There is a verse that I love to invoke whenever I teach about "the poetics of biblical narrative," and it doesn't come from this week's portion (but who's keeping score, anyway?). Instead, it is found in the first extended legal section, Parashat Mishpatim (Exod. 21–24). Loosely translated, this is the text: "In all charges of misunderstanding . . . whereof one party alleges, 'This is it!'—the case of both parties shall come before God" (Exod. 22:8); the Hebrew phrase underlying the words "this is it!" is: כי הוא זה (ki hu zeh). The verse seems to be addressing a case in which no one side has a total claim on the truth; in such a case, then, one is bidden to consider both possibilities.Do read the rest!
The emperor Domitian had a coin made to celebrate his son's divinisation showing the boy sitting on a globe - presumably representing the earth, with 7 stars around him.Of course, the image is typical of a tradition of picturing gods seated on globes, see for example the coin representing Victory seated on a globe (from the page on coins from the time of Nero from the Classics Dept. at Monmouth College).
The Romans like other ancients believed the Earth to be flat.
Why was a globe used?
... by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,Here the echoes of שַׁדַּי shadday "Almighty" with שָׁדַיִם shadayim "breasts" resonates strongly, and perhaps is echoed more weakly (in sense if not by sound) with the "eternal mountains" and "everlasting hills" of the next verse. The effect is perhaps to mitigate the exclusively male patriarchal feel of the blessing - especially since שָׁדַיִם shadayim is paired with that most female of words רָחַם racham "womb".by the name of the Shepherd,25 by the God of your father, who will help you,
the Rock of Israel,by the Almighty (shadday) who will bless you26 The blessings of your fatherwith blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,
the bounties of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
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