Re: [ANE-2] Rahab the Zonah with a Thread
- You may want to take a look at Phyllis Bird's "The Harlot as Heroine",
Chapter 9 in her 1997 book _Missing Persons and Mistaken Identities_. About
half of the chapter deals with the role of Rahab and her profession in Joshua
Quoting Morris Silver <msilver12@...>:
> Dear Listmembers:"Maybe we can link up with someone whos meditating and download enlightenment!"
> In 1999 I posted a number of messages suggesting that the zonah Rahab was not
> a prostitute. I focused attention on the possible significance of the thread
> and linen in the biblical account. Some relevant excerpts follow. Then a new
> (to me) piece of evidence.
> Source: ANE: Rahab, Ariadne and Nanshe:Common Threads (April 18, 1999)
> In Josh. 2.15 after hiding the two Israelite spies under the stalks of
> flax on the roof of her house, Rahab helped them to escape from Jericho by
> letting them "down by a 'thread/rope/cord" [chebel], through her window: for
> her house was on the side of the wall." The grateful agents told Rahab to
> "bind this line of scarlet thread in the window from which you let us down
> by" (Josh. 2.18), so that her house would be spared by the conquering
> It seems clear that the main purpose of this myth is to explain the
> existence in Israel of an (allegedly) foreign institution: the House of
> Rahab. This House is somehow identified by a "thread".
> Source: ane Sexual Innuendoes, Specialized Terminology, Metaphors, Rahab,
> Tamar, Hosea etc. (April 22, 1999)
> I began this discussion by asking for the evidence that Rahab was a
> prostitute. Rahab ministered to the needs of male strangers (no doubt for a
> fee) and she was a foreigner (to the Israelites). But in the era being
> described the number 1 meaning of zonah probably was not prostitute.
> If the primary or only meaning of zonah was "prostitute" there would have
> been no opportunity for sexual innuendoes concerning the men who came to her
> house. It would not be funny: "She is a prostitute, of course men come to her
> The point of the story is to explain the existence in today's (ancient)
> Israel of the House of Rahab. Not in Jericho, because that city was
> presumably reduced to rubble, but throughout Israel. Was the point to
> explain why there were houses of prostitution in Israel? Such houses must
> have existed from the very beginning and were familiar to all. So if Rahab's
> House is not a house of prostitution, what manner of house was it? What is
> the significance of the thread displayed on the house? This is the problem I
> would like to solve.
> The new finding is that upon entering the cloister the naditu had a
> thread/cord (qu) of Shamash placed on her hand. (CAD s.v. qu A 3): The
> meanings of qu include: 1. flax, 2. thread, string 3. filament, capillary; 4.
> net, web. The naditu is known for her lending and other business activities.
> There is no evidence of prostitution.
> Comments appreciated.
> Morris Silver
> Professor Emeritus
> Department of Economics
> City College of New York
> ANCIENT ECONOMIES I
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Morris Silver <msilver12@...> wrote:
But in the era being
described the number 1 meaning of zonah probably was not prostitute.
If the primary or only meaning of zonah was "prostitute" there would have been no opportunity for sexual innuendoes concerning the men who came to her house. It would not be funny: "She is a prostitute, of course men come to her house."
This sounds a little circular.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]