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Job iii 5 in the Light of Mesopotamian Demons of Time

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image of Vetus Testamentum

This brief communication examines two cruces in Job iii (μ/yî yrEyrIèm]Kiâ in iii 5 and μ/y=AyrEr"ao in iii 8) in the light of Sumerian, Akkadian, and later Mandaic performative texts which identify elements of time as cosmic, and potentially demonic, entities. After establishing the shared contexts and features of the texts (i.e., affliction by the Satan/a demon, an illocutionary pronouncement against personified elements of time, and an association between demons and warfare), I argue that the rendering of μ/yî yrEyrIèm]K in Job iii 5 as “day-demons”, proposed already by Rashi and Ibn Ezra, is to be preferred, and that one should understand μ/y=AyrEr"ao as “those who curse a day”.

Affiliations: 1: Washington, DC


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