Friday, February 17, 2012


“In reference to humans, the word תם [TM] appears in Gen 6:9 and 17:1 as a descriptor for Noah and Abraham respectively, yet again there is no reason to assume morality to be the operative issue. Interestingly, within the entire Hebrew Bible only Jacob and Job (1:8, 2:3) are described as איׁש תם [TM 'YŠ]. Yet within the Hebrew Bible, the word (תמים) [TMYM] also occurs frequently in Leviticus in reference to an unblemished animal that is worthy of being sacrificed to YHWH. The assumption, then, that this word must elicit moral uprightness is unfounded. The concern is not whether the animal is a moral exemplar but whether it is appropriate for sacrifice to YHWH. Similarly with Noah, Abraham, and Job, the pertinent qualifier seems to be less the character’s moral convictions than describing whether he is sound enough to be pleasing to YHWH. With Jacob, one must remain mindful that the narrative never explicitly censures him for the way he goes about matters. One is enjoined also to recall from chap.1 The discussion of morality in relation to these texts; the relationship historically is, if anything, tenuous. Given the evidence, this description of Jacob likely says something about his status in relationship to God. Something about Jacob makes him worthy and pleasing for YHWH.”—Jacob and the Divine Trickster, pages 69-70

<idle musing>
Interesting thought...are we importing our 21st century presuppositions into the text? Probably. What does that say about who/what is acceptable to God? Interesting to think about...
</idle musing>

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