[b-hebrew] When did )NK in Amos 7:7f become interpreted as "plumb line"?

Daniel Lundsgaard Skovenborg waldeinburg at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 24 09:20:54 EDT 2012


Hi Yigal,


Thanks!

Of course tin or a wooden brick or whatever could have been used for such a tool, but if the Akkadian word gave name to the tool, I think it must mean "lead" (tin is normally בְדִיל and lead עֹפֶרֶת, so maybe אֲנָךְ was used only as a technical term, if we suppose it is a tool). Or to put it another way: if annaku means "tin" I don't think it would give name to this tool, unless it through "usage mistakes" came to mean "lead" when entering Hebrew:
1. Lead is special because it has a high density (tin is similar to iron in this regard). You want as much inertia as possible for this tool – if it is not stable it does not work properly.
2. According to Landsberger lead is way cheaper than tin.

Regards,
Daniel Lundsgaard Skovenborg



----- Original Message -----
> From: Yigal Levin <Yigal.Levin at biu.ac.il>
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Cc: 
> Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 4:25 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] When did )NK in Amos 7:7f become interpreted as "plumb line"?
> 
> Hi Daniel,
> 
> Rashi, David Qimhi and Ibn-Ezra (10-12th centuries) all claim the word is 
> similar to the Arabic and means either "lead" or "a builder's 
> tool" - which I suppose would be a plumb line. 
> 
> BTW, even if the Akkadian does mean "tin", tin could have been used 
> for the same purpose. Tin and lead are not all that different. Both were used to 
> alloy with copper to produce bronze.
> 
> 
> Best 
> 
> Yigal Levin
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org 
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Lundsgaard 
> Skovenborg
> Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 4:44 PM
> To: B-Hebrew
> Subject: [b-hebrew] When did )NK in Amos 7:7f become interpreted as "plumb 
> line"?
> 
> Hi,
> 
> I recently became aware of some difficulties in the "traditional" 
> interpretation of the word אֲנָךְ in Amos 7:7f. It is usually translated 
> something like:
> "… the Lord was standing by a plumb line (i.e. vertical) wall, with a plumb 
> line in his hand …"
> 
> This is supported by the dictionaries which refer to cognate languages (אֲנָךְ 
> is from Akkadian "annaku") where the word means "lead" or 
> "tin", which gives the meaning "lead" and thus "plumb 
> line" in Hebrew. Yet, Landsberger (JNES 24,285ff) has argued that the 
> Akkadian word means "tin", not "lead".
> 
> There is much more to say about this issue, but what I want to ask you is how 
> old the "plumb line" interpretation is.
> The oldest I have seen is Luther (Bleischnur), but I guess he was not the one 
> who came up with it. I have checked LXX (steel), Peshitta (following LXX), 
> Targum (judgement), Vulgate (brick trowel) and the early Christian 
> interpretations in "Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture" series 
> (Origen and Ephrem the Syrian, both following LXX/Peshitta). (As for Ephrem, 
> ACCS translates his quotation of Amos 7:8 "plumb line", but his 
> exegesis makes most sense if you understand him as LXX/Peshitta.)
> 
> Do you know other sources before Luther that interpret אֲנָךְ as as a plumb 
> line?
> 
> Regards,
> Daniel Lundsgaard Skovenborg
> 
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