard to the tendencv to put Iudah as the tribe of the coming
David in a positive light there is also a clear connection with chapter 1.
Iudah is doing better than the other tribes in capturing the land and
driving awav the Canaanites. Instructed bv God Iudah goes frst (1:1–i;
cf. io:18), just like David afer the death of Saul (iSam i:1; cf. also -:1o,
Now the question comes up whether also a connection was made
in the beginning of the book of Iudges to the preceding book of Ioshua
and, if so, in a similar wav as it is done at the end of the book with the
books of Samuel.
Cf. A.G. van Daalen, Simson. Een onderzoek naar de plaats, de opbouw en de funktie
van het Simsonverhaal in het kader van de Oudtestamentische geschiedschrijving (SSN 8;
Assen 1ooo), -1–-¬.
Leuchter, “Now Tere Was,” a:o, states that the usage of this formula “represents
a complex degree of intertextual and metatextual dvnamics over a period of several
centuries,” but this cannot be based convincinglv on the repetition of these words alone.
See on the relation between these verses also Rake, “Iuda,” 1oo.
somi vim.vxs o× 1ui ovici× oi 1ui voox oi iUucis 1a-
a. Te Book of Iudges as a Sequel to the Book of Ioshua
Tere can be no doubt about it that in the present form the book of
Iudges is presented as a sequel to the book of Ioshua. Iust like the book
of Ioshua it starts with the reference of the death of the primarv fgure
in the preceding book: “It happened afer the death of Ioshua/Moses.”
According to the common opinion the frst chapter of the book of Iudges
ofers a verv diferent picture of the conquest of the promised land
compared to what one reads in the book of Ioshua. Manv attribute, in
the line of Albrecht Alt, a greater historic value to it as a more original
and reliable account of what happened in the confrontation between
Israelites and Canaanites than the version we fnd in the book of Ioshua.
Te diferences between the books, however, are small when one takes
into account that for a considerable part Iudges 1 repeats the book of
Ioshua. Te quotations contain positive information about Iudah, taken
fromIosh1-:1:–1a (cf. Iudg 1:io), 1-–1o (cf. Iudg 1:11–1-), and negative
information about the other tribes, taken from Iosh 1-:o: (cf. Iudg 1:i1
with the Benjaminites instead of the Iudahites), 1o:1o (cf. Iudg 1:io),
and 1¬:11–1: (cf. Iudg 1:i¬–i8). To this is added new information,
distributed in a similar wav and therefore deepening the dichotomv:
positive about Iudah and negative about the other tribes.
In most cases it is likelv that in the noted parallels Iudges is dependent
on Ioshua.
Preciselv where Iudges 1 difers from Ioshua, it concerns the
obvious attempt to put Iudah in a more favorable light than it appears in
the book of Ioshua. Tis is what has happened in 1:i1, where compared
to the parallel in Iosh 1-:o: the name of the Iudahites is replaced bv
the name of the Benjaminites as the ones who must be blamed for
not driving out the Iebusites from Ierusalem.
In 1:8 it is told that the
Iudahites conquered Ierusalem. Because there is no reference in 1:8 of
the Iebusites, we can assume that in the eves of the author it does not
contradict 1:i1. Conquering and burning a citv is one thing, defnitivelv
driving awav the inhabitants is something else. Te same distinction is
made in the verses 18–1o: Iudah subdued Gazah, Ashkelon, and Ekron,
but at the same time it is remarked that it was not able to supplant the
inhabitants of the Philistine coast, which is nothing else than the region
Cf. K.L. Younger, Ir., “Te Confguring of Iudicial Preliminaries: Iudges 1.1–i.- and
its Dependence of the Book of Ioshua,” ISOT o8 (1oo-) ¬-–oi.
Cf. I.C. de Vos, Das Los Iudas. Uber Entstehung und Ziele der Landbeschreibung in
Iosua r· (VTSup o-; Leiden ioo:), 1oo–1o¬.
1ao xi..s svvo×x
of the mentioned cities.
What is more important, however, that in this
wav, bv the combination of 1:8 and 1:i1, not onlv the negative picture
of Iudah in Iosh 1-:o: could be corrected, it also lef room for the later
report of David taking the citv of Ierusalem and making it his capital
(iSam-:o–i-). Note that in the storv of David the Iebusites are explicitlv
mentioned: “the king and his men went to Ierusalem unto the Iebusites,
the inhabitants of the land.”
Te wav in which the source text of Ioshua
is handled here and the wav the connection is made to the book of
Samuel can be regarded as tvpical for the motives and methods of the
writer/redactor of the book of Iudges. It also corroborates the suggestion
that the book of Iudges is related to the book of Ioshua in the same wav
as it appears to be related to the books of Samuel.
Te storv of the messenger of Yhwh in Bochim (i:1–-) can (or per-
haps: should) be read in relation to the book of Ioshua as well. Te con-
nection is made bv the reference to a common place name, so in the same
wav as Iudges is related to Samuel. Apparentlv it is part of the stvle of the
writer/redactor. In this case he used the name of Gilgal. Tis reminds of
the passing through the river Iordan and the twelve stones placed there as
a memorv of what Yhwh had done for his people (Iosh a:1o–io). When
the messenger is said to have come from Gilgal this is more than topo-
graphical information. Te place name Bochim is related to the weep-
ing (HD3) of the Israelites. It also points forward to other moments of
weeping in the book of Iudges (11::¬; 1a:1o; io:i:, io; i1:i), as a refrain
emphasizing the sadness of all these stories of disobedience toGodandits
consequences. Even more interesting is the possible relation with Iosiah’s
weeping according to iKgs ii:1o.
Te parallel is strengthened bv the
fact that Iosiah is reminded here, just as the people of Israel in Iudg i, of
the broken covenant. Iosiah acts correctlv here, proving himself to be one
of the few kings “walking in all the wav of his father David” (iKgs ii:i).
Te storv of the messenger in Bochim is followed bv the reports of
Ioshua releasing the people, of the people serving Yhwh during the life
of Ioshua, of Ioshua’s death, and fnallv of the next generation forgetting
Yhwh (i:o–1o). Read together it reminds not onlv of Ioshua’s death as
described in Iosh ia, but also of the preceding discussion between Ioshua
Cf. B. Halpern, Te First Historians. Te Hebrew Bible and History (San Francisco
1o88), 1:o.
See on the relation between these texts also Rake, “Iuda,” ao–a1.
Cf. K. Spronk, “A Storv to Weep about: Some Remarks on Iudges 1:1–- and Its
Context,” in Unless Some One Guide me, 8¬–oa.
somi vim.vxs o× 1ui ovici× oi 1ui voox oi iUucis 1a¬
and the people.
Like the messenger of Yhwh, Ioshua had referred to
Yhwh’s acts on behalf of his people in the past and to Israel’s obligations
within the covenant with Yhwh. Te resolute answer of the people in
Iosh ia:ia is in glaring contrast with the outcome as established in Iudg
i:i. Tev have not acted according to their solemn words. Te repetition
of the report of Ioshua releasing the people and of Ioshua’s death and
burial, alreadv described in Iosh ia:i8–:1, should be seen within the
framework of the changing reactions of the people. In Iosh ia::1 the
positive attitude of the people is mentioned afer the death of Ioshua,
in Iudg i:¬ it is mentioned before the death of Ioshua, whereas afer his
deaththe covenant is soonforgotten. So the emphasis is onthe reactionof
the people, which indicates that the repetition of the verses from Ioshua
ia is deliberate and functional. Te repeated reference to the death of
Ioshua and of his generation also mirrors the repeated remark in the
fnal chapters of the book of Iudges about the absence of a king. Israel is
missing its leader. Ioshua is dead and his successor is not vet in sight. Te
initiative of Iudah—mentioned in chapter 1, before the remembrance of
Ioshua’s death—was promising, but we have to wait for David until the
promise is fulflled.
Finallv, there is a remarkable correspondence between the wav the
beginning of the book of Iudges is related here to the book of Ioshua and
the wav this was done at the end to the books of Samuel. As was noted
above the function of the priest in the storv of the birth of Samuel was
taken over bv the messenger of Yhwh in the announcement of the birth
of Samson. In a similar wav the role of Ioshua in the storv of the making
of the covenant in Ioshua ia is now also plaved in the storv about the
broken covenant in Iudges i bv a messenger of Yhwh. Te writer/editor
of the book of Iudges shows an inclination towards the supernatural.
-. Te Book of Iudges as a Late
Construct within the Former Prophets
Graduallv the picture is taking shape of Iudges as a book reacting to both
the books of Ioshua and Samuel from a pro-Iudah/David perspective. It
shows much coherence in message and stvle. In its present form it seems
Cf. Halpern, Te First Historians, 1:¬, and A. van der Kooij, “ ‘And I Also Said’: A
New Interpretation of Iudges II :,” VT a- (1oo-) ioa–:oo, esp. :o-–:oo, for the opinion
that Iudg 1:1–::o is a coherent introduction to the era of the judges.
1a8 xi..s svvo×x
to be relativelv late, at least being written afer Ioshua and Samuel. It
is nowadavs commonlv assumed that Iudges 1 and Iudges 1¬–i1 were
added in a late phase, coinciding with the separation of the storv of
ancient Israel into diferent books.
With regard to the origin and editing
of the manv stories in between there is much diference of opinion. Tere
is no room here to enter into this discussion. What can be remarked is
that the analvsis thus far indicates that i:1–1o and the chapters 1:–1o are
closelv related to this framework.
Tomas Römer considers both 1:–1o and 1¬–i1 as post-Deuterono-
mistic pieces.
He points to the possible Hellenistic infuences that can
be traced not onlv in the Samson stories,
but also in the fable of Iotham
and the storv about the sacrifce of Iephthah’s daughter (11::o–
For Römer this is reason to assume that we are dealing there
with “late interpolations.” Tere are good reasons to go one step further.
Parallels with Greek texts and ideas have also been found with regard to
cutting of the prisoner’s thumbs (1:o),
the names of Sisera and Iael (a:i,
the three hundred soldiers of Gideon’s armv (¬:o),
and the storv
about the rape of the virgins (i1:1o–i:).
It is striking that these parallels
are found throughout the book: in the stories about the judges and also
in the prologue and epilogue.
Cf. Kratz, Die Komposition der erzählenden Bucher, i1o.
T. Römer, Te So-Called Deuteronomistic History. A Sociological, Historical and
Literary Introduction (London ioo-), 1:8.
Cf. C. Nauerth, “Simsons Taten: Motivgeschichtliche Überlegungen,” DBAT i1
(1o8-) oa–1io.
Römer refers to “a stunning parallel” found bv C. Brifard, “Gammes sur l’acte de
traduire,” Foi et Vie 1o1 (iooi) 1i–18. It is more likelv, however, that we are dealing here
with the work of a Iewish or Christian editor of the fables of Aesopus. Especiallv the
unexpected reference to the cedars of the Libanon points in this direction. Tis would
also not be the onlv example of fables from other times and places being attributed to
Aesopus (cf. I.F. Priest, “Te Dog in the Manger: In Ouest of a Fable,” Te Classical
Iournal 81 [1o8-] ao–-8). A relation to, for instance, Aesopus’ fables about the fr-tree
and the bramble, or the pomegranate, apple-tree and the bramble about who is the best,
is certainlv possible here, but it cannot be based on the text quoted bv Brifard.
Cf. also T. Römer, “Whv Would the Deuteronomists Tell about the Sacrifce of
Iephthah’s Daughter:,” ISOT ¬¬ (1oo8) i¬–:8; B. Becking, “Iphigeneia in Gilead: Over
het verstaan van Richteren 11,” Kerk en Teologie a1 (1ooo) 1oi–io-.
Cf. G.F. Moore, Iudges (ICC; Edinburgh 18o-), 1¬.
B.-I. Diebner, “Wann sang Deborah ihr Lied: Überlegungen zu zwei der ältesten
Texte des TNK (Ri a und -),” ACEBT 1a (1oo-) 1oo–1:o.
Cf. I.P. Brown, Israel and Hellas (BZAW i¬o; Berlin iooo) i:8a.
Cf. Soggin, Iudges, :oa.
somi vim.vxs o× 1ui ovici× oi 1ui voox oi iUucis 1ao
Tis is an extra reason to assume that the book of Iudges in its present
form is the product of one writer/editor who flled in the gap between
the books of Samuel and Ioshua. He reused and reinterpreted material
from Ioshua and the book of Samuel and combined it with texts from
other sources. Traces of these sources, which can be regarded as earlv
versions of the book of Iudges, are found in1Sam1i:8–11 (ina retrospect
beginning with Iacob and ending with Samuel, referring to the struggle
against the Philistines but not mentioning Samson) and the ancient
Greek translation of Iosh ia::: (suggesting a transition from the end
of the book directlv to the storv of Ehud).
Te use of so manv and so
diferent sources led to a book which looks at frst sight like a hotchpotch.
Acloser look, however, reveals a clear line running fromIoshua to David,
the honored king from the tribe of Iudah. We also fnd it summarized in
1Chroni:- (“Iudahbecame more powerful thanhis brothers anda leader
came from him”).
We can onlv speculate about the identitv of the author and his time.
One thing that can be said on the basis of the conclusions of this studv
is that thev correspond nicelv with the picture sketched bv Karel van
der Toorn about the Hebrew Bible as a product of the scribal culture.
He makes a comparison with scribal activities like that of Berossus in
Babvlon and Manetho in Egvpt as an efort to publish and preserve a
national literature. Somewhere in the earlv Hellenistic age Iewish scribes
collected and edited the prophetic and poetic texts and published them
as rounded of, authoritative text as the legacv of inspired men like David
and Isaiah. Tev also wished to ofer an authoritative version of the
historv of Israel, from the creation until restoration afer the Babvlonian
exile. In this process, the book of Iudges could verv well have been their
fnal masterpiece.
Cf. A. Rofé, “Te End of the Book of Ioshua According to the Septuagint,” Henoch
a (1o8i) 1¬–:-; and the discussion bv H.N. Rösel, “Die Überleitungen vom Iosua—ins
Richterbuch,” VT :o (1o8o) :ai–:-o, esp. :a8–:ao; and M.N. van der Meer, Formation
o Reformulation. Te Redaction of the Book of Ioshua in the Light of the Oldest Textual
Vitness (VTSup 1oi; Leiden iooa), oo–oi.
Cf. M.Z. Brettler, Te Book of Iudges (London iooi), 111.
K. van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge
ioo¬), i-o.
R.vmo×u ui Hoov
1. Introduction
Probablv the most famous problemwith regard to the settlement and the
twelve-tribe svstem is the list of ten names of those who did and those
who did not take part in the battle against Sisera and his allies (Iudg
-:1a–18). Te wording of the so-called Song of Deborah suggests that
the ten names listed involve the whole of Israel. Does this implv that
at an earlier stage of its historv, Israel consisted of ten tribes onlv and
consequentlv that the svstem of twelve tribes originated in a later phase
of its historv:
Alot of ink has been spent on this list, relating this number
of ten (supposed) tribes to Martin Noth’s amphictvonv hvpothesis.
himself dismissed the song as irrelevant for the discussion of the twelve-
tribe svstem because the names were onlv added subjectivelv bv the
poet in contrast to the two tribes Zebulun and Naphtali in Iudg a:o–
Attempts have nevertheless been made to bring the number of ten in
line with this amphictvonv as a former stage of it,
but since the number
It is an honour for me to dedicate this essav to Ed Noort, whose research and
teaching are so stronglv focussed on the land. Research for this paper has been carried
out as a research-fellow of the Universitv of Pretoria, South Africa. Tanks are due to Dr.
Wilfred G.E. Watson, who was kind enough to correct the English of this paper.
Generallv it is assumed that because the majoritv of names are tribal names (the
names of Iacob’s sons), the remaining names are substitutes for the other known tribes.
Gilead, for example, is consideredinthat case tobe a substitute for the tribe of Gad, cf., e.g.
A. Caquot, “Les tribus d’Israël dans le cantique de Débora,” Sem :o (1o8o) a¬–¬o, oo. See
also C.H.I. de Geus, Te Tribes of Israel. An Investigation into Some of the Presuppositions of
Martin ^oth’s Amphictyony Hypothesis (SSN 18; Assen 1o¬o), 11o, who states that Gilead
is used as a tribal name in Iudges - even when it is clearlv a geographical designation. On
this discussion, see furthermore R. de Vaux, Te Early History of Israel (London 1o¬8),
For this theorv see especiallv: M. Noth, Das System der Zwolf Stämme Israels
(BWANT a.1; Stuttgart 1o:o).
Noth, System, -–o, :-–:o; idem, Geschichte Israels (id ed.; Göttingen1o-a), 1:o n. a.
Cf. S. Mowinckel, “ ‘Rahelstämme’ und ‘Leastämme,’ ” in Von Ugarit nach Oum-
1-i v.vmo×u ui uoov
twelve (or six) is an essential part of the amphictvonv, these attempts have
proved to be unsuccessful.
Despite the fact that some scholars assume
the song to be the product of an editorial process,
the number of ten
names has scarcelv been questioned in recent research.
Yet it should be
stressed that the song does not deal with ten parties (or tribes or whatever
these names mav designate) that should have joined the battle, but with
eleven: we alsohave toreckonwithMeroz (-:i:), for there is noindication
that it designates a diferent entitv fromthe ten listed in -:1a–18. Tere is
a peculiar discrepancv between the mild rebuke of four parties in this list
of ten and the vehement cursing of Meroz because of the same ofence,
apparentlv. Tis discrepancv is hardlv dealt with bv scholars or even
ignored. In this essav, I wish to deal with this discrepancv as a means
to investigate whether all ten names originallv belonged to the song. I
am also trving to determine whether these names are real tribal names
or whether we are sometimes dealing with references to the land.
Apparentlv unrelated to this matter is the question as to who com-
posed this song: was it indeed Deborah as the text will have us to believe,
or should we have our doubts about the poet and reckon with a later
ascription to her: Both matters will prove to have a strong impact on our
appreciation of the genesis of the song and the list of ten names. Even
though Iudges a–- apparentlv did not plav a verv important role in the
ran. Beiträge zur alttestamentlichen und altorientalischen Forschung (ed. I. Hempel and
L. Rost; BZAW ¬¬; Berlin 1o-8), 1io–1-o, esp. 1:¬; A. Weiser “Das Deboralied: Eine
gattungs-und traditionsgeschichtliche Studie,” ZAV ¬1 (1o-o) o¬–o¬, esp. 8¬, o-–o¬; K.-
D. Schunck, Benjamin. Untersuchungen zur Entstehung und Geschichte eines Israelitischen
Stammes (BZAW 8o; Berlin 1oo:), -:.
De Geus, Tribes, 11o–118.
M.Z. Brettler, Te Book of Iudges (OTR; London iooi), oo; G.T.K. Wong, “Song
of Deborah as Polemic,” Bib 88 (ioo¬) 1–ii, a; E.A. Knauf, “Meroz (Iudg. -:i:),” in In
Search of Philip R. Davies. Vhose FestschriþIs It Anyway? (ed. D. Burns andI.W. Rogerson;
LHB/OTS; Shemeld ioo8); manv scholars refrain however from attempts to diferentiate
between possible lavers in the text.
Caquot, “Cantique de Débora,” a¬–¬o (two tribes); N. Na"aman, “Literarv and
Topographical Notes on the Battle of Kishon (Iudges IV–V),” VT ao (1ooo) ai:–a:o
(two); P. Guillaume, “Deborah and the Seven Tribes,” B^ 1o1 (iooo) 18–i1 (seven);
E.A. Knauf, “Deborah’s Language: Iudges Ch. - in Its Hebrew and Semitic Context,”
in Studia Semitica et Semitohamitica. FS Rainer Voigt (ed. B. Burtea et al.; AOAT :1¬;
Münster ioo-), 1o¬–18i, at 1¬- n. :¬ (seven[althoughsome difer fromGuillaume’s set]).
In the opposite direction: I.C. de Moor, “Te Twelve Tribes in the Song of Deborah,” VT
a: (1oo:) a8:–aoa (twelve).
Cf. alreadv R. de Hoop, Genesis ,; in Its Literary and Historical Context (OTS :o;
Leiden 1oo8), --o with n. a:i.
iUucis - vico×siuiviu 1-:
research on the book of Ioshua,
it has a crucial role in the debate on
Israel’s settlement of the land.
i. Te Context of the Song
According to Noth, the Deuteronomist (Dtr) used, alongside a list of the
minor judges, some heroic legends to create the section on the era of
the judges in his Deuteronomistic Historv (DtrH) (Iudg i:o–1::1).
considered the Deborah-Barak storv together with the song (Iudges a–
-) to be a unit, which Dtr inserted into his Historv, adding onlv a:1a,
i, :a, and -::1.
Noth’s theorv was modifed bv Richter, who assumed
the existence of a “Saviour Collection” (Retterbuch), which afer several
modifcations was inserted into the DtrH.
Te song was not a part of
this collection but inserted afer the redaction of Dtr, though a specifc
date is missing.
According to Richter, Dtr added also the Samson
According to the index in E. Noort, Das Buch Iosua. Forschungsgeschichte und
Problemfelder (EdF ioi; Darmstadt 1oo8), :ai–:a:.
M. Noth, Uberlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien. Die sammelnden und bearbeitenden
Geschichtswerke im Alten Testament (:d ed.; Tübingen 1oo¬), -o–o1. Iudges 1:–1o (Sam-
son); 1¬–18 (Micha and Dan); 1o–i1 (Gibeah) were added later and did not belong to
the original DtrH; see ibid., -a n. i, oo. For DtrH and Iudges in recent research, cf.
M.A. O’Brien, “Iudges and the Deuteronomistic Historv,” in Te History of Israel’s Tra-
ditions. Te Heritage of Martin ^oth (ed. S.L. McKenzie and M.P. Graham; ISOTSup 18i;
Shemeld 1ooa), i:-–i-o; see also T. Römer and A. de Purv, “Deuteronomistic Histori-
ographv (DH): Historv of Research and Debated Issues,” in Israel Constructs Its History.
Deuteronomistic Historiography in Recent Research (ed. A. de Purv et al.; ISOTSup :oo;
Shemeld iooo), ia–1a:.
Noth, Uberlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien, -o–-1. Te analvsis bv scholars critical
of DtrH does not difer considerablv in respect of Iudges; see, e.g. G. Fohrer, Einleitung in
das Alte Testament (11th ed.; Heidelberg 1ooo), ii:–i::; and recentlv E.A. Knauf, “Does
‘Deuteronomistic Historiographv’ (DtrH) Exist:” in De Purv et al., Israel Constructs Its
History, :88–:o8, esp. :oo.
W. Richter, Traditionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zum Richterbuch (BBB 18;
Bonn, 1oo:); idem, Die Bearbeitung des ‘Retterbuches’ in der deuteronomistischen Epoche
(BBB i1; Bonn, 1ooa). Te original work was not available to me; information is based
on I.A. Soggin, Iudges. A Commentary (id ed.; OTL; London 1o8¬), -–o; Römer and De
Purv, “Deuteronomistic Historiographv,” 11¬–11o.
I.A. Soggin, Iudges. A Commentary (id ed.; OTL; London 1o8¬), -–o, who also fails
to specifv when the song might have been inserted into its present position; Römer and
De Purv, “Deuteronomistic Historiographv,” 11¬–11o. A view comparable to Richter’s
analvsis (except regarding Dtr; cf. n. 1o above) is followed bv Knauf, “Does ‘Deuterono-
mistic Historiographv’ Exist:” :oo; Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 1¬o–1¬1, who consid-
ers that the song was inserted in its present position during the fourth or third centurv
vci. Cf. also B. Lindars, Iudges r–·. A ^ew Translation and Commentary (Edinburgh
1oo-), 1oa.
1-a v.vmo×u ui uoov
storv “in order to demonstrate . . . that the institution of the Iudges
has to disappear because of the decadence into which it had eventuallv
Tis fnal element of deterioration has become characteristic for
Iudges when it is read svnchronicallv.
Te book pictures an era in which
it becomes graduallv obvious that the institution of judges should disap-
pear and a king is needed. Notablv, the frst judge Othniel comes from
Iudah: he is a strong fgure and an ideal judge. Te remaining part of
the book has its geographical horizon largelv outside Iudah, especiallv
where it concerns the decline of Israelite societv.
Graduallv the judges
become less strong and ideal, with Samson as rock bottom, until the sit-
uation deteriorates further to its fnal breakdown in Iudges 1o–i1.
Deborah-Barak storv fts into this picture, since the male leader (Barak)
needs a woman at his side (Deborah; a:8), while the victorv is bv the
hand of a woman (Ia#el; note Deborah’s remark in Iudg a:o).
With this
Römer and De Purv, “Deuteronomistic Historiographv,” 11¬.
Cf. also O’Brien, “Iudges,” ia8–i-:; Brettler, Iudges, 1o:–11o.
See, e.g. Römer and De Purv, “Deuteronomistic Historiographv,” 118–11o, stating
that Iudges :–1i have the northern kingdom as their horizon and might have originated
and functioned there as a kind of Retterbuch. To this we add the observation that Iudges
1¬–i1 (and chapters 1:–1o) have their geographical horizon outside Iudah, especiallv
where it concerns the deterioration of Israel’s societv (Samson, the OD2 from the tribe of
Dan [compare Richter’s observation on Samson]; the sanctuarv at Dan in the north; the
outrage at Gibeah).
Cf., e.g. I.C. Exum, “Te Centre Cannot Hold: Tematic and Textual Instabil-
ities in Iudges,” CBO -i (1ooo) a1o–a:1, esp. a1o–a11, a:1 (repr. in Reconsidering
Israel and Iudah. Recent Studies on the Deuteronomistic History [ed. G.N. Knoppers
and I.G. McConville; SBTS 8; Winona Lake iooo], -¬8–ooo, -¬8–-¬o, -oo–ooo); R.H.
O’Connell, Te Rhetoric of the Book of Iudges (VTSup o:; Leiden 1ooo), ioo–io¬, :io–
:::; Y. Amit, Te Book of Iudges. Te Art of Editing (BIS :8; Leiden 1ooo), 11:–118;
W. Dietrich, “Historv and Law: Deuteronomistic Historiographv and Deuteronomic Law
Exemplifed in the Passage from the Period of the Iudges to the Monarchic Period,” in De
Purv et al., Israel Constructs Its History, :1-–:ai, :1o–:1¬, :i1. Some criticism is found
in G. Andersen, “ANarratologist’s Critical Refections on Svnchronic Studies of the Bible:
AResponse to G.T.K. Wong,” SIOT i1 (ioo¬) io1–i¬a. In fact, the deterioration does not
stop at the end of the book of Iudges, but continues until 1Samuel o, where we meet the
frst king: King Saul; see Dietrich, “Historv and Law,” :1o–:1¬. Perhaps we should add to
this observation that the real OD2 (who becomes a king) is met in 1Samuel 11, where Saul
rescues Iabesh in Gilead; cf. D. Edelman, “Saul’s Rescue of Iabesh-Gilead (1Sam11:1–11):
Sorting Storv from Historv,” ZAV oo (1o8a) 1o-–ioo, esp. 1o-, io:–ioa. Was this chap-
ter perhaps a fnal account of the “book of Saviours,” which circled in northern circles,
before it was edited in a pro-Iudaean fashion (cf. n. 1o above):
Lindars, Iudges r–·, 1¬-, 188–18o.
iUucis - vico×siuiviu 1--
pattern of deterioration of societv in the north in mind, the conclusion
that Iudges as a whole has an anti-northern bias seems inevitable.
:. Deborah’s Song?
Even though a pattern in Iudges can be discerned on a svnchronic level,
this does not implv that the book is the product of one single writer. Te
diverse material gathered in the book is obviouslv not a unitv
and even
Iudges a–- are not the product of one single author.
Te preceding prose
text, places the song in a literarv context in which it according to the
communis opinio originallv did not belong, and now forces a diferent
impression upon the reader from before.
Deborah is introduced as a
prophetess, who judges under the palmtree between Beth-El and Ramah
in the hill-countrv of Ephraim (a:a–-). Scholars noted that Deborah
appears to be identifed with someone with a homonvmous name, who
was buried “under Bethel under the large tree”
]17RH, Gen :-:8) interpreting this identifcation as an interpolation bv
Brettler, Iudges, 1oo–11o. Tis view was questioned bv G.T.K. Wong, “Is Tere a
Direct Pro-Iudah Polemic in Iudges:,” SIOT 1o (ioo-) 8a–11o; but his criticisms were
refuted bv S. Frolov, “Fire, Smoke, and Iudah in Iudges: A Response to Gregorv Wong,”
SIOT i1 (ioo¬) 1i¬–1:8.
Cf. Brettler, Iudges, 1oo; but also the literature cited above on DtrH and Iudges.
B. Halpern, Te First Historians. Te Hebrew Bible and History (San Fransisco
1o88), ¬o–1o:; Na"aman, “Literarv and Topographical Notes,” a::; H.-D. Neef, “Deb-
oraerzählung und Deboralied: Beobachtungen zum Verhältnis von Idc. iv und v,” VT
aa (1ooa) a¬–-o. Contrast, however, Lindars, Iudges r–·, 1oa–1o-; C. Levin, “Das Alter
des Deboralieds,” in his Fortschreibungen. Gesammelte Studien zum Alten Testament
(BZAW :1o; Berlin ioo:) 1ia–1a1, esp. 1ao–1a1. For a review of the current positions,
cf. K.L. Younger, “Heads! Tails! or the Whole Coin:! Contextual Method & Intertextual
Analvsis: Iudges a and -,” in Te Biblical Canon in Comparative Perspective. Scripture in
Context IV(ed. K.L. Younger et al.; Lewiston, NY, 1oo1), 1oo–1ao, esp. 1:o–1:¬.
A. Brenner, “A Triangle and a Rhombus in Narrative Structure: A Proposed Inte-
grative Reading of Iudges iv and v,” VT ao (1ooo) 1io–1:8, esp. 1io–1:o.
Heb. ]17R. “Het verbinden van de huidige vegetatie met de bijbelse namen is vaak
een hachelijke zaak” (E. Noort, Israel en de Vestelijke Iordaanoever. Verkboek voor
Palestina-reizigers [Kampen 1o8:], ¬a: “To associate the current vegetation with the
biblical names is ofen a hazardous undertaking”). Tis is obvious fromthe “tree”, referred
to above. Heb.]17R is generallv translated as oak, vet it depends on Masoretic vocalisation
whether we read “terebinth” (Gen :-:a) or “oak” (Gen :-:8); cf. Ges
, oi. Koehler
and Baumgartner refrained from identifcation (HALAT, -i). M. Zohari, Pfanzen der
Bibel. Vollständiges Handbuch (id ed.; Stuttgart 1o8o), 1o8–111, suggests rendering the
consonantal ]17R bv “oak” and H7R bv “terebinth.”
1-o v.vmo×u ui uoov
a later editor (later than Dtr).
Tere is, however, no reason whv this
identifcation should be a later addition: it fts in its context without
anv problem. Te onlv problem that occurs is an incorrect identifcation
and that is apparentlv considered unlikelv for Dtr or anv earlv editor.
But, if a later editor could make this identifcation, then whv not an
earlier narrator/editor, who knewan oak of Deborah and created his own
aetiologv because the place in the land suited his purpose:
Te geographv of the narrative is no coincidence, added accidentallv
bv a later editor. Afer two judges from Iudah and Benjamin (Iudg ::o,
1-), Deborah resides onlv just in the territorv of Ephraim (between
Bethel and Ramah) as the southernmost extreme of the north, and in
the northernmost citv Kedesh (Dan had not vet migrated to the north
in the book of Iudges) Barak is met as the second extreme. Te north
is embraced bv these two extremes, who summon Israel to the battle,
which will take place between them.
Te geographical identifcation
has a narratological function, even when the course of events is unlikelv
from a historical-geographical perspective.
Te reference to Barak,
for example, in Kedesh-Naphtali (a:o), which is identifed with Kedesh
some seven miles north of Hazor, is considered problematic because this
location would have been too far fromthe scene of action (for that reason
other locations have been sought).
Tis impression of unlikeliness is
Na"aman, “Literarv and Topographical Notes,” a:1; Lindars, Iudges r–·, 18:.
Cf. esp. Na"aman, “Literarv and Topographical Notes,” aio–a:a.
Na"aman, “Literarv and Topographical Notes,” ai¬, emphasized that environmental
features shouldnot be takenfor granted. Te authors might have livedinexile, whereas we
also have to reckon with the work of editors, neither set familiar with the environment of
the storv. Another factor, which Na"aman did not consider in his paper, is the possibilitv
that the geographv is subordinated bv the author to the (theological/political) purpose
of the narrative, even when a realistic relationship to the land did exist; cf. E. Noort,
“Klio und die Welt des Alten Testaments: Überlegungen zur Benutzung literarischer
und feldarchäologischer Ouellen bei der Darstellung einer Geschichte Israels,” (inaugural
address Universitv of Hamburg: 1.o.1ooo), in “Ernten was man sät”. Festschriþ fur Klaus
Koch (ed. D.R. Daniels et al.; Neukirchen-Vluvn 1oo1), -::–-oo.
Tis also explains whv the (possiblv original) narrative of the war with Iabin of
Hazor (Iosh 11:1–1-) was duplicated and described here a second time, vet in a diferent
setting. On these problems, cf. inter alii A. Malamat, History of Biblical Israel. Major
Problems and Minor Issues (CHANE ¬; Leiden ioo1), 1oo–1o8.
Cf. E. Noort, “Te Traditions of Ebal and Gerizim: Teological Positions inthe Book
of Ioshua,” in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Literature. Fs. C.H.V. Brekelmans, (ed.
M. Vervenne and I. Lust; BETL 1::; Louvain 1oo¬), 1o1–18o, 1oi: “Sometimes geographv
loses out to politics and sometimes it loses out to theologv.”
Lindars, Iudges r–·, 18-. Whereas historicallv and militarilv this seems to be a
correct observation, within the narrative framework this appears to be the most likelv
identifcation as the northernmost extreme (pace Lindars, op. cit., 18-; Y. Aharoni and
iUucis - vico×siuiviu 1-¬
strengthened bv the fact that Hazor could hardlv have plaved the role it
is assigned in the narrative, since it had been destroved at the end of the
Late Bronze Age and scarcelv settled during Iron Age I.
Tese geographical and historical factors indicate that the storv about
Deborah has been invented without the geographical basis of a “local
hero account.” Neither Deborah nor Barak has a likelv home town, since
the candidates are too distant from each other and from the battlefeld,
whereas the historical determinant (Hazor) is an anachronism. Tese
factors suggest that Deborah’s person is made up, created for the beneft
of the narrative as well as for the song. Te latter statement is supported
bv the fact that those parts in the song mentioning her name (and
Barak’s), disturb the line of thought of the poem (-:¬b, 1i, 1-a). In -:¬
the description of the desperate situation in the land is disturbed:
In the davs of Shamgar Ben-#Anat P19¨]3 ¨àO2 *O*3 ( oaA)
in the davs of Ia#el, caravans ceased P1H¨R 177H 79* *O*3 ( oaB)
And wavfarers, P13*P1 *D7H1 (obA)
thev went on roundabout paths, P17Þ7Þ9 P1H¨R 1D7* ( obB)
the peasantrv ceased, in Israel it ceased 177H 7R¨2*3 ]1!¨D 177H ( ¬aA)
[until vou arose, Deborah,] [H¨137 *POÞ2 79] (¬bA)
[vou arose, a mother in Israel] [7R¨2*3 DR *POÞ2] ( ¬bB)
When the gods choose new ones,
D*27H D*H7R ¨H3* ( 8aA)
then war was in the gates.
D*¨92 DH7 !R ( 8aB)
If onlv a shield was seen, a spear HO¨1 HR¨*¨DR ]àO (8bA)
among the fortv thousand in Israel. 7R¨2*3 ²7R D*93¨R3 ( 8bB)
M. Avi-Yonah, Te MacMillan Bible Atlas [id ed.; New York 1o¬¬], ao, --o, o1). Kedesh
is closest to the territories of Zebulun and Naphtali, which according to the narrative
formed the main forces that defeated Sisera’s armv and thus thev are mustered bv Barak.
Y. Yadin and A. Ben-Tor, “Hazor,” ^EAEHL, i:-oa–ooo; A. Ben-Tor, “Hazor,”
OEA^E, ::1–-.
Te translation of this verse is complicated. In this colon (8aA) I follow more or
less the proposal bv P.C. Craigie, “Some Further Notes on the Song of Deborah,” VT ii
(1o¬i) :ao–:-:, esp. :-o–:-1; Soggin, Iudges, 8o–8¬; Lindars, Iudges r–·, ioo, i:o–iao;
Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 1¬:–1¬a. Another option is the classical translation “when
newgods were chosen,” which is found alreadv in ixx, and furthermore in manv modern
translations; cf. NBG; NBV; NRSV; IPS.
Some deviating translations for this colonare foundas well. ixx
renderedthe colon
as “like barlev bread” (Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 181–18i almost similar), ixx
“then the cities of the rulers fought.” Te latter interpretation recurs quite ofen, although
the text is considered to be problematic. Lindars, Iudges r–·, i:o–ia1, ofers an overview
of all proposals to reconstruct the text and his suggestion is to assume faultv division and
haplographv of !R, and therefore to read D*¨9 2OH 17!R !R “then the armed men of the
cities came forth.” However, the assumption of haplographv of !R is not necessarv for the
translation above as a likelv alternative.
1-8 v.vmo×u ui uoov
Te next text naming of Deborah (-:1i, incl. Barak) interrupts the
fow of the text as well. Tis is obvious from the fact that some scholars
tend to take the preceding -:11bA as a later addition, which could be lef
However, instead of regarding -:11bAas a later addition, we might
consider whether the later addition is -:1i, which has in fact no other
functioninthe text thanto link the song withDeborah(andBarak).
text of -:1i with its imperatives is a Fremdkorper between the perfects
of -:11b and 1:. Tis is reinforced bv the fact that the imperatives are
addressed to both Deborah and Barak, who do not have anv further
signifcant role in the song itself.
With the sound of the water-dividers
at D*3R2O ]*3 D*33HO 71ÞO (11aA)
the watering places
there thev repeat the victories of Yhwh H1H* P1Þ73 11P* D2 (11aB)
the victories of his peasantrv in Israel. 7R¨2*3 11!¨D PÞ73 (11aC)
When the people of Yhwh went down to
the gates,
H1H*¨D9 D*¨927 17¨* !R (11bA)
[Rouse vourself, rouse vourself, Deborah!] [H¨137 *¨19 *¨19] (1iaA)
[Rouse vourself, rouse vourself, sav a song!] [¨*2¨*¨37 *¨19 *¨19] (1iaB)
[Rise up, Barak, take hold of vour captives, ¨*32 H321 Þ¨3 D1Þ] (1iaC)
son of Abinoam!] [D91*3R¨]3
Cf. inter alii: Lindars, Iudges r–·, i1o, ia8; V. Fritz, Die Entstehung Israels imr:. und
rr. Iahrhundert v.Chr. (BEnz i; Stuttgart 1ooo), 18o–181; Levin, “Das Alter,” 1i¬; Knauf,
“Deborah’s Language,” 181–18i (Appendix).
I.P. Fokkelman, “Te Song of Deborah and Barak: Its Prosodic Levels and Structure,”
inPomegranates and GoldenBells. Studies inBiblical, Iewish, and ^ear EasternRitual, Law,
and Literature in Honor of I. Milgrom (ed. D.P. Wright et al.; Winona Lake 1oo-), -o-–
oi8, qualifes -:1i as “embedded speech, spoken bv the troops as an address to the two
leaders.” He reads -:11b–1: as one strophe and labels the enclosure of -:1i an “envelope
structure” (similarlv A. Globe, “Te Muster of the Tribes in Iudges -:11e–18,” ZAV 8¬
[1o¬-] 1oo–18a, 1¬i; Caquot, “Cantique de Débora,” -1; Wong, “Song of Deborah,” o
with n. 1¬). Te fact remains, however, that v. 1i is a Fremdkörper (cf. main text above),
which also on a poetic level is unrelated to its context.
Rendering D*33HO as a ptc. Pi. of ?3H “divide water,” cf. HALAT, ::o; Ges
, :8o.
Te reading “gates” provides a perfect parallel to the next colon (in our reconstruc-
tion), -:1:aB, where “mightv” is read; a similar parallel is found in Ugarit, KTU 1.1¬:
vv. o–¬; cf. A. Caquot et al., Mythes et Legendes (vol. 1 of Textes Ougaritiques; LAPO ¬;
Paris 1o¬a). ai¬; I.C. de Moor, An Anthology of Religious Texts from Ugarit (NISABA 1o;
Leiden 1o8¬), i::; S.B. Parker, “Aqhat,” in Ugaritic ^arrative Poetry (ed. S.B. Parker;
SBLWAW o; Atlanta, Ga, 1oo¬), ao–8o, -8. Diferentlv: N. Wvatt, Religious Texts from
Ugarit. Te Vords of Ilimilku and His Colleagues (BSem -:; Shemeld1oo8), io¬, reading
“trees” for Ug. "adrm.
iUucis - vico×siuiviu 1-o
when the remnant
went down to the mightv, D*¨*7R7 ¨*¨2
!R (1:aA)
the people of Yhwh got themselves
[17¨7¨*] H1H*
(!) D9 (1:aB)
down like
heroes. D*¨13à3
It is questionable therefore that the song had anvthing to do with Deb-
orah, and the references to her (viz. -:¬, 1i, 1-) are probablv later addi-
tions to the original song. In other words, the poem is onlv secondar-
ilv called the “Song of Deborah”: originallv it appears to be an ancient
Te rendering matches ixx
and is refected in TgI (cf. W.F. Smelik, Te Targum of
Iudges [OtSt :o; Leiden 1oo-], a-1–a-i). Tough 7*¨2 is considered to be problematic
bv some scholars (as bv some versions), it takes up the idea of -:o–8 that the people are
survivors of oppression (Lindars, Iudges r–·, i-o). Te singular can be interpreted as a
collective (e.g. Num ia:1o; cf. IM §1:-c), which makes emendation of the text unnec-
essarv; cf. Globe, “Te Muster of the Tribes,” 1¬o n. i; pace BHS; De Moor, “Twelve
Tribes,” a8:–aoa; Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 1¬i. Te reading of a topographical name
(Na"aman, “Literarv and Topographical Notes,” ai:–aio, followed bv Guillaume, “Deb-
orah and the Seven Tribes,” i1) is unlikelv, because it disturbs the parallelism (Knauf,
“Deborah’s Language,” 1¬i–1¬:). A reference to the Serdanu (I.C. de Moor, Te Rise of
Yahwism[BETL o1; Louvain 1ooo], 1-:–1-a, with n. i:¬) does not match the parallelism
either; but in addition cf. the cautious remarks regarding the possible identifcation of the
Sea Peoples during that era in E. Noort, Die Seevolker in Palästina (PalAnt 8; Kampen
1ooa), 1o¬–11i.
It might be that this second !R was added as a kind of Viederaufnahme afer the
preceding verse had been inserted between this colon and the preceding one (-:11bA).
m1 reads 7¨* impf. Pi. H7¨ “to tread, rule,” which might be similar to the second
verb TgI uses ¨3P “to break down”; cf. Smelik, Targum of Iudges, a-1–a-i.
Interpreting 17 as a dativus commodi, as suggested bv Lindars, Iudges r–·, i-1; cf.
GK §11oi; IM §1::d.
Reading the prep. 3 as a beth essentiae as suggested bv Lindars, Iudges r–·, i-1; cf.
GK §11os; IM §1::c.
m1 reads: “Ten mav he cause a remnant to have dominion over the nobles—the
people; Yhwh causes me to have dominion over the heroes” (Lindars, Iudges r–·, i-o).
Te translation above is supported bv the preceding H1H*¨D9 (-:11bA) and its possible
occurrence in -:iB and oB.
Regarding the consonants 7¨*; see n. :- above. With regard to the reading 17 instead
of m1 *7, cf. in this vein alreadv ixx
, supported bv TgI with H*O9 D7Þ “before his people”
(Smelik, Targum of Iudges, a-: with n. ¬oo).
Recentlv Knauf (“Deborah’s Language,” 1o¬–18i) argued for a relativelv earlv date
during the 1oth centurv vci. Since linguistic dates mav fuctuate somewhat, it appears
that his most certain historical anchor is the destruction of Megiddo during the 11th
centurv, which excludes this era because of its mention in -:1o. Yet, the fact that Megiddo
itself is not mentioned, but “the waters of Megiddo” mav indicate that Megiddo was laid
waste and thus refers to the 11th centurv. Tus, in mv view, whether it is exactlv the
1oth centurv or somewhat earlier is still open for discussion; the fact remains that we are
dealing with an ancient text.
1oo v.vmo×u ui uoov
victorv song bv an anonvmous poet afer a victorious battle of an appar-
entlv weakened group of people, the H1H* D9.
a. “Curse Meroz!”
Te song contains an additional peculiaritv, which is generallv noticed
but not resolved, that raises serious questions regarding the coherence
of the song in its present form. Whereas those tribes that apparentlv
did not take part in the battle are onlv mildlv rebuked, Meroz is cursed
vehementlv because it did not come to the help of Yhwh along with the
“Curse Meroz” savs [the messenger of] Yhwh, H1H* [¨R7O] ¨OR !1¨O 1¨1R (i:aA)
“curse its inhabitants vehementlv, H*32* ¨1¨R 1¨R (i:aB)
For thev did not come to the aid of Yhwh, H1H* P¨!97 1R3¨R7 *D (i:bA)
to the aid of Yhwh with its heroes.” D*¨13à3 H1H* P¨!97 (i:bB)
Te text of the curse betravs one editorial activitv, namelv in the frst
colon, where we meet the H1H* ¨R7O “messenger of Yhwh,” which manv
scholars rightlv regard as an adaptation of the single occurrence of the
name H1H* which was considered an anthropomorphism in later times
and therefore inappropriate.
Te “people of Yhwh” or the “Yhwh-people”; a dimcult designation, which in
the light of the whole Hebrew Bible generallv is interpreted as “the people of Yhwh,”
interpreting “Yhwh” as a divine name; esp. because of -::c, -. Iudg -:a–- has a clear
parallel in Ps o8 and might be dependent on it (instead of the other wav round, as is ofen
assumed). At the moment, if the proposal for the quite likelv emendation of -::c in BHS
is also accepted, this interpretation of H1H* as a DNis not that obvious. If this text is indeed
reallv old (cf. previous footnote), it must be quite close to the era that mentions the ˇs+sw
yhw", the secondwordbeing a geographical designation, cf. G.W. Ahlström, Vho Vere the
Israelites? (Winona Lake 1o8o), -o–oo; De Moor, Rise of Yahwism, 11o–11i. On the other
hand, the use of H1H* in the rest of the song does not suggest a geographical designation,
but much more a tribal, personal, or even a divine name; cf. especiallv -:i:bA 1R3¨R7 *D
H1H* P¨!97 “for thev did not come to the help of Yhwh.” On the basis of the song alone,
a defnite interpretation is not possible. Te revocalisation H1H* D9 “with Yhwh” in -:11,
1: suggested in De Moor, “Twelve Tribes,” a8¬; idem, Rise of Yahwism, 1ia–1i- n. o8,
should be rejected for it lacks anv textual critical justifcation.
Fritz, Entstehung Israels, 18o–181, regards the whole verse as a Fremdkorper; cf. also
Levin, “Das Alter,” 1io–1:o.
Te messenger in m1 is changed into a prophet in TgI, because it mav have been
the question whether an angel was supposed to have the prerogative to curse; cf. Smelik,
Targumof Iudges, a¬o–a¬1. Moderncommentators tendtodelete ¨R7O; cf. Lindars, Iudges
r–·, i¬:. Contrast, however, Knauf, “Meroz (Iudg. -:i:),” who suggests that H1H* was
iUucis - vico×siuiviu 1o1
Commentators generallv approach Meroz diferentlv from the wav
thev approach the reluctant tribes.
Meroz is supposed to be a Canaanite
citv and for that reason it could be cursed vehementlv and was probablv
even destroved in the afermath of the battle.
But it might be asked
whether this is likelv within the present context of the book: whv no
cursing of the tribes who do not answer to their obligations: In chs. io–
i1 it is obvious that not answering the obligations would lead to severe
measures against such a tribe.
Lindars rightlv points out that the curse of Meroz functions as a con-
trast to the blessing of Ia#el in the next verse and for that reason is formu-
lated in this wav.
However, how should the text be understood: “Using
a little imagination, we can guess that this clan was in a position to cut
of the fight of the main bodv of the enemv and refused to do so.”
might be an option, of course, but the text does not tell us. It onlv indi-
cates that Meroz didnot come to help, whichseems to be ona par withthe
other tribes that failed to join the battle. Te fact that commentators are
reluctant to question this diference between the two entities mav be due
to the fact that thev follow the poet or editor, who hesitated to curse the
later tribes in the same wav that Meroz was cursed.
It cannot be denied,
however, that there is a discrepancv between the curse of Meroz and the
inserted later on, because deleting ¨R7O would implv that some “theme consonants” of
the poem would be lost, which in view of the strong alliteration of the consonants in the
song seems unlikelv (though ¨R7O should probablv be emended to ¨7O; cf. also De Moor,
Rise of Yahwism, 1o8, although retaining the element H1H* as well).
Lindars, Iudges r–·, iao; Brettler, Iudges, ¬i. Note also that H.-I. Zobel, Stammes-
spruch und Geschichte (BZAW o-; Berlin 1oo-), aa–-i, does not discuss the verse at all
but onlv mentions it in passing bv.
Cf., e.g. A. Alt, “Meros,” ZAV -8 (1oao/ a1) iaa–ia¬ = idem, Kleine Schriþen,
Lindars, Iudges r–·, i¬i. Cf. also Fokkelman, “Te Song,” o1o; Knauf, “Meroz (Iudg
Lindars, Iudges r–·, i¬i.
Weiser, “Das Deboralied,” 8-, interpretes the list in -:1a–1¬ as a Anwesenheitsliste
at a cult, where the song is recited, which explains the diferent approach of Meroz and
these four entities. B. Halpern, “Te Resourceful Israelite Historian: Te Song of Deborah
and Israelite Historiographv,” HTR ¬o (1o8:) :¬o–ao1; F.M. Cross, “Reuben, First-Born
of Iacob,” ZAV 1ooSup (1o88) ao–o-, at a8–ao n. ¬, suggest that the tribes in -:1-–
1o did join the battle. Halpern suggests that 17¨* “thev came down” (-:1a) still governs
the description of the tribes in -:1-–1¬. His arguments are not convincing, though.
L.E. Stager, “Archaeologv, Ecologv, and Social Historv: Background Temes to the Song
of Deborah,” in Congress Volume. Ierusalem r;8o (ed. I.A. Emerton; VTSup ao; Leiden
1o88), ii1–i:a, suggested that economical reasons forced the four tribes not to join the
battle, which was appreciated bv the poet in contrast to his reproach of Meroz.
1oi v.vmo×u ui uoov
“rebuke” of the four failing tribes. A closer look at these rebukes demon-
strates that most of the savings applv language borrowed from Gene-
sis ao, whereas the verbs in Iudges - denote settlement, suggesting here
in fact inactivitv.
According to Lindars, scholars have questioned the
integritv of these verses also because thev lack the energv andpoetic qual-
itv of the rest.
All in all, it mav implv that originallv the song rebuked
onlv Meroz but none of the groups or regions that later were considered
to constitute Israel. Te original song referred to names of groups (or
regions) that joined the battle, whereas the names that are listed together
with Deborah and Barak (Issachar; cf. previous paragraph) or that are
rebuked (Reuben, Gilead, Dan, Asher) were added later on during the
editorial process. Finallv the reference to Zebulon and Naphtali (-:18) is
added secondarilv under the infuence of the prose framework.
Te list
with names mav originallv have run as follows:
From Ephraim, with roots in Amalek
Þ7O93 D2¨2 D*¨DR *1O (1aaA)
Behind vou Benjamin, with vour kin, ¨*OO93 ]*O*13 ¨*¨HR (1aaB)
From Machir the commanders went down, D*ÞÞHO 17¨* ¨*DO *1O (1abA)
and from Zebulun those with the marsha’s staf. ¨DO O323 D*D2O ]713!O1 (1abB)
Zobel, Stammesspruch, ao–-1; Halpern, “Resourceful Historian,” :8i–:8o; Globe,
“Te Muster of the Tribes,” 1oo–18a, 1¬a; Lindars, Iudges r–·, i-8; Levin, “Das Alter,”
1i8–1io. Although Lindars states that TgI avoids censure, Reuben is obviouslv mocked
because of his reluctance; cf. Smelik, Targum of Iudges, a-8–aoi, while in the other cases
the bias of failure is absent (ibid., ao:–aoa).
Lindars, Iudges r–·, i-8, states this without anv reference to literature.
Cf. De Vaux, Early History, oo-–ooo; H. Donner, Geschichte des Volkes Israel und
seiner ^achbarn in Grundzugen, (:d ed.; ATD. Erg. a.1; Göttingen iooo), 1:18a–18-
n. ii.
Te fnal two Hebrew words are hard to interpret and several suggestions for
emendation have been made. Te rendering here follows among others I.A. Soggin,
“Amalek und Ephraim, Richter -,1a,” ZDPV o8 (1o8i) -8–oi; idem, Iudges, 88; Halpern,
“Resourceful Israelite Historian,” :8-; idem, Te First Historians, ¬o; comparable trans-
lations bv De Geus, Tribes, ¬o, with n. ai; H. Cazelles, “Déborah (Iud. V 1a), Amaleq
et M


ır,” VT ia (1o¬a) i:-–i:8; Fokkelman, “Te Song,” o1:. Another proposal is
from Craigie, “Further Notes,” :-1–:-i, who proposes to translate D2¨2 “omcers” (fol-
lowed bv Lindars, Iudges r–·, i-i–i-:; Fokkelman, “Te Song,” o1i–o1:). De Moor,
“Twelve Tribes,” a8o, suggests re-interpreting D2 (*)¨2 “princes of fame.” Both continue
to accept the reading of ixx, emending Þ7O93 as ÞO93 “into the vallev.” Te latter emen-
dation is correctlv opposed bv Cazelles, “Déborah”; Fokkelman, “Te Song,” o1:, with
nn. -o–-1. E.A. Knauf, “Zum Text von Ri -,1a,” Bib oa (1o8:) ai8–aio, suggests consid-
ering the words as a wronglv inserted gloss, but that seems a fnal solution which is not
iUucis - vico×siuiviu 1o:
-. Vhere in the “Land”?
Te original list of names is quite short, which mav also afect the ter-
ritorv thev cover. Te ten names in the list of Iudg -:1a–1¬ seem to
refect the pre-Omride kingdom of northern Israel.
Yet, at frst sight
this strophe with four names refects a much smaller territorv, restricted
to Cisjordan.
Tis is mainlv due to the fact that Machir, the onlv “son”
of Manasseh,
is considered to represent Manasseh in the song.
ever, a majoritv of traditions locates Machir in Transjordan, assigning
territorv (Iosh 1::io–:1) and describing Gilead as Machir’s son (Num
io:io; i¬:1; :o:1; 1Chr 1¬:1a–1o). In the list of ten names the identifca-
tion of Machir with Transjordan would have formed a doublet because
of Gilead’s presence and for that reason Machir becomes identifed as
a cisjordanian entitv, representing Manasseh. If the list originallv con-
sisted of four names onlv, it appears that this obstacle no longer exists
and an identifcation with the transjordanian area Gilead is possible.
On the other hand, if the use of the verb 7¨* suggests that thev descended
from Machir, does this implv that Machir was located close to the battle-
feld and fromthere thev descended directlv to the battlefeld, or just that
thev descended from their territorv to come to the battlefeld: Te ref-
erences to Ephraim and Benjamin in -:1aa seem to be governed bv the
verb 7¨* as well (either from-:1:, or—more likelv—from-:1ab), andthev
also have their territories a considerable distance from the battlefeld.
Te general identifcation of Machir with the northern parts of Gilead in
other biblical texts suggests looking for Machir in Transjordan as well.
Te later expansion of the list in order to come to a complete description
Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 1o8–1oo.
Aharoni and Avi-Yonah, MacMillan Atlas, ao–a¬, -o, oi. See also Zobel, Stammes-
spruch, 11i–11-. In L.H. Grollenberg, Atlas van de Bijbel (Amsterdam 1o-a), -8–-o, 11;
o-, 1a; Tubinger Bibelatlas (ed. S. Mittman and G. Schmitt; Stuttgart ioo1), map B IV.-:
large parts of the cisjordanian area, north of Ephraim are assigned to Manasseh, whereas
the Transjordanian area at the same geographical level is assigned to Gilead. On the basis
of Ioshua 1:–i1 an additional map is ofered, which assigns the latter (transjordanian)
area to Gad. In neither case is “Machir” mentioned.
Cf. however also M.P. Graham, “Machir,” ABD a:a-8–aoo.
Cf. I. Hofijzer, “Enige opmerkingen rond het Israëlitische 1i-stammensvsteem,”
^edTT 1a (1o-o) ia1–io:, esp. iai–ia:; Globe, “Te Muster of the Tribes,” 1¬:.
Cf. also Cazelles, “Amaleq et M


ır,” i:-–i:8; Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 1o8
n. -, 1¬- n. :¬.
Halpern, “Resourceful Historian,” :8:–:8a; Craigie, “Further Notes,” :-i n. a;
Fokkelman, “Te Song,” o1i n. a¬.
1oa v.vmo×u ui uoov
of northern Israel confused the identifcation of Machir.
If this identif-
cation of Machir’s territorv is correct, we probablv have to assume that in
this context “Ephraim” designated a larger area or at least an area closer
to the Vallev of Iezreel than the one assigned in Iosh 1o:-–1o.
Whereas Ephraim and Benjamin are not dimcult to identifv,
lun’s location presents some problems.
Because the name is used here as
a territorial designation(cf. 7¨* and]O),
it seems to suggest that Zebulun
is not a tribal name but much more a geographical designation.
Na"aman has argued that the tribal geographv was fexible in contrast to
the boundarv svstem as recorded in, e.g. Ioshua 1:–1o.
Te naming of
Zebulun here could implv the Galilean hill countrv, without intending
to refer to a specifc tribe, but just a specifc area.
But, even when the
name refers solelv to the later territorv of Zebulun, it would still largelv
refer to the hill and mountain region north of the Vallev of Iezreel/plain
of Megiddo, which fts the geographv of the song.
It thus appears that the song refers to four entities, which in all like-
lihood were geographical designations. Taking the scene of action more
or less as the central point of reference, the poet referred to three direc-
tions: to the south (Ephraim and Benjamin); to the east (Machir); and to
Cf., e.g. Zobel, Stammesspruch, 11i–11-, who is looking for arguments to locate
Machir in Cisjordan, even if some arguments, like the Aramaic origin of Machir’s mother,
argue in favour of a Transjordanian location.
Cf. 1Kgs a:8; Iosh io:¬; i1:i1; and in addition De Vaux, Early History, oa- (see also
ibid., -8o).
Cf. however our concluding remark above regarding Machir. Furthermore, though
it is open to discussion whether ]*O*13 has to be considered as a tribal name or also can
be considered as a general (implicit geographical) designation (“son[s] of the south”) as
is more ofen suggested. Tis would not necessarilv implv a territorial designation, which
also is obvious from the fact that ]*O*13 is the onlv name in this strophe, which is not
preceded bv ]O.
Cf. De Hoop, Genesis ,;, -:o–-ao (with bibliographv).
Cf. B. Lindars, “Te Israelite Tribes in Iudges,” in Studies in the Historical Books of
the Old Testament (ed. I.A. Emerton; VTSup :o; Leiden 1o¬o), o-–11i, 1oa–1o-.
Te etvmologv of the name also suggests 73! “to raise up,” HALAT, i-i.
N. Na"aman, Borders and Districts inBiblical Historiography. SevenStudies inBiblical
Geographical Lists (IBSt a; Ierusalem1o8o), 1oa. Tis fexible element might be due to the
dvnamic aspect in the existence of the tribes themselves; cf. Zobel, Stammesspruch, 1i¬–
1i8; De Geus, Tribes, 11i.
Tis could be comparable to the reference to the Ashurite in iSam i:o as a general
reference to those living in Galilee, which might have been intended as a pars pro toto;
cf. Donner, Geschichte, ioo; Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 1oo n. 8. Although it has
been argued that this is historicallv unlikelv (cf. D. Edelman, “Ashurites,” ABD, 1:aoa,
with relevant literature), it seems unlikelv that with the list of areas there is an ethnic
designation included of those who live within one of these areas (i.e., Ephraim).
iUucis - vico×siuiviu 1o-
the north (Zebulun). It might be that Ephraim comprised a larger terri-
torv during that era or an area which was located closer to the Vallev of
Iezreel, but this will remain uncertain. Te territorv which is covered in
this wav bv the list of onlv four names in -:1a refects more or less the ter-
ritorv of the northern kingdom under King Saul.
Te song without its
additional verses is a victorv song, which sings the praises of the people
of Yhwh and of Ia#el’s role especiallv, and it appears to have been created
in the northern realm. In its reworked form it became a song within a
prose framework, that has the tribal organisation as its perspective and
as its goal to mock male leadership, which is especiallv emphasized bv
the whole context of the book (cf. above). It might be signifcant in this
respect that in this war, which was led and won bv a woman, Iudah did
not take part. Tis suggests that the song, as we nowhave it in front of us,
has been transferred to the south and is the product of a southern redac-
tion, which had some interest in mocking the north in order to present a
positive picture of the south. Te specifc era in which this editing of the
song took place “is a diferent storv.”
o. Conclusion
In this essav it has been argued that the “Song of Deborah” is the liter-
arv product of an editor, who attributed the original Song to Deborah
and adapted it in the narrative prose framework (Iudg a:1–-::1). Te
goal was twofold: frst to put the song in the context of northern Israel
where the need for a strong king became more and more obvious, and
second to put it in the tribal framework of Israel constructed as a tribal
societv. Te frst had to legitimize the rise of kingship, particularlv from
the south (Iudah). Te second had to provide a foundation for the more
genealogicallv focussed idea of the origin of Israel’s tribal societv. Te
original song referred to four entities: Ephraim, Benjamin, Makir, and
Zebulon, which might have been geographical references onlv. Tis is in
line with the fndings of De Geus, that there has beena development from
Cf., e.g. iSam i:o, and furthermore Knauf, “Deborah’s Language,” 1o8–1oo.
E. Noort, Een plek om te zijn. Over de theologie van het land aan de hand van Iozua
8.+c–+· (inaugural address Universitv of Groningen: 8.o.1oo:; Kampen 1oo:), i1; idem,
“Te Traditions of Ebal and Gerizim,” 18o; idem, “Ioshua: Te Historv of Reception and
Hermeneutics,” inPast, Present, Future. Te Deuteronomistic History and the Prophets (ed.
I.C. de Moor and H.F. van Roov; OTS aa; Leiden iooo), i1-.
1oo v.vmo×u ui uoov
geographical concepts to genealogicallv oriented lists.
Apparentlv, the
people involved in the war were a group of people of lesser social stand-
ing, living in higher areas of the land, refugees. Tev called themselves D9
H1H*, “people of Yhwh,” which is an unclear expression when read in the
song alone, but might be one of the earliest uses of the name Yhwh. Te
four geographical references indicate a territorv comparable to Saulide
Israel, which might suggest that the era in which the original song arose
was the eleventh or tenth centurv vci.
De Geus, Tribes, 111, 1aa–1-o, 1-o–1-o.
Giv1 Kw.xxii
1. Introduction
“‘Te land’ is a central theme in Hosea’s thought.”
Two observations
sumce to justifv this statement. First, in the book of Hosea ?¨RH “the
land” is found in the verv frst verse afer the superscription, that is,
in Hos 1:i. Tere the land is accused of unfaithfulness to Yhwh bv
committing whoredom. Second, the noun also fgures prominentlv in
the frst verse of the main corpus of Hosea’s prophecies, that is, in a:1.
Tis text amrms that Yhwh is involved in a dispute or lawsuit against the
inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness, no lovaltv and no
knowledge of God in the land.
Given the huge amount of data with respect to the land in Deuteron-
omv and related literature (including Ieremiah), it is hardlv surprising
that research into the topic has mainlv concentrated onthese books.
studv widens the scope of investigation bv analvsing the wav in which the
land functions as a “central theme” in Hosea.
Te investigation will be restricted to texts in which the noun ?¨R
occurs and in which it mav refer to the land of Israel, viz. Hos 1:i;
i:i, io, i:–i-; a:1, :; o::; 1o:1.
Te main reason for choosing this
approach is that some of these texts present remarkable statements with
respect to ?¨RH. In 1:i, for example, one would expect the people of Israel
to be charged with fornication, rather than ?¨RH. Hosea i:i announces
In honour of Prof. Ed Noort, who has spent so much time and energv on “the land.”
P.D. Miller Ir., Sin and Iudgment in the Prophets. A Stylistic and Teological Analysis
(SBLMS i¬; Chico, Ca., 1o8i), 1o.
See, e.g. W. Brueggemann, Te Land. Place as Giþ, Promise, and Challenge in
Biblical Faith (Overtures to Biblical Teologv; London 1o¬8); P. Diepold, Israels Land
(BWANT o-; Stuttgart 1o¬i); W. Zimmerli, “Das ‘Land’ bei den vorexilischen und
frühexilischen Schrifpropheten,” in Das Land Israel in biblischer Zeit. Ierusalem-Sympo-
siumr;8r der Hebräischen Universität und der Georg-August-Universität (ed. G. Strecker;
GTA i-; Göttingen 1o8:), ::–a-.
Te following texts are lef out of consideration: Hos i:-, 1¬; o::; ¬:1o; 11:-, 11;
1i:1o; 1::a–-.
1o8 civ1 xw.xxii
that the people of Iudah and Israel will “go up” (H79) from?¨RH. What do
these words mean and whv are thev part of a description of the blissful
future promised to God’s people: Similar questions can be asked with
respect to the enigmatic ?¨R3 *7 H*P9¨!1 “I will sow her for mvself in
the land” in i:i-. Te meaning of these texts must be clarifed before a
comprehensive analvsis of the topic of the land in Hosea can be carried
out properlv.
Furthermore, the discussion of the exegetical issues relating to the
selected texts will be strictlv svnchronic, for two reasons. First, as manv
contemporarv scholars assume, svnchronic analvsis should precede dia-
chronic analvsis.
Second, there is no consensus with respect to the
authenticitv and date of several of the texts involved. Terefore, a con-
sensus cannot be taken as a point of departure, whereas a balanced dis-
cussion of these matters would exceed the format of this article.
i. Hosea r.:
In Hos 1:i Yhwh orders the prophet to marrv a wife who is inclined to
and to have children of similar disposition, because “the land”
(?¨RH) fornicates and thus forsakes Yhwh. Since the rest of the chapter
proclaims judgment on the people of Israel, ?¨RH is, understandablv,
mostlv taken as a metonvmical reference to the people. More recentlv,
however, some authors have claimed that ?¨RH actuallv refers to the land.
According to Laurie I. Braaten, for example, Yhwh’s bride in Hos 1:i–
i:1- is “the land per se,” whereas the children, who are called on to plead
with their mother in i:a, represent the people of Israel. In support of
this interpretation, he argues that in Hos a–1a “Israel/Ephraim is alwavs
represented bv masculine imagerv” and is never God’s bride. Besides, he
points to the agricultural imagerv applied to the bride in Hosea i. In his
view, it is onlv from i:1o onward that the bride includes Israel.
Cf., e.g. E. Talstra, Oude en nieuwe lezers. Een inleiding in de methoden van uitleg
van het Oude Testament (Ontwerpen i; Kampen iooi), 11-–11o.
On this interpretation of D*111! P2R, see HALOT, i¬o.
L.I. Braaten, “GodSows: Hosea’s LandTeme inthe Book of the Twelve,” inTematic
Treads in the Book of Twelve (ed. P.L. Redditt and A. Schart; BZAW :i-; Berlin ioo:),
1oa–1:i, esp. 1o¬–1o8. Cf. also A.A. Keefe, Voman’s Body and the Social Body in Hosea
(ISOTSup ::8; London ioo1), i1a–i1o; G.A. Yee, “ ‘She Is Not Mv Wife and I Am Not
Her Husband’: A Materialist Analvsis of Hosea 1–i,” BibInt o (ioo1) :a-–:8:, esp. :¬1–
:¬i; E. Ben Zvi, Hosea (FOTL i1A.1; Grand Rapids, Mich., ioo-), ao, o8.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui voox oi uosi. 1oo
Does the unfaithful mother addressed in i:a–1- indeed stand for the
land per se: Te penalties with which the woman is threatened relate to
agricultural production (see esp. i:11, 1a). Tis obviouslv makes sense
if the woman is the land. Nevertheless, there are one or two elements
in the pericope that can hardlv be accounted for if the woman is the
land in contrast with the people. In i:1ob the people themselves are
foregrounded, as those who have made a Baal out of the silver and the
gold given to the woman.
However, this clause might be considered
irrelevant to the issue under discussion, because it uses the third person
plural instead of the third person singular feminine. Te situation is
diferent ini:1-, for there it is evidentlv the womanherself whois charged
with ofering incense (¨OÞ) to the Baals. Yet the land per se can hardlv be
taken as the subject of this action.
In the next part of the chapter, i:1¬b refers to the davs of the woman’s
vouth “as the time when she came up out of Egvpt.” Consequentlv, the
woman here stands for the people of Israel. Tis implies that when i:a–
1- is read in connection with the rest of the chapter, the woman cannot
be the land in contrast with the people. Te metaphor either refers to the
people or it shifs from the land to the people almost unnoticed, so as to
include both.
If this is combined with the observation that the woman
in v. 1- most probablv is not the land per se either, it turns out that the
assumption that the woman in i:a–1- stands for the land per se does not
provide a solid base for the interpretation of ?¨RH in 1:i.
Should one then take the opposite position and state that ?¨RH in
Hos 1:i simplv denotes the people: In support of this view, it could be
argued that in some cases the noun refers to the peoples of the earth.
Tis might implv that it could also be a metonvmical designation of the
people of a specifc land (see esp. iKgs 1o:11–1i; Isa oo:8). If so, is there
a special reason whv this noun is used in Hos 1:i or does it not have a
particular meaning at all: Tis question cannot be answered vet, but it
will be addressed again in the conclusions of this studv.
Cf. HAL, 8a:.
Tis is admitted bv Braaten himself, in “God Sows,” 1o8 n. 1o. Cf. also Keefe,
Voman’s Body, ii.
See Gen o:11–1i; 1o::1; Iosh i::1a; 1Sam 1¬:ao; 1Kgs i:i; Pss :::8; oo:a.
1¬o civ1 xw.xxii
:. Hosea :.:
Te short clause ?¨RH¨]O H791 in Hos i:i presents the interpreter with
three questions: (1) Which land is meant bv ?¨RH: (i) Which meaning
of H79 must be preferred: (:) If H79 implies a movement to another place,
what is the goal of this movement:
According to some exegetes, ?¨RH refers to the land to which Israel has
been exiled and H79 to the people’s return from exile to Canaan.
scholars have correctlv pointed out that H79 is ofen used for travelling
to Canaan, especiallv from Egvpt, but also from other countries such
as Assvria and Babvlonia. It also has this sense in Hos i:1¬, where it is
used in connection with the exodus, while a number of texts outside
Hosea show that “returning from exile” is indeed one of the meanings
of the verb.
Furthermore, a similar interpretation of 1791 fts 133Þ11 at
the beginning of i:i, as ?3Þ ofen occurs in announcements of Israel’s
return from exile.
Nevertheless, a serious problem with this view is that nobodv would
link ?¨RH with a land of exile, unless the context presents clear indi-
cations to that efect. However, the exile has never been mentioned in
Hosea up to i:i. It is not explicitlv referred to in the rest of Hos i, either.
Accordinglv, the notion of the exile must be introduced from other texts
in Hosea (e.g. 8:1:; o::), from the exilic or post-exilic situation in which
the text was supposedlv written down, or fromtexts such as Lev io; Deut
i8; Amos -:i¬. If Hos i:i is read from the perspective of its literarv con-
text, there is no reason whatsoever to assume that ?¨RH refers to another
countrv than Israel or Canaan.
On the basis of this observation, Sellin took ?¨RH¨]O 1791 in i:i as a
prophecv about Israel’s imminent departure from Canaan to the desert.
For overviews of interpretations of the clause, see W. Rudolph, Hosea (KAT 1:.1;
Gütersloh 1ooo), -¬–-8; G.A. Yee, Composition and Tradition in the Book of Hosea. A
Redaction Critical Investigation (SBLDS 1oi; Atlanta, Ga., 1o8¬), ::o–::¬ n. oo.
C. van Gelderen and W.H. Gispen, Het boek Hosea (Commentaar op het Oude
Testament; Kampen 1o-:), :¬; A. Szabo, “Textual Problems in Amos and Hosea,” VT i-
(1o¬-) -oo–-ia, esp. -o8; I. Ieremias, Der Prophet Hosea (ATD ia.1; Göttingen, 1o8:),
:-; B. Renaud, “Osée ii i: #lh mn h"r
s. Essai d’interprétation,” VT :: (1o8:) ao-–-oo,
esp. ao¬–ao8; Ben Zvi, Hosea, -o–-i.
See, e.g. Ier 1o:1-; Ezra i:1, -o; ¬:o; 8:1; Neh 1i:1; iChr :o:i:.
See, e.g. Isa 11:1i; -o:8; Ier :1:8; :i::¬; Ezek 11:1¬; :o:ia; Zech 1o:8, 1o; Ps 1o¬::.
For i:1o, see below, §- on Hos i:i:–i-.
Cf. Rudolph, Hosea, -¬; A.A. Macintosh, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on
Hosea (ICC; Edinburgh 1oo¬), :1.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui voox oi uosi. 1¬1
He linked the clause with i:1¬–i-, which, in his view, describe the
coming change of the desert into a paradise.
Sellin’s interpretation has
not met with much approval. It would, however, agree well with the idea
that in 1:i the land itself is the mother who has forsaken Yhwh. In that
case, i:i would proclaim that the children, the people of Israel, will leave
their mother and thus dissociate themselves from her behaviour (cf. also
i:1o–1¬; 1i:1o).
Sellin’s interpretation obviouslv clears the wav to an attractive view of
Hos i in connection with 1:i. Yet it is problematic. Hosea i:1o savs that
Yhwh will allure the woman (i.e. the people or the land of Israel) so as
to bring her into the desert, whereas i:i suggests that the people will “go
up” bv their own initiative. According to i:1–i the people’s “going up”
will be preceded bv an immense growth in population. In i:1o bringing
the woman to the desert is the frst step bv which Yhwh seeks to deliver
her from her plight. Furthermore, although i:1o–1¬ does not explicitlv
point out that the people will return to Canaan, Sellin’s suggestion that
thev will stav outside Canaan for ever seems improbable (cf. esp. i:io,
Teodoor C. Vriezen rightlv saw that Sellin’s interpretation of ¨]O 1791
?¨RH cannot be maintained. Instead, he suggestedinhis inaugural lecture
delivered at the universitv of Groningen on 1:th December, 1oa1, that
the verb H79 might be translated bv “to come up” or “to shoot up,” just as
in Deut io:ii. Te purport of the clause then would be that on the dav
of God’s sowing (7R9¨!* D1*) the people of Israel will shoot up like plants
from the ground. According to Vriezen, this interpretation agrees with
i:1, which savs that the Israelites shall be as numerous as the sand on the
sea shore, and with “I will sow her for mvself in the land” in i:i-.
Although Vriezen’s proposal has received support fromeminent inter-
preters like WilhelmRudolph and A.A. Macintosh,
it is not totallv con-
vincing. Vriezen’s view presupposes that the audience or the reader was
aware of the etvmological meaning of 7R9¨!*. Tis is doubtful, because
unlike HOH¨ R7 and *O9 R7, the meaning of 7R9¨!* does not plav a part
in Hosea 1 (contrast 1:a–- with 1:o–¬, o; cf. also i:1, :). It is onlv in i:i-
E. Sellin, Das Zwolfprophetenbuch (id and :d ed.; KAT 1i; Leipzig 1oio), 1:-o.
Cf. H.W. Wolf, “Der große Iesreeltag (Hosea i, 1–:): Methodologische Erwägungen
zur Auslegung einer alttestamentlichen Perikope,” EvT 1i (1o-i–1o-:) ¬8–1oa, esp. o¬;
Rudolph, Hosea, -8.
T.C. Vriezen, Hosea. Profeet en cultuur (Groningen 1oa1), 1:, ii.
Rudolph, Hosea, -8; Macintosh, Hosea, :i–::.
1¬i civ1 xw.xxii
that the etvmologv of the name is clearlv taken into account, but this can-
not be readilv assumed for i:i.
However, apart from the etvmological
meaning of 7R9¨!*, there is no indication that could help the audience or
the reader in detecting the specifc meaning attributed to H79 in Vriezen’s
Instead, one had better trv and make the best of the most usual
meaning of H79 with a human subject, that is, “to go up.” Tis was done
bv, for example, Ina Willi-Plein, when she interpreted ?¨RH¨]O 1791 as
a reference to an eschatological pilgrimage. Her interpretation has the
advantage that not onlv H79 but also ?¨RH is taken in its most obvious
sense, namelv, the land of Israel. As for the destination of the pilgrimage,
she inferred from “for great shall be the dav of Iezreel” at the end of
v. i that the pilgrims shall be travelling to Iezreel.
If that is correct,
the objection that the most important element, the destination of the
pilgrimage, is not mentioned in the text, does not applv anv more.
Willi-Plein has rightlv pointed out that 7R9¨!* is the onlv toponvm
in Hos i:1–:. However, the problem with her view is that nothing in
the context hints at a sanctuarv or a cultic festival in Iezreel. In fact, the
context does not prepare the reader for cultic afairs such as a pilgrimage
at all.
A better solution can be found if it is realised that i:i is the positive
counterpart to the prophecv of doomin 1:a–-, just as i:1b and :a reverse
the judgment announced in 1:o and i::b that of 1:o. Te statement that
the dav of Iezreel shall be great obviouslv contrasts with the ominous
prophecv associated with the name of Hosea’s frst child in 1:a–-. More
particularlv, it most probablv announces the opposite of the militarv
defeat situated in the vallev of Iezreel in 1:-, for a “great dav” mav well
be a dav of victorv (cf. “the dav of Midian” in Isa o::). Furthermore,
the people’s gathering together so as to appoint a head for themselves
An alternative view on 7R9¨!* D1* in i:i will be proposed below.
In cases in which H79 means “to shoot up,” this meaning can be inferred from
contextual markers such as references to vegetation; see, e.g. Gen a1:-; Deut io:ii; Isa
-::i; Hos 1o:8; Prov ia::1.
I. Willi-Plein, Vorformen der Schriþexegese innerhalb des Alten Testaments. Unter-
suchungen zum literarischen Verden der auf Amos, Hosea und Micha zuruckgehenden
Bucher im hebräischen Zwolfprophetenbuch (BZAW 1i:; Berlin 1o¬1), 11o–1io.
H.W. Wolf, Dodekapropheton (:d ed.; BKAT 1a.1; Neukirchen-Vluvn 1o¬o), 1::i;
Rudolph, Hosea, -¬. Unlike Hos i:i, texts in which H79 clearlv has the technical meaning
of making a pilgrimage mentionthe destinationor the goal of the journev; see Exod:a:ia;
1Sam 1::; 1o::; 1Kgs 1i:i8; Isa i::; Ier :1:o; Mic a:i; Zech 1a:1o–1¬; Ps 1ii:a.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui voox oi uosi. 1¬:
contrasts with the prophecv that Yhwh will put an end to the kingdom
of Israel in 1:a (cf. also 1Sam 8:a–-; iSam ::i1; 1Chr 11:1; iChr i::i).
In this context, the most natural interpretation of 1791 is that it refers
to the armv of Israel and Iudah moving up to the battlefeld. As can be
inferred from“the dav of Iezreel,” the battle and the resulting victorv shall
take place at Iezreel, just like the defeat predicted in 1:-. Tis agrees with
i:1, which likewise emphasises that salvation (expressed bv “it shall be
said to them ‘children of the living God’ ”) shall take place at the same
place as judgment (expressed bv “it shall be said to them ‘vou are not mv
people’ ”).
If this interpretation is followed, one must explain the striking fact
that Hos i:i does not describe the battle itself. A clue mav be found
in 1:¬. Tis text amrms that Iudah shall be delivered bv Yhwh himself
and not bv means of militarv power. A similar reserve as regards the
beneft of human resources could be implied bv the use of 2R¨ “head”
or “leader” instead of ¨7O “king” in i:i. Apparentlv, 2R¨ does not evoke
the political machinations that are described to the king and his omcials
in, for example, 1:a; -:1, 1o (cf. also 1::1o–11). Mavbe this aloofness
concerning human actions is the reason whv i:i stresses the two peoples’
going together and not the course of the battle.
Summing up, ?¨RH in Hos i:i refers to all places in Canaan where the
people of Israel and Iudah are living. From (]O) all these places thev shall
move up (H79) to Iezreel. Tis moving up shall either coincide with the
gathering together of the people mentioned at the beginning of v. i (?3Þ)
or follow the assemblv in which thev shall appoint a common leader. At
Iezreel thev shall win a great victorv, which shall be remembered as “the
dav of Iezreel.”
Tis interpretation clearlv does not solve all problems, but it fts the
context better than anv other view. As far as the topic of “the land” in
Hosea is concerned, the conclusion must be that i:i does not vield much.
Te verse does not reveal a particular view of the land.
On D1ÞO3, see Rudolph, Hosea, --; on the identitv of the place meant in i:1 and
Iezreel, see I.L. Mavs, Hosea. A Commentary (OTL; London 1ooo), :i; Ieremias, Hosea,
For a similar interpretation of v. i, see C. von Orelli, Die zwolf kleinen Propheten
(Kurzgefaßter Kommentar zu den heiligen Schrifen des Alten und Neuen Testamentes
sowie zu den Apokrvphen -.i; id ed.; München 18oo), 8.
1¬a civ1 xw.xxii
a. Hosea :.:c
In Hos i:ioa Yhwh promises to make a covenant with (D9) the wild
animals for the beneft of “them” (DH7), that is, the Israelites. Bv virtue
of this covenant, the animals shall no longer damage the people’s crops
and threaten their securitv. Tat this is the purpose behind the covenant
can be inferred from the contrast with i:1a and from “I will make them
lie down in safetv” in i:iob. Accordinglv, v. ioa focuses on what shall
happen in the land of Israel. Although the words used allow for a wider
scope, there is no need to interpret themas a prophecv of cosmic peace.
Hosea i:iob adds another element to the picture, namelv, that Yhwh
will “break” (¨32) bows, swords and war (HOH7O),
so that thev shall be
banished from ?¨RH.
Iust like the covenant with the animals in v. ioa,
the end of warfare prophesied in v. iob shall ensure a peaceful life, in
which the people of Israel and their properties shall be secure. Since this
is the purport of v. iob, ?¨RH refers to the land of Israel and not to the
whole earth.
Tis is further confrmed bv the fact that i:iob mirrors
the defeat of Israel’s militarv power announced in 1:- (cf. ¨32 and P2Þ),
which is located in the vallev of Iezreel. Besides, i:iob mav be linked with
1:¬, which also has P2Þ, 3¨H and HOH7O and which concentrates on the
deliverance of Iudah.
In conclusion, Hos i:iob announces a bright future for the land of
Israel. Afer the fulflment of the prophecies of doom of Hos 1 and i:a–
1-, the land shall be once again a safe dwelling place for the people.
-. Hosea :.:+–:·
In Hos i:i:–ia ?¨RH fgures as one of the links of a fgurative chain,
which starts with Yhwh and ends with Iezreel. Te action that everv link
of the chainperforms towards the next one is describedbv verbal forms of
H19 Oal. Tese forms are usuallv related to H19 I “to answer,” which, here,
is supposed to have the more specifc meaning of “reacting willinglv” or
Cf. also G.M. Tucker, “Te Peaceable Kingdom and a Covenant with the Wild
Animals,” in God Vho Creates. Essays in Honor of V. Sibley Towner (ed. W.P. Brown and
S.D. McBride Ir.; Grand Rapids, Mich., iooo), i1-–ii-, esp. iio–ii-.
Te noun mav also denote a tvpe of weapons; cf. HAL, --¬–--8.
On the pregnant construction ]O ¨132R, cf. Wolf, Dodekapropheton, 1:-o; Macin-
tosh, Hosea, 81.
Cf. also Mavs, Hosea, ao–-o.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui voox oi uosi. 1¬-
“hearing a praver.”
H19 mav have a similar meaning in i:1¬ and 1a:o.
In i:i:–ia this interpretation vields a good sense, although one misses
an explicit reference to the praver that is heard or another action that is
reacted upon.
Irrespective of the wav in which H19 is interpreted, Hos i:i:–ia evi-
dentlv proclaims that in the future (cf. R1HH D1*3) Yhwh will initiate and
direct a process in which the heavens, ?¨RH and agricultural products
such as grain, wine, and oil shall all cooperate so as to provide Iezreel
with food and drink. Moreover, the fgure of the chain and its links sug-
gests that the Baals shall no longer be able to disturb the relationship
between Yhwh and his people bv intruding into this process, as if thev
were the agents of rain and fertilitv.
In this connection, ?¨RH, as the
link between the heavens and the agricultural products, most obviouslv
means “the earth” (i.e. the drv land, as distinguished from the heavens
and the seas; cf. Gen 1:1o; Exod io:11) or “the ground.” Yet Iezreel at the
end of v. ia makes it clear that the prophecv aims at the land of Israel in
In the interpretation of ?¨R3 *7 H*P9¨!1 (i:i-aα), two questions must
be answered: (1) To whom or to what does the sumx H- refer: (i) What
is the meaning of the verb 9¨!:
As for the frst question, the sumx of the thirdpersonsingular feminine
mav refer to the mother or Yhwh’s wife mentioned in i:a–1¬, 1o. Instead,
the antecedent mav also be Iezreel, because Iezreel is mentioned at the
end of v. ia, just before H*P9¨!1. Besides, H*P9¨!1 is a pun on the meaning
of Iezreel (i.e. “God sows”), which enhances the connection. Admittedlv,
Iezreel is a bov’s name in Hos 1:a and the vallev (ÞO9) of Iezreel men-
tioned in 1:- is masculine. However, as the name of the town fromwhich
the vallev took its name Iezreel can be referred to bv a feminine sumx (cf.
Iosh 1o:18, ii).
On closer inspection, it does not make much diference who is taken
as the antecedent of H-, the woman mentioned in i:a–1¬, 1o, or Iezreel.
From v. 1¬ onward, the woman referred to bv the third person singular
feminine evidentlv stands for the people of Israel. As regards Iezreel, one
must consider the fact that Hos i:ia–i- reverses the prophecies of doom
Cf., e.g. HAL, 8oo.
For Macintosh, Hosea, 8o–8¬, this is one of the reasons whv he relates the verbal
forms to H19 III “to attend to.”
Cf. Rudolph, Hosea, 8i–8:.
Terefore 7R9¨!* in v. ia cannot be taken as an argument for reading 1H- “him”
instead of H-, as some older scholars proposed (cf. BHS).
1¬o civ1 xw.xxii
that are linked with the names of Hosea’s children in 1:a–o. In 1:a–-
Iezreel svmbolises the fall of the Israelite kingdom and its armv. In i:ia
7R9¨!* fgures as the focus of the agricultural goods givenbv Yhwh. Given
this function of 7R9¨!* in i:ia and its role in 1:ab, -, and i:i, it makes
most sense to interpret 7R9¨!* in i:ia as the name of the town fromwhich
the vallev took its name. Yet it goes without saving that the people of Israel
as a whole shall beneft from the crops that shall be received bv this town
and the related vallev. In other words, 7R9¨!* gets a new sense in that
it now svmbolises the restoration of the people instead of its downfall.
Consequentlv, Israel is in view in i:i-aα, either as Yhwh’s wife or as the
people associated with and svmbolised bv Iezreel.
As for the second question, relating to the meaning of 9¨!, according to
RudolphH*P9¨!1 means that Yhwhwill impregnate or inseminate Israel as
his wife.
Macintosh has correctlv pointed out that 9¨! Oal does not have
such a sense in anv other text, including Ier :1:i¬, which is ofen referred
to inthis context.
Nevertheless, it canbe inferredfromNum-:i8, where
the Niphal of 9¨! is used in connection with a woman’s capabilitv of
conceiving children, that 9¨! Oal might have been used with a similar
meaning. For that reason, sexual connotations cannot be totallv excluded
for H*P9¨!1 in Hos i:i-.
Yet an agricultural interpretation fts the context much better. Not onlv
the most usual meaning of 9¨!, but also the fact that the act of sowing or
inseminating meant bv H*P9¨!1 is related to “the land” or “the ground”
(?¨R3) and the agrarian scope of i:i:–ia argue in favour of such a view
(cf. also Gen io:1i). Te metaphor of sowing then expresses the idea that
Yhwh will grant his people a fxed place where thev can prosper, grow,
and multiplv, just like seed sown in the felds (cf. also Hos i:1).
this shall be for Yhwh’s beneft (*7; cf. *7 in i:i1–ii). Te growth of the
people shall no longer be attributed to the Baals, but Yhwh alone shall be
recognised as the giver of all good things (cf. v. i-bβ and contrast v. 1o).
Obviouslv, v. i-aα, thus interpreted, could be linked with Israel’s
return from exile.
However, as has been pointed out above, the exile
is not explicitlv referred to in Hosea 1 and i. Onlv a fgurative allusion
mav be detected in i:1o, which savs that Yhwh shall bring his wife into
Rudolph, Hosea, 8:; cf. also Keefe, Voman’s Body, i1o–iio; Ben Zvi, Hosea, o8.
Macintosh, Hosea, 8o.
An additional connotation might be that the people will spread over the countrv;
cf. Zech 1o:o.
Tus Ieremias, Hosea, -1.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui voox oi uosi. 1¬¬
the wilderness. Regardless of the decision made about the interpretation
of i:1o, it is clear that within the framework of the fgurative language of
Hosea i, v. i-aα must be linked with vv. 1o–1¬. Te promise that Yhwh
will sow his people ?¨R3 is the counterpart of the announcement that
he will bring them into the wilderness. Tere the relationship between
him and his people shall be restored. Next, he will grant them a fxed
place ?¨R3, which, in this context, can onlv refer to the land of Israel or
In short, ?¨RH in Hos i:i- refers to Canaan as the prosperous land that
must be lef bv the people of Israel (cf. v. 1o), but to which thev shall come
back afer their relationshipwithYhwhshall be restored. Back inthe land,
thev shall again enjov its agricultural goods (vv. i:–ia). Tev shall have a
fxed place there and shall prosper and multiplv for the beneft of Yhwh,
whom thev shall recognise as their God (v. i-). All this is svmbolised
bv the name Iezreel being changed from a token of doom to a token of
o. Hosea ,.r, +
According to Hos a:1aβ, Yhwh is involved in a dispute or lawsuit (3*¨)
with the inhabitants of ?¨RH. Since v. 1aα savs that this statement should
be taken to heart bv the Israelites (7R¨2* *13), these people must be meant
bv “the inhabitants” and ?¨RH must refer to the land of Israel or Canaan.
Te same then applies to ?¨R3 in v. 1b, where the Israelites are accused
of not having faithfulness, lovaltv and knowledge of God.
Hosea a::aα amrms that because of these failures and the crimes
mentioned in v. i, ?¨RH shall mourn (73R) and all who live in it (¨7D
H3 321*) shall languish (7OR). Given that ?¨RH, 32* and 3 clearlv connect
these clauses with v. 1, the most natural interpretation is that ?¨RH stands
for the land of Israel and “all who live in it” for the people dwelling there.
However, the rest of the verse makes it clear that the wild animals, the
birds of the air and the fsh of the sea are also afected bv the disaster.
Some interpreters infer from this part of v. : that the whole of creation
Cf. C. van Leeuwen, Hosea (:d ed.; De Prediking van het Oude Testament; Nijkerk
1o8a), ¬1, ¬o; Macintosh, Hosea, oo.
Te preposition 3 introducing H72H P*H “the wild animals” and D*O2H ²19 “the birds
of the air” should most probablv be translated bv “along with.” For this sense of 3, see esp.
Ier a1:1-; iChr ii:1. For another view(i.e. 3-essentiae), see E. Ienni, Die Präposition Beth
(vol. 1 of Die hebräischen Präpositionen; Stuttgart 1ooi), ¬o–8o, 88–8o.
1¬8 civ1 xw.xxii
is involved and, accordinglv, that ?¨RH in :aα refers to the earth.
Evidentlv, the expressions used to denote the animals are capable of a
universal interpretation (cf. Gen 1:io, i8; o:i), but in this context that is
a less probable option. Te expressions are set phrases and their scope
mav be limited to animals living in the land of Israel.
Tis even applies
to D*H *à7 “the fsh of the sea,” for D* is also used for large lakes such as the
Sea of Galilee.
Hosea a:: is ofentakenas a descriptionof anexisting situationandnot
as an announcement of imminent disaster. Te main argument for this
view is that the verse opens with ]D¨79 “that is whv” just like a:1:; o:-;
1::o, instead of ]D7 “therefore” as in i:8, 11; 1:::.
If v. : indeed describes
the actual deplorable situation of the land of Israel, it produces a plausible
explanation of the fact that ?¨RH is mentioned twice in v. 1.
In that
case, the Israelites are emphaticallv characterised as “the inhabitants of
the land” and thev are blamed for the absence of faithfulness, lovaltv and
knowledge of God “in the land,” because the land is sufering so much.
Unfortunatelv, the argument taken from ]D¨79 is not compelling.
Isaiah :o:1o and Amos ::i show that if ]D¨79 is followed bv an imperfect
just as in Hos a::, it mav refer to future conditions.
If that is the case
here, the reason whv ?¨RH “the land” fgures so prominentlv in Hos a:1
cannot be deduced from a:1–:, but must be sought elsewhere.
¬. Hosea ;.+
Hosea o:: prophesies that the people of the Northern Kingdom(cf. 7R¨2*
in o:1 and D*¨DR in o::b) shall not remain in Yhwh’s land (H1H* ?¨R).
As the land that is inhabited bv the Israelites and that is, moreover,
contrasted with Egvpt and Assvria in v. :b, H1H* ?¨R evidentlv stands
for the land of Israel or Canaan. Te reason whv the people shall not
be allowed to remain living there is revealed in v. 1. Te Israelites have
M. DeRoche, “Te Reversal of Creation in Hosea,” VT :1 (1o81) aoo–aoo; C.I. Bos-
ma, “Creation in Ieopardv: A Warning to Priests (Hosea a:1–:),” CTI :a (1ooo) oa–11o,
esp. 1oa–1o8.
Cf. also Ezek :8:1o–io, where the same phrases refer to animals hit in connection
with an earthquake in Israel.
HAL, :o-.
Tus, e.g. Rudolph, Hosea, 1o1.
Note that it is even mentioned three times, if the reading of ixx is followed in v. i.
Cf. Macintosh, Hosea, 1:i.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui voox oi uosi. 1¬o
plaved the whore (H1!) in that thev have departed unfaithfullv from their
God (¨*H7R 79O). Apparentlv, this misbehaviour manifested itself in the
people considering food and drink as gifs received fromBaal in pavment
of their adulterv with him (v. 1b).
Te phrase H1H* ?¨R occurs onlv here in the Old Testament.
It testifes
to the idea that Yhwh, as the rightful owner, lavs down the law in the
land of Israel. Besides, it reminds the Israelites of their privilege of being
allowed to live with Yhwh in his land.
Furthermore, it evidentlv is
meant to refute the assumption that Baal were the ruler of the land.
In Canaan, it is Yhwh who provides his people with food and drink.
Terefore, he should be honoured as the giver. If the Israelites refuse to
do so, he has everv right to drive them out of his land.
8. Hosea rc.r
In Hos 1o:1bβ 13¨R “his land” unmistakablv stands for the land of Israel,
as 7R¨2* is introduced as the subject of the verse in 1a. Afer o::, which
emphasises that the land is Yhwh’s, it mav surprise one that the land is
now referred to as Israel’s. Apparentlv, the conviction expressed in o::
does not preclude this wav of speaking.
Hosea 1o:1bβ savs that the more (D) Israel’s land prospered (31O)
the more the Israelites embellished (3O* Hiphil) the pillars (P133O). Te
preceding parallel line, 1bα, amrms that the prolifc (3¨) production of
the vine (i.e. Israel) inducedthe people tobe likewise prolifc (H3¨ Hiphil)
with respect to (7) altars; that is, bv multiplving them or bv making more
Verse i points out that bv acting in this wav, the people give
evidence of hvpocrisv or falseness (D37 Þ7H).
Terefore, thev must bear
A number of texts have ?¨R with a sumx referring to Yhwh; see, e.g. 1Kgs 8::o; Isa
1a:i-; Ier i:¬; Ezek :o:-; :8:1o; Ioel i:18; Ps 8-:i.
Note that the land is denoted as Yhwh’s house (P*3) in Hos o:1- and probablv also
in 8:1; see further Lev i-:i:.
Cf. Mavs, Hosea, 1io. For a discussion of the question as to whether the phrase
H1H* ?¨R implies that other gods are the owners of other lands, see H. Utzschneider,
Hosea Prophet vor dem Ende. Zum Verhältnis von Geschichte und Institution in der
alttestamentlichen Prophetie (OBO :1; Freiburg 1o8o), 18o–18o.
Cf. Rudolph, Hosea, 1o1; Macintosh, Hosea, :8¬.
On the interpretation of this phrase, see esp. Ieremias, Hosea, 1io; cf. also Macin-
tosh, Hosea, :88–:8o; Ben Zvi, Hosea, io8.
18o civ1 xw.xxii
their guilt (D2R). Yhwh himself
will “break the neck” (²¨9) of their
altars and destrov their pillars.
Te text does not sav that altars, sacrifces and pillars were used to
worship Baal. Te point at issue has been brought out nicelv bv Iames
L. Mavs: “Tis co-ordination of welfare and cult shows that Israel saw a
functional relation between the two; the development of cultic sanctuar-
ies was simplv turning part of the proft back into the business. Altars and
pillars were the holv machinerv which produced the prosperitv.”
policv, however, shall fail. Abundant cultic activities are not the appro-
priate response to the blessings which Yhwh bestows upon his people,
nor are thev the appropriate means to secure the prosperitv of Israel’s
land for the future.
o. Conclusions
(1) In the book of Hosea, ?¨RH denotes the land of Israel (also known as
Canaan) in 1:i; i:i, io, i-; a:1; o::; 1o:1. Most probablv, it also does so in
a::. In i:i:–ia, the meaning “the earth” or “the ground” is the frst to be
considered. Nonetheless, these verses as a whole also focus on the land
of Israel. In all these cases, the prophecies aim primarilv at the territorv
of the Northern Kingdom, but not to the exclusion of Iudah.
(i) As the land inhabited bv the people of Israel, it can be referred to
as “his” (i.e. Israel’s) “land” (1o:1). Within the scope of this studv, it
is more interesting that in one of the texts involved, namelv o::, it is
called “Yhwh’s land.” As the owner and ruler of the land, Yhwh must be
recognised and honoured as the giver of all its products. Tis should not
be done bv multiplving altars and sacrifces or embellishing holv pillars,
as if the prosperitv of the land could be guaranteed bv those means (1o:1–
i). Since the Israelites have committed adulterv bv attributing the goods
of the land to Yhwh’s competitor, the Canaanite god Baal, thev must leave
the land Yhwh had given them (i:1o; o::).
It is almost unanimouslv assumed that R1H in v. ib aims at Yhwh, although he is not
explicitlv mentioned in the context.
Mavs, Hosea, 1:o. Mavs adds that this was “a tvpicallv Canaanite understanding of
cult.” Note that a similar aloofness as regards sacrifces made for Yhwh can be found in
Hos -:o; o:o; 8:11–1:; cf. also ::a on the disappearance of pillars.
Cf. above, in §a the discussion of i:io.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui voox oi uosi. 181
(:) In retrospect, the fact that o:: refers to the land as “Yhwh’s land”
makes it clear whv the Israelites are addressed as “the inhabitants of
the land” in a:: and whv the same verse emphasises that there is no
faithfulness, lovaltv of knowledge of God “in the land.” Tese defects
(and the crimes mentioned in a:i) are the more serious, because thev
occur in the land that belongs to Yhwh. Moreover, if the Israelites in this
land fail to live in accordance with his will, Yhwh’s land must bear the
consequences and sufer (a::).
(a) Similarlv, “Yhwh’s land” in o:: sheds light on the enigmatic “the land
has fornicated” in 1:i.
Of course, the land in a geographical sense can
onlv fornicate insofar as the people living in it do so (cf. also a:1o–1-).
Yet the text attributes fornication to the land, because one of the most
ofensive aspects of this sin is that it is committed in Yhwh’s land. In other
words, it is done in the verv place in which the Israelites are expected to
live with him, as faithfullv as a wife in her husband’s house (cf. o:1-).
(-) Restoration of the proper relationship between Yhwh, the land and
the people of Israel will onlv be possible bv the people leaving the land
(i:1o–1¬; o::–-).
Onlv afer this judgment has materialised, Yhwh will
grant his people a fxed place in his land and secure their prosperitv and
safetv (i:io, i:–i-).
Note that the charge of fornication (H1!) recurs just before o::, viz. in o:1.
If this view is correct, it makes other attempts to account for ?¨RH as the subject of
H1! superfuous, e.g. that the metaphor requires a feminine subject, that ?¨RH refers to the
Canaanite lifestvle of Israel, or that it is related to the Canaanite idea of the land as the
mother goddess; cf., e.g. Van Gelderen, Hosea, ia; Ieremias, Hosea, i¬–i8.
On Hos o::–-, see further G. Kwakkel, “Exile in Hosea o::–o: Where and for What
Purpose:,” in Exile and Sufering. A Selection of Papers Read at the ·cth Anniversary
Meeting of the Old Testament Society of South Africa OTVSA/OTSSA Pretoria August
:cc/ (ed. B. Becking and D. Human; OtSt [-o]; Leiden iooo), 1i:–1a-.
P.1vicx D. Miiiiv
God’s provision of place for individual and communitv is one of the
dominant themes of the Psalter. It is found in the manv metaphors
depicting the freeing of persons who crv out because thev are caught
or bound and in the language about refuge and stronghold, a rock on
which to stand frm, a broad place free of the restraints of the enemv’s
net, snare, trap, or rock. For the communitv, that place of freedom and
openness is—as elsewhere in Scripture—especiallv manifest in the gif of
land. Te provision of land is a matter that comes to the fore in various
wavs in the Psalms but especiallv in two contexts. As is to be expected,
one of those is where the storv of Israel is to the fore. Te other is where
the teaching or instructional dimension of the Psalms is emphasized.
1. Te Story of the Land
Te so-called “historical psalms” (Pss ¬8, 1o-, 1oo, 1:-, 1:o), not surpris-
inglv, provide the primarv contexts in which Israel’s storv is recapitulated
in the Psalms. It is evident fromanv reading of themthat God’s gif of the
landtothe people is the central if not climactic moment of that storv, even
when it is mentioned onlv briefv in the midst of or at the end of a more
extended and detailed narrative of things on the wav to the land or afer
its settlement.
Psalm ¬8 recapitulates the storv at some length with heavv focus on
the various wavs the people tested the Lord and sinned against the God
who had delivered them. Te culmination of that part of the storv does
not come until deeplv into the psalm:
-a And he brought them to his holv hill,
to the mountain that his right hand had won.
It is a privilege and a pleasure to dedicate this essav to Ed Noort, friend and
colleague, whose infectious spirit and wonderful mind have given me so much through
the vears.
18a v.1vicx u. miiiiv
-- He drove out nations before them;
he apportioned them for a possession
and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
Te storv does not end at this point because, as the following verses sav
forthrightlv, the people continued to test the Most High God, bv not
observing God’s decrees, setting up high places, and provoking the anger
and jealousv of God with idols. So the Lord moved against them again
until fnallv choosing Iudah and providing a shepherd, David, to guide
the people Israel, the Lord’s inheritance (Ps ¬8:¬o). Te point of the storv
is given at the beginning of the psalm, where its pedagogical function is
made clear and the echoes of Deuteronomv are frst heard: “Give ear, O
mv people, to mv teaching (*P¨1P)” (Ps ¬8:1). As prescribed in Deuteron-
omv a, o, and elsewhere, the storv is now told to the children that thev
might not “forget the works of the Lord but keep his commandments”
(Ps ¬8:¬) and not be like their ancestors, “a stubbornand rebellious gener-
ation” (Ps ¬8:8).
At that point, the storv begins (Ps ¬8:o), and it is clearlv
a storv of the stubborn and rebellious generations who have gone before
and have not lived in the land as thev were supposed to, that is, bv observ-
ing the decrees (Ps ¬8:-o), keeping God’s covenant and walking accord-
ing to “his law” (Ps ¬8:1o; cf. Ps ¬8::1, --–-8). Te land is not the subject
of extended storv-telling. It is the covenantal gif of God, and it is to be
the space of covenantal obedience, living bv the decrees and teaching of
the one who has provided the gif. For all future generations, this is the
lesson to be learned from this storv.
Te role of the land as gif and locus of obedience to the laws and
teaching of the Lord is carried forward in the other historical psalms.
Both Psalms 1o- and 1oo retell the Lord’s storv with Israel, good and
bad, as acts of praise (Pss 1o-:1–:; 1oo:1–i). What follows in Psalm 1o-
is a description of “the Lord our God,” heavilv if not entirelv in terms
of the covenant/promise with Abraham and confrmed with Iacob/Israel
(Ps 1o-:¬–11). Te Lord’s part of that covenant is verv specifc: “To
vou I will give the land of Canaan as vour portion for an inheritance”
(Ps 1o-:11). All that follows is the storv of the Lord’s care of the people
on the wav to the realization of the covenantal gif—slaverv in Egvpt, the
Te language “stubborn and rebellious” (H¨O1 ¨¨1O) so clearlv refects Deuteronomv
i1, where the expression occurs twice (Deut i1:18, io; cf. Ier -:i:), that anv reader
familiar with Deuteronomic law would see here the depiction of the earlier generations
as stubborn and rebellious sons, to be punished as was the case with a stubborn and
rebellious son in the Deuteronomic Code.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui vs.ims 18-
exodus, and wandering in the wilderness (Ps 1o-:1i–a1). Te conclusion
of that storv is as follows:
ai For he remembered his holv promise,
and Abraham, his servant.
a: So he brought his people out with jov,
his chosen ones with singing.
aa He gave them the lands of the nations,
and thev took possession of the wealth of the peoples,
a- Tat thev might keep his statutes
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord.
Several aspects of this ending are to be noted:
(a) As a kind of inclusio to underscore what the psalm is about, the
opening notes are reiterated in the conclusion: the jov of the people in
musical praise (Ps 1o-:i, a:) and the promise to Abraham (Ps 1o-:¬–11,
(b) Te character of the land as gif and blessing for Israel is refected in
the verse identifving the “lands of the nations” as the Lord’s gif, which
included “the wealth of the peoples” (Ps 1o-:aa).
(c) Te psalm reaches its “So what” point in the fnal verse where one
learns that the whole purpose of this promise-gif, that is, the land and
wealth, is that the people “might keep his statutes and observe his laws”
(Ps 1o-:a-).
Troughout the Psalms, the land is God’s gif with a double function.
Te one highlighted here in the climax of the psalm and reiterated
frequentlv elsewhere is the land as the place where Israel lives as God’s
people, that is, bv following the Lord’s teaching. Te land is where the
Lord’s wav is to be demonstrated and kept. Te other function of this
gif—the land as the place of God’s blessing—is also present in the
conclusion to Psalm 1o- with its reference to the wealth of the nations
coming to Israel when it receives God’s gif of the land.
Te storv of the Lord and Israel has been told in Psalm 1o- from
one perspective, indeed the frst and primarv angle for all future readers
and singers of the Psalms, that is, in terms of God’s goodness to and
care of Israel. Tat is not the whole storv, however, as we have alreadv
learned from Psalm ¬8. So it continues in Psalm 1oo, this time with the
18o v.1vicx u. miiiiv
heavv weight on Israel’s sins against the Lord from the beginning but
continuing on down to the present. Te psalm is a kind of confession
of sin as the grounds for petitioning God’s help in the present (Ps 1oo:a–
-, a¬). Emblematic of that sin is the peoples’ rejection of the pleasant
land that was God’s gif to them (Ps 1oo:ia; cf. Numbers 1a). Here the
land is problem, not gif, the context in which the people tested the
Lord and evoked God’s ferce anger. Te storv of the land in this psalm
is about its being desecrated and “polluted” (Ps 1oo::8) bv the people’s
disobedience and capitulation to the wavs and gods of the peoples in the
Tere is an anticipatorv note sounded at the beginning of Psalm 1oo,
which does not mention the land, but in light of its double function
mentioned above is relevant for the psalmic vision of the land:
Happv are those who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times (v. :)
Te verse sets the wav of OD2O (“justice”) and HÞ73 (“righteousness”)
both as a response to the “mightv doings of the Lord” and as a source
of blessing or happiness. It anticipates the storv that follows bv showing
the proper wav of the people on the land: observing (¨O2) justice and
doing (H29) righteousness at all times. Te opening of the psalm is thus
a response to the conclusion of Psalm 1o-, which has identifed the land
as the place for the people to “keep his statutes” and “observe his laws.”
In both psalms the resonances with Deut a:a–8 are evident.
- See, just as the Lord mv God has charged me, I now teach vou statutes and
ordinances for vou to observe in the land that vou are about to enter and
o You must observe them diligentlv, for this will show vour wisdom and
discernment to the peoples, who, when thev hear all these statutes, will
sav, “Surelv this great nation is a wise and discerning people!”
¬ For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is
whenever we call to him:
8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this
entire law that I am setting before vou todav:
Te laws/statutes/ordinances taught to Israel are “just” (D*Þ*73) in the
eves of the nations, but Israel’s “wisdom and discernment” is found not
onlv in the character of the laws Moses has taught the people. It is evident
when thev “observe them diligentlv” (DP*291 DP¨O21), that is, “observe
them and do them.” Psalm 1oo is about the breakdown of this heritage,
the absence of such justice and righteousness in the land. Te outcome,
1ui i.×u i× 1ui vs.ims 18¬
as the psalm makes clear, is the loss of the land and the dependence of
the people once more on the compassion and steadfast love of the Lord
(v. a-), to which the psalm appeals in its last verses.
Te use of the word *¨2R (= “happv”) in verse :, meaning something
along the lines of “to be envied,” lets the reader know that this wav on
the land has rich results.
If the land becomes the place where the “just”
laws of the Lord are obeved “all the time,” it will also show its character
as the place where life is good and to be envied. Tere is a kind of serious
pragmatismhere in the recognition that justice and righteousness are not
simplv virtues expounded through the statutes and ordinances, the laws
given and taught. Following these laws in fact works better and produces
positive results, a life that is to be envied. Te verse thus ties together
the two functions identifed here as central to the land as context in the
Psalms: the place of gifed and efected blessing and the place where the
wav of the Lord is kept.
As in the case of Psalms 1o- and 1oo, Psalms 1:-–1:o tell the storv of
the land as praise of God. Once again the gif of the land is the climax
of that storv and the ground of praise, both psalms using the similar
And gave their land as a heritage,
a heritage to his people Israel. (Ps 1:-:1i)
And gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
a heritage to his servant Israel,
for his steadfast love endures forever. (Ps 1:o:i1–ii)
While the historical psalms tell the storv in detail and set the gif of the
land as the culmination of the Lord’s actions in behalf of Israel, there
are other places where that storv is in view, even if onlv with a passing
sentence. In Psalm aa:i–a [1–:], the Deuteronomic perspective is once
more in the air:
i We have heard with our ears, O God,
our ancestors have told us,
For this interpretation of the word *¨2R, see W. Ianzen, “"aˇsrè in the Old Testament,”
HTR -8 (1oo-) i1-–iio, esp. ii-.
Note for example, the language of Leslie Allen: “Te death of Egvpt’s frstborn . . .
serves as a preface tothe highlight of Yahweh’s demonstrationof power for Israel invv. 1o–
1i, which makes use of 1:o:1¬–ii: his defeat of massive opposition and his consequent
presentation of the land to his own people as pledge of the covenant.” Of Ps 1:o:1¬–ii, he
writes: “It brings to a climax this catalogue of themes of grace” (Psalms rcr–r·c, [WBC,
i1; Waco 1o8:], ii¬, i:a).
188 v.1vicx u. miiiiv
what deed vou performed in their davs,
in the davs of old:
: vou with vour own hand dispossessed nations,
but them vou planted;
vou amicted the peoples,
but them vou set free;
a for not bv their own sword did thev gain possession (2¨*) of the land,
nor did their own arm give them victorv;
but vour right hand, and vour arm,
and the light of vour countenance,
for vou delighted in them.
As the psalm tells the storv of God’s marvelous deed of old, the example
is not just an example; it is the point of the whole covenant and God’s
dealings with Israel. What is underscored so ofen in these psalms, that
the land is God’s covenantal gif to Israel, is here articulated in a diferent
wav. Te people are reminded of their reliance on God and their inabilitv
to acquire the land apart fromGod’s power. As Moses tells the people not
to think that their hand and their arm are the primarv factors in their
acquisition of wealth but it is God who gives the power to get wealth
(Deut 8:11–io), so now Psalm aa remembers that it was not the hand
and sword of the Israelites that possessed the land. Rather it was God’s
power and God’s arm.
Finallv, one mav mention the passage in Psalm o8:8–11 [¬–1o], which
echoes Iudg -:a–- and the depiction of the divine warrior marching with
the people through the wilderness to bring them into the land.
1o Rain in abundance, O God, vou showered abroad;
vou restored vour heritage when it languished;
11 vour fock found a dwelling in it;
in vour goodness, O God, vou provided for the needv.
Te land, here H7H1, “heritage,” is characterized bv the goodness of God,
evident in two features, abundant rain to make the land rich and pro-
ductive and God’s care for the needv. Te land is thus God’s provision for
human need. Te term *19 is broad in meaning ranging from the explic-
itlv poor in substance to those who are humble and righteous. Tat the
It is possible, of course, that the antecedent of the pronoun “them” is the nations
rather than the ancestors, but the focus is on the “deed” of giving the land.
Here also it is possible to read the verb DH72P1 as referring to the Lord sending out
the peoples mentioned in the preceding colon.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui vs.ims 18o
former are in viewhere, even if not exclusivelv, is evident fromthe earlier
identifcation of God as “father of orphans and protector of widows . . .
[who] gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to
prosperitv” (Ps o8:o–¬ [-–o]).
Te land is dwelling for God’s “fock,” who
are the *19 in all senses of the term.
i. To Possess the Land—Psalm +/
Te immediatelv preceding psalms raise the question of how it is one
comes into possession of the land and who it is who possesses or inherits
it. Both those questions are central to Psalm :¬, a wisdom psalm that
picks up and reiterates the themes from the introductorv Psalm 1 but
does so nowin the context of the land and its possession. Te wavs of the
righteous and of the wicked are to the fore, but those wavs are examined
in relation to the poor and needv and to the land. Te “land” (?¨R) is
referred to explicitlv six times in the psalm (Ps :¬::, o, 11, ii, io, :a),
and it is signaled also inthe use of H7H1, “portion” or “heritage” (Ps :¬:18).
Five of the six uses of ?¨R, “land” are in the idiom?¨R 2¨*, “possess (the)
land,” and the sixth instance refers to dwelling (]D2) in the land (Ps :¬::).
Te psalmhas been characterized as speaking to those “who look to God
for legal justice that will secure their claim to land”
With an initial assurance to the reader not to worrv too much about
the wicked, and—especiallv—not to be envious of them, the psalmist sets
the basic tone and content of the psalm in verse ::
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell (]D2) in the land and eat in securitv.
As Ellen Davis has noted, “this poet uses images designed to evoke a
farmer’s experience in order to create a solid foundation for hope.”
of the most vivid of those images is in the fnal clause of this verse, which
literallv is “graze on faith/faithfulness,” showing the “concreteness of the
psalmist’s vision, oferedto people whose foodsupplv is injeopardv.”
Te term P1¨21D is a hapax legomenon whose meaning is uncertain. It mav come
from the root ¨2D and have to do with prosperitv, but it also mav refect some kind of
skill, possiblv music.
E. Davis, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture. An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (New
York ioo8), 11o.
Ibid., 11-.
Ibid., 11o.
1oo v.1vicx u. miiiiv
second line mav be understood as an outcome of the frst.
In this psalm,
the focus is not on the initial acquisition of the land or on its particular
defnition. It is on the land as land, God’s covenantal gif as the place for
livelv and fourishing existence, in this case attentive to the disparitv in
people’s access to its benefts. Again in resonance with the Deuteronomic
perspective, doing good is the kev to continued and fruitful life in the
land, the specifcs of which continue to be elaborated in the psalm as
thev are throughout Deuteronomv.
Tat involves especiallv reiteration
of the need to trust in the Lord and not worrv about the wicked. Te two
are brought together, once more in specifc reference to the land as both
gif and place for doing the Lord’s wav in verse o as the readers are given
reason not to be angrv or vexed at the wicked:
For the wicked shall be cut of,
but those who wait for the Lord—thev shall possess the land.
While the psalmist assures the reader that the wicked shall fade and
wither (Ps :¬:i) or be cut of, he or she also elaborates the corollarv of
that, with respect to the land. Te issue is the provision of life, and that
is dependent upon the opposite of wickedness, that is, doing good, and
upon existing in a constant trust in the Lord. To “wait for the Lord” is not
a matter of patience, though that mav be required. It is a confdence and
hope in the Lord’s involvement to “make vour vindication shine like the
light, and the justice of vour cause like the noondav” (Ps :¬:o). Both the
activitv of doing good and the stance of hopeful trust are characteristics
that determine whether or not the land that provides the context for
fruitful existence is vours. All of this is then reiterated near the end of
the psalm in verse :a:
Wait for the Lord, and keep to his wav,
and he will exalt vou to possess the land;
when the wicked are cut of, vou will see it.
Afer a reiteration of the demise of the wicked in verse 1o, the anonvmous
reader is then identifed in verse 11:
See the discussion in I. Goldingav, Psalms. Volume r. Psalms r–,r (Baker Commen-
tarv on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms; Grand Rapids iooo): “Te second colon
then continues the imperatives, but thev represent the kind of imperatives that indicate
the result of a previous imperative and thus ofer a concealed promise. If vou trust in
Yhwh and do good, then vou will dwell in the land and feed on truthfulness” (-io).
On “good” as a “favorite theme in Deuteronomv,” see W. Brueggemann, “Te
Kervgma of the Deuteronomistic Historian,” Int ii (1oo8) :oo.
1ui i.×u i× 1ui vs.ims 1o1
But the weak (D*119) shall possess the land,
and delight themselves in abundant prosperitv.
As in Psalmo8, the dwellers on the land are the poor and the weak. Tese
are also those who wait on the Lord. Te term 119 encompasses the poor
and the faithful who are amicted bv the deeds of the wicked. Te “vou”
who will possess the land are the weak and needv, the vulnerable,
throughout the psalm are called to hope and trust in the Lord. Tat such
persons are also therefore among the righteous and not the wicked is
confrmed in verses i1–ii:
i1 Te wicked borrow and do not pav back,
but the righteous are generous and keep giving;
ii For those blessed bv the Lord shall inherit the land,
but those cursed bv him shall be cut of.
Tere is a svnonvmitv between the righteous and those who are blessed
bv the Lord.
Teir blessing is a consequence of their conduct but also
the gif of possessing the land and enjoving its “abundant prosperitv.” In
verses 18–1o, the same message is sounded:
18 Te Lord knows the davs of the blameless,
and their heritage/portion will abide forever;
1o thev are not put to shame in evil times,
in the davs of famine thev have abundance.
And fnallv, in verse io, the psalmist savs unequivocallv that it is the
righteous who shall “possess the land and live in it forever.”
While the citation is specifcallv of verse 11, Iesus’ beatitude in Mat-
thew -:-—“Blessed are the meek, for thev will inherit the earth (or
“land”),”—incorporates all of these references to the possession or inher-
itance of the land and the ones who receive it and enjov it as God’s gif.
Te term 119 in verse 11, best captures the combination of lowlv/weak
and trustful/righteous, but the whole of the psalm makes the point and
functions as Old Testament commentarv on the beatitude.
So Ellen Davis, who sees the termD*119 here as referring to those who are “trapped in
a killing svstem that still appears to be strong though it has alreadv far outreached itself ”
(Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture, 11¬).
Te term “righteous” here and elsewhere in the psalm, e.g. Ps :¬:1i, 1o, is probablv
a technical term “denoting those who have legal rights, even if thev are currentlv being
violated” (Davis, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture, 11¬).
Te wisdom character of this psalm is underscored when it is compared with Prov
i:io–ii, which is a kind of summarv of Psalm :¬:
1oi v.1vicx u. miiiiv
:. How to Live in the Land: Te Fear of the Lord
What Psalm :¬ elaborates in some detail and with much repetition is
recognized bv the psalmist elsewhere especiallv in the diferent wavs the
land is understood to be the locale, the space, of those who fear the Lord.
Te fear of the Lord is one of the characteristic modes of expressing the
frst commandment in positive form.
It embodies all that is meant bv
that commandment. Much like Deuteronomv, the Psalms assume in all
their manv forms that there is a tight connection between the provision
of the land and its blessings and the full and unreserved obedience to
the Giver of the land.
It is almost impossible to speak about the land
without reference to its being the place where the worship of the Lord is at
the center. In that respect, the diferent allusions to the land in the Psalms
are encapsulations of the larger storv of the movement of the people from
Egvpt to the land bv wav of Sinai. Several instances make that evident.
Nowhere is the direct connection between enjovment of the land and
its fruitfulness more evident than in Psalm i-:1i–1a:
1i Who are thev that fear the Lord:
He will teach them the wav that thev should choose.
1: Tev will abide in prosperitv (áåè),
and their children shall possess the land.
1a Te friendship (ãåñ) of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes his covenant known to them.
io Terefore walk in the wav of the good,
and keep to the paths of the just.
i1 For the upright will abide (ïëù) in the land,
and the innocent will remain in it;
i1 but the wicked will be cut of from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
See, e.g. Deut o:1:–1-: “Te Lord vour God vou shall fear; him vou shall serve,
and bv his name alone vou shall swear. Do not follow other gods, anv of the gods of the
peoples who are all around vou, because the Lord vour God who is present with vou, is a
jealous God.” For an extended discussion of the fear of the Lord as a Deuteronomic and
Psalmic form of the First Commandment in positive mode, see P.D. Miller, “Te Psalms
as a Meditation on the First Commandment”, in P.D. Miller, Te Way of the Lord: Essays
in Biblical Teology (FAT:o; Tübingen iooa and Grand Rapids ioo¬), o1–1ii, esp. o-–o8
and 1i1–1ii.
For the intimate connections between Deuteronomv and Psalms, see the essav cited
in the previous note and P.D. Miller, “Deuteronomv and Psalms: Evoking a Biblical
Conversation,” JBL 118 (1ooo) :–18 (Reprinted in P.D. Miller, Israelite Religion and
Biblical Teology [ISOTSup io¬; Shemeld: iooo], :18–::o, esp. ::a–::-).
1ui i.×u i× 1ui vs.ims 1o:
Te Deuteronomic themes around the land are all here.
Te good
that comes to those who fear the Lord and follow in God’s teaching is
found on the land. It is the source of life. Tere is no good apart from it.
Te prosperitv that is the fruit of the land, however, is wrapped in and
dependent upon a wav of life. Tat is, there is a kind of pragmatism that
is alwavs a part of the law or teaching of Scripture. Living bv the teaching
and counsel of the Lord is the wav things work. Indeed the “teaching”
found in the commandments together with the statutes and ordinances
of the legal codes of the Pentateuch is intended to showhowpeople live so
that the land is protected (e.g. Exod i::1o–1:; Lev i-:1–¬; Deut io:1o–
io) and all mav enjov its good (e.g. Exod ii:a–-; Deuteronomv 1-).
While the covenant is an obligation, it is also an arrangement, a mutual
agreement of mutual beneft. Te covenant is the social process bv which
the people mav live well on the land.
Te communal praver for help in Psalm 8- is bracketed bv a focus on
the land, suggesting that the problemrefected in the lament of verses -–8
[a–¬] has to do with the failure of the land to vield its expected produce.
One interpreter has suggested on the basis of the last part of the psalm
that “the crisis concerns the failure of the harvest.”
Generallv ascribed
to the (earlv) post-exilic period, the psalm begins bv recalling the earlier
favor and delight of the Lord in “vour land” and “vour people” (Ps 8-:i–:
[1–i]) as the basis for pleading for restoration once again (Ps 8-:-–8 [a–
¬]). In the fnal part of the psalm the announcement of salvation is given
in indirect speech:
o Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak of well-being
to his people, to his faithful ones,
and let them not turn back to follv.
1o Surelv his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so that honor (713D) mav dwell in our land.
For discussion of the theologv of the land in the book of Deuteronomv, see P.D. Mil-
ler, Deuteronomy (Interpretation; Louisville 1ooo), aa–-i.
One should recognize that it is not simplv statutes dealing with protecting the land
or providing for the weak that refect the law’s pragmatic character. Tat is true of all the
legal material. As a whole, it is to guide the people as to how thev can live in freedom and
enjov good.
I. Goldingav, Psalms. Volume :. Psalms ,:–8; (Baker Commentarv on the Old
Testament Wisdom and Psalms; Grand Rapids ioo¬), oo-.
While most interpreters assume that 713D refers to the glorv of God, Iohn Goldingav
makes a persuasive case for seeing the term here as more likelv referring to “the people’s
1oa v.1vicx u. miiiiv
11 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and well-being kiss.
1i Faithfulness from the earth springs up;
and righteousness from the heavens looks down.
1: Te Lord also gives good things (31O),
and our land vields its produce.
1a Righteousness goes before him,
as he sets his feet on the wav.
It is in some sense a picture of the peaceable kingdom, an idvllic descrip-
tion of a place where truth, justice, and prosperitv endure. As verse 1o
tells us, the pre-condition of such an existence is the fear of the Lord, and
the place or context for its manifestation is “our land.” Where life is lived
in the fear of the Lord, prosperitv or well-being break forth; the Lord will
give good things (31O), which means concretelv that the land will vield
its increase, its produce. Te psalm is a powerful description, ultimatelv
eschatological in its force, of a place where God’s salvation is enacted and
where all the virtues of love andfaithfulness, justice andrighteousness are
manifest. Tis vision, however, is not fnallv other-worldlv. Te space for
sucha life is “our land,” andthe visionis not complete apart fromthe good
that God gives from the land to provide for human existence. Tis king-
dom is real, and its primarv features are love, peace, faithfulness, righ-
teousness, and the fruits of the land that make life possible and good.
Asimilar note is sounded inanother communal praver, Psalmoo. Here
also the psalmrefers to a time when the Lord became angrv at the people
(cf. Ps 8-:a [:]), inthis instance manifest inpart bv tearing the earthopen.
“Yuwu has made a wilderness of the land he had given as his ‘good’ land,
and he has pressed his own people as hard as once Pharaoh had done (cf.
Exod 1:1a; o:o; Deut io:o) and almost destroved them.”
As in the case
success and good reputation (cf. Ps 8a:11 [1i]) that are presentlv lose in their calamitv”
(Psalms, i:o1i).
Te tense reference of verses 11–1i [1o–11] is unclear.
It is possible that “righteousness” is the subject of the verb in the second colon of
this verse.
Te repetition of D172 (Ps 8-:o, 11 [1o, 1i]) and its ambiguitv of meaning refected
in the diferent translation possibilities are pointers to this combination of the human
virtues and the human needs in the psalm’s announcement of salvation. Note the trans-
lation “peace” in the New Revised Standard Version, while the New Iewish Publication
Societv Translation uses “well-being” in both instances.
E. Zenger in E. Zenger and F.-L. Hossfeld, Psalms : (Hermeneia; Minneapolis ioo-),
1ui i.×u i× 1ui vs.ims 1o-
of Psalm8-, the wav out is through the fear of the Lord. Here the petition
is for a banner for “those who fear vou.” Safetv and deliverance is found
for land and people who fear the Lord.
Te fear of the Lord is prerequisite for enjovment of the land in Pss
o1:o [-] and 11i:1–i. In the former, there is no explicit reference to
“land,” but God’s gif is “the possession of those who fear vour name,”
clearlv implving the land. Possession of the land is a topos for God’s
salvifc action, an answer to praver.
Te focus of Psalm 11i is on the
blessing that comes to those who fear the Lord, who “delight” inthe Lord’s
commandments (see Ps 1:i). Tat blessing is couched entirelv in terms
of the land, which will provide wealth and riches and honor—“Teir
descendants will be mightv in the land”—but that beneft is not simplv
acquisition. It carries with it an obligation, here spoken of generallv
as “righteousness” but more specifcallv in terms of readiness to lend
and conducting their afairs justlv (Ps 11i:-). Once again the pragmatic
dimension of this wav of living on the land is indicated as the text savs
that “it goes well/good (31O)” with the one or ones who share the blessing
that comes to them from the land in an equitable fashion.
Finallv, a word about the king and the land. Tere is a clear connection
between the king’s righteous reign and the fourishing of the land. Tis
is expressed both in terms of the king’s active care of the poor and the
needv and with regard to his resistance to the wicked in the land. Psalm
¬i includes among the several pravers for blessings upon the king the
1o Mav there be abundance of grain in the land,
at the top of the mountains;
mav its fruit wave like the Lebanon;
and mav people blossom in the cities like the grass of the land.
Tis praver, however, and all the pravers of the psalm for prosperitv,
dominion, tribute, and homage are tied to the one responsibilitv of the
king signaled in the psalm:
Cf. Psalm 1o, especiallv vv. -–o, which are permeated with language having to do
with the land and its allotment. As I have suggested elsewhere the language of these verses
“mav be metaphorical for the richness of life received from God or thev mav refect
the actual receipt of a rich and valuable allotment of land” (“Annotations,” Te Harper
Collins Study Bible [New York 1oo:], 811). Tese, of course, do not have to be either/or
interpretations, as this essav has sought to suggest. Tere is no reference to fear of the
Lord in Psalm 1o, but its substance is there in the opening verses, where the psalmist
claims such a stance but more in the language of the Decalogue: “I sav to the Lord, ‘You
are mv Lord, mv good; there is none above/beside vou’.”
1oo v.1vicx u. miiiiv
1i For (*D) he delivers the needv who crv out,
the weak and those who have no helper.
1: He cares about the poor and the needv,
and saves the lives of the needv.
1a From oppression and violence he redeems their life
and precious is their blood in his sight.
Psalma1:1–: echoes other psalms discussed above as it claims that those
who consider the poor are to be envied, regarded as happv in the land.
Psalm ¬i hangs all the blessings of the land and life on the land upon the
activitv of the king to “save the lives of the needv.”
Ten in Psalm1o1 we
hear the voice of the king amrming in no uncertain terms that his favor
will be upon the faithful in the land, and he will destrov the wicked in the
land (Ps 1o1:o–8).
Te voices of the psalmists do not ofer a diferent perspective on
the land than what one fnds elsewhere in Scripture. On the contrarv,
thev echo Deuteronomv and the Deuteronomistic Historv but also manv
other parts of the Old Testament. Indeed, the subject confrms once
more Martin Luther’s description of the Psalter as a kind of little Bible,
one that encapsulates all the central themes and concerns of Scripture
within its particular genres and through its various voices. Te land is
God’s gif, the place for life in its abundance. It is also and at the same
time the space in which the people of God follow the wav of the Lord.
Tese two dimensions are so intertwined thev cannot even be conceived
of apart from one another. Te Psalms remind us also that, as Robert
Frost put it in his poem “Te Gif Outright”: “Te deed of gif was manv
deeds of war.” So Israel then and now, but not Israel alone, lives with
the incongruitv of how possession of the gif and its benefts can take
place without dispossession of the land from others whose existence is
also dependent upon it. Te Psalms remind us that ownership and use
of the land are communal and not individual, that our life and death on
the land are with our neighbor, and that it is “vour land” (Ps 8-:i; cf. Lev
i-:i:) and not just “our land” (Ps 8-:1o,1:).
Tere is a wav to receive
the gif and to enjov it. It is the Lord’s wav, the wav of the righteous.
See the more extended discussion of the responsibilitv of the king for the poor in
P.D. Miller, “Te Ruler in Zion and the Hope of the Poor: Psalms o–1o in the Context of
the Psalter”, in Miller, Te Vay of the Lord, 1o¬–1¬¬.
Cf. Psalm 1i-::.
Miller, Deuteronomy, -i.
Emxi Iiimiv KiUii×
1. Introduction
In the introduction of his inaugural lecture (Groningen 1oo:), Ed Noort
sketches the outlines of a theologv of the land in several traditions of
Israel. He mentions the primeval historv and the patriarchs, Deuteron-
omv and the Deuteronomistic Historv, the prophets, Ezra and Nehemia,
and some texts of Oumran. A varietv of refections on the land appears.
In this list, a specifc tvpe of texts is, however, not mentioned, namelv
Wisdom literature. Tis is as such not surprising, since the land does not
plav an important role in it. However, the motif of the gif of the land is
used in Wisdom literature a few times. In Prov i:i1–ii; 1o::o and Psalm
:¬, it is said that the righteous will inherit the land and live in it (for-
ever) unlike the wicked.
Te gif of the land here belongs to the persons
who live an upright life. At one place, the use of this motif is rather strik-
ing: in Iob o:ia, Iob complains that the land is given into the hand of the
wicked. Here, a broad tradition is radicallv broken. Whereas the gif of
the land has alwavs somehow been related to a correct religious and/or
ethical behaviour in the Hebrew Bible, Iob claims that, on the contrarv,
the wicked receive the land.
It is the purpose of this contribution to consider the use of the motif
of the gif of the land in the above mentioned wisdom texts. Te termi-
nologv and the overtone of the occurrence of this motif in Deuteronomv
and the Deuteronomistic Historv can be heard in these texts. Terefore,
I frst give a short survev of how Deuteronomi(sti)c texts deal with the
I congratulate Ed Noort on his o-th birthdav. I am most grateful for his stimulating
teaching and enjoved working with him. His attention for the theological aspect within
the discipline of the exegesis of the Hebrew Bible inspired me in particular.
E. Noort, Een plek om te zijn (Kampen 1oo:), a–-.
Psalm :¬ is generallv held as a wisdom psalm. See for the motif “land for the
righteous” also Matt -:-.
1o8 imxi iiimiv xiUii×
gif of the land as a background. Subsequentlv, the motif of the gif of the
land in Wisdom literature is elaborated upon in more detail.
i. Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History
Te gif of the land is an important topic in Deuteronomv and the
Deuteronomistic Historv. Tev depict the land as a gif and relate it to the
law. Ashif in the theologv of the land can be observed between Deutero-
nomic and Deuteronomistic passages. Was the gif of the land uncondi-
tional, it becomes conditional.
Te Israelites are urged to observe God’s
statutes in the land thev will enter to posses it. Tis will result in welfare
for them in the land.
Subsequentlv, the gif of the land is connected to
the lovaltv to God and to observing his commandments. Te Israelites
are plucked of the land, if thev forget the covenant with God and do
not keep his commandments, statutes, and judgements.
With this, the
author(s)/redactor(s) of the Deuteronomistic Historv are able to explain
the catastrophe of the exile. Not observing the law is the reason for loos-
ing the gif of the land and being dispelled from it.
It is not the intention here to describe all details of the motif of the
gif of the land in the light of the complex genesis of Deuteronomv and
the Deuteronomistic Historv. What, however, attracts the attention as a
background for use of this motif in Wisdom literature is the fact that
the gif of the land is conditional in the concept of the Deuteronomistic
Te land belongs to those who live an upright live. In the con-
cepts of Deuteronomv and the Deuteronomistic Historv, being upright
means: not leaving the covenant, not forgetting God, and following his
commandments, statutes, and judgements. In reverse, the gif of the land
is taken awav fromthose who do not. So, there is a relation between a per-
son’s actions and what befalls them. Te Deuteronomistic Historv applies
this pattern to a collective. Te Israelites lost the land thev had inherited
because thev did not meet the conditions for possessing it: thev forgot
the covenant and failed to observe God’s law.
L. Perlitt, “Motive und Sichten der Landtheologie imDeuteronomium,” inDas Land
Israel in biblischer Zeit. Ierusalem-Symposiumr;8r (ed. G. Strecker; Göttingen 1o8:), -:–
E.g. Deut -:::; o:1, :; :i:a¬.
E.g. Deuteronomv a.
I am aware of the fact that diferent redactions can be distinguished within the
Deuteronomistic Historv.
vivivs.i oi . mo1ii 1oo
:. Te Giþ of the Land in Visdom Literature
Te use of the motif of the gifof the land inWisdomliterature reminds of
its occurrence in Deuteronom(ist)ic texts. Te verb 2¨* returns, and the
gif of the land is conditional. Te possession of the land depends on a
person’s wav of living. However, the motif functions in a diferent context
in Wisdomliterature. Deuteronom(ist)ic texts deal with the Israelites and
the gif of the land of Israel. Tis collective context fades awav when the
motif of the gif of the land occurs in wisdom texts. Wisdom literature
particularlv concentrates on the situation of the individual. It instructs
about how to live a good life. Te basic assumption of these texts is
that there is a relation between wav of living and fate of the individual.
Upright behaviour results in prosperitv. Evildoers sufer misfortune. Te
ownership of the land is one of the wavs in which this pattern manifests
itself. Te righteous will inherit the land, but the wicked will be cut
of from it. When some wisdom texts start to question the tenabilitv
of the “theological” concept that understands the fate of human beings
according to such a pattern, a reversal of the motif of the gif of the land
canbe found. Iob states that the land is giveninto the hand of the wicked.
:.1. Proverbs
Te instruction in Proverbs i ends with the motif of the gif of the land.
Tis chapter incites the son to take wisdomseriouslv. He should open his
heart for understanding in order to fnd the knowledge of God. God gives
wisdom and protects the blameless. Tis divine wisdom saves from the
wav of evil. Evildoers forsake the path of righteousness. For this reason,
the son should keep the paths of the just. Subsequentlv, the motif of the
gif of the land is used in order to give a reason for living an upright wav
of life and to motivate the son doing it:
i:i1 For the upright will dwell in the land
and the blameless will remain in it,
Iob o:ia.
Prov i:i1–ii. Plöger thinks that Prov i:i1–ii is an addition (O. Plöger, Spruche
Salomos, Proverbia [BKAT 1¬; Neukirchen 1o8a], i8). Fox savs that these verses were
probablv preexisting proverbs. He is of the opinion that we can abstract a topos from
them, namelv: “the righteous will abide in the land, and the wicked will be cut of fromit”
(M.V. Fox, Proverbs r–;. A^ewTranslation with Introduction and Commentary [AB 18A;
New York iooo], 1i:).
ioo imxi iiimiv xiUii×
i:ii but the wicked will be cut of from the land
and the unfaithful will be rooted
out of it.
Te fates of the upright and the wicked are contrasted. Tev difer in who
will inhabit the land in the long run. Te upright will dwell in it, but the
wicked will be cut of from it. Te land has not to be given vet. Te verbs
¨P* and P¨D depict as a starting point that both the righteous and the
wicked live in the land. Te fact that one group remains in it and the
other is removed from it shows that the land is a gif.
Several scholars are of the opinion that the land refers to the land of
Te righteous of the nation will remain in it, while the wicked
are sent in exile. However, it is the question to what extent this wisdom
instruction refers to the historical situation around the exile. Te exile is
a national punishment, whereas Prov i:i1–ii distinguishes individuals
within the nation and promises themappropriate fates.
Te instruction
of Proverbs i is not about the persistence of a nation in a land.
addresses the individual persons and teaches them what helps to live a
good life and showing them the result of such a good life.
To what does the expression “the upright will dwell in the land but the
wicked will be cut of from it’ ” refer: I include the other occurrence of
the motif of the gif of the land in Proverbs into it, namelv Prov 1o::o:
1o::o Te righteous will not totter for ever,
but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
Tis statement is the part of a collection of savings about wise and foolish,
righteous and wicked behaviour; and the results of it. Tese proverbs
deal with individual cases. Te verses before Prov 1o::o describe the
fate of the righteous and the wicked. Te righteous will live longer and
meet divine protection; the wicked will die prematurelv.
In Prov 1o::o,
“dwelling in the land” stands parallel to “not tottering for ever.” Te
Reading the verb HO1 cf. BHS.
Plöger, Spruche Salomos, i8; R.N. Whvbrav, Proverbs (NCB; London 1ooa), -¬;
W. McKane, Proverbs. A ^ew Approach (OTL; London 1o¬o), i88.
Cf. Fox, Proverbs, 1ia. He also excludes the prophetic concept of the “righteous
remnant” and the idea that the remnant of Israel will be purifed and become righteous.
See also Fox, Proverbs, 1ia.
See also E.W. Tuinstra, Spreuken. Deel r (De Prediking van het Oude Testament;
Baarn 1ooo), 8¬.
Prov 1o:i¬–io.
vivivs.i oi . mo1ii io1
expression O1O¨73 is used parallel to “not meeting trouble (9¨)” and
God’s protecting presence.
So, dwelling in the land has to do with not
meeting trouble; living a life inprosperitv. Fox translates ?¨R with“earth.”
In his comment on Prov i:i1, he takes ?¨R as “this world” and explains
the motif in the wav that the righteous will live (long) and the wicked
will die (prematurelv).
Te life-span is indeed an important topic when
the fates of the righteous and the wicked are mentioned. Te context
of Prov 1o::o shows this clearlv. However, the meaning of “dwelling in
the land” can be sketched broader than this diference in life-span. In
Prov 1:::, the person who listens to Wisdom will dwell securelv without
disaster. As “dwelling in the land” also stands parallel to “not tottering,” it
expresses a secure, prosperous future without trouble and under divine
At this stand, the “dwelling in the land” detached itself
from the reference to the land of Israel. It puts into words a future of
welfare for each individual who lives an upright life; the wicked will
lack this perspective. Te land is the place where the righteous can stav
undisturbed. Taking ?¨R as “this world” might be a step too far. In mv
judgement, the motif of the gif of the land in Proverbs has not focused
on the earth being allocated to the righteous and taken awav from the
wicked vet. It concentrates more on the destinv of individual persons. If
thev live a righteous life inspired bv wisdom teachings, thev mav count
on a prosperous future.
:.i. Psalm +/
Psalm :¬ expresses an encouragement of the faithful. It urges the faithful
not to envv the (apparent) prosperitv of the wicked. Tev should remain
trusting in God and doing well.
Te foundation of this encouragement
is a nearbv future situation. Te psalmist assures that the evildoers will
soon perish and the faithful will inherit the land. Tis prospect should
keep the righteous going. Te gif of the land is an important motif in
Psalm :¬. It is introduced in the Psalm with an imperative:
:¬::b dwell in the land . . .
Ps 1o:o; 1o:8.
Fox, Proverbs, 1i:.
R.E. Murphv, Proverbs (WBC ii; Nashville 1oo8), 1¬.
C.A.I. Vos, “A Hermeneutical-Homiletic Reading of Psalm :¬ with Reference to
H.I.C. Pieterse’s Homiletics,” Verbum et Ecclesia i: (iooi) -¬¬–-¬8.
ioi imxi iiimiv xiUii×
Subsequentlv, the Psalmholds out the prospective of the inheritance of
the land to the faithful four times. Te faithful are characterised in these
verses as those who wait for the Lord, the meek, those who God blesses,
and the righteous. Teir part is as follows:
:¬:o, 11, ii, io thev will inherit the land
Finallv, the Psalmmentions the gifof the land inthe context of anappeal:
:¬::a Wait for the Lord
and observe his wavs,
and he will exalt vou to inherit the land,
vou will see when the wicked are cut of.
Te imperative of ]D2 in Ps :¬::b is striking. In Ps :¬::, the faithful are
urged to trust in the Lord, do well, and dwell in the land, whereas the land
is promised as a future inheritance later on in the Psalm. Two possible
interpretations of this imperative are found among scholars: either it is
a warning for not leaving the land which would be a sign of dislovaltv
to the Lord, who has given the land, or it can be read as a promise.
Bothinterpretations might plav a role inthis imperative. If dwelling inthe
land refers to living an undisturbed life without trouble and under divine
the imperative can be understood as urging the faithful to
live their current life in a righteous wav and with remaining trust in God.
Tis is what is said in Ps :¬::a: trust the Lord and do well. Te faithful
should go on living their life in a good wav, because it will be rewarded;
the land will be theirs as the Psalm elaborates upon further on in it. So,
the imperative of ]D2 suggests the faithful to persevere in their current
life and have some patience.
Te psalmist repeats, as alreadv indicated, several times that the faith-
ful will inherit the land (Ps :¬:o, 11, ii, io, :a). He uses the verb 2¨*.
Tis verb is frequentlv used in Deuteronomv in order to express that the
Israelites will inherit the land. In Psalm :¬, the prospect of inheriting
the land is each time contrasted with the fate of the wicked. Tev will be
cut of and perish (Ps :¬:o–1o, ii, i8, :a).
Te faithful are those who
F.L. Hossfeld and E. Zenger, Die Psalmen. Psalm r–·c (NEchtB; Würzburg 1oo:),
i:a. Zenger favours the second one.
See §:.1.
Brueggemann points out that the term 2¨* is most at home in the world of large
land conquest and the term P¨D is most used in terms of cultic exclusion or militarv
vivivs.i oi . mo1ii io:
are generous and give. Tev speak wisdom and justice. God’s law is in
their hearts (Ps :¬:i1, :o–:1). Te wicked, on the other hand, do evil.
Tev harm the upright and the week. Tev borrow and do not pav back
(Ps :¬:1i, 1a, i1, :i). Te gif of the land belongs to the faithful, the righ-
teous. Tis heritage will be for ever (Ps :¬:18, i¬–io). It is the result of
their upright wav of life. With this, the Psalm assumes clearlv that there
is a relation between a person’s behaviour and what befalls them. It is the
basis for the Psalm’s appeal to keep trusting in God and observing his
laws. For this wav of life will be rewarded later on. Tis wav of thinking
implies that human beings have their fate in their own hand. Te attitude
in life determines one’s future. Even though God is not alwavs mentioned
explicitlv, he is supposed to be the acting one behind this order. Te Lord
gives vouthe desires of vour heart, he protects the righteous, and he exalts
them to inherit the land (Ps :¬:a, ::–:a, ao; see also Ps :¬:-–o, i:–ia).
Te righteous receive the gif of the land out of God’s hand.
Yet, the issue of Psalm :¬ is the span of time for this being realised.
Apparentlv, some righteous sufer andsome wickedprosper. Tis mav ask
for resentment among the righteous, because their legitimate share seems
to be withheld from them (Ps :¬:1, ¬). It mav even cause doubt on God’s
righteous acting, because he does not give the land to the righteous as he
should do. Te Psalm solves this problem bv claiming that the prosperitv
of the wicked is onlv temporarv. It uses the expression O9O 719 for this.
“A little while” and the wicked will be no more (Ps :¬:1o; see also Ps :¬:i:
H¨HO [“soon”]). As a true wisdom teacher, the psalmist underlines this
claim with his own observations. In the course of his life, he has not seen
the righteous been forsaken (Ps :¬:i-–io; see also Ps :¬::-–:o). Tus,
the faithful should not loose their trust in God’s righteousness because of
the current prosperitv of the wicked. God will do justice to the righteous
according to the Psalm. Te wicked will be cut of and the righteous will
soon inherit the land.
In which situation has this Psalm functioned: Who are the faithful
and which land is meant: Some scholars think that the land refers to the
land of Israel.
Others are of the opinion that the Psalm refers to poor
defeat. According to him, these terms together make the possession of the land of
enormous moment, both as threat and as possibilitv. See W. Brueggemann, “Psalm :¬:
Confict of Interpretation,” inOf Prophet’s Visions and the VisdomSages. Essays in Honour
of R. ^orman Vhybray on His Seventieth Birthday (ed. A. McKav and D.I.A. Clines;
ISOTSup 1oi; Shemeld 1oo:), i::.
A.A. Anderson, Introduction and Psalms r–/: (vol. 1 of Te Book of Psalms; NCB;
London 1o¬i), io:; M.I. Dahood, Psalms I (AB 1o; Garden Citv 1ooo), ii8.
ioa imxi iiimiv xiUii×
and those without propertv.
As in Proverbs, it is also questionable to
what extent the motif of the gif of the land refers to the land of Israel
in Psalm :¬. Te Psalm does not struggle with a national issue, but deals
with the experience of individuals that in their eves, the fate of human
beings does not alwavs correspond with the wav thev have been living. A
righteous person is poor despite his good wav of life. An evildoer has a
lot of possessions or a fourishing familv. In mv opinion, the Psalm is not
exclusivelv meant as an encouragement for the poor and those without
propertv. It addresses all who live an upright life, but meet trouble or
disaster in their life. Teir welfare mav be delaved, but it will certainlv
come according to Psalm :¬.
Brueggemann discusses whether Psalm :¬ is to be read as “ideol-
ogv” either legitimating inequalitv, or simplv establishing “deeds-conse-
quence” as a wav of understanding public moral. Or as a promise and
guarantee of land for those who have no means and therefore as a crit-
ical assault on present land arrangements. According to Brueggemann,
both readings are possible. His point is that a person’s context infu-
ences the wav of reading of the Psalm. He suggests that the resignation
of Ooheleth marks a transition that eventuated in the second, utopian
reading of Psalm :¬, just as it destroved the frst, ideological reading.
Even though it is true the context infuences a person’s wav of reading,
I am not sure whether Psalm :¬ allows an ideological reading. Te call
on the faithful not to envv the wicked because their success is onlv tem-
porallv indicates that the realitv in societv was not conformable to the
“theological” concept. As the Psalm encourages the righteous sufering,
it also warns the wicked who now prosper and enjov without care. Psalm
:¬ is inspired bv a similar issue as Ooheleth and the book of Iob. All
face that dailv practice does not ft with the theoretical worldview that
supposes that there is a relation between a person’s behaviour and what
befalls them. Tev deal with this issue each in their own wav. Te line of
thought in Psalm :¬ can also be found in the book of Iob.
At a certain
point in the debate between Iob and his friends, Iob brings up as sufering
righteous that he is not the onlv in which a person’s fate does not corre-
spond with one’s wav of life. Iob states that there are evildoers who live a
Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen, iio; K. Sevbold, Die Psalmen (HAT 1.1-; Tübingen
1ooo), 1-o.
Brueggemann, “Psalm :¬,” i:8–i-a.
See also Brueggemann, “Psalm :¬,” i:o; Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen, iio; Vos,
“Hermeneutical-Homiletic Reading,” -¬8.
vivivs.i oi . mo1ii io-
prosperous life without calamitv or setbacks.
Whereas Iob’s friends state
that the wicked enjov their delight onlv for a short time and die a prema-
ture death,
thev do not perish according to Iob’s observation. Psalm :¬
should be read in this context. It acknowledges Iob’s observations as a
fact, but solves the tension between doctrine and realitv more in the line
of Iob’s friends; the sufering righteous will soon receive their legitimate
:.:. Te Reversal of the Motif. Iob ;.:,
Te book of Iob questions the worldview that assumes that God rewards
an innocent person with prosperitv and punishes a wicked one with
misfortune. Iob o plavs an important role in order to accomplish this.
questions this worldview in an indirect wav. In this speech of Iob, Iob
holds to his conviction that he is blameless. Since he sufers severelv
even though he is righteous, Iob can onlv conclude that God is acting
unjustlv. For God should have given him prosperitv instead of sufering.
Tis leads to a heavv charge against God that is carefullv prepared in the
course of Iob o. Iob starts pointing out God’s power in the creation. God’s
action is marvellous and unfathomable for human beings at the same
Iob concludes from these attributes that God has the abilitv to
abuse his divine position; nobodv can stop him or call him to account.
Subsequentlv, Iob introduces his own situation of blameless sufering.
It proves that God perverts justice. A reversal of the motif of the gif of
the land serves to express this accusation against God.
o:ii It is all one; therefore I sav:
He destrovs both the blameless and the wicked.
o:ia Te land (earth) is given into the hand of the wicked.
He covers the faces of its judges.
If it is not he, who then is it:
Iob i1:¬–1-.
Iob 18:-; io:-.
E.I. Keulen, God-Talk in the Book of Iob. A Biblical Teological and Systematic Te-
ological Study into the Book of Iob and Its Relevance for the Issue of Teodicy (Groningen
ioo¬), i1–aa. See also E. Noort, Een duister duel. Over de theologie van het boek Iob (Serie
Kamper Cahiers -o; Kampen 1o8o), 1a–1o.
Iob o:-–11.
Iob o:1i–1:.
Iob o:i1.
For this reading see ixx.
ioo imxi iiimiv xiUii×
God acts unjustlv in Iob’s eves treating the blameless and the wicked
equallv: God destrovs them both. Tis is morallv wrong if God’s actions
are understood to be in accordance with the view that there is a relation
between a person’s actions and what befalls them.
Te charge even
increases. Iob states that God favours the wicked above the blameless. A
broad traditionis turned around inIob’s mouth. Te land alwavs devolves
upon those who live an upright wav of life and it is taken awav from the
wicked and those who do not observe the law. But the land is given into
the handof the wickedaccording toIob’s observations. Godis not directlv
the subject of the passive H1P1. However, this unjust situation can onlv
serve as an accusation against God. From o:iib onwards, Iob depicts
God’s unrighteous actions. God treats the blameless and the wicked
equallv; he mocks at the despair of the innocent when a food brings
sudden death.
Tis charging of God continues in o:ia. Te defnition
of the land fades awav in Iob o. In o:iab, Iob states that God clouds the
judgement of the judges. Te sumx H- of H*OD2 in o:iab refers to ?¨R
in o:iaa. Tis remark breathes the atmosphere of a statement about the
general situation in the world. Terefore, ?¨R tends more to the meaning
“earth” in Iob o:ia. God has given the earth in the power of the wicked
and sabotages justice on it. Te rhetorical question in o:iac makes the
reader face the seriousness of this charge. It can onlv be God.
Te charge in o:ii–ia, of which the motif of the gif of the land is a
part, is a decisive moment in the book of Iob. Te reader can not ignore
anv longer that understanding God’s actions according to a retributive
thinking is problematic. Iob holds God responsible for his misfortune.
He understands his miserv as God’s accusation against him. Te basis
of Iob’s charge is his conviction that he is blameless. Te narrator and
God confrm this claim in the prologue.
Ten, one can onlv conclude
that God treats Iob unjustlv. God is wicked. Tis conclusion is expressed
in the charge of o:ii–ia. With this, the retributive thinking is called
into question, because it leads to a concept of God in which God acts
unjustlv. A concept in which God can be thought as unrighteous is
Clines thinks that God’s response forms the gravamen of Iob’s charge in Iob o:ii–
ia. According to him, it is not primarilv God’s justice which is on trial in this speech, but
his svmpathv and aloofness (D.I.A. Clines, Iob r–:c [WBC 1¬; Dallas 1o8o], i:¬–i:8).
However, in the light of the retributive thinking, which Iob assumes in his reasoning,
God’s righteousness is on trial. For God denies the blameless their legitimate share bv
treating them equallv with the wicked.
Iob o:ii–i:.
Iob 1:1, 8; i::.
vivivs.i oi . mo1ii io¬
as such untenable. Tis impasse—the possibilitv that God is wicked—
is not surpassed in the subsequent dialogue of the book of Iob; but it
does require a response. Yet, God’s answer from the whirlwind ofers a
new perspective. In Iob o, Iob uses a familiar motif in order to put his
rebellious charge into words. Te reversal of the well known motif serves
to emphasise that God’s actions fullv deviate from what the “theological”
traditionmakes people believe. InIob’s eves, God withholds the righteous
the land. Tis is clear evidence for God’s unrighteousness. So, the reversal
of the motif of the gifof the land plavs animportant role inorder to cause
a decisive turn in the book of Iob. What is more, it is used to question the
“theological” starting point that is also assumed bv this traditional motif.
a. Conclusions
Te motif of the gif of the land is used to express the reward for a
righteous wav of life in Wisdom literature. It refers to a secure, long,
and prosperous life. At the background, there is the development in
Deuteronomv and the Deuteronomistic Historv where the unconditional
gif of the land alters to a conditional one. Tese texts deal with the land
of Israel and the people of a nation. In Wisdom literature, the concrete
land of Israel fades awav but the conditional character of the gif of the
land remains. Proverbs i:i1–ii; 1o::o; Psalm :¬; Iob o:ia all suppose
that there is a relation between actions of individuals and what befalls
them. Dwelling in the land is a result of a righteous wav of life. Te
wicked will be cut of from the land. So, the motif of the gif of the
land has become an expression for the reward of securitv, welfare, and
being free of trouble for living an upright life. Te wicked will meet
the opposite. As dailv practice seems to confict with the retributive
worldview, some wisdom texts start questioning the tenabilitv of it or
trv to fnd solutions in order to explain this tension. Te motif of the
gif of the land is used in two of these cases. On the one hand, Psalm :¬
safeguards the retributive concept bv depicting a “delav” of the reward
for the righteous. Te faithful will inherit the land in the near future. On
the other hand, Iob o questions the view that there is a relation between
actions of individuals and what befalls them more structurallv bv means
of a reversal of the motif of the gif of the land. Iob turns round a broad
tradition in order to charge God with unjust actions. While ?¨R refers to
individual situations in Prov i:i1–ii; 1o::o; Psalm :¬ and means “land,”
it tends to the more universal meaning “earth” in Iob o:ia. Psalm :¬
io8 imxi iiimiv xiUii×
might include some “eschatological” tendencies, because it sketches a
future reward for righteousness.
With this, Wisdom literature displavs
an intermediate stage towards a more eschatological use of the motif of
the gif of the land.
Brueggemann, “Psalm :¬,” i:8. E.g.: H¨HO (Ps :¬:i); O9O 719 (Ps :¬:1o), and P*¨HR
(Ps :¬::¬–:8).
Ki.Us-Dii1vicu ScuU×cx
Wie alle tatkräfigen Männer, die in fest geprägte Institutionen neu ein-
treten und neue Aufgaben anpacken, hatte auch Nehemia Gegner, als er
nach Ierusalem kam und dort zu wirken begann. Der wohl aktivste und
einfussreichste unter ihnen, der für ihn zugleich der gefährlichste war,
hieß Tobija.
Wer war dieser Tobija: In der im Nehemiabuch verarbeiteten sog.
tritt der Name H*31O 1i-mal auf.
Dabei steht er
in Neh i:1o, 1o—sowie wohl auch in Neh :::-
—mit den Beifügungen
*1O9H 739H. Daraus ist immer wieder abgeleitet worden, dass Tobija Statt-
halter einer persischen Provinz Ammon gewesen sei.
Dann müsste das
Wort 739 jedoch in einer Constructus-Verbindung mit ]1O9 stehen, nicht
aber mit *1O9H als Adjektiv. Dazu gibt es keinen eindeutigen Beweis dafür,
dass im-. Ih. v.Chr. eine persische Provinz Ammonüberhaupt existierte.
Undwas sollte einStatthalter vonAmmonständig inSamaria ander Seite
Der imIch-Stil abgefassten„Nehemia-Denkschrif“ liegenwahrscheinlich zwei lite-
rarisch voneinander zu unterscheidende Komplexe zugrunde, die genauer als „Mauer-
bau-Erzählung“ und eigentliche „Nehemia-Denkschrif“ zu bezeichnen sind und erst
sekundär miteinander verbunden wurden. Vgl. dazu genauer T. Reinmuth, Der Bericht
^ehemias. Zur literarischen Eigenart, traditionsgeschichtlichen Prägung und innerbibli-
schen Rezeption des Ich-Berichts ^ehemias (OBO 18:; Freiburg [Schweiz] iooi).
Neh i:1o, 1o; :::-; a:1; o:1i, 1a, 1¬ (i-mal), 1o; 1::a, ¬, 8. In o:1 ist H*31O späterer
Zusatz in Angleichung an i:1o; vgl. W. Rudolph, Esra und ^ehemia samt +. Esra (HATio;
Tübingen 1oao), 1:a; K. Galling, Die Bucher der Chronik, Esra, ^ehemia (ATD 1i;
Göttingen 1o-a), ii¬; K.-D. Schunck, ^ehemia (BKAT i:.i; Neukirchen-Vluvn 1oo8–
ioo8), 1¬o–1¬1.
Analog zu i:1o, 1o ist 739H vor *1O9H einzufügen; vgl. Schunck, ^ehemia, 1ia.
So B. Mazar, „Te Tobiads“, IEI ¬ (1o-¬) 1aa; C.C. McCown, „Te #Araq el-Emir
and the Tobiads“, BAio (1o-¬) o:; I. de Fraine, Esdras en ^ehemias (BOT -.i; Roermond
1oo1), ¬8; K. Galling, Studien zur Geschichte Israels im persischen Zeitalter (Tübingen
1ooa), a¬; I.M. Mvers, Ezra. ^ehemiah (AB 1a; New York 1oo-), 1o1; S. Herrmann,
Geschichte Israels in alttestamentlicher Zeit (München 1o¬:), :8:; H. Donner, Geschichte
des Volkes Israel und seiner ^achbarn in Grundzugen (Göttingen 1o8a–1o8o), aii.
Vgl. U. Kellermann, ^ehemia. Ouellen, Uberlieferung und Geschichte (BZAW 1oi;
Berlin 1oo¬), 1o8.
i1o xi.Us-uii1vicu scuU×cx
des dortigen Statthalters Sanballat (vgl. Neh :::-):
Vielmehr zeigt die
Bezeichnung des in Neh i:1o, 1o neben Tobija genannten Sanballat als
*1¨HH, dass Nehemia bei seinen Gegnern die Nennung von Titeln oder
Funktionen vermied und stattdessen deren Herkunf umschrieb. So wird
bei Tobija mit den Worten *1O9H 739H ofenbar auf eine mit Ammon ver-
bundene Herkunf angespielt, wobei das Wort 739 dann auf ein Abhän-
gigkeitsverhältnis von einemOberherrn,
eine Stellung als Untergebener,
Wahrscheinlich bezog sich dieses Abhängigkeitsverhältnis des
Tobija auf den in Neh i:1o, 1o vor ihm genannten Sanballat in seiner
Funktion als Statthalter der Provinz Samaria.
Der Name H*31O, der das theophore Element mit dem Iahwenamen
enthält, ist ein israelitisch-jüdischer Name, der noch mehrfach im Alten
Testament wie auch in anderen Ouellen belegt ist
und Tobija als Iahwe-
verehrer ausweist. Zusammen mit der Feststellung, dass er verwandt-
schafliche Verbindungen zu hoch angesehenen Ierusalemer Familien
(vgl. Neh o:18; 1::a) wie auch nach Ammon hatte, legt das die Annahme
nahe, dass er aus einer jüdisch-ammonitischenMischehe stammte, wobei
wahrscheinlich seine Mutter eine Ammoniterin war.
Was aber machte diesen Mann nun zu einem so entschiedenen und
gefährlichen Gegner Nehemias: Schon A. v. Hoonacker vermutete, dass
er mit demin Esra a:¬ genannten 7R3O identisch ist,
der bereits umaa8
v.Chr. als ein angesehener Mann in Samaria lebte, dort zu der Umgebung
des Statthalters gehörte und zusammen mit einem persischen Beamten
Sanballat wird ao8 v.Chr. in den Elephantine-Papvri als ]1¨O2 PHD bezeichnet (CAP
:o, Zeile io). Da sich in diesem Papvrus die Iuden mit ihrem Anliegen aber an die Söhne
des Sanballat wenden, lässt dies darauf schließen, dass diese bereits für ihn das Amt des
Statthalters führen, da er schon sehr betagt war. Dann aber ist es sehr wahrscheinlich,
dass er zur Zeit des Aufretens von Tobija und Nehemia bereits Statthalter der Provinz
Samaria war, was auch durch Neh :::aa nahegelegt wird.
Vgl. U. Rüterswörden, Die Beamten der israelitischen Konigszeit (BWANT 11¬;
Stuttgart 1o8-), o–1o.
Vgl. Gen ao:io; iSam 1o:¬; 1 Kön 1:a¬; o:ii; i Kön -:o; ia:1o–11.
Vgl. HAL :-o–:-¬; B. Reicke, „Tobia“, BHH ::1ooo–1oo¬.
So auch M. Noth, Die israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der gemeinsemiti-
schen ^amengebung (BWANT ao; Stuttgart 1oi8), 11o Anm. i; Rudolph, Esra und ^ehe-
mia, 1oo. Als Analogie vgl. 1 Kön 1a:i1, :1, wonach König Rehabeam von Iuda die
Ammoniterin Naama zur Mutter hatte. Kellermann, ^ehemia, 1o8, nimmt dagegen eine
jüdische Mutter für Tobija an.
A. van Hoonacker, La sacerdoce levitique (London 18oo), :¬-. Ihmfolgten E. Sellin,
Studien zur Entstehungsgeschichte der judischen Gemeinde nach dem babylonischen Exil
(Leipzig 1oo1), i:::; Kellermann, ^ehemia, 1o8; H.G.M. Williamson, Ezra, ^ehemiah
(WBC 1o; Waco, Tex. 1o8-), 18a.
1ovii. U×u ×iuimi.: iuvi iii×uscu.i1 U×u uivi× mo1ivi i11
des Statthalters namens Mitredat
eine Ierusalem betrefende Eingabe
an den persischen König Artaxerxes I. richtete. Die Abfassung dieses
Schreibens in Aramäisch (vgl. Esra a:¬b) erklärt dabei leicht den Wech-
sel des theophoren Elements H*- in H*31O zu 7R- in 7R3O.
Trim diese
Identifzierung zu, so hätte Tobija schon vor dem Aufreten Nehemias
in Ierusalem eine einfussreiche Stellung am Amtssitz des Statthalters
der Provinz Samaria eingenommen, zu der zu dieser Zeit das Gebiet
von Ierusalem und Iuda als südlicher Annex gehörte. Dabei legt dann
aber die Abfassung einer Ierusalem betrefenden Eingabe an den persi-
schen König, die zweifellos nicht ohne Kenntnis und Zustimmung des
zuständigen Statthalters von Samaria erfolgt sein konnte, die Annahme
nahe, dass er der für die Angelegenheiten dieses jüdischen Annexes
zuständige Beamte des Statthalters war, er die Funktion eines Unter-
statthalters für das Gebiet von Ierusalem und Iuda innehatte.
als Halbjude und Iahweverehrer—was man auch aus dem Namen seines
Sohnes Iohanan (vgl. Neh o:18) erschließen darf—als auch auf Grund
seiner verwandtschaflichen Verbindungen zu angesehenen Ierusalemer
Familien (vgl. Neh o:18; 1::a) musste er für diese Funktion besonders
gut geeignet sein. So verwundert es auch nicht, dass er in den Ausein-
andersetzungen um die Wiederherstellung der Stadtmauer Ierusalems
immer wieder an der Seite von Sanballat als des zuständigen Statthalters
Für die in Ierusalemund Iuda bestehenden Verhältnisse und vor allem
für die Tätigkeit von Tobija als des für dieses Gebiet zuständigen Unter-
statthalters musste das auf Grund eines königlichen Erlasses erfolgende
Aufreten eines Vertrauten des Königs in Ierusalem mit großer Wahr-
scheinlichkeit zu Veränderungen führen. So nahmen dann auch Tobija
und Sanballat die Nachricht, dass sich Nehemia, mit Passierscheinen des
Königs versehen und von einer militärischen Eskorte begleitet, Ierusa-
lem nähere, sogleich mit großem Missfallen auf (Neh i:1o). Bald nach
dem Eintrefen Nehemias in Ierusalem aber hörten beide dann genauer,
dass Nehemia beabsichtigte, die seit vielen Iahrzehnten zerstört liegende
Stadtmauer Ierusalems wieder aufzubauen (Neh i:1¬–1oa). Neben Spott
Mitredat („Mitrasgegeben“) ist ein of belegter persischer Name; vgl. F. Iusti, Irani-
sches ^amenbuch (Marburg 18o-), ioo–i1:.
Zum Namen 7R3O vgl. auch Ies ¬:o.
So auch schon Kellermann, ^ehemia, 1¬o. Ahnlich urteilt Williamson, Ezra, ^ehe-
mia, 18:–18a.
Vgl. Neh i:1o, 1o; :::-; a:1. In Neh o:1i, 1a wurde Sanballat dagegen erst später in
den Text eingefügt.
i1i xi.Us-uii1vicu scuU×cx
über dieses Vorhaben veranlasste sie das zu der Außerung: „Wollt ihr
gegen den König rebellieren:“ (Neh i:1ob).
Diese Aussage ist nun aber sehr aufschlussreich, denn sie setzt bei
den Sprechern die Annahme eines Vergehens gegen eine Anordnung
des Königs und damit gegen seine Autorität voraus. Das heißt, es muss
nach ihrer Ansicht im vorliegenden Fall eine Anordnung des persischen
Königs gegeben haben, die einen Wiederaufau der Stadtmauer Ieru-
salems verbietet. Und tatsächlich existierte eine solche Anordnung, die
Artaxerxes I. auf Grund eines Antrags von verschiedenen Männern,
die alle mit der Verwaltung der Provinz Samaria eng verbunden waren,
einige Iahre vor demAufretenNehemias inIerusalemerlassenhatte (vgl.
Esra a:1¬–i:).
Aus der Begründung für diesen Antrag aber wird deut-
lich, dass die Führungsschicht von Samaria eine erneute Befestigung von
Ierusalem verhindern wollte, weil sie befürchtete, dass Ierusalem dann
selbstbewusst und stark Steuern, Naturalabgaben und Zölle nicht mehr
abführenwürde undweitere Städte durchseinBeispiel ermunternwürde,
ebenso zu verfahren (vgl. Esra a:1:).
Eben dieser tiefere Grund für das bei Artaxerxes I. vor einigen Iahren
erwirkte Verbot eines Wiederaufaus der MauernIerusalems musste nun
aber durch das Vorhaben Nehemias, die Stadtmauer Ierusalems wieder
aufzubauen, zur Utopie werden. Ia, noch mehr: Durch die von Nehemia
auf Grundeines königlichenErlasses inIerusalemeingeleitetenMaßnah-
men wurde in den Wirkungsbereich des Statthalters von Samaria und
seines für Ierusalemund Iuda zuständigen Unterstatthalters eingegrifen.
Das aber musste bei Tobija—und ebenso bei Sanballat—zu einer ableh-
nenden, negativen Haltung gegenüber Nehemia führen. Sie schlug bei
Tobija ofenbar in persönliche Feindschaf um, als Nehemia noch wäh-
rend der Arbeiten an der Stadtmauer Ierusalems zum Statthalter einer
eigenständigen Provinz Iuda ernannt wurde, denn damit erlosch omzi-
ell das von Tobija geführte Amt des Unterstatthalters für Ierusalem und
Ging diese Entmachtung des Tobija noch auf eine politische Entschei-
dung des persischen Königs zurück, so vertiefe eine kurz darauf von
Nehemia gegen Tobija verfügte Maßnahme die persönliche Feindschaf
des Tobija gegenüber Nehemia: Nehemia ließ aus der Zelle, die Tobija
Vgl. dazu genauer Rudolph, Esra und ^ehemia, ai–a-.
Wie Neh o:1 zeigt, handelte Sanballat kurz vor Abschluss der Arbeiten zur Wieder-
herstellung der Stadtmauer bereits ohne Tobija; H*31O1 ist hier späterer Zusatz. Vgl. dazu
auch Schunck, ^ehemia, 1oo.
1ovii. U×u ×iuimi.: iuvi iii×uscu.i1 U×u uivi× mo1ivi i1:
imIerusalemer Tempel eingeräumt worden war, allen Hausrat des Tobija
entfernen, entzog ihm also die weitere Nutzung dieser Zelle (Neh 1::a–
oa, ¬–o).
Was veranlasste Nehemia zu diesem Vorgehen: Es ist auf-
fällig, dass er eine entsprechende Maßnahme gegen den angesehenen
und wohlhabenden Meschullam, dem als Laien ebenfalls eine Tempel-
zelle überlassen worden war (vgl. Neh :::o), nicht ergrif. So liegt die
Annahme nahe, dass der Grund für dieses Vorgehen Nehemias gegen
Tobija in der Aufassung Nehemias lag, dass Tobija als Mischling aus
einer jüdisch-ammonitischen Mischehe den Tempel verunreinige. Diese
Erklärung fndet in der Anordnung Nehemias, die von Tobija genutzte
Tempelzelle in einer ofenbar kultischen Handlung zu reinigen (Neh
obwohl in dieser doch keine die Heiligkeit des Tempels verlet-
zendenHandlungenvorgenommenwurden, ihre Bestätigung. Dazuwird
auch aus dem weiteren Verhalten Nehemias während seiner Amtszeit als
Statthalter deutlich, dass er Mischehen von Iuden strikt ablehnte, weil er
diese als einen Akt des Ungehorsams und der Untreue gegenüber Gott
betrachtete (vgl. Neh 1::i:–i¬). Und so vertrieb er auch einen Sohn
(oder Enkel) des Hohenpriesters Eljaschib aus Ierusalem, da dieser eine
Tochter des nichtjüdischen Statthalters Sanballat von Samaria geheiratet
hatte (Neh 1::i8).
Die von Nehemia verfügte Ausweisung des Tobija
aus einer eigenen Tempelzelle musste von diesem als ein persönlicher,
ihn erniedrigender Angrif Nehemias verstanden werden, obwohl sie
religiös motiviert war.
So verwundert es dann auch nicht, dass Tobija sich danach verstärkt
auf seine guten Verbindungen zu den Vornehmen Iudas
sowie zu sei-
nen angesehenen und einfussreichen Verwandten konzentrierte (vgl.
Neh o:1¬–18; 1::a) und diese für Aktionen gegen Nehemia zu gewin-
nen suchte. Dennoch ergrifen diese nicht sofort und einseitig für Tobija
Partei. Wie der rege Schrifverkehr zwischen ihnen und Tobija (vgl. Neh
o:1¬) sowie ihre Fürsprache für Tobija bei Nehemia (vgl. Neh o:1oa)
zeigen, waren sie vielmehr um eine Vermittlung zwischen den verfein-
deten Männern und eine Entspannung des feindlichen Verhältnisses
bemüht. Ofenbar erkannten sie weithin auch die Verdienste Nehemias
um die Sicherheit Ierusalems an, wie die umfangreiche Beteiligung des
Zur Datierung in die Anfangszeit Nehemias vgl. Kellermann, ^ehemia, 1-:, 1oo–
Mit G
, S und A ist hier analog zu V. -, ¬–8 der Sg. zu lesen.
Der Abschnitt Neh 1::1–:, in dem es um den Ausschluss der Mischlinge aus der
Gemeinde Gottes geht, ist ein späterer Zusatz eines Redaktors.
Vgl. Neh i:1o; a:8.1:; -:¬.
i1a xi.Us-uii1vicu scuU×cx
vermögendenMeschullam, der der Schwiegervater des Sohnes des Tobija
war (vgl. Neh o:18), an dem Wiederaufau der Stadtmauer Ierusalems
(vgl. Neh ::a, :o) deutlich macht.
Hatte Tobija somit bei den Vornehmen und Verwandten keinen rech-
ten Erfolg bei seinem Bemühen, sie gegen Nehemia einzunehmen, so
versuchte er, Nehemia mit eigenen schriflichen Drohungen Angst zu
machen (Neh o:1ob). Wahrscheinlich wollte er Nehemia verunsichern
und so zu Fehlern in seiner Tätigkeit als Statthalter verleiten. Darüber
hinaus versuchte er aber auch, Nehemia mit Hilfe anderer Personen
Angst einzufößen und zu sein Ansehen schmälernden Handlungen zu
veranlassen. So hatte Tobija den in Ierusalem lebenden Propheten Sche-
maja dazu bewegen können, Nehemia unter dem Vorwand, ein Got-
teswort für ihn zu haben, in sein Haus zu locken
und ihn dort mit
einer falschen Weissagung dann zu einer Handlung zu verleiten, mit der
er in den Augen des Volkes sein Ansehen verlieren musste (vgl. Neh
Es macht die tiefe Verbitterung und Feindschaf deutlich, die
Tobija gegenüber Nehemia schließlich empfunden haben muss, wenn er
nicht davor zurückschreckte, sogar einen Propheten zu korrumpieren,
um Nehemia zu schaden und vielleicht ganz auszuschalten.
Nehemia erkannte, dass Tobija diese Intrige gegen ihn angezettelt hatte,
ergrifer doch keine Maßnahmen gegen ihn. Dieser Vorgang machte ihm
aber deutlich, dass die ganze ProphetenschafTobija unterstützte und ihn
ablehnte (Neh o:1ab).
InTobija und Nehemia standensichzwei Männer gegenüber, die beide
aus angesehenen jüdischen Familien stammten.
Ihre Feindschaf, die
Vgl. Rudolph, Esra und ^ehemia, 1:¬; Williamson, Ezra, ^ehemia, i-8.
In Neh o:1o sind die Anführung des Wortes 7D*H sowie die Ausweitung der Hand-
lung auf das Innere des Tempels, in V. 11 die Frage: „Wer wie ich würde amLeben bleiben,
wenn er in den Tempel hineingeht:“ und in V. 1: das Wort *PROH1 spätere Zusätze, um
der Flucht zum D*H7RH P*3 den Charakter eines Sakrilegs zu geben, mit dem Nehemia
sein Leben verwirken würde. Ebenso ist die Nennung von Sanballat in den V. 1i und 1a
ein späterer Zusatz (vgl. Schunck, ^ehemia, 1¬i–1¬:).
Zur genaueren Analvse des Verhaltens der Propheten gegenüber Nehemia vgl.
K.-D. Schunck, „Waren die Propheten Gegner Nehemias:“ in „Die unwiderstehliche
Vahrheit“. Studien zur alttestamentlichen Prophetie (Hg. R. Lux et al.; Leipzig iooo), -:1–
Der Abschnitt Neh o:1o–1a schließt im nachholenden Stil an o:1–o an, was schon
der Wechsel in das Perfekt in o:1o deutlich macht (vgl. Galling, ^ehemia, iio; Keller-
mann, ^ehemia, 18o, Anm. ia). Damit wird o:1o–1a zeitlich vor das in o:1–o berichtete
Geschehen, das seinerseits noch vor dem Abschluss des Mauerbaus stattfand, angesetzt.
Nehemia stammte aus einem alten Ierusalemer Fürstengeschlecht, wahrscheinlich
sogar aus einer Seitenlinie der Davididen ab (vgl. Kellermann, ^ehemia, 1-o–1-o).
1ovii. U×u ×iuimi.: iuvi iii×uscu.i1 U×u uivi× mo1ivi i1-
sich an dem Aufreten Nehemias in Ierusalem und der von ihm gelei-
teten Restaurierung der Stadtmauer Ierusalems entzündete und somit
zunächst politisch motiviert war, schlug durch die Ernennung Nehemias
zum Statthalter einer eigenständigen Provinz Iuda in eine persönliche
Feindschaf um. Diese wurde durch die von Nehemia verfügte Auswei-
sung des Tobija aus einer Tempelzelle sowie Drohungen Tobijas gegen
Nehemia weiter vertief und gipfelte in einer von Tobija angezettelten
Intrige gegen Nehemia.
Die Feindschaf zwischen Tobija und Nehemia bestimmte nur die
Anfangszeit von Nehemias Wirken in Ierusalem. Es muss ofen bleiben,
ob Tobija sich danach mit Nehemia aussöhnte oder die Provinz Iuda
verließ und nach Samaria in den Kreis um den dortigen Statthalter
Sanballat zurückkehrte.
v.v1 1wo
W.i1iv Dii1vicu
1. „Heilige Orte“—heute und damals
Die Frage nach dem heiligen Ort scheint unmodern zu sein. In den Nie-
derlanden oder in der Schweiz gibt es wenige Orte, die im Ruf der Hei-
ligkeit stehen. Wenn, dann gehören sie bezeichnenderweise in ein katho-
lisches oder ein säkulares Umfeld.
In einem kritisch-protestantischen
Milieu hatten es Orte seit jeher schwer, als heilig zu gelten. In der refor-
matorischen und der sogenannten dialektischen Teologie zählen derar-
tige Phänomene zur „natürlichen“ Religiosität, die es theologisch zu hin-
terfragen gilt. Erst recht in aufgeklärt-religionskritischem Kontext hafet
der Vorstellung von Heiligkeit generell ein Geruch von Vorrationalität
oder Verschrobenheit an.
Wer sich unter solchen Umständen der Frage nach dem heiligen Ort
sachgemäß nähern will, muss jegliche protestantische Modernität für
einen Augenblick hinter sich lassen und sich in die Religiosität antiker—
aber keineswegs nur antiker!—Menschen hineinversetzen. Möglicher-
weise kommen dabei Zusammenhänge und Gedankengänge von grund-
legender anthropologischer und theologischer Bedeutung in den Blick.
Es gibt im biblischen Hebräisch ein exaktes Aquivalent für „heili-
ger Ort“: 217Þ D1ÞO. Verschiedentlich wird das „Zelt der Begegnung“
samt seinem Inventar so bezeichnet
—in gewissem Widerspruch zu der
Dieser Beitrag wurde bei einem Svmposium aus Anlass des oo. Geburtstages von
Ed Noort in Groningen als Vortrag und in etwas kürzerer Form dargeboten. Damals war
mir das Tema vorgegeben. Es schien und scheint mir sehr dazu geeignet, den mir wer-
ten und vertrauten Kollegen zu ehren, der in geradezu idealtvpischer Weise die alttesta-
mentlichen Subdisziplinen der Palästinaarchäologie und Palästinakunde einerseits und
der biblischen Exegese und Teologie andererseits vereint.
Zu denken wäre an Pilgerorte wie das Schweizer Kloster Einsiedeln mit seiner
Kirche und darin der Schwarzen Madonna als zentralem Kultgegenstand oder, von ganz
anderer Art, die sog. Rütli-Wiese am Vierwaldstättersee, auf der sich der Sage nach die
ersten Eidgenossen gegenseitig den Treueid schworen.
Ex io::1; Lev o:o, 1o–io; ¬:o; 1o:1:; 1o:ia; ia:o; Ez ai:1:. In Lev 1a:1: heißt es D1ÞO
iio w.i1iv uii1vicu
gängigen Vorstellung, heilige Stätten seien ortsfest.
In Ez ai:1: wird der
Begrif angewandt auf den hier projektierten nachexilischen Tempel.
Der konkrete Ierusalemer Tempel—ob nun der Erste oder der Zweite—
heißt verschiedentlich „Stätte (D1ÞO) seiner [Ihwhs] Heiligkeit“
„meines Heiligtums“.
Auch bei der tvpisch deuteronomi(sti)schen For-
mel von der „Stätte (D1ÞO), die Ihwh erwählt hat, um seinen Namen dort
wohnen zu lassen“,
ist unzweifelhaf Ierusalemmit seinemHeiligtumim
Freilich, an mehreren Stellen bezieht sich das Wort D1ÞO in der präg-
nanten Bedeutung von „heiliger Ort“ auf Heiligtümer außerhalb Ierusa-
lems. Nach Gen 1i:o gelangte Abraham bei seiner Einwanderung nach
Kanaan zum DD2 D1ÞO, zur „heiligen Stätte von Sichem“.
Und Samuel
fungierte als „Richter“
an den heiligen „Stätten“ (P1O1ÞO) von Bet-
El, Gilgal und Mizpa (1Sam ¬:1o).
Ies oa:o spricht von „deinen [scil.
Nicht von ungefähr wählen zeitgenössische Architekten für Kirchengebäude zuwei-
len die Zeltform: einerseits in Aufnahme alttestamentlicher Tradition, andererseits in
Widerspruch gegen eine zu statische Vorstellung von der „heiligen Stätte“. Beispiele sind
dem Vf. in Gestalt der reformierten Kirche von Dulliken (Schweiz) und der lutherischen
Kirche in Hvvinkää (Finnland) vor Augen, beide erbaut in der zweiten Hälfe des io.
Ob 217Þ D1ÞO in Pred 8:1o ebenfalls den Tempel oder die Totenstadt bzw. die
individuelle Begräbnisstätte meint, ist unklar, s. HAL s. v. D1ÞO.
127Þ D1ÞO Ps ia::; Esra o:8.
*27ÞO D1ÞO Ies oo:1:; vgl. auch Ier 1¬:1i.
Z. B. Dtn 1i:-; 1a:i:; 1 Kön 8:io; vgl. auch H1H* D2 D1ÞO Ies 18:¬ sowie *D1ÞO Ier ¬:1i;
Hos -:1- und 1O1ÞO Ies io:i1; Mi 1::, weil sich hier das Sumx jeweils auf Gott bezieht. Zur
Bedeutung dieses „Ortes“ im Gesamtaufriss des Dtn vgl. die Studie von I.G. McConville,
„Time, Place and the Deuteronomic Altar Law“, in Time and Place in Deuteronomy (Hg.
I.G. McConville und I.G. Millar; ISOTSup 1¬o; Shemeld 1ooa), 8o–1:o.
Auch der Ausdruck H!H D1ÞOH (1 Kön 8::o; i Kön ii:1o; Ier ¬::; 1o:: u. ö.) dürfe als
in diesem Sinne prägnant zu verstehen sein.
NachdemindiesemZusammenhang gar noch eine „Orakelterebinte“ erwähnt wird,
ist zu begreifen, dass spätere, orthodox denkende Tradenten sich zu dem Vermerk
gedrängt fühlten, damals sei eben noch „der Kanaaniter im Land“ gewesen. Dass der
D1ÞO, an dem die Bindung Isaaks lokalisiert gedacht ist (Gen ii:8–o), transparent ist auf
den Zion, hat T. Veijola wahrscheinlich gemacht („Das Opfer des Abraham: Paradigma
des Glaubens aus dem nachexilischen Zeitalter“, in idem, Ofenbarung und Anfechtung.
Hermeneutisch-theologische Studien zum Alten Testament [Hg. W. Dietrich; Biblisch-
Teologische Studien 8o; Neukirchen-Vluvn ioo¬], 88–1::, hier 11o–1i1).
Es wird hier das Verb OD2 verwendet, das bekanntlich zwischen juridischen, admi-
nistrativen, politischen und militärischen Konnotationen schillert, vgl. H. Niehr, Herr-
schen und Richten. Die Vurzel ˇsp
t im Alten Orient und im Alten Testament (FB -a; Würz-
burg 1o8o).
Dazu, dass hier ein Kern der Samuel-Überlieferung liegt, siehe W. Dietrich, „Sa-
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis ii1
Gottes] heiligen Städten“ in Iuda (¨27Þ *¨9). Ganz unbefangen erwähnt
Ies 1o:1i auch den 27ÞO der Moabiter. Mitunter werden ganz generell die
„heiligen Stätten“ der Heiden in den Blick genommen: einmal in scharfer
Distanz (Dtn 1i:i), einmal mit großer Svmpathie (Zef i:11).
Unbeschadet dessen gilt den alttestamentlichen Zeugen—und na-
mentlich solchen aus nachexilischer Zeit, als es im Land keine weiteren
Heiligtümer mehr gab—der Tempel von Ierusalem als der heilige Ort.
Die ganze Stadt kann seinetwegen „heilig“ heißen;
der Zion wird gern
„heiliger Berg“ genannt (27Þ ¨H),
das Tempelgebäude 271Þ 7D*H.
Ierusalemer Tempel, über dessen Anlage und Nutzung wir relativ gut
informiert sind (auch wenn eine archäologische Verifkation leider nicht
möglich ist),
lässt sich beobachten, dass der Intensitätsgrad an Heilig-
keit gleichsam von außen nach innen zunimmt.
Der profane Außenbe-
reich (Stadt und Landschaf) war vom Tempelgelände durch eine Mauer
abgetrennt. Wer durch eines der Tore den Tempelvorhof betreten wollte,
musste sich ernsthafer Selbstprüfung unterziehen;
denn dem Heili-
gen durfe man nur „rein“ nahe kommen.
Durch Opfer und Riten
wurde der Besucher in den Stand gesetzt, das eigentliche Heiligtum—
muel—ein Prophet:“ Sacra Scripta - (ioo¬) 11–io.
Vgl. dazu W. Dietrich und U. Luz, „Universalität und Partikularität im Horizont
des biblischen Monotheismus“, in Vergegenwärtigung des Alten Testaments. Beiträge zur
biblischen Hermeneutik. FS R. Smend (Hg. C. Bultmann et al.; Göttingen iooi), :oo–a11,
bes. :¬8 bzw. ao:.
In der exilischen Literatur wird der (zerstörte) Tempel durch das „Zelt der Begeg-
nung“ substituiert (so die Priesterschrif) oder ein neuer Tempel imaginiert (so der eze-
chielische Verfassungsentwurf). Das Schlüsselwort für beides ist 27ÞO das „Heiligtum“;
derselbe Ausdruck auch in Ies oo:1:; o::18.
Ies a8:i; -i:1; Dan o:ia.
Ies 11:o; i¬:1:; -o:¬; -¬:1:; o-:11, i-; oo:io; Ioel i:1; a:1¬; Ob 1o; Sach 8::; Ps ::-;
1-:1; a:::; a8:i; 8¬:1; oo:o; Dan o:1o, io.
Ps -:8; 11:a; ¬o:1.
Vgl. dazu neuestens O. Keel, Die Geschichte Ierusalems und die Entstehung des
Monotheismus (Band a.1 vonOrte und Landschaþen der Bibel; Göttingenioo¬), bes. ioa–
In dieser Hinsicht bestehen keine markanten Unterschiede zwischen dem Ersten
und dem Zweiten Tempel.
Vgl. die sog. Toreinlassliturgie Psalm ia.
Das wichtigste Stichwort ist ¨HO, der Gegenbegrif ROO; beide Begrife beziehen
sich vornehmlich auf kultische, aber auch auf ethische (Un-)Reinheit, vgl. zu Letzte-
rem Ier 1::i¬ bzw. Ies o:-. Aufgabe des Priesters ist es, zwischen Rein und Unrein zu
unterscheiden—und Anweisung (H¨1P) zu geben, wie man vom einen in den anderen
Zustand gelangt; vgl. dazu die umfangreiche Reinheits-Tora in Leviticus 1i–1-. Analog
hat nach Ez aa:i: der Priester den Unterschied zwischen27Þ und 71H zu lehren(H¨* Hif.);
versäumt er dies, tut er der „Tora Gewalt“ an, Ez ii:io.
iii w.i1iv uii1vicu
den Hauptraum des Tempels, öfers 27Þ genannt
—zu betreten. Zum
Allerheiligsten—dem D*27ÞH 27Þ
—hatte, jedenfalls in späterer Zeit,
einzig der Hohepriester Zutritt, und auch er nur nach umfangreichen
kultischen Vorkehrungen und nur zumZweck der Reinigung des Heilig-
tums und des ganzen Volkes von bisher unentdeckt gebliebenen Sünden
(Leviticus 1o).
i. Heiliger Gott und heiliger Ort
Damit ist deutlich, was einen Ort nach biblischer Vorstellung „heilig“
macht: Es ist imKern die Überzeugung von der besonderen Präsenz und
Nahbarkeit Gottes an eben dieser Stelle. „Heiligkeit“ gilt als herausra-
gende Eigenschaf des biblischen Gottes. Die Hebräische Bibel tituliert
ihn verschiedentlich—vorzugsweise in jesajanischer Sprachtradition

als 7R¨2* 217Þ, als „den Heiligen Israels“. Schon diese Constructus-Ver-
bindung zeigt, dass „Heiligkeit“ mitnichtendie Entrücktheit und Unnah-
barkeit Gottes signalisiert; sie gewinnt vielmehr gerade in der Beziehung
Gottes zu den Menschen bzw. Ihwhs zu Israel Gestalt. Gott zeigt sich sei-
nem Volk als heilig—und er tut das vorzugsweise an bestimmten Orten.
Diese bekommen gewissermaßen Anteil an seinem heiligen Wesen. Und
Gläubige, die sich zu diesen Orten begeben, versprechen sich gleichfalls
Teilhabe am Heiligen.
Zugleich aber empfndet man vor heiligen Orten hohen Respekt, ja
eine gewisse Scheu oder gar Angst. Das ist erklärlich. Das Numinose, das
an solchen Orten weilt, ist nach bekannter Defnition fascinosum et tre-
mendumin einem. Man fühlt sich davon angezogen, man erhomsich viel
davon—doch man begegnet ihm nach Möglichkeit nur, nachdem man
sich darauf vorbereitet, sich selbst „geheiligt“ und damit dem Heiligen
konform gemacht hat;
denn dieses erträgt die Berührung mit Profa-
nem, gar mit Unreinem nicht.
1 Kön 8:8, 1o.
1 Kön o:1o; ¬:-o; 8:o; Ez a1:a; iChr a:ii.
Der Ausdruck ist 1:-mal in Protojesaja, 1o-mal in Deuterojesaja, i-mal in Trito-
jesaja belegt (vgl. W. Kornfeld und H. Ringgren, „27Þ qdˇs“, TVAT o:11¬o–iooa, hier
11oa). Hinzu kommen Belege in Ps ¬1:ii; ¬8:a1; 8o:1o. Aufällig ist daneben die Häu-
fung des Adjektivs 217Þ zur Beschreibung Ihwhs im Trishagion Ies o:: sowie in Ps oo::,
-, o.
27Þ Hitp., z. B. Num 11:18; Ios ¬:1:; 1Sam 1o:-; Ies :o:io.
Die bestimmenden hebräischen Wortwurzeln sind 27Þ und 71H/77H, vgl. Kornfeld
und Ringgren, TVAT o:1181.
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis ii:
Freilich, die Unterscheidung von heilig und profan, von göttlich und
weltlich, von Ienseits und Diesseits ist nicht immer einfach. Zwar han-
delt es sich um kategorial verschiedene Welten, doch sind diese nicht
raum-zeitlich voneinander geschieden—so, als müsste der Mensch sich
an einen möglichst abgelegenen Ort begeben oder bis zur Ewigkeit war-
ten, um Gott zu begegnen. Nicht mit zwei parallel gelagerten, sich prin-
zipiell nie berührenden Ebenen hat man es zu tun, sondern mit zwei
Dimensionen, die sich immer wieder trefen und überschneiden. Ieder-
zeit und überall kann es der Mensch mit dem Ewigen zu tun bekom-
men. Immer wieder und an vielen Orten ragt die Transzendenz in die
Immanenz hinein, macht sich spürbar, greifar, mitunter gar sichtbar.
Für den Einzelnen sind solche Gelegenheiten nicht immer voraussehbar
und solche Orte nicht unbedingt erkennbar. So gerät der Mensch, wenn
er mitten in seinem materiellen und alltäglichen Leben auf das Göttliche
trim, in die Gefahr, unversehens die Grenze zum Heiligen in unvorher-
gesehener, unangemessener Weise zu überschreiten und damit über sich
und seine Gemeinschaf Unheil heraufzubeschwören. Umgekehrt aber:
Begegnet er Gott oder reagiert erauf seine Ofenbarung in der richtigen
Weise, dann bringt das Glück und Segen.
In exemplarischer Weise verdeutlicht das die Erzählung von der
Traumofenbarung Iakobs in Bet-El (Gen i8:1o–ii). Irgendwo auf dem
mittelpalästinischen Bergland legt er sich unter freiemHimmel schlafen,
schiebt sich noch einen Stein als Kissen unter den Kopf—und hat dann
denberühmtenTraumvonder Himmelsstiege, auf der die Engel auf- und
niedersteigen; klarer könnte nicht gesagt sein, dass er sich an der (oder
doch an einer) Stelle befndet, wo Himmel und Erde sich berühren. Doch
obwohl das Traumbild auf ihn erhebend gewirkt haben dürfe—zumal es
nach der jetzigen Textgestalt
in einer ausführlichen Verheißungsrede
Das war vermutlich nicht immer so. Die diachrone Analvse des Textes gibt drei Ent-
stehungsstufenzu erkennen. Einerster Überlieferungskernberichtet vonder Entdeckung
und Weihung der „Stätte“ vonBet-El durch einengewissenIakob (Geni8:11–1i, 1o–18¯,
iia). Beim Einbau in den Iakob-Erzählzvklus wird diese Erzählung zum Scharnier zwi-
schen den Iakob-Esau-Geschichten (Genesis i-; i¬) und den Iakob-Laban-Geschichten
(Genesis io–:1); Iakob erhält eine Verheißung und leistet ein Gelübde, doch beides ist
auf die Tematik seiner sicheren Rückkehr in die Heimat begrenzt (Gen i8:1o, 1:aα¯,
1-, 1o–i1a, iib). Auf der dritten und letzten Textstufe wird dies zu einer umfassenden
Verheißung ausgeweitet (Gen i8:1:¯, 1a, 1o¯, i1b), wodurch Iakob kompositionell mit
Abraham verbunden wird (vgl. die verwandten Texte Gen 1i:1–:; 1::1a–1¬ sowie die
gründliche, sich in Einzelheiten unterscheidende, in der Grundrichtung aber ähnliche
Analvse von E. Blum, Die Komposition der Vätergeschichte [WMANT -¬; Neukirchen-
Vluvn 1o8a], ¬–:¬).
iia w.i1iv uii1vicu
Gottes an ihn gipfelt—, nennt er nach dem Erwachen am Morgen den
Ort „Furcht erweckend“ (R¨11, Gen i8:1¬). Warum: Weil er ihn ohne jede
Vorkehrung, im gleichsam profanen Zustand des Wanderers und Schlä-
fers, betreten und gar darauf gelegen hat. Um das Sakrileg halbwegs wie-
der gut zu machen, richtet er sein steinernes Kopfissen als Mazzebe auf,
salbt sie und gibt der „Stätte“ (D1ÞO) den Namen „Bet-El“, „Haus Got-
tes“ (Gen i8:1o). Zu diesem Zeitpunkt stand dort, der Imagination der
Erzählung zufolge, noch kein „Haus“, schon gar kein „Gotteshaus“. Das
berühmte Heiligtum von Bet-El wird vielmehr durch die kultisch kor-
rekte Handlung Iakobs gewissermaßen erst ins Leben gerufen. Von da
an ist dieser Ort „geheiligt“, d. h. profanem Gebrauch entzogen und Gott
bzw. der Begegnung mit ihm vorbehalten.
Ganz ähnlich die Erzählung von der Berufung des Mose, Exodus :.
Irgendwo inder Einöde des Sinai wird er des Phänomens eines unaumör-
lich brennenden Dornbuschs gewahr und vernimmt, als er näher treten
will, die Auforderung, seine Schuhe auszuziehen,
weil die Stätte (D1ÞO),
an der er sich befnde, „heiliger Boden“ sei (27Þ PO7R, Ex ::-).
gehorcht und wird dann der Ofenbarung des Gottes gewürdigt, der das
versklavte Israel aus Agvpten herausführen wird.
Iakob und Mose konnten nicht wissen, dass der Ort, an dem sie
sich aumielten, heilig war. Wenn heilige Orte aber erst einmal als sol-
che bekannt sind, dann werden sie, damit niemand sie profaniere und
die Gottheit kränke, gleichsam markiert: durch Kultsvmbole (wie Maz-
zeben), durch Kultrituale (wie Schuhe-Ausziehen), durch Sakralbauten
(wie Tempel oder Moscheen oder Kirchen) oder auch durch Einfriedun-
gen. So wird laut Ex 1o:i: Mose von Gott beaufragt, den heiligen Berg
Sinai einzugrenzen—wie, das erfahren wir nicht—und so dafür zu sor-
gen, dass nicht etwa Unbefugte oder Unvorbereitete die Heiligkeit des
Ortes stören und sich selbst und die Gemeinschaf gefährden.
Das Heilige darf, damit es nicht entheiligt werde, nicht dem alltägli-
chen Gebrauch unterworfen werden. Dies zeigt schon der Gebrauch der
Wurzel qdˇs, undzwar sowohl imHebräischenwie inanderensemitischen
Ihre Derivate begegnen in aller Regel in einem sprachlichen
Selbstverständlich ist der muslimische Brauch des Schuhe Ablegens vor der Mo-
schee aus dieser traditionsgeschichtlichen Wurzel erwachsen. Die Geste versinnbildlicht
den Respekt vor der besonderen Gott-Nähe des heiligen Ortes.
Derselbe Ausdruck wird in Sach i:1o für das Land Iuda verwendet!
Ahnlich ist laut Ez ai:io bei der Planung des neuen Tempels zu verfahren.
Vgl. hierzu Kornfeld und Ringgren, TVAT, spez. o:1181–118a.
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis ii-
Kontext, der sich mit Begrifen wie „(kultisch) rein“, „in kultischem
Gebrauch stehend“, „der Gottheit geweiht“, „zum Heiligtum gehörig“
umreißen lässt. „Heiligen“ heißt demnach: vom Profanen separieren.
:. Merkmale heiliger Orte
Was nun ist es, das einen Ort heilig macht bzw. was seine Heiligkeit
ausmacht: An den beiden Exempeln Genesis i8 und Exodus : lässt sich
bereits einiges darüber ablesen.
(1) Ofenbar benötigt ein heiliger Ort eine Ursprungssage: Ein berühm-
ter Mann, ein Ahn der Gruppe bzw. des Volkes, die diesen Ort in Ehren
halten, hat die Stätte unter wundersamen Umständen entdeckt. Solche
ätiologischen Erzählungen erklären und begründen die besondere Got-
tesnähe und damit die Heiligkeit der betrefenden Orte.
Vom Ierusalemer Tempel gibt es gleich mehrere solcher Atiologien.
Da ist die sogenannte Ladegeschichte,
deren erzählerischer und geo-
graphischer BogenvonSchiloüber Eben-Eser, einige Philisterstädte, Bet-
Schemeschund Kirjat-Iearimbzw. Baale-Iehuda
umwegreichund doch
zielgerichtet nach Ierusalem führt. David überführt das heilige Objekt
in einem aufwändigen Festakt in seine neue Residenz (iSamuel o), bis
Salomo es dann ins Allerheiligste des von ihm errichteten Tempels stellt,
wo es zu dessen heiliger Aura wesentlich beiträgt (1 Könige 8).
Es fällt nicht schwer, hierzu außerbiblische und sogar neuzeitliche Parallelen zu
nennen. Alle Pilgerorte—wie Rom oder Mekka oder Lourdes—haben ihre Gründungs-
Sie umfasst die Kapitel 1Samuel a–o; iSamuel o, vermutlich auch 1 Könige 8:1–1:.
Vgl. dazu den Forschungsbericht bei W. Dietrich und T. Naumann, Die Samuelbucher
(EdF i8¬; Darmstadt 1oo-), 1i1–1a:.
Diese Diferenz zwischen 1Sam ¬:1–i und iSam o:1–i in der Benennung des
Standorts der Lade vor ihrer Überführung nach Ierusalem ist nicht unüberbrückbar;
vermutlich war „Baala“ bzw. „Baale-Iehuda“ der Name des heiligen Bezirks in oder bei
Kirjat-Iearim, vgl. E. Gaß, Die Ortsnamen des Richterbuchs in historischer und redaktio-
neller Perspektive (Abhandlungen des Deutschen Palästinavereins :-; Wiesbaden ioo-),
Bekanntlich ist umstritten, ob Salomo den Tempel neu „gebaut“ oder nur aus-
„gebaut“ hat (beides könnte mit dem heb. Verb H13 bezeichnet werden); vgl. dazu K.
Rupprecht, Der Tempel von Ierusalem. Grundung Salomos oder jebusitisches Erbe? (BZAW
1aa; Berlin 1o¬o), zusammenfassend 1oo–1oo, und Keel, Geschichte Ierusalems, ioa–ioo.
Ein Faktumscheint zu sein, dass die lichte Höhe des Allerheiligsten laut 1 Kön o:i, 1o–io
geringer war als die des Tempelhauptraums—eine Besonderheit, die entweder durch die
Absenkung der Decke oder durch einen höheren Fußboden im Allerheiligsten erreicht
iio w.i1iv uii1vicu
gesamte, umfangreiche Bericht von Bau, Ausstattung und Einweihung
des Ersten Tempels in 1 Könige -–8 ist ebenso ätiologisch ausgerich-
tet wie die Erzählung von der Entdeckung der Tenne Araunas durch
David als eines Ortes heilsamer Gegenwart Ihwhs und eines geeigneten
Bauplatzes für den künfigen Tempel (iSamuel ia). Der Zweite Tempel
schließlich erfährt in der priesterlichen Darstellung des „Heiligen Zeltes“
als einer Einrichtung aus Mosaischer Zeit seine geistig-geistliche Begrün-
Derartige Atiologien bietet die Hebräische Bibel noch für eine Reihe
weiterer Heiligtümer. Iakob hat nicht nur Bet-El, sondern auch Pnuël
„entdeckt“ (Gen :i:i:–:i); Mose hat ein schlangenförmiges Kultsvmbol
hergestellt, das später in Ierusalem Verehrung genoss (Numeri i1, vgl. i
Könige 18:a); unter Iosua wurde, nach der Durchquerung des Iordans,
das Steinkreis-Heiligtum von Gilgal gegründet (Iosua a); in Dan sorgte
ein Efraimit namens Micha für ein Götterbild (Richter 1¬–18); der erste
König des Nordreichs, IerobeamI., wertete in einemfeierlichen Staatsakt
das dortige Heiligtum und dasjenige von Bet-El zu Staatsheiligtümern
auf (1 Kön 1i:io–:i).
(i) Heilige Stätten liegen—wie im Fall des Sinai und des Zion beson-
ders ersichtlich—ofantopographischerhöhter Stelle. Das ist auchinden
Nachbarkulturen so: Das Pantheon der Ugariter wie auch das der Helle-
nen war auf einem Berg angesiedelt: dem Zaphon bzw. dem Olvmp. Die
altorientalische Ikonographie zeigt immer wieder Göttinnen und Göt-
ter, die sich auf Bergen aumalten.
Wo es keine Berge gab—etwa im
Zweistromland—, baute man sie selbst und nannte sie Zikkurat. Auch die
biblischen P1O3 („Höhen“) dürfen aus Steinen aufgeschichtet gewesen
sein, werden überdies aber mit Vorzug an erhöhter Stelle innerhalb oder
in der Nähe der jeweiligen Siedlung gelegen haben.
Man will Gott am
werdenkonnte. Träfe das Letztere zu, dannkönnte dies auf eine architektonische Vorstufe
deuten: in dem Sinne, dass Salomo ein jebusitisches Heiligtum (in das Allerheiligste)
umgewandelt und (um das Hauptgebäude) erweitert hätte. Salomo hätte dann auf die
lang bewährte Heiligkeit eines Ortes zurückgegrifen—so wie die Erbauer der römischen
Kirche „Santa Maria sopra Minerva“!
In 1 Könige 1i liegt freilich eine aus judäischer Perspektive verfasste Negativ-
Atiologie vor.
Vgl. O. Keel, Das Hohelied (ZBK 18; Zürich 1o8o), Abbildungen ¬o, 8o und 8o.
Deutlich spricht 1Sam o:1:, 1o davon, dass man zur „Höhe“ „hinaufgeht“ (H79)—
und damit sind ofensichtlich nicht nur ein paar Treppenstufen gemeint. Archäolo-
gisch sind bamot bisher, trotz wiederholter positiver Meldungen, noch kaum sicher
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis ii¬
heiligen Ort so nah wie möglich sein, und als dessen „heilige Wohnung“
wird in der Bibel gelegentlich der Himmel selbst bezeichnet.
Vorstellungen sollten nicht vorschnell als naiv abgetan werden. Christ-
liche Wallfahrtskirchen stehen of auf Bergen, Kirchtürme wie Minarette
weisen gen Himmel, auf Berggipfeln stehen Kreuze. Auch im Zeitalter
von Astronauten und Satelliten behält der Himmel bzw. das Weltall etwas
(:) Einige der in der Bibel erwähnten Heiligtümer haben eine eher über-
raschende Eigenschafgemein: Sie liegenweitab vonSiedlungs- und auch
von politischen Zentren. Vom Sinai ist das deutlich, in etwas schwäche-
rem Maße gilt es auch von Gilgal und Bet-El. Dieser Sachverhalt ent-
spricht eineminBerichtenvonhomines religiosi immer wiederkehrenden
Zug: dass sie die Nähe Gottes in der Einsamkeit suchen oder erfahren.
Lärm und Betriebsamkeit sind der Begegnung mit dem Transzendenten
abträglich, Einkehr und Stille dagegen zuträglich. Gewisse Passagen der
Hebräischen Bibel erwecken den Eindruck, Israel als ganzes sei seinem
Gott in der Wüstenzeit, nach dem Exodus und vor der Landnahme, am
nächsten gewesen, so dass geradezu die Wüste als „heiliger Ort“ erschei-
nen könnte.
Dahinter dürfe weniger ein nomadisches als vielmehr ein
eremitisches Ideal stehen.
(a) Was heilige Orte darüber hinaus kennzeichnet, ließe sich unter die
Stichworte „Anlage und Ausstattung“ fassen. Dem Kult dienende Ge-
bäude unterscheiden sich allermeist architektonisch von profanen
Wohn- oder Zweckbauten.
Wie sehr das dort Dienst tuende Kultper-
sonal, namentlich die Priesterschaf, an der göttlichen Aura des Ortes
Anteil hat, zeigt sich an den komplizierten und detaillierten gesetzlichen
Weisungen des Alten Testaments zu ihrer „Heiligung“.
Der Altar, der zu
jedemHeiligtumgehört, ist derart heilig, dass nicht nur er selbst, sondern
Dtn io:1-; Ies o::1-.
Vgl. z. B. Exodus :; 1 Könige 1o; i Kön a::8–aa; Mt ::1–o; a:1–11. Der Hinweis auf
die späteren Eremiten, Einsiedeleien usw. kann hier nur pauschal sein.
Vgl. z. B. Ex ::18; -:1; Dtn i:¬; Ier i:i; Ez io:1o–11; Hos i:1o.
Die frühchristliche Basilika, eine Nachgestaltung der profanen Markthalle, ist eher
die Ausnahme und markiert ja auch nur einen relativ kurzen Abschnitt der christlichen
Architekturgeschichte. Zu den wichtigsten Grundtvpen des Tempelbaus in der Levante
vgl. A. Kuschke, „Tempel“, BRL (i. Auf.) :::–:a:, und W. Zwickel, Der Tempelkult in
Kanaan und Israel (FAT 1o; Tübingen 1ooa), i1i–i:o und io:–i8a.
Ex io:1–:¬; Lev 8; 1o:o, 11; Ez aa:1-–i¬.
ii8 w.i1iv uii1vicu
dass jeder bei ihm Asvl suchende Mensch unantastbar ist.
sind selbstverständlich auch Kultbilder und -svmbole (was in Kriegszei-
ten Siegermächte dazu führt, sich bewusst an ihnen zu vergreifen und so
die Verehrerschaf zu demütigen).
In den meisten Religionen in Israels Umwelt wurden die Götter durch
Kultstatuen bzw. -bilder repräsentiert, doch gab es durchaus auch mehr
oder weniger anikonische Gottesvorstellungen.
Israel seinerseits kam
nicht so gänzlich ohne Bilder aus, wie es gewisse biblische Autoren gern
Die Ahnfrau Rahel und die Prinzessin Michal gingen mit Tera-
fm um, vermutlich Repräsentanzen von Gottheiten oder vergöttlichten
Ahnen (Gen :1::o–:-; 1 Sam 1o:11–1¬). Der überwiegend von Frauen
betriebene Hauskult scheint generell wenig Rücksicht auf das Bilderver-
bot genommen zu haben. Das beweisen die sogenannten Pfeilerfguri-
nen, die in zahlreichen Wohnhäusern namentlich der späteren Königs-
zeit gefunden wurden.
Im Blick darauf ließe sich sagen, jedes Wohn-
haus habe damals eine Art kleines Heiligtum bzw. einen Schrein ent-
halten. Die religiösen Gesetzgeber und die Propheten Israels goutierten
Vgl. C. Houtman, „Der Altar als Asvlstätte imAlten Testament: Rechtsbestimmung
(Ex i1,1i–1a) und Praxis (1Kg 1–i)“, RB 1o: (1ooo) :a:–:oo, der auch die Erzählung
vom Tod des Generals Ioab behandelt (1 Kön i:i8–:a): das deutlich mit Schaudern
berichtete Beispiel eines gebrochenenAltarasvls. Eine Reihe vonPsalmenwurde auf Asvl-
suchende am Tempel von Ierusalem zurückgeführt (L. Delekat, Asylie und Schutzorakel
amZionheiligtum. Eine Untersuchung zu den privaten Feindpsalmen [Leiden 1oo¬]). Neu-
erdings hat Christine Dietrich (Asyl. Vergleichende Untersuchung zu einer Rechtsinstitu-
tion imAlten Israel und seiner Umwelt [BWANT 18i; Stuttgart ioo8]) die Tematik unter
Einbezug altorientalischen und altgriechischen Materials untersucht und das Asvlrecht
gerade in der Vorstellung der Heiligkeit verankert.
Vgl. z. B. eine inschrifliche Notiz über die Verschleppung von Götterstatuen aus
Gaza durch Tiglatpileser III. (K. Galling, Hg., Textbuch zur Geschichte Israels [i. Auf.;
Tübingen 1oo8], -8–-o) sowie die Erzählung 1Samuel a–-.
Zu Letzteren vgl. T.N.D. Mettinger, „Aniconism: A West Semitic Context for the
Israelite Phenomenon:“ in Ein Gott allein? IHVH-Verehrung und biblischer Monotheis-
mus im Kontext der israelitischen und altorientalischen Religionsgeschichte (Hg. W. Diet-
rich und M.A. Klopfenstein; OBO 1:o; Fribourg 1ooa), 1-o–1¬8.
Vgl. dazu das grundlegende Buch von S. Schroer, In Israel gab es Bilder. ^achrichten
von darstellender Kunst im Alten Testament (OBO ¬a; Fribourg 1o8¬).
Vgl. O. Keel und C. Uehlinger, Gottinnen, Gotter und Gottessymbole. ^eue Erkennt-
nisse zur Religionsgeschichte Kanaans und Israels aufgrund bislang unerschlossener ikono-
graphischer Ouellen (-. Auf.; OD 1:a; Freiburg i.Br. ioo1), §1oo. Der Sachverhalt ver-
dient insofern Beachtung, als kultische Frömmigkeit im alten Israel sich ofensichtlich
nicht nur an mehr oder weniger omziellen Heiligtümern abspielte, sondern auch im pri-
vaten Wohnbereich. Das Heilige konzentrierte sich also nicht auf einige wenige Stellen
im Land (oder gar, wie die joschijanische Reform es sich zum Ziel setzte und wie es dann
in nachexilischer Zeit weitgehend Wirklichkeit wurde, auf eine einzige: den Ierusalemer
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis iio
das nicht. Immer wieder wird das Verbot jeglichen Bilderdienstes ein-
geschärf. Ezechiel entrüstet sich darüber, dass Frauen in Ierusalem den
„Tammuz beweinen“,
Ieremia, dass judäische Frauen der „Himmelskö-
nigin“ kultische Reverenz erweisen
—vermutlich eine mesopotamisch
angereicherte Emanationder kanaanitischenAschera. EinAschera-Pfahl
soll sogar im Bereich des Ierusalemer Tempels gestanden haben;
wurde dort für lange Zeit ein Schlangen-Svmbol verehrt.
Selbst die
im Allerheiligsten untergebrachte Lade ist nicht gänzlich ungegenständ-
—und noch weniger das übrige Inventar und Zubehör des salomo-
nischen Tempels, denkt man etwa an die lotosblütenartigen Säulenkapi-
telle oder das „eherne Meer“, die an geläufge Mvthologeme altorientali-
scher Religiosität gemahnen.
Nach den bisherigen Beobachtungen ist die Heiligkeit eines Ortes eine
durch vielerlei Faktoren gestützte und eigentlich unverlierbare Oualität.
Man kann sie vielleicht übersehen oder missachten, sie aber nicht aus der
Welt schafen. Nun gibt es aber in der Hebräischen Bibel eine Reihe von
Stellen, die den Glauben an die Unberührbarkeit und die Unverzichtbar-
keit heiliger Orte relativieren.
a. Der íerzwungene oder freiwillige) Verzicht auf heilige Orte
Heilige Stätten konnten entheiligt werden: und zwar nicht nur versehent-
lich, was dann unbedingt wieder gutzumachen war, sondern absicht-
lich—und das war unverzeihlich. Ein solches Sakrileg musste nach der
Überzeugung antiker Menschen die betrefende Gottheit aufs Schwerste
reizen. Entweder schlug sie zurück, oder ihre Macht und Autorität war
imKern erschüttert. ImAlten Testament begegnen Beispiele für beides—
aber noch für ein Drittes: dass Gott die Profanisierung heiliger Orte dul-
dete, ja sogar bewirkte.
Ez 8:1a.
Ier ¬:18; aa:1-–1o.
i Kön 18:a; i1::, ¬; i::o.
i Kön 18:a, vgl. Num i1:8–o.
Ihr Inhalt wird in deuteronomistischer Literatur verdächtig dezidiert mit den bei-
den steinernen Dekalogtafeln Moses angegeben (Ex i-:1o, i1; Dtn 1o:a–-; 1 Kön 8:o,
i1). Ob die Lade tatsächlich etwas anderes enthielt, und was, darüber lässt sich nur
Vgl. Schroer, Bilder, ao–oo; Keel, Geschichte Ierusalems, :11–:i-.
i:o w.i1iv uii1vicu
(1) Die sogenannte Ladegeschichte berichtet, die Philister hätten sich
bei einem Sieg über die Stämme Israels der heiligen Lade bemächtigt.
Viele Indizien sprechen dafür, dass sie damals auch das Heiligtum, an
dem diese bis dahin aufewahrt worden war, verwüsteten.
Der ver-
meintliche Triumph entwickelte sich, der biblischen Darstellung zufolge,
für die Philister zum Desaster: Die Lade kämpfe sich, unter schweren
Opfern für die Philister, wieder frei und kehrte im Triumph in die Hei-
mat zurück; Ihwh ließ sich nicht demütigen!
Von Saul wird mit spürbaremSchaudern erzählt, er habe sich zweimal
anheiligenStätten—dochwohl zur Verehrung Ihwhs:—vergrifen. Beide
Male geschah dies auf der Iagd nach David. Einmal hatte sich dieser an
eine Nawot oder Najot genannte Ortlichkeit (ofenbar in der Nähe von
Rama) zurückgezogen,
wo er den Schutz Samuels und einer von die-
sem geleiteten Prophetengruppe genoss. Saul sandte wiederholt Häscher
aus, nahm dann aber, als diese unverrichteter Dinge zurückkehrten, die
Sache selbst in die Hand—umjedoch an Ort und Stelle von der D*H7R H1¨
überwältigt zu werden, den bei den heiligen Männern präsenten „göttli-
chen Geist“, der ihn in Ekstase (sowie in eine für ihn sehr unvorteilhafe
Position) versetzte.
Später dann wurde ihm nicht einmal solcher, für
ihn peinliche Schutz vor sich selbst zuteil: Er verfügte im Heiligtum von
Nob eine Massenhinrichtung von Priestern, weil diese angeblich David
Die Zerstörung Schilos wird in 1Samuel a nicht ausdrücklich mitgeteilt, doch
deutet der Tod Elis und der Abbruch der elidischen Priesterlinie in diese Richtung.
Auch hätte David die Lade nicht ohne Weiteres nach Ierusalem überführen können,
wenn Schilo noch Ansprüche hätte anmelden können. In Ier ¬:1i wird Schilo als Para-
digma für die Zerstörung eines Ihwh-Heiligtums aufgeführt, nur dass dabei nicht völ-
lig klar wird, ob sie sich in spät-vorstaatlicher Zeit oder irgendwann danach ereig-
Die Schreibweise variiert zwischen m1 und den Versionen und innerhalb des m1
zwischen Oere und Ketib (Letzteres scheint ein „Nawjat“ vorauszusetzen). Es ist unklar,
ob es sich um einen Ortsnamen oder um ein Appellativum handelt, das mit der Wurzel
nwh zusammenhängt und etwas wie „Weideland“ (bzw. eine dort befndliche einfache
Unterkunf) meint, vgl. HAL, s. v. P111.
1Sam 1o:18–ia. Es ist dies bekanntlich eine Parallel- bzw. Gegengeschichte zu
1Sam 1o:o–1i (vgl. dazu Dietrich und Naumann, Samuelbucher, 1o1–1oi; B. Lehnart,
„Saul unter den ‚Ekstatikern‘ [1Sam 1o,18–ia]“, in David und Saul im Viderstreit.
Diachronie und Synchronie im Vettstreit. Beiträge zur Auslegung des ersten Samuelbuches
[Hg. W. Dietrich; OBO ioo; Fribourg ioo:], io-–ii:). Die dortige Szene spielt bei P93à
D*H7RH (1o:-). Vermutlich handelt es sich um eben dasjenige Gibea, das als Herkunfsort
Sauls bekannt ist, dem aber zuweilen eine Aura des Heiligen zuerkannt wird: sei diese
nun ebenfalls durch die dort anwesenden Propheten oder durch eine im oder beim Ort
befndliche Kultstätte hervorgerufen.
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis i:1
unterstützt hatten: ein grauenvoller Tabubruch, von dem die Bibel mit
Entsetzen berichtet.
Dass sich diese Untat an Saul rächte, ist bekannt.
Wie steht es in dieser Hinsicht bei den Herrschern, die sich am Ieru-
salemer Tempel vergrifen: Nebukadnezar, Antiochos IV., schließlich
Titus: Exilische Volksklagelieder fragen verzweifelt, ob Ihwh sich die
Ungeheuerlichkeit der Tempelzerstörung durch die Babvlonier gefallen
lassen wolle
—und unverkennbar schwingt dabei die Sorge mit, diese
Anfechtung könnte dem Ihwh-Glauben zu schwer werden. Ihwhs Müh-
len mahlten langsamer als hier gewünscht, doch am Ende mahlten sie
tremich fein: Die siebzig Iahre bis zum Untergang des neubabvlonischen
Reichs wurden sprichwörtlich im Alten Testament.
Dafür, dass Antio-
chos im Ierusalemer Tempel einen „Gräuel der Verwüstung“ aufstellte
(Dan 11::1; 1i:11), folgte die Strafe ziemlich auf dem Fuß: in Gestalt der
Makkabäeraufstände, die der Herrschaf der Seleukiden über Palästina
ein Ende machten. Einzig Romdurfe sich anscheinend ungestraf an der
Heiligen Stadt vergehen.
(i) Des Oferen ist imAlten Testament imGrundton ungeteilter Zustim-
mung von der Zerstörung heiliger Stätten die Rede, an denen andere
Gottheiten verehrt wurden als Ihwh. Diese und der Glaube an sie sollte
und soll getrofen, ja ausgerottet werden.
„Ihre [der Kanaaniter] Altäre sollt ihr niederreißen, ihre Mazzeben
zerschlagen, ihre Ascheren umhauen und ihre Götterbilder verbrennen“,
lautet in unerbittlicher (und theologisch durchaus bedenklicher) Schärfe
der Befehl in Dtn ¬:-. Das ist indes nur der (vorläufge) Endpunkt einer
langen Geschichte. Gideon soll, noch ehe er zur Befreiung Israels von
den Midianitern ansetzte, in seinem Heimatort Ofra einen dem Baal
geweihten Altar niedergerissen und einen daneben stehenden Aschera-
Pfahl umgehauen haben; die Leute des Ortes fürchteten die Rache der
Götter und wollten den Frevler hinrichten, doch am Ende behielten
Baal und Aschera den Schaden, Gideon ging frei aus.
Iehu richtete im
1Samuel i1–ii; vgl. dazu die—weitestgehend leider nur auf linguistischem Niveau
bleibende—Spezialuntersuchung von C. Riepl, Sind David und Saul berechenbar? Von der
sprachlichen Analyse zur literarischen Struktur von rSam:r und :: (Arbeiten zu Text und
Sprache im Alten Testament :o; St. Ottilien 1oo:). Dazu die Rezension TLZ 11o (1ooa)
Ps ¬a; Klgl i:io; -:18–io.
Ier i-:11–1i; Sach 1:1i; Dan o:i, ia.
Ri o:i-–:i. Andreas Scherer (Uberlieferungen von Religion und Krieg. Exegeti-
sche und religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zu Richter +–8 und verwandten Texten
[WMANT 1o-; Neukirchen-Vluvn ioo-], ii¬–ia8) wehrt mit guten Gründen eine
i:i w.i1iv uii1vicu
Baal-Tempel von Samaria ein Blutbad an, ließ den Tempel einreißen und
in den Ruinen eine Latrine anlegen: nach Meinung des biblischen Erzäh-
lers ein schwerer Schlag gegen Baal und den Baalsglauben in Israel.
Was—umnoch einmal auf die Ladegeschichte zurückzukommen—Ihwh
im Dagon-Tempel zu Aschdod angerichtet hat, ist nichts anderes als
eine schwere Form von Kultfrevel: eine Götterstatue so of und so hef-
tig umzustürzen, bis ihr das Genick und die Hände gebrochen sind.
(:) DemAlten Testament zufolge war Ihwh indes nicht nur mit Angrifen
einverstanden, die sich gegen Kultorte anderer Götter richteten, sondern
auch mit solchen, die ihm selbst geweihten Heiligtümern galten. Der
Grund dafür ist leicht zu erraten: Er fühlte sich (jedenfalls nach Meinung
der betrefenden Autoren) dort nicht recht verehrt—oder er sah dort
sogar statt oder neben ihm andere Götter verehrt. In solchen Fällen war
es besser, dass es mit der Heiligkeit dieser Orte ein Ende hatte.
Das Deuteronomium und das deuteronomistische Geschichtswerk
werden nicht müde, den Kult von Bet-El und Dan
und den Kult auf
den judäischen P1O3
anzuprangern, obwohl dort zweifellos Ihwh ver-
ehrt wurde. Nach der deuteronomischen Orthodoxie war dies aber kein
Spätdatierung des Abschnitts ab und weist diesen der Zeit der Omri- oder der Iehu-
Dvnastie zu (o. Iahrhundert).
i Kön 1o:18–i¬. Auch dieser Text ist keineswegs jung und dtr, sondern gehört zur
Iehu-Novelle aus demo. Iahrhundert, vgl. W. Dietrich, „Iehus Kampf gegen den Baal von
Samaria“, in ibid., Von David zu den Deuteronomisten. Studien zu den Geschichtsuberlie-
ferungen des Alten Testaments (BWANT 1-o; Stuttgart iooi), 1oa–18o.
1Sam -:1–-. Wieder ist zu betonen: Dieser Passus ist nicht spät, sondern mit der
Ladegeschichte wohl ins 8. Iahrhundert zu datieren, vgl. W. Dietrich, Samuel (BKAT
8.1/ a; Neukirchen-Vluvn ioo¬), i1-–i1o und ioo–io¬.
Die „Sünde Ierobeams“ begleitete nach der Darstellung schon der Grundfassung
des dtr Geschichtswerkes die gesamte Geschichte des Nordstaates Israel und brachte
ihn schließlich zu Fall (vgl. 1 Kön 1i:io–:o mit i Kön 1¬:i1). Dabei wurde in Bet-El
(und Dan) dezidiert Ihwh als der Gott des Exodus verehrt (vgl. 1 Kön 1i:i8 und dazu
R. Albertz, Religionsgeschichte Israels in alttestamentlicher Zeit r [GAT 8.1; Göttingen
1ooi], iio–ii-)! C. Levin („Die Frömmigkeit der Könige von Israel und Iuda“, in Houses
Full of All Good Tings [Hg. I. Pakkala und M. Nissinen; Helsinki ioo8], 1i8–1o8, hier
1-:–1-a) meint diese Darstellung für durch und durch deuteronomistisch halten zu
Grundlegend ist das—in sich mehrschichtige—sog. Zentralisationsgebot Deutero-
nomium 1i, das zur Richtlinie für die Königsbeurteilungen in 1–i Könige wurde. Vgl.
die gründliche Analvse und Auslegung des Textes bei T. Veijola, Das ·. Buch Mose. Deute-
ronomium Kapitel r,r–ro,r/ (ATD 8.1; Göttingen iooa), ioi–i¬o, sowie T. Römer, „Une
seule maison pour le Dieu unique: La centralisation du culte dans le Deutéronome et
dans l’historiographie deutéronomiste“, in Ouelle maison pour Dieu? (Hg. C. Focant; LD;
Paris ioo:), ao–8o.
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis i::
reiner, sondern ein kontaminierter oder gar pervertierter Ihwh-Glaube,
weil in ihn Anteile der kanaanitischen Fruchtbarkeitsreligion gemengt
waren. So wird mit spürbarer Zustimmung von den Sakrilegien berich-
tet, die Ioschija an den Höhenheiligtümern in Iuda und an dem ehema-
ligen Staatsheiligtum in Bet-El beging.
Findet all dies seine Rechtfertigung in der Überzeugung, dass der
Tempel von Ierusalem der einzige legitime Ort der Ihwh-Verehrung sei,
so muss es eine furchtbare Anfechtung gewesen sein, dass auch dieser,
nur wenige Iahrzehnte nach der joschijanischen Reform, seinerseits ent-
weiht wurde. Dies umso mehr, als sich spätestens ab der als wunder-
bar erlebten Errettung Ierusalems vor den Assvrern im Iahr ¬o1 v. Chr.
ein hochfiegender Glaube an die Unantastbarkeit des Zion als des hei-
ligen Wohnsitzes Ihwhs herausgebildet hatte.
Freilich, es gab längst
auch schon andere Stimmen, welche die Relativität bzw. Konditionali-
tät der Bindung Ihwhs an Zion betonten. Iesaja hatte in seiner Frühzeit-
verkündigung auf die einstmals „treue Stadt“ Ierusalem ein Leichenkla-
gelied angestimmt, weil in ihr „Diebesgenossen“ das Sagen hatten, und
den im Heiligtum Versammelten hatte er die Negativ-Tora erteilt, dass
Ihwh ihre Lieder und Gebete nicht höre, weil ihre Hände befeckt seien
durch asoziales Verhalten. Etwa gleichzeitig und mit ähnlicher Begrün-
dung hatte der Landjudäer Micha angekündigt, Zion werde alsbald zum
Acker umgepfügt werden—und dies, obwohl oder weil die hauptstädti-
sche Elite sichinder Überzeugung sonnte, es könne ihr nichts geschehen,
weil „Ihwh in unserer Mitte“ sei.
An eben diese Aufsehen erregende
und ofenbar eine Bußbewegung auslösende Prophezeiung erinnerten
sich fast 1-o Iahre später Festpilger in Ierusalem, als der Prophet Iere-
mia ganz Ahnliches verkündete und dafür mit dem Tod bestraf werden
sollte; auch er warnte davor, dass ein noch so heiliger Ort seine heilige
Aura und damit den Schutz Gottes verliere, wenn er von den Menschen
zu einer „Räuberhöhle“ gemacht werde.
i Kön i::1-–io.
Vgl. z. B. Ies :¬:ii–io; Ps ao sowie O.H. Steck, Friedensvorstellungen im alten
Ierusalem (TSt 111; Zürich 1o¬i).
Ies 1:1o–1¬, i1–i:; Mi ::o–1i. Zum sachlichen Kontext dieser Texte in der pro-
phetischen Sozialkritik des 8. Iahrhunderts vgl. R. Kessler, Staat und Gesellschaþ im vor-
exilischen Iuda. Vom 8. Iahrhundert bis zum Exil (VTSup a¬; Leiden 1ooi), ii–io und
Zum geschichtlichen und literarischen Ort der Tempelrede Ieremias, von der ein
vor-deuteronomistischer (Ieremia io) und ein deuteronomistischer Text künden (Iere-
mia ¬), vgl. A. Graupner, Auþrag und Geschick des Propheten Ieremia. Literarische Eigen-
art, Herkunþ und Intention vordeuteronomistischer Prosa imIeremiabuch (Biblisch-Teo-
i:a w.i1iv uii1vicu
Mit solchen Außerungen ist die Zerstörung Ierusalems und des Tem-
pels im Iahr -8o vorweggenommen und legitimiert: Ihwh kann das
Unfassbare geschehen lassen, weil diese heilige Stätte nur mehr dem
Schein nach der Ort seiner Gegenwart ist, er in Wahrheit aber schon
längst daraus verabschiedet worden ist. Eben dies ist auch der Aussa-
gegehalt der großen Vision Ezechiels vom Auszug des H1H* 713D aus
Ierusalem gen Osten: in Richtung der -o¬ und -8o nach Babvlonien
Ihwh ist an „seine Stadt“, den denkbar heiligsten Ort,
nicht gebunden. Er kann überall sein, auch im dezidiert nicht-heiligen
Feindesland. In die gleiche Richtung zielt der Brief Ieremias an die Ver-
bannten, in demes heißt, Ihwh sei zu fnden, wo immer er gesucht werde:
also keineswegs nur in der heiligen Stadt Ierusalem, sondern ebenso in
der Fremde.
Als einige Iahrzehnte später die Rückkehr von Babvlonien in die Hei-
mat möglich geworden und die Chance zur Neuerrichtung des Tempels
gekommen ist, werden neben positiven, ja enthusiastischen
auch kriti-
sche Stimmen laut: Der Gott Israels brauche keine bestimmte, besonders
heilige Stätte, er könne seinem Volk auch auf andere Weise nahe sein.
Das Gotteshaus in Ierusalem sei nicht wirklich Gottes Haus, seine Woh-
nung sei vielmehr der Himmel.
Solch nachdenkliche Töne verbinden
sich—wie schon bei den vorexilischen Propheten—mit sozialen Mah-
nungen: Es gehe nicht an, Rind und Schafe zu opfern—und zugleich
Menschen und Hunde umzubringen.
Ia, eigentlich sei der Opferkult
am heiligen Ort ganz überfüssig: Gott brauche keine Opfer, ihm gehöre
logische Studien 1-; Neukirchen-Vluvn 1oo1), ao–oo. Laut Mt i1:1: hat sich Iesus auf die
jeremianische Tempelkritik berufen und damit erneut großen Unmut ausgelöst.
Ez 11:ii–i:.
Ier io:1i–1a. In spiritualisierter Formist dieser Gedanke aufgenommen in Lk 11:o–
Hier haben sich besonders die Propheten Haggai und Sacharja hervorgetan; davon
zeugen nicht nur die von ihnen überlieferten Worte (Hag 1:i–11; Sach o:o–1-), sondern
auch ihre hervorgehobene Erwähnung in Esra -:1. Laut Esra 1:i und o:1–a hat bereits
Kvros (-:o–-io) den Tempelbau in Ierusalem verfügt; doch hat ihn ofenbar erst Darius
(-i1–a8-) in die Tat umgesetzt.
iSam ¬:a–o. Zur nachexilischen Datierung („DtrN“) siehe W. Dietrich, „Nieder-
gang und Neuanfang: Die Haltung der Schlussredaktion des deuteronomistischen Ge-
schichtswerkes zu den wichtigsten Fragen ihrer Zeit“, in ibid., Von David zu den Deute-
ronomisten, i-i–i¬1.
1 Kön 8:i¬; Ies oo:1.
Ies oo::.
uiv uiiiici ov1 im iivi× U×u ci.Uvi× .i1isv.iis i:-
ohnehin die gesamte Tierwelt; man möge ihm doch „Dank opfern“ und
im Übrigen „unsträfich wandeln“—das stelle ihn vollauf zufrieden!
So zeigt sich denn: Der heilige Ort bzw. heilige Orte spielen eine
bedeutende Rolle im Leben und Glauben Altisraels. Zugleich aber hat
Israel ein Gespür entwickelt für den Unterschied zwischen der Heiligkeit
von Orten und der Heiligkeit Gottes.
Ps -o:8–1-; vgl. Ies oo:1–a.
RU1u Kosm.××
1. Die Refexion des Glaubens in der persischen Diaspora
1.1. Einleitung
Alles deutet darauf hin, dass das jüdische Volk inder persischenDiaspora
die eigene Identität neu fnden musste—abseits von religiös bestimmten
Grundpfeilern des „Mit-Seins“ Gottes in der Gabe des Landes und seiner
Präsenz im Tempel.
Das Volk wurde konfrontiert mit den vorderasiatischen Gottheiten,
wie sie die assvrisch-babvlonische Kultur vor allem in den Gottheiten
Anu, Enlil, Schamasch, Sin, Marduk und Ischtar anboten. In der Ausein-
andersetzung mit diesem polvtheistischen Kult konnte die vom Grund-
satz her auf einem monotheistischen Grundpfeiler aufauende Religion
des jüdischen Volkes dem in der Frühzeit des Exils entweder ablehnend
gegenüberstehen oder ihn unter Aufgabe des bisherigen religiösen Tra-
ditionsgutes adaptieren.
Dieser Beitrag wird Überlegungen zu einer entscheidenden Entwick-
lung in der Ausprägung der jüdischen Religion wiedergeben: In der Aus-
einandersetzung mit der der babvlonischen folgenden persischen Kul-
tur und der mazdavasnischen Religiosität seiner Herrscher konnten sich
synkritische Ausprägungen formen.
1.i. Die Religion der persischen Herrscher. Mazdaismus bzw.
Von Bedeutung ist, dass die medisch-persische Herrschaf unter Kvros I.
und seinen Nachfolgern tolerant gegenüber der Religionsausübung der
Die Bezeichnung Mazdaismus (vgl. mazdavasnisch) bezieht sich auf den persischen
Gottesnamen Ahura Mazda.
i:8 vU1u xosm.××
unter ihr vereinten Länder agierte.
Doch während die alten babvloni-
schenGottheitenlängst über Ländergrenzenhinweg populär waren, stieg
in der Zeit der Achaemeniden eine bis dahin eher unscheinbare religiöse
Denkrichtung zu neuemRuhmauf. Der Mazdaismus mit Zarathustra als
Stifer und Lehrer des religiös-ethischen Gedankenguts, wurde von den
Achaemeniden zur Staatsreligion gekürt. Diese war im Grundzug streng
monotheistischer Natur.
In dem Awesta fndet sich die älteste Wiedergabe dessen, was Zara-
thustra vor mehr als ¬oo Iahren von diesem Gott verkündete:
Mazda, der „Weise Herr“, dessen Wesenheit zu beschreiben problema-
tisch erscheint,
ist der alleinige Gott. Er, das „höchste Wesen“, lehrte
durch seinen Propheten der Menschheit das ethische Handeln nach
Wahrheit und Lüge zu unterscheiden. Er, der Schöpfer, unterteilte die
Welt in das Reich des Geistes und das des irdischen Seins und steht so
mit ihr in Wechselwirkung. Ein Gott schließlich, der seine Identität nicht
an einen kultischen Ort, ein zugeteiltes Land, an die Geschichte mit sei-
nem Volk gebunden hat, sondern sich an den Menschen ofenbarte in
der Forderung eines an Wahrheit orientierten, ethischen Handelns.
Wann und wo immer sich die Exulanten des jüdischen Volkes mit
dieser Ausformung eines monotheistisch-religiösen Gedankenguts kon-
frontiert sahen, werden sie sich unmittelbar angesprochen gefühlt haben
dürfen. Die sich darbietende Möglichkeit, die eigene religiöse Identität
nicht aufgeben zu müssen und gleichzeitig weitab vom bisher identi-
tätsstifenden Land ein eigenes Selbstverständnis formen zu können, ist
ofensichtlich. Mehr noch, diese Bewegung war lebensnotwendig, um
nicht sang- und klanglos in der Geschichte aufzugehen (vgl. Israel ¬ii
v.Chr.). So fand gerade in der Diaspora der Prozess statt, in dem sich aus
dem Kultus des deportierten jüdischen Volkes das „Iudentum“ als ethni-
sche Identifkation und religiöse Ausdrucksform zu entwickeln begann.
Vgl. iChr :o:ii–i:; Esra 1:i–:; o:1–i; ¬:11–i8; Nehemia i. S.a. H. Lommel, Die
Religion Zarathustras. ^ach dem Awesta dargestellt (Hildesheim 1o¬1 = Tübingen 1o:o),
Vgl. Lommel, Religion, o. Die umstrittene Datierung des Wirkens Zarathustras
reicht von oooo (vgl. Xanthos, Zeitgenosse des Herodot, in seinen Λυδιακo) bis -oo
v.Chr. Ich stütze mich auf Lommel, der „für den frühesten festen Punkt die andeutende
Nennung des Gottesnamens Mazda bei Sargon“ annimmt und die Ansicht vertritt, „daß
Zarathustra vor ¬1a v.Chr. gewirkt habe“ (Lommel, Religion, o).
Lommel, Religion, 1o–11. „Ahura Mazda“ ist „eigentlich namenlos und wird mit
einer Wesensbeschreibung, nicht einem Personennamen genannt, und dabei ist Mazda
‚der Weise‘ der charakterisierende, somit einem Namen näher stehende Bestandteil“
voix ou×r i.×u i:o
i. Die Diasporaliteratur als Ouelle
fur religionsgeschichtliche Einfusse
i.1. Die Problematik der literarischen Vorlagen
Hat man sich die Begrimichkeit des zoroastrischen Gedankenguts in
ihrem scheinbar zeitlosen Bedeutungsrahmen und die religionsge-
schichtlichen Hintergründe der mazdavasnischen Religion vor Augen
geführt, so meint man, deren Einfuss auf die exilisch-nachexilische Lite-
ratur der Bibel überall heraushören zu können; sei es in den sich seit dem
Exil entwickelnden großen literarischen Gattungen wie der apokalvpti-
schen und weisheitlichen Literatur, in Tritojesaja oder aber auch in den
bis dato nicht gebräuchlichen Vorstellungswelten wie sie uns z. B. in der
„Himmels“-Terminologie (vgl. z. B. Esra 1:i) oder der Angelologie im
Danielbuch (vgl. Sacharja) begegnen.
Es ist problematisch, diese Beeinfussung faktisch nachzuweisen. Die
Ursache dafür liegt im schwierigen Verständnis der Übersetzung des
Damit ist auch die Problematik der terminologischen Dife-
renzen zwischen der awestischen und der aramäischen bzw. hebräi-
schen Sprache angesprochen. Des Weiteren wird die Untersuchung die-
ser Tese dadurch erschwert, dass von der Literatur aus der Perserzeit
kaum etwas übrig geblieben ist.
Für unsere Überlegungen gehen wir
jedoch davon aus, dass auch verloren gegangene Texte die Grundlage
für die biblische Diasporaliteratur sein könnten. Ahnlich wie für den
in Oumran entdeckten Text aOPrNab
eine Beeinfussung auf Daniel a
anzunehmen ist,
muss man für die Diasporaliteratur textliche Vorlagen
Vor allemin den Gathas, die auf Zarathustra selbst zurückgehen, „gibt es rätselhafe
Stellen, teils wegen der Altertümlichkeit der Sprache, teils weil es auch da Überlieferungs-
störungen gibt“ (Lommel, Die Gathas des Zarathustra [Basel 1o¬1], 1:).
K. Koch, „Daniel a im Licht neuer Funde“, in Te Book of Daniel in the Light of ^ew
Findings (Hg. A.S. van der Woude; Leuven 1oo:), 11o.
Publiziert wurde dieser Text 1o-o von I.T. Milik unter „‚Prière de naboniede‘ et
autres écrits d’un cvcle de Daniel“, RB o: (1o-o) ao¬–a1-. Vgl. R. Mever, Das Gebet des
^abonid. Eine in den Oumran-Handschriþen wiederentdeckte Veiheitserzählung (Berlin
1ooi), 1o.
I.I. Collins, „New Light on the Book of Daniel from the Dead Sea Scrolls“, in
Perspectives in the Study of the Old Testament and Early Iudaism. A Symposium in Honour
of Adam S. van der Voude on the Occasion of His /cth Birthday (Hg. F. García Martínez
and E. Noort; VTSup ¬:; Leiden 1oo8), 18o–1oo, zieht die Schlussfolgerung, dass die
Bedeutung des aramäischen Textes aOprNab darin liege, „that it throws light on the
traditional storv that underlies Daniel a, whether the author of Daniel knew this specifc
text or not“ (1o-).
iao vU1u xosm.××
annehmen, die ihren kulturellen Hintergrund in der Lebenswelt Babvlo-
niens und Persiens haben. Das bedeutet aber, dass Texte weltlichen und
religiösen Inhalts in Form von literarischen Ausdrucksformen, Bildern
undSvmbolenEingang indie Literatur des Diasporajudentums gefunden
haben. Nunscheint inder prosaischenDiasporaliteratur wie demDaniel-
buch, dem Estherbuch
und der Iosephnovelle eine ofensichtlich leicht
zugängliche Ouelle für derartige Forschungen vorzuliegen, da diese am
ehesten den Nachweis für fremdreligiöse Beeinfussung liefern.
i.i. Der monotheistische Schwerpunkt in den Diasporaerzählungen des
In der Esthererzählung und in der Iosephnovelle haben sich inhaltli-
che Schwerpunkte gebildet, die das judäische Diasporaleben beispielhaf
unter dem Aspekt des gesellschaflichen Aufstiegs des Höfings am aus-
ländischen Hofe thematisieren. In deren Duktus ist jeweils eine an per-
sönlichen, kulturellen (vgl. Genesis :o und ao) oder religiösen (vgl. Esth
::8) Eigenarten orientierte Integrationsproblematik hineinverwoben, die
die Protagonisten stellvertretend für das ganze Volk bewältigen müssen.
Dagegen scheinen die Hauptpersonen im Danielbuch bereits am Hofe
des Königs situiert. Aufällig ist, dass die Erzählungen in Daniel 1 und :–
o den monotheistischen Glauben in das Blickfeld rücken. Denn anders
als im Danielbuch zielt die Traumdeutung Iosephs in Genesis a1 nicht
darauf, den Gott Israels als den wahren Gott des Landes zu inthronisie-
ren. Auch das Estherbuch hat kein Interesse an der Verherrlichung des
Gottes des jüdischen Volkes. Es sind die Hörer, die in den Erzählungen je
Gottes verborgenes und doch sich selbst ofenbarendes Handeln erken-
nen. In Dan i:ao dagegen huldigt der König diesem Gott, indem er stell-
vertretend vor Daniel Proskvnese übt und sich zu dessen Gott als dem
„Gott der Götter, dem Herr der Könige“ bekennt.
Für die judäischen Exulanten geht es im Danielbuch also um die
grundlegende Frage ihrer religiösen Orientierung und damit zugleich
Vgl. A. Meinhold, „Die Gattung der Iosephsgeschichte und des Estherbuches:
Diasporanovelle I“, ZAV 8¬ (1o¬-) :oo–:ia; ders., „Diasporanovelle II“, ZAV 88 (1o¬o)
Meine Untersuchungen, in denen ich die für das Estherbuch zugrundeliegenden
ursprünglichen vier Erzählungen nichtreligiösen Ursprungs redaktionsgeschichtlich als
Textvorlagenfür denm1nachzuweisenversucht habe, begründendiese Tese. Vgl. hierzu
R. Koßmann, Die Esthernovelle. Vom Erzählten zur Erzählung. Studien zur Traditions- o
Redaktionsgeschichte des Estherbuches (VTSup ¬o; Leiden iooo).
voix ou×r i.×u ia1
umihre Identität imfremdenLand. So zeigt sichhier die hervorgehobene
Bedeutung dessen, wer der Gott Daniels und der übrigen Iudäer ist.
i.:. Der Gott Daniels
In Daniel : wird die landesweite Adoration eines Standbildes eingefor-
dert. Die Pointe der Geschichte vonder Rettung aus demFeuerofenendet
indes in ::ioc mit der königlichen Erkenntnis über den Gott Daniels:
„Denn es gibt keinen anderen Gott, der auf diese Weise retten kann.“
AuchDana::1 hat einenLobhvmnus auf deneinenGott zumInhalt. Und
in Dan -:i: fällt das Urteil über Belschazzar, weil er diesen einen Gott,
den Schöpfer, Erhalter und Lenker königlichen Handelns nicht geprie-
sen hat. Schließlich fndet sich am Ende der Erzählung von Daniel in der
Löwengrube (o:io–io) ein königliches Bekenntnisschreiben an alle Völ-
ker: In diesemeinen „lebendigen Gott“, der in „Ewigkeit bleibt“, und des-
sen „Königreich nicht zerstört werden wird“, ruht die eigentliche Wahr-
heit und Weisheit, die dem König für seine Regentschaf unerlässlich
scheint. Der Held der Geschichte macht dies evident.
SeinWissenundseine Weisheit, seine göttliche Rettung aus der Bedro-
hung und die Einsicht des Königs, alles dies deutet darauf hin, dass hier
ein alter Glaube zugunsten eines erneuerten und weiseren Glaubens,
bezeugt durch einen seiner überzeugten Anhänger, ausgetauscht wird.
Doch ist bemerkenswert, dass es sich in dem aramäischen Teil des
Danielbuchs (Kap. i–¬) nicht um den Gott Israels zu handeln scheint.
Denn Daniels Gott ist autark gegenüber Orten und Zeiten. Er ist ein
großer (i:a-), lebendiger (o:i1, i¬) Gott, der Gott der Götter (i:a¬), der
höchste Gott (:::i; -:18, i1), der in Ewigkeit Lebende, der Retter, der
Gott des Himmels (Dan i:18–1o, :¬, aa; vgl. Esra -:11; ¬:1i, i1, i:), ein
Gott schließlich, der mit den Possessivpronomen „mein“, „unser“, „euer“,
als Bekenntnis-Gottheit identifziert wirdundals dessen„Diener“ Daniel
tituliert wird (Dan o:1¬, i1, i:, ia; o).
Die nachfolgenden Aussagen und Bilder über diese Gottheit, über den
„Hochbetagten“ (Dan ¬:o), den „Menschensohn“ (8:1¬), den „Mann in
Leinen“ (1o:-) sowie die sich entfaltende Angelologie in Daniel 8–1o,
alles das sind Einsprengsel einer neuen Beschreibung Gottes, inmitten
der ab Kapitel o wieder vertrauten Erinnerungen an den Gott der Väter,
der mit seinem Volk Geschichte schrieb und sich in ihr ofenbarte.
Doch um welchen Gott handelt es sich in den älteren Schichten des
Danielbuchs: Wem ordnete sich die judäische Diasporagemeinde zu,
wenn von „ihrem“ Gott die Rede ist:
iai vU1u xosm.××
:. Die ^eubeschreibung der Herrschaþ
Gottes unter Einfuss des persischen Denkens
:.1. Uberlieferungsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zum Danielbuch
Folgen wir mit der sogenannten Aufstockungshypothese
K. Kochs der
Überlieferungsgeschichte des Danielbuchs in seinen verschiedenen
Schichtungen, so scheint es möglich, mit den im Danielbuch verarbei-
teten Geschichten in die Zeit vorzustoßen, deren älteste Teile Koch dem
Ende des a. Ih. v.Chr. zuordnet: die Statuenvision (Dan i::1–:-), die
Vier-Tier-Vision (¬:i–1a) und die Legende der drei Männer im Feu-
erofen (::1–:o). Der in der Forschung bestehende Konsens über die
dem Danielbuch zugrundeliegenden mündlichen „Überlieferungs- und
Motivgeschichte der Stofe“
interessieren hier insbesondere.
Selbst wenn Koch zahlreiche Formen iranischen Denkens im Daniel-
buch ausmacht (so z. B. die „Menschensohn“-Tematik,
die parsische
und dem Danielbuch allgemein iranische
Eschatologie- und Dualismusgedanken zuschreibt,
so spiegeln diese
jedoch vor allem spätere und weiterentwickelte Formen der mazdavas-
nischen Bildersprache wider.
Es sind die frühesten Erzählstränge des Danielbuchs, in denen der
mazdavasnische Einfuss auf die jüdische Religion beobachtet werden
kann. Für Koch ist schon rein sprachlich evident, dass das aramäische
Danielbuch ins beginnende :. Ih. v.Chr. zu datieren ist. Folglich reichen
seine mündlichen Vorstufen in die persische Zeit zurück.
Diese Überlegungen lassen sich beispielhafuntermauern durch das in
Dan a:¬–1a verarbeitete Motiv vomBaummit den vier Asten. Inhaltliche
Parallelen zwischen demTraumdes Königs von demweltumspannenden
Baum fnden sich im persischen Schriftum. Der Text, überliefert bei
Herodot (¬.1o), erzählt vom Traum des persischen Königs:
Während Xerxes zum Kriege rüstete, hatte er noch einen dritten Traum.
Die Magier, die er befragte, deuteten den Traum so, daß die ganze Erde
und alle Völker ihm untertan werden würden. Dieser Traum war folgen-
dermaßen. Es erschien Xerxes, als sei er mit einem Olzweig bekränzt,
K. Koch, Das Buch Daniel (EdF 1aa; Darmstadt 1o8o), --f.
Ebd., oi.
Ebd., i:1–i::, s. Punkt a.–o.
Ebd., iaa.
Ebd., oo–o¬. Vgl. vor allem 1oo–118.
Ebd., oo.
voix ou×r i.×u ia:
dessen Triebe die ganze Erde überschatteten; danach verschwand der
Kranz von seinem Haupte.
Auf dem Hintergrund der ofensichtlichen Nähe des persischen Materi-
als zu Daniel a ist die Eigenaussage des Danieltextes neu zu bestimmen,
denn hier wird exemplarisch deutlich, dass Daniel a das widerspiegelt,
was in „maßgeblichen Kreisen“ des Diasporajudentums in der von der
persischen Kultur beeinfussten Umwelt für richtig gehalten und adap-
tiert wurde.
:.i. Die Doxologien in Daniel + und , im Vergleich mit persischen
Insgesamt weisen die Überreste der Literatur der Perserzeit Parallelen
zu den Besonderheiten des Danielbuchs auf. Bei den Königsinschrifen
und der Palastikonographie sind diese evident.
So taucht die Abfolge
von Absenderangabe und doxologischem Ausruf in Dan :::1–:: in
umgekehrter Reihung bei den altpersischen Inschrifen auf.
Altpersische Inschriþ Dan +.+r–++
Ein großer Gott (ist) A(h)uramazda,
der diese Erde schuf, der jenen
Himmel schuf, der den Menschen
schuf, der die Segensfülle (:) schuf
für den Menschen, der den ×.×.
zum König machte, den Einen zum
König der Vielen, den Einen zum
Befehlshaber von Vielen.
Ich bin ×.×., der große König,
König der Könige, König der
Länder-Völker, König in dieser
großen Erde fernhin.
Nebukadnezzar der König, an alle
Völker, Nationen und Sprachen,
die irgendwo auf der Erde wohnen:
Allumfassend sei euer Friede!
Es hat mir gefallen, die Zeichen und
Wunder kundzutun, die der höchste
Gott an mir getan hat. Wie groß sind
seine Zeichen und wie gewaltig seine
Wunder! Seine Königsherrschaf
ist eine ewige Königsherrschaf,
und seine Herrschaf währt von
Generation zu Generation.
Als Besonderheit zeigt sich in den omziellen Inschrifen seit Darius I.
der hvmnischen Preis des „Weisen Herrn“ Ahuramazda, des Schöpfers
und Regenten der Welt. Auch die „göttliche Einzigartigkeit wird hier in
gleicher Weise wie beim aramäischen R*79 RH7R, [‚der höchste Gott‘]
Herodot, Historien. Deutsche Gesamtausgabe (Hg. H.W. Haussig; a. Auf.; Stuttgart
1o¬1), aao.
Koch, „Daniel a“, 11i.
Ebd., 11o.
iaa vU1u xosm.××
zum Ausdruck gebracht, und dies wird denn auch die reichsaramäische
Wiedergabe der persischen Aussage gewesen sein.“
Eine ebensolche Doxologie fndet sich neben Dan :::1–:: in zwei-
facher Form noch in Dan a::1b–:i und in a::a. Diese Doxologien be-
schreiben den Verständnishorizont, in dem Daniel a zu lesen ist (vgl.
Dan -:i1!). In der dreimaligen formelhafen Wiederholung der Deutung
des königlichen Traumes (a:1a, ii, io) wird evident, dass hier um die
Erkenntnis der Lebenden—einschließlich der aktuell Herrschenden—
über die einzigartige Allmächtigkeit Gottes gerungen wird.
Es ist der
König, der zur Erkenntnis der Allmacht Gottes kommen soll. Damit
spricht Daniel a keine spezifsch jüdische Sprache, denn am Beispiel des
mächtigen Nebukadnezzars soll die Unumgänglichkeit des Bekenntnis-
ses zu dem einzigen Gott deutlich werden.
Dass der Text dabei von
dem „höchsten Gott“ spricht, ist augenfällig. Tatsächlich impliziert die-
ser Name jedoch den Gedanken an den „weisen Herrn“, Ahura Mazda,
der identisch mit demeinzigen Gott verstanden werden muss. Das Spezi-
fkum dieser Aussage im Danielbuch ist die Darstellung Gottes als Herr-
scher über das ewige Königreich (RP1D7O). Die Entscheidungsgewalt des
Großkönigs ist damit nur Teil einer hinter allemirdischen Machtgebaren
stehenden politischen Souveränität Gottes. Letztlich bestimmt sie den
Ausgang politischer Ereignisse: Gott selbst steuert, verleiht und entzieht
die Macht den Mächtigen im „Königreich der Menschen“. Die mögliche,
ja, wahrscheinliche Identität des Gottes Daniels mit dempersischen Gott
Ahura Mazdas ist ofensichtlich.
Wie aber lassen sich die Nuancen zwischen dem Bekenntnis des jüdi-
schen Autors zu Gott und der persischen Ausdrucksform gegenüber
Ahura Mazda erklären: Wir sollten von einem Autor ausgehen, der
sich von diesem Denken punktuell abzusetzen sucht. Andererseits ist
zu bedenken, dass das Selbstbekenntnis der Könige zu Ahura Mazda in
den Palastinschrifen nicht mit der Verbreitung des Mazdaismus insge-
samt verglichen werden kann. Die Durchsetzung der mazdavasnischen
Religion in der Gesellschaf und ihr Einfuss auf persisches Denken
haben sich, wie im Folgenden exemplarisch gezeigt wird, umfassender
bemerkbar gemacht. Ein jüdischer Autor wird darum auch kaum jene
herrschafszentrierten doxologischen Aussagen, als vielmehr den Ein-
fuss grundlegender religiöser Erkenntnisse refektiert haben. Dass er
Ebd., 111.
Ebd., 8i.
Ebd., 11i.
voix ou×r i.×u ia-
sich in der Auseinandersetzung mit diesen auf Erzählungen im Königs-
milieu stützt, mag dagegen mit der Einführung der mazdavasnischen
Religion seitens der Herrschenden zu tun haben. Insofern erscheinen
die ofensichtlich geringen Nuancen im Ausdruck des jüdischen Autors
eher erstaunlich, da ihre inhaltlichen Gemeinsamkeiten eine ausdrück-
liche Ofenheit gegenüber den persischen Ouellen zum Ausdruck brin-
gen. Diese sind selbst in der heute vorliegenden, überlieferten Fassung
des Textes noch sichtbar.
:.:. Die Herrschaþ Ahura Mazdas in den Yästs Zarathustras
Die oben dargelegte, sichtbare Annäherung der Machtbeschreibung des
jüdischen Gottes an die religiöse Gedankenwelt Persiens lässt sich mit
der Sichtung der ältesten, auf Zarathustra selbst zurückgehenden Yästs
des Awesta weiter verfolgen.
In der Auseinandersetzung mit dem, was mit dem altpersischen Wort
„Chshathra“ gemeint sei, stellt Lommel eine Doppeldeutigkeit im Sinne
von „Reich“, „Königswürde“ als auch „Herrschaf“ fest. In der Inschrif
von Suez beispielsweise bedeutet es das seltener gebrauchte „Reich“:
„Ahuramazda . . . der den Darius zum König machte, der dem König
Darius das große Reich, das tüchtige Rosse und Männer hat, verlieh.“
Doch ist die Verleihung der Königswürde und des damit verbundenen
Machtbereiches nicht beliebig.
Zarathustra selbst ereiferte sich mit dem gleichen Begrif „Chshathra“
darüber, „daß schlechte Menschen Macht und Herrschaf ausüben . . .
Y.a8,-: ‚Solche, die gute Herrschaf üben, nicht die schlechte Herrschaf
üben, sollen über uns herrschen‘, und Y.:1.1-: ‚Darnach frage ich, wie
der ist, der als ein Verständiger die Herrschaf über Haus und Gau
und Land durch Wahrsein zu fördern bestrebt ist; ist er so wie du, o
Weiser Herr:‘ “
Herrschaf, hier verstanden imprivatrechtlichen Sinne,
kann wohl jedem verliehen werden, wird jedoch bewertet nach ihrer
Ausrichtung auf das Wahrsein und demGuten Denken. Entscheidend ist
letztlich, dass sie von der Herrschermacht Ahura Mazdas selbst verliehen
wird: „Dein, o Weiser, ist die Herrschermacht“ (Y. -:.o).
Daher schließt sich die Aussage daran an, „daß der Weise Herr durch
seine Herrschaf (Herrschermacht) etwas bewirkt (Y.a-,¬), aus seiner
Machtfülle heraus spricht (Y.:i,:), [und] zusammen mit der Herrschaf
Lommel, Religion, -:.
iao vU1u xosm.××
herbeikommt (Y.a:,o) . . . “
Die HerrschafAhura Mazdas wird als abso-
lut verstanden, sie ist Vorbild und in ihrer Art vollkommen.
Doch in dem derzeitigen Weltzustand, in dem sich Gutes und Böses
vermischen oder gegeneinander kämpfen, hat sie sich noch nicht durch-
gesetzt. Erst die gänzliche Herrschaf des „Weisen Herrn“ bedeutete das
Reich Gottes. Und dieses Reich ist vor allem für den Menschen ein
zukünfiges. Wir fragen daher: Lässt sich diese Idee vom Reich Gottes
mit dem im Danielbuch verstandenen Reich Gottes identifzieren:
:.a. Der Gedanke vom Anbruch des Reiches Gottes in Daniel : und das
zoroastrische Motiv vom Baum mit den vier Armen
In der Frage nach dem Grundgedanken vom anbrechenden Reich Got-
tes fnden sich in Daniel i (vgl. Daniel a) mögliche Antworten. Als Deu-
tungshintergrund für Daniel i bietet sich noch einmal das zoroastrische
Bild des mvthischen Baumes an (vgl. §:.1).
Die Deutung der vier Mate-
rialien des Standbildes mit vier vergehenden Weltreichen im Traum des
Nebukadnezzar scheint auf denmvthischenBaumaus der zoroastrischen
Tradition zurückzugehen. Seine Aste svmbolisieren dabei die Zeitab-
schnitte in der kosmischen Geschichte, indemsie mit der Regierungszeit
bestimmter Könige in Verbindung gebracht werden, deren Bestimmung
jedoch eine untergeordnete Rolle spielt. Entscheidend ist der erste, gol-
dene, und der vierte, mit Tonerde vermischte, eiserne Ast. Repräsentiert
erster den idealen Herrscher „Kavie Viˇstaˇspa“, den ersten König, der die
Lehre Zarathustras annahm, so steht der vierte für das gottlose Regiment
der schlechten daevi, die ihrerseits die gegenwärtige Zeit der Bedrängung
widerspiegeln. Nach dieser Zeit dann bricht die Heilszeit Ahura Mazdas
Neben dieser Deutung steht diejenige aus jüdischer Perspektive. Auch
sie legt den Ursprung von Daniel i in die Zeit kurz nach dem Fall
Ebd., --.
F.H. Polak, „Te Daniel Tales in Teir Aramaic Literarv Milieu“, in Te Book of
Daniel in the Light of ^ew Findings, io1–ioi.
Polak meint, dass diese Deutung an dem zentralen Moment der Zerstörung der
Statue imDanielbuch scheitern müsse, da diese imTraumbild des Baumes keine Parallele
habe. Sinn mache sie nur, wenn sie das Ende des Neubabvlonischen Reiches aufzeige.
Er führt weiter aus, dass die allerdings vorhandene Ahnlichkeit der Erzählung mit
dem persischen Mvthos für einen späteren Autor Grund genug gewesen sei, diese für
die Verfolgungssituation unter Antiochus IV. neu zu begreifen (Polak, „Daniel Tales“,
a. a. O.).
voix ou×r i.×u ia¬
des Neubabvlonischen Reiches.
Daniel i spiegelt im Traum-Rätsel die
Negativ-Propaganda gegenüber dem Heidentum wider, wie sie in der
Zerstörung des Standbildes zum Ausdruck kommt. Zugleich wird der
Zusammenbruch des heidnischen Reiches mit der sich anschließen-
den Herrschaf Ihwhs prophezeit.
Vergleicht man Daniel i mit Aussa-
gen Deuterojesajas, wird man auf die historische Manifestierung dieses
Gedankens in der Regentschaf des Kvros verwiesen.
Auch wenn diese Deutung plausibel erscheint, so wird der Herkunf
der eschatologischen Erwartung aus der mazdavasnischen Tradition
dennoch zu wenig Rechnung getragen: Unterschieden werden muss, ob
die vorliegenden Texte von persischen (und im religiösen Sinne mazda-
vasnischen) Einfüssen auf das Diasporajudentum sprechen oder ob sie
von der Aufnahme, Verarbeitung bzw. Übertragung dieses Gedankengu-
tes in einer sich später entwickelnden, schriflich fxierenden jüdischen
Teologie zeugen.
In jedem Fall aber bezeugen beide Verstehensweisen, dass der ideolo-
gische Gedanke eines kommenden Reiches, in dem die Heilszeit Gottes
mit sich durchsetzender Gerechtigkeit und Frieden endlich anbricht, in
Daniel i sowie in Daniel a erneut aufeuchtet. Wenn in Daniel i das Bild
des Baumes auch anders als in Kap. a Bestandteil der Erzählung selbst ist,
ist dennoch der gleiche Geist hervorzuheben, aus dem beide Erzählun-
gen heraus überliefert wurden: die Überwindung des Bisherigen durch
eine neue Heilszeit.
:.-. Der Gedanke vom „Reich Gottes“ im Danielbuch
Die neue Heilszeit steht im unmittelbaren Bezug zum anbrechenden
Reich Gottes. Wenn es umdas „Reich Gottes“ imeigentlichen Sinne geht,
dann fndet sich diese Vorstellung ausschließlich in der aramäischen
Abfassung des Buches, in Daniel i–¬.
In diesen Kapiteln ist das „Reich“,
das Gott an eben die babvlonischen und medischen Großkönige vergibt
und ihnen genauso wieder entziehen kann, identisch mit dem Gott
zugeschriebenen „Reich“. Weltreich und Gottesreich sind also eins.
I. Fröhlich, „Daniel i and Deutero-Isaiah“, in Te Book of Daniel in the Light of ^ew
Findings, ioo.
Ebd., io¬.
R.G. Kratz, „Reich Gottes und Gesetz imDanielbuch und imwerdendenIudentum“,
in Te Book of Daniel in the Light of ^ew Findings, a:-–a¬o.
Ebd., aa:. Allerdings zeige sich in Dan i:ao–aa und ¬ der Bruch dieses Zusammen-
hanges durch die Eigenmächtigkeit des vierten, nach Kratz Interpretation, griechischen
ia8 vU1u xosm.××
Der ideologischen Analogie von Welt- und Gottesreich entspricht in
Daniel 1–o zudem auch die der göttlichen und irdischen Gesetzgebung.
Mit diesem Gedankenwerk füllt „Dan 1–o gewissermaßen für die babv-
lonische Gola die exilische Lücke der ¬o Iahre von iChr :o,i1 konzepti-
onsgetreu aus.“
Die nun neue Identifkation beider Bereiche zeigt sich in der Erkennt-
nis, „wonach Davididen und nach ihnen nicht-israelitische, hier persi-
sche Könige (vgl. Nebukadnezar in Ier i¬–io, Kvros in Ies ao–--) als
deren legitime Rechtsnachfolger im ‚Reich Gottes‘ (mlkwt yhwh) regie-
ren und dieses eine, von Ihwh vergebene judäische ‚Reich‘ verwalten;
und sie zeigt sich an der nicht minder speziellen Vorstellung vom Gesetz
(twrh, dt), das in einem Gesetz Gottes und des judäischen oder persi-
schen Königs sein soll.“ Eben diese Vorstellung geht auf die persische
Reichsidee seit Dareios I. zurück, „wonach die von Ahuramazda geschaf-
fene Welt und die vielen unterworfenen Völker/Länder auf ihr in dem
einen Reich des einen von Gott eingesetzten Großkönigs sowie in seinem
Gesetz, das die Gesetze der Völker zu persischem Reichsrecht erklärt,
ihre Einheit und ihren Bestand haben.“
Dieser Gedanke hat sich in
der deuteronomistischen Geschichtskonzeption und maßgebend in allen
von ihr beeinfussten Schrifen niedergeschlagen.
Die Voraussetzung für die „Absorption“ persischen Gedankenguts in
den Glauben Israels ist die Auseinandersetzung mit ihrem Kern. Diese,
in der Zeit seit Darius I. ideologisch so gedeuteten Idee des „Reiches“,
wurde von den Anhängern des jüdischen Glaubens übernommen. Sie
entstammte demMazdaismus. Dessen Mitte ist gekennzeichnet von dem
tiefen Glauben an einen Gott, dessen Herrschaf menschliche Macht-
und Lebensbereiche schöpferisch eröfnen kann, zugleich gesetzlich ein-
grenzt und gleichermaßen auch wieder an sich reißen kann. Dies mag die
Grundlage für die Entwicklung eines neuen Gottesverständnisses gewe-
sen sein, mit dem das jüdische Volk in Persien konfrontiert wurde.
Doch ist dieses Gottesverständnis keine herrschafspolitische Erfn-
dung der Achaemeniden, wenngleich sie dieses auch dazu genutzt haben
Reiches. Am„Ende der Tage“ (i:i8) ziehe diese Loslösung imGericht vernichtende Kon-
sequenzen für das Weltreich nach sich (vgl. Daniel 8–1i).
Ebd., a-a.
Kratz fügt an, dass dieser Gedanke sich in der deuteronomistischen Geschichtskon-
zeption niedergeschlagen habe. Es sei zu prüfen, ob diese im Danielbuch sich deutlich
abzeichnende Geschichtsbetrachtung nicht gerade die nachexilische Teologiegeschichte
bestimmt habe—und dabei nicht nur die Propheten, sondern auch die Psalmen- und
Weisheitsliteratur bis über das gesamte Alte Testament hinaus (ebd., :--).
voix ou×r i.×u iao
werden, ihr machtpolitisches Selbstverständnis religiös zu untermau-
ern. Das öfentliche Bekenntnis zum Zoroastrismus war bereits weit ver-
breitet. Das bezeugen Papvri von Elephantine, der persischen Militär-
station an der Südgrenze Agvptens. In ihnen wird der omzielle Name
der zoroastrischen Religion (mazdayazn/mazd¯ ezn) aufgeführt. Dies wie-
derum lässt auf Bekenner dieser Religion in früh-achaemenidischer Zeit
schließen. „Eine solche Verbreitung setzt eine nicht unbeträchtliche Zeit
der Entwicklung voraus, umso mehr, wenn die Heimat der Religion . . .
im fernen Nordosten des iranischen Reiches war.“
Sicher ist, dass sich zoroastrische Ideen in den Aussagen Darius I.
rekonstruieren lassen. So lobte er in einer griechischen Inschrif einen
kleinasiatischen Satrapen wegen der Fürsorge für den Ackerbau und der
Pfege der Erde, rügte jedoch, dass auf ein Heiligtum des Apollo keine
Rücksicht genommen wurde.
„Darius beruf sich bei seinen Großtaten
und Erfolgen auf Befehl, Willen und Gnade des Auramazda . . . Er ver-
urteilt Aufehnung gegen sich und jedes sonstige Unrecht als Lüge. Diese
Aufassung des Unrechts als ‚Lüge‘, seine wiederholte Warnung vor der-
selben und Empfehlung der Wahrheit entspricht durchaus der zoroastri-
schen Anschauung.“
Zudem proklamiert die mazdavasnische Religion
mit aller Deutlichkeit die alleinige Verkündigung und Verehrung Ahura
Mazdas und verurteilt andersgläubige Volksgenossen als „Teufelsanbe-
ter“, womit jene gemeint sind, die dem alten Volksglauben anhingen.
Legenwir also die Idee vom„ReichGottes“ denSchreiberndes Daniel-
buchs zugrunde, dann geht es im Kern der Botschaf des Danielbuchs
ummehr als umeine herrschafsorientierte, politische Idee. Manifestiert
hat sich im Danielbuch ein tiefer greifendes, den Glauben des Diaspora-
judentums zutiefst erschütterndes Zeugnis. Eine Botschaf, die—und das
Lommel, Religion, a. Und doch, wägt Lommel ab, sollten die achaemenidischen
Könige dem Zoroastrismus nicht angehangen haben, dann müsste Ahura Mazda außer-
halb dieser prophetischen Überlieferung als oberster Gott des altiranischen Volksglau-
bens verehrt worden sein. Waren sie dagegen Zoroastrier, dann wäre kein Zeugnis außer-
halb dieser Religion über diesen Gott überliefert (ebd., 1a).
Siehe W. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptiorum Graecarum (:. Auf.; Leipzig 1o1¬),
Lommel, Religion, 1-.
Ebd., 1¬. Vgl. den Bericht des assvrischen Königs Sargon, der bei seinem Feldzug
gegen die Meder die Namen einiger Stadtfürsten auführt. Unter diesen „befndet sich ein
Mazdaku und ein Maztaku, beides Schreibungen für iranisch Mazdaka“, einer Ableitung
des Gottesnamens Mazda (ebd). Aufallend ist, dass der Anspruch der alleinigen Vereh-
rung Ahura Mazdas von den religös-toleranten persischen Herrschern nicht durchgehal-
ten werden konnte (vgl. §a.1.)
i-o vU1u xosm.××
ist der eigentliche Zugang zu dieser Neugestaltung des Glaubens—die
bisherige Erfahrung mit dem Gott Israels nicht in Frage stellt, sondern
in der Konfrontation mit der Erkenntnis der Ur-Schöpfergottheit Persi-
ens „Ahura Mazda“ über sich hinauswachsen konnte. Die Wirkkraf des
Gottes Israels hat sich unter dem Einfuss des persischen Gottes enorm
ausgeweitet. Sie ist nicht nur persönlich erfahrbar, umgreif nicht nur
die Erde und eine numinose, von Menschen unerreichbare „Gottesferne“
(z. B. Ps 88), sondern erstreckt sich nun visionär über diese Sphären
hinaus in den Himmel und ist, temporal gedacht, fähig, Vergangenheit,
Gegenwart und vor allem Zukunf zu beherrschen.
Diese religiöse Weltanschauung trim auf ein Volk, das seinem Land,
und in diesem, seiner kultischen Mitte beraubt, eine neue Identität zu
bilden genötigt ist, um nicht unterzugehen. Mehr noch, wir erleben im
Danielbuchdie Bekenntnisse einer Glaubensgemeinschaf, die sichinder
Diaspora unter günstigsten Bedingungen eben dieser nötigen Neuaus-
richtung ihres Glaubens gewidmet hat und versteht, dass sie die bishe-
rigen Gottesofenbarungen deshalb nicht ad acta legen muss, sondern
diese sogar ergänzt und bereichert.
Damit bezeugen die Danielerzählungen im religionsgeschichtlichen
Sinne keinen svnkretistischen, sehr wohl aber einen synkritischen Pro-
zess, der in der persischen Diaspora die Teologie des Iudentums grund-
legend neu bestimmte.
a. Erzählerische Motive in Daniel +
und ihr mazdayasnischer Hintergrund
a.1. Die „Märtyer“-Erzählungen in Daniel + und o und die Entscheidung
fur den einen Gott
Ein Gegenargument für die oben dargelegte Tese könnten die Märtvrer-
ErzählungeninDaniel : undo liefern. Als Erzählungen, die exemplarisch
die Hintergründe für den makkabäischen Aufstand wiedergaben (vgl.
iMakk a:11–io), wurden sie, wie in der Forschung vielfach behauptet,
Nicht die unkontrollierte Vermischung der Religionen (svnkretistisch), sondern
die kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der persischen Religion (svnkritisch) forderte vom
Diasporajudentum einen Prozess, in dem alte Glaubensaussagen und neue Erkenntnisse
über die Ofenbarungen Gottes nebeneinandergestellt und miteinander verglichen wer-
den mussten. Weil sie einander ergänzten und sogar weit über das Bisherige hinauswie-
sen, führten sie schließlich zu einer bewussten Neubildung des Glaubens.
voix ou×r i.×u i-1
auf die Danielerzählungen hin komponiert. Andererseits könnte Daniel
: auf der Wiedergabe einer älteren Erzählung babvlonischer Herkunf
basieren, in der Nabunaid den Versuch unternahm, den Mondgott Sin als
Hauptgottheit zu etablieren.
Auch die hinter Daniel o stehende Überlie-
ferung könnte einen babvlonischen Ursprung haben, denn Iudäer nutz-
ten in der persischen Diasporasituation aramäische Propagandaerzäh-
lungen zur Darstellung der eigenen Situation. Diese hoben die Überwin-
dung des babvlonischen Reiches als Tat Gottes hervor (Daniel i; a; -)
und demonstrierten die persische Überlegenheit (Daniel o).
Nun provozierte die Toleranzpolitik Persiens für die eigene Situa-
tion der judäischen Diaspora keine Verfolgungssituation, und es nötigte
daher auch nichts, eine jüdische Märtvrererzählung zu kreieren. Der
Befund, dass der aramäische Erzählkern auf die persische Zeit zurück-
geht, macht daher fraglich, welche Intention hinter der Aussage steht. So
kommen wir erneut zu der Annahme, dass sich das Diasporajudentum
die Tradition der persisch-mazdavasnischen Glaubensaussagen zunutze
Doch mit welcher Absicht sollten diese Erzählungen dann einen Ein-
gang in die jüdische Erzählkultur des Diasporajudentums gefunden ha-
ben: Dem soll im Folgenden nachgegangen werden.
Bisher gehen die Kommentatoren weitestgehend davon aus, dass die
Präferenz der mazdavasnischen Religion mit der ihr eigenen Toleranz-
politik der Achaemeniden ohne Widerspruch der Bevölkerung hinge-
nommen wurde. Tatsächlich liegt der Duktus in Daniel : und o auf der
Einsicht über die Macht Gottes. Er rettet und bewahrt in der gegenwär-
tigen Situation der Anfeidung von außen—exemplarisch zum Ausdruck
gebracht in der Erfahrung und dem Bekenntnis der Personen Daniels
und seiner drei Gefährten. Ganz anders dagegen verhält sich dies im
Estherbuch, in dem der ethisch-religiöse Konfikt (Esth ::8) mit der
amtierenden Macht (Haman) in einem Pogrom gegen das ganze jüdi-
sche Volk eskaliert. Die Erzählung zeigt dabei vor allemdie Gefahren auf,
die aus der Durchsetzung spezifscher religiöser Eigenarten erwachsen,
sobald sie in Verdacht stehen, nicht herrschafskonform, sondern gegen
das ausschließliche Gesetz der Meder und Perser (vgl. Esth 1:o; und vor
allem Dan o:o, 1:, 1o) gerichtet zu sein.
Vgl. W. von Soden, „Eine Babvlonische Volksüberlieferung von Nabonaid in den
Danielerzählungen“, ZAV -: (1o-:) 8-–8o.
Polak, „Daniel Tales“, ioa–io-. Erst später, so Polak, wurden die Erzählungen zur
Unterstützung des Kampfes gegen die hellenistische Iason-Gruppe herangezogen.
i-i vU1u xosm.××
Dass es mit der Ablösung der babvlonischen Machthaber und mit
ihnen zusammen auch deren Gottheiten durch die neue Religionspo-
litik der Achaemeniden zu Konfikten gekommen sein muss, ist mög-
lich, wenngleich nicht zwingend. Daniel : und o stellen daher auch keine
grundlegende Entscheidungssituationdar, sondernsie manifestiereners-
tens die Toleranzpolitik der Perser, indem von dem ihnen eigenen Gott,
dem sie dienen, nicht nachlässig geredet werden dürfe (Dan ::io) und
zweitens die Erkenntnis des einen „höchsten“ Gottes als dem, dem Vor-
rang zu geben ist, dass man „vor ihm zittere und sich fürchte“ (Dan
Keine der beiden Erzählungen fordern nach persischemReligionsver-
ständnis abschließend die ausschließliche Verehrung des Gottes Daniels
und seiner Gefährten. Sie geben diesem Gott jedoch einen klaren Vor-
zug. Der Inhalt der Erzählung begründet dies svmbolhaf.
a.i. Daniel + und der mazdayasnische Feuerkult
Als Hauptpersonen im Duktus von Daniel : werden drei jüdische Män-
ner genannt. In Daniel o ist nur von Daniel die Rede. Vorgestellt wur-
den uns die Männer bereits schon in Daniel 1. Hier (Dan 1:8) fndet
die Umbenennung der drei Gefährten Daniels, die, bisher theophore
(vgl. die Silben „-ja“ und „-el“) Namen tragend (7R2*O, H*11H und H*¨!9),
auf den Gott Israels hinwiesen, nun, nach Sitte des ausländischen Hofes
(vgl. Gen a1:a-; Esth i:¬), akkadische, persische und aramäische Namen
Auch wird von ihrer enthaltsamen Lebensweise berichtet
(Dan 1:8). In Dan 1:1i, 1o (vgl. 1o::!) ziehen sie der Speise des Königs
vegetarisches Essen vor. „Möglicherweise hat diese Weigerung, „sich
nicht . . . unrein zu machen“ auch zu tun mit Reinheitsvorschrifen, die
auch sonst in späten atl. Schrifen belegt sind (Tob 1,1o–1i; Idt 1i,1–a;
iMakk -,i¬).“
Und doch ist ofensichtlich, dass weder der im babv-
An dieser Stelle ist ursprünglich der „höchste Gott“ gleichermaßen zu identifzieren
mit Ahura Mazda und Ihwh!
Aufallend ist hier, dass in dem Namen Abed-Negos (1à1 739 = „Diener Nabus“) der
Gott Nabu, Sohn des Marduk, und als Gott der Schreibkunst und der Weisheit verehrt,
identifziert werden kann. Auch Daniels neuer Name Belschazzar (¨3R2O73) enthält
einenGötternamen„Bel“. DagegenlassensichzuSchadrach(¨¨72) undMeschach(¨2*O)
keine Bezüge herstellen, wenn auch besonders die leichte Anderung Mischaël (7R2*O =
„wer ist wie El:“) in Meschach (¨2*O = „wer ist wie . . . :“) ins Auge fällt. Für den neuen
Namen bleibt unklar, wer mit der ¨-Endung gemeint sein könnte.
D. Bauer, Das Buch Daniel (Neuer Stuttgarter Bibelkommentar ii; Stuttgart 1ooo),
voix ou×r i.×u i-:
lonischen Exil lebende König Iojachin (i Kön i-:i8–:o), noch Nehe-
mia als Mundschenk des persischen Königs diese Enthaltsamkeit prakti-
ziert haben. Nun fndet der Aufruf zur Verweigerung tierischen Opfers
und gegenüber dem Schlachten und dem Genuss feischlicher Speise in
denSchrifenZarathustras einenklarenundentschiedenenAusdruck. So
richtet sich Zarathustras Verurteilung eines solchen Brauchs gegen einen
beliebten Helden der mvthischen Geschichte: „Y.:i,8: ‚Ein solcher Frev-
ler ist bekanntlich auch Yama, der Sohn des Vivahvan, der den Menschen
. . . zu gefallen suchet, indem er Stücke von Rind(feisch) aß . . . ‘ . . . Die
religiöse Verurteilung, die sich gegen das heidnische Götzenopfer rich-
tet und die kulturelle, die sich darauf bezieht, daß das Rind nicht nur
als Spender von Milch-Nahrung (und wohl auch als Zugtier) gehalten,
sondern um seines Fleisches willen getötet wird—diese beiden Gesichts-
punkte fallen für Zarathustra ganz zusammen.“
Ob die mazdavasni-
sche Auforderung zur feischlichen und alkoholischen Enthaltsamkeit
auch tatsächlich das Verhalten der drei Gefährten und Daniels begrün-
det, kann im Zusammenhang dieser Darstellung nur vermutet werden.
Der Vergleich zeigt dennoch eine mögliche Beeinfussung des jüdischen
Weitere Beobachtungen zu Motivüberschneidungen im Danielbuch
und der mazdavasnischen Religion lassen sich nun auch mit den beiden
Erzählungen von den drei Männern im Feuerofen und Daniel in der
Löwengrube machen.
Die Überlieferung in Daniel : stellt die gesetzliche Auforderung zur
Adoration eines goldenen Standbildes (::-), wie oben beschrieben, in
den Mittelpunkt des Geschehens.
Hier fällt nun die ungewöhnliche
Lommel, Religion, iao. Auch den altüberkommenen Kult, der mit dem Opfern
einhergehenden Praxis der Kelterung des „todfernhaltenden“ Safes der Hauma-Pfanze,
bekämpf Zarathustra hefig. So benennt er diesen abfällig als „Harn des Rauschtranks“
(Y. a8.o).
Von Soden hat auf den historischen Hintergrund dieser Darstellung aufmerksam
gemacht: Er identifziert Nebukadnezzar nicht mit dem historischen Nabonid, sondern
vielmehr mit ihm in „einer von den feindlichen Mardukpriestern bewußt entstellten
Volksüberlierferung“. Dieser ließ in Babvlon, wo Marduk verehrt wurde, eine Statue des
Mondgottes Sin aufstellen. Die Empörung darüber förderte die „Ausstreuung gehässiger
Gerüchte“ durch die Priester des Marduk und führte infolgedessen zu einer späteren
Sagenentwicklung um dieses Ereignis (vgl. Herodot 1.18:). Weiter, so Von Soden, sei die
dargestellte Unduldsamkeit Nabonids bei der angeordneten Verehrung des neuen Gottes
bemerkenswert. Die „fremden Göttern gegenüber sonst sehr weitherzige[n] Einstellung
der Babvlonier“, die sie mit den Persern teilten, sei eine „fremde Haltung“ und zeige
vielmehr „die Nachwirkung des Schmähgedichtes . . . gerade in c.: [des Danielbuchs,
Vf.].“ (Bzgl. „Schmähgedicht“ vgl. S. Smith in A^ET and TGI) Die tödliche Bestrafung
i-a vU1u xosm.××
Bestrafung derer ins Auge, die sich dieser Auforderung verweigern:
die Verbrennung im Feuerofen (::o). Das Motiv der Verbrennung im
Feuerofen kann jedoch als von Herrscherseite angeordnete Strafe in
keinen Schrifen nachgewiesen werden. Der „Schmelzofen“ ist in der
alttestamentlichen Weisheit (z. B. Spr 1¬::) vielmehr ein Zeichen für
die Läuterung des Menschen: „Was im Ofen besteht, ist das eigentlich
Wichtige und Gute im Menschen, das Schlechte, die ‚Schlacke‘ wird
ausgeschieden (Ez ii,18.io.::).“
In eben diesem Deutungszusammenhang werden wir erneut in die
mazdavasnische Vorstellungswelt verwiesen. So ist in diesem Denken
das „Feuer, das dem Gottlosen Verderben droht, für den Frommen nicht
nur unschädlich, sondern von Zarathustra als Schutz angesehen.“ (Vgl.
Yasna :a.a: „Wir wünschen, o Herr, daß dein verheißendes (:), mächtiges
Feuer, das durch das Wahrsein kräfig ist, dem Unterstützenden leuch-
tende Hilfe bringe, dem Feindseligen aber sichtbares Leid . . . “)
Vorstellung bezieht sich auf die letzten Dinge, das Endgericht, in der der
Mensch mit seinem Leben und Denken ofenbaren muss, ob er zu den
Lügnern oder den wahrhaf Denkenden gehört.
Nun hat der Feuerkult in Zarathustras Lehre seine Ouelle in der reli-
giösen Tradition Indiens,
in der Agni als Gott und Rta als zugehöri-
ger ethischer Begrif für „ein Sich-richtig-Verhalten von Menschen und
verstanden wurde. Diese göttliche Verankerung des Feuers
der Mardukpriester ist wegen der Zerstörung eines Großteils der Tafeln nicht überliefert,
wenngleich sie deshalb nicht auszuschließen ist. (Von Soden, „Volksüberlieferung“, 8af.)
Bauer, Buch, o¬.
Lommel, Religion, iio.
Neben der endzeitlichen Feuerprobe ist noch auf ein bei den Iraniern gebräuch-
liches Ordal hinzuweisen, nach dem auch das Durchschreiten zwischen zwei Feuern
bzw. das Übergießen mit geschmolzenem Metall praktiziert wurde. Beiden Feuerprakti-
ken liegt der Gedanke zugrunde, über die Rechtschafenheit des Angeklagten Gewissheit
erlangen zu können.
Der Feuerkult hat eine zentrale Stellung behalten in der Lehre Zarathustras. „Ver-
mutlich war dieser in Iran ursprünglich ebenso, wie wir es von Indien kennen, mit
Hauma- (ind. Soma-) Kult und Schlachtopfern verbunden; aber Zarathustra hat ihn aus
dieser Verbindung herausgelöst“ (Lommel, Religion, io1). Alle anderen Kultformen wur-
denabgelehnt. Der Kult des Feuers war begründet inseiner svmbolischenBedeutung und
der Fähigkeit auf das Wahrsein zu lenken. Interessanterweise sind nun Feuer und „Wahr-
sein“ (Aˇsa) in den G¯ ath¯ as auf das engste miteinander verbunden. „Fire itself has there
the signifcant epithet ‚strong through aˇsa‘ . . . ; and to venerate Aˇsa oferings are made
to the fre.“ Diese kultische Verbindung scheint, so Bovce, ein Erbe der heidnischen Welt
zu sein, wobei jedoch „the personifcation of Aˇsa seems Zoroaster’s own“ (M. Bovce, A
History of Zoroastrianism [HO Abt.1, Bd. 8, Abschn. 1, Lfg. i, H. iA; Leiden 1o¬-] i1i).
Lommel, Religion, io:.
voix ou×r i.×u i--
wird bei Zarathustra entmvthologisiert. Das Feuer ist Teil der irdischen
Welt trotz seiner Bezugnahme zumeschatologischenGerichtsgeschehen.
In Daniel : erweist sich die Feuerprobe der drei Männer als Exempel:
Die drei „Diener des höchsten Gottes“ (::io) verbrennen nicht und
die Erkenntnis des Königs, dass ihr Gott ihnen einen Engel schickte,
um seine Diener zu retten (::i8), überzeugt ihn hinsichtlich dessen
Retterfähigkeiten. Die Männer sind rehabilitiert.
Auf dem Hintergrund mazdavasnischen Denkens ist nun einerseits
die Rechtgläubigkeit, „das ‚wahr‘-Denken“ der Männer bewiesen. Im
Sinne der persischen Verteidigung bzw. Rechtfertigung der neuen Reli-
gion mit Ahura Mazda als dem höchsten Gott und zugleich im Denken
des Diasporajudentums hat sich damit die Größe Gottes in Formder Ret-
tung aus der Gefahr gezeigt.
a.:. Der Engel in Daniel + und die Amurta Spontas
Zu fragen ist nun noch nach der Funktion der vierten Person im Feu-
erofen, die vom König selbst nachträglich (Dan ::i8) als Gottes Engel
(HDR7O) identifziert wird. In der zitierten Kombination der Begrife
Wahrheit, Feuer und „Weiser Herr“ (Ahura Mazda) wird das Feuer in
dem jungeren Awesta personifziert als Sohn des „Weisen Herrn“ be-
schrieben (Y. 1.a; i.a). Aus eben dieser jüngeren Ouelle stammend, kann
diese Vorstellung nicht in diese Überlegungen mit einbezogen werden.
Dagegen ist gerade dem Mazdaismus der Gedanke von geistlichen
Wesen immanent. Sie sind die „Klugen Unsterblichen“.
Bei der Be-
schreibung ihres Wesens drängt sich der Gedanke an die Funktion bib-
lischer Engelgestalten auf. Die sechs „Klugen Unsterblichen“ (Amurta
der mazdavasnischen Religion vertreten die Eigenschafen
„Gutes Denken“, „Wahrsein“, „Herrschaf (Reich)“, „Fügsamkeit, Erge-
benheit“, „Heilsein“ und „Nichtsterben“. Sie sind erschafene Wesen Got-
tes, die „als seine Diener und Beaufragten ein Ausfuß seines Wesens
zu sein scheinen.“
Sie, die „Weisen Herrn“ (Yasna :o.o und :1.a), die
Ebd., :i. Nach Lommel ist fraglich, ob die biblische Bezeichnung „Engel“ den
„Klugen Unsterblichen“ gerecht wird. Lommel selbst lehnt sie als irreführend ab.
Inder jüngerenAwesta sind aus der Sechszahl der Amurta Spontas siebengeworden
und erinnern in dieser Zählung an die sieben Erzengel aus Tob 1i:1-.
Lommel, Religion, :1. DenBegrifder funktionalenIdentifkationIhwhs mit seinem
Mal"ak verwendet auch D. Heidtmann, (Die Engel. Grenzgestalten Gottes [Neukirchen-
Vluvn 1ooo]). Sowohl im Danielbuch als auch in der apokrvphen Literatur beschreiben
Engel „reine Funktionsbezeichnungen, die nicht zur persönlichen Identifzierung oder
i-o vU1u xosm.××
in Einheit mit Ahura Mazda gesehen auch seinen Namen tragen, füh-
ren den Willen Gottes aus. Allerdings ist ihnen weder eine individuelle
Bestimmtheit oder Körperlichkeit zu eigen. Diese tritt in dem jüngeren
Awesta mehr in den Vordergrund, wo in Yäsht 1:.81 von Ahura Mazda
gesagt wird: „. . . die Gestalten, die er annimmt [sind] die schönen und
großen [Gestalten] der Klugen Unsterblichen“. Damit wird deutlich, dass
die „Klugen Unsterblichen“ wohl an Gottes Wesen teilhaben, ihm aber
zugleich untergeordnet sind: „. . . sie sind Seiten seines Wesens, Formen
seines Seins und Arten seines Wirkens. Aber sie sind doch Persönlich-
keiten, denn sie sind lebendiger, wirksamer Geist. In dieser Denkform
wird eben Geistiges nicht als Abstraktum gedacht, sondern als leben-
dige Persönlichkeit.“
Dennoch scheint in Zarathustras Denken eine
sichtbare Wahrnehmung ihres Wirkens nicht vorgesehen, wie es dage-
gen dem angelologischen Wirken im Danielbuch anhafet. Es ist anzu-
nehmen, dass diese ursprünglich rein geistliche Seinsweise in den Erzäh-
lungen des Danielbuchs fgürliche Formen angenommen haben, zumal
sie sich in ihrer Wirkweise nicht von diesen zu unterscheiden schei-
Neben dem „Guten Denken“ an erster, steht die „Wahrheit“ an zweiter
Stelle in der Reihe der Klugen Unsterblichen. Sie werden bei der Nen-
nung der Amurta Spontas amhäufgstenaufgeführt „undzwar besonders
of mit dem Weisen Herrn selber zusammen“
—„Wahrheit“ dagegen
noch umeiniges häufger als das „Gute Denken“.
Ist es eben diese Wahr-
heit, die Nebukadnezzar im Feuerofen neben den drei Männern stehend
erkennt (Dan ::i8–io): In dieser Erkenntnis identifziert die Engelge-
stalt nämlich die Wahrheit über Gott selbst. Sie hat sinnlich-erfahrbare
Gestalt angenommen in der Erzählung von Daniel : (vgl. ::i-!). Damit
distanziert sich das jüdische Denken von dem indo-iranischen Kult,
in dem der religiöse Bezug auf Gottheiten, die ein „Abstraktum“ per-
sonifzierten, ein dominantes Merkmal war.
Dieses religiöse Denken
ist der jüdischen Tradition dagegen fremd. Gottes Ofenbarung hat sie
geschichtstheologisch stets als konkret erfahrbar gedeutet. Dieses
Kontaktierbarkeit . . . dienen. Als funktionelle Bezeichnungen weisen sie über den Boten
hinaus auf die personale Zuwendung Gottes zu seiner Schöpfung“ (ebd., 1-¬).
Lommel, Religion, :-.
Ebd., a¬. Die Verbindung zwischen Feuer und Engel als Seinsweise Gottes zeigt sich
auch in Ex ::i.
Ebd., :i Anm. 1.
Bovce, History, io:.
voix ou×r i.×u i-¬
Spezifkum ihrer Teologie hat sie in der Diasporasituation beibehalten
und gestaltete sie unter Einfuss der mazdavasnischen Religion in den
Erzählungen der eigenen Tradition gemäß um.
-. Schlussbemerkung
Es reicht nicht, im Duktus des Danielbuchs vor allem in seinen ältes-
ten, aramäisch überlieferten Schichten (i–¬), eine Neuorientierung des
jüdischen Volkes auf religiös-ideologische Werte wie das „Reich Gottes“
nachzuweisen, ohne davon auszugehen, dass sich mit der Auseinander-
setzung zugleich auch das Gottesbild gewandelt hat.
Nehmen wir ernst, dass die Diasporasituation des jüdischen Volkes
tatsächlich großen Einfuss sowohl auf das Schriftum als auch auf die
Be- und Überarbeitung der alttestamentlichen Texte genommen haben,
dann ist davon auszugehen, dass der Kontakt mit der mazdavasnischen
Religion Zarathustras in der religiösen Orientierung der Diasporage-
meinde daraneinengroßenAnteil habenmusste. ImDanielbuchist diese
geradezu mit Händen zu greifen. Es ist einer größeren Untersuchung
anheim gelegt, einerseits die Zurückdrängung dieses Einfusses in der
orthodoxen Strömung des sich neu formulierenden Glaubens und ande-
rerseits die Adaption mazdavasnischer Begrife und Topoi in der nach-
exilischen Teologie zu untersuchen. Festzuhalten ist, dass das Verständ-
nis Ihwhs durch das Kennenlernen Ahura Mazdas verändert wurde. Der
Gottesbegrif des Volkes Israels wurde svnkritisch weiterentwickelt und
vor allem in den redaktionellen Überarbeitungsschichten eindeutig auf
Ihwh hin interpretiert. Angestoßen wurde dieser Prozess durch das Exil,
in dem sich die judäische Diasporagemeinde, ein Volk ohne Land und
beraubt seines Kultes, auf der Suche nach einer eigenen religiösen Iden-
tität befand.
I.coUis T.A.G.M. v.× RUi1i×
1. Introduction
Tis contributionexamines Iub. 1a:1–ia, in which the interrelated prom-
ises of progenv and land plav an important part.
Tis passage consists of
two themes which are paralleled in Genesis. Te frst part, Iub. 1a:1–io,
is a rewriting and interpretation of the frst conclusion of the covenant of
God and Abram as described in Genesis 1-, the second, Iub. 1a:i1–ia,
an abbreviation and integration of the frst account of Hagar and Ishmael
in Genesis 1o. Afer an outline of the structure of both Iub. 1a:1–ia and
Genesis 1-–1o and a comparison between these texts, I will go into the
meaning of the covenant and the promises of progenv and land inIubilees
1a and their signifcance for the central fgures Abram, his wife Sarai, her
slave-girl Hagar, and their sons Isaac and Ishmael.
i. Demarcation and Structure of Iubilees r,
Iubilees 1a is demarcated fromthe preceding pericope (Iub. 1::ii–io) bv
a new beginning in 1a:1a (“afer these things”) and bv an explicit dating.
Te events of this chapter take place in the fourth vear of the frst week
of the a1th jubilee (.m 1ooa; cf. 1a:1a). Also the events in Iub. 1a:io–
ia are connected to this vear, since the name-giving of Ishmael is dated
“in the ffh vear of this week” (1a:iad; .m 1oo-).
Tis means that Sarai
For the theme of land in Genesis 1-, see: E. Noort, “ ‘Land’ in the Deuteronomistic
Tradition: Genesis 1-. Te Historical and Teological Necessitv of a Diachronic Ap-
proach,” in Synchronic or Diachronic? A Debate on Method in Old Testament Exegesis (ed.
I.C. de Moor; OTS :a; Leiden 1oo-), 1io–1aa.
Tere seems to be an internal contradiction with regard to the dating of the events.
According to Iubilees, Abram was born in .m 18¬o (Iub. 11:1-), and he entered Canaan
.m 1o-a (Iub. 1::8). Tis means that, according to the internal svstem of Iubilees, Abram
was eightv-nine vears old, when he named Ishmael in .m 1oo-. According to Iub.
1a:iae, however, the name-giving took place when Abram was eightv-six vears old. Te
mention of eightv-six vears agrees with Genesis at this point (Gen 1o:1oa). Te internal
contradiction seems to originate from the fact that the author of Iubilees is following
ioo i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
gives Hagar to Abram in .m 1ooa, and the subsequent conception of
Ishmael took place in the same vear. Terefore, the conception and birth
of Ishmael are closelv related to God’s promises of progenv and land to
Te events of the next pericope (Iub. 1-:1–:a) are placedtwentv-
one vears later, namelv in the ffh vear of the fourth week of the same
jubilee (.m 1o8o).
Apart fromthe fact that the events in this chapter are dated in a certain
vear, thev are also related to a specifc period. Te frst dialogue between
the Lord and Abram takes place “on the frst of the third month” (1a:1a),
whereas the second dialogue happens “in the middle of the month”
(1a:1oa), “on that dav” (1a:18a), “during this night . . . during this month”
Te passage can be divided into three units: (a) 1a:1–o; (b) 1a:¬–io; (c)
1a:i1–ia. Te frst section is a dialogue between the Lord and Abram, in
which the promise of progenv and the problem of inheritance are the
central issues. Te second unit is a second dialogue between the Lord
and Abram, in which the promise of land is the central issue. Apart from
the dialogue, Abram also brings sacrifces (1a:11–1i, 1o), whereas the
promise of land is interpreted as the conclusion of the covenant (1a:18,
io). In the third passage, the relationship between Abram, Sarai, and
Hagar is the central point. Sarai gives Abramher slave-girl, and he begets
a son with her.
Te coherence of the chapter is expressed bv the parallel structure of
the frst and second unit, bv the fact that the events in these units are
dated in the same month of the same vear, and bv the strong thematic
coherence between the frst and third unit, which can be seen in the
following chiastic scheme:
A 1a:1a: “in the fourth vear of this week”
B 1a:ic–e: childless, no seed
C 1a:if: give me seed
D 1a:oa: He believed the Lord
CD 1a:i1a–c: He believed that he would have seed
B 1a:i1d: she bore no children
1a:ii–ia: Hagar gave birth to Ishmael
A 1a:iad: “in the ffh vear of this week”
Genesis inthis passage, without paving attentiontothe inconsistencv. Te ffhvear inthis
week (.m1oo-) is the eleventh vear afer the arrival of Abram in Canaan (.m 1o-a). Tis
corresponds with the “ten vears” in Gen 1o::, which is omitted bv the author of Iubilees.
See Iub. 1a:i1ab: “And Abram was verv happv and told all these things to his wife
Sarai. He believed that he would have seed.”
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a io1
:. An Overall Comparison between
Genesis r·.r–ro.:, and Iubilees r,.r–:,
It is striking that the author of Iubilees on the one hand borrows the text
of Gen 1-:1–i1 entirelv, except for a short introduction to a direct speech
(Gen 1-::a) and twice “behold” (Gen 1-::a, aa), but on the other hand
that he does not take over most of the text of Gen 1o:1–1o. Most striking
is the major omission of Gen 1o:ac–1a that describes the tension between
Hagar and Sarai (Gen 1o:ac–o), and the subsequent fight of Hagar into
the wilderness (Gen 1o:¬–1a). Besides this major omission with regard
to Gen 1o:1–1o, Iubilees has also some other (smaller) omissions (Gen
1o:1b, ib, :b, elements in 1-a–b, 1ob), some additions (Iub. 1a:i1a–c,
iia, i:bc, and elements in 1a:iid, i:a, iad) and some variations. With
regard to the text of Gen 1-:1–i1, Iubilees has variations and some addi-
tions as well (Iub. 1a:if, -ab, 1ob–11c, 1¬ab, 1o–io; elements in 1a:1a, id,
ab, ¬b, 1oa, 1ab, 18b). Te overall comparison of these texts is shown in
the following scheme:
Genesis r·.r–ro.ro Iubilees r,.r–:,
1. Promise dialogue I (1-:1–o) 1. Promise dialogue I (1a:1–o)
i. Promise dialogue II (1-:¬–i1) i. Promise dialogue II (1a:¬–18)
Auui1io×s (1a:1o–io)
:. Sarai gives Hagar into Abram
:. Sarai gives Hagar to Abram
a. Ti×sio× vi1wii× S.v.i .×u
H.c.v (1o:ac–o)
-. H.c.v’s iiicu1 1o 1ui
wiiuiv×iss (1o:¬–1a)
o. Ismael’s birth and name-giving
o. Ismael’s birth and name-giving
Neither of the promissorv dialogues (Gen 1-:1–o and 1-:¬–i1) are dated
in Genesis, apart from the vague mention of “on that dav” (Gen 1-:18a),
whereas inthe storv of Hagar andSarai (Gen1o:1–1o), the author of Gen-
esis gives some chronological information: “afer Abram had dwelt ten
vears in the land of Canaan” (Gen 1o::b) and “Abramwas eightv-six vears
old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram” (Gen 1o:1o). According to Gen-
esis Abram was seventv-fve vears old when he departed from Haran to
Canaan (Gen 1i:a). Tis means that he must have been eightv-fve vears
ioi i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
old when Ishmael was conceived (Gen 1o::b), which is consistent with
the mention of Abram’s age at the name-giving of Ishmael (Gen 1o:1o).
I have alreadv pointed to the fact that, in contrast to Genesis, the
author of Iubilees anchors both dialogues in his chronological svstem,
and he brings them in close relation to Sarai’s advise to Abram to take
Hagar as a wife. Both promise dialogues are dated in the same vear
as the conception of Ishmael, namelv .m 1ooa. Te birth and name-
giving of Ishmael (1a:iacd) took place one vear later. Both events in the
promissorv dialogues occur in the same month, namelv the third month
of the vear, although not on the same dav. Te frst dialogue (1a:1–o)
takes place at the beginning of the third month, the second dialogue
(1a:¬–io) in the middle of the third month.
a. An Analysis of the Rewriting of
Genesis r·.r–ro.ro in Iubilees r,.r:–:r
Te text will be discussed according to the three units (Iub. 1a:1–o; 1a:¬–
io; 1a:i1–ia). Each time frst I present a svnoptic overview of the text
of Iubilees as well as the parallel passage in Genesis, and then continue
with a discussion of the diferences and similarities between both texts.
In the svnoptic overview I put in small caps the elements of Genesis
which do not occur in Iubilees, and vice versa, i.e., the omissions and
additions. In “normal script” are the elements that corresponds in both
texts, i.e., the verbatim quotations of one or more words of the source
text in Iubilees. I put in italics all variations between Genesis and Iubilees
other than addition or omission.
a.1. Te First Dialogue íGen r·.r–o, Iub. r,.r–o)
Genesis r·.r–o Iubilees r,.r–o
1a Afer these things [ ] 1a Afer these things—i× 1ui ioUv1u
vi.v oi 1uis wiix, o× 1ui iivs1
oi 1ui 1uivu mo×1u—
the word of Yhwh came to Abram in
a vision:
the word of the Lord came to Abram
in a dream:
b “Do not be afraid, Abram, b “Do not be afraid, Abram.
Biblical verses are quoted according to the Revised Standard Version with slight
modifcations. Ouotations from Iubilees are from I.C. VanderKam, Te Book of Iubilees
(CSCO -11, Scriptores Aethiopici 88), Louvain 1o8o, with slight modifcations.
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a io:
c I am vour shield; c I am vour protector;
d vour reward will be verv large.” d vour reward will be verv large.”
ia Abram said: ia He said:
b “O, Yhwh God, what are vou going to
give me:
b “O, Lord, Lord, what are vou going to
give me:
c I go on being childless, c I go on being childless,
d and the son of Mesheq of my
house, he is Damascene Eliezer
[ ].”
d and the son of Masheq, the son of
my maid servant—he is Damascene
Eliezer—wiii vi mv uiiv.
:a A×u Avv.m s.iu: [ ]
b “Biuoiu, vou have given me no
e [ ] You have given me no seed.
[ ] f Givi mi siiu.”
c .×u . si.vi vov× i× mv uoUsi
wiii vi mv uiiv.”
[ ]
aa A×u viuoiu, the word of Yhwh came
to him:
:a [ ] He said to him:
b “Tis one will not be vour heir; b “Tis one will not be vour heir;
c but rather someone who will come
out of vour loins will be vour heir.”
c but rather someone who will come
out of vour loins will be vour heir.”
-a And he brought him outside aa And he brought him outside
b and said [ ]: b and said 1o uim:
c “Look toward heaven, c “Look toward heaven
d and count the stars, d and count the stars,
e if vou can count them.” e if vou can count them.”
[ ] -a Wui× ui u.u iooxiu .1 1ui sxv
b .×u sii× 1ui s1.vs,
f He said to him: c he said to him:
g “So will vour seed be.” d “Like this vour seed will be.”
oa And he believed Yhwh, oa And he believed the Lord,
b and he reckoned it to him as
b and it was counted to him as
Compared to m1 Gen 1-:1–o, Iub. 1a:1–o has the addition of the dat-
ing (1a:1a), some other small additions (elements in 1a:ib, ab; 1a:if; ab;
-ab), some small omissions (Gen1-::a, andelements in1-::b, :c, aa) and
some variations (elements in1a:1a, 1c, ia, id, :a, -d, ob). Some of the dif-
ferences are possiblv due to the fact that the text of Genesis the author of
Iubilees uses, is a biblical text diferent fromthe Masoretic one. Te sumx
(“to him”) to the verb in Iub. 1a:a occurs also in the Peshitta, Septuagint,
Old Latin, and Ethiopic text of Gen 1-:-b.
Te passive formin Iub. 1a:ob
(“it was counted”) occurs also in the Peshitta, Septuagint, Old Latin, and
VanderKam, Book of Iubilees, 8:.
ioa i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
Ethiopic text of Gen 1-:ob.
Terefore, we cannot consider these devia-
tions as variations of the biblical text. VanderKam has suggested that a
further biblical text of Genesis-Exodus existed in Palestine which agreed
more ofen with the Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch than with
the Masoretic Text, but which was nevertheless an independent witness.
However, this is generallv considered to concern small variations which
I will not deal with here.
Iubilees shows a certain freedom in the rendering of the introductorv
formula of the direct speeches. InIub. 1a:ia the proper name (“Abram”) is
replaced bv a personal noun, in 1a::a the formula is completelv changed,
and the formula of Gen 1-::a is omitted in Iubilees. In Iub. 1a:1c, the Lord
is not called “vour shield” (¨7 ]àO) as in Gen 1-:1c, but “vour protector”
(q¯ awmka). Te author of Iubilees did not use another version of Genesis,
but rather tries to explain the metaphor of the shield, whereas he attempts
to keep the idea of defence at the same time.
In Iub. 1a:1a, it is said that the word of the Lord did not came to Abram
“in a vision” (H!HO3; Gen 1-:1a) but “in a dream” (ba
hÃlm). It is not
completelv clear whv Iubilees uses the word “dream.” Te construction
“in a vision” is quite exceptional in the Hebrew Bible (Gen 1-:1; Num
ia:a, 1o; Ezek 1::¬). Te Septuagint reads rν oρoματι. In Gen ao:i, the
Septuagint uses this word in the construction rν oρoματι τIς νυκτòς
to translate H7*7H PR¨O3. Te word HR¨O (“vision”) occurs in Genesis
onlv in Gen ao:i. In the parallel text, Iub. aa:i, the construction PR¨O3
H7*7H is not taken over. Te root D7H (“to dream”) occurs more ofen
in the Hebrew Bible, also in Genesis, both as verb (Gen i8:1i; :¬:-, o,
o, 1o; ao:-, 8; a1:1, -, 11, 1-, ai:o) and as nomen (Gen io::, o; :1:1o,
11, ia; :¬:o, 8, o, 1o; ao:-, o, 1o; a1:8, 11, 1i, 1-, 1¬, ii; ai:o). In places
where Iubilees has a parallel text, ofen the word “dream” is taken over:
Iub. i¬:i1 (Gen i8:1i); io:: (Gen :1:11–1:); ao:1–- (cf. Gen a1:1–:8).
Besides, Iubilees adds dream, where thev do not occur in Genesis (e.g.
Iub. i¬:1; :i:1; a1:ia; aa:i).
In Iub. 1a:1a, the author has chosen for “in
Ibid. See also Rom a::; Gal ::o; Ias i:i:; 1Macc i:-i.
See, for example, I.C. VanderKam, “Iubilees and the Hebrew Texts of Genesis-
Exodus,” Textus 1a (1o88) ¬1–8-. Reproduced in From Revelation to Canon, aa8–ao1,
esp. aoo. See also I.C. VanderKam, Textual and Historical Studies (Missoula 1o¬¬), 1ai–
See also rOApGen XXII, :a.
Compare the Septuagint, OldLatin, andthe Targumim. See A. Salvesen, Symmachus
in the Pentateuch (Iournal of Semitic Studies Monograph 1-; Manchester 1oo1), :o–ao.
See A. Lange, “Divinatorische Träume und Apokalvptik imIubiläenbuch,” in Studies
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a io-
a dream,” because it occurs more ofen in connection with theophanies.
See however, e.g., Iub. :i:i1, where the author adds “in a vision of the
night,” although it is not in Gen :-:o.
Te Hebrew of Gen 1-:id is verv dimcult and widelv regarded as cor-
rupt and hardlv possible to be correct.
Te major problemconcerns the
interpretation of *P*3 Þ2O ]3. Te versions have various interpretations,
but appear to presuppose the Masoretic Text.
Te Vorlage of the Sep-
tuagint probablv reads *P*3 (P3) ]3 Þ2O ]3. “Te son of mv maid”, (walda
"matya) in Iub. 1a:id might be a rendering of this phrase as well.
addition at the end of the sentence (“[he] will be mv heir”) is based on
Gen 1-::c: “and a servant born in mv house will be my heir” (2¨1* *P*3 ]3
*PR). Terefore, we might speak here about a confation of Gen 1-:id and
1-::c in Iub. 1a:id.
In anv case, Gen 1-::c is not taken over in Iubilees.
Instead, there is an addition in Iub. 1a:if: “Give me seed.”
in the Book of Iubilees (ed. M. Albani et al.; TSAI o-; Tübingen 1oo¬), i-–:8, esp. i¬–:o.
Lange does not diferentiate, however, between visions and dreams.
C. Westermann, Genesis r–rr (BKAT 1.1; ath ed.; Neukirchen-Vluvn 1ooo), ioo–
ioi; G.I. Wenham, Genesis r–r· (WBC 1; Waco, Tex., 1o8¬), :ia, :i8; H. Seebass, Gene-
sis II. Vätergeschichte I írr,:/–::,:,) (Neukirchen1oo¬), o-, oo. See also: H. Seebass, “Gen
1-,ib,” ZAV ¬- (1oo:) :1¬–:1o; P. Weimar, “Genesis 1-,” in Die Väter Israels. Beiträge zur
Teologie der Patriarchenuberlieferungen imAlten Testament (ed. M. Görg et al.; Stuttgart
1o8o), :o1–a11; M. Köckert, Vätergott und Väterverheissungen. Eine Auseinandersetzung
mit Albrecht Alt und seinen Erben (FRLANT 1ai; Göttingen 1o88), i1i, i:-.
ixx: o δr υlòς Μασεκ τIς οiκογενο0ς μου οuτος Δαμασκòς Ελιεζερ (“Te son
of Masek, mv steward, this is Damascus Eliezer”); Teodotion reads o υlòς το0 rπi τIς
οiκiας μου (“Te son of the manager of mv house”); cf. Vulgate “et flius procuratoris
domus meae iste Damascus Eliezer” (“Te son of the manager of mv house that is
Damascus Eliezer”). Aquila has: υlòς το0 ποτiζοντος το0 οiκου μου (“Te son of the
cup-bearer of mv house”). Te interpretation of Aquila, Teodotion, and Vulgate comes
possiblv via HÞ2 (“to drink”). See also Targum Onkelos and Targum Pseudo-Ionathan.
See also Salvesen, Symmachus, ao.
VanderKam, Book of Iubilees, 8:.
1OApGen xxii: ::–:a reads: *1P¨[*] 77 [. . . ] ¨3 ¨!9*7R *11P¨* *P*3 *13 ]O (“One of mv
servants will inherit from me, Eliezer, son [. . . ] . . . will inherit me”).
Tis sentence is not read bv Dillmann (see A. Dillmann, “Das Buch der Iubiläen
oder die kleine Genesis,” Iahbucher der Biblischen Vissenschaþ : [18-1] ¬), nor bv Charles
(see R.H. Charles, Mashafa kufale or the Ethiopic Version of the Hebrew Book of Iubilees
(Anecdota Oxoniensia; Oxford 18o-). It lacks also in Charles’ translation of 1ooi (see
R.H. Charles, Te Book of Iubilees or the Little Genesis. Translated from the Editor’s
Ethiopic Text [London 1ooi], 1oi). Also Wintermute does not translate it (see O.S. Win-
termute, “Iubilees: A New Translation and Introduction,” in Te Old Testament Pseude-
pigrapha [ed. I.H. Charlesworth; London1o8-], i:8a). However, there seems to be enough
evidence in the manuscripts to read the sentence. See VanderKam, Book of Iubilees, 1o8o,
8:. So also K. Berger, Das Buch der Iubiläen (ISHRZ -.:; Gütersloh 1o81), aoi.
ioo i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
Iubilees 1a:-ab is an addition. Te author of Iubilees confrms that
Abram has looked to the skv and seen the stars. Te reason for this
addition is not completelv clear. Te pattern that a command in direct
speech is followed bv a narrative element in which the execution of the
command is carried out occurs quite ofen in the Bible. Tere are no
versions of Gen 1-:- which have the addition of Iub. 1a:-ab. According
to Berger it stresses Abram’s lovaltv.
a.i. Te Second Dialogue íIub. r,./–:c)
Genesis r·./–:r Iubilees r,./–:c
¬a He said to him: ¬a He said to him:
b “I am Yhwh who brought vou from
Ur of the Chaldeans, to give vou this
land to occupv [ ].”
b “I am the Lord who brought vou
from Ur of the Chaldeans to give
vou the land of the Canaanites to
occupv ioviviv .×u 1o vicomi
Gou iov voU .×u voUv siiu
.i1iv voU.”
8a He said: 8a He said:
b “Yhwh God, how will I know that I
will inherit it:”
b “Lord, Lord, how will I know that I
will inherit (it):”
oa He said to him: oa He said to him:
b “Take for me a three-vear-old calf, a
three-vear-old goat, a three-vear-old
ram, a turtledove, and a pigeon.”
b “Take for me a three-vear-old calf, a
three-vear-old goat, a three-vear-old
ram, a turtledove, and a pigeon.”
1oa He took him all of these [ ], 1oa He took all of these i× 1ui miuuii
oi 1ui mo×1u.
[ ] b Hi w.s iivi×c .1 1ui o.x oi
M.mvi wuicu is ×i.v Hivvo×.
11a Hi vUii1 .× .i1.v 1uivi
b .×u s.cviiiciu .ii oi 1uisi.
c Hi voUviu oU1 1uiiv vioou o×
1ui .i1.v
b and divided them in the middle. d and divided them in the middle.
c He put each piece over against the
e He put them opposite one another,
d but the birds he did not divide. f but the birds he did not divide.
11a Te birds of prey came down upon
the carcasses,
1ia Birds came down upon what was
spread out,
b but Abram drove them awav. b but Abram drove them awav
[ ] c .×u ×o1 .iiowi×c 1ui vivus 1o
1oUcu 1uim.
Berger, Buch der Iubiläen, aoi.
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a io¬
Genesis r·./–:r Iubilees 1a:¬–io
1ia It came to pass that the sun was
going down,
1:a It came to pass that the sun was
going down,
b and a deep sleep fell on Abram; b and a terror fell on Abram;
c and behold, a dread of great
darkness fell on him.
c and behold, a dread of great
darkness fell on him.
1:a He said to Abram: d It was said to Abram:
b “Know for a fact that vour seed will
be aliens in a land that is not theirs.
e “Know for a fact that vour seed will
be aliens in a foreign land.
c Tev will be slaves to them, f Tev will enslave them,
d and thev will oppress them for aoo
g and thev will oppress them for aoo
1aa But I will judge the nation whom
thev serve.
1aa But I will judge the nation whom
thev serve.
b Aferwards, thev will leave [ ] with
great possessions.
b Aferwards, thev will leave ivom
1uivi with many possessions.
1-a But vou will go peacefullv to vour
1-a But vou will go peacefullv to vour
b and be buried in a good old age. b and be buried in a good old age.
1oa [ ] Te fourth generation will return
1oa I× the fourth generation they will
return here,
b because until now the sins of the
Amorites have not been completed.”
b because until now the sins of the
Amorites have not been completed.”
[ ] 1¬a A×u ui .woxi ivom uis siiiv,
b .×u co1 Uv.
1¬a Te sun had gone down c Te sun had gone down.
b and there was darkness. d and there was a fame.
c And behold, an oven was smoking, e And behold, an oven was smoking,
d and a torch of fre passed between
these pieces.
f and a fame of fre passed between
what was spread out.
18a On that dav Yhwh concluded a
covenant with Abram, saying:
18a On that dav the Lord concluded a
covenant with Abram with these
b “To vour seed I will give this land,
from the river of Egvpt to the great
river, the Euphrates River:
b “To vour seed I will give this land,
from the river of Egvpt to the great
river, the Euphrates River:
1o the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the
the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the
io 1ui Hi11i1is, the Perizzites, the
Rephaim [ ],
[ ] the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 1ui
i1 [ ] the Amorites, the Canaanites, the
Girgashites and the Iebusites.”
1ui Hivi1is, the Amorites, the
Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the
io8 i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
Genesis r·./–ro.:r Iubilees 1a:¬–io
[ ] 1oa I1 v.ssiu (.io×c),
b .×u Avv.m oiiiviu wu.1 u.u
vii× svvi.u oU1, 1ui vivus, 1uiiv
(civi.i) oiiivi×c, .×u 1uiiv
c Tui iivi uivoUviu 1uim.
ioa DUvi×c 1uis ×icu1 wi
co×ciUuiu . covi×.×1
wi1u Avv.m iixi 1ui covi×.×1
wuicu wi co×ciUuiu uUvi×c
1uis mo×1u wi1u No.u.
b Avv.m vi×iwiu 1ui iis1iv.i
.×u 1ui ovui×.×ci iov uimsiii
Iubilees 1a:¬–io has some additions (1a:1ob–11c, 1ic, 1¬ab, 1o–io; ele-
ments in 1a:¬b, 1oa, 1ab, 18b), and some small variations (elements in
1a:¬b, 11e, 1ia, 1:b, 1:d–f, 1ab, 1¬d, 1¬f) with regard to Gen 1-:¬–i1.
Remarkablv, there is just one minor omission in Iub. 1a:18b.
Some of these diferences might be explained bv the author’s use of a
text of Genesis diferent from the Masoretic Text.
Iubilees 1a:11e shows
some variation with regard to the Masoretic Text of Gen 1-:1oc in that
“each piece over against the other” (1H9¨ PR¨Þ7 1¨P3 2*R) is rendered
bv “opposite one another” (an
s¯ aratihomu baba ga
somu). Iubilees, how-
ever, agrees here with the Septuagint in that there is no equivalent for
1¨P3 2*R and an idiomatic rendering of 1H9¨ PR¨Þ7.
Iubilees 1a:1ia
reads “birds” in line with the Septuagint, Old Latin, and Ethiopic of Gen
1-:11a. Te Masoretic Text has O*9H (“birds of prev”). Te word sÃf
(“what was spread out”; Iub. 1a:1ia, 1¬f) is a rendering of D*¨àDH (“the
carcasses”; Gen 1-:11a). Charles tries to explain sÃf
h as a result froma cor-
ruption within the Greek stage of Iubilees,
whereas VanderKam keeps
h as a meaningful text. Iubilees 1a:1ib agrees with Gen 1-:11b, in that
Iubilees seems to render the verb 321 (“to drive awav”), and not συνεκo-
0ισεν (Septuagint) which is derived from the root 32*. Te word dÃg¯ a
Te mentionof Hittites inthe list of nations (Gen1-:io) is not takenover bv Iubilees.
One can possiblv see the Hivites as a variation of it, but see the discussion below. See also
the addition Phakorites in the list of Iubilees.
Cf. note o.
VanderKam, Book of Iubilees, 8a. ixx Gen 1-:1oc reads: καi r0ηκεν α0τo 0ντιπρó-
σωπα 0λλiλοις.
Charles, Mashafa kufale, ao n. i8; idem, Te Book of Iubilees, 1o:; VanderKam, Book
of Iubilees, 8a–8-.
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a ioo
(“terror”) in Iub. 1a:1:b can also mean “astonishment, amazement.” It
difers from m1 Gen 1-:1ib HO7¨P (“deep sleep”), but comes close to rκ-
στασις of the Septuagint.
Note, however, the addition in Iub. 1a:1¬ab
(“And he awoke from his sleep, and got up”). Te passive verbal form in
Iub. 1a:1:d (“it was said”) is in line with the Septuagint, Old Latin, and
the Ethiopic of Gen 1-:1:a.
Some manuscripts of the Septuagint read
0λλóτρια (“foreign”) like Iub. 1a:1:e instead of “not theirs.” Te addition
“fromthere” (Iub. 1a:1ab) possiblv refects the reading of ixx Gen 1-:1ab
(uδε). Iubilees 1a:1¬d (“a fame”) agrees with ixx Gen 1-:1¬b (φλòξ),
whereas m1 Gen 1-:1¬b reads HO79 (“darkness”).
However, beside these small deviations ascribed to the use of a difer-
ent Vorlage from MT Genesis bv the author of Iubilees, there are other
disparities between both texts. Te text of Iub. 1a:¬ contains some modi-
fcations with regard to Gen 1-:¬. In the frst place, there is the variation,
namelv that the Lord promises Abramto give “the land of the Canaanites”
and not onlv “this land” (Gen 1-:¬). In the second place there is the addi-
tion (“to occupv forever”) that puts emphasis on the eternal possession
of the land. Finallv, the end of the verse stresses the being God for Abram
andhis progenv (“to become Godfor vouandvour seedafer vou”). Tese
elements (the land identifed bv name; the eternal possession of it; the
personal relationship between God and Abram and his progenv) are all
connected with the covenant. One could think here of a possible infu-
ence from comparable passages, especiallv from the introduction to the
concluding of the covenant in Genesis 1¬ (Gen 1¬:1–8). Apart from the
promise of the land and the promise of a numerous ofspring, the con-
clusion of the covenant includes here an identifed land, a mention of
the eternal possession, and a personal relationship (Gen 1¬:¬–8: “And I
will establish mv covenant between me and vou, and vour descendants
afer vou throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to
be God to vou and to vour seed afer vou. And I will give to vou, and
to vour descendants afer vou, the land of vour sojournings, all the land
of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God”). Te
rewriting of Gen 1¬:¬–8 in Iub. 1-:o–1o is verv litteral. All additions in
Iub. 1a:¬ with regard to Gen 1-:¬ can be explained bv the infuence of this
parallel passage (namelv Gen 1¬:¬–8), which also describes a renewal of
the covenant.
Cf. VanderKam, Book of Iubilees, 8-.
i¬o i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
Te dating of the second dialogue in the middle of the third month
(Iub. 1a:1o) is connected with the Iubilees’ view of the covenant. Te
pact that the Lord concluded with Abram (Iub. 1a:18a, ioa) is made
on the same date as the bond that was concluded with Noah (1a:ioa).
Tis means that the covenant with Abram is understood as a renewal
(1a:iob), which was neglected from Noah’s death until Abram (cf. Iub.
Te additions in Iub. 1a:1ob–11c, 1o showthe place where Abramlives
(1a:1ob), and make explicit the act of sacrifce (1a:11a–c, 1o). Te text of
Genesis is ambiguous in this respect. In Genesis, Abram is ordered to
take sacrifcal animals (Gen 1-:o–1o), but it is not clear that he is going
to ofer them. In Iubilees, Abram builds an altar (1a:11a), sacrifces all
animals (1a:11b), and pours out their blood on the altar (1a:11c). In the
addition at the end, it is repeated that Abram ofers what was spread out.
He sacrifces the animals in the fre, together with the cereal ofering and
the libation (1a:1o). Tis is explicitelv connected with the concluding of
the covenant, which is seen here as a renewal.
Te last diference can be found in the list of nations (Gen 1-:1o–i1;
Iub. 1a:18b). Te mention of Hittites in the list of nations (Gen 1-:io)
is not taken over bv Iubilees, whereas the Pharokites and the Hivites are
added to the list. One can possiblv see the Hivites as a variation of the
Hittites. However, the Hivites also occur in the Septuagint as well as the
Samaritan Pentateuch of Gen 1-:1o–i1.
It is possible therefore that the
Hivites were mentioned in the text of Genesis the author of Iubilees had in
front of him. It is not completelv clear whv he omitted the Hittites, since
both groups (the Hittites and the Hivites) appear together in comparable
lists of nations (cf. Exod ::8, 1¬; 1::-; i::i:, i8; :::i; :a:11; Deut ¬:1;
io:1¬; Iosh ::1o; o:1; 11::; 1i:8; ia:11; Iudg ::-; 1Kgs o:io; iChron 8:¬).
Te reason might be that both Genesis and Iubilees present the Hittites
in a favorable light when Abraham buvs the cave near Hebron to burv
On the covenant of God with Noah in the book of Iubilees, see I.T.A.G.M. van
Ruiten, Primaeval History Interpreted. Te Rewriting of Genesis r–rr in the Book of
Iubilees (ISISup oo; Leiden iooo), i1-–i-o; see also idem, “Te Covenant of Noah
in Iubilees o.1–:8,” in Te Concept of the Covenant in the Second Temple Period (ed.
S.E. Porter and I.C.R. de Roo; ISISup ¬1; Leiden ioo:), 1o¬–1oo. See also I.C. Van-
derKam, “Covenant and Biblical Interpretation in Iubilees o,” in Te Dead Sea Scrolls Fiþy
Years aþer Teir Discovery. Proceedings of the Ierusalem Congress, Iuly :c–:·, r;;/ (ed.
L.H. Schifman et al.; Ierusalem iooo), oi–1oa.
See Gen. Rab. aa:i:, where is explained whv the Hivites are not in the list of Gen
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a i¬1
his wife (cf. Gen i::1–io; Iub. 1o:1–o).
Te Hivites, in contrast, are
placed in a negative light in the book of Iubilees (see, e.g. Iub. :o:i).
Te mention of the Phakorites in the list is unique to Iubilees.
a.:. Hagar and Ishmael íIub. r,.:r–:,)
Genesis ro.r–,, ·–o Iubilees r,.:r–:,
i1a Avv.m w.s vivv u.vvv
b .×u 1oiu .ii 1uisi 1ui×cs 1o uis
wiii S.v.i.
[ ] c Hi viiiiviu 1u.1 ui woUiu u.vi
1a Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore uim no
d She bore [ ] no children.
b Sui u.u .× Ecvv1i.× si.vi-civi
wuosi ×.mi w.s H.c.v;
[ ]
ia [ ] iia And Sarai advised her husband
and Sarai said to Avv.m: b and sui said to him:
b “Biuoiu ×ow, Yuwu u.s
vvivi×1iu mi ivom vi.vi×c
[ ]
c go in to mv [ ] slave-girl [ ]; c ”Go in to mv Ecvv1i.× slave-girl
d Perhaps I will be build up [ ] from
d perhaps I will build up siiu iov
voU from her.”
e Abram listened to the voice of Sarai
[ ].
i:a Abram listened to the voice of Sarai,
uis wiii
b .×u s.iu 1o uiv:
c “Do (.s voU sUccis1).”
:a Sarai, Avv.m’s wiii, took her
Egvptian slave-girl Hagar,
d Sarai [ ] took her Egvptian slave-girl
b .i1iv Avv.m u.u uwii1 1i×
vi.vs i× 1ui i.×u oi C.×..×,
[ ]
c and gave her to her husband Abram
as a wife.
e and gave her to her husband Abram
to be his wife.
Cf. I.M. Scott, On Earth as in Heaven. Te Restoration of Sacred Time and Sacred
Space in the Book of Iubilees (ISISup o1; Leiden ioo-), 1o8–1oo.
See Scott, On Earth as in Heaven, 1oo–io1.
Scott (On Earth as in Heaven, 1oo n. o-) suggests that the Phakorites should be
understood as “the Philistines.” However, there is no textual base for this suggestion.
Moreover, it does not explain the addition of this group in the list of Iubilees.
i¬i i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
Genesis ro.r–,, ·–o Iubilees r,.:r–:,
aa And he went in to Hagar, iaa And he went in to her,
b and she conceived; b and she conceived,
[Gi× 1o:ac–1a] [ ]
1-a And Hagar gave birth 1o Avv.m to
a son.
c and she gave birth [ ] to a son.
b Abram called the name oi his son,
wuom H.c.v vovi, Ishmael [ ].
d He called the name [ ] Ishmael i×
1ui iii1u vi.v oi 1uis wiix.
1oa Abram was eighty-six years old e Tat year was the eighty-sixth year in
Abram’s life.
b wui× H.c.v vovi Isum.ii 1o
[ ]
As can be seen in this svnoptic overview, Iub. 1a:i1–ia is the rewrit-
ing of Gen 1o:1–1o. Te text of Genesis is verv shortened in Iubilees,
mainlv because Gen 1o:ac–1a is not taken over. Besides this major omis-
sion, Iubilees has also some other (smaller) omissions (Gen 1o:1b, ib,
:b, 1ob; elements in 1o:1a, :a, 1-a–b), but also some additions (Iub.
1a:i1a–c, iia, i:bc, and elements in 1a:iocd, iid, i:a, iad) and some
variations (which are concerned with the replacement of a proper name
bv a personal noun: Iub. 1a:i1d, iib, iaa, iac–d; some other small
variations in 1a:i:e, iae). Iub. 1a:iic can be considered as a confa-
tion of Gen 1o:ic with Gen 1o:1b. Tis corresponds with the omission
of Gen 1o:1b and the additions in Iub. 1a:iic. Te omission of Gen
1o::b (“Afer Abram had dwelt ten vears in the land of Canaan”) cor-
responds with the additions in Iub. 1a:1ob, iad (“in the ffh vear of this
Te lacking of an explicit dating of the events at the beginning, and bv
the mention of “all these things,” the event of Hagar is closelv related to
the preceding passage. Te storv in which Sarai gives her slave-girl Hagar
to Abram takes place in the same vear as the concluding of the covenant.
In a certain sense it can be seen as the conclusion of this passage. Abram
complains to God that he has no children up to this moment, and that
the son of Masheq is going to be his heir. God assures that he will get a
numerous ofspring, and that he and his ofspring will inherit Canaan.
Terefore God establishes a covenant with Abram.
It is made clear that Abram was happv with the promise of manv
ofspring (Iub. 1a:i1a–c). We mav suppose that he thought that he would
achieve this with his wife Sarai. Ultimatelv, thev would have children.
One should realise that in the book of Iubilees up to the scene with Hagar,
the author has not vet provided anv clue to the fact that Sarai could not
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a i¬:
bear children.
In Genesis, the frst thing said about Sarai is that she was
infertile (Gen 11::o: “Now Sarai was barren; she had no child”). Stating
this fact twice, the pivotal role of her barrenness in the storv and the
hopelessness of the couple’s situation is underlined.
In his rewrite (Iub.
1i:o), the author of Iubilees fails tomentionthat Sarai was barren. He does
not establish her barrenness as a central issue, but rather her descent, her
When Sarai continues to have no children (Iub. 1a:i1d), she advises
Abram to trv it with her slave-girl Hagar (Iub. 1a:ii). It seems that it is
Sarai’s wish to protect Yhwh’s promise made to Abram(Iub. 1a:1–o) what
makes Abram so happv. It is signifcant that Gen 1o:ib (“Behold now,
Yhwh has prevented me from bearing children”) is omitted in Iubilees.
Tis indicates that, according to Iubilees, Sarai is probablv not reallv
convinced that she would never bear at all.
Te author of Iubilees seems to change the picture of Sarai in compari-
son to Genesis 1o. In Genesis, it is as if Sarai also acts for selfsh reasons.
Te text not onlv reads: “Behold now, Yhwh has prevented me frombear-
ing children” (Gen 1o:ib), but also: “Perhaps I will be build up from her”
(Gen 1o:id). Whatever the exact meaning of this phrase is, it focuses its
attention on Sarai or on Sarai’s interest.
Sarai seems not to make a con-
nection between the ofspring that was promised to Abram, and her own
acting in these verses. Tese elements are changed in Iubilees which not
onlv not takes over the phrase “Yhwh has prevented me,” but also changes
the phrase “Perhaps I will be build up fromher” into “Perhaps I will build
up seed for you from her.” With these small alterations, Iubilees shows
how Sarai acts out of interest of Abram, which is in the end the interest
of God. She does not act for her own sake. It is interesting to see that
Abram asserts explicitlv what his wife proposes: “And Abram listened to
the voice of Sarai, his wife and said to her: Do (as vou suggest)” (Iub.
1a:i:). Iubilees stresses that the marriage of Abram and Sarai is an ideal
B. Halpern-Amaru, Te Empowerment of Vomen in the Book of Iubilees (ISISup oo;
Leiden 1ooo), -o, 1oo.
See, e.g. W.H. Gispen, Genesis :. Genesis rr.:/–:·.rr (Commentaar op het Oude
Testament; Kampen 1o¬o), io; C. Westermann, Genesis r:–+o (BKAT 1.i; ath ed.; Neu-
kirchen-Vluvn 1ooo), 1-o.
Tis aspect of the rewriting of Iubilees is stressed emphaticallv bv Halpern-Amaru,
Te Empowerment of Vomen, :a–:-.
See, for example, P.R. Drev, “Te Role of Hagar in Genesis 1o,” Andrews University
Seminary Studies ao (iooi) 1¬o–1o-, esp. 18o.
See, for example, G.I. Wenham, Genesis ro–·c (WBC 1; Waco, Tex., 1ooa), o–¬.
i¬a i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
marriage. Te partners work together harmoniouslv to work out the
promise of God.
In Genesis, there is an interlude (Gen 1o:ac–1a) between the concep-
tion and the birth of Ishmael. In this passage the author deals with the
tension between Hagar and Sarai (Gen 1o:ac–o), and Hagar’s fight into
the desert (Gen 1o:¬–1a). Tis is completelv omitted in Iubilees. Tere
mav have been several reasons for this. It would probablv have contra-
dicted the fact of Sarai’s decision to give Hagar to Abram, and Abram’s
positive assertion. Bv omitting these verses, the author of Iubilees again
stresses his positive view of Sarai. Te hostile reproach of Sarai is lef
out (Gen 1o:-: “And Sarai said to Abram: ‘Mav the wrong done to me
be on vou! I gave mv maid-servant to vour embrace, and when she saw
that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. Mav Yhwh
judge between vou and me!’ ”). Evervthing that overshadows the posi-
tive image of Sarai and of the harmonious cooperating of wife and hus-
band, united in an exemplarv marriage, is lef out bv Iubilees.
Also the
fact that Abram puts Hagar under the authoritv of Sarai, who humiliates
her (Gen 1o:o: “But Abram said to Sarai: ‘Behold, vour maid-servant is
in vour power; do to her as vou please.’ Ten Sarai dealt harshlv with
her, and she fed from her”) is lef out, for Sarai’s abuse of her slave girl
would not ft in either in a positive picture of Sarai. In the biblical text, the
humiliation gets a divine approval (Gen 1o:o: “Te angel of Yhwh said to
her: ‘Return to vour mistress, and submit to her’ ”), however, this passage
is not taken over either.
At the same time, it is not onlv the picture of Sarai that changes
bv omitting this large passage, but also that of Hagar. Genesis shows
the arrogance of Hagar afer she became pregnant (cf. Gen 1o:a: “and
when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her
mistress”). Tis is incriminating for Hagar, and that is possiblv the reason
whv it is lefout in Iubilees.
Also the long narrative passage in the desert,
in which there is a dialogue between Hagar and the angel of Yhwh, is
omitted (Gen 1o:¬–1a). Tis probablv follows from what has been said
thus far. If the arrogance of Hagar is lef out, if Sarai does not reproach
Abram, and if Hagar is not humiliated bv Sarai, then it is not necessarv
See Halpern-Amaru, Te Empowerment of Vomen, -o–-1, oo, ¬o.
Cf. Halpern-Amaru, Te Empowerment of Vomen, -1.
Cf. P. Söllner, “Ismael und Isaak—muss der eine den anderen denn immer nur
verfolgen: Zum Verhältnis der beiden Abrahamssöhne im Iubiläenbuch,” in Religions-
geschichte des ^euen Testaments. Festschriþ fur Klaus Berger zum oc. Geburtstag (ed. A.
von Dobbeler et al.; Tübingen iooo), :-¬–:¬8, esp. :o1.
i.×u .×u covi×.×1 i× icniirrs 1a i¬-
for Hagar to depart. Te familv of Abramlives in great harmonv, not onlv
Abram and Sarai, but also his whole household.
However at the same time, one could sav that bv omitting this passage
evervthing that raises the status of Hagar is also lef out. I refer to her
direct communication with the angel about her son (as a sort of birth
report, which is reserved, elsewhere in Genesis, onlv for the patriarchs,
not for women, let alone a slave-woman).
Moreover, in Gen 1o:1:,
Hagar seems to suggest that she has seen God: “So she called the name
of Yhwh who spoke to her: ‘You are a God of seeing’; for she said: ‘Have
I reallv seen God and remained alive afer seeing him:’ ” She would have
been the onlv woman in Genesis and Exodus who has encountered God,
and this is probablv too much honour for a slave-woman.
In summarv, it can be said that Iubilees alters the frst of the Hagar sto-
ries mainlv through omissions, for it does not report the tension between
Hagar and Sarai. Terefore, it is not necessarv to speak about Hagar’s
fight into the wilderness and her subsequent return. Tis, consequentlv,
changes the picture of both Sara and Hagar in Iubilees heavilv. Sara is
depictedmore positivelv, whereas Hagar’s status is neither raisennor low-
ered. Moreover the birth of Ishmael is closelv connected to the conclud-
ing of the covenant and its promises of progenv and land. So, the meaning
of covenant is also transformed.
-. Concluding Remarks about the Meaning
and Signifcance of the Covenant in Iubilees r,
According to the Iubilees, there is onlv one single covenant. Te Noahic
union (Iubilees o) is the frst conclusion. It is the base for all subsequent
ones. Te author of Iubilees presents the covenant of Moses as a continu-
ation of that of Noah, but at the same time he extrapolates elements from
the Sinaitic covenant to that of Noah.
Also the bonds withthe patriarchs
are seenas a renewal of the covenant of Noah. Inthe chapter under review
(Iubilees 1a), this is stated explicitlv (1a:io), whereas it is also implied
in the dating of the covenant during the Festival of Weeks (1a:1a, 1oa,
Te transformation of the ambiguous reference to an ofering in
Cf. Halpern-Amaru, Te Empowerment of Vomen, 1o¬.
On the identifcation of Noah and Moses, see Van Ruiten, “Te Covenant of Noah,”
Te renewal of the covenant bv Abraham is announced alreadv in Iub. o:1o.
i¬o i.coUis 1...c.m. v.× vUi1i×
Gen 1-:o–11 into an explicit ofering including the sprinkling of blood
(Iub. 1a:11–1i, 1o) stresses the similaritv of Abram’s covenant with that
of Noah (cf. Iub. o:1–:, 11). Also the second conclusion between God
and Abraham(Iubilees 1-) shows these elements: a dating of the covenant
and a mentioning of the festival (1-:1) as well as an ofering (1-:i). Tis
results in a comparable structure of Iubilees 1a and 1-. Tis similaritv is
strengthened bv the fact that in the description of the land (Iub. 1a:¬) the
author integrates Gen 1¬:¬–8 (the land identifed bv name; the eternal
possession of it; the personal relationship between God and Abram and
his progenv) in his use of Gen 1-:¬. However, the resemblance between
Iubilees 1a and 1- draws attention to still another element.
In Iubilees 1a, Abram demands for descendants, which is followed bv
the promise of descendants (1a:1–o), and the promise of land (1a:¬).
Te integrated storv of Ishmael’s birth (1a:i1–ia) is presented as a frst
answer to Abram’s question in the beginning of the chapter. Afer the
promise of descendants (1-:o, 8) and land (1-:1o), in Iubilees 1- the
announcement of Isaac’s birth is made (1-:1-–ii).
Te parallel struc-
ture seems to point to the fact that Ishmael is of equal status of Isaac,
but this is refuted more powerfullv in Iubilees than in Genesis. Iubilees
1- stresses more than Genesis 1¬ the superioritv of Isaac. It is not onlv
said that God will conclude a covenant with Isaac alone (Iub. 1-:18–ii;
cf. Gen 1¬:18–ii), but also the multiple mention of Ishmael with regard
to the circumcision of Abraham and his house (Iub. 1-:i:–ia; cf. Gen
1¬:i:–i¬) is pushedintothe background. Moreover, inthe halakhic addi-
tion, it is explicitlv mentioned that God has not chosen Ishmael (Iub.
1-::o: “For the Lord did not draw near to himself either Ishmael, his
sons, his brothers, or Esau. He did not choose them(simplv) because thev
were among Abraham’s children, for he knew them. But he chose Israel
to be his people”). Terefore, the rewriting and interpretation of Genesis
1- and 1o bv the author of Iubilees make clear how God’s covenant with
Abraham and the promises of land and progenv are fulflled in the birth
of Isaac.
Te commandment of circumcision (Iub. 1-:11–1a) has no parallel in Iubilees 1a.
Fiovi×1i×o G.vcí. M.v1í×iz
Among the Aramaic texts preserved at Oumran, the so-called “Descrip-
tion of the New Ierusalem,” is attested to in fragmentarv form in sev-
eral copies found in caves 1 (1O:i), i (iOia), a (aO--a, --aa, ---), -
(-O1-) and 11 (11O18).
In an article on this new Ierusalem text in the
Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls that I wrote a few vears ago I stated
that: “Te description of the citv and the temple in the New Ierusalem
is located midwav between Ezekiel’s description of the future Ierusalem
and the Heavenlv Ierusalemof the NewTestament Book of Revelation i1–
Te expression “located midwav” is rather ambiguous and as such
unimpeachable, but it is not verv precise and can be interpreted in manv
diferent wavs. Te expression is true if it is understood chronologicallv
(taking Ezekiel and Revelation as two temporal poles, ^ew Ierusalem is
somewhere in between, even if its precise date is not known); it is also
true if it is understood spatiallv (the size of the citv described in ^ew
Ierusalem is somewhere in between the citv described in Ezekiel ao–a8
and the gigantic Ierusalem of the book of Revelation); and it is even true
when understood as referring to the recourse to the measuring angel,
It is a pleasure to ofer this small contribution to mv colleague and friend of manv
vears, Ed Noort. Tis text was written on the occasion of his ooth birthdav, and has been
rewritten and adapted on the occasion of his o-th.
1O:i was published bv I.T. Milik in DID 1:1:a–1:-, pl. XXXI; iOia bv M. Baillet
in DID ::8a–8o, pl. XVI; -O1- bv I.T. Milik in DID:: 18a–1o:, pls. XL–XLI and 11O18
bv F. García Martínez et al. in DIDi:::o-–:--, pls. XXXV–XL, LIII. aO--a, aO--aa and
aO--- have not vet appeared in the fnal DID edition. A preliminarv edition is found
in F. García Martínez and E.I.C. Tigchelaar, Te Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (Leiden
iooo), i:11oo–111: (in what follows = DSSSE), in K. Baver, Die aramäischen Texte vom
Toten Meer (Göttingen iooa), i:1io–1:o, and in D.W. Parrv and E. Tov, eds., Te Dead
Sea Scrolls Reader. Part o. Additional Genres and Unclassifed Texts (Leiden ioo-), aa–
-: (edited and translated bv E. Cook). Tev are also transcribed and translated in the
monograph bv L. DiTommasso, Te Dead Sea NewIerusalemText. Contents and Contexts
(TSAI 11o; Tübingen ioo-), ii–¬-.
F. García Martínez, “New Ierusalem,” in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed.
L.H. Schifman and I.C. VanderKam; New York iooo), i:ooo.
i¬8 iiovi×1i×o c.vcí. m.v1í×iz
with its rod used to describe the dimensions of the citv and its parts.
However, the phrase I used in this article could also be misleading if it is
understood as indicating a continuum, starting with Ezekiel ao–a8 and
ending withRevelationi1–ii, of whichthe ^ewIerusalemfromOumran
would be somewhere in the middle, bridging in this wav the distance
between the other two biblical texts. I do not think this is the case.
In the frst article I wrote on the ^ew Ierusalem text more than twentv
vears ago,
I had alreadv clearlv indicated the diferent conceptual frame-
work which informs the description we fnd in Revelation io–i1 of “the
new Ierusalem, the holv citv, coming down out of heaven from God,
beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband,” the Ierusalem in
which there is no temple, because God and the Lamb is the temple, and
where there is no sun or moon, because the Lamb is the lamp which illu-
minate it with the glorv of God. As well, the citv described in the Aramaic
^ew Ierusalem text from Oumran, is a citv which has no name—at least
in the preserved parts, as in Ezekiel, where the citv is no longer called
Ierusalem but “Te Lord Is Tere”—, a citv which is not heavenlv but
which represents a blueprint of the celestial model that will be restored
in the messianic age.
Te unnamed citv of the Oumran text, in mv opinion at that time,
was of a diferent sort to the new Ierusalem in the New Testament. I did
not believe that a genetic relationship could be established between the
^ew Ierusalem composition from Oumran and Revelation, nor that ^ew
Ierusalem could be used as background for the New Testament use of the
metaphor of the heavenlv Ierusalem of the New Testament.
at that time, I was not able to place this conclusion within a larger
hermeneutic framework that could account both for the similarities and
for the diferences between these two texts.
Now, twentv-two vears later, I still believe that this is a correct assess-
ment of the material recovered, but I think that I can now proceed fur-
ther. Te fact is that, afer almost all the recovered manuscripts from the
To be precise it was 1o8o, in an article in Spanish in memorv of Díez Macho,
entitled “La ‘Nueva Ierusalén’ v el templo futuro en los Mss. de Oumran,” in Salvacion
en la Palabra. Targum. Derash. Berit. En memoria del professor Alejandro Diez Macho
(ed. D. Muñoz Leon; Madrid 1o8o), -o:–-oo, later translated into English and published
as “Te ‘New Ierusalem’ and the Future Temple of the Manuscripts from Oumran” in
Oumran and Apocalyptic. Studies on the Aramaic Texts from Oumran (STDI o; Leiden
1ooi), 18o–i1:. All the quotations are from this English translation.
García Martínez, “Te ‘New Ierusalem,’ ” i1:.
García Martínez, “Te ‘New Ierusalem,’ ” 18o.
×iw iivUs.iim .1 oUmv.× .×u i× 1ui ×iw 1is1.mi×1 i¬o
diferent caves from Oumran have been published,
I can now place the
conclusions drawn twentv vears ago within a more general interpretative
framework than was then possible. Now, afer all the evidence has been
published, we know that onlv a small part of the texts found at Oumran
were written bv the people living there, and that the great majoritv of the
texts recovered have no elements which would allow us to consider them
“Oumranic,” “Essene,” or something else entirelv.
Tev are instead, Iew-
ish religious writings, which for the frst time have given us access to the
developments occurring within Iudaism before the birth of Christianitv.
Since the Dead Sea Scrolls explicitlv present themselves as being based
on the Hebrew Bible but are clearlv diferent from it in a great manv
theological and legal respects, it is logical to consider these diferences
as witnesses to the evolution of the theological ideas and the legal norms
refected in the Hebrew Bible. Tis evolution took place within Iudaism
during a period of at least two centuries which elapsed between the
writing of the latest book of the Hebrew Bible and the depositing of the
manuscripts in the caves around Oumran.
Since the NewTestament also presents itself as based on the Old Testa-
ment but is clearlv diferent in manv theological and legal respects from
it, it is also logical to consider these diferences as witness to the evolution
and changes which took place in Iudaism during the same period.
Since there is no proof of anv direct relationship among the two
corpora of writings (those from Oumran and the writings which form
the New Testament), a genetic relationship among both corpora is not
the most logical explanation of the similarities or of the diferences that
can be found among them. Terefore, I consider the relationship between
these two corpora in terms of diferent phases of evolution that began
from a commonlv shared ground, the so-called “Hebrew Bible” or “Old
Te publication of manuscripts from Cave a in the DID Series, which will be edited
bv E. Puech, is expected in ioo8. See now, DID :¬:o1–1-i, pls. v–vii.
See an analvsis of the evidence in F. García Martínez, “Oumran, oo ans après la
découverte,” Te Oumran Chronicle 1- (ioo¬) 111–1:8.
Tis is the core of the project I have been working on in Louvain, which I pre-
sented in summarv form in “De Dode-Zeerollen en het Nieuwe Testament,” in F. García
Martínez and E. Tigchelaar, eds., Fragmenten uit de woestijn. De Dode-Zeerollen opnieuw
bekeken (Zoetermeer ioo:), 111–1:1 and in “Emerging Christianitv and Second Tem-
ple Iudaism: A ‘Oumranic Perspective,’ ” RCatT io (iooa) i--–io¬. Te ideas will be
developed in more detail in the book of the Proceedings of the Expert Meeting held in
Louvain on December ioo¬ on “Oumran and the New Testament,” forthcoming in the
STDI Series.
i8o iiovi×1i×o c.vcí. m.v1í×iz
Tese developments (previouslv unknown to us) were numerous in-
deed, andthe phases of growthout of the biblical texts complex andvarie-
gated. I hope that a quick and cursorv look at the function of Ierusalemin
the diferent eschatological scenarios represented both in the scrolls and
in the New Testament will prove that this new hermeneutic framework
is well-founded. In this presentation I will thus frst look at the biblical
starting point. I will then indicate the function (or the absence of func-
tion) of Ierusalem in New Testament eschatologv, and will end with a
summarv of the function (or absence of function) of Ierusalem in Oum-
ran eschatologv. Mv conclusion will be that in pre-Christian Iudaism as
revealed bv the Scrolls, the development of theological ideas that can be
found in the New Testament had alreadv taken place.
1. Ezekiel ,c–,8
Let us frst look quicklv at the basic text: the so-called Torah of Eze-
kiel: Ezekiel ao–a8. Without going into technicalities, I think evervbodv
agrees that what Ezekiel saw in the vision of the temple, the citv and
the land, is the blueprint, the plan, the heavenlv model, which was to be
realized at the moment of the restoration, when the glorv of God returns
to the temple He had previouslv abandoned.
Te biblical text is rather
explicit. In Ezek a::1o–11 we read:
Now, vou, O mortal, describe the Temple to the House of Israel, and let
themmeasure its design. But let thembe ashamed of their iniquities: When
thev are ashamed of what thev have done, make known to them the plan
of the Temple and its lavout, its exits and entrances—its entire plan, and
all the laws and instructions pertaining to the entire plan. Write it before
their eves, that thev mav faithfullv follow its entire plan and all its laws.
It is obvious that what Ezekiel is describing in these chapters is not a
heavenlv temple, a heavenlv Ierusalem, and a heavenlv land, but the
heavenlv lavout of the new realitv as it was to be established afer the
exile, much in the same wav that in Exod i-:o it is told: “Exactlv as
I show vou—the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its
See the classical commentaries of W. Zimmerli, Ezekiel (BKAT 1:.i; Neukirchen-
Vluvn 1ooo); M. Greenberg, Ezekiel (AB iiA; New York 1oo¬), or L.C. Allen, Ezekiel
io–a8 (WBC io; Dallas 1ooo). Even greater detail is to be found in the earlier work bv
H. Gese, Der Verfassungsentwurf des Ezekiel íKap. ,c–,8) traditionsgeschichtlich unter-
sucht (Beiträge zur historischen Teologie i; Tübingen 1o-¬).
Translation from the IPS.
×iw iivUs.iim .1 oUmv.× .×u i× 1ui ×iw 1is1.mi×1 i81
furnishings—so shall vou make it,” (also in Exod i-:ao; io::o; i¬:8; or in
Num 8:a: “according to the pattern that the Lord had shown to Moses,
so was the lampstand made”). Tis plan, pattern, model, blueprint, or
whatever other translation we mav give to the term tabn¯ıt used bv the
Prophet, concerns the instructions for rebuilding the temple to which
the glorv of God will return (Ezek ao:1–a::1i), the instructions for
building the associated structures and activities of the temple complex
(Ezek a::1:–a¬:1i), and the guidelines for the settlement of the people
around the temple, the setting apart of the t˘ er

um¯ ah or sacred reserve
where the temple should be, and the citv, with its measures and its
ports (Ezek a¬:1:–a8::-). It is equallv obvious that the details and the
terminologv of this description of the temple, the citv and the land are
diferent fromthe biblical descriptions of the wilderness tabernacle, from
the descriptions of Solomon’s temple, and from the Second Temple. Te
diferences are so noticeable that according to rabbinic tradition rabbi
Hannaniah used three hundred barrels of oil during the nights he spent
trving to resolve the contradictions of the book with the Torah in order
to make the inclusion of the book within the Iewish canon possible.
is completelv obvious that the vision of Ezekiel, at least in the Hebrew
text, has no eschatological overtones at all.
It is exclusivelv concerned
with the restoration afer the exile and its horizon is completelv earthlv
and terrestrial. Te land is the land of Israel, the citv called “Te Lord is
there” is the citv of the temple, that is, the reconstructed Ierusalem, and
the temple is the earthlv temple on which the Zadokite priests will ofer
their sacrifces.
i. Te ^ew Ierusalem of Revelation
If we now look at the new Ierusalem of Revelation, the transformation of
the vision of Ezekiel is evident. Te author of Revelation has taken from
the vision of Ezekiel the measuring angel whose rod serves to preciselv
b. Sanh. 1:b; b.
Hag. 1:a.
In the older Hebrew text of Ezekiel that lies behind the Greek translation preserved
on Papvrus oo¬ this could have been the case according to I. Lust, “Ezekiel :o–ao in the
Oldest Greek Manuscript,” CBO a: (1o81) -1¬–-::, and this is certainlv the case for the
so-called Pseudo-Ezekiel texts found at Oumran, see F. García Martínez, “Te Apocalvptic
Interpretation of Ezekiel in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Interpreting Translation. Studies on
the ixx and Ezekiel in Honour of Iohan Lust (ed. F. García Martínez and M. Vervenne;
BETL 1oi; Louvain ioo-), 1o:–1¬o.
i8i iiovi×1i×o c.vcí. m.v1í×iz
determine the dimensions of the citv, the square form of the citv, its wall,
and its twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. However,
the author of Revelation has also borrowed from Isa o-:1¬–18:
For behold! I amcreating a newheaven and a newearth, the former things
shall not be remembered, thev shall never come to mind. Be glad then and
rejoice forever in what I am creating. For I shall create Ierusalem as a jov
and her people as a delight.
He has also used the Christian interpretation of this new creation, where
it is transferred completelv to the eschaton, in order that the new Ierusa-
lem would appear afer the end, afer the destruction of the world.
Within the New Testament, as is known, there are several difer-
ent eschatological scenarios, with diferent approaches to the nature of
Ierusalemand the temple. Iesus, for example, inthe words of E.P. Sanders:
. . . was an eschatological prophet, a prophet who expected God himself
to interrupt human historv and create a new and better world, one in
which Israel was redeemed and restored, and in which gentiles, too, would
come to worship the God of Israel . . . Iesus held fairlv conventional views
about Ierusalem and the Temple: he thought that thev were central. He
was, however, an eschatological prophet, and he expected that the Temple
would be replaced in the coming kingdom of God.
Paul’s thought is more complex. In the same letter to the Galatians where
we heard about Paul’s visits to Ierusalem and about his collection of
monev for the church of Ierusalem, we also fnd (in Gal a:ia–io) the
reference to “the present Ierusalem” and “the Ierusalem from above” in
the allegorv based on the storv of Sarah and Hagar: “NowHagar is Mount
Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Ierusalem, for she is in
slaverv with her children. But the Ierusalem above is free, and she is our
mother,” which seems to exclude anv relevant function for the citv in
this eschatological thought.
In Romans, Paul reasserts the traditional
Iewish view of Ierusalem as the place where the tribes of Israel will
gather andwhere the gentiles will come bearing gifs andworshipping the
E.P. Sanders, “Ierusalemand Its Temple in Earlv Christian Tought and Practice,” in
Ierusalem. Its Sanctity and Centrality to Iudaism, Christianity, and Islam (ed. L.I. Levine,
New York 1ooo), oo–1o: at o:. Remember the temple “not made bv human hands” in
Mark 1a:-8.
Te literature on the allegorv of Hagar and Sarah is abundant. See the biblio-
graphical references in G.H. van Kooten, “Hagar and Sarah as Antitvpes of the Earthlv
and Heavenlv Citv in Paul’s Galatians,” and A. Hogeterp, “Hagar and Paul’s Covenant
Tought,” in Te Reception History of the Story of Hagar (ed. G.H. van Kooten and
I.T.A.G.M van Ruiten; Temes in Biblical Narrative 1:; Leiden; forthcoming).
×iw iivUs.iim .1 oUmv.× .×u i× 1ui ×iw 1is1.mi×1 i8:
God of Israel, using the biblical prophecies which will be fulflled when
the Redeemer comes from Zion, as he savs in Rom 11:io (quoting Isa
Tis eschatological pilgrimage of Iews and Gentiles to Ierusalem
is totallv absent fromLuke’s work, which has Ierusalemas its centre—but
onlv the historical Ierusalem, the place where Iesus died and from which
Christianitv expanded. Tus, an eschatological Ierusalem plavs no role
in the Christian hope for the future of Acts or of Luke.
In the eschatological scenario of Revelation io–i1 there is no place at
all for an earthlv Ierusalem.
Te new Ierusalem, the holv citv coming
out of heaven, is the bride of God, to which onlv the communitv of the
faithful, of those whose names are inscribed in the book of the living kept
bv the Lamb had access. In fact, this new Ierusalem is a metaphor for the
communitv of the elected, a svmbolic expression of a life close to God
who will be eternallv present in it. Tis new Ierusalem, of course, has no
temple and it has no other connection with the earthlv Ierusalem than
its name. It is a new realitv, created “when the thousand vears were over,”
afer Satan’s release and his fnal destruction, and afer the opening of the
book of the living and the judgement of all humans according to their
deeds. Te newIerusalemmetaphor of Revelation io–i1 represents such
a deep transformation of its starting point (Ezekiel ao–a8 and Isaiah o-)
that it is dimcult tounderstandhowthis canbe considereda development
of the basic Old Testament texts. We will nowturn to the Dead Sea Scrolls
to see if thev help us to understand this development.
:. Ierusalem in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Te presentation of the Oumran data has been greatlv facilitated bv
an article bv Schifman which collected and dulv classifed most of the
references to Ierusalem in the Scrolls.
However, his classifcation did
not take into account the character of the manuscripts. It is thus better
to start with a more basic division: Ierusalem in the non-sectarian and in
the sectarian documents.
See E.P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Iewish People (Philadelphia 1o8:), 1¬1–1¬:.
See L. Pilchan, Te ^ew Ierusalem in the Book of Revelation. A Study of Revelation
:r–:: in the Light of Its Background in Iewish Tradition (WUNT i.1io; Tübingen ioo1)
and the bibliographv quoted there.
L.H. Schifman, “Ierusalem in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Te Centrality of Ierusalem.
Historical Perspectives (ed. M. Poorthuis and C. Safrai; Kampen 1ooo), ¬:–88.
i8a iiovi×1i×o c.vcí. m.v1í×iz
In the frst categorv (non-sectarian documents) we fnd a simple lin-
ear continuation of the diferent literarv compositions which deal with
Ierusalem in the Hebrew Bible and which refect the same concerns. We
fnd laments over the destruction of Ierusalemas in aO1¬o (,OLamenta-
which prolong the lament over the destruction of Ierusalemfrom
the biblical Lamentations:
How solitarv lies the large citv Ierusalem, once full of people; the princess
of all the nations has become desolate like an abandoned woman; all
her daughters have been abandoned, like a woman without sons, like a
distressed and abandoned woman. All her places and her squares are like
a barren woman, and all her paths like an imprisoned woman, and her . . .
like a bitter woman. (aO1¬o frg. i a–¬)
We also fnd a prolongation of the prophetic words of consolation afer
the destruction of Ierusalem in aO1¬o (,OTanhumim),
which links
quotations from Isaiah ao–-1 to reassure the downtrodden people, and
announces that the reconstruction of Ierusalem is at hand and that Zion
will be restored to its former glorv.
We also fnd a whole series of
hvmns to Zion that prolong the biblical poetrv about or addressed to
Ierusalem (from the Psalms, or Isaiah, to Tobit and Ben Sira), such
as the Apocryphal Psalm aO:8o,
or that contained in column IV of
or the beautiful Apostrophe to Zion contained in column XXII
of 11OPsalm
which begins: “I remember vou, Zion, for blessing; with
all mv strength I have loved vou. Mav vour memorv be blessed for ever!
Great is vour hope, O Zion; peace will come and the expectation of vour
Published bv I.M. Allegro inOumran Cave , í,Or·8–,Or8o) (DIDV; Oxford 1ooo),
¬-–¬¬, pl. XXVI. See A. Berlin, “Oumran Laments and the Studv of Lament Literature,”
in Liturgical Perspectives (ed. E.G. Chazon et al.; STDI a8; Leiden ioo:), 1–1¬.
Translation of DSSSE 1::¬1.
Also published bv I.M. Allegro in DID -:oo–o¬, pls. XXII–XXIII.
See C.D. Stanlev, “Te Importance of aOTanhumim (aO1¬o),” RevO 1-/ oo (1ooi)
Published bv E. Schuller in E. Eshel et al., eds., Oumran Cave ,. VI. Poetical and
Liturgical Texts. Part r (DID XI; Oxford 1oo8), ¬-–8-, pl. VIII.
Published bv M. Baillet, Oumran Grotte ,. III í,O,8:–,O·:c) (DID VII; Oxford:
Clarendon, 1o8i), 1:¬–1o8, pls. XLIX–LIII. Tis column corresponds to col. XV of the
arrangement of the manuscript proposed bv Puech in the review bv Baillet in RB o-
(1o88) ao¬–aoo, and generallv adopted bv other researchers. See D. Falk, Daily, Sabbath,
and Festival Prayers in the Dead Sea Scrolls (STDI i¬; Leiden 1oo8), -o–oa.
Published bv I.A. Sanders, Te Psalms Scroll of Oumran Cave rr (DID IV; Oxford
1oo-). Fragmentarv remains of two other copies of the composition are found in aO88,
cols. VII–VIII and 11Oo frg. o.
DSSSE, i:11¬¬.
×iw iivUs.iim .1 oUmv.× .×u i× 1ui ×iw 1is1.mi×1 i8-
In the sectarian compositions, the image of Ierusalem is quite difer-
ent. We have indeed a couple of texts which deal with Ierusalem from
the perspective of the religious law (in Schifman’s classifcation), such as
(which mentions Ierusalem)
and the Temple Scroll
the name does not appear),
two texts which in mv opinion belong to the
formative period of the Oumran communitv. However, the most numer-
ous references (found in the pesharim)
refer to the historical Ierusalem
of the time of the authors, and this Ierusalem is thoroughlv portraved as
ungodlv. Tis Ierusalem is the seat of the illegitimate priesthood and of
the wicked priests,
it is the residence of “the scofers”
and of the “seek-
ers of smooth things,”
it is the dwelling place of the gentiles, of “the lion
of wrath”
and of the hated Hasmoneans who, as it is said in ,OTesti-
monia io–:o, “thev will shed blood like water upon the ramparts of the
daughter of Zion and in the precincts of Ierusalem.”
In short, Ierusalem
is in the writings of the Oumran communitv, as the Pesher Habakkuk
XII ¬–o put it when interpreting Hab i:1¬: “the citv is Ierusalemin which
the Wicked Priest performed repulsive acts and defled the Sanctuarv of
No wonder that the communitv fnallv decided to separate itself from
Ierusalem and from the temple in order to build in the desert “a holv
house for Israel and the foundation of the holv of holiest for Aaron”
(1OS VIII -) or “a holv house for Aaron, in order to form a most holv
Published bv E. Oimron and I. Strugnell, Oumran Cave ,. V. Miqsat ma##se ha-Torah
(DID X; Oxford 1ooa).
And identifes it with the camp of holiness, MMT B -o–oi of the composite text.
Published bv Y. Yadin, Megillat ham-miqdash. Te Temple Scroll (Ierusalem 1o¬¬).
Neither in the copv edited bv Yadin, (11O1o), nor in the copv 11Oio, published on
DID XXIII, :-¬–aoo, pls. XLI–XLVII, or in the small fragments from aO-ia, published
in DID XXIV, 8-–11a, pls. VII–VIII.
Convenientlv collected in volume oB of Te Princeton Teological Seminarv Dead
Sea Scrolls Project, I.H. Charlesworth, ed., Te Dead Sea Scrolls. Hebrew Aramaic, and
Greek Texts with English Translation. Volume oB. Pesharim, Other Commentaries, and
Related Documents (Tübingen iooi), and in D.W. Parrv and E. Tov, eds., Exegetical Texts
(Te Dead Sea Scrolls Reader i; Leiden iooa).
According to the “Groningen Hvpothesis,” see A.S. van der Woude, “Wicked Priest
or Wicked Priests: Refections on the Identifcation of the Wicked Priest in the Habakkuk
Commentarv,” IIS :: (1o8i) :ao–:-o.
aO1oi II o–¬ and 1o.
aO1o: frg. i: II 1o–11; aO1oo frg. :–a I i.
aO1oo frg. :–a I a.
DSSSE, 1::-¬.
DSSSE, 1:i1.
i8o iiovi×1i×o c.vcí. m.v1í×iz
communitv, and a house of the Communitv for Israel, those who walk
in perfection” (1OS IX o), in the words of the Serek ha Ya
had. Te
communitv clearlv understood itself as a functional replacement of the
temple, the residence of the divine presence, where atonement for the
land was made, where sacrifces were replaced bv praver (“the ofer of the
lips”), and the freewill bv ofers of perfect behaviour.
Te communitv
of Oumran understood itself as a spiritual temple replacing the polluted
temple, but it also understood itself as a new Ierusalem, replacing the
polluted Ierusalem, since the Serek also applies the words of Isa i8:1o
to the communitv: “Tis (the communitv) is the tested rampart, the
precious cornerstone that does not/whose foundations do not/shake or
tremble from their place” (1OS VIII ¬–8). Nothing indicates, in this
or related documents, that this substitution was thought a temporarv
solution, in the expectation of a return to Ierusalem and to the temple.
In the Rule of the Congregation of Israel in the last days (1OSa) (as well
as in the Rule of Benedictions [1OSb]) the regulations of puritv for the
temple are applied to the communitv (whatever it is), and when God
begets the Messiah among them, the “liturgical” celebrations are not in
the temple, but in their gathering for communitv meals, where the wine
and the bread are blessed (1OSa II a–1i). In the expectations concerning
the end of time in this and related documents there is no place for the
historical Ierusalem, just as it does not fgure in the expectation of the
heavenlv Ierusalem of Revelation.
However, we do have other texts from Oumran where Ierusalem and
the temple plav an important role in their eschatological programme. In
aO1¬¬ (,OCatena A)
we can read in a fragmentarv but clear eschato-
logical context:
the just man will fee and God’s great hand will be with them to rescue
them from all the spirits of Belial . . . those who fear God will sanctifv his
See the classic treatments of the topic bv B. Gärtner, Te Temple and the Community
in Oumran and in the ^ew Testament (SNTSMS 1; Cambridge 1oo-) and bv G. Klinzing,
Die Umdeutung des Kultus in der Oumrangemeinde und im ^euen Testament (SUNT ¬;
Göttingen 1o¬1), and the more recent treatments bv F. Schmidt, La Pensee du Temple.
De Ierusalem à Ooumrûn (La librairie du XX
Siècle; Paris 1ooa) and bv A. Hogeterp,
Paul and God’s Temple. A Historical Interpretation of Cultic Imagery in the Corinthian
Correspondence (Biblical Tools and Studies i; Louvain iooo).
Published bv I.M. Allegro in DID -:o¬–¬a, pls. XXIV–XXV, and now considered as
part of an Eschatological Midrash together with aO1¬a (,OFlorilegium), see A. Steudel,
Der Midrasch zur Eschatologie aus der Oumrangemeinde í,OMidrEschat
) (STDI 1:;
Leiden 1ooa).
×iw iivUs.iim .1 oUmv.× .×u i× 1ui ×iw 1is1.mi×1 i8¬
name and enter Zion with jov, and Ierusalem . . . Belial and all the men of
his lot will be fnished for ever and all the sons of light will be reunited.
(aO1¬¬ IV 1a–1o)
Inthis context we couldalso analvse the three temples of ,OFlorilegium,
a text which proves that at the end of times, bˇ e"a
h˘ arit hay¯ am¯ım, God
himself will create the new temple. We might also consider the single
reference in column XXIXof the Temple Scroll that proves that the temple
described in the Scroll is what I call “the normative temple,” and that
“on the dav of creation/of the blessing”
God himself will create a new
temple. However, I would prefer to present briefv the text which led me
(in the article referred to at the beginning) to identifv the citv and the
temple described in ^ew Ierusalem as the eschatological citv and temple
which God will establish at the end of davs, the Scroll of the Var or
In this composition, which describes the eschatological battle between
the sons of light and the armies of darkness, the battle starts “when the
exiled sons of light return from the desert of the nations to camp in the
desert of Ierusalem” (1OM I :). Tere we fnd (twice! in col. XII and in
col. XIX) a battle hvmn of victorv which shows that Ierusalem plaved an
important role in eschatological expectations:
Get up, Hero, take vour prisoners, Man of Glorv, collect vour spoil, Per-
former of Valiance! Place vour hand on the neck of vour enemies and vour
foot on the piles of slain! Strike the peoples, vour foes, and mav vour sword
consume guiltv fesh! Fill vour land with glorv and vour inheritance with
blessing: mav herds of focks be in vour felds, silver, gold, and precious
stones in vour palaces! Rejoice, Zion, passionatelv! Shine with jubilation,
Ierusalem! Exult, all the cities of Iudah! Open vour gates continuouslv so
that the wealth of nations can be brought to vou! Teir kings shall wait
on vou, all vour oppressors lie prone before vou, the dust of vour feet
thev shall lick. Daughters of mv nation, shout with jubilant voice! Adorn
DSSSE 1::o¬.
Published bv I.M. Allegro in DID V,-:–-¬, pls. XIX–XX. Te text has been studied
a great deal, but the book bv G.I. Brooke, Exegesis at Oumran. ,OFlorilegium in Its Iewish
Context (ISOTS io; Shemeld 1o8-) remains fundamental.
Te reading is disputed, Yadin reads yom ha-berakhah while Oimron prefers to
read yom ha-beri"a, see E. Oimron, Te Temple Scroll. A Critical Edition with Extensive
Reconstructions (Iudean Desert Studies; Beer Sheva 1ooo).
Published bv E.L. Sukenik, Te Dead Sea Scrolls of the HebrewUniversity (Ierusalem
1o--), 1–1o, pls. 1o–:a, a¬. For a recent presentation of the diferent manuscripts and a
good bibliographv, see I. Duhaime, Te Var Texts (Companion to the Oumran Scrolls o;
London iooa).
i88 iiovi×1i×o c.vcí. m.v1í×iz
vourselves with splendid fnerv! Rule over the kingdoms . . . and Israel to
reign for ever. (1OM XII 1o–1o)
It is clear that this victorv hvmn places “the dream of the prophets
which was sought for vou” of the Hymn to Zion we quoted earlier, in the
eschatological context of the fnal battle; and that Ierusalemand Zion are
verv much alive in this eschatological programme. However, what is even
more important is that Ierusalem is the starting point of this phase of the
battle: “And no voung bov or anv woman at all shall enter the camps when
thev leave Ierusalem to go to war, until thev return” is said in 1OM VII
a, and in III 1o–11 we also read: “And on the trumpets of the path of
return from the battle with the enemv, to go back to the congregation of
Ierusalem, thev shall write ‘Exultations of God in a peaceful return.’ ” In
this Ierusalem the sons of light fullv participate in the temple cult:
Tev shall arrange the chiefs of the priests behind the High Priest and of
his second, twelve chiefs to serve in perpetuitv before God . . . Te chiefs
of the tribes, and afer them the fathers of the congregation, shall take
their positions in the gates of the sanctuarv in perpetuitv. And the chiefs
of the divisions with their enlisted shall take their positions in their feast,
their new moons, the sabbaths and all the davs of the vear—those of ffv
vears and upwards. Tese shall take their positions at the holocaust and the
sacrifces, in order to prepare the pleasant incense for God’s approval, to
atone for all his congregation and to satisfv themselves in perpetuitv before
him at the table of glorv. (1OM II 1–-)
Te sons of light, afer having camped in the desert around Ierusalem
at the beginning of the fnal battle, are installed in Ierusalem, partici-
pate in the cult of the temple, and from there conduct the war until the
fnal victorv. Te retreat to the desert of the nations, was thus tempo-
rarv, as was the abandonment of the temple—onlv until the time thev
could reintroduce the cult in accordance with their own particular con-
Tis seems to be the logical perspective from which to read the de-
scription of the citv and of the temple of the ^ew Ierusalem text. It is a
revelation of the model of the temple and the citv that God will build
at the end of times. Tis interpretation is confrmed bv the fragmentarv
reference we fnd in a copv from Cave a (in aO--a frg. i III 1o) to
the fnal war against Kittim, Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Babel.
DSSSE, 1:1::.
DSSSE, 1:11-.
For this text, see the preliminarv edition of DSSSE, i:11oo–111:, the transcription
bv DiTomasso, Te Dead Sea New Ierusalem Text, oi–o¬, and now DID :¬:1:o–1:8.
×iw iivUs.iim .1 oUmv.× .×u i× 1ui ×iw 1is1.mi×1 i8o
Old Testament model (the Torah of Ezekiel ao–a8) has been thoroughlv
eschatologized and developed into the ^ew Ierusalem along the same
lines that we fnd in other apocalvptic writings (such as rEnoch and
Iubilees). Te plans for the citv and the temple of the ^ew Ierusalem text
represent a citv of gigantic dimensions, covered with precious stones, a
citv that will be built bv God at the end of davs: not a heavenlv Ierusalem,
but the verv earthlv citv and the verv earthlv temple described in the Var
Scroll, and destined to endure forever.
a. Conclusions
Afer this brief panorama, I think we can conclude that the conceptual
framework for the function of Ierusalem in the Var Scroll and in the
^ew Ierusalem text is closer to the function that Ierusalem plavs in the
eschatological thought of Iesus and Paul than to the heavenlv Ierusalem
of Revelation io–i1, where there is no temple and which is a metaphor
for the eternal life of the communitv of saints and God. However, we
can also conclude that an eschatological model in which the earthlv
Ierusalem plavs no role, as is the case of Revelation io–i1, was alreadv
developed in pre-Christian Iudaism within a Iewish communitv that
lived in the desert, a communitv that believed itself to be a substitute
for the Ierusalem temple, that God and the angels were in its midst, and
that its liturgv could associate the communitv with the angelic liturgv of
the heavenlv temple. It did not need Ierusalem, either in the present, or
in the eschatological scenario.
Giovci H. v.× Koo1i×
1. Introduction
Te interest inthe concept of landinthe IewishScriptures is animportant
feature of Ed Noort’s research, and was the topic of his inaugural lecture
at the Universitv of Groningen in 1oo:.
Moreover, not onlv the notion,
but also the archaeologv of the land of Israel is a dominant issue in
his scholarlv work. Various passages in the Iewish Scriptures state, both
implicitlv and explicitlv, that the land of Israel is holv.
According to one
particular perspective, the land is holv, with at its heart “the most holv
temple of all the world” (iMacc 1:¬; -:1-: τò πoσης τIς γIς úγιuτατον
lερòν). In this paper I shall relate how this holv place was pillaged bv
the Hellenistic-Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes (iMacc -:1-–
io) and polluted at his command. It was then turned into a temple
E. Noort, “Land in zicht . . . : Geloofsvisie, werkelijkheid en geschiedenis in het
oudtestamentische spreken over het land. Enkele opmerkingen n.a.v. Iozua i1:a:–a-,”
in Tussen openbaring en ervaring. Studies aangeboden aan G.P. Hartvelt, (ed. I.N. Bakker
et al.; Kampen 1o8o), oa–11:; idem, Een plek om te zijn. Over de theologie van het
land aan de hand van Iozua 8.+c–+·. Inaugurele oratie bij de aanvaarding van het ambt
van hoogleraar aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen 8.o.r;;+, Kampen 1oo:; idem, “ ‘Land’
in the Deuteronomistic Tradition—Genesis 1-: Te Historical and Teological Neces-
sitv of a Diachronic Approach,” in Synchronic or Diachronic? A Debate on Method in
Old Testament Exegesis. Papers Read at the ^inth Ioint Meeting of “Het Oudtestamen-
tisch Verkgezelschap in ^ederland en Belgie” and “Te Society For Old Testament Study,”
Held at Kampen, r;;, (ed. I.C. de Moor; OTS :a; Leiden 1oo-), 1io–1aa; idem, “Land
and Reconciliation: Land Claims and Loss of Land,” ^ederduits-Gereformeerd Teolo-
giese Tydskrif :o (1oo8) 1i–i8; idem, “ ‘Denn das Land gehört mir, ihr seid Fremde
und Beisassen bei mir’ (Lev i-, i:): Landgabe als eine kritische Teologie des Landes,”
in Iahrbuch fur Biblische Teologie i:: “Heiliges Land” (Neukirchen-Vluvn, forthcom-
D.P. Wright, “Holiness (OT),” ABD ::i:¬–iao (at ia:); W. Ianzen, “Land,” ABD
a:1a:–1-a (at 1aa).
ioi ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
of Olvmpian Zeus in 1o8/ 1o¬vc (iMacc o:1–o). In Danielic terms,
this desecration of the Ierusalem temple is characterized as the setting
up of the “abomination of desolation(s)” (Dan o:i¬; 11::1; 1i:11) and
constitutes the prime issue inDaniel o–1i. Tis event, andthe subsequent
rededication of the temple on i- Chislev (December) 1oavc bv Iudas the
Maccabee, was vividlv commemorated in the annual celebration of the
Hanukkah festival.
I shall particularlv address the question of whether,
and in what wav Antiochus’ installation of the abomination of desolation
was remembered in earlv Iewish and earlv Christian literature. Given
that Iews were verv well aware of these events, described as prophecv
in Daniel and as fulflled historv in the books of the Maccabees, it strikes
one as particularlv odd that Christians, but to a certain extent even the
Iew Flavius Iosephus, too, could so easilv detach the Danielic notion of
the abomination of desolation from the fgure of Antiochus, and reapplv
it to Nero or the Flavians in the context of the destruction of the temple
in .u ¬o.
Mv focus in this paper, however, is those ancient Iews and earlv Chris-
tians who continued to relate the Danielic “abomination of desolation”
to the fgure of Antiochus IV. Afer a brief discussion of this phrase in
Daniel, I shall frst discuss its interpretation in 1 and iMaccabees and
Iosephus’ Iewish Antiquities, and subsequentlv the wav it is understood
in the earlv Christian writings of Hippolvtus, Ierome, and Cassian. When
dealing with Ierome’s interpretation, we shall also encounter the views of
the third centurv .u pagan philosopher Porphvrv.
i. Abomination and Antiochus
i.1. Daniel
It has long been recognized that Daniel’s prediction about the instal-
ment of the abomination of desolation alludes to the profanation of
the Ierusalem temple in 1o8/ ¬vc bv Antiochus IV Epiphanes (ca. i1-–
1oavc). Antiochus IVbecame king of the Seleucid empire in 1¬-vc, and
sought to incorporate Ptolemaic Egvpt and Cvprus (1¬o–1oo/ 8) into his
empire. Tis plan failed, however, when Rome intervened and ordered
Antiochus fromEgvpt. At this time, Antiochus also turned his attentions
I.C. VanderKam, “Dedication, Feast of,” ABD i:1i:–1i-.
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” io:
to Ierusalem and overturned the charter which his father Antiochus III
had drawn up to guarantee the cult of Yahweh at the Ierusalem temple.
Antiochus IVtried to hellenize Iudea, although—as A. Mehl points out—
“the extent to which he sought to hellenize the Iews and then his own
state must not be overestimated.”
His attempts were met with ferocious
resistance bv the Iews, as both the book of Daniel and the books of the
Maccabees testifv.
Daniel’s statements about Antiochus IV are cloaked in the form of
prophecies which Daniel is said to have uttered in the sixth centurv
vc afer the experience of the beginning of the Babvlonian exile. When
Daniel perceives “in the books the number of vears that, according to the
word of the Lord to the prophet Ieremiah, must be fulflled for the devas-
tation of Ierusalem, namelv, seventv vears” (Dan o:i; Ier i-:11–1i; io:1o–
1a), Gabriel descends to him and enlightens his understanding (Dan
o:io–ii). Te seventv vears are to be understood as seventv times seven
vears (o:i:–ia). Afer the return from the Babvlonian exile and, afer
seven weeks, the subsequent restoration and rebuilding of Ierusalem,
there will be a large time-span of oi weeks that Ierusalem will remain
restored (o:i-). Tis situation alters, however, when the following takes
place in the last, seventieth week:
io Afer the sixtv-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut of and shall have
nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destrov the citv
and the sanctuarv. Its end shall come with a food, and to the end there
shall be war. Desolations are decreed.
i¬ He shall make a strong covenant withmanv for one week, andfor half of the
week he shall make sacrifce and ofering cease; and in their place (ixx: καi
rπi τò lερòν, “and on the temple”) shall be an abomination that desolates
(ixx: βδrλυγμα τuν rρημuσεων, “the abomination of desolations”), until
the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator. (Dan o:io–i¬)
Te desolator in question is recognized, both in Antiquitv (as we shall
see when we deal with Porphvrv) and in modern scholarlv opinion, as
Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
Cf. G.T. Grimth and S.M. Sherwin-White, “Antiochus (a) IV (Epiphanes),” Oxford
Classical Dictionary (:d ed.; Oxford 1ooo); A. Mehl, “Antiochus [o] IV. King of the
Seleucids (1¬-–1oavc),” in Brill’s ^ew Pauly. Antiquity Volumes (ed. H. Cancik and
H. Schneider; ioo8; Brill Online; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, oo October ioo8).
Cf. also Daniel (Teod.) o:i¬. Translation of biblical writings afer the NRSV, with
occasional alterations.
I.I. Collins, Daniel. A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Hermeneia; Mineapolis,
Minn., 1oo:), :-o–:-8.
ioa ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
Te prophetic picture of Daniel o is fne-tuned in another revelation
in Daniel 11, describing Antiochus’ manoeuvre from Egvpt back to
Ierusalem, under the pressure of Roman intervention:
io At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but this
time it shall not be as it was before.
:o For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall lose heart and
withdraw. He shall be enraged and take action against the holv covenant.
He shall turn back and pav heed to those who forsake the holv covenant.
:1 Forces sent bv him shall occupv and profane the temple and fortress.
Tev shall abolish the regular burnt-ofering and set up the abomination
that makes desolate (ixx: καi 0ποστiσουσι τíν 0υσiαν καi δuσουσι
βδrλυγμα rρημuσεως).
:i He shall seduce with intrigue those who violate the covenant; but the
people who are loval to their God shall stand frm and take action. (Dan
At the verv end of the book of Daniel, in chapter 1i, Daniel is ordered to
keep secret the words of his book, including the revelations concerning
the abomination of desolation, and to seal the book: “the words are to
remain secret and sealed until the time of the end” (1i:a, o). Te author,
writing about the present, in which the Ierusalem cult has been dese-
crated bv Antiochus, distinguishes between two categories of Iews: those
who collaborate with Antiochus, and those who remain loval to Yahweh
and are identical with, or are guided bv “those who are wise” (Dan 1i:1o).
Te latter, who have apparentlv unsealed Daniel’s words, now read that
the time between Antiochus’ desecration of the Ierusalem cult and its
re-establishment will be 1,ioo davs, i.e. :.- vears, or, alternativelv, the
slightlv longer period of 1,:-- davs:
11 From the time that the regular burnt ofering is taken awav and the
abomination of desolation is set up (ixx: καi rτοιμασ0¸ I δο0Iναι τò
βδrλυγμα τIς rρημuσεως), there shall be one thousand two hundred and
ninetv davs.
1i Happv are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred and
thirtv-fve davs. (Dan 1i:11–1i)
In Daniel, the phrase “abomination of desolation” is used in a consistent
wav and points, in all three instances, to the desecration of the Ierusalem
temple bv Antiochus IV.
Cf. also Daniel (Teod.) 1i:11.
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” io-
i.i. r and :Maccabees and Iosephus
Te frst to recognize that Daniel’s reference to “the abomination of
desolation” should be applied to Antiochus’ desecration of the Ierusalem
temple is the author of 1Maccabees. In the writing, which narrates the
revolt against Antiochus, the author mentions the Danielic abomination
of the temple at the beginning of his narrative about the desecration of
the temple, in the following words:
Nowon the ffeenth dav of Chislev, in the one hundred and fortv-ffh vear
[1o¬vc], thev erected an abomination of desolation on the altar of burnt
ofering (rτει uκοδóμησεν βδrλυγμα rρημuσεως rπi τò 0υσιαστiριον).
(1Macc 1:-a)
Whereas the wording of 1Maccabees (written afer 1oavc) remains close
to the terminologv of Daniel, iMaccabees drops the Danielic terminol-
ogv and is far clearer about what actuallv happened. Having described
how Antiochus IV dared to enter the temple of Ierusalem, take the holv
vessels and carrv of eighteen hundred talents from the temple (iMacc
-:1-–1o, i1), the author of iMaccabees (writing between 1oavc and
o:vc) tells the following:
Not long afer this, the king [i.e. Antiochus IV] sent an Athenian senator
to compel the Iews to forsake the laws of their ancestors and no longer to
live bv the laws of God; also to pollute the temple in Ierusalem and to call
it the temple of Olvmpian Zeus. (iMacc o:1–i)
Although Flavius Iosephus, too, drops the Danielic phrase “abomination
of desolation,” in his retelling of the Antiochus narrative, Iosephus does
refer to Daniel explicitlv, and also speaks of the “desolation” of the
temple. Iosephus mentions Antiochus’ profanation of the temple in his
narration of the rededication of the temple (1oavc) which, according to
1Maccabees, signalled the beginning of a vearlv festival:
Ten Iudas and his brothers and all the assemblv of Israel determined
that everv vear at that season the davs of dedication of the altar should be
observed with jov and gladness for eight davs, beginning with the twentv-
ffh dav of the month of Chislev. (1Macc a:-o)
In the context of his description of this rededication of the temple in
book 1i of his Iewish Antiquities, Iosephus describes howthe profanation
was foretold bv Daniel:
For the rededication of the temple, see 1Macc a::o–o1 and iMacc 1o:1–o. For the
inauguration of the festival, see also iMacc 1o:8.
ioo ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
Now the desolation (rρiμωσις) of the temple came about in accordance
with the prophecv of Daniel, which had been made four hundred and
eight vears before; for he had revealed that the Macedonians would destrov
it—τíν δ' rρiμωσιν το0 ναο0 συνrβη γενrσ0αι κατo τíν Δανιiλου
προφητεiαν πρò τετρακοσiων καi oκτuγενομrνην rτuν rδiλωσεν γoρ,
oτι Μακεδóνες καταλuσουσιν α0τóν. (Iosephus, Ant. 1i.:ii)
Iosephus alreadv refers toAntiochus’ profanationof the Ierusalemtemple
in his narrative about the historical Daniel and the visions which he
received in book 1o of the Iewish Antiquities. And verv relevantlv for our
present purposes, in one breath Iosephus also points to the destruction
of the temple bv the Romans in .u ¬o. Commenting on Daniel’s vision in
Daniel 8 about the arrival of the Greek-Hellenistic era andthe subsequent
unfolding of Seleucid chronologv, Iosephus writes:
And there would arise from their number a certain king who would make
war on the Iewish nation and their laws, deprive them of the form of
government basedonthese laws, spoil the temple andprevent the sacrifces
frombeing ofered for three vears [cf. Ant. 1o.i¬1]. And these misfortunes
our nation did in fact come to experience under Antiochus Epiphanes, just
as Daniel manv vears before sawand wrote that thev would happen. In the
same manner (τòν α0τòν δr τρóπον) Daniel also wrote about the empire
of the Romans and that Ierusalem would be taken bv them and the temple
laid waste—τòν α0τòν δr τρóπον o Δανiηλος καi περi τIς `Ρωμαiων
íγεμονiας 0νrγραψε, καi oτι íπ' α0τuν rρημω0iσεται. (Iosephus, Ant.
Tere are several relevant aspects to this passage. (1) First, in Iosephus’
interpretation of Daniel as applving also to the laving waste of the temple
bv the Romans (oτι íπ' α0τuν rρημω0iσεται), the Danielic vocabularv
of desolation (rρiμωσις) still shines through; this destruction, too, is
described in Danielic terminologv.
(i) Secondlv, the analogv which Iosephus draws between the profanation
of the temple bv Antiochus and the desolation bv the Romans throws a
great deal of light on how Mark can applv the Daniel statement concern-
ing Antiochus’ instalment of the abomination of desolation to the Roman
emperor Nero (see Mark 1:).
According to Iosephus, Daniel not onlv
foresaw Antiochus’ profanation but also, “in the same manner” (τòν α0-
τòν δr τρóπον), wrote about the events of .u ¬o. How exactlv Iosephus
understood the qualifer “in the same manner” remains unclear. It seems
On Mark and Nero, see M. Hengel, Studies in the Gospel of Mark (Philadelphia
1o8-), i-–i8.
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” io¬
as thoughhe thinks a double applicationof the same prophecv is possible.
We shall also see this procedure at work in Hippolvtus.
(:) Tirdlv, it is remarkable that Iosephus does not draw the analogv
between Antiochus and the Romans in Te Iewish Var, when describing
the destructionof the Ierusalemtemple bv the Romans. Inhis description
of the events of .u ¬o Iosephus does not refer back to Daniel’s prophecv
about Antiochus, and does not sav that it applies equallv to Vespasian.
He probablv refrains from doing so, because the comparison between
Antiochus IVand Vespasian would refect badlv upon the latter. It seems,
however, that book 1o of his Iewish Antiquities harbours less favourable
views on the Flavians, at least implicitlv, bv comparing their actions with
those of Antiochus.
(a) Finallv, I wish to point out that the wav in which Iosephus portravs
Antiochus in the passage above constructs a deliberate antithesis with
Alexander the Great. Whereas Antiochus, as Daniel predicted, would
trv to abolish the Iewish cult and customs, Alexander the Great, upon
his arrival in Ierusalem, would be verv pleased to read in the book of
Daniel, presumablv in the vision of the defeat of a ram bv a goat (Daniel
8), that he was to defeat the Persians. Out of gratitude, according to
Iosephus, Alexander would grant the Iews freedomof religion. Fromthis
perspective, Alexander the Great contrasts sharplv with both Antiochus
and the Romans, who either profaned or even destroved the Ierusalem
cult. Te actions of the latter two are verv diferent from the attitude of
Ten he went up to the temple, where he sacrifced to God under the
direction of the high priest, and showed due honour to the priests and to
the high priest himself. And, when the book of Daniel was shown to him,
in which he had declared that one of the Greeks would destrov the empire
of the Persians, he believed himself to be the one indicated. (Iosephus, Ant.
In return, Alexander grants the Iews the right to live according to their
ancestral customs (Ant. 11.::8–::o).
i.:. Christian interpretations
Following the gospel of Mark, several Christians applied the Danielic
prediction of the “abomination of desolation” to the events of .u ¬o,
either to Nero or the Flavians. Even more Christian interpreters, the
io8 ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
majoritv, applied the phrase exclusivelv to the future activities of the
antichrist. Onlv a few Christians continued to realize that, originallv,
the prediction applied to Antiochus IV. Te latter categorv includes
Hippolvtus (ca. .u 1¬o–ca. i:o), Ierome (ca. .u :a¬–aio), and Cassian
(ca. .u :oo – ca. a:-).
i.:.1. Hippolvtus
In Hippolvtus’ commentarv on Daniel, in what is generallv taken to be
the oldest preserved Christian commentarv on a biblical book, Hippolv-
tus has a similar kind of double application of Daniel’s prophecv as we
encountered in Iosephus. Hippolvtus applies Daniel’s prediction regard-
ing the erection of an abomination of desolation in the Ierusalem temple
both to the events under Antiochus IV and to a second occasion afer
that. But whereas Iosephus dates this second instance in the past, in the
time of Vespasian, Hippolvtus expects it to take place in the future, in the
time of the antichrist. Hippolvtus reads the dual application of Daniel’s
prophecv back into the compound expression “abomination of deso-
lation,” and dates the “abomination” as a local afair under Antiochus,
whereas the “desolation” is taken to refer to a universal episode at the
end of time.
According to Hippolvtus,
Daniel has spoken, therefore, of two abominations; the one of destruc-
tion, and the other of desolation. What is that of destruction, but that
which Antiochus established there at the time: And what is that of desola-
tion, but that which shall be universal when antichrist comes:—Δuο οuν
βδελuγματα προεiρηκεν Δανιiλ, iν μrν 0φανισμο0, iν δr rρημuσεως.
Τi τò το0 0φανισμο0 0λλ' i o rστησεν rκεt κατo τòν καιρòν o 'Αντiοχος:
καi τi τò τIς rρημuσεως 0λλ' i τò κα0' oλου, uς παρrσται o 0ντiχριστος:
(Hippolvtus, Comm. Dan. a.aa)
Although Iosephus and Hippolvtus difer in their understanding of the
second event, both agree that the frst incident is that of Antiochus’ pro-
fanation of the Ierusalemtemple. Hippolvtus is well aware of the fgure of
Antiochus, probablv because he is familiar with 1Maccabees (Hippolv-
tus, Comm. Dan. a.io, ai, ao); he is also acquainted with iMaccabees,
as is shown bv the reference to the historv of the seven martvrs, which is
derived from iMaccabees ¬ (Hippolvtus, Comm. Dan. i.:-; cf. also :.a).
Cf. also the Alexandrian presbvter Ammonius who, according to Cook, “saw a
‘partial abomination’ in Antiochus with the universal abomination referring to the Anti-
christ.” See I.G. Cook, Te Interpretation of the Old Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism
(Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum i:; Tübingen iooa), i18–i1o n. :¬¬.
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” ioo
Hippolvtus is positive that Daniel’s predictions regarding Antiochus IV
have indeed been fulflled, as he savs explicitlv: Καi γεγrνηται καi το0το
(a.a-). Hippolvtus’ profound knowledge of 1Maccabees is probablv the
reason that he is unable to denv the historical dimension of the Danielic
text. Hippolvtus, bv placing the second manifestation of the abomina-
tion of desolation in the future, even goes against the original meaning
of Mark 1:, which, like Iosephus, is concerned with the destruction of the
temple bv the Romans in .u ¬o. Hippolvtus’ connection of the abomina-
tion of desolation with the antichrist becomes common practice, how-
ever, in interpreters such as Irenaeus, Origen, and Ambrosius. What is
remarkable about Hippolvtus is the extent to which he simultaneouslv
retains the link between the text of Daniel o–1i and the historical events
surrounding Antiochus IV.
i.:.i. Ierome
Te same continuing interest in the original historical circumstances in
the Hellenistic era is present in Ierome. In his commentarv on Daniel,
Ierome mentions both the plundering of the Ierusalem temple and the
installation of the abomination of desolation bv Antiochus IVEpiphanes:
Tose of another perspective claim that the persons spoken about [in
Dan 11::1] are those who were sent bv Antiochus two vears afer he had
looted the temple to exact tribute from the Iews—and also to erase rev-
erence for God, he set up an image of Iupiter Olvmpius in the Temple at
Ierusalem, and also statues of Antiochus. Now this is called the abomi-
nation of desolation, having been set up when the holocaust and contin-
ual sacrifce were abolished.—Volunt autem eos signifcari: qui ab Anti-
ocho missi sunt, post biennium quam templum exspoliaverat, ut tributa
exigerent a Iudaeis et auferrent cultum Dei et in templo Hierusalem Iovis
Olvmpii simulacrum et Antiochi statuas ponerent, quas nunc “abomina-
tionemdesolationis” vocat, quando ablatumest holocaustumet iuge sacri-
fcium. (Ierome, Comm. Dan. a.11.:1, oi1.1¬o–1¬o [trans. Berchman, frg.
88]; cf. iMacc -:1-–1o, i1; o:1–i)
Ierome ascribes this view to “those of another perspective,” i.e., to the
pagan philosopher Porphvrv (.u i:a–ca. :o-). Porphvrv studied at Ath-
ens, and with Plotinus at Rome. Following in the footsteps of Plotinus’
writings against the Christian Gnostics (Enneads i.o), Porphvrv wrote a
Ed. F. Glorie, Commentariorum in Danielem Libri III IV(vol. 1.- of S. Hieronymi
Presbyteri Opera; CCSL ¬-A; Turnhout 1ooa). References are to section numbers, fol-
lowed bv page and line numbers.
:oo ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
treatise Against the Christians; in the twelfh book of this work, as Ierome
remarks, Porphvrv attacks the wav in which Christians interpret the
prophecies of Daniel as being fulflled in the Christian era.
As Ierome
reports in the introduction to his commentarv, Porphvrv bases his attack
on the observation that the book of Daniel is a pseudepigraphical writing
of the Hellenistic era, and that it is composed on the principle of vaticinia
ex eventu:
Porphvrv wrote his twelfh book against Daniel’s prophecv, denving that
it was written bv the person to whom its title refers, but rather bv some
person residing in Iudea at the time of that Antiochus, who was surnamed
Epiphanes. Furthermore he alleged that “Daniel” did not foretell the future
as much as he narrated the past, and fnallv whatever he said until the time
of Antiochus contained true historv, while anvthing he mav have opined
bevond that point was false, inasmuch as he could not have foreknown the
future. (Ierome, Comm. Dan., Prologus, ¬¬1.1–8)
As a result, according to Ierome, Porphvrv claims that evervthing
which—in the view of Christians—is predicted in the book of Daniel
about the Christian era in general and about the advent of the antichrist
in particular has alreadv been fulflled in the time of Antiochus Epiph-
anes (Prologus, ¬¬i.1o–ia). Interestinglv, however, with regard to the
“abomination of desolation” mentioned in Dan 11::1, Ierome does not
simplv disagree with Porphvrv bv stating that this passage applies to the
antichrist instead of Antiochus. Like Iosephus and Hippolvtus, Ierome
believes that the prophecies of Daniel can have a double application, the
frst with reference to Antiochus, the second to a later event. Whereas
Iosephus sees this second instance as having alreadv taken place in his
own past, in the events of .u ¬o, according to both Hippolvtus and
Ierome the second fulflment of Daniel’s prediction is expected to take
place with the future manifestation of the antichrist. None of the three,
however, denies that the frst historical context is that of Antiochus
On the historical setting of Porphvrv’s treatise, see T.D. Barnes, “Scholarship or
Propaganda:: Porphvrv’s Against the Christians and Its Historical Setting,” Bulletin of
the Institute of Classical Studies :o (1ooa) -:–o-. For translations of Porphvrv’s views
on Daniel, see R.M. Berchman, Porphyry Against the Christians (Ancient Mediterranean
and Medieval Texts and Contexts: Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic
tradition 1; Leiden ioo-); Cook, Te Interpretation of the Old Testament; M. Stern, Greek
and Latin Authors on Iews and Iudaism. Edited with Introductions, Translations and
Commentary (Publications of the Israel Academv of Sciences and Humanities, Section
of Humanities; Fontes ad res Iudaicas spectantes; : vols.; Ierusalem 1o¬a–1o8a), no. aoa.
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :o1
As far as the Christian authors Hippolvtus and Ierome are concerned,
the latter’s view are far more sophisticated than the former’s. Tev need
to be, as Hippolvtus lived prior to Porphvrv’s detailed criticism of the
book of Daniel in the third centurv .u, whereas Ierome could not ignore
it. Ierome was not the frst Christian to deal with Porphvrv’s views on
Daniel; in his prologue he refers to Eusebius of Caesarea, Apollinaris of
Laodicea and Methodius for previous attempts (¬¬1.8–¬¬i.11), which
have not been preserved. Whereas Hippolvtus simplv, without further
refection, distinguishes between two kinds of abomination, the “abom-
ination of destruction” which Antiochus established locallv, and the
“abomination of desolation” which the antichrist will enact universallv,
Ierome’s treatment of the phrase “abomination of desolation” is sophis-
ticated in two respects: (a) he develops a detailed chronologv which
spans the Graeco-Roman period, and which enables him to diferenti-
ate between diferent referents of the phrase “abomination of desolation,”
and (b) he distinguishes between a historical and tvpological interpreta-
tion of the term under consideration.
Ierome’s chronology and the referents of “abomination of desolation”
First, Ierome diferentiates between diferent events in historv that the
phrase “abomination of desolation” stands for, depending on the chapter
of Daniel in which it occurs. Whereas Porphvrv reads all three instances
of the phrase (Dan o:i¬; 11::1; 1i:11) as a consistent reference to the
desecration of the Ierusalem temple bv Antiochus in the Hellenistic era,
Ierome regards the occurrences in Daniel o and 1i as a reference to the
future manifestation of the antichrist in the Roman era, while assigning
to the instance of Daniel 11 a dual date, both in the Hellenistic period
under Antiochus, and at the end of the Roman period when the antichrist
will appear.
For this reason, unlike Porphvrv, Ierome recommends not
onlv the Greek historians as background reading to the book of Daniel,
but also Iosephus, together with the Roman historians whomhe invokes,
and who cover the entire period from Alexander the Great through to
And now, to understand the last parts of Daniel, a manv-faceted studv
of Greek historv is necessarv: such authorities as Sutorius, Callinicus,
Diodorus, Hieronvmus, Polvbius, Posidonius, Claudius Teon, and An-
On Ierome’s view on the antichrist, see also I.P. O’Connell, Te Eschatology of Saint
Ierome (Dissertationes ad lauream; Pontifcia facultas theologia Seminarii Sanctae Mariae
ad lacum 1o; Mundelein, Ill., 1oa8), i-–:1.
:oi ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
dronicus, surnamed Alipius, whom Porphvrv savs he himself followed;
but, Iosephus, too, and those whom Iosephus invokes, especiallv our Livv,
Pompeius Trogus, and Iustin. (Prologus, ¬¬-.8o–o-; includes Berchman,
frg. ¬i)
Ierome’s clear message is that the prophecies of Daniel applv not onlv to
the Hellenistic period, but also to the Roman era in which the appear-
ance of Christ and the future manifestation of the antichrist take place.
Alreadv in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great
statue which consists of lavers of gold, silver, bronze, and iron mixed with
clav, and which is struck bv a stone in Daniel i, Ierome deviates from
Porphvrv. Ierome considers the mixture of iron and clav, which svmbol-
izes the fourth kingdom (Dan i:ao), as a reference not to the Hellenis-
tic Greeks, but to the Romans, whose strength is diminished because
“in the civil wars and in the wars against diverse nations, we need the
help,” Ierome savs, “of barbarian people” (1.i.:1–:-, ¬oa.:oo–¬o-.:oo–
Similarlv, in his exegesis of Daniel’s vision of the four animals
in Daniel ¬, Ierome criticizes Porphvrv for taking the third and fourth
beast together as a reference to the Hellenistic kingdom. According to
Ierome, the third beast refers to Alexander and his successors, the fourth
to the Romans (i.¬.¬a, 8ai.--o–8a:.-oo). Te reasons for Ierome’s dat-
ing of the fulflment of these prophecies in Roman times instead of the
Hellenistic period is that he doubts whether particular features of Daniel
i and ¬ were indeed realized in the time of Antiochus IV. Te stone which
is said to hit the statue in Daniel i is described as having been “cut out,
not bv human hands,” and it strikes the statue in such a wav that
the iron, the clav, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were all broken in
pieces and became like the chaf of the summer threshing-foors; and the
wind carried themawav, so that not a trace of themcould be found. But the
stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and flled the whole
earth. (Dan i::a–:-)
For the social-cultural context of Ierome’s commentarv onDaniel, R. Courtrav, “Der
Danielkommentar des Hieronvmus,” inDie Geschichte der Daniel-Auslegung in Iudentum,
Christentum und Islam. Studien zur Kommentierung des Danielbuches in Literatur und
Kunst (ed. K. Bracht and D.S. du Toit; BZAW :¬1; Berlin ioo¬), 1i:–1-o, esp. 1:8–1:o,
1ai–1aa. Cf. also G.S. Oegema, “Die Danielrezeption in der alten Kirche,” in Europa,
Tausendjähriges Reich und ^eue Velt. Zwei Iahrtausende Geschichte und Utopie in der
Rezeption des Danielbuches (ed. M. Delgado et al.; Studien zur christlichen Religions-
und Kulturgeschichte 1; Freiburg ioo:), 8a–1oa at oo: “seine Endzeiterwartungen [wur-
den] möglicherweise von den Angrifen der Barbaren am Anfang des -. Ih.s n. Chr.
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :o:
Tis description, according to Ierome, is wronglv applied, both bv
Porphvrv and bv Iewish interpreters, to the Maccabees who resisted
“He became a great mountain and flled the whole earth.” Tis the Iews and
the impious Porphvrv incorrectlv applv to the people of Israel, who thev
insist will be the greatest power at the end of the ages, and will crush all
realms, and will rule for eternitv. (1.i.:1–:-, ¬o-.a1o–a1a; Berchman, frg.
¬a, with alterations)
Tese expectations regarding a permanent, powerful and universal king-
dom were not fulflled in Hellenistic times, Ierome implies. Te same
holds true for the prophecv regarding the “son of man” in Daniel ¬, the
“one like a human being” who is expected to receive dominion when the
fourth beast (identifed with the Greeks in Porphvrv’s interpretation, but
with the Romans from Ierome’s perspective), and in particular the little
horn which comes up among its ten horns, is put to death. It is this “son
of man” to whom
was given dominion and glorv and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and
languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that
shall not pass awav, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroved.
(Dan ¬:1a)
Tis, Ierome states, cannot applv to one of the Maccabees who resisted
Antiochus IV:
Let Porphvrv answer the questionfromall mankindtowhomthis language
refers, or who this personmight be who was so strong as to break and crush
to pieces the little horn, whom he contrives to be Antiochus: If he answers
that the princes of Antiochus were defeated bv Iudas Maccabaeus, then he
must explain howIudas could be said to arrive with the heavenlv clouds as
the Son of Man. (i.¬.1ab, 8a8.¬oo–¬o-)
And if it is written that “the holv ones of the Most High shall receive
the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever—for ever and ever”
(Dan ¬:18), Ierome remarks that “if one applies this prophecv to the
Maccabees, the one who advances this opinion should clarifv in what
sense their reign is eternal” (i.¬.18b, 8ao.¬1o–¬18). Te reference to “an
eternal, everlasting kingdom” (Dan ¬:i¬), according to Ierome, is made
with regard to the empire of Iesus Christ which is eternal: “Hoc de Christi
imperio quod sempiternum est” (i.¬.i¬a, 8-o.¬a-–¬ao).
In Ierome’s view, neither the stone in Daniel i, nor the son of man in
Daniel ¬ represents the Iewish resistance to Antiochus IV, because their
rule was not universal, nor did their rule prove lasting. Near the end of
:oa ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
his commentarv Ierome draws his observations together in the following
rhetorical questions to Porphvrv:
He should leave aside what is dubious, and keep himself to what is mani-
fest: Let him tell who is this stone, cut from the mountain not bv human
hands, and which became a great mountain and flled the whole earth, and
struck the statue which consists of four forms: Who is this son of man,
who needs to come with the clouds of heaven, appear before the Ancient
One, and receive a kingdom which is not limited bv anv end—this son
of man whom all peoples, tribes, and languages should serve: Porphvrv
dismisses things which are manifest, and asserts that the prophecv refers
to the Iews, although we know well that thev are in chains up to this dav.
And he claims that the person who wrote the book of Daniel made it up in
his mind to renew the hopes of his landsmen—not that he was capable of
fore-knowledge of the whole of future historv. Rather he remembers facts
that had alreadv occurred. (a.11.aa–a-, o:i.a11–aii; includes Berchman,
frg. 8o)
For these reasons, Ierome refuses to limit the interpretation of the proph-
ecies of Daniel to the Hellenistic era. Te aim of his entire commentarv,
as Ierome renders explicit in the prologue, is in fact to demonstrate
that the arrival of Christ on the scene of historv in the Roman era was
prophesiedbv Daniel. Having just saidthat Porphvrv’s viewonDaniel has
alreadv been successfullv refuted bv Eusebius, Apollinaris of Laodicea
and, before them, although onlv partiallv, bv Methodius, Ierome states:
As mv true aimis not to replv to the false statements of an adversarv, which
would require a long treatise, but to explicate for our own people, i.e., the
Christians, what the prophet has said, in the prologue I remind the readers
forciblv of the fact that no other prophet has so clearlv spokenabout Christ.
And not onlv did he write that he would come, which he holds in common
with other prophets, but he taught in which era he would come, listed the
kings in their proper order, enumerated the vears, and predicted the most
notable signs. (Prologus, ¬¬i.1i–1o)
In order to realize this aim, Ierome must argue that Daniel’s prophecies
are not limited to the time of the Babvlonians, the Medes and Persians,
and the Hellenistic Greeks (1.i.:1–:-, ¬oa.:8o–:oo), but also encompass
the Roman era, which saw the birth of Christ and still extends into the
future, to the advent of the antichrist. It is against this chronological
background that Ierome also interprets the chapters in which the phrase
“abomination of desolation” occurs (Dan o:i¬; 11::1; 1i:11). Unlike
Porphvrv, who interprets this phrase in a uniform wav with reference
to Antiochus IV’s profanation of the Ierusalem temple, Ierome applies
it to the future actions of the antichrist. Like Daniel i and ¬, Daniel o
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :o-
and 11–1i are related bv Ierome to the end of the Roman era. We shall
see, however, that this is not entirelv true of Daniel 11. In this chapter
Ierome also seriouslv contemplates, and does not rule out, a connection
with the Hellenistic era of Antiochus IV. We shall now discuss in detail
how Ierome interprets the actual phrase “abomination of desolation” in
Dan o:i¬; 11::1; 1i:11.
In Daniel’s prophecv in Daniel o regarding the “seventv weeks” which
elapse between the end of the Babvlonian exile and the end of time, the
last week, in which the abomination of desolation becomes apparent, is
described as follows, in the words of the angel Gabriel:
io An anointed one shall be cut of and shall have nothing, and the troops of
the prince who is to come shall destrov the citv and the sanctuarv. Its end
shall come with a food, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are
i¬ He shall make a strong covenant with manv for one week, and for half of
the week he shall make sacrifce and ofering cease; and in their place shall
be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon
the desolator. (Dan o:io–i¬)
In this instance, Ierome onlv records the opinions of various Christian
commentators and refers for an interpretation of the phrase “abomi-
nation of desolation” to Apollinaris of Laodicea, whom Ierome—as we
saw above—also mentions as one of the earlier critics of Porphvrv (Pro-
logus, ¬¬1.8–¬¬i.11). He is the onlv one of the commentators whose
views onthe abominationof desolationare explicitlv brought up. Accord-
ing to Apollinaris, the abomination of desolation will take place under
the antichrist (:.o, iaa, 8¬o.aa8–a-8). In his commentarv on Daniel o,
Ierome does not present his own position, but ofers his readers a wide
selection of choices: he afects to fnd it inappropriate to judge the opin-
ions of the masters of the church and to prefer one to the other. Among
his choices are futuristic interpretations in terms of the antichrist (like
Apollinaris’ interpretation), and historical explications which point to
Nero or Vespasian and Titus, or, in the case of Iewish interpretations,
to the period from Vespasian to Hadrian. None of these historical inter-
pretations refers to Antiochus IV. Ierome himself, however, does not
defend an interpretation which identifes the abomination of desolation
as a future activitv of the antichrist; he clearlv leaves open the possibilitv
that the prophecv has alreadv been fulflled in the past, although he onlv
presents possibilities in the Roman era.
Ierome does refer to the Hellenistic era in his comments on the phrase
“abomination of desolation” in Dan 11::1. To modern scholars, Daniel
:oo ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
11 reads as an increasinglv detailed chronologv of the confict between
Persia and Greece, the arrival of Alexander the Great on the historical
scene, and the further developments of the Hellenistic era, with special
attention to the confict between Antiochus IV and the Iews, the tempo-
rarv interference of the Romans, the deepening crisis, and—at the begin-
ning of Daniel 1i—the defnitive intervention bv Michael, the archangel.
Ierome, however, is convinced that Daniel 11 is mainlv concerned with
the Roman era, and contains a prediction of the antichrist’s activities
in the future. Yet he grants that the antichrist’s actions, including the
installation of the abomination of desolation, have alreadv been prefg-
ured bv Antiochus IV. I shall return to this interpretation below, in com-
menting on the second aspect of Ierome’s sophisticated Daniel interpre-
tation, which consists of his diferentiation between a historical and a
tvpological understanding of the abomination of desolation. For now it
mav sumce to note that the “abomination of desolation” has no consis-
tent meaning in Ierome, but depends on the chronological framework in
which the relevant chapter is read.
Whereas the abomination of desolation somehow refers to Antiochus
in Dan 11::1, Ierome explicitlv denies that this is also the case in Dan
1i:11. In Ierome’s view, Daniel 1i, like Daniel i and ¬, resists a Hel-
lenistic interpretation. Te chapter speaks about the intervention of the
archangel Michael, “the protector of vour people,” and prophesies that
afer a time of anguish the resurrection will take place (Dan 1i:1–:).
At the end of the chapter, in the fnal words of an angel addressed to
Daniel, reference is made to the abomination of desolation: “From the
time that the regular burnt ofering is taken awav and the abomination
that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and
ninetv davs” (Dan 1i:11). According to Ierome, this reference to 1,ioo
davs, i.e., :.- vears, cannot possiblv be a reference to the period during
which the Ierusalem temple was defled bv Antiochus IV. Te reason for
this, as Ierome points out, is that both Iosephus and 1Maccabees mention
a period of three vears for the temple’s violated state:
Porphvrv asserts that these 1,ioo davs were completed in Antiochus’ time
and in the desolation of the temple, whereas Iosephus and the book of the
Maccabees do not give but three vears to this incident. Because of this, it
is evident that these :.- vears belong to the era of the antichrist, who will
persecute the saints . . . From the time of the endelechismos, i.e. during the
time of the cessation of the perpetual sacrifce, when the antichrist, the
ruler of the world, will have forbidden the worship of God, until the death
of this antichrist, :.- vears or 1,ioo davs will be completed. (a.1i.8–1o,
oai.o-¬–oa:.ooo; includes Berchman, frg. o1)
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :o¬
And indeed, according to both 1Maccabees and Iosephus’ Iewish An-
tiquities the duration of the desecration of the temple is three vears
(see 1Macc 1:-¬; a:-i; Iosephus, Iewish Antiquities 1i.ia8, :1o–:i1),
although in his Iewish Var Iosephus does speak of a period of :.-
vears (Iewish Var 1.:i). Ierome needs to take Porphvrv’s criticism verv
seriouslv, and for that reason occupies himself with the most minute
details of the chronologv of the Hellenistic period. In some cases Ierome
proves to be right and Porphvrv’s reasoning wrong or unsatisfactorv,
but Ierome’s argument that the :.- vears mentioned in Dan 1i:11 cannot
possiblv applv to the events under Antiochus IV sounds verv artifcial.
In comparison to Hippolvtus, however, who, without further argu-
mentation, diferentiates between two kinds of abomination, the abomi-
nation of destruction which Antiochus established locallv, and the abom-
ination of desolation which the antichrist will perform universallv, Ie-
rome’s replv is characterized bv a sophisticated chronologv. In his view,
depending on the relevant chapter in Daniel, the phrase “abomination of
desolation” refers either to the activities of the antichrist inthe Romanera
(Dan o:i¬; 1i:11) or, at least partiallv, to those of Antiochus in the Hel-
lenistic era (Dan 11::1). To argue this, Ierome needs not onlv a chrono-
logical framework, but also, as I shall now show in some detail, a difer-
entiation between a historical and a tvpological methodologv of inter-
pretation. Tis establishes a second distinctive characteristic of Ierome’s
interpretation of Daniel.
Ierome’s historical and typological understanding of the “abomination of
With regard to the occurrence of “abomination of desolation” in Dan
11::1, Ierome grants that the phrase mav refer, in a tvpological wav, to the
events under Antiochus. Te frst part of Daniel 11 was treated bv Ierome
as part of Hellenistic historv anvwav. Tis is dimcult to denv for Ierome,
since the text itself explicitlv mentions the confrontation of Persia and
Now I will announce the truth to vou. Tree more kings shall arise in
Persia. Te fourth shall be far richer than all of them, and when he has
become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom
of Greece. (Dan 11:i)
Ierome does not dispute the references in the ensuing chronologv to
Alexander the Great: “Perspicue de magno Alexandro rege Macedonum
See Cook, Te Interpretation of the Old Testament, ii:, ii-, i:-–i:¬, i:o, ia:–iaa.
:o8 ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
loquitur” (:.11.:–aa, 8oo.8--–8-o). In Ierome’s view, however, the devel-
oping line of Greek Hellenistic historv onlv runs up to and including
Dan 11:io when, from Ierome’s perspective, the continuous chronolog-
ical development is interrupted in the time of Seleucus IV Philopator
(ca. i18–1¬-vc), the second son of Antiochus III the Great (ca. iai–
18¬vc), and continues, from Dan 11:i1 onwards, in the time of the
antichrist. Until Dan 11:i1, Ierome emphasizes, there is indeed no dif-
ference between him and Porphvrv in their interpretation of Daniel 11
in terms of Hellenistic historv:
Until this point the historical order has been followed, and there has been
no point of contention between Porphvrv and us. But the remainder of the
document, fromhere [i.e. fromDan 11:i1] to the end of the volume [i.e. to
the end of Daniel 1i], he interprets as referring to the person of Antiochus,
who was surnamed Epiphanes, brother of Seleucus, and Antiochus the
Great’s son. He ruled Svria for eleven vears afer Seleucus, and he seized
Iudea. God’s law was persecuted under him, and the Maccabean war
occurred. Our own authors, however, judge that evervthing which follows
was prophesied about the antichrist, who must come at the end of time.
(a.11.i1, o1a.:–1i; includes Berchman, frg. 8a)
To the objection that it seems odd that in this wav there would be such
a spacious interval between Seleucus IV and the end of time, Ierome
answers, among other considerations, that
if it is true that there are a great number of details, which we could read
and explain, that ft the fgure of Antiochus [IV] so well, it is because
the Scriptures wished to set him up as a type of the antichrist, holding
that the things that would happen beforehand under him onlv partially,
would be fully fulflled in the time of the antichrist. Tis is a custom of the
holv Scriptures that thev demonstrate in advance in particular types what
will trulv take place in the future—cumque multa, quae postea lecturi et
exposituri sumus, super Antiochi persona conveniant, typum eum volunt
fuisse Antichristi, et quae in illo ex parte praecesserint, in Antichristo ex
toto esse complenda, et hunc esse moremscripturae sanctae: ut futurorum
veritatem praemittat in typis. (a.11.i1, o1-.io–ia)
In the rest of his commentarv on Daniel 11, Ierome continues this his-
torical and tvpological interpretation of the events under Antiochus IV.
Iust as Christ has Solomon and other saints as a tvpe of his arrival, the
antichrist is rightlv believed to be prefgured in the tvpe of a bad king such
as Antiochus IV, who persecuted the saints and profaned the temple—
Sicut igitur Salvator habet et Salomonem et ceteros sanctos in tvpum
adventus sui, sic et Antichristus pessimum regem Antiochum, qui sanctos
persecutus est templumque violavit, recte tvpum sui habuisse credendus
est. (a.11.i1, o1-.:o–:o)
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :oo
With regard to a particular feature of the historv of Antiochus as de-
scribed in Dan 11:io–:o, Ierome remarks that
all this happened before in an image under Antiochus Epiphanes, in order
that the most criminal king who persecuted the people of God would
prefgure the antichrist who is to persecute the people of Iesus Christ—
haec autem sub Antiocho Epiphane in imaginem praecesserunt: ut rex
sceleratissimus qui persecutus est populum Dei, praefguret Antichristum
qui Christi populum persecuturus est. (a.11.i8b–:oa, oio.1a¬–1-o)
Ierome immediatelv continues this passage bv noting that
the crueltv and the incomparable baseness of Domitianor Nero (or: Domi-
tius Nero) has led manv of us to believe that one ought to detect in him
the antichrist—unde multi nostrorum putant, ob saeuitiae et turpitudi-
nis magnitudinem, Domitianum, Neronem, Antichristumfore. (a.11.i8b–
:oa, oio.1-1–1-:)
In this wav Ierome gives an interesting insight that the dark fgure of
Daniel 11 was identifed bv manv Christians as Domitian or Nero, or
simplv as Domitius Nero. Ierome himself, however, refers to Antiochus,
who is taken as a prefguration of the antichrist.
Ierome shows himself also verv much aware of the parallels between
events mentioned in Daniel 11 and the historv of Antiochus as described
in 1Maccabees. As regards the prediction of Dan 11::o that the adversarv
of Daniel 11, when forced to withdraw from his attack on Egvpt, “shall
be enraged and take action against the holv covenant; he shall turn back
and pav heed to those who forsake the holv covenant,” Ierome notes
Tis is what we clearlv read in the tales of the Maccabees (“Haec ple-
nius in Machabaeorum gestis legimus”), that afer the Romans had chased
Antiochus from Egvpt, 1Maccabees 1, he marched with furv against the
covenant of the sanctuarv, invited bv those who had abandoned the law
of God and had participated in pagan ceremonies. All this will be accom-
plished in a much more complete wav under the antichrist (“Ouod ple-
nius complendum est sub Antichristo”), who will be indignant against the
covenant of God and will devise plans against those whom he wants to
abandon the divine law. (a.11.:ob, oi1.1-¬–1o:)
In line with this the next verse, Dan 11::1, which contains the reference
to the abomination of desolation, is also read with regard to Antiochus:
Forces sent bv him shall occupv and profane the temple and fortress. Tev
shall abolish the regular burnt-ofering and set up the abomination that
makes desolate. (Dan 11::1)
Not onlv Porphvrv reads this passage as a description of Antiochus’
:1o ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
installation of the “abomination of desolation” in the Ierusalem temple.
Ierome shares this understanding of the passage although he interprets
it both in a historical and a tvpological wav. Ierome clearlv grants that
Antiochus’ installation of an idol of Zeus in the Ierusalem temple is what
the Scriptures call “the abomination of desolation”:
Tose of another perspective claimthat the persons spokenabout are those
who were sent bv Antiochus two vears afer he had looted the temple to
exact tribute from the Iews. And also to erase reverence for God, he set up
an image of Iupiter Olvmpius in the Temple of Ierusalem, and also statues
of Antiochus. Now this is called the abomination of desolation, having
been set up when the holocaust and continual sacrifce were abolished.
(a.11.:1, oi1.1¬o–1¬o; Berchman, frg. 88)
Curiouslv, this opinion of Porphvrv includes a detail not found in 1 and
iMaccabees and Iosephus that in addition to an image of Zeus, statues
of Antiochus were also set up in the Ierusalem temple. 1Maccabees
speaks simplv of the erection of “a desolating sacrilege on the altar
of burnt ofering” (1:-a; cf. a::o–o1); it is the author of iMaccabees
who implies that an image of Zeus was erected, because he talks of
the pollution of the temple in Ierusalem which is transformed into a
temple of the Olvmpian Zeus (o:i). Similarlv, Iosephus onlv describes
the activities of Antiochus as spoiling the temple and preventing the
sacrifces from being ofered for three vears (Iewish Antiquities 1o.i¬-–
i¬o), forbidding the Iews “to ofer the dailv sacrifces which thev used
to ofer to God in accordance with their law” (1i.i-1), and building
a pagan altar upon the temple altar (1i.i-:). It is onlv in iMacc o:i,
thus, that the abomination of desolation is linked to Zeus, but statues
of Antiochus are not mentioned anvwhere. Porphvrv’s mention of them
seems to be a confation with the events under Caligula, when an image
of this emperor was due to be set up in the Ierusalem temple (see Philo,
Legatio ad Gaium). Ierome accepts Porphvrv’s description of the actions
of Antiochus as historicallv accurate, but again supplements it with a
tvpological interpretation, according to which Antiochus prefgures the
antichrist. Te latter is described in more detail in language derived from
Our ownpeople maintainthat all this went before ina tvpe of the antichrist
(“Ouae uniuversa in tvpo Antichristi nostri praecessisse contendunt”),
who was determined to set himself in the temple of God and to pretend to
be God (cf. iTess i::–a). (a.11.:1, oi1.1¬o–oii.1¬8)
At the same time, Ierome gives interesting insights into what might be
regarded as contemporarv Iewish exegesis:
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :11
Te Iews, however, wish to understand this passage not with regard to
Antiochus Epiphanes, nor with regard to the antichrist, but with regard
to the Romans or the Italians . . . Afer a long time, from among these
Romans, who came to the recourse of Ptolemv and threatened Antiochus
with an attack, there will arise king Vespasian. His arms and seed will
rise, and Titus his son, with his armv, will pollute the sanctuarv and cause
the perpetual sacrifce to cease, and hand the temple over to an eternal
solitude. (a.11.:1, oii.1¬8–18-)
Although, as I. Braverman has shown, this Iewish exegesis seems not
to have been recorded in rabbinical literature, it is likelv that Ierome,
who commanded the Hebrew language and lived in Palestine is aware
of Iewish exegetical traditions.
Tis also applies to the following pas-
sage in Dan 11::i–::, which narrates how those who remain loval to
their God and stand frm against the fgure who sets up the abomi-
nation of desolation “fall bv sword and fame, and sufer captivitv and
According to “the Hebrews” this passage concerns the fnal
destruction of the temple under Vespasian and Titus (a.11.::, oi:.io-–
io¬). Te subsequent remark in Dan 11::a that “When thev fall victim,
thev shall receive a little help,” is then interpreted bv some Iews, accord-
ing to Ierome, in view of the more positive attitude of some later Roman
Some of the Hebrews understand this with regard to the emperors Severus
and Antoninus,
who verv much liked the Iews. Others applv it to the
emperor Iulian, in this sense that when thev were suppressed bv Gaius
Caligula and had sufered great dimculties in captivitv, Iulian arose; he
pretended to love the Iews and caused them to expect sacrifces in their
temple. (a.11.:a–:-, oia.ii8–i:a)
Te reason that Ierome adduces these Iewish interpretations seems to
be that he wants to show that, unlike Porphvrv, both Iews and Chris-
tians connect particular prophecies of Daniel with the Roman era. At the
same time the grounds on which Ierome acknowledges that these pre-
dictions have alreadv been (partiallv) fulflled in the time of Antiochus
I. Braverman, Ierome’s Commentary on Daniel. A Study of Comparative Iewish and
Christian Interpretations of the Hebrew Bible (CBOMS ¬; Washington, D.C., 1o¬8), 11-–
Cf. Cook, Te Interpretation of the Old Testament, i:o n. aai, with reference to
Braverman, Ierome’s Commentary, 1io–1i:.
For the identifcation of these emperors, cf. Cook, Te Interpretation of the Old
Testament, i:o n. aai: Alexander Severus, .u iii–i:-, and an unidentifable emperor.
:1i ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
seemto consist inthe evidence providedbv 1Maccabees. Time andagain,
afer Ierome has given Porphvrv’s interpretation of a Danielic passage,
he clarifes that “we read this in the book of the Maccabees”: “Et hoc in
Machabaeis legimus” (a.11.:1, oii.1o1).
It seems that Porphvrv him-
self is alreadv referring to 1Maccabees.
Embedded in his interpreta-
tion of Dan 11::a–:- we fnd the exhortation to read the books of the
Maccabees, followed bv the remark that bv that account all these things
have alreadv taken place: “lege Machabaeorumlibros; haec autem omnia
idcirco sunt facta” (a.11.:a–:-, oi:.i1o–iio). For this reason we can
surmise that it is Porphvrv’s dependence on 1Maccabees in his exe-
gesis of Daniel which makes it impossible for Ierome to ignore either
1Maccabees or Iosephus (see, e.g. a.1i.1–:, o:o.-o1–-oi) and causes
him to take an interpretation of Daniel against the background of Hel-
lenistic historv verv seriouslv indeed. At the same time, throughout his
interpretation of Dan 11:i1–a-, Ierome continues his tvpological read-
ing of the events because he is not satisfed that all details of the section
can be subsumed under a historical reading.
It is important to note that, in Ierome’s exegetical methodologv, a pas-
sage which can be elucidated through a historical interpretation does
not necessarilv have a double, tvpological meaning. Tis becomes appar-
ent from Ierome’s comments on Daniel 8, the vision of the Persian ram
which is struck bv the Hellenistic goat, which is onlv interpreted in a
historical wav with regard to the Hellenistic era, without anv further
tvpological interpretation. Of course Ierome is obliged to take this view,
because Gabriel’s interpretation of the vision explicitlv mentions Greece:
“the male goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn between its eves is
the frst king” (Dan 8:i1). Tis holds true for all three instances in Daniel
where Greece is mentioned explicitlv (Dan 8:i1; 1o:io; 11:i). In the same
wav, Ierome ofers an exclusivelv historical interpretation of Daniel 1o
(the vision of the confict of nations and heavenlv powers) in terms of
Hellenistic chronologv. For the same reason, the frst section of Daniel
See, as far as the interpretation of Daniel 11 is concerned, also a.11.:ob, oi1.1-¬:
“Haec plenius in Machabaeorum gestis legimus”; a.11.::, oi:.ioo–io1: “Ouanta Iudaei
passi sint ab Antiocho, Machabaeorum libri referunt.”
Cf. Cook, Te Interpretation of the Old Testament, 1o:: “Toughhe [i.e. Ierome] does
not sav that Porphvrv claimed to have used Iosephus, it is quite clear that Porphvrv knew
of Iosephus’ work. In his work on abstinence, Porphvrv mentions the persecution under
Antiochus and then includes a description of the Essenes. He mentions three of Iosephus’
major works: the Iewish Var, Against Apion, and the Antiquities. Te importance of
Iosephus for Porphvrv’s interpretation of Daniel should not be underrated.”
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :1:
11 is explained in a fullv historical wav with reference to the events of the
Hellenistic era. AlthoughIerome’s attentionfor the Greek-Hellenistic set-
ting of Daniel 8, 1o, and the frst part of 11 was triggered bv the explicit
mentionof Greece inthe Danielic text, there were Christianexegetes who
chose to ignore such chronological indications. Ierome himself remarks
that even in the case of Daniel 8, which the Danielic author himself links
to the Hellenistic age, the majoritv of Christian exegetes interpret the
events in a futuristic wav with reference to the antichrist. Ierome himself,
however, does not agree with their approach. With regard to the predic-
tionof Dan8:i:–ia about the emergence of “a king of bold countenance,”
“skilled in intrigue,” who will “grow strong in power and cause fearful
destruction,” Ierome states that the prophecv was fulflled in Antiochus
Epiphanes who,
in his war against the Iews, afer the conquest of Iudea, entered Ierusalem,
and established the statue of Olvmpian Zeus—contra Iudaeos dimicans,
capta Iudaea, ingressus est Hierosolvmam et in templo Dei simulacrum
Iovis Olvmpii statuit. (i.8.ob–1i, 8-a.8a8–8-o)
Te question of Dan 8:1:, “For how long is this vision concerning the
regular burnt ofering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the
giving over of the sanctuarv and host to be trampled:,” is interpreted in
this chronological context:
One angel asks another until when God would permit, in the reign of
Antiochus of Svria, the temple to be desolated and the image of Zeus
to be maintained in the holv place—Unus angelus interrogat alterum
angelum: usque ad quod tempus Dei iudicio sub Antiocho rege Svriae
templum futurum sit desolatum et simulacrum Iovis staturum in temple
Dei. (i.8.1:b, 8--.8¬:–8¬o)
Te answer of the other angel, to the efect that God will permit this “[f]or
two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuarv
shall be purifed” (Dan 8:1a), is interpreted bv Ierome on the basis of
1Maccabees and Iosephus:
Let us read the books of the Maccabees and the historv of Iosephus
(“Legamus Machabaeorum libros et Iosephi historiam”), and we will fnd
that (1) in the 1a:rd vear afer Seleucus, who reigned as the frst ruler in
Svria afer Alexander, Antiochus entered Ierusalem, pillaged evervthing,
returned three vears later, and placed the statue of Zeus in the temple
(“in templo posuisse statuam Iouis”), as well as that (i) until Iudas the
Maccabee, i.e. until the 1a8th vear, through the six vears of the desolation
of Ierusalem, of which the three vears of the profanation of the temple were
part, there passed i,:oo davs and three months, afer which the temple was
purifed. (i.8.1a, 8--.8¬o–8-o.888)
:1a ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
Ierome deliberatelv states that his interpretation of Daniel 8 is not
shared bv the majoritv of Christian interpreters, but this notwithstand-
ing, he himself is convinced that the purifcation of the temple mentioned
in Dan 8:1a took place under Iudas the Maccabee:
Te majoritv of us link this passage with the antichrist, and thev sav that
what happened under Antiochus as a tvpe of the future will be accom-
plished in realitv under the antichrist. But these words, “the sanctuarv
shall be purifed,” point to the time of Iudas the Maccabee—Hunc locum
plerique nostrorum ad Antichristum referent, et quod sub Antiocho in
tvpo factum est, sub illo in ueritate dicunt esse complendum. Ouod autem
infer: Mundabitur sanctuarium, Iudae Machabaei signifcat tempora.
(i.8.1a, 8-o.8oo–8oa)
Interestinglv, Ierome here criticizes the majoritv view, which advocates
interpreting the vision of Daniel 8 not onlv in a historical sense, but also
in a tvpological wav: “what happened under Antiochus as a tvpe of the
future will be accomplished inrealitv under the antichrist.” Ierome rejects
this view because, in this particular case, a historical interpretation with
regard to the Hellenistic past is sumcient.
From Ierome’s exegesis of
Daniel 8, it is apparent that, according to Ierome, a historical reading
cannot alwavs be supplemented with a tvpological one.
Such a necessitv, however, does exist in the exegesis of Daniel 11
because, in Ierome’s view, the details of this vision are not sumcientlv
explained with reference to Antiochus, although he is certainlv implied.
Te subject matter is not addressed in full unless one also explores
the tvpological dimension. For this reason, Ierome emphasizes in his
comments on Daniel 11 that a tvpological interpretation explains manv
aspects of this vision better and more appropriatelv: “Nostri autem et
melius interpretantur et rectius” (a.11.i1, o1¬.¬:–¬a). Tis tvpologi-
cal interpretation shows how evervthing will be accomplished more
completelv under the antichrist—“Ouod plenius complendum est sub
Antichristo” (a.11.:ob, oi1.1o1). Depending on one’s exact understand-
ing of the text, Ierome admits, it is easier to applv it to Antiochus or to the
antichrist (a.11.:¬–:o, oi¬.ioa–oi8.:oo). Some peculiarities onlv partlv
Tis is not sumcientlv recognized bv Courtrav, “Der Danielkommentar,” 1a-, who
writes: “Interessanterweise lehnt Hieronvmus die Lektüre des neuplatonischen Philo-
sophen nicht gänzlich ab. Seine Argumente seien überzeugend: Bestimmte Passagen
könnten in der Tat auf Antiochus Epiphanes Anwendung fnden. Aber diese Lesart
ist überaus reduzierend, sie berichtet nicht über die wahre Tragweite des Textes: Über
Antiochus ist von dem Antichrist die Rede.” Tis is not true, however, for Ierome’s
interpretation of Daniel 8.
“1ui mos1 uoiv 1imvii oi .ii 1ui woviu” :1-
(“ex parte”) applv to Antiochus but are better suited to the fgure of the
antichrist (a.11.ai–a:, o:o.:oa–:o¬).
Until the verv end of Daniel 11, Ierome deliberates whether a historical
interpretation of the chapter is exhaustive, as he argued for Daniel 8,
or whether the passage harbours an additional meaning. In the end,
Ierome concludes that the contents of Daniel 11 are not essential for a
Christian application of the book of Daniel to the Roman era. Other
chapters, however, resist the restriction of the book’s relevance to the
Hellenistic period. In these instances it is possible to extend it into the
present, Roman era. Te justifcation for this is ofered, in Ierome’s view,
bv Daniel’s visions about the stone, the son of man, and the resurrection
of the dead in chapters i, ¬, and 1i respectivelv; these chapters talk of a
universal, eternal kingdom of God, and thus cannot possiblv refer to the
Iewish Maccabean kingdom which proved short-lived. Even if Porphvrv
had shown convincinglv that Daniel 11 applies to Antiochus, and not at
all to the antichrist, that would not harm the Christian religion in the
slightest. Te vision of the ram and the goat in Daniel 8 was also fullv
fulflled bv Antiochus, and lef no room for an additional reference to
the antichrist. For this reason, Ierome’s fnal answer to Porphvrv is that
he should pav attention to what is evident,
which is that the prophecies
about a universal, indestructible kingdom have not been fulflled in
the historv of the Iews in the Hellenistic and Roman eras (a.11.aa–a-,
:. Concluding Observations
In the last instance, thus, Ierome not onlv argues that the referents of
the phrase “abomination of desolation” are both, historicallv speaking,
Antiochus, and, tvpologicallv speaking, the antichrist, but even comes
close to conceding to Porphvrv that the purelv historical interpretation
of the abomination of desolation in Dan 11::1 in terms of Antiochus’
desecrationof the Ierusalemtemple is possiblv exhaustive. Yet, as we have
seen, in Dan o:i¬ and Dan 1i:11 the phrase is used of the activities of
the antichrist. However, given that manv Christian interpreters favour
an exclusivelv futuristic interpretation of this phrase with regard to the
antichrist, it is Ierome’s deep awareness of its applicabilitv to the events
Cf. Cook, Te Interpretation of the Old Testament, i:8–i:o.
:1o ciovci u. v.× xoo1i×
under Antiochus IVwhich is remarkable. In this, as we have seen, Ierome
resembles Iosephus and Hippolvtus before him. Te challenges posed
bv Porphvrv’s criticism of Danielic exegesis are evident in the far more
sophisticated wav in which Ierome needs to argue.
Te same double applicationof the phrase “abominationof desolation”
to both the fgure of Antiochus in the past, and to the antichrist in the
future, which we found in Hippolvtus and Ierome, also occurs in a brief
passage of the latter’s contemporarv Cassian (ca. .u :oo–ca. a:-). Iust as
Elijah prefgures both Iohnthe Baptist and Christ (see Mark o:11–1:; Mal
::i:–ia m1; a:-–o English trans.), the “abomination of desolation” points
to both Antiochus and the antichrist, according to Cassian. Tese cases
demonstrate the double sense in which holv Scripture mav be taken:
quale est illud, quod Helias venerit in Iohanne et iterum sit adventum
domini praecursurus, et de abominatione desolationis, quod steterit in
loco sancto per illud simulacrumIovis quod Hierosolvmis in templo posi-
tum legimus et iterum stare habeat in ecclesia per adventum Antichristi,
illa que omnia quae in evangelio sequuntur, quae et inpleta ante captiv-
itatem Hierosolvmorum et in fne mundi huius intelleguntur inplenda
(Cassian, Conlationes, 8.a, p. ii1).—As in this case: where Elias came in
the person of Iohn, and is again to be the precursor of the Lord’s Advent;
and in the matter of the “Abomination of desolation” which “stood in the
holv place”, bv means of that idol of Iupiter which, as we read, was placed in
the temple in Ierusalem, and which is again to stand in the Church through
the coming of antichrist, and all those things which follow in the gospel,
which we take as having been fulflled before the captivitv of Ierusalemand
still to be fulflled at the end of this world. (Trans. E.C.S. Gibson, ^icene
and Post-^icene Fathers)
In Cassian’s view, the abomination of desolation refers both to the statue
of Zeus erected in the Ierusalem temple under Antiochus IV, and to
the events in the church upon the arrival of the antichrist. As we have
seen, the same view on the double sense of holv Scripture is also found
in Ierome. Together with Iosephus and Hippolvtus, Ierome and Cassian
represent a minoritv view among earlv Iews and Christians, bv holding
that the frst referent of the term “abomination of desolation” remained
Antiochus’ desecration of the holv temple in Ierusalem.
To× Hiiuovs1
Et post dies sex assumpsit Petrum, Iacobum et Ioannem fratrem eius, et
duxit illos ad montem Tabor excelsum, ut orarent, “And afer six davs
he took with him Peter, Iames and Iohn his brother, and led them up
the high mountain Tabor to prav.” With these words Peter Comestor, in
his Historia Scholastica, which he composed during the last vears before
his death in 11¬8/ o, introduced the discussion of Iesus’ transfguration
on the mountain. Te sentence combines the opening sentences of the
accounts in Matt 1¬:1–o and Luke o:i8–:o. Tere is, however, one foreign
element, and that is the name “Tabor” given to the mountain. In the
Svnoptic Gospels the mountain has no name, and although in Peter
Comestor’s time it was universallv known as Tabor, it took quite some
time before that name found acceptance. In this essav we will studv how
the mountain was described before its identifcation with Mount Tabor,
then trace the origin and historv of that identifcation and, fnallv, discuss
whether it can stand the test of criticism.
1. “Te Mountain”
Our frst task, then, is a review of the earlv Christian texts describing the
Mount of Transfguration. However, to carrv this out with the required
claritv, it seems advisable to begin with some linguistic groundwork, the
reason for which will soon become clear. What we will sav about the
defnite article is not exclusivelv valid for Greek, but also applicable to
In the following, the translations of the Septuagint texts are from A. Pietersma and
B.G. Wright, eds., A ^ew English Translation of the Septuagint (New York ioo¬); the New
Testament from the Revised Standard Version; apocrvphal texts from I.K. Elliott, Te
Apocryphal ^ew Testament (Oxford 1oo:). Abbreviations include AAA = R.A. Lipsius
and M. Bonnet, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha (Leipzig 18o1–1oo: = Darmstadt 1o-o);
CCSA = Corpus Christianorum: Series Apocrvpha; CCSL = Corpus Christianorum:
Series Latina; CSEL = Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum; PG = Patrologia
:18 1o× uiiuovs1
other languages having this part of speech. Nevertheless, for the sake
of brevitv, we will restrict ourselves to Greek. In our examples we will
include passages with ðρος, “mountain,” which is the essential word in
our inquirv.
Our observations have to do with the use or non-use of the defnite
article preceding the noun at its frst introduction into a text. Four
categories of such occurrences mav be distinguished:
(1) First mention. When an object is mentioned for the frst time, it
is normallv unknown and therefore lacks the defnite article. Once it
has been introduced, it is known and has one. Tus, “book” in Luke
a:1¬ rπεδó0η α0τu βιβλiον . . . καi 0ναπτuξας τò βιβλiον εuρεν is
initiallv a book, but on referring back the book. Similarlv, in Mark o:i
0ναφrρει α0τοuς εiς ðρος íψηλóν, “mountain,” not mentioned before,
has no article, but in v. o καταβαινóντων α0τuν rκ το0 ðρους the same
mountain, alreadv introduced, has one.
However, there are cases where an object on its frst mention does have
the defnite article. Tree cases are relevant here:
(i) Te object is introduced with an adjunct of some sort, for example,
a relative clause, Matt i:1o κατo τòν χρóνον oν íκρiβωσεν παρo τuν
μoγων; Luke a:io íγαγον α0τòν rως oφρuος το0 ðρους rφ’ οu í πóλις
uκοδóμητο α0τuν. Te objects, χρóνος and ðρος respectivelv, are not
known before but are made known here through the adjunct. Tere are
manv other tvpes of adjuncts, for instance a prepositional group inserted
between the article and the noun: Acts o:1o rγrνετο δr μετo τuν rν
Δαμασκu μα0ητuν. In this passage the disciples would be unknown
without the localizing adjunct.
(:) Te object is knowable from the context, for example, í χεiρ in Acts
io:1 τóτε o Πα0λος rκτεiνας τíν χεtρα 0πελογεtτο, where of course
the hand of the subject of the sentence is meant, or Acts o:i ¸íτiσατο
παρ’ α0το0 rπιστολoς εiς Δαμασκòν πρòς τoς συναγωγoς, where the
svnagogues to be found there are meant. In these cases it is possible to
rewrite the sentence so as to make them belong to categorv (i): τóτε
o Πα0λος rκτεiνας τíν χεtρα α0το0 0πελογεtτο and ¸íτiσατο παρ’
α0το0 rπιστολoς εiς τoς rν Δαμασκu συναγωγoς. An example with
ðρος is foundinMark -:11 iν δr rκεt πρòς τuðρει 0γrληχοiρων μεγoλη
βοσκομrνη. Here, the rephrasing might run iν δr πρòς τu rκεt ðρει
0γrλη χοiρων μεγoλη βοσκομrνη.
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× :1o
(a) Te object is known because, for the addressee, it has a unique
status in its class. Tus, in Iohn 1¬:1i iνα í γραφí πληρω0¸I, the noun
clearlv denotes Scripture, not just anvthing written. Tomentiona modern
example, although there are manv planets, hearing about “the planet” we
spontaneouslv think of the earth. Insuchcases we canuse the designation
without introducing or defning the object. “We,” however, does not
simplv mean the human race generallv: the addressee needs to be an
insider (the insiders mav be manv or few). So in this categorv, which we
mav simplv defne as “a common name used as if it were a proper name,”
where the article is used without the noun having been introduced before
or being evident from the context, the meaning is clear onlv to those
who are in the know. For the sake of convenience, we will refer to this
categorv in terms of insider use.
It will be clear that in a given text such
an expression will at everv occurrence denote the same object. Iust to
give an example from Dutch literature, in a novel bv Willem van Toorn
entitled Te River,
the river referred to is the Waal, but its name is never
mentioned in the book. It would be unthinkable, however, for “the river”
to denote the Waal at one time and a diferent river at another (unless
dulv introduced).
A similar state of afairs occurs in the canonical Gospels, where in a
number of places “the mountain,” τò ðρος, is mentioned. Te essential
thing is that the mountain in question is designated in this wav at its frst
mention without it being possible to class its use there under categorv
(:: the object is knowable from the context). Tus, the closing verses
of Matthew a describe Iesus’ travels throughout Galilee, his teaching in
the svnagogues, his healings and his being followed bv crowds “from
Galilee and the Decapolis and Ierusalem and Iudea and from bevond the
Iordan.” Subsequentlv, out of the blue we read -:1 0νrβη εiς τò ðρος, καi
κα0iσαντος α0το0 προσIλ0ον α0τuοl μα0ηταi α0το0. It is impossible
to know from the context exactlv where Iesus is, so it is impossible to
reduce the passage to categorv (:). Obviouslv we have a mountain here
that has the designation “the mountain” almost as a proper name, and
the readers are supposed to know which mountain is meant. Iust like the
river in Willemvan Toorn’s novel, unless there are clear indications to the
It is customarv to speak of “the idea of κατ' rξοχiν ‘par excellence’ ” (F.W. Danker,
A Greek-English Lexicon of the ^ew Testament and Other Early Christian Literature [:d
ed.; Chicago iooo], s.v. o, í, τó iaα), cf. G. Mussies, Te Morphology of Koine Greek as
Used in the Apocalypse of St. Iohn (Leiden 1o¬1), 188–18o (“the aspect ‘par excellence’ ”).
Willem van Toorn, De rivier (Amsterdam 1ooo).
:io 1o× uiiuovs1
contrarv, “the mountain” is alwavs the same mountain. Tis use is found
rather frequentlv in the Gospels. Te passages are the following:
Matt -:1 0νrβη εiς τò ðρος, καi κα0iσαντος α0το0 προσIλ0αν α0τ u
οl μα0ηταi α0το0.
Matt 8:1 καταβoντος δr α0το0 0πò το0 ðρους íκολοu0ησαν α0τ u
ðχλοι πολλοi.
Matt 1a:i: 0πολuσας τοuς ðχλους 0νrβη εiς τò ðρος κατ’ iδiαν
Matt 1-:io–:o
0ναβoς εiς τò ðρος rκo0ητο rκεt.
καi προσIλ0ον α0τ u
ðχλοι πολλοi.
Matt 1¬:o καi καταβαινóντων α0τuν rκ το0 ðρους.
Mark ::1: 0ναβαiνει εiς τò ðρος καi προσκαλεtται οIς í0ελεν α0τóς.
Mark o:ao 0ποταξoμενος α0τοtς 0πIλ0εν εiς τò ðρος προσεuξασ0αι.
Mark o:o καi καταβαινóντων α0τuν rκ το0 ðρους.
Luke o:1i rγrνετο δr rν ταtς íμrραις ταuταις rξελ0εtν α0τòν εiς τò
ðρος προσεuξασ0αι.
Luke o:i8 παραλαβuν Πrτρον καi . . . 0νrβη εiς τò ðρος
Luke o::¬ κατελ0óντων α0τuν 0πò το0 ðρους.
Iohn o:: 0νIλ0εν δr εiς τò ðρος 'Ιησο0ς καi rκεt rκo0ητο μετo τuν
μα0ητuν α0το0.
Iohn o:1- 0νεχuρησεν πoλιν εiς τò ðρος α0τòς μóνος.
Most students are reluctant to accept that in all of these places one and
the same mountain is meant, convinced as thev are that each pericope
contains its own mountain. However, thev usuallv leave unexplained whv
at their frst mention these diferent mountains are alreadv called “the
mountain.” What comments I have found, can be summarized as follows.
Paul Wilhelm Schmiedel, in his thorough, if unfortunatelv unfnished
re-editing of Winer’s New Testament grammar, is of the opinion that
“each time τò ðρος can denote the mountain which each time is in the
neighbourhood and the article does not prove that evangelical historv
knows onlv one single, ideal or schematic mountain that is locatable
nowhere, as a counterpart to Sinai.”
So he classifes the passages in terms
G.B. Winer and P.W. Schmiedel, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms
(8th ed.; Göttingen 18oa), 1ao: “Deshalb kann auch τò ðρος stets . . . den jedesmal in
der Nähe befndlichen Berg bezeichnen und der Artikel beweist nicht, dass die evan-
gelische Geschichte nur einen einzigen idealen oder schematischen, nirgends zu loca-
lisirenden Berg als Gegenbild des Sinai kenne.” T. Zahn, Das Evangelium des Matthäus
(ath ed.; Kommentar zum Neuen Testament 1; Leipzig 1oii), 1¬¬–1¬8, thinks we have
an idiomatic wording here, not a clumsv translation, but he at least speaks of surprise (“so
befremdet der Artikel von τò ðρος hier noch mehr”) and carelessness (“Nachlässigkeit”).
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× :i1
of our categorv (:): objects knowable from the situation, “den jedesmal
in der Nähe befndlichen Berg.” However, the reader can check that this
is incorrect, for in several of the passages, including Matt -:1 and Luke
o:1i, the articular ðρος appears for the frst time, and nothing makes
us expect anv particular mountain.
In the remaining passages one mav
surmise that “the mountain” is a mountain (or mountain slope) near the
northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, but the topographical indications
provided bv the Gospels are rather vague and thev do not alter the fact
that, from a linguistic point of view, the same mountain is meant each
Some scholars have recourse to the explanation that we are here deal-
ing with a Semitism. Nigel Turner puts it this wav: “sometimes Hebrew
idiomwill infuence the Greek writers towards a needless insertion of the
article, refecting the emphatic state in which a noun is made more def-
nite in order to denote a special person or object.” His examples include
Matt 1-:io “to the mountain (add. to Mk).”
However, “making a noun
more defnite in order to denote a special person or object” seems to be
just the same as emploving the insider use, categorv (a), which is not a
Semitism at all. Earlier, Erich Klostermann considered that the defnite
article in Mark ::1:; a::; 1o:i- and 1i:1 D was “perhaps” a Semitism, but
his passages are heterogeneous and he does not expand on the question.
In relation to his frst example, Mark ::1: (τò ðρος), the same comment
is valid as that for Turner: we should not operate with Semitisms if the
use can be regarded as normal Greek.
Finallv, there is an endeavour to explain the use of the article with τò
ðρος bv assuming that the noun does not denote an individual moun-
tain but the mountains, the highlands, “das Gebirge” in German. Tus,
For N. Turner, Syntax (vol. : of A Grammar of ^ew Testament Greek; Edinburgh
1oo:), 1¬:, in Matt -:1 τò ðρος is “that great hill which stood like a throne behind the
sea (Zerwick §1ia),” but nothing in the preceding part of Matthew points to that. As for
Zerwick, he begins bv admitting that the mountain could be that mountain known as
that where the sermon on the mountain was held, in other words, that we have here the
insider use, cf. M. Zerwick, Graecitas biblica ^ovi Testamenti exemplis illustratur (-th ed.;
Scripta Pontifcii Instituti Biblici oi; Rome 1ooo), -a–--.
N. Turner, Style (vol. a of A Grammar of ^ew Testament Greek; Edinburgh 1o¬o),
E. Klostermann, Das Markusevangelium (ath ed.; HNT :; Tübingen 1o-o), ¬ (Mark
1i:1 D mentioned there means the Codex Bezae reading τοtς γεωργοtς, not listed in the
apparatus criticus of Nestle-Aland). It is possiblv bv pleading a Semitismthat the German
Einheitsubersetzung virtuallv evervwhere renders τò ðρος bv “ein Berg,” an all too easv
wav of ironing out the awkward defnite article.
:ii 1o× uiiuovs1
Werner Foerster states: “the transl. ‘he went up into the mountains’ is
linguisticallv just as good as ‘he went up the mountain.’ ”
Tis is cor-
rect on the level of the sentence, for ðρος mav have that meaning, but
it is hardlv defensible as soon as we consider the context of the τò ðρος
passages. Terence Donaldson, in his monograph Iesus on the Mountain,
rejects Foerster’s proposal for three reasons, which he summarizes as fol-
lows: “Tus, although ‘to the hills’ is a possible translation of εiς τò ðρος,
it is highlv unlikelv in the Svnoptics, where this meaning is usuallv con-
veved bv the plural εiς τo ðρη, is nowhere contextuallv required, and,
in fact, is excluded in at least some of its occurrences.” Tese occurrences
include those referring to the individual mountain of the transfguration,
and Matt i8:1o, where the expression “also most probablv refers to a sin-
gle mountain appointed as a rendezvous.”
So, the linguistic facts continue to compel us to assume that “the
mountain” is a defnite mountain, known to original readers and, we
mav assume, current in the milieu in which the Gospels came into being.
Te contexts suggest that “the mountain” is situated in Galilee, probablv
north of the Sea of Galilee. It mav not be superfuous to point out that
our conclusion concerning “the mountain” does not cover the Mountain
of Commission in Matt i8:1o. Tere, τò ðρος is defned bv a relative
clause, so it does not fall under our categorv (a), the insider use, but under
categorv (i).
i. Te Texts
Against this background let us now consider the passages that introduce
the transfguration accounts.
(1) Mark o:i παραλαμβoνει o 'Ιησο0ς τòν Πrτρον καi τòν 'Ιoκωβον καi
τòν 'Ιωoννην καi 0ναφrρει α0τοuς εiς ðρος íψηλòν κατ’ iδiαν μóνους.
καi μετεμορφu0η rμπροσ0εν α0τuν, “Iesus took with him Peter and
Iames and Iohn, and led them up a high mountain apart bv themselves;
and he was transfgured before them.”
W. Foerster, “ðρος,” TD^T -:a¬-–a8¬ at a8a. For a comment on the English
rendering “mountains” in the plural cf. W. Havers, Handbuch der erklärenden Syntax
(Indogermanische Bibliothek 1.1.io; Heidelberg 1o:1), 11:.
T.L. Donaldson, Iesus on the Mountain. A Study in Matthean Teology (ISNTSup 8;
Shemeld 1o8-), 11.
Terefore the passage should be deleted from the list in Donaldson, Iesus on the
Mountain, i18 n. :-.
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× :i:
Te ðρος is a mountain, conspicuous for its altitude. It has not been
mentioned earlier. It is diferent from the one called “the mountain”
that had alreadv been mentioned twice, in ::1: and o:ao. If it were the
same, the defnite article would have been used, as the object indicated
would have alreadv beenintroduced to the reader. Inaddition, the moun-
tain called “the mountain” is nowhere said to be high. In v. o, where
the descent from the mountain is mentioned, the word is used articu-
larlv: καταβαινóντων α0τuν rκ το0 ðρους, in accordance with categorv
(i) Matt 1¬:1–i
παραλαμβoνει o 'Ιησο0ς τòν Πrτρον καi 'Ιoκωβον καi
'Ιωoννην τòν 0δελφòν α0το0 καi 0ναφrρει α0τοuς εiς ðρος íψηλòν κατ’
καi μετεμορφu0η rμπροσ0εν α0τuν, “
Iesus took with himPeter
and Iames and Iohn his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.
And he was transfgured before them.”
Matthew follows Mark almost exactlv, and here again, when referring
back to the mountain in v. o the articular ðρος is used. As in Mark,
the mountain is diferent from the one called “the mountain” which had
alreadv been mentioned twice, in 1a:i: and 1-:io. So both evangelists
suggest that the mountain on which Iesus was transfgured was diferent
from the remaining mountains mentioned in their Gospels, especiallv
from the one called “the mountain.”
(:) Luke o:i8–io
παραλαβuν Πrτρον καi 'Ιωoννην καi 'Ιoκωβον
0νrβη εiς τò ðρος προσεuξασ0αι.
καi rγrνετο rν τ u προσεuχεσ0αι
α0τòν τò εiδος το0 προσuπου α0το0 rτερον, “
he took with him Peter
and Iohn and Iames, and went up on the mountain to prav.
And as he
was praving, the appearance of his countenance was altered.”
Luke, on the other hand, rephrases the description found in Mark. Here,
the mountain is the mountain, not a hitherto unknown one, and no
specifc detail, for example, its height, is mentioned. So the mountain
here is the same as the one denoted before bv “the mountain,” in o:1i.
Furthermore, unlike the account in Mark and Matthew, the intention
with which Iesus climbs the mountain is mentioned. He goes up to
prav, and it is while praving that his transfguration takes place. Also in
this respect, our passage agrees with o:1i, where Iesus “went out to the
mountain to prav.”
Cf. K.L. Schmidt, Der Rahmen der Geschichte Iesu (Berlin 1o1o = Darmstadt 1ooo),
ii-. On the Lucan theme of praving see Donaldson, Iesus on the Mountain, i1- n. 11 and
iaa n. 1o.
:ia 1o× uiiuovs1
(a) iPeter 1:1o–18
Ο0 γoρ σεσοφισμrνοις μu0οις rξακολου0iσαν-
τες rγνωρiσαμεν íμtν τíν το0 κυρiου íμuν 'Ιησο0 Χριστο0 δuναμιν
καi παρουσiαν 0λλ’ rπóπται γενη0rντες τIς rκεiνου μεγαλειóτητος.
λαβuν γoρ παρo 0εο0 πατρòς τιμíν καi δóξαν φωνIς rνεχ0εiσης
α0τ u τοι0σδε íπò τIς μεγαλοπρεπο0ς δóξης· o υlóς μου o 0γαπητóς
μου οuτóς rστιν εiς oν rγu ε0δóκησα,
καi ταuτην τíν φωνíν íμεtς
íκοuσαμεν rξ ο0ρανο0 rνεχ0εtσαν σuν α0τ u ðντες rν τ u úγi ω ðρει,

For we did not follow cleverlv devised mvths when we made known
to vou the power and coming of our Lord Iesus Christ, but we were
evewitnesses of his majestv.
For when he received honour and glorv
from God the Father and the voice was borne to him bv the Majestic
Glorv, ‘Tis is mv beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’
we heard
this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holv moun-
iPeter, the latest book of the New Testament, as it is sometimes called, is
generallv dated to the frst half of the second centurv. Indeed, it shows
signs of being written in a time when Christianitv had undergone a
number of developments, such as the formation and circulation of a
corpus of Pauline letters (iPet ::1-–1o). Te author, who poses as the
apostle Peter, in 1:1o–18 alludes to the event of the transfguration. Te
“voice” he mentions is the heavenlv one we know from the Svnoptics;
its wording in verse 1¬, o υlóς μου o 0γαπητóς μου οuτóς rστιν εiς oν
rγuε0δóκησα, is most reminiscent of Matt 1¬:-, οuτóς rστιν o υlóς μου
o 0γαπητóς, rν u ε0δóκησα, and to a lesser extent of Mark o:¬, οuτóς
rστιν o υlóς μου o 0γαπητóς, and Luke o::-, οuτóς rστιν o υlóς μου o
Te author calls the mountain neither “a high mountain,” as in Mark
and Matthew, nor “the mountain,” as in Luke, but “the holv mountain,”
τò 0γιον ðρος. It is tempting to see here Psalmi at work, whose vv. o and
¬ in the ixx read:
rγu δr κατεστo0ην βασιλεuς íπ’ α0το0 rπi Σιuν ðρος τò 0γιον α0το0,
διαγγrλλων τò πρóσταγμα κυρiου Κuριος εiπεν πρóς με Υlóς μου εi
σu, rγu σiμερον γεγrννηκo σε. “
But I was established king bv him, on
Sion, his holv mountain,
bv proclaiming the Lord’s ordinance: Te Lord
said to me, ‘Mv son vou are; todav I have begotten vou.’ ”
Here we have both the phrase “the holv mountain” and the heavenlv
voice. For Richard Bauckham, in his commentarv on iPeter, the phrase
“holv mountain” here is “a deliberate echo of Ps i:o ixx,” and afer
much deliberation he comes to the conclusion that “the evidence is
stronglv in favor of the view that in his account of the transfguration
the author of iPeter was not dependent on the svnoptic Gospels but
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× :i-
on independent tradition, which could perhaps be his own knowledge
of Peter’s preaching, or else the oral traditions current in the Roman
I fnd it hard to agree fullv with these views. Bauckham mav be right
that in the Old Testament the expression “the holv mountain” is alwavs
said of Mount Zion, although in Ezek i8:1a it is disputed whether we
should render “the holv mountain of the gods” or “the holv mountain
of God.” However, unlike iPet 1:18, the Old Testament virtuallv everv-
where combines “the mountain” with a reference to God: “mv/vour/his
holv mountain,” “the mountain of God’s, mv/vour/his holiness.” Te onlv
place where we fnd τò ðρος τò 0γιον devoid of a pronoun or of the
genitive 0εο0 in the Septuagint is 1Macc 11::¬, τε0iτω rν τu ðρει τu
úγiω rν τóπω rπισiμω, “let it (sc. the copv) be put on the holv moun-
tain in a prominent place” and, in the Old Testament pseudepigrapha,
r En. io:i κ0κεt τε0rαμαι ðρος 0γιον, “and there I saw a holv moun-
tain;” in both places the Temple Mount is meant. Furthermore, even if
the Old Testament does not give them the title, there were no doubt
other sacred mountains, preeminentlv of course Mount Sinai/Horeb, “the
mountain of God,” as Exod ::1 and 1Kgs 1o:8 call it. Also, the use of
“holv mountain” for Mount Zion did not mean that other mountains
could never be designated in that wav. In later periods, the Samaritans
had their Mount Gerizim, and in Christianitv Mount Athos and Mount
Ararat come to mind. A mountain reputed to have been the scene of
some supernatural event certainlv qualifed to receive this title, and Iesus’
transfguration no doubt could count as such. I. Willemze in this regard
aptlv quotes Exod ::-: “Put of vour shoes from vour feet, for the place
on which vou are standing is holv ground.” Te ground is called holv
because of the presence of the Lord.
So it seems quite possible that the
author of iPeter took a new step in qualifving the Mount of Transfg-
uration as “the holv mountain.”
He had, we might sav, free plav to do
so, inasmuch as nowhere in the New Testament except in the passage
R. Bauckham, Iude. :Peter (WBC -o; Waco, Tex. 1o8:), ii1 and i1o.
I. Willemze, De Tweede Brief van Petrus. De Brieven van Iohannes. De Brief van Iudas
(id ed.; Tekst en uitleg; Groningen 1oia), ¬1.
Cf. A. Vögtle, Der Iudasbrief/Der :. Petrusbrief (EKKNT ii; Solothurn 1ooa), 1oo:
“Wahrscheinlich hat der Vf. von sich aus [italics mine] den Berg durch “heilig” als Stätte
göttlicher Ofenbarung qualifziert.” Te viewhas been voiced earlier, cf. Bauckham, Iude.
:Peter, ii1: “Some (Bigg, Iames, Green) think that the phrase is used simplv because the
theophanv made the place holv.”
:io 1o× uiiuovs1
under discussion and nowhere in the Apostolic Fathers does the phrase
τò 0γιον ðρος occur, either to denote Mount Zion or another moun-
Should Bauckham be right, then one might conclude that “the holv
mountain” in iPet 1:18 means Mount Zion. Bauckham does not draw
that conclusion. However, he does challenge iPeter’s dependencv on
the Svnoptic accounts, a dependencv that would preclude the equation
with Mount Zion. Although this is not the place to discuss Bauckham’s
considerations at length, two arguments convince me to hold that iPeter
is dependent on the Svnoptics. First, generallv speaking, bv the time
iPeter was written, the Svnoptic Gospels had an established position, so
a Christian of the earlv decades of the second centurv mav well have been
familiar with them or at least with one of them. Second, the agreement
between the words of the divine voice in iPet 1:18 and Matt 1¬:-—
especiallv the inclusion, missing in Mark and Luke, of the relative clause,
εiς oν rγuε0δóκησα in iPeter, and rν uε0δóκησα in Matthew—is such
that we mav even sav that the Gospel familiar to the author was Matthew.
In comparison, the variations—εiς oν vs rν u, the mention vs. omission
of rγu—are immaterial.
In conclusion, to mv mind the author of iPeter takes his mountain
from the Svnoptics, especiallv Matthew, his innovation being that he
assigns it the title of “the holv mountain” because of the holiness it derives
from Iesus’ transfguration.
(-) Ethiopic Apocalypse of Peter 1- “And mv Lord Iesus Christ, our King,
said to me, ‘Let us go to the holv mountain.’ And his disciples went with
him, praving.”
Greek Apocalypse of Peter a–-
καi προσ0εiς o κuριος rφη ¯Αγωμεν εiς τò
ðρος, ε0ξuμε0α.
0περχóμενοι δr μετ' α0το0 íμεtς οl δuδεκα μα0ηταi,

And the Lord continued and said, ‘Let us go to the mountain and prav.’
And going with him, we the twelve disciples.”
Te apocrvphal Apocalypse of Peter, written before .u 1-o, is depen-
dent on iPeter.
Te Apocalypse has been preserved in an Ethiopic
version and, fragmentarilv, in Greek. Te Greek passage just quoted
is from the most extensive Greek portion, that of the Akhmim frag-
ment. Tat fragment in general refects the original text less well than
the Ethiopic version.
It is hard to sav whether this is also the case for
R. Bauckham, Te Fate of the Dead (NovTSup o:; Leiden 1oo8), :o:.
Bauckham, Fate of the Dead, io1–ioi.
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× :i¬
the passage we are concerned with. Perhaps we should leave the ques-
tion undecided and just comment upon the statement in both versions.
Tev agree in showing a “Lucan” element—the praving referred to in
Luke o:i8–io. Tev again agree in not limiting the number of Iesus’
companions to Peter, Iames, and Iohn, but allowing “the (twelve) dis-
ciples” to go with him. However, thev disagree in their designation of
the mountain. Te Greek version calls it “the mountain,” τò ðρος. At
frst sight, this is again in accordance with Luke, but whereas in Luke
we had to classifv τò ðρος as an instance of “the mountain” called thus
from its frst mention, here the author might well have used the title
as a reference to the mountain described bv Mark and Matthew as “a
high mountain” nowwidelv known as the Mount of Transfguration. Te
Ethiopic, however, has the expression we saw in iPeter: “the holv moun-
What idea does the author have of the mountain: Dennis D. Buchholz,
in his edition and studv of the Ethiopic text, has the following comment:
“If we take seriouslv the setting in 1:1 where Iesus is seated on the Mt.
of Olives, the holv mountain mav be the temple mount (cf. Mk 1:::).
Otherwise we do not know which mountain is meant.”
Richard Bauck-
hamis much more decided: “in Apocalvpse of Peter 1-:1, Iesus is propos-
ing that he and the disciples cross the Kidron vallev from the Mount of
Olives to the Temple mount.”
However, what if we refrain from “taking
seriouslv” the setting on the Mount of Olives, interpreting that setting as
something svmbolic rather than as topographical information: Ten the
“holv mountain” of ch. 1- could well be the same as the mountain of the
same name in iPet 1:18, which in turn is, we concluded, the same as the
mountain of the Svnoptic accounts.
(o) Acts of Iohn oo (CCSA 1.1o:/ -)
0λλοτε δr ποτε παραλαμβoνει με καi 'Ιoκωβον καi Πrτρον εiς τò
ðρος oπου iν α0τ u r0ος εuχεσ0αι, καi εiδομεν rν α0τ u φuς τοιο0-
τον oποtον ο0κ rστιν δυνατòν 0ν0ρuπ ω χρωμrν ω λóγ ω φ0αρτ u rκφr-
ρειν οiον iν. πoλιν oμοiως 0νoγει íμ0ς τοuς τρεtς εiς τò ðρος λrγων
¯Ελ0ατε σuν rμοi. `Ημεtς δr πoλιν rπορεu0ημεν καi oρuμεν α0τòν 0πò
διαστiματος ε0χóμενον,
“At another time he took me and Iames and Peter to the mountain, where
he used to prav, and we beheld such a light on him that it is not possible
D.D. Buchholz, Your Eyes Vill Be Opened. AStudy of the Greek íEthiopic) Apocalypse
of Peter (SBLDS o¬; Atlanta, Ga., 1o88), :o:.
Bauckham, Fate of the Dead, 1o:.
:i8 1o× uiiuovs1
for a man who uses mortal speech to describe what it was like. Again in
a similar wav he led us three up to the mountain saving, ‘Come with me.’
And we went again and saw him at a distance praving.”
Te Acts of Iohn, usuallv dated to the second half of the second centurv,
but according to Pieter Lalleman written as earlv as the second quarter
of that centurv,
seem to be inspired here bv the Svnoptic accounts,
with the accent on Iesus’ praver pointing to Luke. In accordance with the
Svnoptics, Iesus’ companv is restricted to the three apostles, but Iohn is
mentioned frst, as he is speaking himself. Directlv afer the words quoted
here, a second transfguration of Iesus is pictured.
(¬) Acts of Peter io (AAA 1.o¬)
dominus noster uolens me maiestatem suam uidere in monte sancto,
uidens autem luminis splendorem eius cum fliis Zebedei, caecidi tam-
quam mortuus,
“our Lord wished to let me see his majestv on the holv mountain; but when
I with the sons of Zebedee saw his brightness I fell at his feet as dead.”
Te Acts of Peter, written in the closing decades of the second centurv,
seem to be inspired here bv iPet 1:1o–18. Te sight of Iesus’ maiestas
recalls v. 1o, rπóπται γενη0rντες τIς rκεiνου μεγαλειóτητος, and the
phrase mons sanctus echoes τò 0γιον ðρος of v. 18. Peter’s mention that
he was with the sons of Zebedee is in conformitv with the Svnoptic
(8) Acts of Tomas 1a: (AAA i.i.i-o)
οu τò σuμα 0ν0ρuπινον καi ταtς χερσiν rψηλαφiσαμεν, τíν δr 0rαν
εiδομεν rνηλλοιωμrνην τοtς íμετrροις oφ0αλμοtς, τòν δr τuπον α0το0
τòν ο0ρoνιον rν τ u ðρει iδεtν ο0κ íδυνi0ημεν,
“whose human bodv we handled with our hands, whose transfgured
appearance we sawwith our eves, whose heavenlv form, however, we could
not see on the mountain.”
Our latest testimonv (the Acts of Tomas are dated to the third centurv) in
this passing reference to the transfguration once more uses the articular
expression τò ðρος. Te number of apostles accompanving Iesus is lef
P.I. Lalleman, Te Acts of Iohn (Studies on the Apocrvphal Acts of the Apostles a;
Louvain 1oo8), i¬o.
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× :io
:. Tabor
Among the manv geographical names we read in the Old Testament is
the name Tabor (Hebrew ¨13P, Greek Θαβuρ or 'Ιταβuριον),
for the
most part referring to the prominent mountain southwest of the Sea
of Galilee.
If the unnamed mountain in Deut :::1o is Mount Tabor,
it was a cultic centre of the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar, and Hos
-:1, although in a condemning tone, also alludes to a cultic practice on
the mountain. Psalm 8o:1i and Ier ao:18 mention it among the most
important mountains of the countrv. Iosephus repeatedlv refers to the
mountain, using the name 'Ιταβuριον. In the New Testament, the name
Tabor does not occur, but fromthe second centurv onward the mountain
is associated in various wavs with the life of Iesus.
Tus, Mount Tabor seems to have been equated with the “verv high
mountain” where, according to Matt a:8, the third temptation of Iesus
bv the devil took place. Te Gospel according to the Hebrews, written in
the frst half of the second centurv, in a fragment preserved in Origen,
Comm. Io. i.1i, adduces Iesus speaking as follows: ¯Αρτι rλαβr με í
μiτηρ μου, τò 0γιον πνε0μα, rν μι0 τuν τριχuν μου καi 0πiνεγκr
με εiς τò ðρος τò μrγα Θαβuρ, “Mv Mother, the Holv Spirit, took me
just now bv one of mv hairs and carried me of to the great Mount
Te statement is generallv regarded as referring to an account
of Iesus’ temptation bv the devil. However, what was done bv the devil
in Matthew’s account, is here the Holv Spirit’s action. Te aim is the
same in both cases, to test Iesus, but whereas the devil counts on Iesus
succumbing, the Holv Spirit expects him to hold his own. Arnold Mever,
who voiced this view over a centurv ago, compared this situation with
iSam ia:1 and 1Chron i1:1, where David’s temptation is attributed
In the ixx we fnd Θαβuρ in Iosh 1o::a; Iudg a:o, 1i, 1a; 1Kgdms (m1 1Samuel)
1o::; 1Chron o:oi (m1 o:¬¬); Ps 88:1: (m1 8o:1i) and 'Ιταβuριον in Hos -:1 and Ier io:18
(m1 ao:18).
See ABD o::oa–:o- s.vv. “Tabor,” “Tabor, Mount,” and “Tabor, Oak of.” For addi-
tional information on Mount Tabor see C.W. Wilson, “Tabor, Mount,” A Dictionary of
the Bible a:¬¬:–¬¬a; I. Murphv-O’Connor, Te Holy Land (ath ed.; Oxford Archaeologi-
cal Guides; Oxford 1oo8), :oo–:o8; G. Mussies, “Tabor,” DDD(id ed.), 8i¬–8i8; V. Fritz,
“Tabor,” TRE :i:-o-–-oo.
Origen also has the quotation in Hom. Ier. 1-.a, minus “bv one of mv hairs” (and
writing Ταβuρ). Ierome cites it no less than three times, but without the last part which
mentions Mount Tabor; see A.F.I. Klijn, Iewish-Christian Gospel Tradition (VCSup 1¬;
Leiden 1ooi), -i–-:.
::o 1o× uiiuovs1
to God and to Satan, respectivelv.
In the fourth centurv, Epiphanius,
Refutation of All Heresies -1.i1.¬, alludes to a comparable tradition: afer
the devil had set Iesus on the pinnacle of the Temple, 0πò `Ιεροσολuμων
0νενεχ0Iναι εiς ðρος íψηλòν λiαν, oπερ παρoπολλοtς λrγεται εiναι τò
Θαβuρ ðρος, o rρμηνεuεται 'Ιταβuριον το0το δr rστιν rν τ¸I Γαλιλαiα,
“he had been borne fromIerusalemto a verv high mountain which manv
sav is Mt. Tabor, or Itabvrion in translation; this mountain is in Galilee”
(trans. F. Williams). Here, in accordance with the canonical Gospels, the
transference of Iesus to the mountain is performed bv the devil, but the
“verv high mountain” of Matt a:8 is Mount Tabor, as it is in the Gospel
according to the Hebrews.
Ten Mount Tabor is taken as “the mountain to which Iesus had
directed them,” that is, the eleven disciples (Matt i8:1o). We fnd this
traditionina marginal gloss to the Matthewpassage inthe ninthor tenth-
centurv New Testament MS 1aia,
but it is also in the Topography of the
Holy Land written in the sixth centurv bv Teodosius, who concludes
his chapter a with the sentence De ^azareth usque Itabyrium milia VII,
ibi dominus post resurrectionem apostolis apparuit, “From Nazareth it is
seven miles to Itabvrium; there the Lord appeared to the apostles afer his
Tirdlv we fnd it in a Georgian text of about .u ooo.
Tis tradition kept alive in later times. Tus, in the thirteenth centurv
Iacobus de Voragine states in his Golden Legend -i.1:a–1:-: “Te eighth
time Iesus appeared was to the disciples on Mount Tabor, as in the last
A. Mever in Handbuch zu den ^eutestamentlichen Apokryphen (ed. E. Hennecke;
Tübingen 1ooa), i8. For a discussion of the fragment see T. Zahn, Geschichte des neutesta-
mentlichen Kanons (Erlangen 18oi), i.i:ooo–ooi; M. Erbetta, Gli apocrif del ^uovo Tes-
tamento (Turin 1o¬-), 1.1:11a–11¬; P. Vielhauer† and G. Strecker in ^eutestamentliche
Apokryphen in deutscher Ubersetzung (ed. W. Schneemelcher; Tübingen 1o8¬), 1:1ai–
1ao; Klijn, Iewish-Christian Gospel Tradition, -:–--.
Klijn, Iewish-Christian Gospel Tradition, -- n. ia.
Itabyrium is a conjecture bv the editor, Paul Gever. Unfortunatelv his critical appa-
ratus ad loc. in CSEL :o p. 1:o, reprinted in CCSL 1¬- p. 11¬ is not verv clear, but it is
plausible enough that Tabor or Itabyrium is meant.
Dschawachof and Harnack, “Das Martvrium des heiligen Eustatius von Mzchetha:
Aus dem Georgischen übersetzt,” Sitzungsberichte der koniglich Preussischen Akademie
der Vissenschaþen zu Berlin 1oo1, 8¬-–ooi at 8oo: “An dem dritten Tage sehr früh kam
ein Engel vomHimmel herab und wälzte den Stein von demGrabe, und Christus erstand
auf und kam aus dem Grabe heraus und zeigte sich zwei Iüngern und Maria Magdalena
unddenandernWeibern, undChristus sprachzuihnen: ‘Verkündiget es meinenIüngern:
gehet gen Galiläa auf den Tabor, und dort werden sie mich sehen.’ Die zwölf Iünger
gingen mit grossem Frohmuth auf den Berg Tabor, und sie sahen Ihn, grüssten Ihn und
küsstenseine heiligenFüsse.” I owe this reference to B.M. Metzger, ^ewTestament Studies.
Philological, Versional, and Patristic (NTTS 1o; Leiden 1o8o), ai.
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× ::1
chapter of Matthew: here the contemplatives are signifed, because Christ
was transfgured on that mountain” (trans. W.G. Rvan).
Tis last quotation, which combines Matt i8:1¬ and 1¬:i, brings us
to the most successful association of Mount Tabor with the life of Iesus,
namelv its identifcation with the mountain of his transfguration. Iust
when this view arose, however, is rather hard to establish. At frst sight,
it was held as earlv as the decades around .u ioo, for a scholium on
Ps 88:1: ixx (8o:1i m1) bv Origen (ca. 18-–ca. i-a) reads: Θαβuρ
δr rστι τò ðρος τIς Γαλιλαiας rφ' οu μετεμορφu0η Χριστóς, “Tabor
is the mountain in Galilee on which Christ was transfgured.”
terse language of the statement suggests an accepted idea. Unfortunatelv,
however, we cannot be sure, to sav the least, that it stemmed fromhis pen,
as the chains in which it has come down to us contain manv scholia of
later authors under the name of Origen. Tere is onlv one other passage
in Origen’s œuvre that mentions the name Θαβuρ, namelv the one just
quoted on the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Tere, Origen did not
feel impelled to comment on it, for instance to call attention to the fact
that in the canonical Gospels Mount Tabor is not the mountain of Iesus’
temptation but of his transfguration, as one might expect if he had
the latter view. Otherwise, in none of the passages where he explicitlv
refers to the transfguration (Comm. Matt. 1i.:o–a:; Cels. i.oa,¬i; a.1o;
o.o8,¬o; Comm. Rom. i.-) he identifes the Mount of Transfguration
with Mount Tabor. In view of this evidence, even though it constitutes
onlv an argumentum e silentio, the conclusion is hardlv escapable that
the scholium cannot stem from Origen.
Tere is also testimonv, the authenticitv of which is undisputed, but
which ofers dimculties of interpretation. Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. ioo–
ca. :ao), in his Commentary on the Psalms, on the words of Ps 88:1:
Preserved in Selecta in Psalmos (PG1i.1-a8D) and Fragmenta in Psalmos (I.B. Pitra,
Analecta sacra spicilegio Solesmensi parata [Venice 188: = Farnborough 1ooo], ::1oi). In
the former collection, the form μεμορφu0η for μετεμορφu0η in the edition bv C. de
La Rue (Paris 1¬::), i:¬¬-, perpetuated in Migne and hence in the Tesaurus Linguae
Graecae database, must be a printer’s error. For information on the Tabor tradition cf.
also Zahn, Das Evangelium des Matthäus, -oi; M.-I. Lagrange, Evangile selon Saint Marc
(oth ed.; Etudes Bibliques; Paris 1oai), i::.
Emanuela Prinzivalli and, via her, Calogero Cerami, who is completing a thesis on
the exegetical tradition of the transfguration, kindlv gave their views on the matter and
provided the relevant Origenian passages. For the attribution of a good deal of Origen’s
Selecta in Psalmos to Evagrius Ponticus (:ao–:oo) see H.U. von Balthasar, “Die Hiera des
Evagrius,” ZKT o: (1o:o) 8o–1oo, 181–ioo, and M.-I. Rondeau, “Le commentaire sur les
Psaumes d’Evagre le Pontique,” OCP io (1ooo) :o¬–:a8.
::i 1o× uiiuovs1
ixx Θαβuρ καi `Ερμuν rν τu oνóματi σου 0γαλλιoσονται, “Tabor
and Hermon will rejoice in vour name,” has the following to sav of the
two mountains: οiμαi γε rν τοuτοις τοtς ðρεσι τoς παραδóξους το0
σωτIρος íμuν γεγονrναι μεταμορφuσεις, καi τoς πλεiους διατριβoς
oτε σuν 0ν0ρuποις rπολιτεuετο, “I think that on these mountains the
miraculous transfgurations of our Saviour took place and the frequent
stavs when he mixed with people.” To elucidate Eusebius’ elucidation,
I am inclined to add “respectivelv” to the translation, in other words,
to guess that Eusebius assigns the role of Mountain of Transfguration
to Tabor and that of the meeting place with disciples and crowds to
Hermon, under the proviso that Hermon is here “little Hermon,” that is,
the mountain at whose foot Nain was located—Iebel Dahi as it is now
Ten, to use the distinctions made in our earlier discussion,
Tabor was “a highmountain” of Mark o:i andMatt 1¬:1, whereas Hermon
was “the mountain.” One more problem remains, and that is the plural
μεταμορφuσεις, for the Gospels reckon with one transfguration onlv.
Clemens Koppsuggestedthat the plural includedIesus’ post-resurrection
apparition to the eleven of Matt i8:1o–io, but was he transfgured then:
A much more relevant parallel mav be found in the Acts of Iohn, written
in the decades around the middle of the second centurv, whose ch. oo,
as alreadv mentioned, describes two transfgurations of Iesus on “the
From the mid-fourth centurv, Christian authors take for granted the
identifcation of the mountain of the (single) transfguration with Mount
Tabor. Tis is clear for the frst time in Cvril of Ierusalem (ca. :1:–
:8o/ :8¬). In a catechesis he delivered around :-o, while dealing with
the two witnesses who stood bv the Lord in the Old and in the New
Testament, he states, Catech. 1i.1o: ΜωσIς iν rν oπ¸I τIς πrτρας καi
On this “little Hermon,” cf. Ps ai (a1):¬; G. Dalman, Orte und Vege Iesu (Beiträge
zur Förderung christlicher Teologie i.1; Gütersloh 1oia = Darmstadt 1oo¬), io- n. :;
C. Kopp, Die heiligen Stätten der Evangelien (Regensburg 1o-o), ioo; F.-M. Abel, Geogra-
phie de la Palestine (:d ed.; Etudes Bibliques; Paris 1oo¬), 1::-¬; I. Wilkinson, Ierusalem
Pilgrims before the Crusades (id ed.; Warminster iooi), a8 (map) and :1o.
Kopp, Die heiligen Stätten, :oi: “Wenn Eusebius von mehreren “wunderbaren
Verwandlungen” spricht, so wird er auch an die Erscheinung des Auferstandenen vor
den Elfen auf einem Berge Galiläas denken (Mt i8,1o–io). Aber er ist sichtlich ratlos,
auf welchem der beiden Berge diese Verklärungen zu fxieren sind.” In the late ^arratio
Iosephi Arimathiensis - afer his death Iesus goes with Ioseph of Arimathea and the good
thief to Galilee, where he is transfgured before them, although not on a mountain.
On which see Lalleman, Te Acts of Iohn, 1ia–1io.
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× :::
'Ηλiας iν rν oπ¸I τIς πrτρας rκεtνοι μεταμορφουμrνω συμπαρóντες
rν ðρει Θαβuρ rλεγον τοtς μα0ηταtς τíν rξοδον Iν rμελλε πληρο0ν rν
`Ιερουσαλiμ, “Moses was in the clef of the rock [Exod :::ii] and Elijah
was in the clef of the rock [1Kgs 1o:o, 1:]. Tev were present with him
when he was transfgured on Mount Tabor and told the disciples of his
departure, which he was to accomplish in Ierusalem [Luke o::1].” More
texts could be quoted, and thev multiplv in Bvzantine times, for example,
the apocrvphal Apocalypse of Iohn, possiblv ffh centurv, which begins
with the words: Μετo τíν 0νoληψιν το0 κυρiου íμuν 'Ιησο0 Χριστο0
παρεγενóμην rγu'Ιωoννης μóνος rπi τò ðρος τò Θαβuρ, rν0α καi τíν
0χραντον α0το0 0εóτητα íπrδειξεν íμtν, “Afer the assumption of our
Lord Iesus Christ I came alone to Mount Tabor, where he showed us his
undefled divinitv.”
In the Latin-speaking world the same opinion became known. Te
frst statement on the place of the transfguration, the Itinerarium Bur-
digalense, written in :::, voices the curious idea that it was the Mount
of Olives: Inde non longe est monticulus, ubi dominus ascendit orare et
apparuit illic Moyses et Helias, quando Petrum et Iohannem secum duxit,
“Not far from there (viz. from the Constantinian basilica on the Mount
of Olives) is the little mountain, where the Lord went up for praver, and
Movses and Elijah appeared there, when he took with him Peter and
Iohn.” What can have induced the anonvmous writer, or his informant,
to locate the event there: In Matt i8:1o, the risen Iesus orders the two
Marvs to tell the disciples to go to Galilee in order to see him. Indeed,
the disciples go to Galilee, but as this is a long journev, it was supposed
that here “Galilee” was not the region in Northern Palestine, but a loca-
tion near Ierusalem. If, then, the mountain where Iesus appeared to his
disciples in Matt i8:1o was the same as that of the transfguration, an
equation we fnd also elsewhere, then the transfguration took place near
Ierusalem, on the Mount of Olives. Seventv vears later, two safe witnesses
to the mountain of the transfguration being Mount Tabor are provided
bv Ierome (ca. :a¬–a1o). In his Epistula ao.1: (CSEL -a.:aa) we read:
pergemus ad Itabyrium et ad tabernacula saluatoris, non, ut Petrus quon-
dam uoluit, eum cum Moysi et Helia, sed cum patre cernemus et spir-
itu sancto, “We will go to Mount Itabvrium and the booths of the Sav-
iour, and we will behold him not, as Peter once wished, with Moses and
Cf. E.D. Hunt, Holy Land Pilgrimage in the Later Roman Empire zu+r:–,oc (Oxford
1o8a), 8-.
::a 1o× uiiuovs1
Elijah, but with the Father and the Holv Spirit.”
Also in his Epitaphium
Paulae (Epist. 1o8) 1: (CSEL --.:i:), narrating Paula’s frst exploration
of the Holv Land, he states that she scandebat montem Tabor, in quo
transfguratus est dominus, “climbed Mount Tabor, on which the Lord
was transfgurated.” About -¬o, the Piacenza Pilgrim (wronglv called
Antoninus Placentinus) mentions the existence of three basilicas on the
mountain: De ^azareth uenimus in Tabor monte, qui mons exurgit in
medio campestri, terra uiua, tenens circuitum milia sex, ascensum milia
tria, susum contra unum miliarium planus, in quo sunt tres basilicas, ubi
dictum est a discipulo. “Faciamus hic tria tabernacula,” “From Nazareth
we went to Mount Tabor, a mountain rising out of a plain. It is formed of
good soil, and it is six miles round the foot of it, and three miles to climb.
When vou arrive at the top there is a level place a mile in length, with
three basilicas, in the place where one of the disciples said ‘Let us make
three tabernacles’ [Matt 1¬:a]” (trans. I. Wilkinson).
Tere is no need to continue quoting instances where the mountain
of Iesus’ transfguration bears the name Tabor—sumce it to sav that
these instances grow more and more numerous as time progresses, in
Bvzantine texts as well as in those of Western Christianitv.
A new stage
is reached with the Reformation: whereas Protestants use the princi-
ple of sola Scriptura and take the mountain for what it is in the New
Testament—nameless—Catholics maintain the tradition and persist in
calling the mountain bv its now familiar name. Tus, among Protes-
tants the awareness that the mountain was eventuallv given the name
Tabor is almost extinct. When I asked a friend who is a minister and,
in addition to that, an experienced patristic scholar, which mountain
was meant in the transfguration account, afer some hesitation he sug-
Tis Epistula ao was ostensiblv a letter of Paula and Eustochium (the “we” in the
quotation), but it is so thoroughlv Hieronvmian that it counts as written bv him, cf.
G. Grützmacher, Hieronymus (Studien zur Geschichte der Teologie und der Kirche o.:;
Leipzig 1oo1), 1:::.
See, for example, P. Tomsen, Loca sancta (Leipzig 1oo¬ = Hildesheim 1ooo), oo;
Wilkinson, Ierusalem Pilgrims, 1o-, ii8, i:o, i-o, :-o, :oo, and especiallv D. Baldi,
Enchiridion locorum sanctorum. Documenta S. Evangelii loca respicientia (id ed.; Ierusa-
lem 1o--), :18–:ao. Eventuallv, Mount Tabor received the name “Holv Mountain,” from
iPet 1:18, cf. Wilkinson, ibid. i:o n. ii. Two other traditions mav have some connection
with the mountain’s status as the place of Iesus’ transfguration: the fallen angels “landing”
on Mount Tabor, cf. T. Zahn, Geschichte des ^eutestamentlichen Kanons (Erlangen 18oi),
i.i:ooo n. 1, and Melchizedek’s stav there, cf. I. Dochhorn, “Die Historia de Melchisedech
(Hist Melch)—Einführung, editorischer Vorbericht und Editiones praeliminares,” Le
Museon 11¬ (iooa) ¬–a8; also Dalman, Orte und Vege, 1oo, Kopp, Die heiligen Stätten,
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× ::-
gested Mount Horeb; the idea that it could be Tabor was new to him.
However, Catholic scholars tend (or should I sav tended) to mention the
name Tabor as if it were usedinthe NewTestament transfgurationnarra-
tive. Tus, the Vulgate Concordance of Dutripon, while introducing the
lemma Elias, mentions the Tishbite’s presence during the transfguration
on Mount Tabor as something obvious.
Te question could even give
rise to some suppressed mutual irritation. On the one hand, while men-
tioning that Mount Tabor traditionallv was considered to be the scene of
Iesus’ transfguration, the worthwhile travel guide of the Holv Land bv
Karl Baedeker, seems to betrav its Protestant inspiration bv hastening to
add “chose d’autant moins admissible que du temps de I.-C. le sommet du
mont était certainement couvert de maisons.”
Converselv, the Diction-
naire de la Bible inits article “Tabor,” while not decreeing that the moun-
tain was Mount Tabor, describes the tradition with obvious svmpathv
and introduces the counterarguments with the testv words: “Cette tra-
dition séculaire est maintenant rejetée par de nombreux contradicteurs.
On soutient que . . . ”
a. Is Mount Tabor the Mountain of the Transfguration?
Of course, the scene of Iesus’ transfguration is not to be located on
Mount Tabor just because tradition has it, nor is it to be denied just
because the New Testament is silent on the matter. Scholarlv discussions
have used other arguments. Starting from the premise that the Gospels
are referring to a real mountain in Galilee two conditions seem to be
required for Mount Tabor to be the location of the event: the mountain
should ofer a place where Iesus and his three companions could be
without unwanted onlookers, for thev were there “apart bv themselves”
(Mark o:i), and the mountain should be reachable within six davs (Mark
o:i) from Caesarea Philippi where Iesus had been before (Mark 8:i¬). As
F.P. Dutripon, Concordantiæ Bibliorum Sacrorum Vulgatæ editionis (Paris 18:8),
a1o: “At non prætereundum Iesum Christum, cum transfguratus est super montem
Tabor [italics mine] inconspectutriumApostolorum, habuisse testes veteris Legis Eliam
et Movsen quibuscum loquebatur.” For a contemporarv example, the current Roman
Catholic Lectionarv of the Netherlands renders Luke o:i8 0νrβηεiς τòðρος with“besteeg
de berg Tabor” (went up on Mount Tabor) (Lectionarium voor de zondagen. C-cyclus
[Boxtel 1o¬o], ¬o).
Italics mine. I quote from K. Bædeker, Palestine et Syrie (ath ed.; Leipzig 1o1i), iao,
but no doubt anv edition of the guide would do.
DB -:i1ao–i1a1.
::o 1o× uiiuovs1
for the frst condition, scholars denving the candidature of Tabor pointed
to the fact that there was a citv on the mountain.
Indeed, Polvbius
(ca. ioo–ca. 1iovc) in his Histories -.¬o.o–¬ mentions a πóλις called
'Αταβuριον on the mountain, and Iosephus in Var i.-¬:; a.-a, o1 and
Life 188 mentions a fortifed encampment there.
Teir opponents argue
that there was space enough lef for retirement.
Te second condition
led those who denied the candidacv of Mount Tabor to assume that the
high mountain of Mark and Matthew suggested one of the summits of
Mount Hermon (whose height, i,81am., indeed leaves nothing to be
desired). Teir opponents are of the opinion that the distance between
Caesarea Philippi and Mount Tabor could well be covered within a
Discussions of this kind, however, are fruitless, not just because the
meagre data in the Gospels allowboth positions, but also and particularlv
because the premise is vain. A modern reader will expect a text to be
either an account of verifable facts or a fairv tale in which fantasv has
free plav. Finding that the Gospels mention manv real historical and
geographic items, one would assume that details that do not appear to
be so real at frst glance, will also turn out to be real. If Herod, Pilate,
the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Nazareth, and so manv other entities that
plav a role in the life of Iesus, are elements of the real world, it is
dimcult to accept that “a high mountain” might not be demonstrable.
Yet this must be the case. Parallels are not lacking in earlv Christian
literature: Iohn was on Patmos, a well-known island in the Aegean, but
nevertheless he saw four angels standing at the four corners of the world
Zahn, Das Evangelium des Matthäus, -oi n. :.
Here we cannot go into the question of the settlement of Mount Tabor, in particular
the relationship, if anv, between the otherwise unknown πóλις of Polvbius -.¬o.¬, the
πεδiον . . . τετειχισμrνον of Iosephus, Var a.--, and the κuμη 'Ιουδαiων of Eusebius,
Onomasticon ¬8.o (Klostermann). For a copious documention concerning the mountain,
primarv sources as well as bibliographv, see Y. Tsafrir et al., Tabula Imperii Romani.
Iudaea Palaestina. Eretz Israel in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Periods. Gazetteer
(Ierusalem 1ooa), iao–ia¬; add Dalman, Orte und Vege, io:–ioa; F.W. Walbank, A
Historical Commentary on Polybius (Oxford 1o-¬), 1:-oo.
G. Wohlenberg, Das Evangeliumdes Markus (Kommentar zumNeuen Testament i;
Leipzig 1o1o), iai; DB -:i1a1; other references in Kopp, Die heiligen Stätten, :o1 n. -8.
DB -:i1a1. Cf also H. Baltensweiler, Die Verklärung Iesu (ATANT ::; Zürich 1o-o),
-:–-a n. 8o. For attempts in later periods to localize the mountain cf. those mentioned
bv Baltensweiler, ibid.; I.M. Nützel, Die Verklärungserzählung im Markusevangelium
(Forschung zur Bibel o; Würzburg 1o¬:), o: n. :a; Donaldson, Iesus on the Mountain,
ioo n. 1-; W.D. Davies and D.C. Allison, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Gospel according to Saint Matthew (ICC; Edinburgh 1oo1), i:oo-.
1ui moU×1.i× oi 1v.×siicUv.1io× ::¬
(Rev 1:o; ¬:1). Hermas lived in Rome and he had to convev a message
to Maximus, but we fnd him also sitting on a certain mountain, fasting
and thanking the Lord for his blessings, and descrving the heavenlv
fgure, the shepherd, sitting next to him(Shepherd 1.1; ¬.a; -a.1). Te real
and the supernatural intermingle. Tis is also clear in Matthew. Tere
we have two corresponding mountains, the Mount of Temptation and
the Mount of Transfguration; the similar vocabularv used with regard
to them underlines the correspondence: a:8 παραλαμβoνει α0τòν o
διoβολος ε/ς oρος ìψηλoν λiαν—1¬:1 παραλαμβoνει o 'Ιησο0ς τòν
Πrτρον καi 'Ιoκωβον καi 'Ιωoννην τòν 0δελφòν α0το0 καi 0ναφrρει
α0τοuς ε/ς oρος ìψηλoν. It might be thought that bv hard reasoning
it would be possible to pinpoint the latter mountain on the map of
Palestine, but it will be impossible to do the same for the former, a
mountain, afer all, from where “all the kingdoms of the world and
the glorv of them” could be shown. If, then, the one mountain, that of
temptation, has to be considered as being bevond the ordinarv world, in
principle the same might be said of the other. Tis possibilitv becomes
plausible or even compelling when attempts to identifv that mountain
as a geographic element of Galilee fail to succeed, as is indeed the case.
Tus, both the “verv high mountain” in Matt a:8 and the “high mountain”
in Matt 1¬:1 and that before him in Mark o:i, are bevond the common
Luke takes an alternative direction; he rationalizes, we might sav. In
a:-, he omits the Mount of Temptation and makes the devil take Iesus up
and show him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time—it is
more imaginable to show all the kingdoms of the world while suspended
in the air than while standing upon a mountain top. In o:i8, he changes
Mark’s and Matthew’s “a high mountain” to “the mountain,” which is,
as we saw earlier, a real Galilean mountain and, indeed, almost Iesus’
habitual place of work. Te whole subsequent historv of our Mount
of Transfguration is inspired bv the same rationalizing. Te idea was
that the mountain had to be a tangible one. As something “holv” had
occurred there, it deserved the title “the holv mountain,” which we fnd
from iPeter onward, and as, according to the Gospels it was to be found
in Galilee, the most outstanding and highest mountain of that region,
Mount Tabor, was eventuallv recognized as the desired place. Onlv if
Cf. W.D. Davies and D.C. Allison, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Gospel according to Saint Matthew (ICC; Edinburgh 1o88), 1:aii–ai:.
::8 1o× uiiuovs1
we take the earliest accounts of the transfguration seriouslv, will we
understand that originallv the mountain was not part of the map of
I gratefullv acknowledge the help received in various forms during the preparation
of this essav from Wim Aerts, Dr I.L.W.M. Hermans, Carolien Hilhorst-Böink, Gerard
Luttikhuizen, and Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta.
Cov×iiis HoU1m.×
Iosua, der Mann, der Israel in das verheißene Land hineinführte, diente
Iahrhunderte hindurch in erbaulicher christlicher Auslegung als Figur
von Iesus Christus, „der Gottes Volk in den Himmel hineinführen soll-
während er in seiner Rolle als Kriegsherr—bildlich dargestellt in
einer festen ikonografschen Tradition (Abb. i)
—als Vorbild für seinen
Glauben hingestellt werden konnte, nicht nur bei der Eroberung Ierichos
(Iosua o; cf. Heb 11::o), sondern auch bei der Schlacht von Gibea (Ios
1o:1i–1a). Dem Bild, das dort auf dem abgebildeten Druck zu sehen ist,
werden folgende Worte hinzugefügt:
Die liebe Sonn stund still, das gab ein dopplen Tag,
Der Mond blieb auch zurück, sieh was der Glaub vermag.
Iosua, der christliche Heilige, ist seit dem1¬. Ih. einer radikalen Bibelkri-
tik der Freidenker zum Opfer gefallen. Wir werden uns mit dem Urteil
einiger von ihnen über ihn und dem nach ihm benannten Buch beschäf-
1. Iean Meslier
Iean Meslier (1ooa–1¬io) war von 1o8o bis zu seinem Tod Pastor in
Etrépignv in der Gegend des nordfranzösischen Charleville-Mézières.
Als er starb, hinterließ er in dreifacher Ausfertigung ein umfangreiches
Manuskript, das an seine Parochianer gerichtet war, dessen Titel mit den
Worten beginnt „Mémoires des pensées et des sentimens de I.M. . . .
Prêtre, Curé d’Estrep
et de But.“ In dem als „Le Testament“ bekannt
Aus dem Niederländischen übersetzt von Walter Hilbrands.
So nach I.F. Schimsheimer, Bijbelsche gedichten (Amsterdam 18¬8), -o.
Historiae Sacrae Veteris o ^ovi Testamenti = Biblische Figuren, darinnen die fur-
nembste Historien, in heiliger Schrim begrippen sein = Figures de la Bible, demonstrans les
principales Histoires de la Sainte Ecriture = Bybelsche Figuren, vertonende de voornaamste
Historien der Heilige Schriþuur = Figures of the Bible, in which the chiefest Histories of the
holy Scriptures are discribed (Amsterdam 1o8o), 11¬.
:ao cov×iiis uoU1m.×
Abb. i: „Iosua 1o“ aus Historiae Sacrae Veteris
o ^ovi Testamenti (Amsterdam 1o8o), 11¬.
gewordenen Werk erweist sich Meslier, der zeitlebens als Dorfpastor treu
seinen Pfichten nachgekommen war, als ein Atheist und philosophi-
scher Materialist und als ein radikaler Kritiker der Religion und der Bibel
und der christlichen Religion in Gestalt der römisch-katholischen Kir-
che im Besonderen. Er äußert auch scharfe Kritik an den gesellschafli-
chen Verhältnissen und Institutionen seiner Zeit und entpuppt sich als
werdender Kommunist.
Vollständig wurde „Le Testament“ mit einer
Einleitung des Verlegers zuerst 18oo–18oa in Amsterdam von Rudolf
Carel Meijer (18io–1ooa) veröfentlicht, der auch unter dem Namen
R.C. d’Ablaing van Giessenburg bekannt war, ein Vertreter niederländi-
scher Freidenker.
S. zu ihm H.R. Schlette in Religionskritik von der Auflärung bis zur Gegenwart
(Hg. K.-H. Weger; Freiburg i.Br. 1o¬o), i::–i:-. In RGG (a. Auf.) und TRE fndet sich
kein Artikel über ihn, wohl aber in Vikipedia. Auch in M. Sæbo, Hg., Hebrew Bible/Old
Testament. Te History of Its Interpretation (Göttingenioo8), Bd. i, wird er nicht genannt.
S. zu ihm T. Haan und I.M. Welcker in Biografsch woordenboek van het socialisme
en de arbeidersbeweging in ^ederland [ferner abgekürzt als BVSA^], (Hg. P.I. Meerten et
al.; Amsterdam 1o88), ::1a:–1a¬. Die erste Ausgabe umfasste drei Bände mit insgesamt
iosU. im Uv1iii ii×iciv iviiui×xiv :a1
Meslier geht nicht speziell auf das Iosuabuch ein, aber aus seinen
Ausführungen und den Bemerkungen, die er über den Inhalt macht,
kann seine Sichtweise abgeleitet werden. Wir vermitteln einen Eindruck
seiner Ansichten über das Christentum und die Bibel, konzentriert auf
das Iosuabuch und seine Hauptperson.
Nach dem Urteil von Meslier gibt es keine wahre Religion. Alle Reli-
gionen erweisen sich, wenn sie der Vernunf unterworfen werden, als
menschliche Schöpfungen. Auf Wahn und Betrug basierend, werden sie
von Machthabern zur Bestätigung und Legitimation ihrer Macht ver-
wendet. Seinem Urteil zufolge kann die Bibel unmöglich als Zeugnis für
einen allmächtigen, unendlich guten und weisen Gott betrachtet werden.
Eine Untersuchung ihres Inhalts kann nur zu der Schlussfolgerung füh-
ren, dass die christliche Religion eine Religion wie andere Religionen ist
und in jedem Fall nicht ein höheres Niveau aufweist (z. B. 1::1a; i::8).
Sollte das Christentum die wahre Religion und die Bibel das Zeugnis
für den allmächtigen, unendlich guten und weisen Gott sein, dann sollte
der Beweis hierfür mit soviel Evidenz geliefert werden, dass eine Diskus-
sion unmöglich ist. Dieser Beweis kann jedoch nicht geliefert werden.
Die biblischen Schrifen können im Hinblick auf den Inhalt unmöglich
das Resultat göttlicher Inspiration und ebenso wenig menschlicher Weis-
heit sein. Infolgedessen steht ihnen nicht zu, dass man ihnen irgendeinen
Glauben schenkt (1:1:a; vgl. auch z. B. 1:i:1).
Als Beweis für den unzuverlässigen Charakter der Bibel weist Meslier
u. a. auf die unzulängliche Überlieferung des Alten Testaments (1:1o8),
auf den Umstand, dass die Bibel keine allgemeine Anerkennung erhal-
ten hat, sondern von u. a. Marcion und den Manichäern kritisiert wurde
(1:1oo), und über die Grenzen des Kanons keine Einstimmigkeit bestand
und besteht (1:11o). Es scheint keinen Prüfstein zu geben, an dem die
Sicherheit der Autorität der Bibel überprüf werden kann (1:111). Die
Erforschung der Bibel erweist, dass die Autorität und die Wahrheit, wel-
che die Christen für die Bibel einfordern, unbegründet ist. Es wimmelt
von Widersprüchen in der Bibel
und von grauenhafen Vorschrifen. Es
wird angeordnet, Gott Tiere zu opfern. Sogar Menschen werden ihm als
über 11oo Seiten. In diesem Artikel wird der 1o¬a beim Georg Olms Verlag, Hildes-
heim, erschienene Nachdruck verwendet. In Paris ist 1o¬o–1o¬i eine kritische Ausgabe
von Mesliers gesamtem bekannten schriflichen Werk erschienen, herausgegeben von
I. Deprun et al.
Detailliert diskutiert Meslier die Unterschiede zwischen den Evangelien (1:11¬–
:ai cov×iiis uoU1m.×
Opfer gebracht (1:1o¬–iio). Dies führt Meslier zu der Bemerkung, dass
diese Menschen wohl verblendet gewesen sein müssen, wenn sie glaub-
ten, dass sie Gott eine Freude bereitenkönnten, indemsie das Blut fießen
ließen und diese armen Tiere und ihr Fleisch verbrannten. Der grauen-
hafe Charakter der Vorschrifen ist ein Hinweis darauf, dass sie nicht
von Gott stammen können. So liefern sie den Beweis, dass die sogenann-
ten Ofenbarungen und diejenigen, die sie bringen, lügenhaf sind. Die
Propheten sind „Fantasten und Schwärmer“ (1:i:i, i¬o), die sich ein-
bildeten, dass der Geist Gottes auf sie einwirkte, während doch unter
ihnen auch Betrüger waren, die es ihnen nachtaten. Der Umstand, dass
die Propheten einander bekämpfen, liefert wohl den größten Beweis für
die Unsinnigkeit all dieser angeblichen Ofenbarungen (1:i:1–iao). Ihre
zahllosen Verheißungen über das zukünfige Glück und die Größe Ieru-
salems haben sich als falsch erwiesen (1:i¬a–i¬o).
Dasselbe Urteil trimdie imNeuenTestament über undvonIesus geäu-
ßerten Verheißungen (1:i¬o–:i¬). Iesus war dann auch in keiner Weise
besser als die anderen Ofenbarungsmittler. Er war einer der Betrüger in
seiner Zeit, die sich für den Messias ausgaben, und ein Illusionist (i:ai–
¬:). Von seinen Zeitgenossen wurde er betrachtet als „ein nutzloser, ver-
achtenswerter Mensch, ein zügelloser Schwärmer, der als ein jämmerli-
cher Taugenichts endetet“ (1:8-; i:a1).
Auch die Erscheinungen und Ofenbarungen an die Patriarchen (Gen
1i:1–:; 1::1a–1o; 1-:- usw.) mit ihren Verheißungen großer Nachkom-
menschaf und des Besitzes umfangreichen Landes (1:18¬–1o¬) sind
nicht mehr als „triviale und eitle Trugbilder“, die nichts Göttliches bein-
halten und nur Gelächter hervorrufen.
Es ist genauso, als wenn einige Fremdlinge, z. B. einige Deutsche oder
einige Schweizer, in unser Frankreich kommen würden und behaupten
würden, nachdem sie die Gelegenheit hatten, die schönsten Gebiete des
Königreichs zu bewundern, dass Gott ihnen in ihrem Land erschienen sei
und ihnen gesagt habe, nach Frankreich zu gehen, und er ihnen und ihren
Nachkommen alle wunderschönen Gebiete, Herrlichkeiten und Provin-
zen des Königreichs, von den großen Flüssen Rhein und Rhone bis zum
Ozean, schenken werde und dass er einen ewigen Bund mit ihnen und
ihren Nachkommen schließen werde, ihre Nachkommen wie die Sterne
am Himmel vermehren werde . . . Wer würde diese Fremdlinge nicht als
Verrückte, als Fantasten und als zügellose Fanatiker betrachten: (1:1o:–
Ihr Anspruch auf Ofenbarung wird in jedem Fall nicht anerkannt wer-
den. Kurzum: Die Erfüllung der Verheißungen, über die im Buch Iosua
berichtet wird, kann nicht als „Gottes Wort“ ernst genommen werden.
iosU. im Uv1iii ii×iciv iviiui×xiv :a:
Auch die inder Bibel beschriebenenWunder könnennicht als Beweise
für den besonderen Charakter der christlichen Religion angeführt wer-
den. Auch andere Religionen kennen Wunder und die Wundergeschich-
ten aus der Bibel sind nicht glaubwürdiger als vergleichbare Geschich-
ten aus der Antike, um nicht von den Wundern zu reden, von denen
die christlichenHeiligenlegendenzeugen(1:¬o–1o1, 11i–11o, 1:8–1¬a).
Die Wundergeschichten sind nicht mehr als „eitle Lügen“, die als Nach-
ahmung der Fabeln und Dichtungen heidnischer Poeten entstanden sind
(1:1o¬). Die Schrifen der klassischen profanen Autoren erweisen sich
als viel erhabener als die sogenannten heiligen Bücher, die Fabeln des
Asop „sehr viel kunstvoller und lehrsamer“ als „die trivialen und plum-
pen Gleichnisse“ der vermeintlichen Evangelien (1:11o).
Unter den angeblichen Wundergeschichten des Alten Testaments
nennt Meslier auch zwei aus dem Buch Iosua: „Gott brachte in der Zeit
des Iosua die Mauern einiger Städte durch den Schall von Hörnern zu
Fall [Ios o:a–io] und die Sonne ließ er einen ganzen Tag still stehen, um
demVolk für den Kampf gegen die Feinde Zeit zu geben und sie zu besie-
gen [Ios 1o:1:]“ (1:1-o). Die Geschichten beeindrucken Meslier nicht.
Er weist darauf hin, dass aus der klassischen Antike eine Geschichte
über Teben bekannt ist, die mit der von Iosua o vergleichbar ist, aber
noch wundersamer: Die Mauern der Stadt wurden durch die Klänge der
Musikinstrumente des Amphion gebaut; unter diesem Einfuss fügten
sich die Steine von selbst (1:1¬:).
Die Wundergeschichten sind nicht nur unglaubwürdig, sondern sie
machen auch deutlich, dass das Gottesbild der Bibel absurd ist und Gott
unwürdig. Sie führen nämlich zu der Schlussfolgerung, dass Gott mehr
Interesse an verschiedenen kleinen Dingen bekundet als am Wohler-
gehen der Menschheit als ganzer. Meslier arbeitet diesen Punkt detail-
lierter heraus (1:1ao–1¬a). Er weist u. a. darauf hin, dass Gott einen
Engel sandte, umeiner einfachen Dienstmagd zu helfen (Gen i1:1¬–1o),
aber es zuließ und noch immer zulässt, dass jeden Tag aufs Neue eine
unzählbare Menge unschuldiger Menschen Hunger leiden und in ihrem
Elend umkommen (1:1-:), dass er auf wunderbare Weise ein Volk vier-
zig Iahre lang versorgt hat (Deut 8:a; io:a), aber ofensichtlich für die vie-
len Güter und Reichtümer nicht sorgen wollte und sich nicht sorgt, die
für den Fortbestand der Völker nötig sind, von denen so viele als Folge
verhängnisvoller Ereignisse untergingen und noch untergehen (1:1-a).
Zu Amphion siehe H. von Geisau, in KlPauly 1::1a.
:aa cov×iiis uoU1m.×
Viele Wunder bestehen in der Heimsuchung von Völkern, der Verwüs-
tung von Landstrichen, Städten und Königreichen und der Vernichtung
von Völkern und ganzen Armeen.
Sie machen deutlich, dass Gott sich
mehr um das materielle Wohlsein des jüdischen Volkes sorgt—er will
ihm ein fremdes Land als Besitz verschafen—, als dass er darauf abzielt,
es weise und vollkommen zu machen, wie aus der Bibel selbst erkennbar
wird (Deut io:: [1:1-i]).
Das anstößigste Wunder für Meslier ist die Inkarnation. Göttlichkeit
werde „einem nutzlosen Mann, der kein Talent, Verstand oder Wissen
besaß“, „einem Verrückten, einem Wahnsinnigen“ zugeschrieben. Die-
ser Mensch, „der sich selbst nicht vom schmachvollen Tod am Kreuz hat
retten können“, wird von der Kirche als Retter und Heiland angebetet
(i:a1). Ihn entdecken die Christen bereits im Alten Testament, in einer
Reihe von Personen, unter denen auch Iosua ist, die sie als Figur von
Iesus Christus betrachten (1::a-). Die Identifkation ist nicht mehr als
reine Einbildung, behauptet Meslier (1:::i). Alle allegorische und tvpo-
logische Auslegung des AltenTestaments (1::i¬–:-i; i:1–ia) bezeichnet
er als „Unsinn“, der zum Lachen provoziert. „Wenn man alle Worte, alle
Taten und alle Abenteuer des berühmten Don Ouichote von La Manche
auf dieselbe Weise allegorisch und fgürlich interpretieren würde, würde
man dort zweifellos nach Belieben ebenso viele Geheimnisse und Sinn-
bilder entdecken können,“ so behauptet er (1::aa).
i. Hermann Samuel Reimarus
Bekannter unter den Vertretern der Bibelwissenschaf als Meslier ist
Herrmann Samuel Reimarus (1ooa–1¬o8), ein vielseitiger Gelehrter
und ebenfalls Verfasser eines „Testaments“, Apologie oder Schutzschriþ
fur die vernunþigen Verehrer Gottes,
das vollständig erst 1o¬i veröfent-
licht wurde. Von dem im ersten Band Iosua gewidmeten Kapitel (a¬o–
-oa) vermitteln wir einen Eindruck.
Nach dem Urteil von Reimarus wird Iosua von Iuden und Christen
zu Unrecht als ein Ofenbarungsmittler betrachtet. „Bloß die Worte, der
Meslier erwähnt in diesem Zusammenhang das Buch Iosua nicht explizit, aber es
gehört zweifellos zu den Bibelabschnitten, die er vor Augen hat.
S. zu ihm z. B. H. Reventlow, Epochen der Bibelauslegung (München ioo1), a:1-¬–
In zwei Bänden (1 über das AT; i über das NT) herausgegeben von G. Alexander
(Frankfurt a.M. 1o¬i).
iosU. im Uv1iii ii×iciv iviiui×xiv :a-
Herr hat es Mosi geboten“, hat ihn, „der eine GalgenundRadverdient“, zu
jemandemgemacht, der „als einHeiliger, als einBote und Prophet Gottes
gepriesen wird“ (a8o). In Wirklichkeit ist er „der gröste Straßenräuber“
(a8o), der „von Mosi gelernt [hat] das Ius fortioris mit dem Vorwande
eines göttlichen Befehls zu bemänteln, und dabev alle Barmhertzigkeit
gegen die Unschuldigen aus den Augen zu setzen“ (a¬o). Iosuas Erobe-
rung des Landes und die Vernichtung seiner Bewohner kann nicht von
Gott gewollt sein. Die Argumentation, mit der „die Herrn Teologi“ die
Vorgehensweise von Iosua rechtfertigen—Iosua und die Israeliten tre-
ten als Schiedsrichter Gottes auf, weil das Maß der Ungerechtigkeit der
Bewohner Kanaans voll war (z. B. Gen 1-:1o)—ist nicht stichhaltig und
ungerecht gegenüber den Kanaanitern, welche die Vorfahren Israels als
Fremdlinge freundschaflich aufgenommen hatten. Über den von ihnen
betriebenen Götzendienst fehlt jede Andeutung imBuch Genesis (a8o)
und auch im Buch Iosua (a8i). Er wird als falscher Vorwand zur Legiti-
mation für „Raubbegierde“ (a8a) gebraucht, die Gott unwürdig ist: „so
ist es doch weder seiner Weißheit und Güte, noch seiner Regierungsart
und Haushaltung unter den Menschen gemäß, daß er die wahre Religion
durch gewaltsame Mittel pfantzen, und die Abgötterev durch Vertilgung
der Völker bestrafen wollte“ (a8:). Sollte Gott darauf bedacht sein, die
Abgötterei auszurotten, dann würden für eine Ausrottung andere Völ-
ker viel stärker in Betracht kommen als „die unschuldigen Cananiter,
welche nach allen Datis ein weit besseres praktisches Erkenntniß von
Gott gehabt haben mögen, als die zur Abgötterev gewöhnte und stets
geneigte Israeliten“ (a8:). Wenn das Vorbild von Israel zur Legitimation
für die Eroberung Kanaans—ein göttlicher Befehl wird ersonnen—von
anderen Völkern befolgt werden würde, entsteht eine Situation, die „der
wilden und gesetzlosen Natur der wütenden Raubthiere“ gleicht (a8a;
vgl. auch a8i). Ein Natur- und Völkerrecht, das sich an Gott orientiert,
muss hingegen als unveränderlichen Ausgangspunkt die Regel haben:
Fügt einander kein Leid zu, wenn dir vorher kein Leid zugefügt wurde
Für die Aufassung, dass das Morden, Rauben, Plündern, Brandschat-
zen und Ausrotten von Iosua imNamen Gottes geschieht, kann man sich
nicht auf die Wundergeschichten berufen. Die Geschichten im Iosua-
buch widersprechen selbst der wunderbaren Art und Weise, mit der
Iosua die Eroberungen zustande gebracht haben soll. Erzählt wird von
Vgl. C. Houtman, De Schriþ wordt geschreven. Op zoek naar een christelijke herme-
neutiek van het Oude Testament (Zoetermeer iooo), aoa–ao¬.
:ao cov×iiis uoU1m.×
Verrat, der Verbreitung falscher Gerüchte und durchdachten Strategien.
Dies alles sind nur Hilfsmittel von machtlosen Menschen, die nicht mit
Wundern rechnen. Iosua ist ofensichtlich kein „Wundermann“. Viele
Städte vermochte er nicht einzunehmen, weil sie allzu feste Mauern hat-
ten. Viele Völker konnte er nicht mehr besiegen, weil sie eiserne Wagen
hatten (a8-). In Wirklichkeit scheint Iosua ofenbar nur in geringem
Maß Erfolg gehabt zu haben (a8a–aoo). Das Buch Iosua macht deutlich,
dass das, was er verrichtete, „lauter unvolkommenes Werk und Kröpe-
lev“ war (a88) und ganz und gar verrät, wie unbequem er war (a8o).
Das Bild von ihm als der von Gott Gerufene hält nicht stand. Bei Ai
erlitt er eine Niederlage und macht Achan zum Opfer seines Vergehens
(Iosua ¬), um seine Reputation eines von Gott gesandten Leiters auf-
recht zu erhalten (aoi–aoa). Seine Vorgehensweise gegen Achan war nur
„ein kahler Vorwand“, um sein Vergehen zu verbergen (S. aoa). Er han-
delte, wie Generäle es zu tun pfegen, aber verhielt sich charakterlos, als
er Achans gesamte Familie bestrafe. Eine derart grausame Ungerechtig-
keit lässt sich nicht mit einem Ausspruch Gottes in Übereinstimmung
bringen (aoa).
Die Wunder, mit denen sein Name verbunden ist, lassen sich leicht
erklären (aoo–ao-).
Der Schreiber des Iosuabuches hat in seinem Be-
richt von der Schlacht von Gibea (Ios 1o:1i–1a) aus Liebe für das Wun-
dersame „aus einemGedichte [Iosua hat Sonne und Mond befohlen, still
zu stehen] eine Geschichte gemacht“ (ao-). Die wirkliche Geschichte,
der Hintergrund des Gedichts, sah wie folgt aus: Die Israeliten hatten in
der Schlacht von Gibea als Folge des Scheins der untergehenden Sonne
und des aufgehenden Mondes einen derart hellen Abend und eine lichte
Nacht, dass es so erschien, als ob der Tag noch eine Zeit länger andauerte.
Auch die Beschreibung der Eroberung Ierichos (Iosua o) ist nach Rei-
marus poetischer Art. Der Poet stellt es so dar, als ob die gesamte Mauer
sich von selbst auf einmal zu den Füßen der Israeliten erniedrigt hatte,
während in Wirklichkeit die Israeliten „die Einwohner der Stadt Iericho
mit ihren öferen müssigen Processionen um die Stadt bevnahe irre und
sicher gemacht [hatten], und dann unvermuhtet, auf einmal von allen
Seiten, die Mauer mit einem Grossen Feldschrev bestiegen, und einnah-
men“ (ao-).
Iosuas Laufahn muss als missglückt betrachtet werden. Er hat sein
Volk weder in materieller noch in geistlicher Hinsicht in glücklichen
Zu Reimarus’ rationaler Erklärung der Wunder siehe Houtman, De Schriþ wordt
geschreven, aoi–ao8, -1a–-1¬.
iosU. im Uv1iii ii×iciv iviiui×xiv :a¬
Umständen zurückgelassen. „Man kann sich, nach allen Aussichten,
nichts kläglicheres und ungereimteres vorstellen, als die hebräische Re-
publik war, wie sie Iosua verließ“ (-oa), so Reimarus am Schluss seiner
Ausführungen über Iosua. Schon zeitig hatte Iosua, ob aus freiem Willen
oder gezwungen, seine Tätigkeiten als allgemeiner Heerführer beendet
(a8¬, ao¬, -o1). Die Macht lag danach in den Händen der Hohepries-
ter und Altesten, was zu einem Vakuum in der Leitung führte (ao8): „Es
sollte und muste kein König in Israel sevn: der Herr allein, oder vielmehr
der Hohepriester, war König; und wer von einem rechten Könige sprach,
der hatte nicht so wohl den Usurpatör, als Gott selbst verworfen“ (-oo).
Es war Iosua nicht geglückt, die mosaische Religion gänzlich einzufüh-
ren und das mosaische Gesetz zur Anerkennung zu verhelfen und—was
angesichts seiner Unvollkommenheit sehr notwendig war—zu reformie-
ren (ao-–-oa). Die Priesterschaf mit ihren Privilegien bildete hier ein
Hindernis: „Wer diesen Augapfel anzutasten, ein ordentlich Regiment
einzuführen, und das Volk von den übermässigen Priester-Gaben und
Levitischen Plackereven zu entbinden gewagt hätte, der würde die gantze
heilige Schaar gegen sich gehabt haben. Die maaßte sich auch zu Iosuä
Zeit alsobald der Obermacht, selbst in politischen Dingen, an“ (ao¬).
:. Alexander de M.
Alexander de M.—hinter dieser Abkürzung verbirgt sich Iunker Ferdi-
nand Alexander de Mev van Alkemade (18i8–18oa)
—ist der Verfas-
ser eines umfangreichen Werks De Bijbel beschouwd in zijne eigenlijke
waarde (Die Bibel in ihrem eigentlichen Vert betrachtet), eine durch-
gehend kritische Überprüfung aller Bibelbücher, das 18-o erschien.
Triebfeder für die Veröfentlichung seines Kommentars zur Bibel war
für De M. das Bedürfnis aufzuzeigen, dass der Schrif der Christenheit
das Attribut „heilig“ wegen des verwerfichen Gottesbildes und ihrer
Bisher ist es mir nicht gelungen, nähere biografsche Angaben über ihn zu erhalten.
Der Schreiber Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker [18io–188¬]) rechnet Alexander de M.
in „Idee a8i“ zu denjenigen „unter uns, die Schmach ertragen um der Wahrheit willen.“
Siehe Volledige werken (Amsterdam1o¬:), ::i:o. S. zu Multatuli I.M. Welcker in BVSA^
Das Werk erschien in drei Bänden (1 und i über das AT; : über das NT) in Am-
sterdam auf Kosten des Autors bei F. Günst, Verleger und Svmpathisant der Freidenker.
S. zu ihm H. Moors in BVSA^ 8:oi–o8.
:a8 cov×iiis uoU1m.×
Legitimierung von Gewalt und Betrug keineswegs zusteht.
Die Vor-
stellung, dass die Bibel von Menschen geschrieben wurde, die vom Geist
Gottes inspiriert waren, hält er angesichts des Inhalts für einen geistes-
kranken Gedanken. Eine Untersuchung der Bibel erweist, dass es ein
Buch von Menschen ist und von leichtem Gehalt. De M.s Ausführun-
gen beruhen auf einer eigenen Analvse der Bibel anhand der Statenverta-
ling, der „nationalen“ niederländischen Bibel, und einer jüdischen Über-
setzung „auf Englisch von Dr. Leeser in Philadelphia“ (xiii).
so teilt er mit, las er „irgendein Buch, das gegen die Bibel geschrieben
war“ (xiii). De M. betrachtete sich selbst nicht als einen Atheisten, son-
dern glaubte in „die Vorsehung“, die in der Natur durch die Vernunf zu
erkennen ist (1:x), „das unendliche Wesen . . . , das man gewöhnlich Gott
nennt“, das jedoch nichts zu tun hat mit „dieser launischen und leeren
Figur“, dem Gott der Bibel (i:v). Von seinen Ausführungen zum Iosua-
buch (1:ioo–iio) vermitteln wir einen Eindruck.
De M.s Augenmerk liegt darauf, das Handeln Iosuas und damit „die
großen Taten“ des Herrn anhand dessen zu entsakralisieren, was imBuch
Iosua geschrieben steht. Im Prinzip kommt dessen Inhalt „einer Mord-
übungsschule mit zwischenzeitlichen Wunderdarstellungen“ gleich. Iro-
nisch fügt De M. dem hinzu: „alles zum Nutzen und zur Erbauung!“
(i1a). Das Buch macht deutlich, „in welche Extreme man den Menschen
führen kann, indem man sie glauben macht, dass sie durch unnatürliche
Handlungen Gott dienen können“ (i11). Zur Illustration weist De M. auf
die Geschichte über die Plünderung und Vernichtung von Ai (Iosua 8).
Auch wehrlose Frauen und Kinder werden von „den gnadenlosen Hän-
den“ der „Kämpfer vor dem Herrn“ ermordet (i11), worauf ein Fest mit
vielenDankopfernfür denHerrnfolgt (vgl. Ios 8::o). Dies entlockt De M.
die Bemerkung: „Es wäre ihr verdienter Lohn gewesen, wenn der Herr
diesmal die Idee gehabt hätte, umdie Opfernden von der Erde verschlin-
gen zu lassen“ (i11).
Denn „Horden von Barbaren oder Wilden werden
in der Tat weniger rachsüchtig gehandelt haben als dieses heilige Volk auf
Befehl des Herrn, der sich selbst ein Gott nannte“ (i11).
S. die Vorrede zu Band 1, v–xv.
Gemeint ist die Übersetzung von Isaac Leeser (18oo–18o8): Twenty-Four Books of
the Holy Scriptures Transl. aþer the Best Iewish Authorities.
De M. spielt auf Num1o:i8–:: auf, worauf er auf 1:8–1ao eingeht. Damals handelte
der Herr völlig ungerecht. Ihm gegenüber muss man sich aber vor Kritik hüten. Er ist
„so mächtig, dass er den Boden unter den Füßen derjenigen aufspalten lässt, die seine
Meinung nicht vertreten“ (i1o).
iosU. im Uv1iii ii×iciv iviiui×xiv :ao
Auch an anderer Stelle schildert De M. den Gott des Iosuabuches als
einen bösartigen Gott. In Zusammenhang mit der Verhärtung des Her-
zens der in Ios 11:18–io genannten Könige bemerkt er: „Der Herr hatte
ihr Herz noch nicht in dem Maße verhärtet, oder das Schwert der Israe-
liten konnte noch mächtig vorstoßen. Vermutlich wollte der Herr durch
diese Mordübung auch das Herz der Kinder Israels verhärten“ (i1-). Die
Geschichte über Achan (Iosua ¬), der, obwohl er seine Missetat bekannte
(¬:io–i1), nichtsdestotrotz mit Haus und Habe exekutiert wurde (¬:ia–
i-), führt De M. zu der Bemerkung: „Der Herr war also, nach dem Tod
des Mose, weder gerechter in seinen Urteilen geworden noch mitleids-
voller“ (i1o). Und was Iosua und die Israeliten betrim, verhalten sich
diese im Fall der Gibeoniter (Iosua o) nur augenscheinlich anständiger,
als der Herr sich zu verhalten pfegt. Sie bleiben dem geschworenen Eid
treu (Ios o:1-, 18, i1). Hierzu macht De M. folgende Aussage: „viele sol-
cher Beispiele für Ehrlichkeit kommen in diesen Geschichten nicht vor“
(i1i). Bedacht muss jedoch werden, dass nicht Ehrlichkeit die Triebfeder
war, sondern Diplomatie. Iosua wurde sich bewusst, „dass es ratsam war,
die kananitischen Städte nicht noch mehr zu verärgern, nachdemsie, die
miteinander verbunden waren, stärker waren als Israel“ (i1i).
Eine Analvse des Iosuabuches erweist De M. zufolge, dass die Erobe-
rung des Landes Kanaan gewiss nicht beeindruckend war. Dreißigtau-
send Helden wurden eingesetzt, um die Stadt Ai zu erobern, die nicht
mehr als 1i.ooo Einwohner zählte. Andere eroberte Städte