[b-hebrew] 2Sam24:1 subjects

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Wed Aug 10 10:45:17 EDT 2005

The text literally says that YHWH met him. But did YHWH actually walk down the street and bump into Moses?
The LXX doesn't seem to think so and translates the text as his messenger as does Acts. The larger context 
of the story helps us to understand that it was a messenger and not Yah himself because it is unthinkable that
after protecting Moses from his glory on Mount Sinai that he would so casually appear in front of Moses with 
his wife with no similar protective measures.
It is reasonable to assume that the angel is trying to kill Moses as the family head but people would be equally justified in interpreting that the angel was trying to kill the uncircumcised boy. How does Zipporah 
realise that circumcising the boy will resolve the situation?

Zipporah cuts of the skin and it touches 'his' feet. There are four possible interpretations here:
1) Yah was literally there and allowed the foreskin to touch his feet
2) Yah's messenger was there and Zipporah threw it to his feet as a gesture of plea for appeasement
3) She threw at her husband's(Moses) feet in anger
4) After she cut off the skin it fell to her son's feet as it naturally would

Personally, I like interpretation number 2 but I couldn't conclusively prove it to be more right than the others.

'Consequently he let go of him'
Again, maybe yah himself is letting go of the child or Moses. Or maybe Yah's messenger is doing it. Nothing is 
100% certain but I like to think that Yah's Messenger is letting go of Moses because I find it difficult to 
accept that Yah would hold the child responsible for the circumcision.

Anyway, back to 2Sam24:1. Just as it justifiable to interpret Yah's angel in the example above it is also 
perfectly acceptable and more conducive to the context to interpret the tempter as being a different subject 
to YHWH who is the one who gets angry in the first clause.  

-----Original Message-----
From: George F Somsel [mailto:gfsomsel at juno.com]
Sent: Wed 8/10/2005 3:10 PM
To: Read, James C
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] 2Sam24:1 subjects
On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 09:19:46 -0400 George F Somsel <gfsomsel at juno.com>
> On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 13:24:05 +0100 "Read, James C"
> <K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk> writes:
> > 
> > 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.
> > 
> > Love and Shalom
> > James Christian
> > 
> > This email has been scanned for all viruses by the MessageLabs 
> Email
> > Security System.
>  _______________________________________________
> This passage has a series of 3ms suffixes of which all refer to 
> Moses.  I
> see nothing particularly ambiguous about it.  
> george
> gfsomsel

Excuse me, I was thinking of the object due to the repeated "whom."  That
answer still stands.

v. 24 clearly states that YHWH met him and also tried to kill him (Moses,
remember him?)
v. 25 as previously stated, the 3ms suff. refers to Moses' feet.  Z then
addresses this same Moses "You are . . ." (Surely you don't think she was
referring to her son?  or YHWH?).
 v. 26 since the 3ms suffs. refer to Moses, the 3ms verb cannot well
refer to him as well.  The only participant of whom masc. verbs are used
here I YHWH.  "Her son" would hardly qualify since he is not an actor in
the scene.

While it does require a slight amount of understanding (I.e., who is
active, and who is passive here?), there is nothing particularly
ambiguous regarding any of this.  In this YHWH and Z are the active
participants while Moses and "her son" are passive participants -- Moses
is attacked and "her son" is circumcised.


This email has been scanned for all viruses by the MessageLabs Email
Security System.

This email has been scanned for all viruses by the MessageLabs Email
Security System.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list