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

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Oct 31 01:06:40 EDT 2007

On 10/30/07, K Randolph wrote:

> GB), what does it mean? Is this a salt marsh or river delta as
> indicated by Ezekiel 47:11?

According to HALOT, this is a cistern, related probably (in the
very distant past) to the root GBH/GBY "to collect."  The root X&P
is related probably to Ug xsp "to scoop, pour water" and Arabic
xasufa "to pour out water".  HALOT cites Reymond in Vetus
Testamentum 7:203ff.  The word gb? is further related to the root
gb, Mishnaic Hebrew / Aramaic (including Biblical Aramaic gob),
gob?, Akkadian gubbu cistern (a West Semitic loan), Arabic
jubb, jaubat, Ethiopic geb "well", plural gevim as a pit/ditch in
2 Kings 3:16, Jer 14:3 (contrasted with water), 39:10

> > YWCRYM KTWT one thing that typifies metal work is repeated tapping
> > with a hammer to mold the metal into shape. I have done this with both
> > iron and copper, and it is fun to see the shape come out. In both
> > metals, high heat is needed, which was aided by the use of bellows
> > which, in ancient times, were often made with skin bags NBL (modern
> > smithies use a fan). Do these two words refer to the action of
> > smithing?

NBL is a storage jar, not necessarily made of skin or leather.  In Mishnaic
Hebrew it seems to mean only a leather bottle.  In Lam 4:2 nbly xr& "clay

XR& is clay.  It can be explicitly broken -- see Lev 11:33, and can be
earthen -- see Is 45:9.

Thus the first part of Is 30:14 is actually quite at home in the standard
translation (using the JPS translation here) "And He shall break it as a
potter's vessel is broken, breaking it in pieces without sparing."

> > MKTT is this the word for smithy?

HALOT translates as a "fragment."  This is related to the word ktt "to beat,
crush fine."  While HALOT translates "fragment" I would suggest that a part
of a potter's workshop might be discussed, if one views the form as a locative
noun (krt / mkrtt in Mesha is actually the most immediate thing that comes
to mind).  That is, it might be the area in the workshop where sherds are

Yitzhak Sapir

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