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

C. Stirling Bartholomew jacksonpollock at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 15 14:13:20 EST 2004

On 12/14/04 3:58 PM, "B. M. Rocine" <brocine at twcny.rr.com> wrote:

> I am not so sure the water itself is usually the evil force (or the figure
> of evil).

> How do these details work with your musings:  In Exo 15, distinctly from Ps
> 106, the weight of detail depicts the Lord primarily as drowning Pharaoh's
> army.  The water is an object of divine action, yes, but like a tool.  The
> real object is the evil persecutor.  Likewise, the Lord had sent the evil
> locusts that plagued Egypt into Yam Suph.  In these cases, should we better
> think of the sea not as cosmic evil but as an expression of omnipotence?
> Interestingly, I don't think there is any rebuking going on in Exo 15


I don't think Exodus 15 raises any serious problem with seeing the sea as a
symbol for evil agency. In the OT the Lord often employs evil agents to
destroy other evil agents, e.g., Syria, Babylon in the prophets.

Ex. 15:8 wbrwx )pyK n(rmw myM ncbw kmw-nd nzlyM qp)w thmt blb-yM

Ex. 15:8 At the blast of thy nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood
up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.

Ex. 15:8 looks like an exercise of divine restraint over the powers of
chaos. When this restraint is withdrawn Pharaoh¹s chariots are destroyed.

There are a number of other texts to consider, Psalm 18, 29, 66:8, 74:13,
78:53, 89:10 ... , Hab. 3:8,15, Zech. 10:11, Job 7:12, 26:12-23 and others.

I don't have but one of the books* on hand I need to discuss this.

A quote from John Day:2002, pp. 103-4

"The Chaoskampf imagery seems to be applied to Egypt at the time of
the Exodus in Isa. 51.9 (cf. v. 10) and Ps. 77. 17-21 (ET 16-20). Related
to this but somewhat different is the Song of Moses in Exod. 15.1-18,
where the divine battle is no longer with the sea but rather at the sea, as
F.M. Cross26 has emphasized. The influence of Baal¹s conflict with Yam
on the depiction is supported by the association of the divine conflict at
the sea with the kingship of God (Exod. 15.18) and the construction of
the deity¹s mountain sanctuary, described in language reminiscent of
that of Baal on Zaphon (see below). However, it seems to be going too
far to claim with C. Kloos27 that the Reed Sea miracle is nothing more
than a Yahwistic historicization of Baal¹s victory over Yam."

Clay Bartholomew 

* a few titles worth consulting are:

God is a warrior / by Tremper Longman III and Daniel G. Reid.
  Grand Rapids c1995.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Creation Versus Chaos, Fortress 1987.

Cross, Frank Moore. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic, Harvard 1973

Kloos, Carola. Yhwh¹s Combat with the Sea, E.J. Brill,  1986

Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series- JSOTS 265
by John Day 

Sheffield Academic Press, 2002,
282 pages, Paper, English
ISBN: 0826468306 

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