[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: the arm

UUC unikom at paco.net
Tue May 18 03:01:22 EDT 2004

Dear listmembers,

Is there still anyone who would like to defend the idea that the arm in verse 1 was beneficial to the man?

> Vs. 1: And on whom the arm of God was revealed?
> Common translation "to whom" is implauisble, since the preposition is al.
> Although interpreted as some kind of revelation or divine power given to
> the man, this verse has the opposite meaning. iad of God only denotes the
> crushing power of God. With al, it means to cause bitterness. It is never
> beneficial to the object of application. Isaiah has a tendency of
> employing archaic zroa instead of iad, but meaning is basically the same.
> Therefore, the man did not possess any sign or power, but someone (and
> antecedent is not that man, in my opinion) was punished by God.

Positive reference
Neh2:8, 18 references to iad elokai are probably a mistranslation. Both
verses praise the king. Considering non-standard singular elokai, it
probably refers to the ruler, not to God. In any case, Nehemiah is careful
specify in both entries, iad tova, the good hand, obviosuly distinguishing
from the "normal" hand.

Perhaps we should discuss the method. The listmembers so far advanced
several propositions for reading the text:

- disregard vowels (bmtw)
- disregard tenses (waiaten)
- employ non-standard meaning of suffixes (his - him)
- employ non-standard meaning of prefixes (al)
- adjust the words semantically (gave - made)

Easily, we can come to any predetermined conclusion with such scholarly

However, it is standard in humane sciences to choose that explanation (or
theory), which requires less assumptions.
If the text has meaning with standard grammar, there is no
reason (besides defending the doctrine, of course) to employ the
non-standard one. Standard grammar is the one, which works in 70% or more of
entries. I believe this approach is accepted in linguistics, isn't it?

Because otherwise, we come to nothing. I say that the text is written in
grammatically perfect Hebrew, and then others say - lo, if we employ
non-standard grammar here and there, and stretch the meaning a bit, we still
come to the required conclusions.


Vadim Cherny

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