Psalm 87:4

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BibleOld TestamentPsalms

Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
    Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia[a]
    “This one was born there,” they say.

[a] Or Nubia; Heb Cush

A Creation Text

Egypt nicknamed Rahab

Comment: A "creation text" or a "creation record"? This evocation of the myth of Rahab, appropriating its language in celebration of Yahweh's victory over Egypt, did not "record" any factual details of primordial time. Such references served to add force to the prophetic messages, whether celebrating past victories or promising future ones, and from our modern perspective they are witness to the variety of Ancient Near East creation stories known in ancient Israel. Such references record the complexity of competing beliefs, and of the language that referred to them, in Bible times: they do not "endorse" the historicity of Rahab, etc., any more than we would endorse the historicity of a Leprechaun or a Bunyip by referring to it.

In alluding to the victory over Egypt, the Psalm also alludes to the defeat of Yam, the personified "Sea".

— Bruce

← back to Yam, the dragons in the waters, and Leviathan Continue a tour of the Bible's Creation Texts next →