Agents of Blood Vengeance, B)DM in Gen 9:6

c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at
Sat Apr 14 17:57:38 EDT 2001

While doing some background work on the subject of blood vengeance
(not! capital punishment, not interested in that topic) . . . again, while
researching the theme of blood vengeance I ran into an exegetical problem in
Gen. 9:6. 

G. Wenham and U. Cassuto both take the traditional path on B)DM in Gen 9:6,
making it function as the agent of the Y$FK. However the LXX throws an
obstacle in our path reading: ANTI TOU hAIMATOS AUTOU EKCUQHSTAI. The agent
of EKCUQHSTAI is not indicated in the LXX which leads J. Wevers* and  V.P.
Hamilton (NICOT) and a few others  to raise questions about the traditional
understanding of B)DM in Gen 9:6.

Without trying to resolve this dispute, lets just explore a what-if path. If
we were to follow J. Wevers' understanding of this text, then could we
understand Y$FK as a "divine passive." Do we have any other texts in the OT
where there is direct speech from )LHYM using the first person, see Gen. 9:5
)DR$, followed more or less immediately by a "divine passive?"

Again, I am not trying to resolve the agent/not-agent issue concerning B)DM
in Gen 9:6, but rather to explore the implications of the alternative
reading where the Y$FK has no specified agent. Would the agent automatically
be assumed to be )LHYM? What other reasons might there be for leaving the
agent unspecified in a case of blood vengeance? Could it be that )LHYM is
not the direct agent but works His justice through secondary agents?

Anyway, that gives a flavor of the kind of questions I am exploring.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*Wevers, John William. "Notes on the Greek Text of Genesis." (Society of
Biblical Literature Septuagint and Cognate Studies ; 35). xxv, 880 p .
Atlanta: Scholars Pr, 1993.

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