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Those who swear by Yahweh and by their king.

Posted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:38 pm
by Ben C. Smith
Most English translations apparently render Zephaniah 1.5 as referring (A) to those who worship the host of heaven (the sun, moon, and stars) and (B) to those who swear both by Yahweh and by Molek/Molech/Milcom/Malc(h)am:

New International Version
those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the LORD and who also swear by Molek,

New Living Translation
For they go up to their roofs and bow down to the sun, moon, and stars. They claim to follow the LORD, but then they worship Molech, too.

English Standard Version
those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom,

New American Standard Bible
"And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven, And those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom,

King James Bible
And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
those who bow in worship on the rooftops to the heavenly host; those who bow and pledge loyalty to the LORD but also pledge loyalty to Milcom;

International Standard Version
I'll wipe out those who worship the stars that they view from their housetops, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and who also swear by Milcom,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I will remove those who worship all the stars in the sky on their rooftops and those who worship by swearing loyalty to the LORD while also swearing loyalty to the god Milcom.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; And them that worship, that swear to the LORD And swear by Malcam;

New American Standard 1977
“And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven, And those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom,

King James 2000 Bible
And those that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and those that worship and that swear by the LORD, and yet swear by Milcom;

American King James Version
And them that worship the host of heaven on the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;

American Standard Version
and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship, that swear to Jehovah and swear by Malcam;

Douay-Rheims Bible
And them that worship the host of heaven upon the tops of houses, and them that adore, and swear by the Lord, and swear by Melchom.

Darby Bible Translation
and them that bow down to the host of the heavens upon the housetops; and them that bow down to Jehovah, that swear by [him], and swear by Malcham;

English Revised Version
and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship, which swear to the LORD and swear by Malcam;

Webster's Bible Translation
And them that worship the host of heaven upon the house-tops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;

World English Bible
those who worship the army of the sky on the housetops, those who worship and swear by Yahweh and also swear by Malcam,

Young's Literal Translation
And those bowing themselves On the roofs to the host of the heavens, And those bowing themselves, Swearing to Jehovah, and swearing by Malcham,

Yet the word in question is בְּמַלְכָּֽם: the prefix meaning "by", the construct state of the word for "king", and the plural pronomial suffix meaning "their". The word is easily translated as "by the king-of them", as do two versions:

NET Bible
I will remove those who worship the stars in the sky from their rooftops, those who swear allegiance to the LORD while taking oaths in the name of their 'king,'

Jubilee Bible 2000
and those that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops and those that worship swearing by the LORD and by their king.

The LXX agrees:

καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας ἐπὶ τὰ δώματα τῇ στρατιᾷ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τοὺς ὀμνύοντας κατὰ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ τοὺς ὀμνύοντας κατὰ τοῦ βασιλέως αὐτῶν.

Why this reluctance to acknowledge that some inhabitants of Judah swore by their king as well as by Yahweh in the second half of this verse? No such reluctance seems prevent the rooftop star-worshipers in the first half from getting their due. Any ideas?


Re: Those who swear by Yahweh and by their king.

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:05 am
by andrewcriddle
Could the king-of-them mean the king of the host of heaven ?

Andrew Criddle

Re: Those who swear by Yahweh and by their king.

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:06 pm
by Ben C. Smith
andrewcriddle wrote:Could the king-of-them mean the king of the host of heaven ?
Maybe.... Interesting idea, at any rate.

Re: Those who swear by Yahweh and by their king.

Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:27 pm
by Ben C. Smith
Possible indications that the king was regarded as divine....

1 Chronicles 29.20, 22b-23:

20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless Yahweh your God.” And all the assembly blessed Yahweh, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and worshiped Yahweh and the king. .... 22b And they made Solomon the son of David king a second time, and they anointed him as ruler for the Lord and Zadok as priest. 23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him.

Psalm 45:1-17:

1 For the choir director; according to the Shoshannim. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love.
My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
2 Thou art fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Thy lips; Therefore God has blessed Thee forever.
3 Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O Mighty One, In Thy splendor and Thy majesty!
4 And in Thy majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Thy right hand teach Thee awesome things.
5 Thine arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under Thee; Thine arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies.
6 Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.
7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee With the oil of joy above Thy fellows.
8 All Thy garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made Thee glad.
9 Kings' daughters are among Thy noble ladies; At Thy right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; Forget your people and your father's house;
11 Then the King will desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.
12 And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; The rich among the people will entreat your favor.
13 The King's daughter is all glorious within; Her clothing is interwoven with gold.
14 She will be led to the King in embroidered work; The virgins, her companions who follow her, Will be brought to Thee.
15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King's palace.
16 In place of your fathers will be your sons; You shall make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause Thy name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the peoples will give Thee thanks forever and ever.

CD VII, lines 14-16:

14 .... As he said: «I will deport the Sikkut of your King 15 and the Kiyyun of your images away from my tent to Damascus». ~Blank~ The books of the law are the Sukkat 16 of the King, as he said, «I will lift up the fallen Sukkat of David».

This seems to quote or interpret Amos 5.26:

26 You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.
καὶ ἀνελάβετε τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ Μολοχ καὶ τὸ ἄστρον τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν Ραιφαν τοὺς τύπους αὐτῶν οὓς ἐποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς.

An obscure reference, to be sure, but something kingly seems to be paralleling something divine.

The kings of other nations appear to be divine sometimes....

Isaiah 14.3-23:

3 And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, 4 that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say,
“How the oppressor has ceased,
And how fury has ceased!
5 “The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
The scepter of rulers
6 Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes,
Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.
7 “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet;
They break forth into shouts of joy.
8 “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
‘Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’
9 “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come;
It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth;
It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones.
10 “They will all respond and say to you,
‘Even you have been made weak as we,
You have become like us.
11 ‘Your pomp and the music of your harps
Have been brought down to Sheol;
Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you
And worms are your covering.’
12 “How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!

13 “But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit.
16 “Those who see you will gaze at you,
They will ponder over you, saying,
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world like a wilderness
And overthrew its cities,
Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’
18 “All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
Each in his own tomb.
19 “But you have been cast out of your tomb
Like a rejected branch,

Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword,
Who go down to the stones of the pit
Like a trampled corpse.
20 “You will not be united with them in burial,
Because you have ruined your country,
You have slain your people.
May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever.
21 “Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter
Because of the iniquity of their fathers.
They must not arise and take possession of the earth
And fill the face of the world with cities.”
22 “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and survivors, offspring and posterity,” declares the Lord. 23 “I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.

Ezekiel 28.1-19:

28 The word of the Lord came again to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord God,
“Because your heart is lifted up
And you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of gods
In the heart of the seas’;
Yet you are a man and not God,

Although you make your heart like the heart of God—
3 Behold, you are wiser than Daniel;
There is no secret that is a match for you.
4 “By your wisdom and understanding
You have acquired riches for yourself
And have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries.
5 “By your great wisdom, by your trade
You have increased your riches
And your heart is lifted up because of your riches—
6 Therefore thus says the Lord God,
‘Because you have made your heart
Like the heart of God,
7 Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you,
The most ruthless of the nations.
And they will draw their swords
Against the beauty of your wisdom
And defile your splendor.
8 ‘They will bring you down to the pit,
And you will die the death of those who are slain
In the heart of the seas.
9 ‘Will you still say, “I am a god,”
In the presence of your slayer,
Though you are a man and not God,
In the hands of those who wound you?
10 ‘You will die the death of the uncircumcised
By the hand of strangers,
For I have spoken!’ declares the Lord God!”’”
11 Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God,
“You had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 “You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

15 “You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trade
You were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.
17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before kings,
That they may see you.
18 “By the multitude of your iniquities,
In the unrighteousness of your trade
You profaned your sanctuaries.
Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you;
It has consumed you,
And I have turned you to ashes on the earth
In the eyes of all who see you.
19 “All who know you among the peoples
Are appalled at you;
You have become terrified
And you will cease to be forever.”’”

Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, page 41:

These descriptions of the kings of Babylon and Tyre fit exactly with the situation depicted in Ps. 82, where the gods, the sons of Elyon, are judged and condemned to die like men. Note too that the King of Babylon is a despised branch, netser, a word used only of people, just as the royal prince of the house of Jesse is called the branch from his root (Isa. 11.1), and the branch in Dan. 11.7 is Ptolemy III Euergetes. Once only is the word used of a non-royal person, and then it is Isaiah's description of Israel, the people whom Yahweh has planted (Isa. 60.21). If 'branch' can be used to describe a Davidic prince as well as the King of Babylon, and if the fall of the sons of Elyon also underlies Ps. 82, it is possible that the other aspects of this myth were applied to the Davidic kings. Did they, like the kings of Babylon and Tyre, have a divine counterpart, their star, their son of Elyon on the mountain of God? If so, it would explain the curious line in Matt. 2.2: 'Where is he who is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star..." The Second Isaiah democratized this royal theology, and applied it to the people as a whole. He used this same imagery of casting down when he applied the royal titles to Israel: 'You are my Servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off' (Isa. 41.9), and this suggests, as does Ps. 2, that the king was raised up onto the holy mountain, perhaps in a mystical ascent, and certainly in the royal mythology which supported the monarchy.

By way of comparison, Psalm 82.1-8:

A Psalm of Asaph.
1 God takes His stand in His own congregation;
He judges in the midst of the rulers.
2 How long will you judge unjustly
And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.
3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They do not know nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are sons of the Most High.
7 “Nevertheless you will die like men
And fall like any one of the princes.”
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth!
For it is You who possesses all the nations.

Philo, Life of Moses 158:

158 What more shall I say? Has [Moses] not also enjoyed an even greater communion with the Father and Creator of the universe, being thought worthy of being called by the same appellation? For he also was called the god and king of the whole nation [ὠνομάσθη γὰρ ὅλου τοῦ ἔθνους θεὸς καὶ βασιλεύς], and he is said to have entered into the darkness where God was; that is to say, into the invisible, and shapeless, and incorporeal world, the essence, which is the model of all existing things, where he beheld things invisible to mortal nature; for, having brought himself and his own life into the middle, as an excellently wrought picture, he established himself as a most beautiful and Godlike work, to be a model for all those who were inclined to imitate him.

Texts in which the king is adopted, so to speak....

Psalm 89.1-52:

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
89 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever;
To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.
2 For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever;
In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.”
3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen;
I have sworn to David My servant,
4 I will establish your seed forever
And build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.
5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord,
7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
And awesome above all those who are around Him?
8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
9 You rule the swelling of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
10 You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain;
You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them.
12 The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.
13 You have a strong arm;
Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.
15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance.
16 In Your name they rejoice all the day,
And by Your righteousness they are exalted.
17 For You are the glory of their strength,
And by Your favor our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the Lord,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones,
And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.

20 “I have found David My servant;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
21 With whom My hand will be established;
My arm also will strengthen him.
22 “The enemy will not deceive him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
23 “But I shall crush his adversaries before him,
And strike those who hate him.
24 “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him,
And in My name his horn will be exalted.
25 “I shall also set his hand on the sea
And his right hand on the rivers.
26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’

27 “I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.

28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.
29 “So I will establish his descendants forever
And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 “If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
31 If they violate My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
And their iniquity with stripes.
33 “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
34 “My covenant I will not violate,
Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.
35 “Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36 “His descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.
37 “It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful.” Selah.
38 But You have cast off and rejected,
You have been full of wrath against Your anointed.
39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown in the dust.
40 You have broken down all his walls;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
41 All who pass along the way plunder him;
He has become a reproach to his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 You also turn back the edge of his sword
And have not made him stand in battle.
44 You have made his splendor to cease
And cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have shortened the days of his youth;
You have covered him with shame. Selah.
46 How long, O Lord?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember what my span of life is;
For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!
48 What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.
49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord,
Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?
50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants;
How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.
52 Blessed be the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.

And of course Psalm 2.


Re: Those who swear by Yahweh and by their king.

Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:58 pm
by outhouse
Ben C. Smith wrote:Possible indications that the king was regarded as divine....


In these early traditions it is safe to say the highest authority was rhetorically written as divine, we see the same/similar tradition with the Emperors divinity.

You also have the evolution of the divine council and how the text was redacted to monotheism, yet left us clues to these early traditions.

Since were talking about fragmented heavily redacted text, dating the time of application becomes foremost. Most of what you are presenting is a product of the 5thy to 7th century BC. But the context is an evolution from previous traditions Ugarit in nature. [in some cases, not all]

Quite dynamic in nature

Re: Those who swear by Yahweh and by their king.

Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:16 pm
by outhouse
I think a better question would be

Is there any culture that did not look at authority as divine before monotheism ?