[b-hebrew] Ambiguous Reference

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sat Oct 2 13:55:33 EDT 2004

On 01/10/2004 18:59, C. Stirling Bartholomew wrote:

>On 9/30/04 3:06 PM, "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org> wrote:
>>One ambiguity which I remember, and which is much discussed by
>>commentators, is at 2 Kings 6:33. It can be more-or-less resolved if you
>>realise (as the author of the Word commentary did not) that the chapter
>>break after this is secondary and unfortunate. This makes almost
>>impossible the view that the last part of 6:33 is the words of Elisha.
>But why isn't it considered the voice of the messenger? Seems like the
>obvious choice from the syntax. The problem arises because the words are not
>appropriate except in the mouth of the King? The messenger seems to have
>arrived before Elisha's command to bar the door was implemented. That is how
>I would read (wdnw mdbr (mM at the beginning of 6:33.
>In 7:2 King's Chief of Staff is speaking and and the king is there with him
>(7:17) but I don't see how we can find the king speaking in 6:33 where the
>normal pattern of anaphora would put the words in the mouth of hml)K  the
>messenger since he is the most recently active agent in the previous clause.

I don't remember the details of the argument in the commentary, but part 
of it was that the words at the end of 6:33 were most appropriate on the 
lips of Elisha. But this sudden despair doesn't fit the character of 
Elisha, and certainly not the following words. However, I got the 
impression that the commentator hadn't even looked at chapter 7 until he 
had written his comments on chapter 6. Such are the perils of taking 
chapter (and verse) boundaries seriously.

>2kg 6:33 (wdnw mdbr (mM whnh hml)K yrd )lyw wy)mr
>Textual emendation, reading hmlk for hml)k, changes everything. Then we have
>the King doing the talking. So this isn't really a problem of ambiguous
>anaphora, is it? It is a question with reading or removing aleph from hml)k.

Well, that is certainly one solution. But there is still some 
uncertainty. Did the king actually arrive, or was there just a messenger 
who spoke this message from the king? Was the officer of 7:2 actually 
supporting the king at that moment, or was that his customary role, and 
was he the messenger? I agree that the problem is more than ambiguous 
anaphora, but it does include that.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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