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One Bow or Another? A Study of the Bow in Genesis 9:8-17

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Abstract Because Gen. 9:8-17 uses the word qĕšĕtin relation to the deity and to the clouds, the inference has been made in biblical scholarship that the text refers to a rainbow. The plausibility of this inference is tested in this article. Attention is given to the various linguistic aspects of this word in the Hebrew Bible and to the specific textual composition of Gen. 9:8-17 as well as to the broader ancient Near Eastern framework established by comparative literary and iconographic evidence. The conclusion is reached that the word qĕšĕtdesignates in Gen. 9:8-17 a warrior’s bow which represents both the deity’s might and power as well as his willingness to transfer his power over the earth to those living on it.

Affiliations: 1: Radboud University Nijmegen


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