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THE COMPOSITION OF THE EPISODE OF THE FOREIGN WOMEN IN EZRA IX-X

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image of Vetus Testamentum

This article offers an explanation for the repetitions and inconsistencies in the episode of the foreign wives in Ezra ix-x. The section is described as being based upon three sources: Ezra's prayer (ix 6-15), a short narrative (x 2-6), and a long narrative (x 7- 44). The claim that each of these passages is an independent source derives from the uniqueness of style, lexicon and terminology, the names of characters, approaches and stances that underlie each passage. The long narrative is early, and at times unclear. Prior to it there was inserted a brief and clear mirror image revision bearing an extreme separatist message, intended to exacerbate the demand for the immediate expulsion of foreign wives. At a later date, once the simplistic separatist message had become outmoded, yet another author inserted Ezra's prayer, which was extant, prior to Chapter x as a moderate mirror image and principled ideological explanation for the prohibition of intermarriage, albeit without the demand of sending away the wives. In order to integrate the prayer with Chapter x the author added a frame story. The use of these different sources led to the repetitions and incompatibilities among the details and positions expressed in this unit.

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