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A Critical Analysis of the Formula “Yahweh Strikes and Heals”

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image of Vetus Testamentum

This paper identifies and analyses thirteen occurrences of the formula “Yahweh strikes and heals” or “Yahweh strikes and has mercy” that are found in the Old Testament, along with a comparative example from Ugarit where Marduk is the subject (R.S. 25.460). The various ways in which the formula could be used are highlighted, including as the basis for praise of the deity, an explanation for why the deity’s discipline should be accepted and patiently endured, as a means of understanding the present condition of the nation and/or predicting its future, and as a way of denoting the supreme power of the deity. Finally, the issue of the formula’s Sitz-im-Leben is addressed, with the author arguing that the formula probably began life within the context of domestic healing rites, and in particular as part of a song/prayer that was offered following recovery from sickness, before moving to prophetic, cultic and wisdom circles.

Affiliations: 1: Tabor Adelaide Australia


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