[b-hebrew] 1 Samuel 20:12 - And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel

schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Sat Jun 24 11:43:55 EDT 2006


Hi Folks,

1 Samuel 20:12 (KJB)
And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel,
when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time,
or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, 
and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee; 

"O LORD God of Israel" - the Hebrew is simply 'LORD God of Israel' (YHVH Eloh Yisrael)

Many translations here follow the Peshitta, which add the word for witness - "as a witness".
I would prefer this discussion stick with the Hebrew Masoretic text.

Some folks object to the vocative, that Jonathan would not be speaking to God 
while also speaking to David (or strangely thinking the reader would be confused) ... 

So far I do not see any difficulty with the vocative, and it would seem any such 
objection would have to offer the alternative Hebrew rendering, to specify the vocative
to God, as opposed to what is here.  In other  words, the Hebrew construction appears
proper for showing what can be called the double-vocative.

One way of indicating the view that this is less than a direct address to God 
is in translations that go ...     (by) the LORD God of Israel.

Rashi and Kimchi indicate this idea, perhaps as an idiom of sorts.  
However, I do not know if there are other examples.

Generally the form of the Tetragrammaton for such address includes the bet prefix,
as in all these verses.

1Kings 1:30 - 
Even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, 
Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, 
and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; 
even so will I certainly do this day 

1 Kings 2:23
Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, 
God do so to me, and more also, 
if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. 

1 Kings 1:17
And she said unto him, 
My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying,
Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne. 

Joshua 9:19
But all the princes said unto all the congregation, 
We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel:
now therefore we may not touch them.

So my sense is that the omission of the bet in 1 Samuel 20:12 supports the 
double-vocative translation.

Your thoughts.

Disclosure notice:  
My Hebrew is limited, basically Hebrew school years back, 
however I do try to do the research to get a reasonable handle 
on a question like this :-)

Shalom,
Steven Avery
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Messianic_Apologetic




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