[b-hebrew] And Samuel turned back after Saul: the meaning of 1 Samuel 31

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Jul 23 07:59:53 EDT 2009


2009/7/22 George Athas <George.Athas at moore.edu.au>

> Karl,
> I am astonished that you don't know who Robert Alter is. He is one of the
> prime movers in literary criticism of biblical literature. His two seminal
> works are "The Art of Biblical Narrative" and "The Art of Biblical Poetry".

This comes of being mostly self-taught—I know enough Biblical Hebrew that
when questions are raised on line, I check the Hebrew text, not any
translation except where there is a serious question involving translation.
When I give a translation, it is always my own translation, not taken from
any published translation.

However, when it comes to personalities, I know almost none. I haven’t heard
of his two books either.

I’m of the personality type that degrees and reputations don’t impress me
(except when I can use them in arguments) but especially when I don’t know
who the person is, it is easy to call the shots as I see them.

In this verse, Robert Alter is wrong. Period.

> Jay,
> It would not be the first time that practically all English versions get
> the same thing wrong. I think Zech 9.9 is another case in point, where the
> Niphal nwš( is never translated as it should be. It should be rendered
> 'saved', or 'freed', or 'liberated', but it is always translated with an
> active meaning.

This verse has always been difficult for me, because of that Niphal. The LXX
translated it as soozoon σωζων indicating possibly a text tradition that is
active? The context also seems to imply an active rather than passive
meaning is expected. Have there been any Hebrew alternate readings found for
this verse that has an active reading? I can see why most translations
follow the LXX.

> Regards,
> Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
> www.moore.edu.au
> Karl W. Randolph.

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