‫לו‬ ‫מידו‬ ‫קרנים‬ and ‫למו‬ ‫אשדת‬ ‫:מימינו‬ Reading Habakkuk 3:4 and Deuteronomy 33:2 in Light of One Another *

Gareth Wearne
unpublished
Habakkuk 3:4 and Deuteronomy 33:2 have long resisted straightforward interpretation. However, both verses apparently belong to the same tradition of southern theophany and both share a similar syntax and imagery. This short paper argues that both verses can be used to shed light on each other, and that the unusual syntax of the MT preserves an ancient idiomatic expression. Habakkuk 3:4 and Deuteronomy 33:2 are among the most difficult cruces in the Hebrew Bible. Both verses occur in poetic
more » ... ccur in poetic compositions belonging to the tradition of southern theophany, in which Yhwh, in the role of the divine warrior, marches in power from the South. 1 Moreover, in addition to comparable imagery and themes, both Hab 3:4 and Deut 33:2 also share a similar syntax: a prepositional phrase consisting of two nouns one of which has prefixed (‫,מ(ן‬ followed by-‫ל‬ + pronominal suffix. However, the use of the preposition ‫מן‬ without a verbal complement is felt to be problematic, and both ancient and modern interpreters alike have struggled with the meaning of these cola. 2 Be that as it may, the striking similarity of the two verses has long been recognised, and as early as 1896 C. J. Ball described the cola as synonymous. 3 However, whereas discussions * I wish to express my thanks to Dr. Stephen Llewlyn and to Bronwyn Hall (http://researchden.com(who made a number of helpful suggestions and corrections to earlier drafts of this article. Any remaining errors are, of course, my own. 1 Variously identified as Seir, Sinai, Paran and Teman; cf. Deut 33:2-3; Judg 5:4-5 (cf. Ps 68:7-8(; Hab 3; and the theophany from Kuntillet Ajrud (Kajr 4.2((Ze' ev Meshel, Kuntillet
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