[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Vol 34, Issue 27

Bill Rea bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Oct 26 16:24:15 EDT 2005

George wrote:-

>Also, the use of 'bosom' in 2 Sam 12.8 may or may not have sexual
>overtones. As Harold said, it's probably na?ve to imagine that it

One place where it does have such overtones is Gen 16:5. I checked
last night. It is the same Hebrew word there as in 2 Sam 12.8.
Sarai did not give Hagar to Abram so he could provide her with some
ancient equivalent of social welfare. The giving of Saul's nashiym,
be they wives, concubines or female servants, to David was supposed
to have been sufficient favour from God that David didn't need to
take Bathsheba. Nathan, as a spokeman for God, said, ``And if all
this had been too little, I would have given you even more''.

Harold wrote:-

>HH: I would remind you, too, that in Nathan's story about the rich
>man, the poor man, and the little lamb, the little lamb represented
>Bathsheba. The poor man's holding the lamb in his bosom represented
>Uriah's marriage love with Bathsheba. So there is a sexual undertone
>to Nathan's tale.

I agree with you. We shouldn't try to over interpret the story.
Its meaning is clear. But if you look at it, the lamb (symbol of
Bathsheba) ends up dead while the poor man (symbol of Uriah) lives.
Despite that reversal no one misses the point, whether that be
Nathan, David or us. Similarly, we don't need to invoke beastiality
to see Uriah's sexual love in marriage with Bathsheba in the story.
The echo of Gen 16:5 is there, which I suspect was a common Hebrew

Jerry wrote:-

>Part of my reasoning here is that alterations to the law take place not
>just within the Hebrew Bible as an entirety, but within the Torah itself.

Despite my question I agree with you about the flexibility of the legal
framework. The problem is not in the reading of the texts. It is a
question for the various religious traditions on how they adapt ancient
texts to the present world. Internal to the texts themselves there
is precious little to guide us (or them depending on where you stand).

Thanks to all who've engaged in this discussion.

Bill Rea, IT Services, University of Canterbury \_
E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz               </   New
Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax  64-3-364-2332       /)  Zealand
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