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Der Mensch lebt nicht vom Brot allein, sondern …

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image of Vetus Testamentum

The aim of this study is, on the one side, to inquire into the meaning of the expression in Deut. viii 3b. Because this expression appears only once in the Old Testament, this study investigates the genitival construction in Num. xxx 13; Deut. xxiii 24; Jer. xvii 16, and Ps. lxxxix 35, and the expression in Num. xxx 3; Judg. xi 36; Isa. xlv 23; and lv 11. One may conclude that these expressions bear signs of a juridical language, with the connotation of ‘self commitment’. Accordingly, in Deut. viii 3b denotes the self commitment of YHWH. Secondly, the study explores the meaning of the expression. Following the lead of Deut. viii 16-18, it arrives at the conclusion that “bread alone” denotes food detached from YHWH, acquired by one's own efforts, in contrast to the manna, the symbol of the provision of God. According to the final clause of Deut. viii 3b, YHWH teaches his people that, when there is food and wealth, they recognise his covenantal love, the sole foundation of Israel's life.

Affiliations: 1: Cluj, Rumania


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