[b-hebrew] g(r Psa. 106:9 - exorcism?

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Mon Dec 13 21:48:49 EST 2004

Hi Clay,

Interesting question.  I haven't read Fitzmyer ont he subject, and pardon my 
naivete, but it seems to me he has taken on an excess burden in such a 
claim.  I am probably misunderstanding.

First about yam:  Does he mean that there is *not* a literal reference, by 
name, to a body of water?   What about the rest of the context, which 
contains a clear allusion to the Exodus story with all its watery detail? 
What about Nahum 1:4 go`er bayyam vayyabshehu vekol hanneharot, "one 
rebuking the sea, and he made it dry, and all the rivers."  Is hanneharot 
also an ancient reference to a spiritual power?  To me the plain reference 
in Ps 106 is to the miraculous turning of a wet place to dry.

As for the verb g`r, though we see expressions such as yig`ar yhwh beka "may 
YHWH rebuke you," or in Greek, EPITIMHSAI SOI KURIOS, I think it is an 
unecessary stretch to call such "rebuking" technical.  Are we to think that 
Greek EPITIMAW is also a technical word for exorcising?  We can come up with 
numerous contexts where both the Heb and Gr. words are used for mundane 
scolding.  Some Aramaic, Greek or Qumran documents which express the verbal 
activity of rebuking in the context of exorcism do not a technical term 
make. Calling rebuke technical smacks of the ancient criticism against 
oppressors and deliverers alike, that they were magicians.  'Pharaoh was a 
magician' can be convenient when it opens the door to 'Moses was a 
magician,' which in turn opens the door to 'Jesus was a magician,' all of 
which are debasing.  Nowhere in Old or New Testament is deliverence 
understood as technique.  It is always presented as power.

If Fitzmyer means, on the other hand, that the rebuke of the waters of Yam 
Suph typifies the Lord's supremacy over the dark powers of chaos in the 
tradition of Gen 1, I can accept the explanation.  I imagine, however, that 
such an explanation is so generally accepted, it would not have prompted 
your query.

The Fitzmyer proposal sounds over-zealous to this simple guy.


You wrote:
> Psa. 106:9 wyg(r byM-swP
> Psa. 106:9     He rebuked the Red Sea
> J.A. Fitzmyer* suggests that g(r is sometimes used as a technical term for
> exorcism. I am specifically focusing on the use of g(r with YAM (sea) as 
> an
> object. Fitzmyer** suggests that the verbal address is not directed at 
> what
> a modern would think of as the sea but rather at some spiritual entity and
> that the verbal address functions as an exorcism.
> Comments?
> greetings,
> Clay Bartholomew
> *A Wandering Aramean, J.A. Fitzmyer, Page 97.,
> **Luke 1-9 (AnchorBible v.28) J.A. Fitzmyer, pages 546,730.

B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

ph: 315.437.6744
fx: 315.437.6766

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list