File Name: homeland and exile biblical and ancient near eastern studies in honour of bustenay oded .zip
The Significance of the Rhetorical Ambiguity in Isaiah Nissim Amzallag; Shamir Yona. Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. The ambiguity in Isa a concerning the identity of the subject Yhwh or the smith of the two verbs relating a metallurgical action to blow and to cast is identified here as a rhetorical device intending to conceal the essential relation of YHWH with metallurgy.
Integrated in the whole Isa 54 chapter, this device becomes a plea for the definitive replacement of Edom with Israel as yhwh 'speople, exactly as in Isa and Isa Isaiah rarely attracts special attention in scholarship, its meaning being generally considered quite clear.
In the first hemiverse, YHWH claims that he has created the smiths; in the second, he takes credit for the creation of users of the instruments of destruction produced by the smiths. Such rhetoric is unsurprising in Isa , a section well known for developing the theme of YHWH's control of the entirety of the universe and its elements. It aptly combines the dual dimensions of consolation and hope that characterise Isa as well as the self-predication and self-glorification of YHWH that are identified with the rhetoric of monotheism in the same set of verses.
All these considerations do much to bolster the general consensus concerning the meaning and interpretation of Isa , reflected by the ESV translation of this verse:.
Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose; I have also created the ravager to destroy. Several observations, however, suggest that the meaning of this verse is not as simple as it may appear. Whereas most translators identify it with people that are victims of destruction, other translators and exegetes identify the weapon produced by the smith as the object of destruction in 16b.
Ambiguity may also be detected in the first hemiverse. The difference in conjugation between verb 1 and verbs may be indicative of a change in the identity of the subject.
Such ambiguity in 16a concerning the subject of verbs is reflected in a translation closer to the original Hebrew text: "See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work; And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc. Ambivalence in the meaning of Isa is reflected by the interrelations of the three segments of the first hemiverse:.
This redundancy specifically emphasises that it is YHWH who is the agent of the action. This implies that the divine endeavour cannot be restricted to the act of creation, which is similar in both. The absence of a marker of the relative clauses cannot in itself exclude this eventuality because in biblical Hebrew, since many relative clauses are asyndetic, i.
Rather, it supports the assumption that the ambiguity surrounding the subject of verbs in Isa a was intentional. In the third clause, the verb ys hip 'il , generally translated as brings forth, is followed by a complement, the expression kly Im shw. In contrast to the uncertainty as to the subject of verbs , here, the waw suffix unambiguously refers to the smith. The successful fabrication of an object that fulfils the artisan's intent, however, evokes no surprise.
It is expected that identifying the smith as being also the subject of the verb creates a redundancy. This is another argument towards the identification of YHWH as the potential subject of verbs 2 and 3 in Isa a.
An examination of the content of w. Verse 15 : If anyone stirs up strife [to you], it is not from me ; Whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. Verse 17 : No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall refute; This is the heritage of the servants of YHWH, and their vindication from me , declares YHWH.
This claim obviously introduces a dissonance with YHWH's overwhelming power, expressed in v. This claim is especially intriguing after YHWH proclaims himself as even being the source of evil in Isa This contradiction evanesces, however, once YHWH becomes the active agent in 16a, because the specific need to deny any divine participation in the conflicts against Israel v.
The content of v. After claiming that the weapons oriented against Israel are produced against his will w. The insertion of v. However, recalling that YHWH is especially involved in metalworking YHWH as subject of verbs 2 and 3 in 16a , it becomes necessary to justify how weapons may be produced against his will v. The relationship between w. The mention of utensils kly in Isa ay indicates that the first hemiverse is not confined to the production of weapons as expected from the second hemiverse , but rather evokes metallurgy in general.
This invites an examination of the nature of the relationship between YHWH and metallurgy. The metallurgical background of ancient Yahwism is suggested first by traces in the Bible of a pre-Israelite cult of YHWH among the Qenites identified as metalworkers originating in southern Canaan , 22 and traces of Qenite legislation in the Pentateuch e. Exod and mode of action e. Nah because volcanism in antiquity was a typical attribute of the gods who patronised metallurgy.
Num ; 2 Kgs ; Isa and the metallurgical symbolism of the latter supports this notion. This is why YHWH's participation in metalworking should not be restricted to the mere creation of the first smith ab initio in Isa Blowing air onto a fire is essential for bringing a metal to its melting point, a temperature much higher than the heat produced by a normal fire.
This essential participation of the "breath of YHWH" in boosting fire is suggested in Ps "He makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire'" 30 and in Job "By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his 'nose' they are consumed'. A representation of YHWH blowing on metallurgical fire is found in Ezek a: "And I will pour out upon you my indignation; With the fire of my wrath I will blow upon you; and I will give you into the hands of fiery men, smiths of destruction.
Exactly as in Isa , this verse evokes YHWH blowing on the fire by which smiths produce weapons of destruction. The second action is evoked in 16ay by the participle ys hip'il. Extensively used in the Bible about times , the hip 'ilys may denote leading out, causing a person or people to go out e.
Gen , Deut , to send over Ezra , or to liberate Ps Ezek and, by extension, it denotes bringing forth and even producing e. In Prov , Exod , and Job , however, the verb y s qal apparently evokes the flowing of molten metal from its source a crucible or a furnace.
In view of the relationship between molten metal and kbd-YHWH, it is likely that the ambiguity concerning the subject of the third verb is intentional: it stresses YHWH's involvement in an activity that leads both to his material revelation and the production of copper implements.
The active participation of YHWH in the metallurgical workshop, in Isa , is deduced here from three sets of independent observations: dissection of the structure of v. Each of these sets suffices, on its own, to conclude that a rhetorical ambiguity between YHWH and the smith has been intentionally introduced concerning the subject of verbs in 16a.
What comes next is to elucidate its significance. The parallelism of the two assurances is emphasised by the use of similar expressions in both. The oracle is therefore aimed at a people in both military and ideological conflict with Israel.
This conflict seems asymmetrical for the additional reason that it is Israel, and not its enemy, that must defend itself against accusations 17a. The mention of YHWH denying his attachment to the enemy in v. From the wording of the divine verdict YHWH vindicates the Israelites and denies all association with its enemies , we may deduce that the conflict here is over the status of YHWH's "chosen" people, which is disputed between Israel and its enemies.
The problematic way in which the primogeniture rights were transferred from Esau to Jacob and, especially, the lack of divine approbation of Jacob's initiative in Gen 27 finds an echo in Isa There, to the recriminations of the Israelites against YHWH, the prophet decries the fundamental sin committed by their forefather Jacob:. From such a perspective, the content of Isa resembles an antidote to the original sin of the Israelites' forefather because it introduces a change in YHWH's attitude toward the two conflicting peoples.
From now on, in the event of conflict between the two, the interests and care of the new people Israel surmount the commitments traditionally attached to the erstwhile people of YHWH, Edom and the metalworkers.
Isaiah is generally approached as a book centring around a polemic against the Assyrian-Babylonian culture and religion, motivated by the wish to prevent the Israelite exiles' assimilation into their host culture and religion and to encourage their return to the land and god of their fathers. However, the metaphor in w. The promise of divine protection in w. The rhetoric ambiguity in v. On the one hand, the divine participation in the smiths' workshop is not denied, because such a denial would divest YHWH of many of his essential attributes.
This tendency is strengthened by the parallel suggested between the metalworker 16a and the destroyer 16b , which, after identifying the metalworkers with evil, denies their closeness with YHWH. The present study reveals an importance of Isa 54 that far transcends the simple use of a marital metaphor to promote the idea that YHWH defends Israel against its enemies.
Beyond this first layer of interpretation, it appears that this chapter develops the theme of theological substitution of Edom by Israel at YHWH's instigation.
Consequently, the content of Isa 54 should be regarded as homologous to the oracle evoking the definitive destruction of Edom by YHWH Isa 34 as a prelude to the definitive salvation of Israel Isa The present study has shown that, instead of arguing against the traditional commitment of YHWH to the people of Edom, the Isaian author elaborated in Isa a sentence that lends itself to two interpretations, one fitting the traditional view and the other diverging from it.
The author also elaborated a literary environment that spontaneously promotes the second meaning without having to expose any theological argument that denies the first one.
In all these sources, metalworkers are implicitly criticised and sometimes even openly mocked for casting idols. Exactly as the case in Isa , the condemnation of idolatry in all these mentions by conflating producers and users of the metal artifacts promotes the idea that metalworkers betrayed YHWH and his covenant, even without expressing such a charge openly.
Amzallag, Nissim. Gabalda: Paris, Amzallag, Nissim and Shamir Yona. Assis, Elie. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Isaiah New York: Doubleday, Botterweck, G. Johannes and Helmer Ringgren, eds. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Clifford, Hywel. Edited by John Day.
Clifford, Richard J. Proverbs: A Commentary. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, Clines, David J. The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press,
This volume is a tribute to B. Odeds career, and it points to the span of his research. Its thirty contributions deal with a wide range of topics, focusing on the Assyrian Empire, as well as on the Hebrew Bible. Many songs have been written about California; some songs describe its people, places, and events, while others touch on Californian experiences and state of mind. There are four primary vital signs: body temperature, blood pressure, pulse heart rate , and breathing rate respiratory rate , often notated as BT, BP, HR, and RR.
How to publish with Brill. Fonts, Scripts and Unicode. Brill MyBook. Ordering from Brill. Author Newsletter. How to Manage your Online Holdings.
Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of Bustenay Oded. Series: Download PDF. Prices from (excl. VAT): Exile And Forced Labour In Bêt Har'Os: Remarks On A Recently Discovered Moabite Inscription. By: Bob Becking.
The Significance of the Rhetorical Ambiguity in Isaiah Nissim Amzallag; Shamir Yona. Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. The ambiguity in Isa a concerning the identity of the subject Yhwh or the smith of the two verbs relating a metallurgical action to blow and to cast is identified here as a rhetorical device intending to conceal the essential relation of YHWH with metallurgy. Integrated in the whole Isa 54 chapter, this device becomes a plea for the definitive replacement of Edom with Israel as yhwh 'speople, exactly as in Isa and Isa
This volume is a tribute to B. Odeds career, and it points to the span of his research. Its thirty contributions deal with a wide range of topics, focusing on the Assyrian Empire, as well as on the Hebrew Bible. Gershon Galil The icon told The Cut in an interview about her MDNA Skin line that she got so much flak for using sexuality as part of my creativity and was labelled a sexual provocateur in the beginning of her career.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire expanded rapidly across the ancient Near East between the ninth and seventh centuries bce and constituted the domineering historical and political backdrop to the prophetic activities of Isaiah ben Amoz. In defiance of Assyrian claims to the contrary, however, Isaiah declares that Yhwh alone is the king and ruler of world history. Christopher B. Hays is D. Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase.
Alan R. Maier, ed. Brockhaus Verlag,
The Neo-Assyrian army is generally known from sources discovered in the core of the empire, i. Most of these sources date back to the Sargonid period.