[b-hebrew] Re: 22nd Psalm - Verb Object Again

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Dec 5 06:15:48 EST 2003

On 05/12/2003 02:48, Moshe Shulman wrote:

> ...
> The reading is K)RW, and this has some serious difficulties with it, 
> since the aleph makes it a poor conjugation for the verb KRH. I have 
> always considered this another example of poor writing skills, and the 
> correct reading should be K)RY, the last letter being an elongated 
> yod, a very common situation in the DSS. Otherwise we have a verb 
> without a root.
More precisely, otherwise we have a hapax. How many hapaxes in the 
Hebrew Bible? I can give a simple answer to that: as many as 3220 
lexical items (including proper names), as distinguished in the 
Westminster morphological database, out of a total of 9521 lexical items 
- although many of these do have cognates with the same root. Even of 
the smaller number of hapaxes which have no known cognate with the same 
root, how many have been confirmed as genuine rather than scribal errors 
from cognate languages, ancient versions etc? It is simply bad logic to 
argue that a hapax implies a corrupt text.

Actually I would consider that the LXX evidence proves that this word in 
question is a genuine hapax. It certainly proves that the Nahal Hever 
reading is more than the slip of one scribe's pen in the 1st century CE: 
the LXX translator, probably a century or two earlier and several 
hundred miles away, did not read K)RY, but read a 3rd person plural verb 
which strongly indicates a final vav.

The LXX translator also read this verb as derived from KRH "dig" or 
something very similar. This may have been correct; or it may have been 
his or her best conjecture at a root whose meaning was already obscure.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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