[b-hebrew] god of the strong (Dan 11:38)

Trevor & Julie Peterson 06peterson at cua.edu
Tue Feb 4 14:47:43 EST 2003


Ian wrote:

> Could someone tell me why the RSV and a number of other versions
> (including the old JPS) translates m`zym in Dan 11:38 as fortresses?

Probably the better question is why it's not always translated that way.
There are several places where it seems to have a more abstract sense, but
even there the idea of a stronghold or fortress rather than mere strength
fits well enough. In several places, however, it has to refer to a place or
an object. The m-prefix noun patterns often refer to a place of some
abstract quality, so there's nothing unexpected there.

> I note in the following verse the phrase mbcry m`zym means "strong
> holds" (= fortresses) and one can see the thought process of passing
> from "strong" to "strong hold", but why translate m`zym as fortresses?

The sense in the following verse is something like impregnable fortresses.
You might compare it with a term like "holy of holies" for a superlative
idea--"holiest place." Similarly here, two words roughly synonymous are put
in construct to amplify their quality.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics



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