Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Why it should not be lo *chamud* echad meihem nasasi

Summary: Continuing a point from years past, I point out that the Samaritans also have chamud as opposed to chamor. But then explain why it is almost certainly incorrect.

Post: I spotted the following in Vetus Testamentum the other day. The text to the left is our Masoretic text, while the text to the right is the Samaritan text:

Whereas in our text Moshe states that he did not take a single donkey from them, the Samaritans have him say that he did not take a single desirous thing from them. It is easy for a copyist to make this error, as a resh and a daled look quite similar to one another.

As I noted in the past, the Septuagint is based on the same mistake. Thus:
15 καὶ ἐβαρυθύμησε Μωυσῆς σφόδρα καὶ εἶπε πρὸς Κύριον· μὴ πρόσχῃς εἰς τὴν θυσίαν αὐτῶν· οὐκ ἐπιθύμημα οὐδενὸς αὐτῶν εἴληφα, οὐδὲ ἐκάκωσα οὐδένα αὐτῶν.
15 And Moses was exceeding indignant, and said to the Lord, Do thou take no heed to their sacrifice: I have not taken away the desire of any one of them, neither have I hurt any one of them.

But, as I have noted in the past as well, besides semantic reasons to prefer the Masoretic text, the pasuk in Sefer Shmuel, I 12:3 more or less clinches it.

ג  הִנְנִי עֲנוּ בִי נֶגֶד ה' וְנֶגֶד מְשִׁיחוֹ, אֶת-שׁוֹר מִי לָקַחְתִּי וַחֲמוֹר מִי לָקַחְתִּי וְאֶת-מִי עָשַׁקְתִּי אֶת-מִי רַצּוֹתִי, וּמִיַּד-מִי לָקַחְתִּי כֹפֶר, וְאַעְלִים עֵינַי בּוֹ; וְאָשִׁיב, לָכֶם.3 Here I am; witness against me before the LORD, and before His anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? or whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I taken a ransom to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.'

Note how shor is placed parallel to chamor in parallel phrases (mi lakachti). And also, the Septuagint does not have chamud there, but chamor.

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