[b-hebrew] Updating & Archaizing

Peter Bekins pbekins at fuse.net
Thu Apr 16 17:17:04 EDT 2009

> Here's my question:  Can someone give me one or two strong, clear,
> undisputed examples of this in the biblical text?
> Yours,
> Keith McCune

Keith, it is obviously difficult to determine where scribes may have  
updated the text since we do not possess copies reflecting the  
textual history. The argument can also become circular since we do  
not have a large amount of extra-biblical sources giving a baseline  
for what constitutes a late versus early feature.

That scribes did modernize texts is shown by the Isaiah scroll from  
Qumran (see my summary of Kutscher http://tinyurl.com/ca858a)though  
this may have been a popular text and therefore not entirely relevant  
for an "official" text. See Tov's _Textual Criticism_ Chapter 4 for  
discussion as well (available with limited preview on Google Books).

A good place where we get a glimpse into scribal practice is 2 Sam 22  
= Psalm 18 where the poem occurs twice, though both poems seem to  
show the effects of the scribes so it is not so easy as to posit one  
being the earlier version and the other the later version.

One place that I think may reflect updating is verse 24. Notice that  
the Samuel text has W)HYH in the first clause followed by W)$TMRH  
while the Psalm text has W)HY followed by W)$TMR. In the later  
language the short preterite form is only preserved in the so-called  
'waw-consecutive' wayyiqtol form. Because the short preterite has  
fallen together with the jussive, eventually it seems that scribes  
assumed that the 'waw-consecutive' uses the volative verbal form. In  
the 1st person this is the cohortative with the long -a ending  
written with H. Thus in later texts (including the Isaiah scroll) the  
waw + cohortative form is often substituted where we would expect a  
1st person waw-consecutive. The Psalm text has preserved the waw- 
consecutive, the Samuel text has probably been updated with a  
cohortative form following later scribal practice.

Pete Bekins

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