[b-hebrew] The Potter's Wheel and Giving Birth?

David N. da Silva huyxh8s02 at sneakemail.com
Mon Aug 23 15:01:32 EDT 2004

Potter's wheels do contain stone: it provides momentum needed to keep the wheel turning smoothly.   Some think that the upper wheel (where the clay sits) was made of stone, and there is another stone as a hub for the lower kick wheel.   Perhaps this is based on archaeology.   But if I were building one, I would make the upper wheel of wood, and lash two balanced stones to either side of the central spindle.

As far as I know, there is no reason at all to suppose that 'aobnayim refers to birthing stools except that someone made that guess in an attempt to understand Gen 1:16.   Jeremiah 18:3 is the reference to a potter's wheel.   There is nothing in Gen 1:16 (as far as I can tell with my poor Hebrew) that suggests the woman is on the 'aobnayim.

As to what Gen 1:16 means, surely that is obvious?   What after all would you look at to tell if a new-born babe is a boy or a girl?   I think the translation should be:

And he said: "When you act as midwife to an `Ebriy woman, look for the 'shaft and two stones.'   Kill the boys and let the girls live."

As always, I appreciate criticism.

By the way, does anyone have an idea if "Shifrah" and "Pu`ah" are Egyptian names? 
David Nunes da Silva


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