Tag Archives: Israel

Psalms 137: An Exegetical Approach

Introduction

Psalms 137 has long been one of my favourite biblical passages and not simply because of the shock value held by the final verses. Surely “a blessing on him who repays you in kind” and “a blessing on him who seizes your babies and dashes them against the rocks!” are the rarest of occurrences in any sermon (137:8—9)! This type of retaliatory language only piqued my interest in Psalm 137 and to avoid running the risk of a shallow understanding and interpretation I was forced to study the passages in detail. Apart from the obvious questions one could ask, such as “what on earth is something like this doing in the bible?” and “is this really condoning the dashing of babies as a form of retribution?”—certain theological questions arise for the Christian disciple reading such a passage. Namely what does this suggest about God, if anything, and the issues of faith the author was faced with during the time period this passage was constructed? Moreover, what does Psalm 137 suggest about the society it was written in? Continue reading

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The Old Testament As History Or Story: A Reflective Approach

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Dr Stavrakopoulou with some iconography referencing YHVH & Asherah together.

Entry 5

It is certain that YHVH, the God of the Israelites, had a consort in Asherah. Biblical scholars, Christine Hayes and Saul Olyan, suggest this is a remnant of polytheistic practices among the Israelites and as these stories found their way onto parchment they were essentially redacted into monotheism.[1] What is striking about the fact those around this time considered this a legitimate relationship between YHVH and Asherah, is that this appears very early in Israelite history; at least the 8th century BCE. And there are hints, remnants still in the Hebrew bible that suggest that Asherah was worshipped alongside YHVH (2 Kings 23:6). So the fact it is not more obvious in the Hebrew bible actually lends weight to Olyan and Hayes’ hypothesis. [2] Continue reading

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