[b-hebrew] Lost wax casting Exo 32:4

David N. da Silva huyxh8s02 at sneakemail.com
Sun Aug 15 22:57:16 EDT 2004

This is the first of a few "alternative readings" for which I would appreciate comments; especially from anyone whose grammar is better than mine (which is anyone). 

In JPS 1917, Exo 32:4 begins 

And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf;

I presume that in the second millennium, one would make a golden figurine by using the lost wax method.  "Tsuwr," which here gets translated "fashioned" usually means bind or confine or besiege.   And confine is just what you do with the wax form before casting.    Accordingly, I propose:

... and he took from their hands.  He worked with a stylus, and encased it, and made a cast bull-calf. 

I didn't want to say explicitly that wax was used, since there is no mention of wax.   The author (the Elohist) would presumably have thought that his mention of tsuwr was sufficient to indicate the method used, since there is no binding or confining in any other method which could have been used. 

David Nunes da Silva 

p.s.  I looked at many translations, but could not find any that translated this passage in a way that suggested the lost wax method.  If someone can tell me that the Hebrew clearly rules out the idea that lost wax casting was meant, I would appreciate it - and also if my proposed translation is defective for any other reason.

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