[b-hebrew] Yom Kippur

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at beitberl.ac.il
Mon Aug 23 16:05:47 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,
You wrote (citing my posting):

> >  >From biblical through Second Temple through talmudic until modern
> >both Jews and Christians have tended to ignore, or interpret according to
> >their beliefs, the fact that both Amos (5:25) and Jeremiah (7:22-23)
> >categorically reject sacrifice as a Canaanite influence and something not
> >commanded by God. They both prefer observing his berit and observing the
> >moral code.
> HH: Do you really think that is what Amos and Jeremiah are doing. I
> am flabbergasted. The law about sacrifices came from Sinai itself.
> Your Tanakh turns into swiss cheese full of holes if you consider
> sacrifice a foreign element that is false to true worship of Yahweh.

Yes. Jeremiah says flat outright:
 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I
brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerningb burnt offerings or
sacrifices: (AV)
For when I freed your fathers from the land of Egypt, I did not speak with
them or command them concerning burnt offerings or sacrifice  (NJPS)

> HH: I think Jer 7:22-23 speaks of what had priority. What did God
> stress when He first brought the people out of Egypt?

The text says "speak" (dibber) and "command" (tsiwwah) "concerning, about"
(al). Nothing to indicate stressing one thing and not another, but only
speking and commanding about one thing and not another.

 I don't think
> Amos 5:25 is denying that they brought sacrifices, but saying that
> while they may have done that, they also carried their idols along
> with them.

Amos is asking a rhetorical question:
 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty
years, O house of Israel? (AV)
For when I freed your fathers from the land of Egypt, I did not speak with
them or command them concerning burnt offerings or sacrifice (NJPS)

Meaning that the Israelites didn't offer sacrifices in the desert, and that
the sacrificial cult is due to Canaanite influence.
I don't deny the possibility that the Israelites, if they, or some of their
ancestors, did indeed flee from Egypt, may have carried idols along with
them. Even if one discounts the authenticity of the biblical evidence (which
I don't), Kuntillet Ajrud is sufficient evidence that at least some of the
Israelites had idols until well into the time of the monarchy. The evidence
of the Elephantine texts suggests that at least some of the Jews had idols
sown to the end of the 4th century BCE.
But you are reading things into the text which aren't there.
The rest of the passage deals with future time and not past time:
26dAnd you shall carry off your “king”— Sikkuthe and Kiyyun,eThe
images you have made for yourselves Of your astral deity— 27As I drive you
into exile beyond Damascus —Said the Lord, whose name is God of Hosts.f

Jonathan D. Safren, Editor
Mo'ed - Annual for Jewish Studies
Center for Jewish Culture
Beit Berl College
Beit Berl Post Office
44905 Israel
Tel. 972-9-7476396
Fax 972-9-7475397
e-mail: moed at beitberl.ac.il
Website: www.beitberl.ac.il/moed

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list