Beyond nose and anger-a reinterpretation of ap in YHWH's context

Nissim Amzallag

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Beyond denoting nose and anger, the divine 'ap also signifies burning wind, consuming fire, and pouring of hot liquid. This article suggests that this fiery imagery is not introduced simply to illustrate the concept of God's fury. Rather, 'ap refers to a specific mode of divine action closely associated with metallurgy and volcanism. These observations, together with the combination of wind and fire, further suggest that 'ap also designates the blowing apparatus of a furnace. This interpretation is supported by both the structural and functional homology between the blowing apparatus of ancient furnaces and the respiratory system, and by the identification of metallurgy as one of YHWH's most essential attributes, the source of the preternatural properties of the divine fire. It is concluded that the wrath expressed through the divine 'ap is probably not an anthropopathic extension of human anger that references the nasal perturbations inherent to fury. Rather, divine anger appears to be a metaphorical extension of the divine metallurgical reality. It frequently expresses, in a language accessible to the Israelite audience, the imminence of the explosive and destructive consequences of enhanced activity of the celestial blowing apparatus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-28
Number of pages24
JournalRevue Biblique
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Archaeology


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