Gen 49:16 (was: Iron and Bronze)

Pere Casanellas pere.casanellas at
Fri Sep 13 04:14:53 EDT 2002

The commentary of Genesis by Gordon J. Wenham (Word Biblical Commentary) 
seems to favour the interpretation of Ian Hutchesson:

Translation: <<6 Dan will vindicate his people
like any of the tribes of Israel.>>

Commentary: <<"Like one of the tribes of Israel" is a puzzling phrase. 
Since the descendants of Dan are always seen as a tribe of Israel, why does 
Jacob need to draw attention to it? It may be a hint that Dan was not as 
strong as the other tribes: Judges describes the Danites' forced migration 
from their original area in the southwest of Canaan to the north. But like 
those of other bigger tribes, Dan's victories will help all Israel.>>

Pere Casanellas
E-mail: pere.casanellas at

At 22:23 12/09/2002 -0600, Dave Washburn wrote:
> > >> Even Genesis seems dimly aware of Dan's position. See
> > >> Gen 49:16, which says, "Dan shall judge his people as if
> > >> one of the tribes of Israel." -- k'xd $b+y y$r'l --, ie
> > >> Dan was not a tribe of Israel, but shall perform like
> > >> one
> > >
> > >How on earth do you justify translating K(XD "as *if* one"?  That's
> > >not what it says, and every English translation I have found reads
> > >"as one of the tribes," which means something very different.
> >
> > Sorry, Dave, but what on earth do you mean by "as one of the
> > tribes"?
>"As a member of the president's cabinet, he enjoys special
>privileges..."  There's nothing mysterious about "as one of the tribes"
>at all, it's perfectly good English and perfectly good Hebrew.  But the
>context of the thread makes it clear why you want to play word
>games with it, so I didn't expect you to respond any differently.
>The text doesn't say that Dan *is* a tribe of Israel,
> > but is *like* a tribe of Israel. k- normally supplies a simile
> > to show that something [A] is like something else [B], ie A is
> > not B, suggesting Dan was not a tribe of Israel.
>"Normally"?  Don't make me laugh.  K- has a wide range of
>meanings and no one of them is more "normal" than the other.  It's
>clear you've finally learned to read some Hebrew in the last couple
>of years, but bear in mind that a little knowledge is a dangerous
>thing.  The meaning that best fits this verse can be paraphrased
>something like "Dan will judge his people from within inasmuch as
>he is one of them."  The verse is an obvious play on the name Dan
>who, being (as) one of the tribes of Israel, will emerge as a judge
>over the nation as a whole.  There's not even a hint anywhere in the
>context that he wasn't really a tribe.
>Furthermore, if you maintain that this meaning of K- is so "normal"
>you need to explain why every English version on the market
>disagrees with you.  If you can't follow the meaning of the English
>phrase, that's not the fault of the text.
>I won't pursue this any further, so go ahead and have the last word
>and I'll leave it to the rest of the group to decide which translation is
>more likely.
>Dave Washburn

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