[b-hebrew] "Desire of Women" in Heb. Text of Dan. 11:37

Gary Hedrick garyh at cjfm.org
Sun Nov 12 22:46:48 EST 2006

	James, your observation is insightful.  The JPS Tanakh translates
chemdat nashyim as "the one dear to women."  And you're right about the
parallelism in the Hebrew text.  

*He shall not regard the Elohey of his fathers;
*He shall not regard the Chemdat Nashyim (Desire of Women);
*He shall not regard kol Eloha (any God);
*He shall exalt himself above all of them.

	It seems like chemdat nashyim refers to someone who is dear to women
(the object of their affection), and presumably (from Daniel's perspective)
it denotes Jewish women in particular.  
	J.A. Montgomery, in his Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Book of Daniel, points out that Ewald identifies "the Desire of Women" as a
Hebraic reference to the cult of Tammuz-Adonis.  This cult was evidently
popular in Syria, was quite ancient (and therefore not requiring a very late
date for Daniel, which can be problematic), and perhaps more importantly,
this cult had particular appeal to women.  
	Lawrence M. Wills, in the Jewish Study Bible annotation to this
passage, concurs that this is a reference to the Mesopotamian god Tammuz
(Ezek. 8:14).  I'm not sure where Shoshanna gets the idea that the Desire of
Women is Israel.  I have checked Talmud (Bavli) and other rabbinic sources
and I don't see anything like this.
	Many evangelicals who have a more futurist/prophetic, rather than
purely historic view of Daniel will prefer the messianic interpretation;
that is, the events in these verses are yet future and the Desire of Women
is the Messiah.  Others will say it happened in the past.  
	Grammatically, as James has pointed out, whether future or past,
chemdat nashyim is someone who is the object of the women's affection.  It
fits the parallelism of the verse.  And with respect to our purposes here on
B-Hebrew, there doesn't appear to be anything in the Hebrew grammar that
prohibits such an interpretation.

Gary Hedrick
San Antonio, Texas USA

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of James W Bennett
Sent: Sunday, November 12, 2006 1:35 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] "Desire of Women" in Heb. Text of Dan. 11:37

Quoting Shoshanna Walker <rosewalk at concentric.net>
> It's not "the desire of women" - it's "The most desirable among
> women", and Daniel is referring to Israel
> Shoshanna

I would think that since the verse starts "and he will not pay 
attention to the
gods of his ancestors" and ends with "nor will he pay attention to any gods
because  he will boast over all" that the middle portion of the verse would
translate as "and concerning the [thing/one] desired by women" and would
contextually refer to a deity worshipped by women.

James W Bennett
jimb at tara-lu.com
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