September 25, 2009

Ha’azinu: Something to Notice

The Song of Moses, Devarim/Deuteronomy 32:1-39, also known as Shirat Ha’azinu [“Give Ear”], ranges over past, present and future in Israel’s relationship to God. In outlining the poem’s structure, Nechama Leibowitz cites Moses Mendelssohn‘s Biur and an early 20th Century article published in German.

Prologue — verses 1-3;
Three 12-verse sections corresponding to the three time periods — 4-15; 16-27; and 28-39 — with each of these divided into four three-verse stanzas; and
Epilogue — verses 40-44.

Plaut’s commentary notes, more generally, that the “poem warns; it instructs; it gives hope. Israel’s past history has amply demonstrated God’s love and care, and these will not be found wanting in the future.”

Plaut also notes that three songs are ascribed to Moses: the Song of the Sea/Shirat Ha-Yam (Exodus/Shemot 15); Shirat Ha-azinu (here); and Psalm 90, “a prayer of Moses, the man of God.” Both songs in the Torah, he says, are about Israel’s survival, one giving thanks for what just occurred and one looking to the future — and “therefore may be seen to frame the wilderness experience.”

Alter comments that some stylistic aspects — formulaic word pairs, for example — of Ha-azinu [“Give ear”] are similar to prebiblical Ugarit poetry.

See Source Materials for citations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Category

Devarim, literary analysis, poetry

Tags

, , ,