Incidental Loaning and the Babylonian Context of Second Isaiah Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract; The social location of Second Isaiah has been an issue of renewed scholarly debate in the past decade. In this debate, H. G. M. Williamson has called attention to the role of terminology in identifying the probable geographical provenance of this portion of Isaiah. In this article, we examine an instance of language contact in Isa 47:2 and argue that the hapax legomenon; שׁבל is a loan from the Akkadian root špl, perhaps the specific lexeme šaplû or šapiltu, referring to the “lower part (of the body).” In doing so, we propose that this term is an incidental loan, namely, a borrowing that evinces general contact with the author’s Babylonian surroundings but exhibits no polemic against the empire. That this borrowing was not ideologically motivated is significant, we suggest, for it increases the likelihood that the loan occurred in a Babylonian locale. The argument for Babylonian provenance is buttressed further by parallels observed in Ezek 16, another prophetic text that apparently originated in Babylon and that contains phrasing, literary conventions, and evidence of language contact similar to that in Isa 47. These features, we suggest, are part of an evolving rhetoric within an identifiable segment of exilic and post-exilic biblical prophecy.

publication date

  • December 1, 2021

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 1, 2023 1:41 AM

Full Author List

  • Boyd SL; Stackert J

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0042-4935

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1568-5330

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 533

end page

  • 555


  • 72


  • 4-5