[b-hebrew] The Hebrew of the Jehoash Inscription

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Mar 11 10:11:09 EST 2004

On Friday 27 February 2004 12:02, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
> The latest edition of Biblical Archaeological Review has an article
> by David Noel Freedman discussing the Hebrew of the so-called
> Jehoash Inscription.  For one of his points, he writes: ""It would seem
> that `asah alone is the verb used in the inscription to mean 'repair,'
> not bedeq, which most likely carries its Biblical meaning 'crack'."
> He states this interpretation is "unusual, but not unimaginable," and
> cites Deut 21:12 and 2 Sam 19:25 [24 in some Bibles] for comparison.
> However, the use of this verb in these verses involves body parts,
> not inanimate materials or defects, so I'm not really convinced that
> the examples are to the point.  Can anyone tell me what's going on
> here?

He wasn't just referring to `asah, but to `asah plus the entire chain of noun 
objects.  The biggest complaint about the inscription has been its supposed 
use of `asah bedeq to mean "make repairs" per modern Hebrew, but this 
complaint takes the phrase out of its context in the inscription. `asah 
apparently takes not only bedeq as its object, but all the other nouns 
(walls, stairs, lattices, etc.) as well.  Even if we don't give it a specific 
meaning like "repair," `asah in this context appears to mean "I did the 
cracks, the stairs, the walls, the this, the that, and so on."  It looks to 
me as though Cross and Greenstein, in their criticism based on the`asah bedeq 
phrase, are themselves unduly influenced by modern Hebrew idiom, in that they 
see it where it may not apparently be.

What's going is that there are those who rushed to judgment on this artifact, 
and now other scholars are saying "wait a minute.  Let's take another look."  
I have no stake at all in whether the inscription is genuine or not; I really 
don't care.  For me it's an interesting curiosity, nothing more.  But to 
date, I haven't found the linguistic arguments against it convincing.  Now, 
it's nice to know I'm in the company of such as Freedman!

Dave Washburn
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.

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