[b-hebrew] "Mizan el zan" in Ps. 144:13

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Aug 29 00:05:45 EDT 2007

Dear Isaac,

If so, what does the noun "zan" mean? A container of some sort? How does 
this explain the verse?

BTW, you call us all "b-listim". I'm sure you're aware of the meaning of 
"listim" in mishnaic Hebrew? Any hidden meanings here? : -)

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
To: "b-hebrew Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Cc: "b-hebrew Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 6:32 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] "Mizan el zan" in Ps. 144:13

> b-listim
> The Hebrew root ZN is a variant of CN and TN. The root CN is doubled
> in CINCENET (the closing T is the personal pronoun AT), 'jar, basket,
> urn, pot, sack', see Exodus 16:33. From the root TN Hebrew derives
> the word TENE), 'basket, bag', see Deuteronomy 26:2.
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
>> On 8/23/07, Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:
>>> Dear all,
>>> Ps. 144:13a reads "Our larders are full, producing 'mizan el
>>> zan'". This is my translation, attempting to render the Hebrew as
>>> literally as possible.
>>> I know that the precise translation of the word that I rendered
>>> "larders" is disputed, but I want to focus on the second part. The
>>> word "zan" appears only in this phrase, and maybe in 2 Chr. 16:14
>>> (although I'm not convinced that it's the same word). Most
>>> translations understand the word "zan" as "kind" or "sort". Many
>>> commentaries cite "zan" here (and in 2 Chr. 16:14) as either an
>>> Aramaic or a Persian loanword. Indeed, in the targumim, "zan" is
>>> the common translation of the Hebrew word "min" - "species" (for
>>> instance, in Gen. 1:11 etc.). And so the unique phrase "mizan el
>>> zan" is understood literally "from kind to kind" and rendered "of
>>> all kinds" and the like.
>>> Accordingly, the verse is usually translated "That our garners may
>>> be full, affording all manner of store" (KJV); "May our barns be
>>> filled, with produce of every kind" (NRSV); "Our barns will be
>>> filled with every kind of provision" (NIV) and the like.
>>> However, the LXX does not. There, "mizan el zan" is rendered "ek
>>> toutou eis touto", apparently preserving a Hebrew "mizeh el-zeh" -
>>> "from this to that" or "from here to there".
>>> In the MT, the verse seems incomplete - the translations added the
>>> word "store", "provisions" and the like, but it's not there in the
>>> Hebrew.
>>> Finally, my questions:
>>> 1. Does anyone know of an Old Persian word "zan" or the like, that
>>> could have been borrowed by the Hebrew and the Aramaic as "species"?
>>> 2. Is there any other indication (presumably linguistic) that this
>>> psalm is late enough for such borrowing to have happened?
>>> 3. In any case, how do y'all explain the syntax of the Hebrew?
>>> Much thanks,
>>> Yigal Levin
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