[b-hebrew] Rahab's Guests

Yigal Levin Yigal-Levin at utc.edu
Fri Jul 11 14:42:19 EDT 2003

We must remember that what we have here is NOT a verbatim transcript of
their dialogue, but a well-written story (which does not mean that it did
or did not "happen"), in which the AUTHOR uses various literary means to
get his point across (and to make it a readable story, because if no one
reads it, no one will get the message). In this case, the author is
definately eploying humor: In v. 1 the men, who were sent to spy secretly
(Xeresh), go the the house of a Zonah, usually understood as a "harlot",
"and lay there" ("wayyi$kebu-$ammah" - the KJ and others translate "lodged
there", but that's missing the point). Minutes later, the king already
knows that they're there - so much for secrecy! So of course their "coming"
to Rahab is meant to mean exactly what it sounds like.

In Talmudic legend, by the way, Rahab "converts" and marries Joshua. Her
proffession is understood as "one who sells food - 'mazon'". I would think
that she was a "full service" tavern-keeper. Her place, by the way, has
been taken in recent years by the "Oasis" resort and casino in Jericho -
one of the Palestinians' main money-making machines, until they began to
use it to shoot Israeli busses from.


At 11:01 AM 7/11/2003 -0700, CS Bartholomew wrote:
>Was reading in 1Clement 12 this morning which retells the Rahab story from
>Joshua 2 based on the LXX and was struck by a couple of details.
>So I went and took a look at the MT to see what was going on. Rahab's
>response to the king's swat team doesn't come across very clearly in the
>English translations.
>The LXX of Josh 2:4
>Here Rahab appears to be saying that the spies were "Johns" and that she had
>provided her normal services and then they had left.
>Well I checked the MT and sure enough, Rahab's expression ba¹u ¹elai is the
>same one used by Judah propositioning Tamar ¹avo¹ ¹elayikh Gen. 38:16.
>Anyway, the Net Bible brought this out "these men were clients of mine"
>which softens the expression considerably but at least gets the idea across.
>Is there really any question about what Rahab means by this?
>Clay Bartholomew 
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Dr. Yigal Levin
Dept. of Philosophy and Religion
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga TN 37403-2598

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