WISDOM XVIII 9 BY HOWARD JACOBSON Champaign, Ill., U.S.A. In its brief account of the first Passover, Wisdom writes: xpucp?) Yap ?6uaia?ov omm nai8e5 &YIX6wv. Perhaps xpuofl can be satisfactorily explained. It has not yet been. The routine explication refers the reader to the narrative in Exodus xii wherein the Israelites are com- manded to eat the lamb in their homes and not to go out till morning (xii 22 & 46). This view is open to objection. 1. Privacy is not the same as secrecy. 2. The Biblical injunction to stay within one's home appears to be related to the coming of God's destroyer and the tenth plague rather than to the sacrifice. 3. The Biblical text requires that the eating of the lamb be in the privacy of the individual home but neither says nor implies that the sacrifice was to be. 4. Post- Biblical Jewish tradition emphasizes the contrary, that the Israelites slaughtered the Passover sacrifice in the very presence of the Egyptians (e.g., Pesikta de Rav Kahana 5. 17, pp. 105 f. MANDELBAUM ; Exodus Rabbah 16. 3). 5. A secret celebration scarcely seems consistent with the singing of songs mentioned at the end of the verse (Indeed, &VTÝjXE:L ... po7) at xviii 10 suggests that the Israelites' singing was also loud). Such singing on the night of the first Passover was a Rabbinic tradition (Mekhilta 34a, ed. FRIEDMANN). J. B. SEGAL'S suggestion (The Hebretv Passover, Oxford 1963, p. 25, n.6) that xpupg is somehow related to the Septuagint's description of the unleavened bread (Exodus xii 39) as e'yxpuylocq is quite unlikely. Slight emendation yields a satisfactory text. Read: 1"pucp-n, "with joy". 1. 1"pucp? is common in Jewish texts with a very favorable sense. Thus, the garden of Eden is sometimes nxp«8evso5 1"pucp?c; in the Septuagint (e.g., Genesis iii 23). Theodotion translates Isaiah's "if you call the Sabbath a day of joy" (lviii 13; NEB translation) by aYi«v. 2. The celebration of the Passover is commonly described as festive, e.g., Ezra vi 22, 2Chr xxx 21, Jubilees xlix 2, 22. 3. Wisdom uses 1"pucp? at xix 11 and possibly at xix 21. 4. The element of "joy" in that first Passover celebration is prefigured at Wisdom xviii 6
Journal for the Study of Judaism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1976
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