ABH Gen 31:42, 51-53 the Dread of Isaac

Bill Rea cctr114 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Jun 26 17:27:45 EDT 2001


Brian wrote:-


>In Genesis 31 Laban and Jacob swear a covenant. Laban swears by the god of
>hiws forefathers but Jacob swears by the  ' Dread of his father Isaac '
>(Rotherhams  transl ).
>
>To my ears this reads like a title. eg the NAB reads the Awesome One, but
>other renderings translate pachad as fear: 'the 'fear' of his father Isaac
>.'
>
>Is the word used as a divine title? Is it used as a title of YHWH?
>Or was such a title used for local gods in Canaan?

I translated this as:-

42 If the God of my ancestors, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac,
had not been with me you would have sent me away empty handed. God saw
my oppression and the work of my hands and he gave judgement last
night.

It's a difficult phrase to understand. I wonder if it stems from
Abraham's attempt to sacrifice Isaac. While Isaac has a
number of very good qualities, he's a small player in Genesis beside
Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. Perhaps in contrast to those three
and their "good" experiences with God, Isaac genuinely feared
God in the dreading, not reverential, sense of the word. 

Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury  University  \_ 
E-Mail b dot rea at it dot canterbury dot ac dot nz             </   New 
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                   /)  Zealand 
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