[b-hebrew] qetseph in 2Ki 3:27
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Wed Jul 2 15:50:12 EDT 2003
On 02/07/2003 11:24, Liz Fried wrote:
>>Liz brought up the issue of agency for qetseph. David, do you need to make
>>agency explicit in your target language or can you leave it ambiguous? If
>>you are required to make it explicit then it becomes a
>>probability issue. If
>>we were translating Euripides, then Agamemnon offering up his daughter
>>Iphigenia to Artemis in exchange for fair winds to sail off to Troy would
>>not cause any problems but as Yigal has pointed out this isn't a probable
>>solution in 2Kings.
>>Liz no doubt will disagree with this assessment.
> Liz can you give us other
>>examples where pagan deities are shown in the OT as responding
>>human sacrifice or any other kind of sacrifice?
>>This isn't a rhetorical question, I really want to know.
>Well..., I don't think it's relevant really.....
>Just cuz one episode sneaks in, that doesn't mean there'll be more.
>Uh, how about Exodus 7:11,22; 8:7???
This is certainly an interesting issue because of the way it cuts across
1. According to the modern or modernist secular worldview, there are no
spiritual beings with any real power in the world today.
2. According to the classic Judeo-Christian and also Islamic worldview
(and ignoring Trinitarian complications), there is precisely one such
being, the creator God.
3. But according to the pagan, polytheistic or animist worldview which
is currently resurgent in the post-modern western world as well, there
are many such beings.
4. And many, mostly more popular expressions of Christianity and Islam,
I think of Judaism as well, also accept that there are many such beings,
but hold they are all ultimately subservient to the one creator God
although some are in rebellion against him. (This is in fact clearly the
worldview of the New Testament authors, most clearly in the gospels in
narratives relating to demons or evil spirits, but also in Paul who
writes of spiritual "principalities and powers". But these aspects of
the Christian message were marginalised in classic theology.)
Which of these worldviews is seen in the Hebrew Bible? Obviously not #1.
#3 is the dominant worldview of the polytheistic peoples around Israel,
into which the Israelites lapsed during periods of apostasy. In Isaiah's
ridicule of idolatry and in encounters like 1 Kings 18:20-39 those who
read according to worldview #2 seem to see that same view reflected
there. But even at Carmel there are hints that there is more than that
happening - surely the priests of Baal were expecting something to
happen as it normally did for them, and it failed on this occasion only
because YHWH stopped it, according to worldview #4. And did
(deutero-)Isaiah really believe that pagan gods were nothing more than
lumps of wood, or was that rhetoric for their powerlessness in the face
of YHWH? On the other hand, there are other passages in the Hebrew Bible
which clearly reflect worldview #4 if not #3: Job 1:6, Psalm 82, 1 Chr
21:1 as contrasted with 2 Sam 24:1, much of Daniel etc, also any passage
in which angels appear, if angels are spiritual beings distinct from YHWH.
There is obviously a certain reluctance in the Hebrew Bible to make a
clear choice here. Perhaps this reflects tension or ambivalence on this
issue among the Israelites. Perhaps it reflects layers of redaction.
The later books seem to have more #4 and less #2. But, concerning 2
Kings 3:27, I would conclude that it is by no means impossible that we
see here a reflection of worldview #4, that (according to the author)
the god of Moab had real spiritual power and was able to exercise this
against the Israelites, presumably because for some unknown reason YHWH
chose to allow this.
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
More information about the b-hebrew