[b-hebrew] Zonah v Qadeshah in Gen 38 - Locals

david.kimbrough at charter.net david.kimbrough at charter.net
Wed Jul 14 16:37:21 EDT 2004

OK, I will accept that Judah thought that woman by the road with whom he negotiated a kid from sex was a common whore (zonah) rather than a ritual one (kadeshah).  I will also accept that when Judah heard that Tamar was pregnant he thought she was a zonah as well.  That is why he sentenced her to be burned to death.

My question is here.  Why was the Adullamite looking for a kadeshah when Judah clear thought of the woman by the roadside as zonah?  If the "locals" understood the Hebrew word kadeshah, why would they not understand the Heberw word zonah?  They are both Hebrew words.  The omniscient narrator was carefull to use two different Hebrew words for the Hebrew speaking audiance.  

It would seem that there was a different social valuation of a kadeshah vs. a zonah in the story.

> From: "Medina, Vincent" <VMedina at cbcag.edu>
> Date: 2004/07/14 Wed PM 06:31:04 GMT
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Zonah v Qadeshah in Gen 38
> In biblical narrative the narrator is omniscient and has a
> G-d's-eye-view of the story and the characters (See R. Alter, The Art of
> Biblical Narrative). Therefore his suggestion that Judah regarded Tamar
> as a zonah is decisive. It is not clear what made Judah think she was a
> zonah. Perhaps the very fact that she was sitting beside the road gave
> this impression (as previously noted, the veil would not have been the
> clue). The narrator does not tell us, so it is beside the point. 
> The fact that Judah his Canaanite friend applied different appellatives
> for prostitute could be the narrator's way of distinguishing between
> Judah's Israelite perspective and his friends pagan perspective. This
> would not be the only time this happens in Genesis. Another possible
> example is the Genesis 31 where Laban gives it an Aramaic name and Jacob
> a Hebrew name.
> Regards,
> Vince
> Associate Professor
> Central Bible College
> 3000 N. Grant Avenue
> Springfield, Missouri  65803
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David Kimbrough
San Gabriel

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