Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Was Timna a son, a concubine, or both?

Summary: The trup and Divrei Hayamim parse a pasuk in Vayishlach in divergent ways. Rishonim harmonize. And Chizkuni (and Birkas Avraham) darshen a munach legarmeih as a pesik to bolster the multivalent reading of the pasuk.

Post: Consider the following pesukim in Vayishlach, perek 36:

11. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gaatam, and Kenaz.יא. וַיִּהְיוּ בְּנֵי אֱלִיפָז תֵּימָן אוֹמָר צְפוֹ וְגַעְתָּם וּקְנַז:
12. And Timna was a concubine to Eliphaz, son of Esau, and she bore to Eliphaz, Amalek. These are the sons of Adah, the wife of Esau.יב. וְתִמְנַע הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ לֶאֱלִיפַז בֶּן עֵשָׂו וַתֵּלֶד לֶאֱלִיפַז אֶת עֲמָלֵק אֵלֶּה בְּנֵי עָדָה אֵשֶׁת עֵשָׂו:

Thus, Timna was female, and she is the actor of the action וַתֵּלֶד לֶאֱלִיפַז. Who is this Timna? Rashi identifies it with the female Timna a few pesukim later, who was the sister of Lotan. Thus, the daughter of one of the chieftains was willing to be a mere concubine to Elifaz. Thus, pasuk 22, perhaps about the same Timna:

22. The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam, and the sister of Lotan was Timna.כב. וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי לוֹטָן חֹרִי וְהֵימָם וַאֲחוֹת לוֹטָן תִּמְנָע:

However, complicating this is a pasuk in I Divrei Hayamim 1:36:

לו  בְּנֵי, אֱלִיפָז--תֵּימָן וְאוֹמָר צְפִי וְגַעְתָּם, קְנַז וְתִמְנָע וַעֲמָלֵק.  {ס}36 The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, and Omar, Zephi, and Gatam, Kenaz, and Timna, and Amalek. {S}

which lists Timna as one of the sons of Elifaz, one seemingly not mentioned in Vayishlach, if we accept our pasuk divisions.

a) A resolution of this contradiction is that the trup division is incorrect. Don't seize upon the Timna of pasuk 22. Rather, in pasuk 11, Timna is the last of Elifaz's sons. And pasuk 12 begins הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ לֶאֱלִיפַז, that there was an unnamed concubine to Elifaz, and she bore to Elifaz Amalek.

b) Another possible resolution of this contradiction is that the trup got it right, but that the author of Divrei Hayamim parsed the pasuk in Bereshit in a different way. Bereishit is the primary source and Divrei Hayamim is simply trying to retell the story. And while written with Ruach haKodesh, perhaps that does not mean that it is free of the possibility of error in interpreting Bereishit.

c) Or, perhaps we might find way for both to simultaneously be true.

Chizkuni writes:
"And Timna was a concubine: And in Divrei HaYamim, it is implied that Timna was a male. Therefore, one needs to say that there were two Timnas, one male and one female. Just as we find in Divrei HaYamim. For the Timna of here was the sister of Lotan (pasuk 22), while the Timna of Divrei HaYamim was male, and was the son of Elifaz. 

And still, the "Timna" of here refers to both of them, and therefore, there is a trup of psik between ותמנע and the word היתה. And this is what it means to say: The sons of Elifaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gaatam, Kenaz and Timna the female was the concubine of Elifaz.

And a parallel to this is written in Sefer Yehoshua (13:7)

ז  וְעַתָּה, חַלֵּק אֶת-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת בְּנַחֲלָה--לְתִשְׁעַת הַשְּׁבָטִים; וַחֲצִי, הַשֵּׁבֶט הַמְנַשֶּׁה.7 Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.'
ח  עִמּוֹ, הָראוּבֵנִי וְהַגָּדִי, לָקְחוּ, נַחֲלָתָם--אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָהֶם מֹשֶׁה, בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן מִזְרָחָה, כַּאֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָהֶם, מֹשֶׁה עֶבֶד ה.8 With him the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them;

and one needs to say that the "half tribe of Menasheh" works both with what comes before and after. 
{J: I think because there are different half-tribes of Menashe referred to in pasuk 7 and 7.}

What is this pesik of which Chizkuni speaks? Let us see:

It is the one in the first word of the pasuk. Note, however, that this vertical bar after ותמנע is not strictly a pesik. Rather, it joins with the munach sign under ותמנע to designate the munach as munach legarmeih, a disjunctive trup rather than a conjunctive trup. Thus, there is a revii on the word פילגש. In this instance, geresh could have stood, but often, munach legarmeih takes its place, in particular where the word standing between it and the word marked with revii is short. See Wickes on this, here. Thus, this is not a pesik, and we should not necessarily treat it as a pesik to resolve our difficulty.

Note that this is the same point I repeatedly challenge Birkas Avraham upon. Indeed, as we shall see later in this post, he advances the same argument here, and cites authorities who advanced it before him. So he certainly has those upon whom to rely. That does not mean that I will not still disagree.

Rashbam writes:
פסוק יב 
ותמנע היתה פלגש - ראיתי בשוחר טוב: 
ותמנע מחובר גם לפסוק העליון שכן בדברי הימים: צפי וגעתם וקנז ותמנע ועמלק. ואח"כ הוא אומר בבני שעיר: ואחות לוטן תמנע. דוגמת אחות נביות. 
אחות אהרן כמו שפירשתי. 
[וכן כאן ויהיו בני אליפז תימן אומר צפו וגעתם וקנז ותמנע]. 

ותמנע היתה פילגש - הראשון זכר מבני אליפז והשני נקבה. ואחות לוטן תמנע. 
וכמוהו ביהושע ועתה חלק את הארץ הזאת בנחלה לתשעת השבטים וחצי השבט המנשה עמו הראובני והגדי לקחו נחלתם אשר נתן להם משה בעבר הירדן מזרחה. על כורחך פסוק שני חסר ממנו, כי היה לו לומר וחצי שבט המנשה כבר לקחו נחלתם, לפיכך יש לומר כי פסוק זה עולה על סוף הפסוק, שכתוב בו: וחצי שבט המנשה, אף על פי שמדברים הפסוקים בשני חצאי שבט מנשה, לאחד מהם חילק משה ולשני חילק יהושע. 

ואני שמואל מצאתי פסוק שלישי בדברי הימים דוגמתן במשפחות בני יהונתן בן שאול.
ובני מיכה פיתון ומלך ותארע ואחז. ואחז הוליד את יהועדה ויהועדה הוליד את עלמת וגו' ואותה פרשה נשנית וכפולה בתוך דף אחר, תחילת הפרשה אשר נשניתובגבעון ישבו וסוף הפרשה אלה בני אצל. 
וכתיב: ובני מיכה פיתון ומלך ותחרע. ואחז הוליד וגו'. בעל כורחך חסר ואחז מפסוק זה שהיה לו לכתוב ותחרע ואחז ואחז הוליד, אלא שתיבת ואחז הוליד עולה על פסוק שלמעלה, כאילו כתוב ובני מיכה פיתון ומלך ותחרע ואחז ואחז הוליד וגו' שכך כתוב בפרשה ראשונה. 

which is basically the same. He brings in a third pasuk to demonstrate that this pattern exists. And for the explanation, he credits Midrash Socher Tov.

See also what Ramban writes, at length. He cites what others say. Thus, he cites Rashi's explanation in Divrei HaYamim, which would make the Timna in Divrei Hayamim into a daughter. And he analyses it.

Here is what Ramban labels as derech hapeshat:
ועל דרך הפשט יש לחשוב בו, כי תמנע פילגש אליפז אחרי לידתה את עמלק ילדה בן, ותקש בלדתה ותמת, ותקרא את שמו תמנע בעבור הזכיר שמה. ואביו אליפז קרא לו קרח, ולא הזכיר הכתוב הבן הזה לתמנע אמו כדי שלא יאריך, כי הכונה הייתה למנות עמלק בפני עצמו. אבל בני אליפז, שבעה היו. ומנה הכתוב האלופים דרך מעלתם, על כן הקדים קנז וקרח לגעתם:

"And by way of peshat there is to think about it that Timna, the concubine of Elifaz, after she bore Amalek birthed a son, and had difficulty in her birth and died, and she called his name Timna in order to make her name remembered. And his father Elifaz called him Korach, and the Scriptures did not mention this son to Timna his mother, so as not to go on at length, for the intent was to list Amalek by himself. But the sons of Elifaz, there were seven. And the Scriptures listed the alufim in order of their greatness; therefore Kenaz and Korach preceded Gaatam."

Here is what Ramban further states:
ואני עוד סובר בכתוב הזה מה שאמרו רבותינו בשלשים ושתים מדות (מדה יא): שהאגדה נדרשת, אמרו סדור היה ראוי להיות אלא שנחלק, שנאמר (דהי"ב ל יח): כי מרבית העם וכו'. וגם רודפי הפשט יאמרו כן בפסוקים אחרים. וכן זה יאמר בני אליפז תימן אומר צפו וגעתם וקנז ותמנע. וחזר ואמר הייתה פילגש לאליפז בן עשו ותלד לאליפז את עמלק, ולא הזכיר שם הפילגש. והאמת שהיא אחות לוטן תמנע, והיא הסבה שלא הזכיר שמה, כי לא רצה לאמר שני פעמים ותמנע לזכר ולנקבה:
והנה בני אליפז שבעה, והם האלופים הנזכרים לו, אבל החליפו שם זה הקטן בעבור היות שמו כשם הפילגש, שלא יחשב כבנה, וקראוהו קרח בעלותו למעלת אלוף:

"And I further think about this verse that which our Sages said in the 32 middot (middah 11) by which aggadah is darshened: It should have been in order but it was divided, as is stated (II Divrei HaYamim 30:18)

יח  כִּי מַרְבִּית הָעָם רַבַּת מֵאֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה יִשָּׂשכָר וּזְבֻלוּן, לֹא הִטֶּהָרוּ--כִּי-אָכְלוּ אֶת-הַפֶּסַח, בְּלֹא כַכָּתוּב:  כִּי הִתְפַּלֵּל יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ עֲלֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר, ה הַטּוֹב יְכַפֵּר בְּעַד.18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it is written. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying: 'The good LORD pardon

And also those who chase the peshat say this in other pesukim. And so this is like: 'The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gaatam, Kenaz, and Timna.' And it returned and said that there was a concubine of Elifaz son of Esav, and she bore Amalek to Elifaz, and it did not mention the name of the concubine. And the truth is that she was {indeed} the sister of Lotan, Timna, and this was the reason that it did not mention her name, for it did not wish to state two times 'And Timna', for a male and a female.

And behold, the sons of Elifaz were seven, and these were the alufim mentioned regarding him, but they switched the name of the youngest since his name was the name of the concubine, so that he should not be considered as her son, and they called him Korach when he ascended to the status of Aluf."

I recall this pasuk and Ramban from Shadal's Vikuach al Chochmat HaKabbalah. In what I label part iv of his discussion of the age of trup, he notes that though Ramban will often heed the trup and nikkud, he still will diverge from the trup on occasion. Thus, as one of several examples Shadal provides:
And so too he reads {in Vayishlach, in Bereishit 36:11-12}
יא וַיִּהְיוּ, בְּנֵי אֱלִיפָז--תֵּימָן אוֹמָר, צְפוֹ וְגַעְתָּם וּקְנַז.
11 And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.
יב וְתִמְנַע הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ, לֶאֱלִיפַז בֶּן-עֵשָׂו, וַתֵּלֶד לֶאֱלִיפַז, אֶת-עֲמָלֵק; אֵלֶּה, בְּנֵי עָדָה אֵשֶׁת עֵשָׂו.
12 And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bore to Eliphaz Amalek. These are the sons of Adah Esau's wife.

וַיִּהְיוּ, בְּנֵי אֱלִיפָז--תֵּימָן אוֹמָר, צְפוֹ וְגַעְתָּם וּקְנַז וְתִמְנַע = "And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz, and Timna,"
and afterwards the verse
הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ, לֶאֱלִיפַז בֶּן-עֵשָׂו, וַתֵּלֶד לֶאֱלִיפַז, אֶת-עֲמָלֵק; אֵלֶּה, בְּנֵי עָדָה אֵשֶׁת עֵשָׂו = "There was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bore to Eliphaz Amalek. These are the sons of Adah Esau's wife."
And it does not elaborate upon the name of the concubine.
{And thus he ignores the pasuk division.}
When I first encountered this proof within Shadal, I did not take the time to learn Ramban carefully inside. One could take issue with Shadal's assertion, since the way he states it, it seems as if Ramban rejects the idea that Timna is a concubine, and thus argues on the trup. In truth, even as he argues on the trup, Ramban agrees with the conclusions of the trup, that Timna was the name of the concubine. He certainly argues with the trup on a "peshat" level, by saying that the intent of the two pesukim was to list Timna as a son, and to omit the name of the concubine. But still, since he does not reject the conclusions of the meaning conveyed by the trup, he could perhaps relegate the trup to conveying information in parallel, on a midrashic level. Yet, even if one could say this, Shadal still has a point, that Ramban is saying that one should parse the pesukim against the trup.

Let us consider Birkas Avraham:

I followed, and presented, many of his sources in the text above. He does not mention Chizkuni, but only Rashbam. And so, he makes the suggestion based on the psik by himself. And then he discovers that someone else offers a proof to Rashbam based on the same pesik. Namely, he cites the Sefer HaGan (presumably by Rabbi Aaron ben Yossi Ha-Cohen, of Northern France, around 1240). Chizkuni, as well, was in the 13th century.

See also the discussion in Haksav veHakabbalah here, at the start of perek 36.


At the end of the day, I do think that the trup and Divrei Hayamim are at odds. And I side more with the trup, though I see the legitimacy of Divrei Hayamim's reading. I don't think we should harmonize, or bring in the Timna from pasuk 22. This could be somewhat problematic to those (Rishonim) who attribute both the trup and Divrei Hayamim to Ezra haSofer. Surely Ezra would not contradict himself.


J. C. Salomon said...

I wonder: in the Samaritan Hexateuch, do they “fix” Yehoshua 13:7 in any way?

joshwaxman said...

An interesting q.
JNUL changed, so i have to find Vetus Testamentum again.

Zvika said...

Just a comment:

Yefet Ben Eli - a 9th century Karaite commentator from Iraq/Jerusalem - makes the nearly the exact same comment as Chizkuni about two people by the name of Timna' in his Arabic commentary on Divrei HaYamim (I have a photocopy of an Arabic manuscript).


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