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

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Dec 15 13:46:44 EST 2004

On Wednesday 15 December 2004 09:37, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:
> Dear Yigal,
> >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.
> HH: Maybe they knew that thirty-six men died, but they were not sure
> whether the men of Ai were directly responsible for all the deaths.
> Perhaps someone could have mistakenly run off a cliff or something.

Or perhaps the 36 were the *known* dead, with an unspecified number beyond 
that who were MIA?

> >  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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Dave Washburn
"No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk

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