[b-hebrew] Isaiah 30:14 description of a metal smith?

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Nov 1 07:48:03 EDT 2007

On 10/31/07, K Randolph wrote:
> I don't have a copy of HALOT, but if the following is any indication
> of their quality, I probably should not waste my money getting one.

Well, I obviously think that your analysis is mistaken, but I just offered
the information as a nice gesture because I assumed you didn't have
access to it.  I suggest you get one.  It's very useful as a reference --
even (and perhaps especially) if you're going to disagree.  Like I said,
I was just being nice.  Here are some general comments:

> > According to HALOT, this is a cistern, related probably (in the
> > very distant past) to the root GBH/GBY "to collect."
> Talk about the etymological fallacy ....

An etymological fallacy is the breaking down of a word into its
etymology to derive the meaning.  This is not the case here, nor
is the meaning "cistern" based solely on etymology.  The meaning
is based primarily on early translations and the context.  It is only
in retrospect that the etymology can be derived.

> The picture given in Ezekiel is that this is connected with where a
> river empties into a sea, in particular a salty sea (ocean). This
> would be in a delta which usually has marsh lands typified with
> brackish to salty water.
> > ...  The root X&P
> > is related probably to Ug xsp "to scoop, pour water" and Arabic
> > xasufa "to pour out water".
> This verb is used over 10 times in Tanakh, so its meaning is fairly
> clear. It has the basic idea of removing, stripping off. At times it
> is used where the object stripped off is not named, but understood
> from the context.

It is somewhat presumptuous to suppose that a certain word used
so many times is used always with one meaning and not in one case
in a secondary sense.  The Hebrew Bible is only a small window to
the complete language that was spoken.

> NBL as a root refers to the action of becoming flabby, such as when a
> plant loses turgidity and becomes flaccid. As a noun, it refers to a
> flabby object, like a leather bag.

Now that is getting close to sounding like an etymological fallacy
(although it isn't yet there).

Yitzhak Sapir

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