[b-hebrew] 2Sam24:1 subjects

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Aug 10 10:42:45 EDT 2005

On 8/10/05, Read, James C wrote:
> I was asked to find a good example of ambiguous agents. Exodus 4:24-26 seems to do the job nicely:
> 24  Now it came about on the road at the lodging place that Jehovah got to 
> meet him and kept looking for a way to put him to death. 25  Finally 
> Zip·po´rah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and caused it to touch 
> his feet and said: "It is because you are a bridegroom of blood to me." 26  
> Consequently he let go of him. At that time she said: "A bridegroom of 
> blood," because of the circumcision.
> v24 Who met who? Who tried to kill who?
> v25 Whose feet did the piece of skin touch? Who is the bridegroom of blood?
> v26 Who let go of who?
> None of the above questions can be answered unequivocally without extensive use of context and a
> touch of interpretation.

The problem is not just finding an ambiguous context.  The issue is an
ambiguous context where the (real) agent isn't referenced at all.  In the prior
example you gave (Exodus 2:19-20), Reu'el and Moses ("an Egyptian 
man") were both mentioned in the preceding verses (18-19).  So the
ambiguity only involves two agents who are mentioned in the verses.
In the case above there isn't any real ambiguity in the agent, but even if
there is, I don't think there is any reason to bring in an agent not mentioned
in the prior verses.  Not only is &+n not mentioned in the prior verses of
2 Sam 24:1, but 2 Sam 24:1 begins a new "paragraph".  Furthermore, in
the whole book of Samuel, the word &+n seems to be only mentioned twice 
and in a very specific phrase (hyh l-X l&+n).  It has nothing to do with the 
paragraph in question.

Yitzhak Sapir

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