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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Dec 29 19:25:19 EST 2004


Chris:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Heard, Christopher" <Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu>
>
> Karl,
>
> In your list of "three options" for reading Ezek 38:2f.; 39:1, I think you
> left out at least one possibility, which I think is actually the preferable
> reading. It seems to me there is at least one more option, which I will call:
>
> 4) R)$ is a construct but N&Y) is not, and the two nouns are appositive to
> each other, yielding the reading "prince Gog, head of Meshek and Tubal." I
> view #4 as the most likely, given the considerations I will outline or refer
> to below.
>
First, N&Y) does not mean prince, as it is not an necessarily an 
inherited office. It refers to an appointed office, to which a 
hereditory prince may be appointed, but also a commoner. A 
hereditory prince is a &R.

As for the grammar, I did not even consider this as an option. 
First looking at GWG in the context of Ezekial 38 and 39, it is 
treated as a people not an individual, whereas other uses of N&Y) 
when referring to a person or persons (it is also used as a hiphil 
verb as well as refers to objects "lifted up" such as clouds) 
almost always (I think always) refer to individuals. Secondly, if 
you want to talk about the leader of GWG, N&Y) would necessarily 
preceed GWG. Third, most troubling, is that in 38:2, if N&Y) were 
grammatically bound to MGWG, then it would refer not to MGWG but to 
)RC, as this is "the land of the MGWG" again pointing to a people 
and their land, not an individual.

You might argue that we have here an example of a hyphenated name, 
but that also rules out its trnaslation as leader.

Apparently you don't agree with the pointing? According to Peter's 
posting, N&Y) is in a construct state, which it could not be if it 
is connected with GWG as in following it. It would have to be in an 
absolute state even to come close to your rendition. No matter 
what, "prince GWG, head of M$K and TBL" is grammatically an 
incorrect translation.
>
> > The Ezekiel passage, OTOH, has the two nouns as singular, > 
> preceeded by a place
> > name and followed by others.
>
> Are you taking GWG as a toponym rather than a personal name or epithet? I
> ask because MFGWG appears only in Ezek 38:2, not in Ezek 38:3 or 39:1. In
> those latter two verses, N&Y) follows immediately upon GWG, showing
> unequivocally, in my mind, that GWG is being described as N&Y) RO)$ ME$EK
> W:TUBFL in all three verses. I don't think that's a controversial statement.

These are toponyms in so far as they are the names of peoples, 
therefore used also for the lands upon which they dwell.
>
> > 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$K. N&Y) does
> > not refer back to MGWG the first time, nor GWG the next two times in the
> > Ezekiel passage, for the construct state does not refer 
> backwards nor does a
> > place name fit in a construct state wtih "authority".
>
> But if N&Y) is in the absolute state, as the parallel constructions in
> Numbers suggest (to me, at least), then there is no problem with N&Y)
> referring to GWG. I can only find one syntactic parallel, and it is probably
> questionable, but I will cite it here for discussion: Ezek 34:24, WA):ANIY
> YHWH )EHYEH LFHEM L")LOHIYM W:(ABDIY DFWID NF&IY) BTWKFM. (Modern English
> translations often stick an "is" into the phrase about David in Ezek 34:24,
> but I think it better to leave out the verb, as in the Hebrew clause, and
> translate W- as "with:" "And I YHWH will be their God, with my servant
> prince David among them.") I might also point to Ezra 1:18, L:$"$BACCAR
> HANNF&IY) LIYHWDFH as another close parallel, where, by the way, the accent
> pattern on these two words is the same as that on GWG N&IY) in Ezek 38:3;
> 39:1.

Here I would agree with the modern English translations. Here is an 
example where Hebrew and English grammars go their separate ways as 
this is an example of a very weak reason for "is", but at the wame 
time N&Y) does not reflect back on DWD except in the meaning of 
"DWD is a N&Y) among them".
>
> In my judgment, it is best to read this as "Gog, prince, head of
> Meshek-and-Tubal."
>
> 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

Karl W. Randolph.

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