Sunday, January 11, 2015

Some Samaritan emendations from the beginning of Vaera

Here is a snip of Vetus Testamentum, from the beginning of parashat Vaera. The Samaritan text is to the left and the Masoretic text is to the right. Dashes mean no change and asterisks mean that the text is missing.

1) The first interesting change is from עתה (now you will see) to אתה (you will see). Perhaps this fluidity reflects how the gutturals ayin and aleph were pronounced, or not pronounced.

2) The next is that instead of the Masoretic Elokim, they have YKVK. On the surface, this makes more sense, since later in the verse God says "Ani YKVK". Furthermore, see how one pasuk earlier (Shemot 6:1), it is "YKVK spoke", not Elokim spoke. If we join pasuk 1 with pasuk 2, then the shift in Divine name is somewhat jarring. The Christian division is to join pasuk 1 with pasuk 2, which is why perek 6 begins with pasuk 1. Meanwhile, the Jewish division is to join pasuk 6:1 with what came before, at the end of perek 5. Perek 5 ends with YKVK speaking. And then, after 6:1, there is a setuma break, as well as a sidra break.

I wrote about this change elsewhere, suggesting this is deliberate transition, and that the Samaritan change is one of harmonization.

3) Instead of ובשפטים, the more common ובמשפטים.

4) The Samaritans insert a non-existent pasuk here, to have the Israelites say somewhere it would be relevant, חדל נא ממנו. The impetus for this is that the Israelites at the Reed Sea say, in Shemot 14:12:

יב  הֲלֹא-זֶה הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְנוּ אֵלֶיךָ בְמִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר, חֲדַל מִמֶּנּוּ, וְנַעַבְדָה אֶת-מִצְרָיִם:  כִּי טוֹב לָנוּ עֲבֹד אֶת-מִצְרַיִם, מִמֻּתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר.12 Is not this the word that we spoke unto thee in Egypt, saying: Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.'

Rather than assuming that this was something they said, but just hadn't been explicitly mentioned earlier (an open-canon approach) or that the text had summarized this very reaction in Shemot 6:9 ('And Moses spoke so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for impatience of spirit, and for cruel bondage'), the Samaritans just insert this quote in its logical place, between 6:9 and 6:10. See also here, where I discuss what meforshim say in greater detail.

1 comment:

yaak said...

Acc. to the Samaritans, this year isn't hinted to. (I know how much you love these Remazim.)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin