[b-hebrew] psalm 22:9 and 15 as heap

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Aug 5 17:50:44 EDT 2006

On 8/4/06, kenneth greifer wrote:
> Dear Yitzhak,
> The word mem ayin yud is defined in some dictionaries as a heap of ruins,
> but it is only used in Isaiah 17:1. Maybe in that quote it says about
> Damascus that "it will be from a heap a ruin" or "from a ruinous heap" if
> the word heap is ayin yud ?

Well, I suppose that is problematic given the vocalization of a schwa under
the mem.  However, if read as "from" (which would need a tsere, look in
the parallel leg of the parallelism, at the word "m(yr"), the leg can read as
"and from a heap of ruins it will become collapsed."

> I hate when dictionaries give definitions for words that are only used once
> and no one knows what they really mean. I wish they would at least put a
> question mark next to it.

> My dictionary is called "the compendious Hebrew-English dictionary" by
> Reuben Grossman and H. Sachs and edited and revised by M.H. Segal by Dvir
> Publishing 1956. If I am wrong about this word, I should at least get to
> blame them.

No, you should blame yourself.  You are apparently using a Modern Hebrew
dictionary from 50 years ago to interpret the Bible.  Try looking for
the "Hebrew
and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament" at your nearby library.  Also, you
ignored the vocalization.  Just that it has the same letters - mem ayin yod --
doesn't mean alot when the vowels don't hold up.  You apparently looked up
the English "heap" to see how it might be translated.  Putting aside the issue
that this is a Modern Hebrew dictoinary, you didn't bother to check whether the
corresponding word was more limited in definition -- in this case, to specify
ruins of a city.  You could also use a concordance to see how the word is used
in the Bible and find out how many times it is so used.  Even if it is used only
once, a dictionary like HALOT (that I suggested above) provides indispensible
cognate information as well as further references of studies that relate to the
word in question.

Yitzhak Sapir

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list