[b-hebrew] Leviral marriage

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Oct 25 18:07:04 EDT 2005

On 25/10/2005 21:29, Bill Rea wrote:

>George wrote:-
>>2 Samuel 12.8 (ESV) - Yahweh's words to David through Nathan:
>>And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your
>>arms ...
>I have noticed that some translators go weak at the knees with this
>verse. I'll only cite one, the NASB:-
>8.`I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into
>your care,
>Hmmm, care? How polite!
Actually it seems that ESV's "arms" is the polite version. The word is 
XEYQ, "bosom". Of course the word has metaphorical senses, but they 
relate not to anything sexual, but to care. The same word is used in 
verse 3 of how the lamb slept in the poor man's bosom, which clearly 
implies care rather than bestiality, cf. also Isaiah 40:11. So, while 
NASB is unusually non-literal here, this is a justifiable explanation of 
the metaphor.

It is worth remembering that Saul's wives would probably have been 
rather old by the time David succeeded Saul, old enough to be David's 
mother and including the mother of his friend Jonathan. David already 
had his own nubile young wives. Why would he have taken Saul's wives to 
be his own wives? It makes much more sense that he took on caring for 
them as widows.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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