[b-hebrew] 'Prophesying' 1 Samuel 18:10

Brian & Laureen Powell PowellBrian at omf.net
Tue Jul 6 22:13:02 EDT 2004

Dear Peter & Harold,
Thank you for your helpful comments, though it has to be said that I am 
still just as confused now as I was when I posted the question!

There seem to be two different, though related, problems here.
First, is the question I originally raised as to the meaning of the word 
NB) in the Hithpael in this verse.
Secondly, we have the problem of 'an evil spirit from the Lord'.

In relation to the first problem, I am looking to find a word in Manobo 
(the Philippine language that I'm trying to translate into) that carries 
the idea of ecstatic speaking in the style of a prophet. At present I 
have not found a suitable word that really fits this idea. I will try to 
research if there is another word when I next return to the village 
where I can ask several language informants.
The words that I have as options so far are;
'tagna' which means to prophesy with the basic idea of predicting an 
'tagna-tagna' which means to pretend to 'tagna', or to predict without 
any real certainty of the outcome being fulfilled.
'babansagon' which means to shout / rage
'pabailan' which means to act like a spirit priest
'nangon-nangon' which means to give a discourse / preach

Any ideas of how I might use one of these?

In relation to the second problem of 'RUAX RA`AH ME'ET YHWH' I am 
struggling with the concept of this (as have scholars for generations). 
In the 'Bible Speaks Today' commentary on Samuel, Mary Evans sees this 
as a way of expressing 'episodes of bleak depression' which God sent to 
Saul, seeing God as the ultimate source of everything that comes into 
our lives whether good or bad. In Manobo, there is no generic word for a 
spirit. A person has a spirit or 'spiritual double' as it is described 
in some anthropological textbooks, which is what leaves the body when 
one dies, and is what is seen in dreams. There are also demons, and 
there is God's Spirit.
On the other hand, the seat of emotions in Manobo is the breath, where 
in English it is mostly seen as being the heart.  So, if one were to 
translate the idea of a depression sent by God to Saul into Manobo it 
would read something like 'a bad breath sent by God'. (Nothing to do 
with halitosis!)
So far in my translation I have been using such a phrase, with a 
footnote explaining that it could also be interpreted to mean  'a demon 
from God'. I don't know though whether this is a legitimate translation. 
I was influenced unduly perhaps by the similarity of 'RUAX' in Hebrew 
meaning both 'breath' and 'spirit' and the Manobo word which means both 
'breath' and 'emotions'.
Any suggestions?



Brian Powell

Bible Translator

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