Iron and Bronze. The tribe of Dan

David Stabnow dstabno at
Mon Sep 16 11:37:12 EDT 2002

On 9/13/2002 Ian Hutchesson wrote:

If we look at BDB's range of meaning for k-, they
list three basic categories, of which the second
involves repetition of the k- and the third involves
the k- preceding an infinitve, so we can happily
rule them out and look only at the first category.

1.a. deals with number estimation (so is scratched).

1.b. deals with likenesses...

1.c. basically "according to" (so is scratched).

1.d. "kaph veritatis", translation into something else

DKS: As you have correctly pointed out, we should not base arguments on
nuances of the English that are not part of the meaning of the original
Hebrew.  Thus taking "as a tribe of Israel" to mean "functioning in it
position as a tribe of Israel" would be erroneous if in fact the nuance of
the Hebrew behind the English "as" is comparison or likeness rather than
identity.  You are also correct that likeness is one of the most frequent
meanings of k-, statistically.

However, I think you too quickly dismiss "according to."  Perhaps you
dismiss it because of the meaning of "according to" in English, rather than
because of the nuance in Hebrew that stands behind it.  It is a nuance that
is difficult to express in English.  Williams (Hebrew Syntax, paragraph
259) calls this nuance "Norm, meaning 'in accordance with'."  BDB says,
"expressing conformity to a standard or rule."

Thus linguistically one could argue that the meaning is, Dan will judge his
people in accordance with the norms of judgment applied by one of the
tribes of Israel.  That is, prophetically speaking, Dan will judge
according to the Torah.  This does not state explicitly one way or the
other whether Dan is a tribe.  However, that Dan is included in this
chapter among other sons of Jacob, I would say implies that the writer
considered him one.

Dave Stabnow
Bible Translation Editor
Broadman & Holman Publishers
Nashville, Tennessee
david.stabnow at

    Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for God's glory.  (1 Cor 10:31, HCSB)

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