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Behemoth בהמות

(2,238 words)

Author(s): B. F. Batto
I. Name Despite frequent claims that Behemoth refers to one or another animal of the natural world, the Behemoth depicted in Job 40.15–24 ( Job 10–19) is best understood as a mythological creature possessing supernatural characteristics. By form bĕhēmôt is the intensive (feminine) plural of bĕhēmâ (‘beast, ox’; collective: ‘beasts, cattle’; see Botterweck 1975:6–17); nevertheless, in Job 40.15–24 the grammatical forms pertaining to Behemoth are all masculine singular. The figure suggested is a singular being of awesome dimensions, a ‘super ox’ …

Curse אלה

(2,285 words)

Author(s): B. F. Batto
I. Name Some scholars have contended that in ancient Israel ‘curse’ ( ʾālâ) was conceived of as a kind of demonic force that could invade the land or take over a person’s being. Although curse could on occasion be personified, there is little evidence from the Bible that curse was thought to be a self-acting force. This is true not only for the root ʾlh but also for vocables from other roots used to express curses in the OT (notably ʾrr, qll, qbb, and Šbʿ). Etymologically the root ʾlh is cognate with Ar. ʾlw (IV), ‘to swear’, ‘to curse’, and ʾallu, ‘oath’, ‘curse’. In the OT the root is att…

Zedeq צדק

(2,674 words)

Author(s): B. F. Batto
I. Name The West Semitic deity Zedek, ‘Righteousness’, is found in the Bible only in the personal names Melchizedek ( Gen. 14.18; cf. Ps. 110.4; Heb. 5.6; Heb. 6.20–7.17) and Adonizedek ( Josh. 10.1, Josh. 3), both Canaanite kings of pre-Israelite Jerusalem. Zedek is probably to be identified with the deity known as Išar among the Amorites and Kittu in Babylonia, and thus a hypostasis or personification of the sun god Shamash’s function (Shemesh) as divine overseer of justice. The cult of Zedek appears to have been well established in pre-Israelite (Jebusite) Jerusalem. …