mevaseret in Isaiah (was company or women)

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Mon May 27 14:59:53 EDT 2002


One translation tradition (e.g. KJV) understands "mevasseret Zion" in
Isaiah 40:9 as adjective and noun: "O Zion, herald of good tidings"
(NRSV). This would explain the feminine: Zion is feminine. Another
tradition (at least as old as Handel's Messiah!) understands this as a
construct chain, so "O herald of good tidings to Zion" (NRSV margin cf
English RV) but this leaves the feminine unexplained. LXX seems to keep
the ambiguity (as Zion and Jerusalem are indeclinable) but makes the
whole thing masculine.

I wonder if we are reading back our presuppositions about ancient
cultures rather than our knowledge of them when we suggest that women in
those days could not travel alone and could not read. The Shunammite
woman seems to have travelled with just one servant, 2 Kings 4:24-26. Or
maybe there is some theological significance to the femininity here.
(Christians might see this fulfilled in that a woman, Mary Magdalene,
was the first to witness the Resurrection and tell the news of it in
Jerusalem - I have never heard this from a preacher, but would not be
surprised to!)

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lisbeth S. Fried [mailto:lizfried at umich.edu]
> Sent: 27 May 2002 19:21
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: mevaseret in Isaiah (was company or women)
> 
> I've been wondering about the mevaseret in 2nd Isaiah.
> It seems really odd that this refers to a woman,
> since if feels more to me that it refers to the prophet
> (of course the prophet could be a prophetess!).
> Is it possible for the noun to simply be feminine,
> tho referring to a male?
> It seems very unlikely to me that there would be
> female heralds in antiquity since they 1) had to
> travel about, and 2) they usually read what they
> were announcing.
> Liz
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Randall Buth [mailto:ButhFam at compuserve.com]
> > Sent: Mon, May 27, 2002 1:17 PM
> > To: Biblical Hebrew
> > Subject: Psalms 68:11 The Company or The Women?
> >
> >
> > shalom Tony,
> >
> > Ps 68.11/12 has female heralds, just like Isaiah 40.9.
> >
> > High, carrying voice,
> > less-threatening,
> > easier on the eyes.
> >
> > (check out my address below, come visit if you want a tranquil
> > intro into the language)
> >
> > blessings,
> >
> > Randall Buth
> > Mevasseret Zion
> > www.biblicalulpan.org
> >
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> 
> 
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