[b-hebrew] "their altars" or "his/its altars"?

Deborah Millier deborahmillier at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 3 22:36:27 EST 2005

Dear B-Hebrew List Members,

KiY   )eT-MiZB:XoTaM   TiToCW.N   W)eT-MfC”BoTaM  
T:SfB”RW.N   W)eT-):aS”RaYW   TiK:RoTw.N

(Please note what I highlight in *astericks* in my

“For their altars you [all] shall tear down, and their
standing stones you [all] shall shatter, and *his/its*
Asherahs you [all] shall cut [down]” (Exo. 34:13).

Now, of the very few English versions I checked, they
all rendered  ):aS”RaYW  as “*their*
Asherahs”—implying of course that the Asherahs
belonged to or were in some relationship to the listed
idolatrous inhabitants of the land (34:12). But, if
I’m not mistaken, it would be better translated “his
Asherahs” or “its Asherahs,” right? Even if I’m
reading the syntax correctly, I still can’t find in
the immediate context to whom or what these Asherahs
might have been related or belonged, the other nouns
in the verse being feminine and plural. My questions
then are:

1) Is there any good reason to read  ):aS”RaYW  here
as a plural possessive?

2) If not, then to whom or what might these Asherahs
belong or be related?

3) Any suggestions/corrections on how to better read
the raw data?

--Michael Millier
Manila, Philippines

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