[b-hebrew] Re: Birthing stones

David N. da Silva huyxh8s02 at sneakemail.com
Thu Aug 5 23:12:57 EDT 2004

The word is 'oben, and it appears in only one other verse, Jeremiah 18:3, where it refers to a potters' wheel.  It is plural (actually dual) in both verses.   A potters' wheel is naturally plural, since there is the wheel the clay sits on and a lower wheel that the potter turns with his feet.

The translation of Exodus 1:16 in Friedman's The Bible with Sources Revealed, is: "and he said, "When you deliver the Hebrew women, and you look at the two stones, if it's a boy then kill him, and if it's a girl then she'll live"."

The KJV also has the notion that oben has something to do with birthing-stools.   I do not know where either the idea that 'oben means stools, or the idea that it means stones, come from.   So I would say that 'oben refers to something of which there are two, which you look at to decide if a baby is a boy or a girl, and which may have some similarity or connection with the double wheels of a potters' wheel.

David Nunes da Silva

The Exodus verse is the Elohist, according to Friedman, by the way.


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