The poor's curse: Exodus xxii 20-26 and curse literature in the ancient world

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The pledge laws in the Pentateuch, in their laconic style, sketch an array of religious and social costumes which are present in the procedure of debt collecting. 1 In this setting, while the powerful side uses violent means to retrieve its money, the poor's last choice is prayer for revenge. The following essay will throw light on various aspects of the poor's prayer and curse from a variety of literary genres in the Hebrew Bible. In addition, sources from ancient Greece and Mesopotamia will illuminate the role played by the deity, or deities, in this human drama. Ancient Greek literature introduces new literary genres into our discussion, some of which find interesting parallels in Biblical literature. Of those genres we shall focus on curse poetry, Greek, with examples from Job iv and Psalm cix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-451
Number of pages21
JournalVetus Testamentum
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2006.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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