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ANGELOLOGY

AND

THE

SUPERNAL

WORLDS

IN

THE

ARAMAIC

TARGUMS

TO

THE

PROPHETS*

BY

RIMMON

KASHER

Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan

A belief

the

this

Bible,

respect

in the

existence

as

it

is

these

to

the

of angels

is basic

to

are

the

Aramaic

Targums majority of Jewish literature. well-

signs

the

to

In

established

of which are already

ination of the available material

do

has

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan,

to

ences

expressed like to examine

in the Aramaic Targums to the books of the Prophets: Targum Jonathan (hereafter: TJ), on the one hand, and the so-called "Toseftot Targum"

(hereafter:

Prophets,

being manuscript encompassing

probably never existed. Nevertheless, an overview

overwhelming

of literature

East

in the

and

Bible.

will show

or

trends.

branches

merely

reflecting

world,

beliefs

of the

Ancient

Hellenistic

discernible

However,

that

between

and

the

angelological

a

the

Toseftot

"corpus"

we

do

in

not

a

a careful

exam-

the

Aramaic

Targums

For

example,

A. Shinan

the

of

not

reflect

identical

conceptions

demonstrated

the

Pentateuch,

to

angels In this article

considerable

differences

angelology the Palestinian

frequency

therein.'

I

on the one hand,

on

in

the

the

other,

both

attitude

in

Targums

refer-

of their

and

I would

on

TJ,

the

do

ideas

as reflected

to

the

sense,

one

most

TTs),

unlike

other.

Indeed,

Targum

the

strict

possess

even

manuscript

of the

TTs

not

constitute

manuscripts;

all

the

scattered

in numerous

Toseftas-such

uncov-

ers a largely uniform

treatment

world

of beliefs,

of the

angelic

world.

and

this is true,

inter alia, of their

It

and

their

appears

the

TTs,

attitudes

that

that

to

despite

the

angels.

the

angelic

The

basic

world

assumption,

exists,

the

extend

common

two

to

both

differ

Targums

to

the

differences

frequency

TJ

in

of

* This article is based on R. Kasher,

TargumicToseflot to the Prophets(Sourcesfor the

1996.

on the Pentateuch," Sefarad

Studyof JewishCulture, vol. II),Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies,

'

A.

Shinan "The Angelology of the Palestinian

Targums

43 (1983), 196-197;idem, TheEmbroidered Targum,Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1992, 127.

169

references,

the

might

Smolar

activity

the

Bible

tions

to

the

specific

to these

avoids

names

of angels

or

creatures.

tends

angels

to

on

the

details

they

do

observed

angelic

Speaking

groups,

to

one

to quote

and

and

roles

assigned

TJ

supernal

TTs,

offering

generally,

say that

and

of the

opposite

or

even

which,

mentioning

"TJ

The

some

are

as far as possible;

restrict

the

other

hand,

never

adhere

in

TJ

Aberbach,

angels."2

extreme,

in

TJ.

significance

incline

mentioned

to

or

certain

indeed

toward

in

the

restric-

other

in

Nevertheless,

not

surprisingly,

Jewish

literary

works.

I. Discretion on tzuo counts: Anonymiry versus Identification, Detail

the

(1)

Let

us

with

the

different

at Jericho.

In Josh.

renders

the

title

as

"an

avoids

angel

any

who

reference

has

to

the

angelic

himself

TTs

to

world;

naturally,

as possessing

this

any

reflect

verse'

kind

the

However,

not

content

reluctant

to

angel

with

begin

treatments

5,14

this

the

"an

been

next

of

angel

who

himself

the

the

(v.

appears

as "captain of the Lord's host," and

to Joshua

angel

verse

sent

by

presents

also

refers

to

from

before

the

Lord"

host

or

does

not

angel

Lord"

as such.

(v.

Tj'

14) or

This

hierarchy

sider

translation

the

in

angel

The

various

tation

mous,

Lord's

his

or

translation.

tremendous

angel

sent

God's

15).

to

con-

a

heavenly

it

therefore,

of elevated

same

to leave

policy

the

associate

Uriel/Ariel,5

rank.

of interpre-

angel

him

anony-

the

set out

while

on

the

other

hand

host,

they

identify

Joshua's

size in

detail:

with

and

(13) And it came to pass, when Joshua came to fight at Jericho, he looked up and saw an angel standing before him, and his name was Uriel, and his length was as from the earth to the heavens, and his width was as from Egypt to

2 L. Smolar & M. Aberbach, Studiesin

TargumJonathan to the Prophets, New York-

College,

1983, 224.

Baltimore :Ktav Publishing House and Baltimore Hebrew

3

Throughout

by A. Sperber,

4

this article

my text for TJ will be the (Yemenite) tradition published

TheBiblein Aramaic,II-III, Leiden: EJ. Brill, 1959-1962.

The quotation below is based on the complete manuscript, MS New York JTS

L899a, fol. 83b-84a. Other MSS containing this TT,

fragments MS Cambridge T.-S. B 13,12,

with variations, are the Genizah

and MS New York JTS L607, fol. 5.

5 The Genizah fragment reads "Ariel" and

as this MS is written in plene

spelling, known from other angelological sources. For Uriel in Second

see TheOld Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. J.H. Charlesworth, I-II, New York: Doubleday,

period literature

it is dubious whether one should read "Uriel" for "Ariel." Both names are

Temple

Margaliyot,

Mal¸akhei

1983-1985,Index, s.v. "Uriel." For Rabbinic literature see R.

17.

'Elyon, Jerusalem: MossadHa-Rav Kook, 19642, 5-10. For the angel Ariel see Margaliyot,

ib.,

170

jericho, and his swordwas drawn fiom sheathto sheathin his hand. Joshua threw himself face down on the ground and asked him, saying, Have you come to help us or do you wish to slay our enemies?

(14) And he said, I have

am an angel, sent by the Lord! Now I have come

have

and said, I pray You, 0 Lord, forgive your servant's sins on account of his deeds. And he said to him, Everything that was uttered before the Lord must be

not come to help, neither

threw

am

To

I an enemy;

I

punish

you

on

the ground

I come

And Joshua

himself face down

fi§illed and carriedout. (15) And the angel who was sent by the Lord said to Joshua

While

lational

sion

the

distance

Jericho.s

in

w.

basis

14-15

as

the

to

TT

the

concurs

title

with

the

of the

interpretational-trans-

Lord's

host,"

in the

Bible

nor

in

his

length

is

from

Egypt

of TJ

13 introduces

"captain

found

and

its ver-

TJ:

the

to

of v.

angel's

elements

neither

he

name

is Uriel/Ariel,

to

heaven,

is gigantic:

the

from

earth

his width,

distance

Nevertheless,

the

TT

adopts

some

caution

with

respect

to the

angel.

In the Bible, Joshua prostrates

identified itself as "captain

the angel as adoni, "my lord."

lord (ribboni) command

God, the word "my lord"

the

does

understands Joshua's

tion

Lord

taken

ignoring

of

be

submission

grandiose

himself

Lord's

only

host"

after

(v. 14), and

the

apparition

he addresses

does

"What

angel.

the

my

from

in

message

Not

Uriel,

so

Joshua

Targum as a declara-

before

the

"my

lord"

is

to

God,

naming

takes

has

of the

TJ

translates

Lacking

literally,

his servant?"

is clearly

any explicit

to

the

of the

lord

was

other

You,

from

same

referring

TT.

not

must

Thus

role

TJ's

any

the

a

ary

angel

restrictive

of

host"

Despite

address

the

description

angel

Instead,

etc."

uttered

words:

the

to

"

angel

question

God:

at

all

at

"What

" W h a t

this

does

" E v e r y t h i n g
" E v e r y t h i n g

"Everything

" E v e r y t h i n g

point.

my

that

and

God.

and

carried

Moreover,

said,

out."

In

Joshua

I pray

under

discussion

differs

his size.

angel's

At

the

deifying

any

reference

by

its

Lord,"

to

fulfilled

as referring

the

the

angel:

TT

and

and

appeals

0

TJ

time,

directly

lord."

in explicitly

defining

view

of the

it nevertheless

him

him

no

or

function,

him

assigning

intermedi-

God's

the

place.

host

Lord's

as well.

a fortiori not to avoid

the

or putting

in

"army"

of

elsewhere

tendency

kind,

as "angel

to a heavenly of

be detected

exemplified

sent

by

translation

may

"captain

6 Possibly one who had

TT to Josh. 5,14 Zamora.

an allusion to the legend that the angel who appeared to Joshua was the

appeared to Moses in the thornbush. This legend is also featured in the

MS University of Salamanca 1, written in 1532 by Alfonso de

in

For

a proper

nal

hosts."'

example,

TJ

generally

therefore

The

noun,

biblical

Hebrew.

understands

not

same

translating

is true

the

phrase

"Lord

 

171

of hosts"

as

but

of such

rendering

phrases

it

in

the

origi-

as "the

God

of

sometimes

take

phrase

"Lord

heavens,"

This translation/interpretation was apparently also common in Prophets.

An

The

a

Targums

different

"Lord,

while

to

the

Hagiographa,

Thus,

the

as

on

the

to

God

of hosts,"

other

Ps.

over

hand,

89,9

all

course.

Targum

"Lord,

translates

soldiers

of

the

the

God

1

of hosts"

Chr.

17,24,

be found

The

The

The

is rendered

Hag.

similarly.

echo

may

in Targum

and

Esth.

1,4,8 where

2,8 is cited:

11

'`ft7 h

MT

TJ

T. Esth.

silver is mine and the gold is mine--says

silver is mine and the gold is mine-says

silver is mine

the gold is mine-says

[= The

Lord, commander

of the hosts]

Does

an

approach to the translation

present TJ? Currently available data are insufficient to permit a definite

conclusion.

heav-

enly hosts to God' is thus particularly

an alternative Jewish tradition of translation/interpretation.

this tradition, incidentally,

the

the

quotation

verse,

from

or

Targum

Esther

represent

of

an

the

translation

of

isolated

is this

a

of

remnant

Prophets,

by the

be

TT

found

overall

interpretational

that

of

our

departing

as cited,

striking,

both

from

The

fact that

TJ,

followed

avoid

ascribing

the

Peshitta'°

given

in the

evidence

Parallels

of

to

in

may

and

translation." 1I

Syro-Palestinian

19,10.14;Jer. 5,14; 15,16; 35,17; 38,17; 44,7; Hos. 12,6;

interpreting the Hebrew

forces see

J.A. Emerton, "New Light on Israelite Religion," ZAW 94 (1982), 3-9. On the descrip-

tion of angels as soldiers

Historyof the Jews in Babylonia,V, Leiden: Brill, 1970, 343-344, 361-

364, in connection with

texts see C. Newsom, Songsof the Sabbath Sacrifice. A CriticalEdition (HSS 27), Atlanta:

Scholars Press, 1985, 29; 19,6. 8

and for a good example in Hekhalot literature see 3 Enoch

Seferha-Razim; in the context of Qumranic

see B.A. Levine, "The Language of the Magical Bowls," in:

J. Neusner (ed.), A

7 Cf. 2 Sam. 5,10; 1

Kgs.

Am. 3,13; 4,13; 5,14-16.27;6,8.14; 9,5. On the possibility

word zeua¸ot,generally translated as "hosts," in the sense of actual military

of

magical

bowls and

According to MS Vat. Urb. Ebr. 1, written in 1294. A facsimileedition was pub-

theFive Megillot-Codex VaticanUrbinati I, Jerusalem:

lished by E. Levine, The Targum to

Makor, 1977. See on this

II,

heaven."

quotation M. Goshen-Gottstein, Fragmentsof Lost Targumim,

Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan UniversityPress, 1989, 31.

9

But cf. TJ to 1 Kgs. 22,19, translating "the host of heaven" as "the soldiers of

10 E.g., to Josh. 5,14.15:

"Says

11

the Lord of hosts

"I am the military commander of the Lord"; to Hag. 2,6.8:

"

E.g., in 1 Sam. 4,4: "the Ark of the Lord of Hosts Enthroned on the Cherubim"

172

(2) The

and

Bible

19,35.

text:' 2

Let

naming

in

TJ

of an

angel

be

who

found

the

is mentioned

three

anonymously

TTs

with

to

the

also

may us first compare

in

different

different

translations

the

2 Kgs.

in

original

MT

TJ

TT

an angel of the Lord went out and struck down

an angel of the Lord went out and slew The mymr' of the Lord caused confusion in the camp of Sennache- rib King of Assyria, and Michael, the angel of the Lord, went out

and slew

Thus,

as Michael,

the

and

TT

to the verse

identifies

familiar

the

from

angel

who

smote

of Daniel

the

Assyrians

(10,13.21;

TTs

an angel

much

1,1'4 and

in

TJ,

Is.

Dan.

already

of post-biblical

the book

On

same

the

angel

quite

share

unnamed.

1,1 introduces

to

the

the

12,1)

literature.'3

identify

9,21),

the

and

is

clearly

any

angel

to

also

Ezek.

referring

other

hand,

as Gabriel,

in

to

also

biblical

the

Ezek.

10,32'?

(8,16;

who

post-

appears

Bible

At

the

in

prominent

tendency,

a detail

Assyrian

literature.

and

same

the

These

not

or

the

in

TTs

to leave

foreign

to

time,

Bible

TT

TJ,

unmen-

tioned

defeat:

The

angel Gabriel,

who is one of His emissaries, went out and appeared

from the Temple Wall and burned

all the camps with fire.

I

Temple

and

cannot

explain

wall."

to

why

At any

the

the

rate,

adding

biblical

angel

unlike

text.

Gabriel

TJ,

the

is said

TT

appear is of course

to

"from

the

expanding

II. Discretion versus Intense Curiosity

Another example illustrating the difference between TJ and the TTs

is the translation of Chapter 1 in Ezekiel, known as Ma`aseh Merkavah,

and Zech. 9,15: "The Lord of Hosts will

ally. Cited from M. Goshen-Gottstein, TheBiblein

Magnes Press, 1973, ad loc.

protect

is rendered liter-

phrase the SyropalestinianVersion,I, Jerusalem:

them" the

12

The TT

is from MS Reuchlinianus 3; for a facsimile see A.

(Heb. Targ<um>Yerush<almi>).

Sperber, Codex

ReuchlinianusNo. 3 of

the BadischLandesbibliothekin Karlsruhe,Copenhagen:Ejnar Munksgaard,

with the comment that it was taken

1956. The addition appears as a marginal gloss,

from the

Jerusalem Targum

13 See the

Pseudepigrapha(Charlesworthed.),

14 MSGaster 1478, The

15 SeeMS Reuchlin. 3 (supra, n.

16 Margaliyot,op.cit.,21-44; OT Pseudepigrapha(Charlesworthed.),Index, s.v. "Gabriel."

copious material provided by Margaliyot, Mal¸akhei Elyon,108-135; for

literature see OT

John Rylands University Library of Manchester.

12), in a marginal gloss.

referencesin Second

Temple period Index, s.v. "Michael."

173

which

Ezekiel's

the

beast

their

lion,

as

further

entire

describes

vision.

in

The

some

detail

touch

the

the

beasts

bearing

God's

a calf's

throne

in

details

(four);

shape

up

upon

number

feet

faces

also

several

aspects

and

of the

wings

vision:

of each

and

number

(also

faces,

ox

and

a group

of beasts

four);

each

the

made

eagle.

The

and

their

the

basis

of heads

(rigid,

like

of their

of the

prophet

that

for

literature.

foot);

1,5-13).

15-21).

of four

describes

like burning

different

how

fire

the

(Ezek.

animals-man,

beasts

moved

He

The

appearance,

wheels

describes

scene

is the

In

 

the

beasts

(w.

of the

Merkavah, the

treat

this

chapter?

from

strict

adherence

time

of the

vision

(v.

moved

to

of the

of wings;

8).

four

it

The

reaction

TJ

to

descriptions

Heavenly

text.

1); it some-

the

beasts

also

notes

mission

of

when

the

the

like the

biblical

din

God's

Chariot,

in post-biblical

How

do

the

Aramaic

TJ

in fact

departs

describes

It

what

faces

sixty-four,

function

beasts

addresses

comparison

of an

praises,

accurately

expands

and

of

the

sixteen

which

the

army"

No

the

translations

verses

in some

the

place

of v.

the

the

below

of the

and

6, stating

account

wings,

is also

hands

prophets

that each beast had sixteen

being

the

the

Lord

total

of all faces

total

their

number

wings

(v.

(v.

25).

14), as

is their

addition,

beasts'

to the

wings

beasts'

"a

voices

camp

in

of angels

of

TJ

the

The

translation

on

for

their

text

concern

is described

His

at length

(v.

sound

explains

tumult

of the

(v. 24) as referring

to

the

details

voices

are

original

biblical

of the

beasts'

limbs

are

described

in

the

limbs.

TJ's

primary

to

Ezek.

are

with

a uniform

1,1,

the

however,

mystical

picture,

they

the

verse

that

exhibits

Gaster

1478. 17 In

fact,

the

supernal

worlds,

(?) uttering

high."

beasts'

does

not

legs,

wings,

or

of their

the

and

further

of "the

provided

text.

appearance

fill out

hands

sizes

or

our

and

the

text;

as far

with

However,

far

different

shades

bent

may

itself

be

to

the

con-

beyond knowledge faces, which sizes of their

as the mystical aspects of the description are concerned, the translator displays considerable reserve.

explana-

tion

from

of interest.

(except

itself), is to explain

less concerned

of the

text.

several

The

TTs

are

than

they

p a i n t i n g

painting

One

in

to

MS

all

message

represent

a distinct

this

one

by

TT

found

describing firmaments, secutive firmaments.

seven

mystical

translation

one.

It

devotes

first

describes

between

as

the

extent

of each

and

the

distance

The

seven

firmaments

are

listed

vilon, reqi`a,

174

shehaqim, zevul, ma'on, makhon,

five hundred

days'

two firmaments."

two firmaments."

There

follows

in number,20

thigh,

knee,

distance

march,

and

the

extent

of each

is also

the

distance

of the beasts'

The

back,

firmament

is

between

every

fourteen

(!)

hoof,

ankle,

shoulder,

neck,

of each

composite

days'

thickness

sum

+

of the

march)

sum

of heights

of

separately

the

TT

above

for each

adds

which

that

a very long description

hooves

to horns.

side

(?), buttocks,

from

the

earth

limbs, list is as follows:

waist,

arm,

to add

the

limb

+

from

shin,

then

and every limb, stating that the

of the

head, horn. The translator

goes on size of each

to

the

heavens

them)

are

dimensions

is the

500

the

the

(=

(including

the

total

extent

of the

seven

firmaments

firmaments

and

the

distances

between

all the

previous

limbs.

limb!

Once

the

account

various

other

details:

the

stands

for

comment

of the

the

Lord's

throne;

The

praise

know

and

these

But

firmaments.

that

God's

cannot

fire

heavens

the

mystical

"light-[footed]

curiosity

and

mention

hinnom,

misdeeds.

chadnezzar

who

heap

In

addition,

in

the

smote

And

these

details

of the

beasts

of

the

extent

and

does

In

sum,

worlds:

as the

"angels

Before

beasts'

must

is

the

a

set out

the

completed,

800

firmaments

of the

with

"his servants

ends

his praises"!

end

take

there.

sinners

and

of Sennacherib

The

rebuke

Gabriel

picture

lists their

limbs;

Metatron.

the

TT

The

considerably

has been

responsibility

account

that

utter

not

angel

the

and

Metatron

interesting

the angels

text

goes

on

to

down

them

for

and

as

the

to Ge-

their

Nebu-

angel

of the

extent,

it tells

upper

as well

of the

4-5,

we

described

main

detailed

is so great

angels

sulfur

of wrath,"

of w r a t h , "

upon

them

fate

describing

the

who

the

camp

Targum

(2 Kgs.

paints

firmaments

the

identifies

19,35).

colorful

and

sizes of those

Gabriel

TJ

versions.

and

and

to

Gehinnom,

Assyrian

TT

in

the

fourteen

and

the

it describes

question

seven

seven

limbs

the

and

angels

this TT

in

to

several

others

being

of wrath"

we

compare

it exists

all

the

for Josh.

just

note

that

version

shorter."

longest,

The

18 Similarly in the Babylonian Talmud, Hagigah

(Schechter ed. p. 110); Vayiqra Rabba 29,11

19

64).

Cf.

20 I have

21 All

Hagigah

12b; Avotde-R. Natan, Version A,

37

Kahana 23,10 (Mandelbaum ed., p. 343); MidrashTehillim114 (Buber ed., p. 471); Seder

Maaseh Bereshit, in Wertheimer, BatteiMidrashot2 I, pp.

Gen.