[b-hebrew] War machines and missiles in 2 chronicles

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Mar 9 14:19:16 EST 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>

> On 07/03/2004 20:45, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >But Peter: 
> > 
> >Here is a case where the root has the meaning of sending out, and the context is that of weaponry, putting two 
> >and two together we get four, i.e. this is weaponry that is sent out, namely projectiles (or missiles). The concept 
> >of projectiles also fits the context. To use the generalized term "weapon", though technically correct, is a tad 
> >misleading. 
> >  
> >
> Well, we must avoid the etymological fallacy that the meaning of a word 
> is determined by its root consonants. But in a case like this it is 
> reasonable partial evidence, if supported e.g. by ancient versions and 
> interpretations, that these weapons were in fact projectiles or 
> missiles, either in general or of a specific kind. So I would be happy 
> with a translation "projectile", or even "missile" if modern 
> rocket-propelled ones are excluded. What I would not be happy with is a 
> guess about a specific kind of projectile.

Nor would I be happy. Some specific types of 
projectiles are already elsewhere defined 
[e.g. XC for arrow, )BN for stone, etc.] so in 
this context I say that this is a generic term 
for projectile.
> >  
> > 

> Where the definition has been forgotten, surely it is better to admit 
> that and be generic than to use highly unreliable methods to reconstruct 
> a definition.


Where we disagree is a matter of degree rather 
than kind. I put more weight on the etymology 
than you do, but like you, I maintain that 
context trumps etymology. In the example 
above, $LX is a clue, but not a 

In the above example, knowing that at that 
time there were different types of projectiles 
used, it appears to refer to the general term 
“projectile” than to a specific type. Arrows, 
javelins, stones and even forgotten ones were 
used at that time, and the listed ones are 
named in Tanakh, so the generalized term looks 
like the correct definition. In this example, 
the etymology is a strong clue. But not in 
every case.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/
Karl W. Randolph.
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