Possible Revocalization/Repointing of Gen. 49:24 -- A Lexham Issue

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Mar 16 2014 8:01 AM

I find it interesting that at times Lexham resources don't seem to be on the same page. In Gen. 49:24 there is a word/phrase in the Hebrew (מִשָּׁם mishshaam) that literally means "from there". That is how the LEB translates it. However, there is some dispute about the word/phrase's meaning and interpretation, as the note from LHI states below:

  • As it stands the expression does not make sense. Scholars suggest that is should be revocalized. Then it can be translated as "because of the name of"
  • van der Merwe, C. (2004; 2004). The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible; Bible. O.T. Hebrew. Logos Research Systems, Inc.

By revocalizing it, they mean that the vowel points would be altered. Since they were added by the Masoretes in the 800-900s, this isn't a huge issue (not nearly as problematic and disconcerting as NET's willingness to make emendations by fiddling with the consonants). In other words, rather than point as שָׁם (shaam - "there") the pointing would be שֵׁם (sheim - "name").

Bibles that translate the word/phrase as "because of the name of" or "by the name of" include RSV, NRSV, ISV, Douay-Rheims, HCSB, and GWT, while ESV and NET both have notes that mention the possible alternative. The Analytical Key to the Old Testament has the following entry:

  • מִשָּׁם prep.-adv. (1027) by the name of (from there)
  • Owens, J. J. (1989-c1992). Analytical Key to the Old Testament. English and Hebrew.; "The English Bible text in this publication is adapted from the RSV Bible"--T.p. verso. (1:230). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.

...which makes sense since it is based on the RSV, as noted in the bibliograph.

My point in bringing this up is that LEB and LHI, both Lexham resources, don't correspond on this point. I have noticed this to be the case in other instances as well. I don't suppose they have to fully agree on all points, but to me it certainly seems that they should, if only for the sake of not giving the impression that the left hand is oblivious to what the right hand is doing. At the very least, LEB could do as ESV does and have a notation that the other alternative exists. I will note that NASB, my preferred Bible, normally excellent in noting such things, also dropped the ball in this case.

Posts 4625
RIP
Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 2:45 PM

Peace to you, David!           *smile*

                        I for one appreciate very much various members of the Logos Community Forums who post such "items"    !!!!                     Thank you!

                                 It inspires me to look up various passages and to really use my Logos Resources!                          I've just now spent a few minutes with the passage and wanted to share with you an excerpt from just one of my commentaries ...

                                                     After supper and tomorrow I will enter into some intense studying of the passage and section!               How beautiful is God's Word, eh?!

           *smile*

      Thanks again for sharing, and here's an excerpt for you in case you do not have this resource ....

24. The Hebrew text is difficult. In the present state of our knowledge, this translation is the best that can be wrested from it. The idea seems to be that Joseph remained steadfast in the face of adversity and drew his strength from God, who championed his cause.48

Mighty One of Jacob Hebrew ʾavir yaʿakov, a rare divine title, appearing elsewhere only four times, always in poetic texts. It corresponds to the Akkadian divine title bel abāri, “endowed with strength,” and is to be distinguished from ʾabbir, which is used of stallions, bulls, and warriors.49

Jacob … Israel The ambiguity as to whether the patriarch or the people of Israel is intended is probably deliberate.50 See the Introduction to this chapter.

There Hebrew mi-sham, literally “from there.” The patriarch may have pointed heavenward. The Peshitta reading mi-shem, “by the name of,” reflects the idea that the “Name” of God expresses the essence of His being from which flows help and salvation.51 Although this reading has been widely accepted as original, the biblical usage is invariably be-shem.

the Shepherd For the common image of God as a shepherd, see Comment to 48:15.

the Rock of Israel Hebrew ʾeven, literally “stone,” is nowhere else used as a divine name or in association with God. The present translation is that of tsur, “rock,” a frequent epithet of God,52 expressing strength, permanence, and protection. Unlike tsur, ʾeven does not appear as a component of proper names. It is possible that “Stone of Israel” may have been a very ancient title that disappeared early and that might have derived from the traditions about Jacob setting up a stone pillar at Bethel, as reported in 28:18, 22 and 35:14. This suggestion is bolstered by the use of the epithet “God of … your father” on that occasion (28:13) and by the title El Shaddai associated with the revelation there (35:11; 48:3). All these terms occur here in the Testament of Jacob.

25. The Testament to Joseph now shifts from the miseries of the past to the promise of the future. Underlying the blessing is the concept of a God who has a personal relationship with the individual and who, at the same time, is a cosmic, universal deity in sovereign control of all the forces of nature.

The God of your father This title stresses the continuity of the generations, the unbroken chain of religious tradition that alone makes the[1]

 



48 The initial Heb. vav is taken as adversative, not conjunctive. Ibn Janaḥ, Ibn Ezra, and Radak take Heb. va-yafozzu in the sense of “to be firm,” although the only other example of the stem p-z-z means “to leap,” 2 Sam. 6:16. What is rendered “arms” is literally “the arms of his hands,” a unique and strange phrase.

49 So only also Isa. 49:26; 60:16; Ps. 132:2, 5; cf. Isa. 1:24, “Mighty One of Israel.” For ʾubbir, cf. Judg. 5:22; Jer. 8:16; Isa. 34:7; Ps. 22:13; 78:25; Lam. 1:15.

50 Cf. vv. 2, 7, 16, 28.

51 For this understanding of the Name, cf. Ps. 20:2, 8; 44:6; etc. For be-shem, cf. Ps. 20:6; 33:21; 44:6; 54:3; 89:25; 116:4, 13.

52 Cf. Deut. 32:4, 15, 31; etc.

[1] Sarna, N. M. (1989). Genesis (pp. 343–344). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 3:55 PM

Just wanted to add some info which you can't find in Logos:

Sarna as the rest of the commentators I checked (Hamilton, Wenham, Westermann) fails to mention that this reading is reflected in the Samaritan reading tradition and in several manuscripts of the Samaritan Targum. As for Onqelos unlike BHS I am not sure how far it corroborates this reading.  

Time for someone to write a new commentary on Genesis Smile

PS There is also internal evidence and parallels in Ugaritic. See the excellent paper by the late professor Shemaryahu Talmon (whom I also had the privilege to know): "יד ושם a Biblical Idiomatic Phrase and its Variations" originally published in Hebrew Studies 25 (1984) 8-17, and now reprinted in "Literary Motifs and Patterns in the Hebrew Bible" (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2013), 211-236.

Posts 4761
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 4:31 PM

Milford, thanks for posting this. I do have the resource, but even though I have about 2000 commentary volumes in my library (maybe more?), I rarely look at them. I appreciate you taking the time. I will likely give it a perusal in book again, since this is related to my current book project. Thanks.

Posts 4761
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 4:34 PM

David Knoll:

PS There is also internal evidence and parallels in Ugaritic. See the excellent paper by the late professor Shemaryahu Talmon (whom I also had the privilege to know): "יד ושם a Biblical Idiomatic Phrase and its Variations" originally published in Hebrew Studies 25 (1984) 8-17, and now reprinted in "Literary Motifs and Patterns in the Hebrew Bible" (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2013), 211-236.

David...am I reading that right? "Hand and Name"?? If so, I definitely have to track that down...that is exactly down the path I'm taking in my current research!

Posts 433
Vincent Setterholm | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 5:25 PM

David Paul:

My point in bringing this up is that LEB and LHI, both Lexham resources, don't correspond on this point.

I'm not sure what resource versions you're looking at, since your quote from LHI doesn't match mine (an old Libronix build?). But in the current versions of those resources, both LEB and LHI render this as 'there' rather than 'name', so in terms of the main line of the resource, they do correspond. LHI (currently) has more textual notes than LEB does.

So far, most Hebrew Bible editions (and all of the digital ones based on Codex Leningradensis) have chosen to retain most of the difficult spots in the text, leaving it to translations to smooth the edges. I know of at least one Hebrew Bible in the works that is designed to be more eclectic and take information from early versions and so on into consideration when establishing the text, but of course you have to be careful of ancient versions smoothing out the same things that we find troublesome, rather than actually reflecting an earlier reading - it must be tough to soft out. But the trend in general is NOT to repoint the Hebrew text, even if the proposed emendation is fairly compelling. Part of that is humility - we can't always know if something that looks wrong to us is actually perfectly normal Hebrew if only we had an ancient reader to help us out. In any event, we're not going to repoint this, though eventually there may be more notes and (someday, I hope) an alternate eclectic text to compare with the existing editions of L.

Posts 2465
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 5:58 PM

I agree that we should stick to the scribal pointing in the main text. Emendations can be noted though.

We may or may not get the Oxford Hebrew Bible in the end.

What is the underlying pointing in Jerusalem Crown? ...

Posts 433
Vincent Setterholm | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 6:44 PM

Lee:

What is the underlying pointing in Jerusalem Crown? ...

[Edit: Woops, I thought you were asking what the 'point' of the Jerusalem Crown was. The Crown has מִשָּׁ֥ם. Same as L.]

Jerusalem Crown is based on Aleppo instead of Leningradensis. For the missing portions of Aleppo's Torah, some use was made of hand-written notes in the margin of another Hebrew Bible that some scholars think were notes taken by someone examining Aleppo.

Aleppo is older than Leningradensis but due to damage, is now incomplete.

Posts 4761
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 8:07 PM

Vincent Setterholm:

David Paul:

My point in bringing this up is that LEB and LHI, both Lexham resources, don't correspond on this point.

I'm not sure what resource versions you're looking at, since your quote from LHI doesn't match mine (an old Libronix build?). But in the current versions of those resources, both LEB and LHI render this as 'there' rather than 'name', so in terms of the main line of the resource, they do correspond. LHI (currently) has more textual notes than LEB does.

Old build? I suppose so...I am using L3, as shown below:

The note is marked "g" in the English lemma line. The LEB has this (i.e. no notation at all for mishshaam)...

Just to establish or reestablish the point, I am highly partial to retaining the Hebrew pointings of the BH text, though I am also 100% certain that some pointings (a misplaced sohph paassuuq ׃ in this chapter, for instance) are not what they should be.

I suppose I am going to need to get in the habit of checking my Hebrew against L5 more regularly. It's just one more annoyance of being tied to L3, I guess. Super Angry  On the other hand, if the L5 LHI doesn't have this note any longer, it most certainly should. Otherwise, I would not be cognizant of this issue, and it is an issue I consider worthy of attention.

Personally, I don't really care if a translator goes with the BH or an emendation in their translation, as long as they have a notation of the alternate possibility (which NET is usually excellent at, even though it makes emendations in its translation constantly). We are all pretty much at the mercy of those who handle the ancient texts--without being provided clear situational awareness, our ignorance keeps us misinformed.

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 8:37 PM

David Paul:

David Knoll:

PS There is also internal evidence and parallels in Ugaritic. See the excellent paper by the late professor Shemaryahu Talmon (whom I also had the privilege to know): "יד ושם a Biblical Idiomatic Phrase and its Variations" originally published in Hebrew Studies 25 (1984) 8-17, and now reprinted in "Literary Motifs and Patterns in the Hebrew Bible" (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2013), 211-236.

David...am I reading that right? "Hand and Name"?? If so, I definitely have to track that down...that is exactly down the path I'm taking in my current research!

Yes, you are reading that correctly, but I don't think you catch the significance of יד ושם  since when used with שם it carries the significance of "memorial."  See Is 56.5.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 4761
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 9:16 PM

I already have that verse sectioned off in my book, along with 1 Sam. 15:12, 2 Sam. 18:18, and Ezek. 21:19, all of which are very germane to my subject matter. Thanks for pointing it out, though.

Posts 2465
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 26 2014 10:25 PM

יד does open up idiomatic possibilities. The power of small words.

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 27 2014 12:27 AM

Vincent Setterholm:

Jerusalem Crown is based on Aleppo instead of Leningradensis. For the missing portions of Aleppo's Torah, some use was made of hand-written notes in the margin of another Hebrew Bible that some scholars think were notes taken by someone examining Aleppo.

Aleppo is older than Leningradensis but due to damage, is now incomplete.

Genesis is in the missing part. As far as I know there is no marginal note regarding משם in this verse. The Jerusalem Crown therefore seems to follow L.

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David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 27 2014 12:46 AM

יד ושם appears only in Isa 56:5, but Talmon studies the semantic field of both these words and points out to a possible common collocation which can be found in parallel pairs in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Ugarit. You don't have to accept everything he says but the discussion is very thorough and the paper is thought provoking. As for his interpretation of יד ושם in Isa 56:5, I find it convincing. 

BTW the collocation lives on in the Palestinian Jewish liturgical poems ("the piyyutim"). They are of course much more difficult to decipher.

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Doug Mangum | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 27 2014 12:04 PM

David Paul:
On the other hand, if the L5 LHI doesn't have this note any longer, it most certainly should. Otherwise, I would not be cognizant of this issue, and it is an issue I consider worthy of attention.

The current L5 version of LHI still has this issue noted in its footnote. I think Vince just meant that the main gloss of LHI as "there" and the LEB translation's "there" in the main text were consistent. The resources have different textual notes because they were prepared by different scholars at different times.

In LEB, we currently go fairly light on identifying text critical alternatives in the footnotes. Not because they're not worthy of attention but more because we didn't set out to produce an English version with a NET style detailed apparatus. That said, this is an interesting possible variant and is definitely worth at least a brief footnote in LEB. I'll make sure it's there for when the resource is next updated.

I like the revocalization mainly for poetic reasons. It seems like "because of the name" makes a nice parallel with "by the hands of."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 27 2014 1:25 PM

Doug Mangum:

In LEB, we currently go fairly light on identifying text critical alternatives in the footnotes. Not because they're not worthy of attention but more because we didn't set out to produce an English version with a NET style detailed apparatus. That said, this is an interesting possible variant and is definitely worth at least a brief footnote in LEB. I'll make sure it's there for when the resource is next updated.

Great!

Doug Mangum:

I like the revocalization mainly for poetic reasons. It seems like "because of the name" makes a nice parallel with "by the hands of."

And...it has scads of prophetic implications!

Posts 433
Vincent Setterholm | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 27 2014 4:53 PM

Doug Mangum:

I think Vince just meant that the main gloss of LHI ...

No, what I meant was that the text of the note is quite different from what David quoted, which indicated to me that he was looking at an old resource.

David, your sof passuq comment is also a total mystery to me - I can't see any misplaced sof passuqs. Which leads me to ask, with some trepidation, why do you do all your work in such an old copy of our software? And the follow-up question being: why do you report 'bugs' from such an old copy of our software? You're missing out on years of our work on making these databases better.

I'm not trying to open a big can of worms. Maybe the answer is something 'simple' like 'I like the notes better in Libronix'. I do keep Libronix 3 around for a few features that I like/need, but I'm curious what inspires you, specifically, to stick to the older version.

Posts 4761
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 28 2014 12:14 PM

I suppose it is because you have some sort of mysterious mindmeld, Vince, that draws you specifically to any forum thread that relates to Hebrew questions which simply doesn't tingle for other non-Hebrew topics, but I've described and explained exactly why I am shackled to L3 on numerous occasions over the last 5-6 years. Yes, the primary issue is notes. On a 1-10 scale, L3 is a 9 while L4/5 is a 2. Other issues are ease of use (I can do many things in L3 with 0-3 clicks that takes 5-9 or more clicks in L4/5. Another thing is that the second most important feature L3 has was described as "clutter" by Bob.

For Instance: I am eyeball deep in a study stream that has hotlinked through 20-30 pages of my Bible...and now I want to go to Acts 9. But I CAN'T just go there, because that would erase my stream of links and sabotage my whole study, each page of which has generated 2-3 searches (see left side of L3 slides below). If I were in L5, I would pretty much just have to guess...do I click left...or do I click right...in order to find my Acts 9 page?

It's a 50/50 shot in the dark.

n L3, on the other hand, it is a piece of pure cake poetry, because of the L3 Window History menus (absent in L4/5)...

First, I try left (back)...

...no luck, so I try right (forward)...

...and voila! Success!! And only 3 clicks, count them...T-H-R-E-E...were needed to proceed with my study. In L4/5? Well, clicking left I would have clicked through about 8-12 pages before giving up and clicking back to where I began, continuing to click right 8 more clicks (all of which are totally in the dark) before stumbling across what I was looking for. Total? About 30 clicks. HURRAY FOR PROGRESS!!!!!!!  Super Angry  Hey, at least L5 isn't "cluttered". Seriously, who knew that two nearly invisible down arrows could so totally disturb Bob's feng shui?

I also much prefer the appearance of L3, and since I use L3 and its note feature to give presentations sans PowerPoint, that matters to me...a lot!

There are other reasons. Because I use L5 only on occasion, I simply don't know how to use it very well. I see forum posts that give explanations of different features and usage options, but it's kinda like me and Spanish; I've taken it 3-4 times over 30 years, and I never make any progress because I don't use it enough. I don't use L5 enough because I can't...the things that matter to me most are all in L3 and that is where I spend 99% of my time. And based on what I know at this point, I'm stuck in L3 for the duration. It's not my preference...I just don't have a choice. So even though it may give you heartburn, I will be using the L3 builds of LHI, BHS, and other resources from here on out. That doesn't mean I won't make an effort to consult the L5 updates of those resources when my study gets deep and I'm thinking about publishing. I will. But L5 simply can't do what I require and need to have done all day, every day. I wish to weren't so, but it is. I have to live with it.

Posts 4761
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 28 2014 12:17 PM

Vincent Setterholm:

David, your sof passuq comment is also a total mystery to me - I can't see any misplaced sof passuqs. 

On this point, Vince, I'm not talking about misplaced by Logos...I mean misplaced by the Masoretes.

Looking back, I see I didn't fully get that point across. Sorry.

Posts 9946
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 28 2014 1:42 PM

David Paul:
For Instance: I am eyeball deep in a study stream that has hotlinked through 20-30 pages of my Bible...and now I want to go to Acts 9. But I CAN'T just go there, because that would erase my stream of links and sabotage my whole study, each page of which has generated 2-3 searches (see left side of L3 slides below). If I were in L5, I would pretty much just have to guess...do I click left...or do I click right...in order to find my Acts 9 page?

The last I heard it still works to locate in the reference box and type in the reference even if you don't remember how long ago you were at that location.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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