Hosea 13:14 - please help

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Mon Dec 23 14:22:57 EST 2002

>===== Original Message From Polycarp66 at aol.com =====
>There are two homonyms (pointing aside):  one meaning word, matter, etc.
>and the other meaning pestilence.  You will find that D.eBeR which means
>"pestilence" is used much more frequently than once.  See Ex 5.2, 9.15;
>Num 14.32; Dt 28.21; 2 Sam 24.13,15; 1 Kg 8. 37; Hos 13.14; Am 4.10.
>There are others--mostly parallels to certain passages.

Just to add a bit more, I would normally include the vocalization as part of 
the word, and where these words are concerned, the homonymy (different words 
sounding the same) applies to the plurals only. dever ("plague") is a segolate 
form, which comes from an original monosyllabic stem (dbVr, where V represents 
one of the original three vowels). Segolates can be identified pretty easily 
in their lexical forms, because the accent is on the first syllable, and the 
vowel pattern has shifted to dVber, to break up the consonant cluster. All 
segolates take the same plural form: dvarim, with a qamets in the second 
syllable and a mobile shva in the first. The same plural form results from 
davar ("word"), when the first qamets reduces according to the rules. So when 
the plural form appears, it could be either noun. In most cases, context will 
probably be a reasonable guide.

As an interesting side note, there is a repeated phrase in the Ugaritic Ba'al 
epic that has some noun spelled dbr of questionable vocalization: li-ni'miyi 
artsi dbr--"to the pleasant land of dbr." The word could be cognate to Hebrew 
dvir ("sanctuary"), dever ("plague"), or dover ("pasture"). Whatever it is, it 
refers euphemistically to the Netherworld, so any of these readings is 
conceivable. Because Ugaritic generally indicates vowels only where they 
follow an alef, we have nothing but context to help us.

Trevor Peterson

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