[b-hebrew] Was Pharaoh "Touched" or "Plagued" by God at Genesis 12: 17?

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Wed Aug 20 06:34:58 EDT 2008

Jim, you are committing so many exegetical fallacies here (and this is not the first time) that it's difficult to know where exactly to start in addressing them. I'll therefore limit my comments.

Yes, the 'core' meaning of NG( is 'to touch', but it is by no means the full extent of the semantic range. Most words have a semantic range and when a word appears in a context, especially a prose context, it is almost always just one point within that semantic range which is being brought forward. (You can make a different case for poetry because of its ability for allusion and imagery.)

In the case you have mentioned, there is 'touching' happening with 'great touchings'. That means that something is being used in the 'touching'. It's just not literally 'touching' anymore. It's worth exploring, therefore, what else in the semantic range might be indicated.

"Plague" is perfectly acceptable within the semantic range. The subject of the verb in Gen 12.17 is a deity and the object  is a human. Furthermore, NEGA(IM are being used as an object of some kind in the action also. Under these contextual conditions, what is the likely scenario?

Your reasoning sounds analogous to arguing that because the core idea of the word 'strike' is a hitting or beating of some kind that therefore a "work strike" is not really employees protesting by not working, but rather must indicate that they are violently attacking their employer or workplace. Or alternatively, because the core idea of 'run' means to move quicker than a walk, then someone who 'runs a computer' must be moving briskly while holding a computer. Your reasoning is very weak and lacks both contextual logic and semantic awareness.

To put it another way, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, smells like a duck, it's probably not sticky tape.

I know you'll probably produce an essay in reply to this, but I'm not going to venture any more discussion on such a desperately weak argument, nor do I think anyone else should either.

So, to conclude, IT MEANS "PLAGUED"!

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