The traditional stance is that לשׁוא in Jeremiah (2:30; 4:30; 6:29; 18:15 and 46:11) denotes futility, mostly translated as “in vain.” This study, the second of a sequel, scrutinises the last two texts (Jer 18:15 and 46:11) in an effort to substantiate and modify a recent hypothesis that the term is instead a reference to the god Baal, “The Vain/Worthless One.” Jeremiah 18:15 has an interpretative tradition that acknowledges לשׁוא as a referent to the (worthless) idols. The present study offers a basis for this interpretation. As Egypt (in Jer 46) can hardly be connected to Baal worship, 46:11 modifies the notion that לשׁוא functions as an identifier of the god Baal per se and confirms the wisdom of ancient translators of Jer 18:15 who labelled לשׁוא as unspecified deities. The traditional stance that לשׁוא denotes futility, could only be refuted in 46:11 by a search for intertextual clues, alertness to connecting metaphors and accompanying gender switches. These are the very same rhetorical devices illustrated in Mary Shields’ study of Jer 3:1–4:4. The title of her work harbours the insight that לשׁוא in 46:11, and by implication in all MT Jeremiah texts, serves as a dense metaphor circumscribing the prostitute-in-covenant-relationship with her (collective or individual) overlord/s (ba‘al/be‘alîm).
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