[b-hebrew] Re: Birthing stones

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sat Aug 7 17:41:22 EDT 2004


This sounds good, but nowhere else in the Bible are testicles called
"stones". The word is A$akim. Besides, how then do you understand "and you
shall look ON "(al" the "ovnayim". "Look on the stones"? It would be ")et
ha-)ovayim".

As in Jer. 18:3, the "ovnayim" is a potter's wheel, which, in its most
primitive from, was simply two flat stones set one over the other, allowing
the potter to turn the vessel and work on all sides without lifting it off
its base. At a later stage, the stones were replaced by wooden wheels, which
could be spun. Even later, the spinning was done by the potter's foot, which
made it much faster and added symmetry to the vessel. However, the old name
remained, just like we still "dial" a phone or "roll down" a car window. The
potter sat on a stool in front of the "ovnayim", which, presumably, was
similar to the midwife's position in front of a birthing stool or table.

In Isaiah 37:3, "ma$ber", literally "breach", may mean the same thing,
"birthing stool".

Marianne, the information on Egyptian birth practices is very interesting,
but I would not be surprised if the description in Exodus is more similar to
what was practiced in Israel at the time in which the story was composed,
which may or may not have been the same as in Egypt. Certainly stones or
wooden furniture would have been more common that bricks.

Yigal

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stig Norin" <stig.norin at teol.uu.se>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, August 07, 2004 10:11 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Re: Birthing stones


> Dear Friends
>
> Why make everything so complicated? To look at the "two stones" to see if
the baby is a boy is of course all about the testicles.
>
> two stones = boy
> no stones = girl
>
> I think the same method is used today.
>
> Sincerely
>
> /SN
>
>
> --
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