[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: pierced?

UUC unikom at paco.net
Thu May 20 16:21:16 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,

You didn't answer my arguments. Ignoring them is a way, but not a way of

On the one issue you mentioned, Is27:1 probably distinguishes between
different serpents, and only the last of them is a sea monster. Leviathan is
who knows what, something generic, applicable also to a common nahash.

Curiously, your example works against your argument, since the nahash is TO
BE punished, and so mhll cannot possibly refer to him ALREADY killed. Thus,
mhll has a different meaning.

hll lev - kill the heart with pain. Nothing to do with pierced whatsoever.
You're reading your doctrine into the text.

You're ignoring that:

- mehulal, if anything, would have wider meaning than hll
 - meholal just cannot be the same word as mehulal

And regarding "idea of piercing in the studies of cognate languages," we
both know what kind of science is that, right? We have the vaguest idea of
ancient languages, and anyone can assign any semantical "idea" to a word.


Vadim Cherny

> Dear Vadim,
> >  >The verb XLL is an ayn-ayn root.
> >Not necessarily. hll can be either a whole root, or ayn-ayn root. The
> >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')
> >The form poal is actually gizra of the ayn-ayn roots, with few
> >
> >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
> >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
> 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,
> >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
> >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
> >a native Hebrew-speaker and knew nahash as a minor snake, not a monster.
> >tempting nahash was not killed, as you know. Rahab is altogether another
> >fellow.
> 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
> sea.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
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