G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, Heinz-Josef Fabry, editors Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 2004-01-09

This volume of the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament has eighty-eight entries. Major entries (of ten or more pages in length) include an`q*, “jealousy; zeal”; ar`q*, “call”; brq*, “draw near”; ha*r`, “see”; varo, “head”; br, “be large/many”; lg#r#, “foot”; [d^r`, “pursue”; j^Wr, “spirit, wind”; <Wr, “be high”; bjr`, “be broad, wide”; <j^r`, “show compassion”; u^r}, “friend”; bu@r`, “hunger”; uu*r`, “evil”; <ya!p*r+, “Rephaim”; hx*r`, “be pleased with”; and jxr`, “kill.”

Several contributions deserve comment. In his study of the root anq E. Reuter offers the meanings of “jealousy, envy, zeal” for secular usage, and when used of God, the word group refers to divine jealousy or zeal. Reuter observes that some scholars reject the concept of divine jealousy as anthropopathic. He responds, “Ultimately, however, this concern only serves the Stoic notion of divine impassibility, which is inconsistent with the biblical understanding of God but is often espoused nevertheless by both Christian and Jewish theology, creating problems of exegesis” (p. 53).

The entry on ar`q*, “call,” to which several scholars contributed, is a particularly detailed article that surveys the term’s broad range of usage. Especially helpful are the sections on naming (pp. 126–31) and property law (pp. 131–32). The latter discusses the idiom lu <v@ ar`q=n], literally, “a name is called over,” which indicates ownership.

In the article on tv#q#, “bow,” T. Kronholm argues that the bow in the sky (Gen. 9:13) is strictly a natural phenomenon that serves as a sign of the covenant. He rejects the notion that the bow has military connotations here, signifying that Yahweh has hung up his bow after doing battle (p. 206).

The article on tyv!ar}, “beginning,” by S. Rattray and J. Milgrom, recognizes the term in Genesis 1:1 as construct and indefinite and on that basis they follow Rashi’s interpretation that the first clause is subordinate, not independent. They conclude that the term “does not allude to an absolute beginning of time or the universe, but simply to the beginning of the process by which God created the world, a process that ended on the sixth day” (p. 270).

U. Rüterswörden finds the imagery of the chaos dragon bhr, “Rahab,” rooted in Mesopotamian myth (pp. 354–55). He offers a brief but helpful discussion of its usage in Job (9:13; 26:12) and in poetic texts depicting Yahweh’s battle with the sea (Ps. 89:10–11; Isa. 51:9).

The entry on j^Wr, “spirit, wind,” is extensive and covers the broad range of biblical usage. The discussion of the phrase <yh!Oa^ j^Wr in Genesis 1:2 interacts with various interpretive options in a concise, but helpful manner. E. Tengström, the author of this portion of the entry, prefers to see the referent as God’s breath or wind (not simply an idiomatic “mighty wind”) “which drives back the waters of chaos” (p. 386).

H. Ringgren’s study of byr], “quarrel, lawsuit,” briefly addresses the issue of the prophetic lawsuit, but more could and should have been said (pp. 477–78).

In the article on uu*r`, “evil,” C. Dohmen tackles a number of challenging issues, including God’s relationship to evil, divine “remorse,” theodicy, and the origin of evil. In a major monograph F. Lindström argues that Old Testament passages seemingly attributing evil to God must be restricted to their historical contexts and not taken as expressing universal theological truths. Dohmen challenges Lindström’s view, arguing that the Old Testament does teach “divine omnicausality.” This is particularly evident, he contends, in Zephaniah 1:12 (where divine omnicausality is assumed); Ecclesiastes 7:14; and Job 2:10 (p. 577).

R. Liwak provides a useful survey of <ya!p*r+, which seem to be “inhabitants of the netherworld” in some texts and “the aboriginal population of Transjordan” in others.

In M. Görg’s entry on u^yq!r`, “firmament,” he concludes that in Genesis 1 the term “denotes a stable, solid entity situated above the earth, which protects the living world from an influx of the waters of chaos.” He adds, “The noun bears the connotation ‘compact, firm,’ so that translations such as ‘expanse’ miss the mark” (p. 649).

This addition, like earlier volumes in the series, will be a valuable resource for biblical exegetes and theologians.