[b-hebrew] (WLM was Daniel 6:27 (time indefinite) II
peter at qaya.org
Wed Nov 23 06:22:33 EST 2005
On 23/11/2005 07:51, Bryant J. Williams III wrote:
>1. The subject line has been changed which should have been done a while back,
>but is digress.
>2. The following is from TWOT, Volume 2, #1631a, pp 672-673, by Alan A. Macrae.
Thank you for this. It is good to have a constructive contribution to
> (WLM, forever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world,
>etc. (RSV similar in general, but substitutes "always for "in the world" in Ps
>73:12 an "eternity" for "world" in Ecc 3:11.) Probably derived from (alam I, "to
>hide," thus pointing to what is hidden in the distant future or in the distant
>past. The Ugaritic cognate is (lm, "eternity."
> Though (WLM is used more than three hundred times to indicate indefinite
>continuance into the very distant future, the meaning of the world is not
>confined to the future. There are at least twenty instances where it clearly
>refers to the past. Such usages generally point to something limitless past.
>Thus in Deut. 32:7 and Job 22:15 it may refer to the time of one's elders. In
>Prov 22:28; 23:10; Jer 6:16; 18:15; 28:8 it points back somewhat farther. In Isa
>58:12; 61:4; Mic 7:14; Mal 3:4, and in Aramaic of Ezr 4:15, 19 it clearly refers
>to the time just before the exile. In I Sam 27:8; in Isa 51:9 and 63:9, 11 and
>perhaps Ezk 36:2, it refers to the events of the exodus from Egypt. In Gen 6:4
>it points to the time shortly before the flood. None of these past references
>has in it the idea of endlessness or limitlessness, but each points to a time
>long before the immediate knowledge of those living. In Isa 64:3 the KJV
>translates the word "beginning of the world." In Ps 73:12 and Eccl 3:11 it is
>translated "world," suggesting the beginning of a usage that developed greatly
>in postbiblical times.
This is good, but where is the similar consideration of the hundreds of
>... J. Barr (Biblical Words for Time (2
>1969), p. 73) says, 'We might therefore best state the 'basic meaning' as a kind
>of range between 'remotest time' an 'perpetuity.' ' But as shown above it is
>sometimes used of a not-so-remote past. ...
It sounds to me as if Barr has things about right here. There is no
suggestion that it is used of a not-so-remote future.
>... That neither the Hebrew nor the Greek word in itself contains
>the idea of endlessness is shown both by the fact that they sometimes refer to
>events or conditions that occurred at a definite point in the past, and also by
>the fact that sometimes it is thought desirable to repeat the , not merely say
>"forever," but "forever and ever."
This is very strange reasoning. I have already dealt with the first
issue in my latest reply to Karl. As for the second, the repetition is
perhaps for emphasis or for stylistic effect, but how does repetition of
an indefinite word suddenly make it definite?
Well, since Bryant looked at TWOT, I have looked at the article by
Anthony Tomasino in VanGemeren's NIDOTTE. Here is an extract, concerning
the future only:
> Much more frequently, ʻôlām refers to the future. It can refer to a
> future of limited duration; i.e. to conditions that will exist
> continuously throughout a limited period of time, often a single life
> span. The nom. is sometimes used in a construct phrase to modify
> another nom. (perpetual, continual). According to Prov 10:25, while a
> wicked person is blown away by the whirlwind, the righteous "stand
> firm forever" (yᵉsôd ʻôlām), which lasts one's entire life. In Exod
> 21:6, a slave who chooses to stay with his master for life is called a
> "servant for life" (see also Deut 15:17; cf. 1 Sam 27:12). Similar
> constructions are found in Jer 20:11, where the prophet predicts that
> his oppressors will be "thoroughly disgraced" (lit., disgrace of
> perpetuity), and Jer 20:17, where he wishes that his mother's womb had
> been "enlarged forever" (i.e., that he had never been born). In each
> of these cases, the nom. essentially means "his/her whole life."
> The same is true in many cases where the nom. is used to modify a vb.,
> sometimes standing alone, but usually with prepositions l- or ʻad. In
> Exod 19:9 the Lord tells Moses that he will come to him in a thick
> cloud, so that the people will trust Moses lᵉʻôlām, ever after, for
> the rest of his life. In 1 Sam 1:22, Hannah vows that her child will
> remain in the house of God at Shiloh ʻad ʻôlām, the rest of his life.
> Likewise when Jonathan asks David to swear not "ever" (ʻad ʻôlām, 1
> Sam 20:15) to harm Jonathan's descendants, they agree that the Lord is
> witness "between me and you forever" (ʻad ʻôlām, 20:23), i.e. that God
> will oversee the vow all their lives. In Ps 45:2, the king is
> "blessed ... forever" by God, while in 61:7, he is enthroned in
> God's presence perpetually. According to Ps 21:4, God grants the
> king "length of days, for ever and ever" - a phrase that calls to mind
> the cry of royal veneration, "May my lord King David, live forever" (1
> Kgs 1:31; Neh 2:3). In each case, the expected blessing is not eternal
> life, but long life.
> Also in the Psalms, the Lord tells a king that he is "a priest
> forever, in the order of Melchizedek" (Ps 110:4) - probably referring
> to royal prerogative to exercise a certain amount of priestly power,
> just as Melchizedek had been both priest and king of Salem (cf. Kraus,
> 351). Elsewhere, authors of different psalms declare that they will do
> various acts ʻad ʻôlām or lᵉʻôlām (perpetually): praise the Lord (Ps
> 52:9), give thanks (30:12; 79:13), glorify the Lord's name
> (86:12; 145:2), bless the Lord's name (145:1), sing praises (61:7;
> 89:1), declare the Lord's justice (75:9), trust in the Lord's
> mercy (52:8), and abide in God's dwelling/presence (41:12;
> 61:4, 7). The nom. is also used in negative constructions: the
> righteous person will "never be shaken" (15:5; Prov 10:30; cf. Ps
> 30:6; 55:22); the psalmist prays that he should never be put to
> shame (Ps 31:1). In each of these vv., the phrase obviously means
> the rest of the speaker's life.
So, here I have presented the evidence for non-perpetual future `olam,
so against my own position, which I have been asking for for weeks and
no one has provided. I could question some of it. But remember that long
ago I accepted that the meaning could be "until the end of one's life".
I note that the agreement between David and Jonathan was not terminated
by Jonathan's death, although of course it was in effect by David's.
> In many more cases, the nom. is used with longer time periods in view
> - indeed, it often implies unceasingness of perpetuity. The nom. is
> used in this fashion to describe aspects of creation: in Ps 78:69;
> 104:5; Eccl 1:4, the earth is said to have been established "forever,"
> i.e. it will continue to exist into the most distant future. ...
There is a lot more, but I have spent far too long retyping this already.
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
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