[b-hebrew] Diggers

David Kimbrough (CLWA) dkimbrough at clwa.org
Mon May 3 11:59:11 EDT 2004

The root of the noun seems to be "xafar" to dig, the animal seems to be a
"digger", so probably some sort of burrowing mammal. .  It may be it is
general term for all burrowing mammals such as weasels, moles, burrowing
rats {not all rats dig nests in the ground}, rock badgers, or some other
small mammal we are unfamiliar with or is even extinct.  The "perot" seems
to derive from the root meaning "to crush or break", so that may have
narrowed it down a bit for the ancient reader, like distinguishing the black
rat from the brown (or Norwegian) rat.  Interestingly, the "digger" is
mentioned with bats, which are cave dwellers.  Certainly many types of rats
are likely to be caves, as opposed to moles and other burrowing mammals.
Based on the association with bats, rats *might* be appropriate.

The author of Isaiah however, was interested in theological and political
issues, not systematic taxonomy.  In English, I think rat is best as it has
it has negative connotations (diseased, dangerous, and dirty, living in
dark, dank, "digs") which the author is clearly trying to make.  The author
is trying to associate the worship of gold and silver idols with fearful and
repugnant animals.  Moles and weasels, although obviously "dirty" and
"shifty" animals respectively, do not hold the strong negative associations
to most English speaking people that rats and bats do.  I think the point is
to find a local burrowing mammal that the folk find fearful, disgusting, or
in some way associated with negative feelings and use that.

David Eugene Kimbrough
-----Original Message-----
From: Chemorion [mailto:chosefu_chemorion at wycliffe.org]
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 5:37 AM
To: Peter Kirk; Yigal Levin
Cc: b-hebrew
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] 1 Sam 5:6 ; Mice & Rats & Plague

According to the UBS book "Flora and Fauna of the Bible" (pp.54-55),
> XOLED cannot mean "mole" because "the European _talpa_ does not live in
> Palestine". "The Syrian mole rat [which] belongs to the rodents", Spalax
> ehrenbergi, is suggested as the identification of xaparpara in Isaiah
> 2:20. Also (p.57): "1 S[amuel] 6 probably refers to the Levant vole
> (_Microtus guentheri_) as it eats up the crops in the fields".
Dear all,
I am in the process of translating the book of Isaiah into the Sabaot
language. I need some clarification from both Hebrew and English experts on
Isaiah 2:20, the written phrase "laxpor perot" which is corrected to be read
as "laxaparparot". Without the preposition, the corrected word the reads
"xaparparot" , which makes me ask two rather basic questions: First, what
could be the major cause for the  correction of  "xpor perot" to
"xaparparot"? Secondly, what is the most accurate meaning of this word; does
it mean a rodent, rat, or mole? It is somewhat confusing when English
translations do not agree, for example CEV translates it as "rats", NIV says
"rodents", and NLT says "moles". Sabaot language does not have a general
term such as "rodents" but there is a clear distinction between a rats and a
Chemorion Chosefu
Sabaot Bible Translation
P.O.Box 6645 Eldoret (Kenya)
Tel.Office- 053 33794, Personal- 0733 360873

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