Skip to content

Jacob's Oath Causes Rachel's Death, Reflecting the Law in Lev. 5: 4–6

Pages 131 - 165


Los Angeles

1 Zevit suggests that any utterance in which the name of the deity is not expressed is simply noise, not a communication, because it has no addressee and cites this as an explanation for the “Elohimization” of Psalms in what he calls the Elohistic Psalter (Ziony Zevit, “The Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches,” London, New York, Continuum, 677).

2 David Daube, “Studies in Biblical Law,” Ktav, 1969, 193, 216–217. See also Esther Fuchs, ‚“For I Have the Way of Women,’: Deception, Gender and Ideology in Biblical Narrative,” in J. Cheryl Exum and Johanna W. Bos, eds., “Reasoning With the Foxes: Female Wit in a World of Male Power, Semeia 42. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988, 81).

3 Gen. R. 74: 9. See Rashi on Gen. 31: 32.

4 Gen. R. 70: 3.

5 The Deuteronomist uses this phrase to denote deliberate sacrilege in another pericope: And they went and worshipped other gods and prostrated themselves to them, gods that לא־ידעום, they had not known, and He had not allocated to them (Deut. 29: 25).

6 The Midrash says that the word בשפתים, with the lips, indicates that an oath only counts as an oath if it has been verbally expressed, as opposed to an oath that is made in the mind but not expressed verbally (Sifra 5:211).

7 See Jacob Milgrom, “Leviticus 23–27,” Anchor Bible, Doubleday, New York, 2001, 2376.

8 See F. M. T. Böhl, “Wortspiele im Alten Testament,” Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 6 (1926): 207–208; S. B. Noegel, “Drinking Feasts and Deceptive Feats,” in “Puns and Pundits,” ed. S. B. Noegel, Bethesda, MD, CDC Press, 2000, 173.

9 In addition, the words השמר לך פן, guard yourself lest (Gen. 31: 34), also allude to language in Deut. 15: 19 and warn Laban to allow Jacob to leave his servitude without hindrance in accordance with the Deuteronomist's commandment not to withhold loans to his fellow Israelite in the seventh year (see Gershon Hepner, “Jacob's Servitude with Laban Involves Conflicts between Several Biblical Codes,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 2003 (in press). The Holiness Code also says that if המר ימיר, he does exchange, then both the original animal and the exchange should be holy (Lev. 27: 10). Such an exchange takes place at מריה, Moriah (Gen. 22: 2), where Abraham exchanges Isaac for a ram (Gen. 22: 13). God alludes to this exchange when He instructs Laban not to make a similar one after Jacob tries to escape from him (Gen. 31: 24) (See Gershon Hepner, “The Relationship between Biblical Narratives and Laws,” Journal of Law and Religion 88 (2003) (in press).

10 Scott B. Noegel, “Drinking Feasts and Deceptive Feats,” in “Wordplay in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Literature,” edited by Scott B. Noegel, Bethesda, Maryland, CDC Press, 2000, 164–165. Noegel cites a similar use of this onomatopoeia in the work of the Greek writer Hermippus.

11 Noegel notes further wordplays on the name of Leah involving the use of the verb מלא, complete (Gen. 29: 27, 28, 29) and cites Garsiel, who notes a wordplay on the name of Bilhah in Gen. 30; 3 (Moshe Garsiel, “Biblical Names: A Literary Study of Midrashic Derivations and Puns,” Ramat-Gan, Israel: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1991, 221.

12 The Torah also makes wordplay with the name of לבן, Laban: ויגנב את־לב לבן על בלי הוא הגיד לו כי ברח, and Jacob stole the heart of Laban by not telling him that he was fleeing (Gen. 31: 20). The words לב לבן על בלי, the heart of Laban by not, highlight the name of לבן, Laban (Richard Elliot Friedman, “Commentary on the Torah,” San Francisco, HarperSan Francisco, 2001, 105–106).

13 According to the Rabbis, all forms of scale disease are white (Mishnah Negaim 1:1; Middot 3:4).

14 See W. von Soden, “Akkadisches Handwörterbuch,” Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1965–81, 927.

15 See Gershon Hepner, “Verbal resonances in the Bible and Intertextuality,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 96 (2001): 20–21.

16 The Holiness Code stresses the prohibition of resorting to mediums and familiar spirits twice again (Lev. 20: 6; 20: 27).

17 The Deuteronomist's prohibition of association with the spirits of the dead expressed in Deut. 18:11 is a prohibition of veneration of their spirits and consulting them by means of divination rather than showing them respect (Jacob Milgrom, “Leviticus 17–22,” Anchor Bible, Doubleday, New York, 2000, 1772–1782, at 1780).

18 Jacob Milgrom, “Leviticus 17–22,” Anchor Bible, Doubleday, New York, 2000, 1768–1772.

19 E. Bloch-Smith, “The Cult of the Dead in Judah: Interpreting the Material Remain,” Journal of Biblical Literature 111 (1992): 213–224.

20 Bloch-Smith refers to the rebels are Korahite although the ones whom Moses wishes to dperive of post-mortem care are probably not the Korahites but the followers of Dathan and Abiram, the name of Dathan resonating with ditanu, an Akkadian word that denotes the abode of the dead. In the Joseph narrative Jacob thinks that Joseph has gone to Sheol (Gen. 37: 35) when he set out to go to Shechem via Dothan (Gen. 37: 17).

21 J. J. Finkelstein, “The Genealogy of the Hammurapi Dynasty,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 20 (1966): 95–118.

22 Scott Noegel, “The Aegean Ogygos of Boeotia and the Biblical Og of Bashan: Reflections of the Same Myth,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentlische Wissenschaft 110 (1998): 411–426, p. 416. Noegel points out that Starcky suggests that Og's ערש (Deut. 3: 11), a term usually translated as “bed,” may be a dolmen (J. Starcky, “Une inscription Phénicienne de Byblos, Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph 45 (1969): 260–273, at 266).

23 Calum Carmichael, “Law and Narrative in the Bible,” Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press, 1985.

24 J. Skinner, “A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis,” International Critical Commentary 1, New York, Charles Scribner, 1910, 383; Benno Jacob, “Das Erste Buch der Tora: Genesis,” Berlin, Schocken, 1934, 589; Nahum Sarna, “The JPS Pentateuch: Genesis,” Philadelphia, The Jewish Publication Society, 1989, 202–203.

25 It is possible that Ibn Ezra finds the same allusion in the word נקבה, designate, because he compares it to זכרה, mention, which resonates with the word זכר, male!

26 Zvi Malachi, “Creative Philology” as a System of Biblical and Talmudic Exegesis: Creating Midrashic Interpretation from Multi-meaning Words in the Midrash and the Zohar,” in Scott B. Noegel, “Wordplay in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Literature,” Bethesda, Maryland, CDC Press, 2000, 285–286.

27 The wordplay was described by Robert D. Sacks, “A Commentary on the Book of Genesis,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts and Studies 6, Lewiston, Edwin Mellen Press, 1990, 252. Noegel points out that the word ואילי, and the rams (Gen. 31: 38), is a wordplay on the name of לאה, Leah (Scott B. Noegel, “Drinking Feasts and Deceptive Feats,” in “Wordplay in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Literature,” edited by Scott B. Noegel, Bethesda, Maryland, CDC Press, 2000, 169.

28 The Torah identifies Ephrath with Bethlehem but there is more than one Bethlehem in the bible, including one in the territory of Zebulun (Joshua 19: 15). North of Jerusalem there is a spring called Ein-Farah which may be identical with Parah that is listed as a Benjaminite city in Josh. 18: 23 and resonates with the name Ephrath. This may be the Bethlehem to which the Benjaminites returned after the exile (Neh. 7: 26), a city that is not identical with Bethlehem in Judea where Naomi and Elimelech come from (Ruth 1: 1). This explanation would link the birth of Benjamin to a city in Benjaminite territory. Interestingly enough, 3 miles northwest of Farah five stone structures measuring 50 by 10 feet used to stand until removed in the late 1980's to build a bypass road around Ramallah. These stones were known to the locals as Qabur Bani Israel, suggesting that they may have represented the gravesite of Israelites associated with the tribe of Benjamin (see Yitzchak Etshalom, “Kever Rachel: The “Northern Theory,” V'shinantam 5 (2001): 12 (

29 The dream is actually not absurd because the sun and moon to which Joseph's dream refers are the sun that a descendant of Joseph, the Ephraimite Joshua, stops in Gibeon while the moon is the moon that he also halts there (Josh. 10: 12–13) (see Gen. R. 84: 11). Joshua, Joseph's Ephraimite successor, lives to be 110 years of age like Joseph (Gen. 50: 26; Josh. 24: 29) and is buried in Shechem like Joseph (Josh. 24: 30; 32). He certainly achieves dominion over eleven of the tribes and makes the sun and moon stand still. The dream therefore alludes to the miraculous way that Joshua, leader of eleven tribes, stops the sun and moon while the Book of Jashar to which the Book of Joshua refers is probably the Book of Genesis that records Joseph's second dream, as the Talmud suggests (B. T. Abodah Zarah 25a)!

30 Richard Elliot Friedman, “Commentary of the Torah,” San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 2001, 18.

31 Zvi Malachi, “Creative Philology” as a System of Biblical and Talmudic Exegesis: Creating Midrashic Interpretation from Multi-meaning Words in the Midrash and the Zohar,” in Scott B. Noegel, “Wordplay in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Literature,” Bethesda, Maryland, CDC Press, 2000, 285–286.

32 In Babylonian texts the qadištu priestess is not a female prostitute because the texts show no hint of sexual activity (Johannes Renger, “Untersuchungen zum Priestertum in der altbabylonischen Zeit,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie Neue Folge 24 (1967): 110–188) and the only description of what the קדשות did in ancient Israel is weave garments for Asherah (2 Kings 23: 7). Frymer-Kensky points out that the only clearly-documented sexual service of priestesses in the ancient Near-East was sacred marriage in Sumerian times where there are unequivocal statements that the king lay with Inanna, the “goddess”(Tikva Frymer-Kensky, “In the Wake of the Goddess: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth,” New York, Free Press, 1992, 201). Whether or not the term means “cult-prostitute in Deut. 23: 18 it is likely to have that meaning in the narrative of Judah and Tamar (Gen. 38: 21 [2], 22).

33 See Meir Sternberg, “The Poetics of Biblical Narrative,” Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1985, 474.

34 Calum Carmichael, “The Spirit of Biblical Law,” University of Georgia Press, 1996, 52. See also Gershon Hepner, “The Seduction of Dinah and Jacob's Anguish Reflect Violations of the Covenant Code and Deuteronomy” (in preparation).

35 The sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites which precedes the narrative of Judah and Tamar constitutes מחיר כלב, the price of a dog (Deut. 23: 19), since the angel who blesses Hagar in Gen. 16: 12 implies that Ishmael will be a כלב, dog, when saying that the hand of כל בו, all will be on him, these words also being readable as כלבו, his dog, as the Midrash says (Gen. R. 45: 9). There are many links between the narrative of Judah and Tamar and that of the sale of Joseph and interestingly enough the Midrash claims that Potiphar tried to have homosexual sex with Joseph (Rashi on Gen. 41: 45; B. T. Sotah 13b; B. T. Hagigah 15a; Sotah 36b). The Midrash also says that when Joseph's brothers go to Egypt to look for him they search in all the Egyptian brothels (Gen. R. 91: 6). The Midrashim imply that the Rabbis regarded Joseph's sale as the equivalent to מחיר כלב, the price of a dog.

36 It is surprising that the biblical author uses the word ישרה to denote “is fitting” (Judg. 14: 3 instead of נאותה, which also has this meaning. This would have provided a wordplay with תאנה, pretext, and also would have linked Samson's relationship with the prostitute with that of Dinah with Shechem, where this word appears (Gen. 34: 15). In the Dinah narrative the word is used in a wordplay with אות, sign, referring to the sign of circumcision that Dinah's brothers wish the Shechemites to adopt. The avoidance of this word by the author of the Samson narrative is therefore extremely puzzling.

37 Calum M. Carmichael, “Law, Legend and Incest in the Bible: Leviticus 18–20,” Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press, 1997, 162. The Talmud records a debate between R. Aqiba and R. Ishmael as to whether the prohibition in Lev, 20: 14 requires both parent and child to be alive at the time when intercourse with the second one occurs (B. T. Abodah Zarah 77b), but it is clear that it considers that the sin which the Holiness Code describes is not confined to that of a a ménage à trois with son and daughter although it is possible that the biblical author alludes to such an interpretation when describing Lot's relationship with his two daughters, a ménage à trois that causes their death by burning when God destroys Sodom. The way that Lot's daughters are saved from death by burning before they violate the Holiness Code's prohibition in Lev. 20: 14 foreshadows the way that Judah saves Tamar from burning after violating it, as a comparison of language in Gen. 19: 15 and 38: 24 indicates! It should be noted that another reason why Judah threatens to burn Tamar is because he thinks she is a cult prostitute, and the Holiness Code says that the daughter of a priest who acts as a prostitute should be burned (Lev. 21: 9).

38 Fishbane says that the Gen. 30: 25–43 is the pivot of a chiasmic narrative that extends from Rebekkah's oracle and the struggle for the birthright (Gen. 25: 19–34) to the fulfillment of the oracle (Gen. 35: 1–22) (Michael Fishbane, “Biblical Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts,” Oxford, Oneworld, 1998 (originally published by Schocken, 1979, 42). The word עין, meaning “eye” rather than spring appears in the narrative in which Jacob causes Laban's sheep and goats to copulate: And it was that whenever the sturdy sheep would go into heat Jacob would put the rods in the troughs לעיני הצאן, before the eyes of the flock, in order that they would go into heat (Gen. 30: 41). While the word עין does not appear in the narrative describing Jacob's encounter with Rachel in Gen. 29: 1–12, the “missing resonance” is supplied in the narrative of the sheep and goats whose fertility corresponds to that of Rachel and is provoked by rods that Jacob places לעיני הצאן, before the eyes of the flock (Gen. 30: 41)! The way that Jacob prospers, as indicated by the word ויפרץ, and he prospered (Gen. 30: 43), by causing Laban's sheep and goats to copulate and reproduce, thus obtaining an abundance of Laban's צאן, flock, as a keyword that appears 14 times (Gen. 30: 31, 32, 36, 38 [2], 39 [2], 40 [3], 41 [2], 42, 43), echoes the way that he receives from him his daughter רחל, Rachel, whose name means “ewe” and Jacob meets coming with הצאן, the flock (Gen. 29: 9).

39 Fishbane considers Genesis 38 to be intrusive within the Joseph narrative (Michael Fishbane, “Biblical Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts,” Oneworld, Oxford, 1998, 60), but it actually links it to the Jacob narrative in many ways so that Fishbane is wrong to consider it to be independent.

40 שחום is the word that Pesiqta Rabbati 20 uses to denote Mars, the red planet, and the one that the Jerusalem Targum uses to denote אדם, Man (Gen. 2: 7), presumably implying that his name is related to the word אדום, red.

41 B. T. Sanhedrin 105b.

42 The use of anagrammatic resonances in wordplay is common in the bible and persists beyond biblical literal to talmudic literature. It is likely that Pantiri, the alleged name of Jesus’ father according to Tosephta Hullin 2: 24 is an anagram of the Greek word for Parthenon, virgin (see Paulus Cassel, “Caricaturnamen,” in “Aus Literatur und Geschichte,” Berlin, Verlag von Wilhelm Friedrich, 1885, 323–347, cited by Daniel Boyarin, “Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism,” Stanford University Press, 199, 154–155.

43 This Deuteronomic prohibition is one that Abraham takes great care to prevent in the case of Lot (See Gershon Hepner, “The Relationship Between Biblical Narrative and Law,” Jewish Bible Quarterly 29 (2001): 263–268), when he tells Lot, the ancestor of the Ammonites and Moabites, to separate from him (Gen. 13:9) contrasts with the way that David violates the law when he marries Ruth, a Moabite and possible Naomi, an Ammonite. The contrast between Abraham and David is also illustrated in the narrative that takes place in Abraham's old age when he is “old, advanced in years” (Gen. 24: 1), comparable to David (1 Kings 1:1), and occupies himself with the betrothal of Isaac rather that with his own sexual problems in contrast to David. The word אדון, lord, is a keyword in the narrative of Isaac's betrothal in Abraham's old age, appearing 20 times (Gen. 24: 9, 10 [2], 12, 14, 27 [2], 35, 36, 37, 39, 42, 44, 48 [2], 49, 51, 54, 56, 65) whereas in the narrative describing the troubled succession of Solomon in David's old age the word appears 14 times (1 Kings 1: 13, 17, 18, 20 [2], 21, 24, 27, 31, 33, 37, 38, 44, 47), but the main protagonist of the disorderly succession of David is called אדכיהו, Adonijah, who revolts against David's chosen successor, Solomon. The description of the beauty of Rebekkah and the fact that she is a virgin foreshadows the description of Abishag the Shunamite: והנער טבת מראה מאד בתולה ואיש לא ידעה, and the maiden was extremely comely to look at, and no man had known her (Gen. 24: 16). And his servants said to him: Let there be sought for my lord the king נערה בתולה, a young virgin…. והנערה טבת מראה עד מאד בתולה ואיש לא ידעה, , and the maiden was very beautiful, and she became the king's attendant and served him; and the king לא ידעה, did not know her (1 Kings 1: 2, 4). The biblical author implies that whereas Abraham in his early years in the land of Canaan takes steps to ensure that his seed will not mix with the descendants of Lot and in his old age ensures that his son Isaac obtains a suitable wife his royal descendant David, the product of Moabite ancestry via Ruth and Ammonite ancestry via Naomi whose name resonates with Ammon, as we have explained, only finds himself a wife as suitable as Rebekkah when he is no longer able to have intercourse. Westermann (C. Westermann, “Genesis 12–36,” translated by J. J. Scullion, Minneapolis, 1985, 37–50) claims that the narrative is “a simple family narrative” while Van Seters claims that it describe the destinies of the people involved (John Van Seters, “Prologue to History: The Yahwist as Historian in Genesis,” Louisville, Westminster, John Knox, 1992, 266–267). Both scholars miss the point that its main rationale is to contrast the orderly succession of Abraham's rulership with the disorderly succession of David. 44 The verb נקב can also mean “pierce,” so that the word נקבה, designate (Gen. 30: 28), is also a challenge to Jacob to have his ear pierced and become a perpetual slave in accordance with the law in Exod. 21: 5–6 and Deut. 15: 16–17, as explained in “Jacob's Conflict with Laban Reflects Conflicts in Biblical Codes,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 2003 (in press). The polysemous nature of the narrative is quite extraordinary.

45 According to the Midrash, Leah prayed that Rachel should have the son so that she would not have more than six of the twelve sons of Jacob (B. T. Berakhot 60a).

46 See Tanhuma Wayyesheb 8 and Rashi on Gen. 39: 6.

47 Gershon Hepner, “The Affliction and Divorce of Hagar Involves a Violation of the Covenant and Deuteronomic Codes,” Zeitschrift für Altorientalische und Biblische Rechtsgeschichte, 2002 (in press).

48 See Gen. 85: 11.

49 Judah's language also echoes that of David when he recognizes that he has sinned against God, the language in Gen. 38: 26 resonating with 2 Sam. 12: 13 (G. A. Rendsburg, David and His Circle in Genesis xxxviii,” Vetus Testamentum 36 (1986): 438–446, p. 442; Paul R. Noble, “Esau, Tamar, and Joseph: Criteria for Identifying Inner-biblical Allusions,” Vetus Testamentum, 52: 2002): 219–252, p. 226).

50 Verbal resonance links the narratives of Joseph and Dinah. After the seduction of Dinah the Torah says: And the sons of Jacob came from the field when they heard, ויתעצבו האנשים, and the men were pained, ויחר להם מאד, and they were very furious (Gen. 34: 7). After Joseph discloses his identity to his brothers following the events that followed his sale and the near-rape he uses language that contrasts with that of Dinah's brothers implying that he forgives the fact that they were indirectly responsible for a near-rape that echoes Dinah's seduction: And now, do not תעצבו, be pained, and do not יחר, be furious, in your eyes that you have sold me here (Gen. 45: 5).

51 Jacob's rejection of Reuben's offer conforms to the Deuteronomic law in Deut. 24: 6. The author of 2 Kings 14: 6 cites this prohibition approving the way that Amaziah obeyed this law and a close reading of the narrative in Genesis 42 indicates that it alludes to the narrative of Amaziah, contrasting the conduct of Joseph to Judah despite the way that Judah confronts him with the cruelty Jehoash, the king of Israel exhibits towards Amaziah, the king of Judah.

52 Jacob also adopts Ephraim and Manasseh to make them Israelites, since the Deuteronomist says that only the third generation of Egyptians may enter the community (Deut. 23: 8), and both of Joseph's sons were born in Egypt of an Egyptian mother, Asenath (Gen. 41: 45).

53 Rebekkah's deceitful behavior jeopardizes her own life and that of Jacob, who has to go into exile because he arouses the hatred of Esau by purloining his blessing. It therefore echoes the act of sacrilege that Sarah when she denies to God that she has lied to Him (Gen. 18: 15), jeopardizing the life of Isaac.

54 Interestingly, the wise woman of Tekoa uses similar language to that of Rebekkah when she says to David:עלי, on me, my lord the king and on the house of my father will be the guilt, and the throne of the king will be innocent (2 Sam. 14: 9). There is clearly a link between the way that Rebekkah tries to save the life of her son Jacob and the way that the wise woman of Tekoa tries to save that of Absalom. There is no evidence that the wise woman of Tekoa dies because of her oath, perhaps because the bloodguilt Absalom incurs by killing Amnon is avenged by his own death. Frymer-Kensky notes that Abigail also deflects a curse onto herself (1 Sam. 25: 24), explaining that bloody vengeance on Nabal would bring bloodguilt on David and assuming such bloodguilt herself (Tikva Frymer-Kensky, “In the Wake of the Goddess: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth,” New York, Free Press, 1992, 133–134).

55 J. Cheryl Exum suggests that the silence about Rebekkah's death and burial is “narrative punishment for her role in securing the blessing for Jacob, her favorite son” (J. Cheryl Exum, “Fragmented Women: Feminist (Sub)versions of Biblical Narratives,” Trinity Press International, Valley Forge Press, PA, 1993, 106) and points out that Rebekkah fails to keep her promise and send for Jacob as she had promised to do (Gen. 27: 44–45). Rebekkah's death is related to a sin that echoes the Primal Sin (Daniel Langer, “A Tikun: Rebekah and Eve,” Tradition 27 (1992): 3–19).

56 Jacob leaves Laban with his wives and children in violation of the Covenant Code that entitles the master to keep them: If his master gave him a wife and bore him sons or daughters then the woman and her children should belong to her master and he may go out by himself (Exod. 21:4). Jacob leaves Laban with his wives and children in violation of this law of the Covenant Code, taking his wives and children with him in accordance with the Deuteronomic law that permits this (Deut. 15: 13–18), contrary to the Covenant Code (See Gershon Hepner, “Jacob's Servitude with Laban Reflects Conflicts between Several Biblical Codes,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (2003) (in press)).

57 Baruch Halpern, “David's Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King,” Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2001, 97, n. 36.

58 J. J. Stamm, “Der Name des Königs Salomo,” Theologische Zeitschrift 16 (1960): 16: 285–297; “Hebräische Ersatznamen,” in “Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger,” Assyriological Studies of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago 16, Chicago, University of Chicago, 1965, 413–424.

59 G. Gerleman, “Die Wurzel šlm,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 85 (1973); 1–14.

60 T. N. D. Mettinger, “King and Messiah. The Civil and Sacral Legitimation of the Israelite Kings,” Coniectanea Biblica Old Testament Series 8. Lund: CWK Gleerup, 1976, 30.

61 P. Kyle McCarter Jr., “II Samuel,” Anchor Bible, Doubleday, New York, 1984, 303.

62 I am grateful to Linda Roer Hepner for pointing this out to me.

63 This interpretation has major implications regarding the revolt of Adonijah in the first chapter of 1 Kings. According to Cogan the topic of David's succession is never raised in 2 Samuel and the first chapter of 1 Kings is self-contained (Mordechai Cogan, “1 Kings,” Anchor Bible, Doubleday, New York, 2000, 166). The fact that David causes the death of Adonijah when he swears an oath in 2 Sam. 12: 6 invoking a punishment that isארבעתים, fourfold, on the miscreant in Nathan's parable implies that the death of Adonijah is already a factor in 2 Samuel, contra Cogan, suggesting that 1 Kings 1 is organically connected to 2 Samuel.

64 Larry L. Lyke, “King David with the Wise Woman of Tekoa: The Resonance of tradition in Parabolic Narrative,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 255, 1997, 152.

65 See Gershon Hepner, “Jacob's Servitude with Laban Involves Conflicts between Several Biblical Codes,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 2003 (in press).

66 Bernard M. Levinson, “Calum M. Carmichael's Approach to the Laws of Deuteronomy,” Harvard Theological Review 83 (1990): 227–258.

67 The Literary Guide to the Bible,” ed. Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, Cambridge MA., The Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1987, 1–10.

68 For example, in his analysis of the Book of Ruth, Sasson makes no reference to the fact that its heroine Ruth is excluded from the community of Israel by Deuteronomic law in Deut. 23: 4–7 (Jack M. Sasson, “Ruth,” in “The Literary Guide to the Bible,” ed. Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, The Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA., 1987, 320–328).

69 Benjamin D. Sommer, “A Prophet Reads Scripture: Allusion in Isaiah 40–66,” Stanford University Press, 1998, 34–35.

70 Gershon Hepner, “Verbal Resonances in the Bible and Intertextuality,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 96 (2001): 3–27.

71 Shalom Paul, “Studies in the Book of the Covenant in the Light of Cuneiform and Biblical Law,” Vetus Testamentum Supplement 18, Leiden, Brill, 1970, 43–105.

72 See E. L. Greenstein, “Biblical Law,” in Back to the Sources,” ed. R. W. Holtz, Summit, New York, 97, 1984.

73 The terms תורה, instruction, and להורות, to instruct (Lev. 10; 11; Deut. 33: 10; cf. Lev. 14:57; Exod. 24: 12; Deut. 17: 9–11; 24: 8, 12; Ezek. 44: 23; Mic. 3: 11) ostensibly express the heuristic nature of the Torah's laws!

74 Gershon Hepner, “Jacob's Servitude with Laban Involves Conflicts between Several Biblical Codes,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 2002 (in press).

75 Bernard M. Levinson, “The Right Chorale: From the Poetics to the Hermeneutics of the Hebrew Bible,” in “Not in Heaven: Coherence and Complexity in Biblical Narrative,” edited by Jason P. Rosenblatt and Joseph C. Sitterson, Jr., Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1991, 147–148.

76 Gershon Hepner, “The Relationship between Biblical Narratives and Laws,” Journal for Law and Religion 18 (2003) (in press).

77 J. J. Finkelstein, “The Ox That Gored,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 71: 2: American Philosophical Society, 1981, 18–20; Reuven Yaron, “Enquire Now About Hammurabi, Ruler of Babylon,” Legal History Review 49 (1991): 223–238; Eckart Otto, “Aspects of Legal Reform and Reformulation in Ancient Cuneiform and Israelite Law, in “Theory and Method in Biblical and Cuneiform Law: Revision, Interpolation, and Development,” ed. Bernard M. Levinson, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement 181, Sheffield Academic Press, 1994, 160–196. For a dissenting view see Raymond Westbrook, “Studies in Biblical and Cuneiform Law,” Cahiers de la Revue Biblique 26, Paris, Gabalda, 1988, 1–8 and “What is the Covenant Code?” in “Theory and Method in Biblical and Cuneiform Law,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement 181, Sheffield Academic Press, 1994, 20–32. The subject of the revision of the Covenant Code by the Deuteronomist has been superbly analyzed by Bernard Levinson in “Deuteronomic Law and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation,” Oxford University Press, 1991, 6–22.

78 Yehezkel Kaufmann, “The History of the Israelite Religion,” 4 vols., Tel Aviv, Dvir (Hebrew (1937–56).

79 A. Hurvitz, “The Evidence of Language in Dating the Priestly Code,” Revue Biblique 81 (1974): 25–55; “A Linguistic Study of the Relationship Between the Priestly Source and the Book of Ezekiel,” Paris, Gabalda, 1982.

80 M. Haran, “Temples and the Temple Service in Ancient Israel,” Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1978.

81 Ziony Zevit, “Converging Lines of Evidence Bearing on the Date of P,” Zeitschrift für die altte-stamentliche Wissenschaft 94 (1982): 481–511. Zevit suggests that P was written around 600–550 B. C. E., based largely on the work of Hurvitz (Ziony Zevit, “The Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches,” London, New York, Continuum, 2001, 47, n. 62. Although this is not technically “pre-exilic,” he points out that there was probably no radical transformation of the Judahite religious culture in the early “exilic” period (H. M. Barstad, “The Myth of the Empty Land: A Study in the History and Archaeology of Judah during the “Exilic” Period,” Scandinavia University Press, Oslo, 1996, 77–82).

82 Jacob Milgrom, “Leviticus 1–16,” Anchor Bible, New York, Doubleday, 1990, 3–13.

83 Israel Knohl, “The Sanctuary of Silence: The Priestly Torah and the Holiness School,” Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 1995, 209. Knohl suggests that the Holiness School edited the laws of the Priestly legist, probably inspired by Proto-Isaiah, emphasizing ethics and extending to all Israel the holiness of the priest. The term “Holiness Code” should be viewed with some skepticism. It was first used by August Klostermann in 1877 in an attempt to refute the theory that Ezekiel wrote the second of Leviticus. Kaufmann and Weinfeld both claim that the laws of the Holiness Code are part of the Priestly Torah (Y. Kaufmann, “A History of the Religion of Israel,” Jerusalem, 1960, 121; Moshe Weinfeld, “Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic School,” Oxford, 1972, 179–243) and the work of Warning casts serious doubts about the separation between the laws attributed to P and HS since numerological patterns suggests that a single author was responsible not only for redacting these laws but writing them (Wilfried Warning, “Literary Artistry in Leviticus,” Leiden, Brill, 1999, 8–19).

84 Julius Wellhausen, “Die Composition des Hexateuchs,” Jahrbücher für deutsche Theologie 21, 1876, 392–450, 531–602, now published as “Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der Historischen Bücher des Alten Testaments,” Berlin, de Gruyter, 4th edition, 1963. Wellhausen's view that the Priestly stratum of the Pentateuch was the latest of the Pentateuchal sources is supported by K. H. Graf, “Die Geschichtlichen Bücher des Alten Testaments: Zwei historisch-kritische Untersuchungen,” Leipzig, Weigel, 1866; E. Reuss, “L'histoire sainte et la loi (Pentateuch et Josue),” 2 vols, Paris, Sandoz & Fischbacher, 1879; Abraham Kuenen, “An Historico-critical Inquiry into the Origin and Composition of the Hexateuch,” 2 vols, London, Macmillan, 1886.

85 Baruch A. Levine, “Research in the Priestly Source: The Linguistic Factor,” Eretz Israel 16 (Orlinsky volume; 1982) 124–131 (Hebrew); “Numbers 1–20,” Anchor Bible, New York, Doubleday, 1993, 101–108.

86 J. Blenkinsopp, “An Assessment of the Alleged Pre-Exilic Date of the Priestly Material in the Pentateuch,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 108 (1996): 495–518, pp. 508–516; “The Pentateuch,” in “The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation,” ed. John Barton, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998, 181–197.

87 See W. Spiegelberg, “Die sogenannte demotische Chronik des Pap. 215 der Bibliothèque Nationale zu Paris,” Leipzig, J. C. Hinrichs, 1915, 30–32; M. Dandamaev and V. Lukonin, “The Culture and Social Institutions of Iran,” Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989, 125. See also J. Blenkinsopp, “The Mission of Udjahorresnet and Those of Ezra and Nehemiah,” Journal of Biblical Literature 106 (1987): 409–421; G. Widengren, “The Persian Period,” in “Israelite and Judean History,” ed. J. H. Hayes and J. M. Miller, Philadelphia, Westminster, 1977, 515; E. T. Mullen, “Ethnic Myths and Pentateuchal Foundations: A New Approach to the Formation o the Pentateuch,” Atlanta, Scholars Press, 1997, 81.

88 See Seth Schwartz, “Imperialism and Jewish Society, 200 B.C.E. to 640 CE.,” Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001, 21.

89 The fact that the laws were accepted by the Judeans suggests that they were largely pre-exilic and coincided with what the Judeans practiced before and during the exile.


Export Citation