[b-hebrew] "daughter of Zion" [was: (bless? curse?) in the Book of Job]

Harold Holmyard hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 29 17:13:34 EST 2009

> Harold do you have any insight into the allegorical terms , such as 
> "2nd Kgs 19:21 , "Daughter of Zion"

HH: It's seems more simply poetic personification here, although it can 
be allegorical elsewhere, such as Ezekiel 16:

 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: "The LORD, the God 
of Israel says: 'I have heard your prayer to Me about Sennacherib king 
of Assyria.' 21 This is the word the LORD has spoken against him: The 
young woman, Daughter Zion, despises you and scorns you: Daughter 
Jerusalem shakes her head behind your back. 22 Who is it you mocked and 
blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes 
in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!

HH: Zion is a name for Jerusalem, based on the name of a prominent 
fortress hill. So Isaiah describes the city as a virgin ("bethulah," 
which can also be understood as "young woman," probably with the 
connotation of virginity) allied with Yahweh, mocking the Assyrian king 
for his foolishness in insulting Yahweh by attacking her. Maybe Yahweh 
is viewed as the father. Scripture can personify cities as virgins. Use 
of the connotation of virgin is due to the fact that these cities are 
undefiled by conquest at the time they are addressed. Often the prophecy 
implies that they will be defiled. Pagan goddesses were often described 
as virgins even if they were not, and some of that irony is apparent in 
the OT's use of "virgin" to describe the capital cities of bloodthirsty 
regimes like Babylon. The "virgin" or "daughter" can represent an entire 

CSB Isaiah 47:1  "Go down and sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter Babylon. 
Sit on the ground without a throne, Daughter Chaldea! For you will no 
longer be called pampered and spoiled.

CSB Amos 5:2 She has fallen; Virgin Israel will never rise again. She 
lies abandoned on her land, with no one to raise her up.

CSB Isaiah 23:12 He said, "You will not rejoice any more, ravished young 
woman, daughter of Sidon. Get up and cross over to Cyprus-- even there 
you will have no rest!"
CSB Jeremiah 46:11 Go up to Gilead and get balm, Virgin Daughter Egypt! 
You have multiplied remedies in vain; there is no healing for you.

Sometimes the word "daughters" is used for suburbs of a larger city:

CSB Ezekiel 16:46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived with her 
daughters to the north of you, and your younger sister was Sodom, who 
lived with her daughters to the south of you.

HH: And young women were sometimes described generally as daughters of a 
city, a people, or a nation:

KJV Judges 21:21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come 
out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you 
every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of 

KJV Judges 14:2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and 
said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the 
Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.

KJV Judges 14:3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there 
never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my 
people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? 
And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

NAS Ezekiel 30:18 "And in Tehaphnehes the day will be dark When I break 
there the yoke bars of Egypt. Then the pride of her power will cease in 
her; A cloud will cover her, And her daughters will go into captivity.

HH: This last usage suggests that "daughter" could be very close in 
meaning to "woman," and some Bible translations handle it that way. Just 
as we tend to view ships or countries as feminine, the Israelites may 
have viewed cities and countries as feminine. But it goes a bit further 
when Isaiah develops the idea in prophecy. Remember that a lot of 
prophecy was poetic, so it not surprising to find poetic figures like 
personification and allegory using "daughter."

Harold Holmyard

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