[b-hebrew] Human Sacrifice - 2 Sam 21

Yard, John jyard at ais.ucla.edu
Fri Oct 21 14:07:12 EDT 2005

If I am not mistaken the same technical expression -
'to dedicate to destruction' - is used in the Moabite 
stone on reference to the inhabitants of an Isrealite 
city who were sacrificed - XRM - to Chemosh.

It's quid pro quo - I give you something valuable -
you ( Chemosh ) give me something back,


-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of
tladatsi at charter.net
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 9:12 AM
To: Peter Kirk
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [b-hebrew] Human Sacrifice - 2 Sam 21


I must beg to differ.  It is certainly true they were not 
ritually slain, dismembered, and burnt, as a goat might be.  
This would explain why the verb XRM was not used.

Nonetheless, the purpose of sacrifice is for someone to 
return to God something of great value, a lose to the 
person and a gain to God.  The person then expects some 
recompense from God. Forgiveness for some sin for example.  
The sacrificed goat did not commit the sin but it is the 
goats death that atones for the sin.

In this case the people of Isreal give up the male 
descendents of Saul to God.  They expect an end to the 
famine in return.  God answers their prayers and relieves 
the famine.  

It must be pointed that this is some time after Sauls 
death.  None of the seven male descendents of Saul are 
implicated in Sauls crime in the text.  They did not commit 
the sin but their death atones for Sauls (and Israels ?) 

The text is quite clear that Elohim finds the deaths of 
these seven men/boys satisfactory and the famine is lifted 
as a result of their deaths.  That these deaths were not in 
the form a ritual does not change the substance of the 

Jack Tladatsi
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