THREAD: Kingship in Israel and the rejection of the LORD’s anointed
In 1 Samuel 9:16, the LORD says to Samuel: ‘Tomorrow about this time [כָּעֵ֣ת ׀ מָחָ֡ר] I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anount him to be prince over my people Israel.
He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines [וְהוֹשִׁ֥יעַ אֶת־עַמִּ֖י מִיַּ֣ד פְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים]. For I have seen my people [כִּ֤י רָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־עַמִּ֔י], because their cry has come to me [כִּ֛י בָּ֥אָה צַעֲקָת֖וֹ אֵלָֽי].’
One senses echoes of the Exodus here, and God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt:
• Exod 3:7a: ‘Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people [רָאֹ֥ה רָאִ֛יתִי אֶת־עֳנִ֥י עַמִּ֖י] who are in Egypt…’
The book of Ruth is, of course, a story about a beautiful marriage. But even before the courtship and the wedding and the important genealogy at the end, we find interesting language that is strikingly reminiscent of Genesis 2:24
That important verse reads:
'Therefore a man shall leave [יַֽעֲזָב] his father and his mother and hold fast [וְדָבַ֣ק] to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.'
The verb עזב can be quite strong in force. For example, Joseph leaves behind [וַיַּעֲזֹ֤ב] his garment as he flees from Pharaoh's wife's sexual advances. Countless times, Israel is depicted abandoning the LORD, for example in Judg 2:12 [וַיַּעַזְב֞וּ], and going after other gods.
Many of my threads involve Ugaritic texts, but I thought I might provide a brief introduction to the uninitiated.
If you're at all interested in the Hebrew Bible, I believe you should take some interest in the field of Ugaritic studies.
The WHAT: The terms Ugarit and Ugaritic refer to a Late Bronze Age (LBA) city-state and its people and language. This small kingdom flourished about 13 centuries before Christ, until it was destroyed along with many other cultures in the Late Bronze Age collapse.
The Late Bronze Age collapse was a series of catastophic events around 1200 BC which led to the destruction of many city states and kingdoms in the eastern Mediterranean region. Scholars still debate the exact mix of conditions and peoples which precipitated such upheval.
Next up is Guy Darshan, representing The Hebrew Bible, A Critical Edition (HBCE).
The HBCE is unique in OT textual criticism in its attempt to reconstruct and provide an eclectic text. (I have some concerns about this approach.)
Darshan offers some critique of BHS, whose apparatus is incomplete in many places (for example, several good DSS readings are absent). However, BHS was completed only when data from Qumran was beginning to become available to scholars.
Top scholars of the Homeric, Hebrew Bible, Qur'anic, Vedic textual traditions now inquiring of each other's work over Zoom, including the current state of development of digital tools such as optical character recognition.
Signe Cohen now discussing the textual transmission of the Indic Vedas (a tradition I studied during my doctoral programme). For those Hebrew Bible text-critics complaining about the gap between our earliest manuscripts and the 'Ausgangstext', note the slide.
Reliable parallel reading and oral traditions (à la HB ketiv/qere) exist in other textual corpora, such as the Vedas. (This is confirmed by comparative-historical linguistic investigation into the nature of these archaic Indo-European texts.)
One moral of this story (as @DrPJWilliams
has argued): many ancient textual traditions are, on the whole, generally well-transmitted.
There's a long section at the beginning of 1 Chronicles that contains a wealth of genealogies and names. Sometimes it can feel tedious reading these, but great payoffs are to be found by studying these passages in detail.
In this thread, I'd like to highlight interesting etymological aspects of select names (PNs) and their Masoretic notes (MPs). The details are often fascinating, and sometimes quite significant.
The beginning of chapter 7 features a familiar name: Issachar (יִשָׂשכָ֗ר). You may have remembered that this name belongs with one of a select few words (along with the Tetragrammaton, the third person pronouns in the Pentateuch, and the word for Jerusalem).
Psalm 119 is famously the longest chapter in the Hebrew Bible and a beautiful acrostic featuring each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (8 verses x 22 = 176 verses in total).
In the Great Psalms Scroll (11Q5) each 'stanza' is set apart with an extra ruled line. Notice the paleo Hebrew script used to write the divine name YHWH in the top left of the image.
Beginning Hebrew students are taught early on that, although there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, one of the letters, namely ש, has two values (called 'śîn' and 'šîn'), distinguished by the Masoretes with a single dot (שׂ and שׁ, respectively).
There are thousands of scribal notes in the great Masoretic codices produced a thousand years ago. How in the world was a scribe to perform statistical counts prior to the advent of computers and Bible software?
As an example, Judges 17:1 records that the pausal form of the word 'Ephraim' אפרים occurs four times in the entire Hebrew Bible. Pausal forms in the Hebrew Bible were often accompanied by a slightly different pronunciation, indicating a syntactic 'pause' in the thought flow.
In the case of 'Ephraim', this amounts to a difference of one vowel (or, a single stroke: qāmeṣ on the left below vs. pataḥ on the right). There are no fewer than 180 occurrences of the word 'Ephraim' in the Bible.
It is well-known that the Masoretes worked in the latter centuries of the first millennium to produce (among other things) a system of accents to indicate syntactic/logical disjunction in the text of the Hebrew Bible.
But how far back does this tradition itself go? A thread...
Students of the Hebrew Bible usually ignore the many extraneous little accents in the text beside the nequddot (vowel signs), and indeed, much of the system is arcane and complicated. But a few accents are quite important for exegesis, and can often assist in reading Hebrew.
An overview/review of significant accents:
• silluq + soph pasuq: This most important pair of signs is used to divide the text into verses. A vertical line (silluq) is placed under the accented syllable of the last word in the verse, accompanied by two dots (soph pasuq).
I've listened to the debate two times now, and found it to be quite fascinating. Both debate partners were eloquent and their differences were clearly laid out.
• On methodological approaches:
Ehrman took Pete to task on the issue of theological presuppositions. The issue is the question of ultimate authorities. On what basis should the Scriptures be believed? If they are from God, then they ought to be trusted on their own authority.
Modern critical scholarship attempts to do history with documents that purport to come from God, yet in the name of objectivity, tries to ignore this epistemological elephant in the room. It's worth quoting at length the Westminster Standards on this point.
Thread: The dreaded Greek principle parts. Learners of biblical Greek are often daunted by the stems they must memorise in order to recognise basic distinctions in tenses.
Just taking principle parts I (present) and III (aorist) as an example, there seems to be no logic at work between κλεπτ- ‘steal’ (I) and κλεψ- (III), on the one hand, and φυλασσ- ‘guard’ (I) and φυλαξ- (III), on the other.
Very frequently, the stem changes involve consonants, for example, the doubling of lambda: βαλλ- ‘throw’ (I) vs. βαλ-. Other times the changes can only be seen in the vowels of the stem: e.g., μαιν- ‘be mad’ and ξηραιν- ‘dry up’ (I) vs. their aorist counterparts μαν- and ξηραν-.
How do you order chips at an Israeli fast food restaurant? The answer reveals fascinating and humourous insights into the relationship between modern Hebrew and the biblical language it stems from (HT to @JamesBejon for a fascinating lead).
A perusal of the Israeli McDonald's website gives you several options for sizes. Two should be familiar to almost any student of biblical Hebrew: קטן 'small' and גדול 'large'. (Nota bene: Israelis eat 'chips', not American ‘fries'.)
But what if you need something in between in size? Ask for צ׳׳פס רגיל. No, the adjective isn't a borrowing from English 'regular' or Latin 'regula'. It's from רגל 'to be accustomed to', itself a denominative from רֶגֶל 'foot'. ('to go about frequently' < *'to go about on foot’).
Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη! "Christ has risen! He has risen, indeed!" (IPA: /xrisˈtos anˈesti/ /aliˈθos anˈesti/). This is how modern Greeks greet one another on Easter. Yet you will find no modern Greek verb from which ανέστη could be derived.
A search in the #THGNT reveals that this exact verb form (with smooth breathing: ἀνέστη) occurs no fewer than 14 times in the New Testament, written in ancient Koine Greek. Interestingly, the contexts that this verb occurs in are not directly related to resurrection.
In Luke 4:16, Jesus stood up (ἀνέστη) to read in the synagogue. In John 11:31, the Jews observed that Mary rose quickly (ἀνέστη) and went out (presumably to the tomb). Even in death-to-life contexts, ἀνέστη is often separate from the actual resurrection.