[b-hebrew] Re: Malachi 2:16

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Sep 1 07:47:45 EDT 2003

Dear Joe,

You write:

>If we keep the MT, I would like to render it something like, "When he hates
>so as to divorce, says the LORD God of Israel, then he covers himself with
>lawlessness as with a garment." Hugenberger (Marriage as Covenant 72-76)
>independently came to a very similar rendering, "If one hates and divorces."
>He takes the infinitive construct sallah to be the equivalent of a finite
>verb, perhaps as a bi-form of the infinitive absolute, whereas I take the
>infinitive to be a result clause.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible Old Testament, which should be
published early next year, has a translation like the one you suggest. If
my memory serves me correctly, you are one of the contributing translators
for it, even if not on Malachi. Dr. Ray Clendenon, an editor of the HCSB
OT, is particularly responsible for this suggested translation of Mal 2:16.

>The first expression "he hates" may relate to the divorce formula.  In the
>Jewish divorce certificate of 5th century Elephantine, Egypt, the divorce
>formula was "I hate my wife" or "I hate my husband" (see below).  There is
>no need to emend the text.

It may be significant that the same two words "hate" and "send away" occur
in Deuteronomy 24:3. Perhaps this is part of what you meant by "divorce

It is possible that another reading, given in some translations, may be

"For He hates divorce, says the Lord God of Israel. One covers violence
over his garment, says the Lord of Hosts.

This translation depnds on several understandings. First, in Mal 2:16 the
Lord would speak of Himself in the third person, as He does in 1:9. Second,
2:16 would continue the reference to God in the third person that occurs in
2:13-15. And third, it requires a reader's understanding that the verb
about covering oneself with violence could not refer to God, even though
there would be no outward change in subject.

However, 2:13-15 is probably not the Lord speaking directly, but the
prophet, for the prophet seems to be speaking beginning in verse 10.

				Harold Holmyard
				translator, HCSB

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