[b-hebrew] "The eye of the earth"

Jack Kilmon jkilmon at historian.net
Tue Jun 29 01:35:10 EDT 2004

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Harold R. Holmyard III" <hholmyard at ont.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, June 27, 2004 4:29 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] "The eye of the earth"

> Dear Yigal,
> >In Balak's message to Balaam (Num. 22:5), which he repeats to God in
> >verse 11, he refers to the Israelites as "there is a people come out
> >from Egypt, behold, they cover )t (YN H)RC (et `ein ha-arec)". This
> >is usually translated as "the face of the earth". The general
> >meaning is clear, they are so many that they cover the whole land.
> >
> >However, an (YN, literally "eye", is usually something small and
> >localized. It's most common use outside of anatomy is for "spring"
> >or "well".
> >
> >So what exactly is "the eye of the earth"? Why should "eye" mean "face"?
> HH: It seems to be a meaning derived from the eye as giving what
> one's sees or what is visible. This sense also occurs in Ex 10:5, 15.
> (YN in the plural in the phrase "in his eyes" means something like
> "in his viewpoint" in Lev 13:5, or "as he sees it." We speak of
> checking out the "look of the land." (YN as "eye" functions like
> "look" in speaking of the appearance. Somebody "casts as eager eye"
> at something by giving it an avid look. We speak of having an "eye
> for beauty," a good recognition of beauty. To "catch somebody's eye"
> is to capture their attention. Beauty is "in the eye of the
> beholder," the estimation of the onlooker. To be "under the eye of"
> one's superior is to be under his supervision. Doing something with
> an "eye to public opinion" is to do it with consideration of how the
> public will look at it. These examples from the dictionary shows the
> extended use that the word "eye" can have in English, and it was
> apparently this way with biblical Hebrew.

By coincidence I am using Burney's "The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel"
as a tool in a study of what I see as a "proto-John" and this is covered in
the Introduction (5), p. 14.  Since some may not have an 80 year old
reference, I will quote:

"The expression ENWPION is peculiarly characteristic of Lk. (23 times), Acts
(13 times), and Apoc. whiich is marked by an Hebraic style (34 times).  It
is derived from LXX where it is extremely common (some hundreds of
occurrences) and ordinarily represents Hebrew lip:n"y `before' (lit. `to the
face of'), or l:("yn"y `in the sight of' (lit. `to the eyes of')..........
ENANTI (Lk. I:8, Acts 7:10, 8:21), ENANTION (Lk. 1:6, 20:26, 24:19, Acts
7:10, 8:32), exclusively Lukan in N.T. are both very common in LXX, where
they ordinarily render b.:("yn"y `in the sight of' (lit. `in the eyes of'),
i.e. `in the opinion of'
Hebrew always observes a distinction between l:("yn"y `in the (physical)
sight of' and b.:("yn"y `in the (mentall) sight of.'  The same distinction
may be noticed for the most part in the N.T. use of ENWPION and ENANTION.

In place of the distinctively Hebraic exppressions lip:n"y, l:("yn"y,
b.:("yn"y, Aramaic uses qrm `before', `in front of.'"

FWIW since I happened to be on that page.

Jack Kilmon

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list