A.L.H.M. van Wieringen, «The "I"-Figure's Relations in the Poem in Isa 38,10-20», Vol. 96 (2015) 481-497
This article offers a close reading of the Writing of Hezekiah (Isa 38,10-20) and describes the development of both the relation between the "I"-figure and the Lord and that between the "I"-figure and the community. An "ellipsis" between vv. 14 and 15 plays a prominent role. Furthermore, the article demonstrates that the developments in the "I"-figure's relations in the poem fit well within the poem's context (chapters 36–39). The ellipsis in the poem is connected to the open ending of chapter 38, to the happy conclusion of chapters 36–37, and to the open ending of chapter 39.
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The “I”-Figure’s Relations in the Poem in Isa 38,10-20
In this article 1, I would like to offer a close reading of the “Writ-
ing of Hezekiah” which is found in Isa 38,10-20 and is also known
as Hezekiah’s poem. Firstly I wish to describe the development in
the relations between the “I”-figure and the Lord (development 1)
and between the “I”-figure and the community (development 2). A
figure of speech, an “ellipsis”, located between vv. 14 and 15, ap-
pears to play a prominent role in both of these developments. Fur-
thermore, I will demonstrate that the developments in the “I”-figure’s
relations in the poem fit within the poem’s textual context (chapters
36–39). The ellipsis in the poem is connected to the open ending
of chapter 38 (textual context 1), to the happy conclusion of chap-
ters 36–37 (textual context 2), and to the open ending of chapter 39
(textual context 3).
I. Development 1 in the poem: the “I”-figure and the Lord
In the poem in Isa 38,10-20, the Lord and the community appear
as characters in relation to the “I”-figure. The “I”-figure’s relation
with both characters develops in a climactic way: what begins as
a vaguely defined connection develops into a fully enacted rela-
I would like to start with the relation between the “I”-figure and
the Lord. The “I”-figure’s contact with the Lord develops gradually
and can be described in five steps.
Step I is formed by vv. 10-11. These verses contain two direct
speeches by the “I”-figure, marked by the verbum dicendi rma. The
initial contact with the Lord is rather vague: it is absent in the first
direct speech, whereas in the second direct speech the Lord is not
addressed directly but only spoken about.
The “I”-figure himself is central in these two direct speeches.
This is marked not only by the absence of the Lord in the first direct
speech, but also by the emphasis on the “I”-figure in the use of the
This article is a reworked version of my paper on Isa 38,9-20 for the
SBL Annual Meeting, in November 2014.
BIBLICA 96.4 (2015) 481-497