Sunday, May 03, 2015

Ibn Ezra on Lower Biblical Criticism, part iii

See part one and part two.

3) Ibn Ezra continues his response to the grammarian who proposed numerous emendations to the text of Scriptures. The third proposed emendation is the word הַדָּבָר in the following pasuk, which this anonymous grammarian asserts should read הָעָם:

Yehoshua 5:4:
ד  וְזֶה הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר-מָל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ:  כָּל-הָעָם הַיֹּצֵא מִמִּצְרַיִם הַזְּכָרִים כֹּל אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה, מֵתוּ בַמִּדְבָּר בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתָם, מִמִּצְרָיִם.4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: all the people that came forth out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came forth out of Egypt.
ה  כִּי-מֻלִים הָיוּ, כָּל-הָעָם הַיֹּצְאִים; וְכָל-הָעָם הַיִּלֹּדִים בַּמִּדְבָּר בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתָם מִמִּצְרַיִם--לֹא-מָלוּ.5 For all the people that came out were circumcised; but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, had not been circumcised.

Ibn Ezra writes:

"וְזֶה הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר-מָל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ -- he says that הַדָּבָר is in place of הָעָם. But in reality it is just as its simple implication, 'and this is the davar -- that is to say, because of this davar [matter] -- Yehoshua circumcised them'. "

And indeed, reading this in context of the next few verses, which explains how and why those born in the wilderness were not circumcised, this makes good sense.

4) The next verse this anonymous grammarian proposes emending is I Melachim 2:28, which reads:

כח  וְהַשְּׁמֻעָה, בָּאָה עַד-יוֹאָב, כִּי יוֹאָב נָטָה אַחֲרֵי אֲדֹנִיָּה, וְאַחֲרֵי אַבְשָׁלוֹם לֹא נָטָה; וַיָּנָס יוֹאָב אֶל-אֹהֶל יְהוָה, וַיַּחֲזֵק בְּקַרְנוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ.
28 And the tidings came to Joab; for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the Tent of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

Ibn Ezra writes:

"וְאַחֲרֵי אַבְשָׁלוֹם לֹא נָטָה -- he said that it is [erroneously] in place of 'after שְׁלֹמֹה'.  And there is no need for this, for once the verse stated that he [Yoav] went after Adoniyah, what need would there be to say that he did not go after Shlomo, for this would be immediately apparent to anyone who heard it. Rather, 

the verse comes to explain something else, that Yoav did not go after Avshalom, because he knew that he [Avshalom] was not fit to have the kingship, and thought so as well regarding Shlomo." 


Avi said...

In your translation, you have "And there is no need for this, for once the verse stated that he [Yoav] went after Avshalom". I believe "Avshalom" should be "Adoniyah".

joshwaxman said...

thanks. now fixed.

i must be writing too hurriedly, and made these errors. it is a bit funny, given how this is all about errors in texts.


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