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God is merciful, and although he himself has brought the disaster on his people as punishment for their sins, he will not remain forever unmoved by their plight They have at hand the means of atonement: repentance ; , 42 , bearing their chastisement without complaint till they have exhausted it , study of the Mishnah , praying in synagogue and observing the rituals of penitence and mourning Israel will have its revenge and will rejoice over its fallen oppressors as they now rejoice over Israel cf.

This is surely the point of the aggadah about the sacks made out of Torah scrolls at The desecration of the Torah scrolls is compounded by the gratuitously cruel purpose to which they are put, viz. A correlation is implied: the more Israel drains the cup of punishment through suffering at the hands of its oppressors, the more, paradoxically, she is filling the cup for them and hastening the day when it will be finally taken from Israel and passed to them see Tg.

Both were evidently still functioning as twin capitals of the Roman empire when our Targumist wrote, an indication of his date see below, 8.

The Tg. Unlike the Qumran covenanters, he is a political realist and does not see the King Messiah as himself overthrowing the great powers of his day and taking on the world. The messianic redemption for our Targumist is essentially a this-worldly, political process but, like the Targumist of Canticles, he is a pacifist. He makes it abundantly clear to those with ears to hear that to engage in overt political or military action to force the redemption would be wrong. But only God can judge when both these conditions have been met.

All the Congregation of Israel can do is repent and mourn for its sins, in the sure and certain hope that, though he tarries, the Messiah will finally come. The fullest collection of these traditions is to be found in Lamentations Rabba Lam. The Rabbinic origins of this work are in no doubt and it can reasonably be taken as articulating the classic rabbinic theology of catastrophe.

Genesis 11 Bible Commentary

The complex redactional history of Lam. Here we will focus only on one question: taking Lam. Paul, Robert A. Kraft, Lawrence H. Schiffman, and Weston W. Fields, eds. By implication Jerusalem fell because her people neglected the study, and hence the implementation, of Torah, which is conceived of in its broad rabbinic sense as including the oral Torah the Mishnah.

Like Tg. Martyrdom is an important theme in Lam. But, like Tg. The appalling treatment meted out to Israel by the nations transforms her status from that of sinner to that of victim, and as victim she becomes worthy of compassion and deliverance Proem The correspondences between Tg. They extend not only to their broad theology and their detailed exegesis,16 but also to their rhetoric.

Both heighten dramatically the plight of the exiles and their tragic reversal of fortune see, e.

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This offers the survivors consolation by articulating and testifying to their suffering, and at the same time highlights the pathos of their situation and evokes compassion. But it also demands a matching rhetorical heightening of their sins in order to explain such an appalling downfall, and of the intensity of the divine response to their plight in order to console them. But there are also some subtle differences between the two texts. When it nostalgically idealizes the city of Jerusalem that was destroyed, it tends to stress its secular side rather than its Temple and priesthood see, e.

Mintz, Hurban, However, Tg. A much more striking and significant difference is the absence from Tg. The classic statement of this in the astonishing Proem 24 may be a late addition to the text,20 but the idea is implicit elsewhere in Lam. This absence is nowhere more keenly felt than in the opening verse, where the Targum seems deliberately to shy away from saying that God mourns over his people. But it pointedly does not claim, as do Lam.

Proem 4 and the Midrashic parallels see Tg. The Midrash is happy to make God the subject; the Targum is not. He has to find other ways of comforting the Congregation of Israel than with the idea of a suffering God. Is it purely homiletic, or is there a real belief in the passibility of God? The doctrine of the passibility of God is found in later Qabbalah, which represents God, through the Shekhinah, as bound up in the processes of creation and history, but it would be unwarranted to assume that such ideas were present at this early date.

The texts remain, however, extraordinarily suggestive, and are so reminiscent of aspects of Christian incarnational theology that one wonders if there might not be some influence. Targum Lamentations and the Masoretic Text 5. Even when he is paraphrasing he feels he has to mirror the form of the original, and this involves translating every word of it in basically the same sequence. He cannot skip words or verses or rearrange the order, as can be done in Rewritten Bible.

So it is impossible for him to quote named authorities or use citation formulae even when in effect he is quoting other parts of Scripture , or to lay bare his exegetical reasoning in the way that would be standard if he were compiling a Midrash. Interestingly, this mirroring of the original apparently does not extend to its poetic structure.

There are parts of Tg.

Genesis 11 Bible Commentary - John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

Nowhere, however, does our Targumist seem consciously to attempt to represent the poetic meter of the original. It is hard to tell how aware he would have been of the poetry of Lamentations. One would need to have a very poor ear indeed not to hear it. Any competent reader of the Hebrew, reciting it aloud, could hardly avoid hearing its rhythms, which were obvious even to Jerome see 5. One copy of the Lamentations from Qumran may actually have set it out in poetic lines. There are Aramaic poems, free compositions, found in some of the Pentateuchal Targumim, so there was a tradition of Aramaic religious poetry on which to draw.

He saw it as his primary aim to convey the meaning or the religious message, not the poetic form. Carson and H. Williamson, eds. Whether this indicates a recognition of the poetic form or was simply dictated by the acrostic is debatable. All five chapters of Lamentations are attested in the Scrolls. On the use of the biblical Lamentations at Qumran see below, 7. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1:xxviii—xxix. Essays in Honour of Professor N.

Type A translates the original very directly, word for word. If it does make additions they are very short and intended simply to draw out the literal sense as understood by the Targumist. The bulk of Tg. Type B translation is paraphrastic and expansive and introduces considerable quantities of material that is patently not in the original. The most obvious case of this is These two types of translation correspond very roughly in Tg. The historical evolution of these two styles of exegesis within Jewish hermeneutics is much debated, and the meaning of the key terms has changed over time, but the sense in which I am using them here is the sense in which they would have been understood by Rashi.

Though it is Holy Writ, it has to be interpreted in a common-sense way, like any other human discourse, by appealing to the usage of the language in which it was originally written. Peshat, therefore, more or less corresponds to the modern philological approach, though it is less guided by scientific principles and accumulated scientific knowledge. Derash, however, treats the words of the text as ciphers or symbols pointing to a deeper meaning.

Adam, Israel, and the Torah in the Ancient Jewish Targum Translations of the Adam and Eve Story

The text is regarded as a unique divine speech in which all truth is somehow hidden, waiting to be discovered by clever exegesis. What, for example, are we to do with a translation that offers a double Peshat rendering of a single Hebrew word as happens, e.

In that the equivalents taken separately give a Peshat sense we would seem to have a Peshat translation. However, if the implication is that both renderings are equally valid, then this points to a concept of the polvalency of the text of Scripture that is more characteristic of Derash.