[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53 read within the book as a whole

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Thu May 27 22:51:39 EDT 2004

> Dear Liz,
> I know where some of your thinking originates. The Mesopotamian
> steles on which law codes were carved were not necessarily used for
> actual judging of laws. They were representative laws. 

But I would
> assume that Middle Assyrian jurisprudence conformed well enough to
> the Middle Assyrian law codes that we have.
NOpe. There is no difference with the Middle Assyrian law codes.

 And I would expect that
> the case was similar with the Babylonian codes. 
Nope, nothing found. We have thousands and thousands of court cases
and only a random few accidentally correspond with what is written
in the codes.

Those laws don't come
> out of nowhere. 
Of course not, they are written by scribes in scribal schools.
Their form "if a man does X, then Y should occur" corresponds
to the format of other scribal works, like medical works.
If a woman has twins, and one has the left ear larger than the
right, then there will be a drought. The one is a scribal medical
treatise, the other a scribal treatise on justice. 

No doubt in Israel many specific laws were developed
> that were not in the Mosaic code to begin with. But the OT revelation
> suggests that God intended Israel to live by the laws that He gave.
> Whatever the situation may have been in Mesopotamia, in Israel there
> was a real God at work. There was a true theocracy, and the laws
> provided specific legal guidance and expectations.

Well, Harold, I admire your faith. My opinion is that Israel
did not differ from her neighbors. To say the YHWH wanted the
laws obeyed is no different to me than Ahura Mazda saying that
he wanted his laws obeyed. It is different tho than the laws
of Huammurabi. Those laws were not given by Shamash. They were
simply there. This suggests a Persian setting for the OT laws,
although the format if ... then is certainly Mesopotamian.


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