[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: pierced?

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Thu May 20 15:51:30 EDT 2004

Dear Vadim,

>  >The verb XLL is an ayn-ayn root.
>Not necessarily. hll can be either a whole root, or ayn-ayn root. The latter
>designation applies if one letter is weak, and is dropped. ayn-ayn root
>would make
>mholal in pual.
>The binyan poal, which you mention, is someone's (I think, Gesenius') error.
>The form poal is actually gizra of the ayn-ayn roots, with few deviations.
>Why I'm insisting on this technical issue? Because the root of meholal is
>either ayn-ayn or another root with the same behavior, hol, which makes
>meholal into shock or tremble. Consider:
>Job26:13 his hand shock the wriggling serpent
>Ps29:9 voice of God makes deer tremble and strips forests bare
>Job26:5 refaim will tremble [in Sheol]
>Prov26:10: like a master who shocks (or, possibly, empties) all, is the one
>who hires a fool or a passer-by
>Is51:9: are you not the one who... made the crocodile (pharaoh) tremble
>This is my preferred translation of Is53:5:
>but he is shocked because of our crimes, depressed because of our iniquities

HH: Thanks, I'll stay with the traditional rendering.

>However, if you prefer to derive meholal from hll, consider:
>hll never means "pierced" (in the Christian sense "pierced with nails or
>spear," right?). Killed (with sword) -
>yes, but why "pierced?" Is there any clue which eluded me? Or is it yet
>another pure conjecture?

HH: Studies in cognate languages show that the 
verbal root has the idea of piercing. So in the 
biblical texts people are killed by being pierced 
through with a sword, or the heart is pierced 
with pain.

>Now let's turn to Meshech and Tubal in Ezek32. Why other tribes are hll, and
>only these two are mhll? The difference is surely not incidental.
>Unlike other enemies, Meshech and Tubal are predicted to lay dead in the
>future tense.
>Elam and Assyria are already in Sheol. Then it is stated that Egypt would be
>there. Then - about Meshech and Tubal, thus also in future.
>Ezek32:27: and they [Meshech and Tubal] won't lay with the mighty, [those
>who] dropped from the [ranks of] uncircumcised
>Ezek32:28: but you, among the uncirmcised you will be broken
>Overall, Meshech and Tubal are not dead yet.
>More significantly, every dead nation is said to be noflim beherev, while
>M&T: meholal herev. Thus, if anything, meholal is akin to nofel, laid,
>emptied - but different from killed.

HH: Thanks, I see no reason to doubt the traditional reading.

>Serpent in Job is not rahab, but nahash, which is not a monster. Isaiah was
>a native Hebrew-speaker and knew nahash as a minor snake, not a monster. The
>tempting nahash was not killed, as you know. Rahab is altogether another

HH: Leviathan in Isa 26:1 is no doubt a mythological monster.

Is. 27:1 ¶ In that day, the LORD will punish with 
his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, 
Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the 
coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the 

					Harold Holmyard

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