The Double Use of the Locution ועתה as a Rhetorical Device in the Discourses of the Old Testament

Barbara Rzepka

Monastero della SS. Trinità, Poppi , Italy

Abstract

In biblical texts, repetition is very often seen by scholars as an indication of an addition or of different sources. In the Old Testament we find a group of speeches characterized by the double or triple use of the adverbial phrase ועתה within the same speech. The phenomenon of double ועתה appears in seventeen texts: Gen 44:18–34; 45:4b-13; Exod 3:7–10; Josh 22:2–5; Ruth 3:10–13; 1 Sam 24:18–22; 26:18–20; 2 Sam 2:5–7; 19:10–11; 1 Kgs 5:17–20 (cf. 2 Chr 2:2–9); 8:23–53 (cf. 2 Chr 6:14–42); 18:9–14; 1 Chr 29:10–19; 2 Chr 2:11–15; 28:9–11; Ezra 10:2–4; Dan 9:4–19. In four cases it has to do with a triple use of ועתה , namely in Josh 14:6–12; 1 Sam 25:24–31; 2 Sam 7:18–29 (cf. 1 Chr 17:16–27) and Ezra 9:6–15. This study analyses these texts and tries to answer the questions raised by the repetition of the particle ועתה : Why use the same locution twice? What are the common characteristics of these discourses? And what is the origin of this phenomenon? The first part of the research is dedicated to the presentation of the general characteristics of ועתה , while the second part concerns the persuasive character of these discourses. The third part consists in the analysis of the function of the double ועתה in the structure of the discourses, as compared with classical rhetoric. The fourth part identifies the context of the speeches with the double/triple ועתה . Finally, the fifth part is dedicated (1) to the importance of the argumentation introduced by the first ועתה in a specific discourse, as it is related to a request for forgiveness (deprecatio), and (2) to the origins of the use of the double ועתה as a rhetorical device.

Keywords:

we‘attâ, double ועתה, Hebrew rhetoric, persuasive speech, argumentation, request discourse, discourse structure, dispositio, deprecatio

Aletti, J.-N. et al., Lessico ragionato dell’esegesi biblica. Le parole, gli approcci, gli autori (Brescia: Queriniana 2006).

Aristotle, Rhetorica, in: Aristotele, Retorica e Poetica (ed. M. Zanatta; Classici della filosofia; Torino: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese 2004) 139–378.

Arnold, B.T. – Choi, J.H., A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (New York: Cambridge University Press 2003).

Auld, A.G., I and II Samuel. A Commentary (Old Testament Library; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox 2011).

Blum, E., Studien zur Komposition des Pentateuch (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 189; Berlin – New York: De Gruyter 1990).

Bonora, A., La storia di Giuseppe. Dio in cerca di fratelli, Genesi 37–50 (Leggere oggi la Bibbia 1; Brescia: Queriniana 1982).

Bovati, P., Ristabilire la giustizia. Procedure, vocabolario, orientamenti (Analecta Biblica 110; Roma: Biblical Institute Press 1986).

Bovati, P., Re-Establishing Justice. Legal Terms, Concepts and Procedures in the Hebrew Bible (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series 105; Sheffield: JSOT Press 1994).

Brongers, H.A., “Bemerkungen zum Gebrauch des adverbialen We’ATTĀH im AT,” Vetus Testamentum 7 (1965) 289–299.

Brown, F. – Driver, S.R. – Briggs, C.A., A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon 1955).

Brueggemann, W., I e II Samuele (Torino: Claudiana 2005).

Buber, M., Mosé (Casale Monferrato: Marietti 1983).

Childs, B.S., Il libro dell’Esodo. Commentario critico-teologico (Piemme Theologica; Casale Monferrato: Piemme 1995).

Eslinger, L., House of God or House of David. The Rhetoric of 2 Samuel 7 (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series 164; Sheffield: JSOT Press 1994).

Fischer, G., Jahwe unser Gott. Sprache, Aufbau und Erzähltechnik in der Berufung des Mose (Ex 3–4) (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 91; Freiburg: Universitätsverlag – Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1989).

Fuhs, H.F., “ עלה ,” Grande Lessico dell’Antico Testamento (ed. P.G. Borbone; Brescia: Paideia 2006) VI, 697–722.

Garavelli Mortara, B, Manuale di retorica (Tascabili Bompiani 94; Milano: Bompiani 2012).

Gertz, J.Ch., Tradition und Redaktion in der Exoduserzählung. Untersuchungen zur Endredaktion des Pentateuch (Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 186; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2000) 289–291.

Giuntoli, F., Genesi 11,27–50,26. Introduzione, traduzione e commento (Nuovissima versione della Bibbia dai testi antichi 1/2; Milano: San Paolo 2013).

Greenberg, G.M., Understanding Exodus (New York: Behrman Hause 1969).

Jenni, E., “Zur Verwendungen von ‘attâ «jetzt» im AT,” Theologische Zeitschrift 28/1 (1972) 5–12.

Joosten, J., “Biblical Rhetoric as Illustrated by Judah’s Speech in Genesis 44.18–34,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 41/1 (2016) 15–30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0309089216628417.

Kronholm, T., “ עת ,” Grande Lessico dell’Antico Testamento (ed. P.G. Borbone; Brescia: Paideia 2007) VII, 2–16.

Laurentin, A., “We’attāh-kai nun. Formule caractéristique des textes juridiques et liturgiques,”Biblica 45 (1964) 168–197.

Lausberg, H., Handbook of Literary Rhetoric. A Foundation of Literary Study (Leiden – Boston, MA – Köln: Brill 1998).

Lipiński, E., “ ערב ,” Grande Lessico dell’Antico Testamento (ed. P.G. Borbone; Brescia: Paideia 2006) VI, 1006–1012.

Łach, J., Księgi Samuela. Wstęp, przekład z oryginału, komentarz, ekskursy (Pismo Święte Starego Testamentu 4/1; Poznań – Warszawa: Pallottinum 1973).

Morrison, C.E., 2 Samuel (Berit Olam. Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press 2013).

Noth, M., Esodo. Traduzione e commento (Antico Testamento 5; Brescia: Paideia 1977).

Pawłowski, Z., “Od więzów krwi do wspólnoty wiary. Narracyjna analiza procesu budowania wspólnoty,” Verbum Vitae 6 (2004) 35–70.

Rӧmer, T.C., “Exodus 3–4 und die aktuelle Pentateuchdiskussion,” The Interpretation of Exodus. Studies in Honour of Cornelis Houtman (eds. R. Roukema et al.; Contributions to Biblical

Exegesis & Theology 44; Leuven – Paris – Dudley, MA: Peeters 2006) 65–79.

Ska, J.-L., “Sincronia: analisi narrativa,” Metodologia dell’Antico Testamento (ed. H. Simian-Yofre; Studi biblici 25; Bologna: Dehoniane 2002) 139–170.

Ska, J.-L., “Judah, Joseph and the Reader (Gen 42:6–9 and 44,18–34),” Das Alte Testament – ein Geschichtsbuch? Beitrӓge des Symposiums “Das Alte Testament und die Kultur der Moderne” anlӓsslich des 100. Geburtstags Gerhard von Rads (1901–1971), Heidelberg, 18.–21. Oktober 2001 (eds. E. Blum – W. Johnstone – C. Markschies; Altes Testament und Moderne 15; Münster: LIT 2005) 27–39.

Ska, J.-L., “I nostri padri ci hanno raccontato”. Introduzione all’analisi dei racconti dell’Antico Testamento (Collana biblica; Bologna: Dehoniane 2012).

de Vaux, R., Le istituzioni dell’Antico Testamento (Casale Monferrato: Marietti 1964).

Wenham, G.J., Genesis 16–50 (Word Biblical Commentary 2; Dallas, TX: Nelson 1994).

Westermann, C., Genesis. III. Genesis 37–50 (Biblischer Kommentar Altes Testament 1/3; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchner 1982).

Download

Published
2022-06-10


Rzepka, B. (2022). The Double Use of the Locution ועתה as a Rhetorical Device in the Discourses of the Old Testament. Verbum Vitae, 40(2), 467–500. https://doi.org/10.31743/vv.13615

Barbara Rzepka  barbarabasamon@yahoo.it
Monastero della SS. Trinità, Poppi https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0813-0195



License

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

(1) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC license Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. 

(2) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

(3) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).