Nehemiah 4:17 - איש שלחו המים

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Jason Hare
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Nehemiah 4:17 - איש שלחו המים

Postby Jason Hare » Mon May 18, 2020 11:39 pm

Since Karl mentioned reading Nehemiah this past week, Jonathan Beck and I sat down on Zoom to read through the book together. Today we came to the end of chapter 4, and the last phrase of the chapter struck me as very odd.

Nehemiah 4:17
וְאֵ֨ין אֲנִ֜י וְאַחַ֣י וּנְעָרַ֗י וְאַנְשֵׁ֤י הַמִּשְׁמָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַֽחֲרַ֔י אֵין־אֲנַ֥חְנוּ פֹֽשְׁטִ֖ים בְּגָדֵ֑ינוּ אִ֖ישׁ שִׁלְח֥וֹ הַמָּֽיִם׃

The issue is אִישׁ שִׁלְחוֹ הַמָּ֫יִם. We saw the word שֶׁ֫לַח used several times in this chapter in reference to some sort of weapon. Holladay says "javelin, dart." Gesenius defines it as "a weapon, missile" and says that it specifically refers to "a sword."

I'm lost as to how to understand it in this verse.

The KJV seems to revocalize the word and turn it into a verb: "So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing."

It would seem to be read as אִישׁ שְׁלָחוֹ הַמַּ֫יִם each man cast it aside (?) (only when he got in) the water. That is, they kept their clothes on at all times except when bathing.

Both the NIV and the NAS tie it to שֶׁ֫לַח and says that each kept his weapon with him even when bathing.

How would you understand the expression here? Any help would be outstanding!
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com

ducky
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Re: Nehemiah 4:17 - איש שלחו המים

Postby ducky » Tue May 19, 2020 12:27 am

Hi Jason,

could be that it is to be "read" as
איש שלחו והמים
(which one V of the two was dropped, and it is as if the suffix V of שלחו also represents the prefix of the המים).

which means that each man in his guard stands with his weapon and his water.
David Hunter

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Jason Hare
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Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
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Re: Nehemiah 4:17 - איש שלחו המים

Postby Jason Hare » Tue May 19, 2020 12:40 pm

Ah, so איששלחווהמים might possibly have dropped the second vav? What if it just joined to the wrong word:

איששלחוהמים ← איש|שלח|והמים
איששלחוהמים ← איש|שלחו|המים
איששלחו[ו]המים ← איש|שלחו|[ו]המים

I hope we get some more suggestions, too. The text is problematic to me.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com

ducky
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:01 pm

Re: Nehemiah 4:17 - איש שלחו המים

Postby ducky » Tue May 19, 2020 2:27 pm

There are more cases when one letter starts a word, and this letter also ends the previous word, so it is dropped in one of them.

the form of איש שלחו is also found in other places, so it should stay.

So maybe it is איש שלחו (ו)המים
as each man stays with his weapon and his water
(in the story of David had the chance to kill Saul, it talks about his water next to his spear.

***
Maybe another suggestion would be that each man stays with his water even when he goes to wash himself?
David Hunter


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