[b-hebrew] "about" Josh. 7:4-5

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Dec 15 13:13:32 EST 2004


Going from memory off the top of my head, the prefix K- is often used for meanings other than "about", as a result, it often does not translate well into English. In this case, it is pointing to the fact that 36 men died as a result of Aachen's disobediance, to emphasize both the importance of obeying God, and the justification why Aachen deserved death.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>

> According to Joshua 7:4, Joshua's first attempt at capturing Ai was 
> made with ke$lo$et alapim i$, "about three thousand men". In the 
> next verse, the men of Ai smote of them ke$lo$im ve$iSah i$, "about 
> thirty six men".
> The prefix kaph is usually translated "like", "about" and so on. 
> However in this context, "about 36" does not make sense. 36 is an 
> exact number. I know that the Greek gives "eis", "into", but that 
> doesn't explain anything. I've seen theories ranging from scribal 
> error (dittography due to the preceding "ke$lo$et" - but with no 
> textual evidence) through a theory of a 6-based system of counting, 
> to the midrash that only Jair ben Manasseh was killed, but he was 
> "like 36 men". I know that "eleph" is often thought to be a 
> military or clan unit, so "about three elephs" makes sense. I also 
> know that "$elo$im" may also be a military unit (as in 2 Sam. 23), 
> so that "about a $elo$im" would also work, but then what about the 
> extra 6? "about a $elo$im and six" does not.
> And before anyone asks, the only known Qumran version (4QJosh a and 
> b) is missing this particular column.
> Any ideas?
> Yigal Levin
> (and please excuse the cross-posting)
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