Psalm 81 contains a divine oracle in which YHWH promises to act against Israels enemies. The nature ofthat activity, however, is unclear, particularly as v. 15b describes it: לעו. םהירצ שא י 1 ידי. How does the verbal action— ostensibly some sort of "turning" ((ש1)— relate to the verbal object of the sentence, ך (" my hand"), as well as the prepositional phrase beginning with עה On the basis of evidence from the immediate literary context as well as iconographie data from the ancient Near East, this essay argues for a translation "I will rear back my hand above their foes." The text thus provides a literary instantiation of the iconographie trope of the Egyptian king lifting his hand menacingly above his subjugated enemies. As such, it reflects both a borrowing and a bold reappropriation of Egyptian imagery. The allusion to the "iconography of the blow" reminds the community that YHWH has supplanted the pharaoh in his position of dominance and now stands ready to vanquish any other foe who might oppose them.

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