[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Dec 2 16:56:29 EST 2004


Paul:

You can't take the clause alone, and you need to recognize meanings.

I would hesitate adding to the text as in your example #2.

Looking at the prefixed mem as used in the verse, we see that it is used in the sense of away from as in "he was taken away from restraint and justice" and "he was severed from the land of the living", but before "rebellion" it is used in the sense of "because of". (Intuitively I can see a semantic connection joining the two meanings, but it doesn't translate into English.)

The context of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is referring to God's slave (or servant), therefore the LMW refers not to "my people" but to the slave, again arguing against #2, which you already referred to in your comments below.

We really need to look at the whole verse in it grammatical context as well. The ancient Hebrews thought just as we do today, with sentences consisting of a subject (sometimes understood from the context), verb (sometimes an understood "is") and object (sometimes implicit in the verb or context). Now looking at Isaiah 53:8, we find that the verse could consist of four clauses, three of which could be understood as three short sentences, each with its own subject, verb and object, all in the context where the impersonal "he" refers to God's slave. What about the fourth clause? The object is clearly LMW, but what is the subject and verb? From the sentence structure the verb is not an active NG( as the object of the NG( has a prefix B- not a prefix L- (as a verb, NG( means to reach out to touch, and that touch, hence the noun from the same root, can be anywhere from soft carasses or the sensual touch of intimacy, to a heavy blow meant to injure or kill, to a "touch" of disease that can kill. The severity of the "touch" can almost always be recognized from the context.). It is not (MY as that is clearly a noun. MP$( could be a participle, though there is no evidence of such use in Tanakh, as the other three uses are of a prefixed M- on P$( : contextually it would fit, making the reading "my people's rebelling is a touch (injury, plague) to him" with an implicit "is" as the verb. Or is the fourth clause just an extension of the third clause, making the total "he was severed from the land of the living because of my people's rebellion, a 'touch' to him" with no clear verb?

Just thinking out loud.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "ptraub at juno.com" <ptraub at juno.com>

> 
> 
> In final clause the options seem to be:
> 
> 1.  ...for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
> 2.  ...for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due.
> 
> I lean toward option 1 mainly on the basis of parallelism with the 
> preceding clause and I take it as governed by the niphal perfect 
> nigzar and the singular suffix of lamo.
> 
> There is a bit of a difference in meaning in that option 2 
> expressly says something about the people whereas option 1 focuses 
> on the person leaving conclusions about the people to inference.
> 
> Ideas?
> 
> Paul Traub
> ptraub at juno.com
-- 
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