earlier dictionaries? was [b-hebrew] Offend/dealt corruptly - chet bet lamed (nehemiah 1:7)
Harold R. Holmyard III
hholmyard at ont.com
Tue Jun 22 18:18:31 EDT 2004
Your work may have many helpful, innovative
qualities, such as comparing synonyms. But your
thinking about XBL strikes me as immature so far.
I just spent nearly a year doing five hundred OT
word studies. I know that these lexicons do not
necessarily borrow from one another. There are
treasures of independent work and many resources
available now. When you go off on your own,
ignoring the results of everyone else with XBL,
perhaps underestimating homonyms and polysemy,
and apparently paying little attention to cognate
studies, I have no real grounds for confidence.
In _The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew_, for
example, XBL with the meaning of "act corruptly"
has over a column of references, including
post-biblical ones. If you don't somehow include
that meaning, you strike me as a person who is
not thinking correctly. If DCH were alone, there
would be more wiggle room, but DCH has findings
that match those of HAL, TDOT, TWOT, NIDOTTE,
BDB, and Accordance. Who wants to consult a
reference work that gives only part of the story?
I would seriously reconsider what you're doing
with XBL and other such entries.
Certainly, lexicons are liable to error. Our
knowledge grows. We make individual and
collective errors and false assumptions. But
lexicons are also a storehouse of the collected
knowledge of humanity with regard to ancient
words. You talk about "earlier lexicographers,"
but many of the reference tools are recent. With
XBL, you are not only ignoring the lexicons but
also the translations and commentaries.
I don't know what you do with XBL in the
following verses, but NIV may not agree with you:
Is. 13:5 They come from faraway lands, from the
ends of the heavens - the LORD and the weapons of
his wrath - to destroy the whole country.
Is. 32:7 The scoundrel's methods are wicked, he
makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with
lies, even when the plea of the needy is just.
Is. 54:16 "See, it is I who created the
blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and
forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who
have created the destroyer to work havoc;
Mic. 2:10 Get up, go away! For this is not your
resting place, because it is defiled, it is
ruined, beyond all remedy.
Job 17:1 ¶ My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.
Job 34:31 "Suppose a man says to God, 'I am guilty but will offend no more.
Song 2:15 Catch for us the foxes, the little
foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that
are in bloom.
Eccl. 5:6 Do not let your mouth lead you into
sin. And do not protest to the [temple]
messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should
God be angry at what you say and destroy the work
of your hands?
Neh. 1:7 We have acted very wickedly toward you.
We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws
you gave your servant Moses.
HH: And XBL seems to mean "destroy" in Aramaic as well:
Dan. 2:44 ¶ "In the time of those kings, the God
of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never
be destroyed, nor will it be left to another
people. It will crush all those kingdoms and
bring them to an end, but it will itself endure
Dan. 4:23 ¶ "You, O king, saw a messenger, a
holy one, coming down from heaven and saying,
'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the
stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass
of the field, while its roots remain in the
ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of
heaven; let him live like the wild animals, until
seven times pass by for him.'
Dan. 6:22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the
mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me,
because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor
have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."
Dan. 6:26 ¶ "I issue a decree that in every part
of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the
God of Daniel. "For he is the living God and he
endures forever; his kingdom will not be
destroyed, his dominion will never end.
Dan. 7:14 He was given authority, glory and
sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of
every language worshiped him. His dominion is an
everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and
his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Ezra 6:12 May God, who has caused his Name to
dwell there, overthrow any king or people who
lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy
this temple in Jerusalem. ¶ I Darius have decreed
it. Let it be carried out with diligence.
HH: What do you do with all these verses?
>Are earlier lexicographers inspired in the
>theological sense, that they never made any
>mistakes? Yet, when I look at the dictionary
>that I wrote, only a tiny minority of the
>entries have different meanings than given by
>earlier lexicographers (who sometimes
>disagreed). The big change I made was to compare
>lexemes with their synonyms where they could be
>Secondly, I have a different philosophy of
>lexicography, especially when it applies to
>Biblical Hebrew: that the lexemes meaning,
>hence its definition, is to be recognized by the
>action it refers to, only secondarily by the
>form that it takes. Even so, most of my entries
>have the same or similar meanings as in earlier
>Thirdly, whereever possible, I look for a
>unifying meaning that ties all uses of a lexeme
>together: root and derivitives. That is not
>always possible. After all, a word may have
>changed such that it looks as if it came from
>one root, when it actually came from another. Or
>a word could originally have been a loan word
>with a pronunciation that makes it appear that
>it is related to one root, when it isnt. To try
>to find a unified meaning, I go through each
>occurance of a word in Tanakh asking if, in each
>context, does it give a semantically
>recognizeable and consistant meaning where all
>uses share the same root definition.
>Where there are synonyms, I tried to find where
>they differ in meaning. Not always easy.
>One problem is the small corpus we have written
>in Biblical Hebrew with its large number of
>hapax legomai words, idioms and phrases.
>One of the few words where I differ from earlier
>dictionaries is in the meaning of XBL, where I
>see no need for a definition including to offend
>or deal corruptly. It has many derivitive
>meanings, but they all go back to a root meaning
>referring to knotting up or tying up. For
>example, giving birth comes from the idea of
>labor pangs, which are the contractions
>(knotting up) of the muscles. Sailors have a
>reputation going back to ancient times for their
>skill with knots. A loan is something that one
>is tied to, even though this is not a physical
>knot. And so forth.
>I looked at earlier dictionaries, I just dont agree with them all the time.
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