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

George F. Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Wed Jul 14 21:28:24 EDT 2004

On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 21:26:51 +0000 <david.kimbrough at charter.net> writes:
> Stoney,
> 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
> > _______________________________________________

I hardly think the veil served to foster the impression that Tamar was a
prostitute (of whatever sort) though it would have served to disguise
her.  Rather, I think it was the fact that she was sitting beside the
road that gave this impression.  Consider Jer. 3.2

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