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Document Details :
Title: Ester, das adoptierte Waisenkind
Subtitle: Zur Adoption im Alten Testament
Author(s): WAHL, Harald M.
Volume: 80 Issue: 1 Date: 1999
While the adoption of a child in the ancient Near East and Egypt was generally customary, this legal institution is completely absent from the Old Testament nomistic literature. Only in a few narrative texts do we find slight allusions to adoption. Of these texts only Est 2,7.15 suggests the adoption of an orphan by its first cousin. That Israel did not take over this common ancient Near Eastern practice can be explained by its theological self understanding according to which YHWH alone was the guarantor of progeny. That YHWH alone gave life and punished the evildoer with sterility and childlessness was a universally valid principle of Israel's faith found in all theological currents. In the eyes of the exilic and postexilic theologians in particular it would have been a blasphemy to circumvent YHWH's command by a law of adoption. For this reason Israel rejected adoption as a means for securing its continued existence.