Friday, May 08, 2015

Ibn Ezra on Lower Biblical Criticism, part iv

See part one, part two, and part three.

The context for the next suggested swap is as follows, in Shofetim 14:

יב  וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם שִׁמְשׁוֹן, אָחוּדָה-נָּא לָכֶם חִידָה:  אִם-הַגֵּד תַּגִּידוּ אוֹתָהּ לִי שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַמִּשְׁתֶּה, וּמְצָאתֶם--וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם שְׁלֹשִׁים סְדִינִים, וּשְׁלֹשִׁים חֲלִפֹת בְּגָדִים.12 And Samson said unto them: 'Let me now put forth a riddle unto you; if ye can declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of raiment;
יג  וְאִם-לֹא תוּכְלוּ, לְהַגִּיד לִי--וּנְתַתֶּם אַתֶּם לִי שְׁלֹשִׁים סְדִינִים, וּשְׁלֹשִׁים חֲלִיפוֹת בְּגָדִים; וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ--חוּדָה חִידָתְךָ, וְנִשְׁמָעֶנָּה.13 but if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of raiment.' And they said unto him: 'Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.'
יד  וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם, מֵהָאֹכֵל יָצָא מַאֲכָל, וּמֵעַז, יָצָא מָתוֹק; וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהַגִּיד הַחִידָה, שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים.14 And he said unto them: Out of the eater came forth food, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days declare the riddle.
טו  וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְאֵשֶׁת-שִׁמְשׁוֹן פַּתִּי אֶת-אִישֵׁךְ וְיַגֶּד-לָנוּ אֶת-הַחִידָה--פֶּן-נִשְׂרֹף אוֹתָךְ וְאֶת-בֵּית אָבִיךְ, בָּאֵשׁ; הַלְיָרְשֵׁנוּ, קְרָאתֶם לָנוּ הֲלֹא.15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife: 'Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire; have ye called us hither to impoverish us?'
טז  וַתֵּבְךְּ אֵשֶׁת שִׁמְשׁוֹן עָלָיו, וַתֹּאמֶר רַק-שְׂנֵאתַנִי וְלֹא אֲהַבְתָּנִי--הַחִידָה חַדְתָּ לִבְנֵי עַמִּי, וְלִי לֹא הִגַּדְתָּה; וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ, הִנֵּה לְאָבִי וּלְאִמִּי לֹא הִגַּדְתִּי--וְלָךְ אַגִּיד.16 And Samson's wife wept before him, and said: 'Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not; thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and wilt thou not tell it me?' And he said unto her: 'Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell thee?'
יז  וַתֵּבְךְּ עָלָיו שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים, אֲשֶׁר-הָיָה לָהֶם הַמִּשְׁתֶּה; וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וַיַּגֶּד-לָהּ כִּי הֱצִיקַתְהוּ, וַתַּגֵּד הַחִידָה, לִבְנֵי עַמָּהּ.17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted; and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she pressed him sore; and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
יח  וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, בְּטֶרֶם יָבֹא הַחַרְסָה, מַה-מָּתוֹק מִדְּבַשׁ, וּמֶה עַז מֵאֲרִי; וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם--לוּלֵא חֲרַשְׁתֶּם בְּעֶגְלָתִי, לֹא מְצָאתֶם חִידָתִי.18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down: What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them: If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

That is, in pasuk 12, Shimshon gives them a deadline of the seven days of the feast to solve the riddle. In pasuk 14, in three days they could not arrive at the answer. In pasuk 15, on the seventh day they spoke to Shimshon's wife. In pasuk 17, she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted, and finally elicits the answer from Shimson. In pasuk 18, they answer the riddle before the sun goes down on the seventh.

The difficulties are why they only approach her on the seventh day rather than the fourth. Further, how she is able to cry before Shimshon for all seven days when they only approach her after seven (or at least after the first three days).

The anonymous grammarian suggests that in pasuk 15, it should read fourth rather than seventh. This would be a simple switch of a resh for a shin. Ibn Ezra's words follow:

"[Shofetim 14:15]
וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְאֵשֶׁת-שִׁמְשׁוֹן - it is appropriate to be, according to the opinion of the mahavil [speaking of vanity and striving after wind] to be הָרְבִיעִי, since he found above [in pasuk 14] וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהַגִּיד הַחִידָה, שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים [for three days, such that this would be the fourth].
And he is not saying anything, and here is its explanation: They engaged and strove for three days to solve the riddle and were not able, and when they say this, they gave up on it. And once it was the seventh day, they said to Shimshon's wife, 'entice your husband', and because she pressed him sore on the seventh day because of the things they said, so that he would relate it to her, for so it written.
[Meanwhile], the meaning of 'and she wept to him for seven days', Scriptures is relating that she, by her own initiative, was crying all seven days in order that he relate to her the [answer to the] riddle, even though no one has asked her to do this."

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