[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8

Vadim Cherny vadim_lv at center-tv.net
Sat Dec 11 13:29:09 EST 2004

Karl Randolph wrote:

> The -MW suffix is used well over 170 times in Tanakh, less than a third of those connected to the L- prefix. When we take into account all the uses of the suffix, there are several times that it refers to a singular object. That is more than the at least three times (Genesis 9:26-27, Isaiah 44:15) that it is connected to the L- prefix referring to a singular object. Examples include Genesis 19:15 referring to the dawn, Exodus 15:5 where it refers to "a stone", shall I go on? You need to refer to all of these uses, not to restrict yourself to those connected to the L- prefix. <

It seems you confuse two different words: lmo and lamo. 
lmo points to intensity, thus usually the collective plural. But even then, I would suggest that lmo in Gen19:15 actually refers to the preceding sentence, plural.
lamo is probably lahemo, thus only the plural. Your citation of Is44:15 is out of place: the prophet speaks of the multitude of heathen images, not of just one. Waw here is not 3ms, but collective plural, normally encountered as -ot (zvaot) or -on (helbon).
Also, your translation ignores a direct antecedent for lamo, which is "people." Any mention of the hero is far away. You might agree that the Hebrew normally refers to the closest antecedent.

> Biblical Hebrew language lacked a generalized term for "sin",<

The Hebrew does not "lack" a general term for sin. It is a matter of philosophy: Jews do not lump together the different sins. Modern lawyers also clearly distinguish between crime and misdemeanor: not because they "lack" the term.
Just as the lawyers distinguish crime and misdemeanor based not on ethics, but on the punishment, so the Jews did have meaningful generalizations of pesha, avon, and het based on the prescribed purification. Milgrom analyzed that in great detail.
In any case, your narrow translation "rebellion" for "crime" is like translating War and Peace, "War of 1812 and the subsequent peace treaty." Let's translate, not read Isaiah's mind.

Vadim Cherny

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