[b-hebrew] Ezek 3:26

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Jul 18 13:37:20 EDT 2013


You have done what Ruth would say is confuse action with function.

I already a few times covered how to recognize the difference using the
word “swing” in English, now I’ll give an example from koiné Greek:

The action in παρακαλειν is to call aside. The function is why there is a
calling aside, and we find that it is used for instruction, scolding,
encouragement, upbraiding, and it’s the context that indicates for which
reason the person was called aside. The translator that translates
παρακαλειν into English has a problem—English doesn’t have the concept of
calling aside for all those purposes. If the translator merely translates
the action, that makes no sense in English. So he ends up translating the
function, the why the action was taken.

If, on the other hand, the intent of handling the text is merely to read
the text with the intent as far as possible “to get inside the head” of an
ancient Greek, the reader will recognize that παρακαλειν does NOT mean to
instruct, to scold, to encourage, to upbraid, rather it’s an action that is
used to facilitate all these contexts and listing the action is often the
shorthand of referring to the reason for the action.

Now I come to יכח YKX which means to set forth a case. This can be in the
context of a dispute where each party puts forward his side of the dispute,
e.g. in Isaiah 1:18, to set forth a case as in to make an argument, to set
forth a case in the same way as a lawyer for a client in a court of law, to
set forth a . case for the purpose to make known as in teaching or making
judgment known, to set forth a case for upbraiding or reproof. We have one
action that is used in several contexts.

Does the fact that the action can be used in many context change the fact
that this is one action? It doesn’t for the case of “swing” in English, nor
παρακαλειν in Greek, so why should Hebrew be different?

On Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:54 AM, Jerry Shepherd
<jshepherd53 at gmail.com<javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
'jshepherd53 at gmail.com');>
> wrote:

> In Ezekiel 3:26 there is an occurrence of the verb YKX (יכח) in
> participial form.  The grand majority of translations and commentators
> take for granted that the verb in this instance means to “rebuke,” or to
> “reprove.”  This has always been a conundrum because, on the one hand, it
> seems that the verse is saying that Ezekiel will be silent and unable to
> rebuke the people.  On the other hand, rebuking the people is exactly
> what he does for the next twenty-some chapters.

Why do you think I normally don’t read commentaries?

If you reported accurately concerning these commentaries (not saying that
you didn’t, just using this as a rhetorical intro), here we find
commentators have not done their homework vis-à-vis the Hebrew language is

>   Robert R. Wilson in a couple of articles, and Daniel Block in his
> massive commentary on Ezekiel, have cogently argued that YKX in this
> particular passage does not mean to “rebuke,” but rather means something
> along the lines of to “defend,” “arbitrate,” “plead,” or even “intercede.”
> Thus, what Ezekiel is told here is that for a period of time he will be
> unable to exercise the normal prophetic prerogative of being an
> intercessor, a defender, an arbitrator on behalf of the people (cf. Jer
> 7:16; 11:14; 14:11-1).  That period of silence comes finally comes to an
> end in 33:21 when an escapee from Jerusalem arrives among the exiles and
> reports the news of the fall of  Jerusalem.  Ezekiel’s mouth is opened,
> and though he still has some rebuking things to say, a more positive tone
> and hopeful message come out in the chapters to follow.

First of all, this is a participle, used as a noun. This is not a verbal
use of the word

Secondly, is the reason that he is not someone who is one who puts forth a
case for God to this people because God had no use for him to do so, or was
it because the people were not ready to listen? Is not the answer in the
context, namely that the people were defiant until their reason for
defiance, namely Jerusalem, fell?

> Important for this whole discussion is the meaning of the verb YKX.  In
> its 59 occurrences, it has a wide variety of meanings,
Or to put it in a more exacting definition, based on discussions with Ruth,
it is used for a wide variety of functions, hence it has a wide semantic

> or to put it another way, a wide semantic range.  Negatively, it means to
> “reprove,” “rebuke” (Lev 19:17), to “accuse” (Hos 4:4; Amos 5:10; Mic 6:2),
> even bleeding over into the area of punishing and executing (2 Sam 7:14).
> More neutrally, it means to simply decide the facts of the case and render
> a decision in a dispute between two or more parties (Gen 31:37; Isa 2:4;
> 11:3-4).  More positively, and more pertinent for Wilson’s and Block’s
> suggestion for Ezek 3:26, are those instances where it means to present
> one’s arguments in a particular matter, or to make a plea for another
> person (Job 9:33; 13:3, 15; 16:21; 23:7).  It can refer to the idea of
> vindication (Gen 20:16), and it can even mean “to appoint” or to “decree”
> or “to choose” (Gen 24:14, 44).

I just looked up Gen. 20:16 and 24:14, 44 and in all three cases the
consonantal text is consistent with נכח and not יכח. Further the contexts
are consistent with נכח and not יכח. Therefore you can’t include those in
your list for יכח. It looks as if you have documented some cases where the
Masoretic points are wrong.

> There is certainly room for subjectivity in how the meanings are assigned
> in the different passages. But what is important for the discussion is
> that, while all of these usages can be seen as being related to or
> developed from a particular concept, the way the word has been used in its
> various contexts, very different meanings have in fact developed.  And
> these meanings fall into different semantic domains.  The usage in Gen
> 20:16, for example, belongs to a different semantic domain than, say, the
> usage in 2 Sam 7:14.  And very important to note is that some of the
> developed meanings are opposites.  To rebuke or accuse someone is a
> directly opposite meaning to that of defending that person or pleading
> their case or arbitrating for them.
> So, this lexeme has several different meanings.  It does not have just
> one meaning.  It even has opposite meanings.  And none of those meanings
> are unique—the same semantic notion could have been expressed with another
> synonymous or near synonymous lexeme or cluster of words.

Your case is greatly weakened by including examples that are not from the
root of יכח

Further, if you go behind the function stage of usage to look at the action
symbolized by the term where its meaning is actually found (as in the
examples above), can you find any cases of opposite meaning?

> Responses invited.
> Blessings,
> Jerry
> Jerry Shepherd
> Taylor Seminary
> Edmonton, Alberta
> jshepherd53 at gmail.com <javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
> 'jshepherd53 at gmail.com');>
I’m away from my home, and will be in the next few weeks, so I may not be
able to respond quickly, maybe days between times I get to my email. So
don’t expect a quick response.

Karl W. Randolph.
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