[b-hebrew] II kings 22

Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. nir at ccet.ufrn.br
Wed Dec 12 12:34:51 EST 2012


jim,

i agree with dave and yigal. your version is, of course, 
POSSIBLE; the question is, as is always the question with your
theories, whether it is also PROBABLE, compared with other 
possible explanations. here are some alternative, which you may 
consider separately or jointly.

1. the scribe (SOFER) was there specifically to read and write. 
if everybody else had done his job, he would not be called SOFER.
his job may have included not just the physical reading, but also
the grammatical interpretation, and even political 
censorship of certain difficult passages in the text. it 
must have been considered a very responsible job.

2. moreover, the SOFER had to read the text LOUDLY in front of a gathered
assembly, a task which the priest or the king may have considered
unworthy of office. could even be embarrassing if these dignitaries
had glitched over a complicated word. 

3. not everybody at that time was supposed to be literate, as
nowadays. this may have easily included high ranking officers,
priests and even kings. especially if you rise to power at the age of 8. 

even some of the prophets, of a possibly much lower status in society, 
used a clerk to dictate their prophecies.

4. glasses were not in use and eye infections may have been 
very common. many people, especially the older, may have had 
difficulty making out an old fading text scribbled in 
feather and ink on an animal skin.

5. indeed there is no evidence in the text that the priest or the king did not
know to read. we are talking about hectic reconstructions in the temple made
in a very troubled historical period. both priest and king may
have been totally absorbed in the hectic reconstruction work in the 
temple and desperate defence plans in view of incoming invasions. 
they did not have time to read.

nir cohen





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