Jill Middlemas, «The Prophets, the Priesthood, and the Image of God (Gen 1,26-27)», Vol. 97 (2016) 321-341
This analysis considers aniconic rhetoric in Hosea, Second Isaiah, and Ezekiel, in order to assess commonality and difference with respect to prophetic and priestly perspectives of the divine image because interpreters draw on the prophetic literature in discussions of the thought of Gen 1,26-27. There is greater similarity in thought between Second Isaiah and Gen 1,26-27 as well as greater tension between Ezekiel and the first imago Dei passage than accounted for previously, and almost no commonality with Hosea. Furthermore, the prophets diversify the number and type of divine images as a means to resist idolatry.
326 JILL MIDDLEMAS
better assess the correspondence between prophetic and priestly atti-
tudes towards the image of God.
At first glance, the daring assertion that human beings bear the im-
age of God in Genesis seems at odds with expressions of incompara-
bility in Isaiah 40–48 that appear in the form of declaration (46,9,
cf. Jer 10,6.7) and rhetorical question (40,18.25; 44,7; 46,5) 21. In a
declarative statement, the deity unequivocally asserts by the use of the
comparative particle that “there is no one like me (ynwmk)” (46,9). This
sentiment will be reiterated in one of the rhetorical questions, “To
whom will you liken me (ynwmk)?” (44,7), but the other queries where
the comparative k is not found stress divine incomparability primarily
through verbal force. One of the questions is asked by an anonymous
third-person eyewitness, presumably the prophet: “To what then will
you liken God or what likeness can you make comparable to [God]?”
(40,18). The other two questions are presented as stemming directly
from the deity in first-person address: “‘To what then will you com-
pare me so that I may be equalled?’, says the Holy One” (40,25); and
similarly, “To what will you liken me and make me equal and compare
me, as though we were alike?” (46,5).
A lengthy exegetical discussion is outside the scope of this article,
but we should note that resemblance is expressed through the use of
verbs in the main in the rhetorical questions, with the favorite term be-
ing hmd “to resemble, compare” 22. In addition, we find a series of rare
terms including the hiphil of hwv “to make or treat as the same” 23, the
rare sense of %r[ “to bring into comparison” 24 which is found else-
where in divine incomparable statements in the Psalms (40,6;
89,6), and the hapax legomenon lvm in the hiphil “to be alike” 25.
Only once is a noun present to express the comparison, and it is twmd
“image, likeness” 26, which appears in two of the three imago Dei pas-
C.J. LABuSCHAGNE, The Incomparability of Yahweh in the Old Testament
(Pretoria Oriental Series V; Leiden 1966) 20-21, 27, 29-30, 67-79. See MIDDLE-
MAS, The Divine Image, 99-100.
Isa 40,18.25 piel; 46,5 piel and qal.
40,25 qal, which is more common than 46,5 hiphil.
40,18 qal. Cf. Ps 40,6; 89,6. Ps 89,6 also has hmd.
On the translation of twmd as of a fixed form or something specific rather
than general, see KuTSKO, Between Heaven and Earth, 67; W.R. GARR, “‘Image’
and ‘Likeness’ in the Inscription from Tell fakhariyeh”, IEJ 50 (2000) 227-234;
ID., In His Own Image and Likeness, 124-131; MIDDLEMAS, “Exclusively yahweh”,
318; ID., “Transformation of the Image”, 131-134; and ID., The Divine Image, 98-99.