[b-hebrew] Zonah v Qadeshah & What Judah Thought

david.kimbrough at charter.net david.kimbrough at charter.net
Wed Jul 14 17:26:51 EDT 2004


You are quite correct.  The point is that Judah thought the woman by the road side was a zonah. Why the vail made him think that is not the point.   She certainly acted the part during negotiations.  (I wonder how the ancient reader would have assessed the price.  Was a kid a lot or little for that sort of service?)

It is also a key point that Judah thought Tamar was a zonah as well.  She was pregnant and not by one of his sons as Judah had promised her to be.  Therefor she must be a zonah and be punished with a terrible death.

Judah was of course shigrined to find out that these two "whores" were in fact the same woman, his twice over daughter-in-law and now the mother of two his his three surviving children!

HOWEVER, *my* point is that the use of a kadeshah in Genesis 38 does seems (I am not saying this is proven) to have some more honor, or was at least less embrassing, than using a zonah.  That would seem to explain why the Adullamite was out looking for a kadeshah to redeem Judah signet, braclet, and staff, rather than a zonah.  

> From: "Stoney Breyer" <stoneyb at touchwood.net>
> Date: 2004/07/14 Wed PM 08:36:13 GMT
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] Zonah v Qadeshah in Gen 38
> David Kimbrough: it is a NOT trade mark of a common prostitute (both in
> ancient and modern times in the Levant) to wear a veil.  "Proper" women
> cover their faces, a zonah certainly would not.
> Peter Kirk: As for * ky kSth Pnyh *, surely that explains not why Judah
> thought Tamar was a prostitute but why he did not recognise his own
> daughter.
> Vincent Medina: 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. 
> SB: He sure sounds like he tells us.  He doesn't say "he didn't know her
> because she had covered her face," he says "he took her for a zonah
> because she had covered her face."  And at the very least veiling must
> be *consistent* with prostitution, or Judah could *not* have taken Tamar
> for a zonah. 
> As long as we're engaging in conjecture: Perhaps prostitutes *had* to
> wear veils because their calling was so shameful. Or perhaps prostitutes
> covered themselves because there was something erotic about it. Perhaps
> removing a woman's veil had the same sort of erotic significance that
> removing a woman's girdle had for the Greeks.  Rebekah is a "proper
> woman" who apparently did *not* wear a veil in the company of her
> escort, but put one on to meet her new husband. And perhaps qdeshot,
> too, wore veils (like Moses, to protect bystanders from their divine
> effulgence? Or vice versa?), and that's why they're associated with
> prostitutes. Or, contrariwise, perhaps prostitutes assumed veils in
> order to associate themselves with qdeshot, either for an extra erotic
> fillip or as an act of countercultural self-assertion.
> Stoney Breyer
> Writer, Touchwood
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David Kimbrough
San Gabriel

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