[b-hebrew] Zech 13:5

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Jun 24 20:23:51 EDT 2005


Please look below.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Miller" <smille10 at sbcglobal.net>
> > On 22/06/2005 16:58, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > >Looking at the context might help. Previous to the phrase in question,
> the person in question claims that he is a slave of the soil, grammatically
> a possessive where the soil owns the person. Often a feminine noun denotes a
> generalized subject, while a masculine of the same refers to a specific
> subject, so in context this could be translated as “this soil” 
> refeerring to
> a particular plot of land. Is this the only example in Tanakh for )DMH / )DM
> אדמה / אדם ?
> > >
> > >The verb QNH means to acquire and hold possession of (something) where
> the acquiring part of the action can be by purchase or manufacture. There is
> no equivelant in English, making any translation of this verb defective.
> > >
> > >Putting the two together, we get “I am a man who is a slave of the soil,
> this soil has possessed me since I was young.”
> Thanks Karl,
> )DMH / )DM אדמה / אדם are found often together. Online Bible 
> gives me 19
> verses where both are used:
> Gen 2:5,7,19; 6:1,7; 7:23; 8:21; Num. 12:3; Isa 6:11; Jer 7:20; Ezek 7:2;
> 12:22; 21:2; 33:24; 36:17; 38:20; Zeph 1:3; Hag 1:11. There may be more
> where one word is at the end of one verse and the other word at the
> beginning of the next.
> You mention that "a feminine noun denotes a generalized subject, while a
> masculine of the same refers to a specific subject."  Can you give me 3
> examples of such? thanks.
Before making a detailed examination of this verse, it had never crossed my mind that )DM could be translated as “soil” referring to specific soil. But the parallelism of the verse along with a recognition of the above linguistic pattern has led me to ask the question, merely a question, if this is a possibility. It also makes me wonder if there are other verses, just possibly, where )DM may be better translated as “soil” instead of “man”.

Examples of the pattern (dealing only with noun use of the lexemes and only where the feminine does not refer to the female use of the masculine noun) )BYWN needy, )BYWNH neediness; )YB enemy, )YBH enmity; )MWN trustworthy one, trustworthy worker, )MWNH trustworthiness; there are many more such examples.

> Thank you for pointing out the connection between adam and adamah. I agree
> that both refer to the same thing, but where you understand both to be soil,
> I understand both to be mankind, especially, "the poor of the flock" (Zech
> 11:7,11). I don't know of a place in the Tanach where adam signifies soil.
> But there are many places where adamah signifies the people who live on the
> land (Job 31:38; Isa 19:17; Ezek 7:2; 18:2; 21:2-3; 25:6; 36:6; Joel 1:10;
> 2:21).
Job 31:38 weakens my question above, as it talks about “my soil” and its furrows. The rest of the examples given in this paragraph have no problem with being translated as “soil”. Most, if not all of the examples, are poetry, where we are to acknowledge poetic license. 

> I have 2 other problems with your translation:
> -it totally loses the causitive sense of QNH
> -the soil paid no price to possess "me" & QNH involves paying a price
Because there is no English word that corresponds to the Hebrew meaning of QNH, I already acknowledged that any translation will either have to have a sentence explaining each usage of QNH, or translate it defectively. My translation was quick, dirty and defective. I did not lose sight of the hiphil in the Hebrew.

QNH, as I pointed out in another posting, means “to acquire and hold, where the acquisition part of the action can be by purchase or production (giving birth is a type of production) without specifying which means of acquisition.” QNH does not necessarily involve the paying of a price.

> I hadn't noticed that the word ish preceded servant of the ground until I
> saw your translation. The phrase, "a tiller (or servant) of the ground" is
> common, but this is the only occurance with the word ish,  
> אִישׁ־עֹבֵד
> אֲדָמָה .
> Building on your translation and on Peter's previous examples of adam & ish
> used together, I would translate it:
> And He will say, no prophet am I, I am a noble Man, a servant of the ground,
> because the lowly of mankind I have been made to purchase from My youth.
> Servant of the ground signifies the lowly of mankind, whom  He came to
> serve.
> The price He paid for the purchase is in the next 2 verses, 6-7.
I have two problems with your translation: 1) grammatically the speaker is the object of being acquired and held, he is not the subject doing so, and 2) it doesn’t make sense. And where do you get the “noble Man” in your translation? A noble would be someone like a PRTM or N%Y), maybe even a %R, not a common )Y$.

> -Steve Miller
> Detroit

In summary, a lot of what I have proposed above is questionable, and I will drop it like a hot potato should a better answer be proposed. Are there any alternate readings that may clarify matters? Are there other attestations of )DM being used for “soil” (though Judges 20:16 shows how one use of a lexeme, in this case X+), can be significant)? Or maybe I overlook something else?

Karl W. Randolph.

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