Over at Bible and Interpretation, Hallvard Hagelia has a solid piece on the translation of Hebrew עַלְמָה in Isaiah 7:14. He correctly settles on “young woman.” In the course of his discussion he mentions Isaiah 7:10-11:
And YHWH spoke further to Ahaz saying: “Ask for yourself a sign (omen) from YHWH, your God, down to the depth (Sheol) or high to upper regions (upwards).”
Ahaz respectfully declined, “I will not ask and I will not test YHWH.”
All this got my speculative juices flowing, always a dangerous thing. Exactly what was YHWH suggesting here? The truth is I’m not sure but I do wonder if YHWH was suggesting extispicy. Yes, this may be a considerable stretch but consider line 8 of K.2486+K.3646+K.4364
3. Šamaš in Ebabbarra [appointed]
1. Enmeduranki [king of Sippar].
2. The beloved of Anu, Enlil [and Ea].
4. Šamaš and Adad [brought him in] to their assembly,
5. Šamaš and Adad [honored him],
6. Šamaš and Adad [set him] on a large throne of gold,
7. They showed him how to observe oil on water, a mystery of Anu, [Enlil and Ea],
8. They gave him the tablet(s?) of the gods (tuppi ilāni), entrails (takālta), the secret (pirišti) of heaven (same) and underworld (erṣeti).
9. They put in his hand the cedar-(rod), beloved of the great gods.
Here we learn that Šamaš and Adad gave the antediluvian king Emmeduranki “the tablet of the gods,” that is “entrails,” which, on my understanding, contain “the secret of heaven and underworld.” I’ve discussed this text before. In that post I explained both the translation line numbering (3, 1 , 2, 4 . . .0 and how one gets from Akkadian takālta, “stomach,” to entrails.
If it is the case that YHWH suggested extispicy then Ahaz’ theology was better than YHWH’s! Extispicy was certainly a no no.
My thoughts on this may be driven by self-confirming bias. Some real research is in order. I do like to hear echoes of divination in the Hebrew Bible. But instead of hearing echoes I may just be seeing things. As usual, when I engage in wild speculation here, I haven’t taken the time to consult much secondary literature or to reflect on the probability that any of this is correct. Before you take this suggestion too seriously you should do both. I’ve put this on my stuff to look into list but it will be a while before I get to it.