1Samuel 1:9 again.
06PETERSON at cua.edu
Tue Oct 23 13:56:12 EDT 2001
>Are you suggesting that there was another building
>next to the tabernacle in which resided the ark that
>Eli was sat outside in 1Samuel 1:9?
Nope. I'm suggesting that the word hekal normally refers to a fixed building.
I'm not suggesting anything about the architecture of Shiloh.
>This seems to be the impression you're giving.
>Although the weight of contextual evidence seems to
>suggest that the "heykal" in question was the
Does the context suggest that it was the tabernacle or that it was what we
expect the tabernacle to be? I think those are two different things.
>Since we don't seem to disagree that 'heykal' means
>temple or palace, why cannot the tabernacle fall into
>A. It's not an ordinary tent, the description given of
>the tabernacle would make it a royal residence or
>temple for any nomadic/tent dwelling people.
Was this a nomadic/tent dwelling people?
>B. It's a royal residence in as much as it is the
>'dwelling place' of the King of the Universe.
Is that all it has to be to be called a hekal?
>C. It is adorned with purple and costly fabrics, cedar
>wood and gold, surely a palace.
>D. It is the spiritual centre of the people of Israel,
>surely a temple.
For one thing, I think we need to be careful about how much we read of our own
vocabulary into that of the Hebrew Bible. It's all well and good to talk about
temples and palaces, but what we're really trying to do is put into English
the concepts that are associated with words that we find. Yes, hekal seems to
be rendered best in English as "palace" or "temple," but that doesn't mean
that we can then assume that whatever can be attached to those English terms
can also be attached to hekal. I'm not saying that it can't be a movable
structure; I'm just wondering how we know that it can. Maybe it is being used
that way in this passage, but maybe it's not. Are there places in the Hebrew
Bible where we have unusual uses of words? Of course. Does it help our case at
all to find other instances in Hebrew or find cognates in other languages used
the same way? Quite a bit. My concern is that it seems like both you and
George are making assertions about the basic sense of this word that don't
come from anywhere except the need to account for this verse. Sometimes it's
necessary to do that sort of thing, but I'd personally be more comfortable
ruling out all the other possibilities first.
>The only objection seems to be that it is not a fixed
>structure made of stone or brick.
>The Akkadian E-gal as far as I understand it means
>great house, not stone building.
Actually, that's Sumerian; and etymologically, that is what it means. But as
the term made its rounds through the various Semitic languages, I'm interested
in what happens with the usage. If (and I'm not saying this is so, because I
haven't personally examined all the uses) E2.GAL in Sumerian always referred
to a fixed structure, and if ekallum in Akkadian always referred to a fixed
structure, and if the cognates in Ethiopic, Aramaic, Arabic, or Hebrew always
referred to a fixed structure, it at least gives us something to think about
in terms of the term carrying that association.
>Are you suggesting
>that this was another temple that had been constructed
>for the ark that had escaped comment in the entire
>cannon of the old testament, and not the tabernacle?
No. This is essentially the same question that you asked above, but I feel
it's important to re-emphasize that I'm not trying to put forth an explanation
for why the term is used. I'm simply asking whether we can legitimately
consider that the term used here might have to refer to a temple in the same
way that it does elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. What the author of Samuel
would be saying by referring to it here is another issue in my mind, and one
that perhaps should wait for a better understanding of the term in question.
I'm not saying I have that better understanding. I'm just trying to guard
against jumping to a redefinition of terms that is convenient exegetically but
lacks philological evidence.
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