Thursday, October 15, 2009

First Instance of the Seraph/im

Letters to the Editor in TLS, Sept 23, 2009:

Seraphim

Sir, – Susan Weingarten, in noting (Letters, September 11) that the first appearance of “seraphim” is in the Book of Isaiah, is quite correct if she is referring solely to angels. The Hebrew word “seraph”, from the root to burn or scorch, however, appears in Deuteronomy 8:15, as being one of the elements faced by the Children of Israel in their forty-year trek through the Desert: “who led thee through the great and dreadful wilderness, wherein were serpents, fiery serpents \[seraph\], and scorpions”. This recalls the incident when, while encompassing the land of Edom, the Children of Israel once again murmured against God’s plan and “the Lord sent seraph serpents against the people. They bit the people and many died”, as recorded in Numbers 21:6.

YISRAEL MEDAD
Shiloh, Mobile Post Efraim 44830, Israel.

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