In the Bible, the human qannāʾ (אנק) expresses a negative, self-destructive trait of character mainly related to envy and jealousy. In contrast, the divine qannāʾ points to an essential attribute of YHWH, which relates both to divine holiness and to a fiery mode of action frequently imaged by volcanism. The metallurgical affinities of this volcanic representation, together with the designation of the rust accumulating on copper artifacts (verdigris) as qannāʾ, suggest that the divine qannāʾ is closely related to the recycling of corroded copper through furnace remelting. This assumption is supported by the metallurgical context of meaning of the three wonders performed by Moses in the name of YHWH (Exod 4:1–9), by the evidence that the qannāʾ mode of divine action evokes a fiery destroying process that spontaneously promotes a whole rejuvenation, and by the extensive revitalizing powers attributed to furnace remelting in many ancient religions. It is concluded that our understanding of the divine qannāʾ, a notion of central importance in Israelite theology, is biased by the extrapolation of the human context of meaning of qannāʾ as “jealousy” to the divine sphere.

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