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A Thorny Text: The Use of תא and the Subversion of Form in Ezek 2:6

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Ezekiel 2:6 contains several perplexing elements. The word אוֹתָךְ‎ has the form of a 2ms object pronoun but cannot be read that way in the clause. Moreover, in the context of a prophetic call narrative one might expect the כִּי‎ clause at the center of the verse to provide the motivation for divine reassurance, but instead the reader finds three hostile images—briars, thorns, and scorpions. In recent years, S. Garfinkel and M. Odell have suggested creative explanations for these interpretive challenges, but analysis of the non-standard uses of אֵת‎ and a close reading of the literary context of Ezek 2:6 do not support their conclusions. In this article, we argue that many of the problematic aspects of the verse reflect a literary agenda and serve to produce a sense of defamiliarization by subverting the reader’s expectations for form on multiple levels.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Research Fellow, University of the Free State ; 2: Training Leaders International, Durham University


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