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image of Biblical Interpretation

Ezekiel 16 presents the narration of a man's relationship with his woman as an extended metaphor of Yhwh's relationship with Jerusalem. In consideration of its rhetoric, we discover that the speaking voice is exclusively male. The man Yhwh focuses upon sexual possession of the woman Jerusalem, uses shaming tactics, mandates voyeurism, and exhibits faulty logic in his condemnation of her. On a second level, when we compare the incident presented in the text with situations of domestic violence, we find that the textual interaction exhibits charac47 teristics similar to those of men who physically abuse women. Ezekiel 16 reflects a situation of woman battering in its content and progression. Its male speaker, Yhwh, exhibits those traits of a woman abuser: jealousy, possessiveness, and censuring. As batterers tend to wrongly suspect their women of affairs, this comparison serves to question the veracity of the male speaker in this text. On a third level, one finds that many who have interpreted this passage have overwhelmingly tended to believe the statements of the man Yhwh that the woman Jerusalem deserves the abuse. These male readers have taken a perspective similar to that of a battered woman before she leaves the relationship; they speak with a female voice.

Affiliations: 1: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary


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