Official Blog of the Bishop of Durham

Aren Maeir’s Philistine Penis in Full Colour

Posted by NT Wrong on May 1, 2008

Aren Maeir has provided full colour pictures of Philistine penises in a BAR version of his JSOT article from 2007.

In these articles, Aren Maeir suggests a retranslation of ‘opalim in 1 Samuel 5-6 as some sort of unmentionable penile affliction. Maeir suggests that it could be impotence. The word is usually translated as “boils” or “hemorrhoids”, but is considered too vulgar to pronounce in Tanakh readings. Maeir’s suggested translation is supported by the recent findings of Philistine ithyphalli (erect penises) at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

His suggestion has got me wondering. I wonder if we should also retranslate the phrase vatikbad yad-YHWH (1 Sam 5.6; cf. 5.7, 11)? What was going on here? A sort of “Our God’s Got A Bigger Penis Than Your God’s” Contest? Sounds very much like it to me!

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