Biblical Archaeology Review 6:5, September/October 1980

The ‘Daughters of Judah’ Are Really Rural Satellites of an Urban Center

By Ian W. J. Hopkins

The Hebrew word bat means daughter. The plural is banot.

It may come as a surprise to some readers, especially those devoted to the Psalms, that bat also means some kind of settlement. The more difficult question is what kind of settlement the word bat designates.

For example, in Psalm 48:11, we read “Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters (banot) of Judah be glad because of thy judgments.”a And Psalm 97:8 says: “Zion heard and was glad; and the daughters (banot) of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord.”b

Were these our only texts, it might be difficult to argue that banot means something other than, literally, daughters. The Psalms are, after all, poetry. And it is certainly a satisfying image to picture the daughters of Judah in linen gowns dancing for joy at the judgment of the Lord.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.