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Oaths and Vows

Oaths and vows are solemn statements by which a person confirms the veracity of a past action or statement, or swears to complete a certain action in the future. Usually deities are invoked as guarantors of these solemn statements. Oaths can be one of two types: the promissory oath, which is a sworn promise to perform (or not) an action in future, or the assertory (or declaratory) oath, which is a sworn statement that one has (or has not) committed a specified action in the past. In the Hebrew Bible the promissory oath is more prevalent than the assertory oath, of which there are only a few examples. Oaths usually include a self-curse to be carried out by the divine guarantor in the event of a broken or unfulfilled oath, but the self-imprecation is almost never expressed. The oath persists in modern legal usage with many of the elements known from antiquity. God is still commonly, though not necessarily, invoked, and the oath still involves an element of self-curse, which may include divine punishment but more often consists of the legal penalty for perjury.

The vow, like the promissory oath, is a sworn promise of future action, but unlike the oath, the future action is contingent on the invoked deity responding to a request from the vow maker. Only if the request is answered is the vow maker obliged to respond with a votive offering, which in most cases took place in a sanctuary. This conditionality stands in contrast to contemporary vows, which are often solemn statements of intended action by the vow maker without any reference to divine assistance.

Thus oaths and vows can be distinguished by the respective roles of the human and divine actors. Whereas the vow requests divine action and is concluded by a human action, the oath promises a certain kind of human action that will forestall divine action. Divine intervention after a vow is the desired outcome, but divine action after an oath can only mean that the oath has been breached and its curse is being executed.

Terminology.

Oaths can often be identified by their use of one or more formulaic expressions. The word for “oath” in Hebrew is šĕbûʿâ, which derives from the verb √š-b-ʿ, “to swear an oath.” Because the verb consists of the same root letters as the number seven (šebaʿ), it is often assumed that there is some correlation between oaths and seven, a number which in the Hebrew Bible conveys fullness. However, there is no explicit connection between the two (cf. Gen 21:23–31), and the cognate evidence for such a correlation is scarce. The verb √š-b-ʿ is found predominantly in the Niphal with a reflexive meaning, less often in the Hiphil with a causative meaning, and it frequently occurs with the preposition – whose object indicates the person or thing responsible for ensuring the authenticity of the oath. This formula √š-b-ʿ (Niphal) + – is found in narrative descriptions of oaths as well as in the content of the oaths. The latter instances include cases in which an individual swears an oath and cases in which one party compels a second party to swear an oath.

The oath formula that is most prevalent in the Hebrew Bible involves the combination of a conditional clause and a self-curse. However, in all of the biblical examples of this formula, the self-curse has been elided, so that only the oath’s conditional protasis remains in the text. The missing apodosis containing the self-curse must be assumed in order to understand the syntax of the conditional clauses, which are introduced by the particle ʾim (“if”) or ʾim lōʾ (“if not”). The former particle introduces a negative oath: “If I know … [then let the self-curse occur]” = “[I swear that] I don’t know” (1 Sam 17:55); and the latter introduces a positive oath: “If our adversary has not been destroyed … [then let the self-curse occur]” = “[I swear that] our adversary has been destroyed” (Job 22:20).

Two other oath formulas that are common in the Hebrew Bible are expressions that are not part of the oath proper but that are used to introduce an oath and to authenticate its content (Conklin, 2011). The first of these is the declaration “[By] the life of …” (Heb. ḥay [or ḥê]), which can be completed by the name of a deity or person and is then followed by the oath. In addition to its biblical usage, the expression is found in epigraphic Hebrew, namely the early sixth-century B.C.E. ostraca from Lachish, and it also has a parallel in Babylonian oaths (Akkad nīš ilim). The second expression consists of variations of the phrase “Thus will God do to me and thus will he add” (Heb. kōh yaʿăśeh-lî ʾĕlōhîm wĕkōh yōsîp [e.g., 2 Sam 3:35]), which is likewise followed by the oath. Sometimes the subsequent oath is expressed as a conditional clause, introduced by the particle ʾim or (or kî ʾim), but these particles are not connected syntactically to the preceding formula.

The standard Hebrew word for “vow” is neder, and the act of making a vow is usually expressed in Hebrew as a cognate accusative, that is, “to vow a vow” (nādar neder). The fulfillment of vows involves a greater variety of verbs, including šillēm (“to fulfill”), ʿāśâ (“to carry out”), hēqîm (“to be valid”), and pillēʾ (“to express”). Because vows are conditional promises contingent on divine action, they consist of a conditional protasis, which begins with the particle ʾim and states requested divine action, and an apodosis, in which the vow is stated, usually with a verb in the converted perfect (e.g., Gen 28:20–21; 1 Sam 1:11; 2 Sam 15:8).

Occasions for Oaths.

According to ancient Near Eastern sources, including the Hebrew Bible, the oath was used in a variety of political, legal, and cultic contexts, which often overlapped. Three of the most common occasions of an oath performance were to guarantee the stipulations of a treaty or covenant, resolve legal disputes, and make a solemn promise.

Treaties and covenants.

The use of oaths in the ratification of treaties is well attested in ancient Near Eastern sources and is instructive for understanding biblical oaths, especially as they relate to covenants (Lafont, 1996; McCarthy, 1981). These international treaties are similar to private contracts, which record a binding agreement reached through an oral proceeding before witnesses (though usually without any oaths). In the case of treaties, the two contracted parties are kings, and the witnesses are their respective deities, who not only witnessed the treaty but also were responsible for exacting punishment in the event of a violation. Treaties were concluded with an oath performance by one or both parties, depending on their relationship and the kind of treaty being established. In bilateral treaties each side would swear an oath, and if the partners were equals, the content of the oaths would be identical or very similar. In the case of unequal partners in a bilateral treaty, their disparity would be reflected in the varied content of their oaths. Unilateral treaties were a common way for a powerful king to ensure the loyalty of his vassals. Often in these treaties only the vassal performs an oath, swearing to obligations set forth by the overlord, but the overlord also would provide certain assurances to the vassal, even if they were not guaranteed by an oath performance.

This background on international treaties sheds light on oaths insofar as the form of these treaties is employed in various ways throughout the Hebrew Bible. In some cases, it is the basis for an agreement between two polities, such as the covenant (Heb. bĕrît) between Israelites and the Gibeonites in Joshua 9, in which the latter agree to be subjects of the former in exchange for sparing their lives. The agreement is concluded with an oath sworn by the leaders of Israelites (Josh 9:15). Although the account is more literary than historical, the diplomacy it depicts bears some resemblance to vassal treaties known from other Near Eastern traditions. One noteworthy detail from the narrative is its affirmation that even though the Israelites’ oath was sworn under false pretenses, it remains valid nonetheless (Josh 9:18–19; cf. 2 Sam 21:2).

Moreover, the covenantal relationship between Yahweh and Israel, in which Yahweh is the sovereign overlord and Israel is the loyal vassal, is derived largely from the vassal treaty form. For example, the covenant that comprises most of the Book of Deuteronomy seems to have been modeled on the loyalty oaths (Akkad adê) that Neo-Assyrian kings would compel from their vassals. According to this analogy, Israel is a vassal who swears an oath of loyalty to Yahweh, its overlord, and the Deuteronomic laws are the treaty stipulations that Israel is obliged to observe as a sign of its loyalty. Although Deuteronomy does not feature the specific oath formulas discussed above, the numerous parallels between it and the vassal treaties of Esarhaddon (672 B.C.E.) support its identification as a loyalty oath. Most notably, the curses in Deuteronomy 28:23–44 closely resemble the curses that Esarhaddon’s vassals would suffer if they violated their oath. The use of oaths to guarantee the covenantal relationship of Yahweh and Israel is most explicit in 2 Chronicles 15, which describes a religious reform undertaken by King Asa of Judah. After a report of the reform the narrator describes how the people enter the covenant of their ancestors by taking an oath to Yahweh, who responded by giving them respite from their enemies (2 Chr 15:12–15; cf. Ezek 16:8).

The link between biblical oaths and covenants is further apparent in cases in which a covenant is made between two individuals. When Abraham and Abimelech make a covenant, the latter asks the former to swear by God that he will deal loyally and not falsely with him; Abraham so swears (Gen 21:22–24). Then they conclude an agreement over a disputed well by both swearing oaths (Gen 21:31). In a parallel version of this story that features Isaac and Abimelech, the two reach a similar covenant, but in this account they settle on the terms of the pact but do not swear oaths to each other until the next morning (Gen 26:28–31). A third example from Genesis of oaths exchanged in the context of a covenant is the agreement reached by Jacob and Laban which establishes a boundary between them (Gen 31:44–54). The covenant is concluded when Jacob “swears by the fear of his father Isaac” (v. 53). A final example of a covenant established between two people with oaths is the one sworn by David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:12–23, in which Jonathan uses an oath formula to swear to David that he will report any threat from Saul. In exchange, Jonathan had made David swear to deal kindly with his house, an oath that later compels David to spare the life of Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth (2 Sam 21:7–8).

Legal disputes.

Judicial oaths are attested in ancient Near Eastern trial records as early as the late third millennium B.C.E., and they remain prevalent through the first half of the first millennium B.C.E. If judges were unable to reach a verdict on the evidence provided, they could compel one of the litigants to swear a divine oath that would confirm the truth of his or her testimony. In these instances, the assertory oath would be decisive for the outcome of the case. The Hebrew Bible contains several references to the judicial oath, which suggest a usage similar to that attested in the trial records from neighboring cultures. In Solomon’s prayer dedicating the Jerusalem temple, he refers to oaths sworn in the temple as a means of resolving legal disputes and requests that Yahweh hear and judge those oaths justly (1 Kgs 8:31–32). Exodus 22:6–10 presents two cases concerning property that has been entrusted to another person and is later stolen or damaged. In both cases the trustee is obliged to swear an oath affirming that he had no role in the property’s misappropriation. The most elaborate biblical example of a judicial oath is the case of the wife accused of infidelity (Num 5). She is brought before Yahweh and affirms the oath imprecations declared and recorded by a priest who then adds the writing to a concoction that the woman must drink.

Evidence for the use of juridical oaths is also found in biblical texts that deal with the problem of false oaths. Leviticus 5:21–26 addresses a situation in which property has been stolen and the accused thief has sworn falsely to his innocence. In such cases the thief must make restitution to the owner and to Yahweh. Other texts that deal with false oaths include the Decalogue’s prohibition against lifting the name of Yahweh in vain, which is most likely directed at those who would swear false oaths (Exod 20:7; cf. Ps 24:4). There is also an explicit warning in Leviticus 19:12 against swearing false oaths, which is quoted by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, who uses the verse to exhort his audience to speak the truth plainly (Matt 5:33–37; cf. Jas 5:12). The prophets also express concern over false oaths, a sin that they group together with other serious transgressions (Jer 7:9; Zech 5:4; Mal 3:5; cf. Hos 4:2).

In Mesopotamian and biblical law there seems to have been in the middle of the first millennium B.C.E. a move away from the juridical oath and a preference for empirical evidence (Wells, 2008). In Neo-Babylonian trial documents from the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E. the oath is no longer automatically decisive for cases but can be challenged by other forms of evidence. A similar shift may be observed in legal texts from the Hebrew Bible in that earlier material, such as the Book of the Covenant (Exod 21–23), presumes the efficacy of the juridical oath (Exod 22:6–10), but the later Deuteronomic Code and Priestly law favor forensic evidence and witness testimony (see Deut 17:6; Lev 24:14; Num 15:33).

Solemn promises.

In addition to these official legal contexts, Hebrew prose narrative attests to the wide usage of oaths as unilateral promises in the context of personal and political relationships. Perhaps the best example of this solemn promise is the one sworn by Yahweh to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that promises land, progeny, and blessing for their descendants. Unlike the biblical covenants that were based on the treaty form, this sworn promise to Israel’s ancestors seems to have been modeled on the Near Eastern tradition of kings rewarding loyal servants with land grants. The promise is often, though not always, formulated as an oath in which Yahweh simultaneously takes the oath and invokes himself as its divine guarantor (e.g., Gen 22:16). This unique situation makes Yahweh the subject and the object of the self-curse that is implied in the oath formula. Yahweh even goes so far as to act out symbolically the self-curse of the oath he has sworn by passing through a series of bisected animals (Gen 15:7–18). The ritual, which has a long tradition in other Near Eastern cultures, represents the fate of the oath taker, here Yahweh in the form of a flaming torch, if the oath is violated.

Promissory oaths from one person to another are attested throughout the Hebrew Bible. Besides demonstrating the wide range of circumstances in which an oath could be employed, these examples sometimes include distinctive features that suggest variability in oath performances. When Abraham sends forth his servant to find a wife for Isaac, he makes the servant swear to find a wife among the Arameans and not the Canaanites (Gen 24:2–9). When the servant anticipates an obstacle, Abraham cites the covenantal oath Yahweh had previously made to him as evidence of the servant’s success. Nevertheless, the servant swears the oath only after Abraham agrees to release the servant from the oath if the wife is unwilling to return with him to Canaan. In Joshua 2, Rahab compels the Israelite spies to swear an oath on behalf of all their people that they will spare her and her family when the Israelite army returns to Jericho. The spies take the oath but afterward are able to add three stipulations that, if unmet, will release them from their oath. Stories from the early Israelite monarchy offer further perspectives on oaths. When Saul’s son Jonathan violates an oath his father had imposed on his army, Saul initially swears that he will carry out the curse, but the soldiers respond with yet another oath that saves Jonathan’s life (1 Sam 14). In another story, however, Saul’s failure to abide by a sworn oath results in famine, which David must rectify by removing the bloodguilt that Saul has incurred (2 Sam 20:1–6).

Oaths as Part of Worship.

The cultic character of oaths can be inferred from their invocation of deities as witnesses, but it is also important to note how often oath performances occur within cultic space and are combined with other rites. The use of cultic space as a venue for oath performances is clear in the biblical references to juridical oaths discussed above, especially the procedure prescribed in Numbers 5, which takes place in the Tabernacle, but there are also numerous instances of promissory oaths that are sworn in sanctuaries. For example, the loyalty oath that the high priest Jehoiada compelled from the Carites was sworn by them in the Jerusalem temple (2 Kgs 11:4), and the Jerusalem temple is also where Ezra makes the priests, Levites, and all of Israel swear to expel their foreign wives (Ezra 10:5). Moreover, the critiques of some prophets indicate the prevalence of oaths at other cultic centers (Amos 8:14; Hos 4:15).

The relationship between oaths and cult is also apparent in the rites that frequently accompanied oath performances in antiquity, just as they do in modern oaths, which sometimes involve touching a sacred object, such as the Bible. This link has already been suggested by the ceremony that attends the oaths of a wife accused of adultery (Num 5), but examples of oaths from the Hebrew Bible and from ancient Near Eastern sources indicate a variety of rites that could take place with an oath. In Syrian and Mesopotamian treaties dating from the second and first millennia B.C.E. the exchange of oaths sometimes included an animal sacrifice, which symbolized the fate of the partner who violates the treaty. A similar ceremony involved each partner touching his throat at the time of the solemn oath as a symbol of the self-curse they were declaring. These ceremonies provide the backdrop for interpreting the bisected animals through which Yahweh passes in the form of a flaming torch, thus confirming the promises he has made to Abram (Gen 15). The prophet Jeremiah also refers to this ritual and its significance for covenants (Jer 34:18–19). Such sacrifices may also shed light on the biblical evidence for feasting in the context of oath performances. After Jacob and Laban have established their covenant and Jacob has sworn his oath, he offered a sacrifice and shared a meal with his kinsmen (Gen 31:54; cf. also v. 46). Similarly, on the night before Isaac and Abimelech exchange oaths, the latter prepared a feast which they share (Gen 26:30). To these examples it is reasonable to add the feasting that is associated with covenant ceremonies, which likely involved sworn oaths even if they are not explicitly mentioned. Such covenant meals are attested in Assyrian sources (SAA 9 3.3 and 3.4), the Hebrew Bible (Exod 24:3–8), and even the New Testament (Mark 14:24).

Two other rites that are associated with biblical oaths are the raising of one’s hand and the placing of one’s hand under the thigh of another. The first rite, which persists in modern oath performances, consists of the oath taker raising a hand as a way of invoking the presence of the deity who will act as the oath’s guarantor. This function is clear from the description in the book of Daniel of the man who “lifted his right hand and his left hand to heaven and swore by the life of the everlasting one” (12:7). That this gesture has the same meaning in modern times is evident from the provision that those who substitute a solemn affirmation without the invocation of a deity for a sworn oath are likewise exempt from raising their right hand. In some biblical examples, the hand lifting is combined with oath formulas, such as clauses introduced by the Hebrew particles ’im and ’im-lō’ (Gen 14:22–23; Ezek 36:7), but there are cases in which verbal oath formulas are lacking, and the hand raising alone marks the statement as an oath. In Exodus 6:8, for example, Yahweh tells Moses that he will bring the Israelites to “the land which I raised my hand to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

The second of these rites involves the oath taker placing a hand under the thigh of the one who has compelled the oath. Abraham commands his servant to do so as the latter swears to find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s people (Gen 24:2–9), and Jacob instructs Joseph to put a hand under his thigh and swear that he will not bury his father in Egypt (Gen 47:29–31). In both of these cases, the thigh is likely a euphemism for male genitals (cf. Exod 1:5), though it is unclear what such contact symbolized. As the source of male fertility, the genitals may have increased the oath’s potency, or the contact may have symbolized a self-curse that involved sterility as punishment for a broken oath. Whatever this gesture represented, its persistence in later eras can be observed in the shared Latin root of the English words “testicle” and “testimony.”

Occasions for Vows.

According to their depictions in ancient Near Eastern sources, including the Hebrew Bible, vows were most often made during times of distress. They consist of a request for divine assistance and also a promise of an action to be performed if the deity answers the petition. Evidence for vows in the ancient Near East comes from various stages of this process and includes votive offerings left in sanctuaries, temple records of fulfilled vows, and references to vows in public inscriptions, private prayers, and literary works. Especially instructive for understanding biblical examples of the vow is the evidence from the ancient Syrian city of Ugarit. Its large corpus of Late Bronze Age texts includes several references to the vow (ndr), an Ugaritic word that derives the same root as Hebrew neder. The best-known example comes from the Kirta epic (CTA 1.14–16) in which Kirta forgets the vow he made to the goddess Asherah in return for her help and is punished for his negligence. The form of Kirta’s vow has been compared to the vows made by Jacob (Gen 28) and Hannah (1 Sam 1) in the Hebrew Bible. There is also a cultic text from Ugarit (CTA 1.119) that concludes with a prayer to Baʿal. The prayer refers to a bull vowed to the god Baʿal if he will defend the city from its enemies, and it has been compared to certain psalms in the Hebrew Bible.

Like these Ugaritic examples, biblical poetry and prose narrative attest to a range of difficulties, personal and communal, that could occasion a vow. The Psalter includes numerous examples of vows, but their depiction is quite generic. Sometimes, after lamenting the suffering he endures at the hands of his enemies, the psalmist declares his commitment to the vows he has made to Yahweh (Pss 22:26; 56:13; 61:6, 9; 66:13; 116:14, 18). Conversely, the fulfillment of a vow, following divine assistance, is described in the Psalter with exuberant thanksgiving. In fact, in several verses the Hebrew words for “vow” and “thanksgiving” occur in synonymous parallelism (Pss 50:14; 56:13; 116:17–18; cf. John 2:10).

This general portrait of distress and thanksgiving is fleshed out in biblical narratives, such as the stories of Jacob (Gen 28), Jephthah (Judg 11), and Hannah (1 Sam 1), all of which feature vows prominently. The vows of Jacob and Hannah are made in the midst of personal crises. Jacob requests of Yahweh protection and care during his flight from his brother and ultimately a safe return to Canaan, and he vows in exchange to give to Yahweh a tenth of all he receives from him. Hannah, after many years of barrenness, asks Yahweh to give her a son, and in return she vows to dedicate him to Yahweh. In the case of Jephthah, the distress is shared among all his people in their conflict with Ammon, and in exchange for victory against the Ammonites, he vows to sacrifice the first thing that comes out of his door when he returns home, which tragically turns out to be his own daughter. Instructive as these examples are for understanding vows in ancient Israel, their narrative settings recommend caution in drawing conclusions, since each example contributes to the literary aims of its story and should be read in light of its surrounding narrative (Cartledge, 1992).

As for the fulfillment of vows, there were no set times or occasions, except that it should be done without delay (Deut 23:22; Eccl 5:3). In fact, some cultic laws explicitly distinguish between offerings made at appointed festivals and votive offerings that could be at any time (Lev 23:37–38; Num 29:39). However, according to the example of Elkanah and Hannah, who fulfill their vows in the context of an annual festival (1 Sam 1:21), appointed festivals were a valid occasion for fulfilling a vow.

Vows in Cultic Legislation.

Besides shedding light on the various circumstances that led to vows, the preceding literary examples showed that vows were usually fulfilled in the temple and in the presence of the congregation. The essentially cultic and communal character of the vow is also evident among ancient Israel’s neighbors (Cartledge, 1992), and within the Hebrew Bible the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy address the kind and quality of offerings that may be made as part of a vow fulfillment. The Holiness Code (Lev 17–26), for example, addresses votive offerings along with freewill offerings (nĕdābâ), prescribing that for both offerings only unblemished male animals are acceptable (Lev 22:17–25; cf. Mal 1:14). This section of the book of Leviticus also suggests a communal context insofar as it presumes that communion offerings (šĕlāmîm), which involved a sacrifice and shared meal, were common votive offerings (Lev 22:21). The Priestly sacrificial system (Lev 1–7) also links votive and freewill offerings and prescribes that both be eaten only the day of the sacrifice and the day after (Lev 7:16–17). The book of Numbers likewise groups the votive offering with the freewill offering but also includes with them offerings made at appointed festivals with the instruction that all three types of sacrifice be accompanied by a grain offering and a wine libation (15:1–16).

There are also laws that assign monetary values to be offered in place of persons or animals that had been vowed (Lev 27:2–13). The values of persons are determined based on the age and gender of the person that has been vowed, while the main concern in cases of vowed animals is that they not be substituted with an animal of different quality. Offering a person as a vow may mean just that (cf. Jephthah’s daughter) but more likely refers to the practice of vowing someone for service to Yahweh. Such was the case with the Nazirites, whose name may be related to Hebrew neder and who vowed—or were vowed to—a life of ascetic service to Yahweh (Num 6). The length of service could be temporary or, in the cases of Samuel and Samson, permanent.

Vows are treated within the Deuteronomic Code (Deut 12–26) in a variety of ways. According to the Deuteronomic goal of centralizing all worship at the Jerusalem temple, votive offerings are listed among all the other sacrifices and offerings that should be performed exclusively at the temple (Deut 12). Later the law code offers instructions on how vows should be performed. Except for a law that prohibits a prostitute’s fee from being used as a votive offering (Deut 23:19), these instructions offer more general recommendations on vows. They state, for example, that vows should be fulfilled without delay (Deut 23:22; cf. Eccl 5:3), and they call for caution in making vows, since there is no guilt incurred by withholding a vow, but once it is made, it is a binding commitment (Deut 23:23–24; cf. Eccl 5:4).

Although the fulfillment of vows was usually performed in the context of a religious assembly, they represent an important example of private worship (Berlinerblau, 1996). Vows were often inspired by personal circumstances, and the offerings that fulfilled vows are distinguished from those sacrifices that were performed as part of public festival (Lev 23:37–38; Num 29:39). As an example of private cult, the vow is a religious act that could be performed away from centers of religious authority and by people whose participation in the official cult was otherwise limited. This inclusivity is reflected in various biblical laws, such as the casuistic laws of Numbers 30. Even as these laws indicate women’s subservience in ancient Israel, they nonetheless attest to the prevalence of vows in women’s religious experience (see also Num 6:2; Jer 44:25; Prov 7:14). Likewise, the accommodations in biblical law for poor vow makers (Lev 27:8) and for resident aliens (Num 15:14) indicate the widespread usage of the vow across economic and political divisions.

[See also ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN LAW; BIBLICAL LAW; BLESSING AND CURSING; BOOK OF THE COVENANT; COVENANT; DECALOGUE; DEUTERONOMIC LAW; EPIGRAPHIC TEXTS; EVIDENCE; HOLINESS CODE AND WRITINGS; LAW IN THE PROPHETS; LAW IN THE WRITINGS; LEGAL RHETORIC; NEO-BABYLONIAN LAWS; ORDEAL; PRIESTLY LAW; RELIGIOUS OFFENSES; RITUAL; TESTIMONY AND WITNESS; and TRIAL PROCEDURE.]

Bibliography

Bibliography

  • Berlinerblau, Jacques. The Vow and the “Popular Religious Groups” of Ancient Israel: A Philological and Sociological Inquiry. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Supplement Series 210. Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996.
  • Cartledge, Tony W. Vows in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Supplement Series 147. Sheffield, U.K.: JSOT Press, 1992.
  • Conklin, Blane. Oath Formulas in Biblical Hebrew. Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic 5. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011.
  • Lafont, Sophie, ed. Jurer et maudire: pratiques politiques et usages juridiques du serment dans le Proche-Orient ancien. Méditerranées 10/11. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1996.
  • McCarthy, Dennis J. Treaty and Covenant: A Study in Form in the Ancient Oriental Documents and in the Old Testament. Rev. ed. Analecta Biblica 21A. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1981.
  • Wells, Bruce. “The Cultic Versus the Forensic: Judahite and Mesopotamian Judicial Procedures in the First Millennium B.C.E.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 128, no. 2 (2008): 205–232.

Andrew R. Davis

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