[b-hebrew] qetseph in 2Ki 3:27

Liz Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Thu Jul 3 10:06:31 EDT 2003

Dear All,
You all sound like Spinoza!
This way of reading the text makes me awfully uncomfortable.
Do you look for natural causes of the splitting of the sea too?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of Peter Kirk
> Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 9:32 AM
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] qetseph in 2Ki 3:27
> On 03/07/2003 03:33, Ben and Jo Crick wrote:
> > <snip>
> >
> > Kings Ahaz and Manasseh of Israel later turned themselves to 
> the worship of
> > the "abomination of the Moabites", causing their sons to pass 
> through the fire
> > (obtulit holocaustum) to Molech (2 Kings 16:3; 17:17). This 
> caused YHWH to put
> > an end to the Ten Tribes (2 Kings 17:18). So did this sacrifice of the
> > heir-apparent win the spiritual battle, and turn the Ten Tribes 
> of Israel to
> > the worship of Chemosh/Molech?
> >
> > Ben (only asking questions) 
> >  
> >
> Interesting point at the end here. One can certainly imagine the 
> animistically minded or "superstitious" Israelites expecting the wrath 
> of Chemosh/Molech to come upon them at this point, falling into a panic 
> because of the expectation, and then interpreting that panic as caused 
> by that god's wrath. This, and the resultant defeat, would have weakened 
> their faith in YHWH and encouraged them to believe in the efficacy of 
> human sacrifice.
> But could the author of 2 Kings have shared this popular understanding 
> of the defeat? Possibly. Or could the text reasonably be interpreted as 
> "the Israelites imagined that wrath had come upon them"? Probably not.
> I am now wondering if "wrath" or "anger" is actually a correct 
> translation of qetseph in such a context. It certainly doesn't seem to 
> fit well in Esther 1:18 and Ecc/Qoh 5:16 (English 5:17), the two cases 
> noted in BDB as "of man (late)". Something more like "anxiety" or "fear" 
> would fit better in those contexts as well as in 2Ki 3:27. This seems to 
> fit the sense of the Syriac cognate. And from a quick look at the usage 
> of the noun and the verb throughout the Hebrew Bible, it looks as if in 
> the earlier books this was not so much the active wrath of YHWH as some 
> kind of automatic result of breaches of the rules of holiness etc, and 
> bringing disastrous consequences - see e.g. Lev 10:16, Num 17:11. It 
> would probably be helpful to reexamine this concept in the light of 
> studies of anthropology and comparative religion.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
> http://web.onetel.net.uk/~peterkirk/
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