[b-hebrew] 2Sam24:1 subjects

George F Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Wed Aug 10 12:56:43 EDT 2005

On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 17:17:37 +0100 "Read, James C"
<K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk> writes:
Hi George,

I don't know how to cut and paste hebrew text and make it displayable on
this mailing list but if it will
make you feel better and you instruct me how to do it I will do it for
My referrals to the LXX and Acts were not out of lack of ability to read
this simple hebrew passage but to
show that other translators much earlier and more acquainted with the
language than us did not understand the
agent to be YHWH himself.
Making belittling accusations is all very well but it hardly addresses
the question at hand and I really don't
feel like getting into an "I know b-hebrew better than you" discussion as
I feel it would bring little of value
to the discussion.
The fact remains that the various subjects and objects in the Tanakh are
not always as clear as we would like them to be and only context can make
them clearer. Failing context we can look at how ancient translators
them and then we can decide if we feel we are in a position to know
better than they.
The whole theology of the torah presents yah as being too holy to view
and both to me, to the LXX translators and
to the author of Acts the logical conclusion is that Yah is used as a
substitute subject as one of his messengers.
In a similar wayin English we say 'King... built such and such a bridge'.
But do we really imagine that the King
got off his throne and went and hauled tonnes of stone and single
handedly erected the bridge? Not by a long
stretch of the imagination. We reasonably conclude that the King ordered
and was responsible for the building of
the bridge and that hired-labourers or slaves did the actual physical
In the same way, in b-hebrew, it is possible to say that Yah tried to
kill Mose in the street when really it
was his messenger. This is a normal manner of expression in all modern
languages that I am familiar with.

Anyway, the later objects in the quote are far more interesting and I
have already admitted that my interpretation
is by no means the last word. But that is the whole point. We cannot be
100% sure at whose feet the skin fell
because there are three males in the context of the story and one of
which may have one of two identities
(Yah/Yah's messenger). NWT has chosen to preserve the ambiguity here and
allow the reader to reach his/her own
2Sam24:1 is ambiguous because the inferred subject of the second clause
makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever
in the context of the chapter (not just the context of the entire
tanakh). The Chronicler, who knew b-hebrew
far better than I will ever, seemed to think that the subject of the
second clause was not Yah and that the
text is 2Sam24:1 allowed for another subject and I have to say that I
agree with him.
It is not justifiable to say that the Chronicler had problems with Yah
being capable of 'bad' because other
sections of Chronicles directly connect Yah with both blessing and with

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


It isn't necessary to cut and paste Hebrew into the text of your posts. 
It is perfectly acceptable (preferred?) that the Hebrew be transliterated
according to the schema on the b-hebrew website.  That wasn't intended to
be belittling but to express a question that came to me as I read your
posts.  This was caused by your raising the question "Who attacked whom"
since YHWH was clearly the subject of the verbs.  If I offended you, I
apologize.  Your assurance that you do read Hebrew is sufficient.  I
simply have encountered too many who look up words in Strong's and then
pretend that they are able to discuss the original language.

I would tend to go the other way and suggest that when an agent of YHWH
is mentioned it actually refers to YHWH himself.


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list