Saturday, February 26, 2011

Should Shemot 35:35 read כל or בכל?

Summary: Exploring a variant raised and rejected by Minchas Shai.

Post: In parashat Vayakhel, Shemot 35:35:

35. He imbued them with wisdom of the heart, to do all sorts of work of a craftsman and a master worker and an embroiderer with blue, purple, and crimson wool, and linen and [of] weavers, those who do every [manner of] work, and master weavers.לה. מִלֵּא אֹתָם חָכְמַת לֵב לַעֲשׂוֹת כָּל מְלֶאכֶת חָרָשׁ וְחֹשֵׁב וְרֹקֵם בַּתְּכֵלֶת וּבָאַרְגָּמָן בְּתוֹלַעַת הַשָּׁנִי וּבַשֵּׁשׁ וְאֹרֵג עֹשֵׂי כָּל מְלָאכָה וְחֹשְׁבֵי מַחֲשָׁבֹת:

Minchat Shai points us to a variant text, which he rejects:

"In the Chumash with Targum, Savyonita printing, it is written in the margin, 'there are sefarim with בכל." And the printers simply encountered erroneous sefarim, and there is no dispute in it."

Because Shadal frequently refers to it in Ohev Ger, I recently included this particular Chumash in my weekly source-roundup. Here is the relevant text:

See the words yesh sefarim bakol on the right hand margin. Should we really move on? Is there nothing to see here?

Well, I should note that the Samaritan Pentateuch has an identical reading. To cite Vetus Testamentum:

The text on the right is our Masoretic text, while the text on the left is the Samaritan. See how כל is replaced by בכל. (No, no text I know of has מכל, which would nicely round out the set.) Just because the Samaritan Torah has this does not mean that it is any better than our own Masoretic text which lacks it. As I've noted many times in the past, there is a conscious agenda by the Samaritan scribes to smooth out the text. And I would note that we have the following context:
שמות פרק לא
  • פסוק ה: וּבַחֲרֹשֶׁת אֶבֶן לְמַלֹּאת, וּבַחֲרֹשֶׁת עֵץ; לַעֲשׂוֹת, בְּכָל-מְלָאכָה. 
שמות פרק לה
  • פסוק ל"ג: וּבַחֲרֹשֶׁת אֶבֶן לְמַלֹּאת, וּבַחֲרֹשֶׁת עֵץ; לַעֲשׂוֹת, בְּכָל-מְלֶאכֶת מַחֲשָׁבֶת. 

Having כל instead of בכל stands out as an exception, and so we would expect Samaritan scribes to deliberately harmonize it. We would also expect scribes, even scribes without an agenda, to unconsciously hear and then write the common phrase instead of the uncommon phrase.

Vetus Testamentum gives us one instance of a Samaritan text which lacks the ב. And it gives us a list of Hebrew texts which do have the ב. Thus:

This is quite a number of texts. Still, they may all copy off of one erroneous original, which does not have to be the Samaritan text since, as I explained above, it is an easy accidental error to make. I would side in this with Minchas Shai that כל is correct. But there might be more of a "dispute" than he anticipated.

(I see nothing in Peshitta or the LXX to indicate agreement with this.)


Anonymous said...

11 in modern Hebrew is "Echad-Esreh".

What is the etymological origin of the different word for 11 in the Torah (eg Shmos 36:14): "Ashtei-Esreh"?

joshwaxman said...

Hi. Please, for the future, choose a pseudonym.

I've seen an etymology of a contraction 'ad-shtei esrei, and absent other knowledge, this is attractive.

But I recently acquired Dr. Hayim ben Yosef Tawi's "An Akkadian Lexical Companion for Biblical Hebrew", and he notes there that this is a cognate of Akkadian "ishten", meaning "one, unique, first". (He refers us to OA, OB on (CAD I/J 275a; AHw 400a), which is references on where to find it on cuneiform tablets, I think.) In Biblical Hebrew, he notes, it only occurs in combination with asar/esrei, meaning 'eleven'

In Akkadian (in CAD I/J 279b) there is the word ishteneshret, which is a cognate of the word eleven in Biblical Hebrew.

So, I suppose, it has no relation to shtayim, but due to historical linguistic accent, this word in this form got carried in to Biblical Hebrew, even though it did not in the general case.

I would note that he has no entry I can find for echad/achat, such that I guess Akkadian did not have such a word, but rather only 'ishten.

kol tuv,


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