[b-hebrew] stuma in Deut 5,21

Raymond de Hoop rdehoop at keyaccess.nl
Mon Mar 1 15:25:08 EST 2004

Op 1 mrt 2004 om 19:12 heeft Karl Randolph het volgende geschreven:

> Do I read your response correctly that Jews,
> too, look for ten commandments in Exodus 20?

In general, I would say: yes. But this may be too quickly or too easy.

We're talking of several (four) reading traditions of these texts, 
which each have some sort of subdivision or paragraphing.

The subdivision of MT by means of setumot and petuchot suggests a 
subdivision of Exod. 20 and Deut. 5 in ten units. This is in line with 
the division of Exod. 20:2-6/ Deut. 5:6-10 as one unit by means of a 
third system of Masoretic accents (though, this third system reads --in 
contrast to the subdivision by means of setuma-- the final verse as one 
verse, not as two, resulting in nine "units").
Thus subdivision by menas of setumot and petuchot has ten "words" (as 
suggested in Exod. 34:28; Deut. 4:13; 10:4); because the first "word" 
(Ex.20:2-6/Dt.5:6-10) consists of a commandment, they do have in this 
sense "ten commandments.
The "third system" of massoretic accentuation has factually nine 
"words" in that it reads 20:17/5:21 as one "word".

Of the two different Mas. accentuation systems of the text (found in 
BHS), the "upper" and the "lower", the "upper" system has ten "words", 
reading 20:2 (Dt.5:6) separately from verse 20:3-6 (Dt.5:7-10). The 
lower system has a more normal subdivision of the text in normal 
verses, resulting in (almost our) subdivision into 13 verses (except 
for the 6th-9th "word).

Thus the "upper" system also has ten "words"
The "lower" system has no relation to the ten words/commandments, but 
has a division in (13) verses.

Summerising: the subdivision by means of setumot and petuchot have ten 
commandments (they can be read as commandments). The upper cantillation 
system has ten "words", in which the first one can be read as a 

I hope this answers your question?
Kol Tuv.

Dr Raymond de Hoop
Lecturer of Classical Hebrew
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Groningen
Oude Boteringestraat 38
9712 GK Groningen
+31 503 635 574
R.de.Hoop at theol.rug.nl

Boeiersingel 11
9745 CA Groningen
0031 505 530 115
rdehoop at keyaccess.nl

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