Eli Eli Lama Azbatany or Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?

George Athas gathas at mail.usyd.edu.au
Wed Jun 16 01:39:55 EDT 1999


Jay Childs wrote:

> [...] For me, the bigger question is how to translate 'lamah'.  As English
> speakers, we find that it cozily fits the niche that our 'why' occupies,
> but the more literal would render either "for what" or "to what."  Any
> thoughts on that?

It's simply the idiomatic way of saying "Why?" in Hebrew. Nothing more, nothing less. Despite being
made of two prepositions, it should be taken as one compound.

We have a similar idiom in English -- "What for?"

Best regards.
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GEORGE ATHAS
 Dept of Semitic Studies,
 University of Sydney
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Tel Dan Inscription Website is at
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