[b-hebrew] Ezekiel 38:2f.; 39:1

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Dec 28 15:19:24 EST 2004


So much for using a computer for one's searches, that can make for interesting searches, especially, as in this case, the words are not tagged but just searched morphologically in an environment where spelling was fluid.

In the two cases in Numbers, both verses refer to "... authorities, heads of ... " where that which follows the comma is a description of who are the authorities. Secondly, it is clear that N&Y)YM is in the absolute state, not a construct of the noun following. Thirdly, though may not be significant, in Numbers the nouns are in plural, in the Ezekiel passage they are singular. Fourthly, again possibly not significant, in Numbers the nouns refer to individuals, in Ezekiel in connection with regions.

The Ezekiel passage, OTOH, has the two nouns as singular, preceeded by a place name and followed by others. It is possible that N&Y) is in construct state with R)$, but this would be a unique case in Tanakh, especially if we then consider R)$ to be in construct with the following place name M$K. N&Y) does not refer back to MGWG the first time, nor GWG the next two times in the Ezekiel passage, for the construct state does not refer backwards nor does a place name fit in a construct state wtih "authority".

There are three options open to us on how to read the Ezekiel passage: 1) N&Y) and R)$ are toponyms whose identities we'd have to look elsewhere than grammar to identify, 2) N&Y) is in construct state to R)$, meaning the "aughority of R)$" with R)$ still being a toponym, which would make the total sentence Magog (first time) or Gog is the authority of R)$, or a third option 3) both N&Y) and R)$ are constructs, making Gog the authority head of M$K, but I view this option as the least likely. Of the three options, I view #1 as the most likely, given the context.

As for the possible identities of the lands should #1 be the correct reading, that would be the subject of a separate posting that I don't plan on making.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Heard, Christopher" <Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu>

> On 12/27/04 6:02 PM, "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com> wrote:
> > I just checked all the verses where both N%Y) and RW$ are found in the save
> > verse, which number 12 in Tanakh. Only in  Ezekiel do we find this format of
> > use, this context of the two words. All the others exept Number 10:4 have the
> > words separated by other words, a separation that indicates a natural flow of
> > meaning, and in Numbers the context indicates that these words are in two
> > different phrases.
> Karl, N&)Y followed by RO)$ is also attested in Numbers 36:1.
> I wonder if you might expand on your statement that "in Numbers the context
> indicates that these words are in two different phrases." How does the
> content in Numbers indicate that _in distinction from_ the context in
> Ezekiel? And what do you mean by "context" and how widely are you casting
> the "context"? It seems to me that the immediate grammatico-syntactical
> context makes the phrases in Num 10:4; 36:1; Ezek 38:2, 3; 39:1 look
> parallel in construction.
> Num 10:4 HANN:&IY)IYM RF)$"Y )LP"Y YI&RF)"L
> Ezk 38:2 N:&IY) RO)$ ME$EK W:TUBFL
> (Ezk 38:3 and 39:1 are the same as 38:2)
> Those look syntactically parallel to me. Also the Masoretic accentuation,
> for whatever it's worth, divides these phrases _the same way_. In each of
> the five cases of N&Y) + RO)$, the Masoretes accent N&Y) with zaqef (zaqef
> qatan in Num, zaqef gadol in Ezek), thus marking N&Y) as the end of a
> phrase. I can't really see any syntactical distinctiveness of Num 10:4; 36:1
> over against Ezk 38:2, 3; 39:1. The syntax looks analogous to me.
> As I suggested in my long post of 12/25, RO)$ and N&Y) seem to be appositive
> in each of the 5 cases where they appear side-by-side.
> Chris
> --
> R. Christopher Heard
> Assistant Professor of Religion
> Armstrong Fellow in Religion
> Pepperdine University
> http://faculty.pepperdine.edu/cheard
> http://www.iTanakh.org
> http://www.semioticsandexegesis.info
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