[b-hebrew] Israel "in" Egypt 215 or 430 years ?

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Aug 20 07:49:33 EDT 2004

On 20/08/2004 00:03, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:

> ...
> HH: It's true that the fathers were in a country not their own, but 
> the following verbs seem to give clarity by their form. The first one 
> is W(BDWM, which, whatever its precise meaning, implies a 3mp subject 
> and a 3mp object. There has to be an antecedent for both pronouns. The 
> antecedent for one is "your seed," and the antecedent for the other 
> has to be "a land which is not theirs." So it is a land that is not 
> theirs that will enslave them and afflict them. This needs to be a 
> particular land, I think, the one whose inhabitants enslave and 
> afflict them.

I don't think the singular B.:)EREC should be pressed to mean a single 
country, especially as it is taken up with a plural pronoun, just as the 
singular ZAR:(:AKF is taken up with a plural pronoun. The meaning may be 
that "each of your descendants will live in a country not his/her own", 
referring to various different countries. Remember that Isaac lived in 
the land of the Philistines for many years (ch.26) and Jacob served and 
was to some extent oppressed by Laban in Aram for many years 
(chs.29-31). So the plural object could refer to the various countries.

I have just noticed something fascinating here. We have

WA(:ABFDW.M "and they will serve them"
W:(IN.W. )OTFM "and they will afflict them"

In the first clause, we presume that the subject is the Israelites and 
the object is presumably the strange countries or their people (as 
explicitly in the next verse), but in the second, the subject and object 
are reversed. Is this switch reference signalled by the use of the full 
non-suffix pronoun in the second clause, or is it taken only from the 

I also note the form DFN in the next verse, translated "I will 
judge/punish", but surely this must be a participle?

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

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