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The Rainbow in the Clouds: An Anger Management Device


“The Rainbow in the Cloud: An Anger-Management Device,” is an actual article in The Journal of Religion (Oct. 2009) by Yair Lorberbaum.

The article begins:

One of the striking attributes ascribed to God in the Bible, particularly in the Pentateuch, is that of jealousy (“For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”; Exod. 20:5). “Jealous” (in Hebrew: qana) even serves as one of His names (“For the Lord, jealous is His name. He is a jealous God”; Exod. 34:14). It is well known that in the Bible, a name signifies something of the essence of the one who bears it. Repeatedly, we find warnings not to arouse the wrath of God, alongside descriptions of various incidents that culminate in His furious anger, followed by futile attempts to appease Him. It is no accident that there are numerous terms used for Godʼs anger in the Bible … Godʼs jealousy has many aspects, and the grappling with it—of the prophets, of His people, and first and foremost of God Himself–assumes different forms. Many sections of the Bible, and particularly of the Pentateuch, may thus be read as a history of the Divine fury and the means of restraining it. In this article, I wish to read the first chapters of the book of Genesis, or, more precisely, the narratives of the Creation (Genesis 1-2) and of the Flood (Genesis 6-9), as a saga at whose focus God learns, through great effort, to control and restrain His outbursts of fury.

and ends:

In the final analysis, the jealous God requires some means to help Him to remember His covenant and to restrain Himself. The situation of humankind after the Flood, in terms of the danger of total destruction in the future, has, it is true, improved: God has made a covenant and created the mechanism of the rainbow to stop Himself. But precisely because of the nature of the Divine emotion that has been uncovered in this narrative, there is no assurance that the promise will not be violated. For, as we said, God Himself fears that He will not be able to stand up to it and thus creates a mechanism of self-control.

A Bit of Poetry That Seems To Fit the Discussion

Most Zealots are eager to tell us
That their God is bad-tempered and jealous.
They go on for hours
Describing His powers
With a zeal thatʼs excessively zealous.

R. S. Gwynn (a brief selection from Sects from A to Z)

Also click on this discussion of The Theological World View of the Ancient Israelites.

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