Job 40:19b behemoth

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SteveMiller
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Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:27 pm

Referring to the behemoth:
Job 40:19 He is the first of the ways of God. He that made him brings near his sword.
ה֭וּא רֵאשִׁ֣ית דַּרְכֵי־אֵ֑ל הָ֜עֹשׂוֹ יַגֵּ֥שׁ חַרְבּֽוֹ׃

I don't think the 2nd 1/2 of the verse makes sense. At least, It should say "brings near his sword to him, but there is no "to him".
LXX says something very different:
This is the chief of the creation of the Lord; made to be played with by his angels. (Job 40:19 LXE)
העשׂו could mean "who was made" as in Job 41:33 in the parallel section about leviathon, but that doesn't work with the following verb here in 40:19 in MT.

It seems the LXX saw a different Hebrew text for the 2nd 1/2 of the verse. Can anyone reverse translate the LXX back to Hebrew to something at all similar to the MT text? Maybe the LXX saw חֲבֵר֑וֹ (his friend) instead of חַרְבּֽוֹ "his sword"?

Thanks.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

Saro Fedele
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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby Saro Fedele » Wed May 01, 2019 3:33 am

It's surely true that many Job's passages was made with high poetry style, then, often they come out difficult to translate. Job 40:19 is one of these cases.

At first glance the second part of this passage doesn't make sense - before now I've never analyzed it (though I did read in Hebrew it many times) - but, when you quoted the LXX reading, suddenly something clicked in my mind.

Emanuel Tov remember us (Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, many pages) that "[MT] is no more reliable than [LXX] or certain Qumran texts. The application of this rule reflects an inappropriate preference for [MT]." (p. 273).
So, if we considerate the LXX reading - at best - as an imaginative text, we cannot grasp the real meaning of the passage.

Now, we try to apply this balanced Tov's principle to the dissertation on Job 40:19, so we may discover a very interesting fact.
Outwardly, it seems there's no connection between 'sword' (MT) and 'angels' (LXX), but is it really so?

In the MT verbs' corpus we have two allomorphic & homosemantic roots (with the average meaning 'to waver, skid, slip') חשׁל (Deu 25:18), and כשׁל (Lev 26:37). These roots indicate that sometimes happened a change in the first radical of the original root with the meaning I've cited above, a swap between the following letters ח <> כ. I don't bore you with hundreds of quotations from MT to show that this kind of graphemes' changes really happened in ancient.

Here, the example I've made, is enough to demonstrate the possibility that - in ancient times - the graphemes 'kaph' and 'hheth' were, sometimes, swapped each other.

So, if we performing a swap between these letters in the passage we are disserting on, what spring up?

Simply, that חרב ('sword') becomes כרב ('cherub')!

Than, what was - probably - the 'original' reading of the passage?
הוא ראשׁית דרכי־אל העשׂו [כי] יגשׁ כרבים


"It (is the) beginning of God's ways, realized so cherubs may draw near to it".

This matches quite perfectly with the LXX reading, and - perhaps - answers to your question.

A conclusion of this kind (it implies - probably) that men aren't able to stand before a huge beast like it, only angels can) seems to me confirming the supposition that 'behemoth' (described in Job 40:15-24) wasn't a simple hyppo but a ancient huge dinosaur (see, for an example, the description of Behemoth's tail in 17a) that probably God made to see Job through a vision.

P.S. Don't refrain you to correct my mistake about my English wording.

Saro Fedele

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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby kwrandolph » Thu May 02, 2019 1:35 am

Saro Fedele wrote:Emanuel Tov remember us (Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, many pages) that "[MT] is no more reliable than [LXX] or certain Qumran texts. The application of this rule reflects an inappropriate preference for [MT]." (p. 273).
So, if we considerate the LXX reading - at best - as an imaginative text, we cannot grasp the real meaning of the passage.


There’s a big problem with the LXX, namely that by that time many Biblical Hebrew words were forgotten, which resulted in sometimes rather creative translations in the LXX.

An example is the Hebrew verb כאר which is used only once. The translators of the LXX assumed that it was a misspelling for the word כרה mistake #1, their second mistake was to assume that כרה had the meaning of “to dig”. Actually כרה has the meaning of “to furnish as in to provide” which, in the case of a well being provided, it was through the actions of digging. But there are other provisions that are not provided through digging, as in Genesis 50:5, Proverbs 16:27, 26:27.

The verb כאר is used only once as a verb with the meaning of deforming, twisting out of shape, once as a gerund referring to a person’s writhing out of shape in Isaiah 38:13, once as a noun, the actor that does an action of distorting Amos 8:8. This is not the only example, just the one I could think of without looking it up.

Saro Fedele wrote:Now, we try to apply this balanced Tov's principle to the dissertation on Job 40:19, so we may discover a very interesting fact.
Outwardly, it seems there's no connection between 'sword' (MT) and 'angels' (LXX), but is it really so?

In the MT verbs' corpus we have two allomorphic & homosemantic roots (with the average meaning 'to waver, skid, slip') חשׁל (Deu 25:18), and כשׁל (Lev 26:37).


Nope, neither word has the meaning of “to waver, skid, slip”. חשׁל is used only once in the context of “straggler”. כשׁל is used for tripping or stumbling, leading to a fall. Those two words sounded significantly different in Biblical times.

Saro Fedele wrote: These roots indicate that sometimes happened a change in the first radical of the original root with the meaning I've cited above, a swap between the following letters ח <> כ. I don't bore you with hundreds of quotations from MT to show that this kind of graphemes' changes really happened in ancient.

Here, the example I've made, is enough to demonstrate the possibility that - in ancient times - the graphemes 'kaph' and 'hheth' were, sometimes, swapped each other.


One example which can be shown not to be an example of what you say, is not enough to show that the two graphemes were sometimes swapped in ancient times. You need to show more examples.

Saro Fedele wrote:
Saro Fedele


In analyzing Job 40:19, we need to consider all meanings, not just the most common.

For example, the verb ‎חרב has the meaning of “to desolate in the sense of removing (inhabitants, water), to make into nothing ⇒ to dry (up) when dealing with waters, rivers”. A derived noun ‎חרב meant “dry(ness, desolation)”, while חרב meant a sharp cutting tool, sword. Which meaning fits the context of this verse? Would “desolation” fit the context better? Just changing that one word alone gives us “his maker causes his desolation to approach.”

What other ideas can youall think of?

Karl W. Randolph.

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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby Saro Fedele » Fri May 03, 2019 4:43 pm

@ Karl W. Randolph

Thanks for your interesting comments.

(1) You said:
"There’s a big problem with the LXX, namely that by that time many Biblical Hebrew words were forgotten, which resulted in sometimes rather creative translations in the LXX."


Sure, but Hebrew scholars know that the same could be said the other way round, that is, sometimes the MT has 'rather creative' wording unlike a correct translation of LXX (or other ancient versions). This happens because the LXX - more probably - had some base-texts quite different respecting the MT base-texts. I think is unnecessary that I cite you examples to back this known fact (in every case, to you request, I'll able to cite you samples of them). According my viewpoint, it is necessary to get a translation's eclectic mode, collating all the ancient Bible textual witnesses - through the control performed by the textual criticism - try to get the translation more nearer to the 'original' (being respectful to the global Bible context).


(2) You said:
"Nope, neither word has the meaning of “to waver, skid, slip”. חשׁל is used only once in the context of “straggler”. כשׁל is used for tripping or stumbling, leading to a fall. Those two words sounded significantly different in Biblical times. One example which can be shown not to be an example of what you say, is not enough to show that the two graphemes were sometimes swapped in ancient times. You need to show more examples."


The semantic link between the two roots cited by me was foresaw yet in the past. In fact, for a couple of examples (bold is mine), Benjamin Davies (A Compendious and Complete Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, 1879, p. 236) on חשׁל wrote: “[…] prob[ably] akin to (which see),כשׁל […].”; and, on p. 309 (on כשׁל) he wrote: “[…] perh[aps] akin to חשׁל […] to totter […].”
Along the same lines, Julius Fuerst (A Hebrew & Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, 1885), on חשׁל wrote: “[…] to reel to and fro, to totter; hence to be week, decaying, feeble, exhausted, a collateral form of כשׁל (which see) […].” And on p. 705, on כשׁל he wrote: “[…] to totter to and fro; to waver […]; not connected with כסל (which see) but certainly with חשׁל […]; hence to stagger […], to totter […].”

Another aspect to considerate is linked with the math probability (although I'm not able to quantify it exactly) of the matter. What could be the ratio of probability that two verbal roots like חשׁל/כשׁל which have in common 2 radicals on 3 (66,6 period), along with their meaning in common also, aren't linked each other? I leave this calculation to other more math-experienced than me.

So, taking into consideration the information presented before, it is reasonable to conclude that the letters 'hheth' and 'kaph' were - in ancient - sometimes swapped, even into the Bible Hebrew language. So, it is also reasonable to estimate the possibility that this swapping - between חרב ('sword') and כרב ('cherub') - can be the solution of Job 40:19's meaning.

The last aspect is about the general meaning of the verse.
The traditional translation revolved around the term 'sword' hasn't the full meaning of a wording including the term 'cherub'. According the Bible the major difference between angels and men focusing on power, strenght (Psa 103:20; 2 The 1:7; 2 Pet 2:11). So, if only cherubs were able to draw near a 'Behemoth' (and, 'play with him', according LXX) - like the verse tell us - this give us a clue of what kind of animal it were.

Granted, what has persuaded me (and other scholars in the past) may not persuade others in the same amount, realistically.

Saro Fedele

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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby kwrandolph » Sat May 04, 2019 10:40 am

Saro Fedele wrote:Sure, but Hebrew scholars know that the same could be said the other way round, that is, sometimes the MT has 'rather creative' wording unlike a correct translation of LXX (or other ancient versions).


True. At the same time, sometimes both are creative, such as Deuteronomy 32:43 where neither LXX nor MT make sense, but the DSS version is good Biblical Hebrew.

Saro Fedele wrote:I think is unnecessary that I cite you examples to back this known fact (in every case, to you request, I'll able to cite you samples of them).


I didn’t say “in every case”, but more than one if you want to show a pattern. One questionable example isn’t enough.

Saro Fedele wrote:According my viewpoint, it is necessary to get a translation's eclectic mode, collating all the ancient Bible textual witnesses - through the control performed by the textual criticism - try to get the translation more nearer to the 'original' (being respectful to the global Bible context).


I’m not sure what you mean by this, especially by your use of “eclectic mode”.

Saro Fedele wrote:(2) You said:
"[i]Nope, neither word has the meaning of “to waver, skid, slip”. חשׁל is used only once in the context of “straggler”. כשׁל is used for tripping or stumbling, leading to a fall. Those two words sounded significantly different in Biblical times.


The semantic link between the two roots cited by me was foresaw yet in the past. In fact, for a couple of examples (bold is mine), Benjamin Davies … Along the same lines, Julius Fuerst…


Where did they get their understandings? Was it from Tiberian Hebrew, which was even later than the LXX? Was it from Aramaic, the native language of all Jews from the Babylonian exile until the Greek period and of many Jews for centuries later? Was that under the influence of Gesenius, who was a member of a group of “scholars” who were anti-Semites who thought Jews were incapable of higher thought before the Greek period?

The word חשל in the Aramaic of Daniel meant “to grind”.

The word חשל is not found in the DSS as the scroll there is too fragmentary.

Proper linguistic practices look at how words are actually used without philosophic pre-considerations, such as used by Gesenius.

Saro Fedele wrote:Another aspect to considerate is linked with the math probability (although I'm not able to quantify it exactly) of the matter. What could be the ratio of probability that two verbal roots like חשׁל/כשׁל which have in common 2 radicals on 3 (66,6 period), along with their meaning in common also, aren't linked each other? I leave this calculation to other more math-experienced than me.


You haven’t shown by good evidence that they had a common meaning.

Saro Fedele wrote:So, taking into consideration the information presented before, it is reasonable to conclude that the letters 'hheth' and 'kaph' were - in ancient - sometimes swapped, even into the Bible Hebrew language.


You haven’t demonstrated your thesis yet. To do that, you need to cite at least two or three more examples to demonstrate that such a pattern of swapping occurred. One questionable example is not enough.

Saro Fedele wrote:So, it is also reasonable to estimate the possibility that this swapping - between חרב ('sword') and כרב ('cherub') - can be the solution of Job 40:19's meaning.


At the same time, a perfectly good understanding of the verse can be made without changing a letter. All is needed is to consider all the possibilities available in the consonantal text.

Saro Fedele wrote:The last aspect is about the general meaning of the verse.
The traditional translation revolved around the term 'sword' hasn't the full meaning of a wording including the term 'cherub'.


I agree that the meaning of “sword” doesn’t make sense, but with יגש as a yiqtol verb in the hophal binyan, and חרב in its meaning of “desolation” (most likely had a different pronunciation than “sword”) we get a reading that’s good Biblical Hebrew.

Saro Fedele wrote:Granted, what has persuaded me (and other scholars in the past) may not persuade others in the same amount, realistically.


True.

Saro Fedele wrote:Saro Fedele


Karl W. Randolph.

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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby SteveMiller » Sun May 05, 2019 9:46 pm

Saro Fedele wrote:Simply, that חרב ('sword') becomes כרב ('cherub')!

Than, what was - probably - the 'original' reading of the passage?
הוא ראשׁית דרכי־אל העשׂו [כי] יגשׁ כרבים


"It (is the) beginning of God's ways, realized so cherubs may draw near to it".

This matches quite perfectly with the LXX reading, and - perhaps - answers to your question.


Thanks very much, Saro. This is excellent.
Minimizing the changes to the MT and also respecting the singular יגשׁ, I would get:
הוא ראשׁית דרכי־אל העשׂו [כי] יגשׁ כרבו
It is the beginning of the way of God, made [for] His cherub to approach.

There are some problems:
1. singular cherub is always spelled with a yod, ‎ כְּר֙וּב, but maybe כרבו was כרוב.
2. כרוב and כרבים are never translated as "angels" by LXX. Always as cherub and cherubim.

There is also a similar LXX to MT descrepancy in Job 41:33.
DBY Job 41:33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.
‎ WTT Job 41:25 אֵֽין־עַל־עָפָ֥ר מָשְׁל֑וֹ הֶ֜עָשׂ֗וּ לִבְלִי־חָֽת׃
LXA Job 41:24 There is nothing upon the earth like to him, formed to be sported with by my angels.


In this case the MT makes sense. I just wonder if in trying to reconcile LXX to MT here, it may shed light on Job 40:19.

Saro Fedele wrote:A conclusion of this kind (it implies - probably) that men aren't able to stand before a huge beast like it, only angels can) seems to me confirming the supposition that 'behemoth' (described in Job 40:15-24) wasn't a simple hyppo but a ancient huge dinosaur (see, for an example, the description of Behemoth's tail in 17a) that probably God made to see Job through a vision.

I don't see the behemoth as a fearsome beast. The animals play by him (v20).
The huge tail rules out the hippo and elephant.
He has a navel (v16), which dinosaurs don't have.
I think it is of the manatee family: manatee, dugong, or extinct sea cow.
These are the only animals with solid bones (no marrow) v18.
The salt water species are the thirstiest creatures in the world v23.

So I take the meaning more like how the LXX translated it, that the cherubs like to draw near to it to watch the funny creature.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

kwrandolph
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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby kwrandolph » Mon May 06, 2019 1:09 pm

SteveMiller wrote:
Saro Fedele wrote:A conclusion of this kind (it implies - probably) that men aren't able to stand before a huge beast like it, only angels can) seems to me confirming the supposition that 'behemoth' (described in Job 40:15-24) wasn't a simple hyppo but a ancient huge dinosaur (see, for an example, the description of Behemoth's tail in 17a) that probably God made to see Job through a vision.

I don't see the behemoth as a fearsome beast. The animals play by him (v20).
The huge tail rules out the hippo and elephant.
He has a navel (v16), which dinosaurs don't have.
I think it is of the manatee family: manatee, dugong, or extinct sea cow.
These are the only animals with solid bones (no marrow) v18.
The salt water species are the thirstiest creatures in the world v23.


Let’s take the assumption that God created the universe less than 10,000 years ago, what would we expect to find?

• Dinosaurs were created at the same time as mankind Job 40:15
• That there would be historical references to dinosaurs, albeit under different names.
• That there would be ancient statuary and images of dinosaurs
• That there may be references even today of living dinosaurs.

The last three points above are true.

Among the ancient images are found drawings depicting sauropods giving live birth (thus they had navels) with udders so they could suckle their young. So who do we believe: the ancients who drew what they saw, or moderns who never saw a living example?

There are still reports of dinosaurs being sighted in remote areas of New Guinea, western Australia and central Africa, all three areas with very rugged terrain and very hard to get to.

So getting back to Job, we find the behemawote (my poor attempt of reconstructing original pronunciation) apparently having a small head at the end of a long neck, a huge tail. so large it has no natural enemies, prefers to live in swamps, marshes and rivers, the first (in grandeur, not temporal) among God’s creatures, yet “its maker can bring its destruction/desolation” (Job 40:19).

Karl W. Randolph.

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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby Jemoh66 » Wed May 08, 2019 5:05 pm

It seems to me Karl that "sword" carries the same idea as "desolation". "Demise" might be a nice translation option. But my point is the idea of a sword works fine for me. I think it's a hunting reference and it serves well as a parallel to the "hook" of Leviathan, as fishing and hunting would be parallel notions.

Job 41:1
Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? ... "Can you catch Leviathan with a hook or put a noose around its jaw?

Interestingly Isaiah uses that very idea with Leviathan. So in Job "his sword" would mean God's sword, behemoth's maker.
Isaiah 27:1
In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

Isaac Fried
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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby Isaac Fried » Wed May 08, 2019 9:29 pm

Seems to me that הָעֹשׂוֹ יַגֵּשׁ חַרְבּוֹ means that the creator, הָעֹשׂוֹ, of the big beast, the behemoth בְּהֵמוֹת, endowed, יַגֵּשׁ, him, namely the בְּהֵמוֹת, with his (the בְּהֵמוֹת) means, חַרְבּוֹ, of violence and destruction. In short, God made the behemoth fearsome upon creation.

It appears to me that Job vividly describes scenes from the volcanic regions of east Africa.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Re: Job 40:19b behemoth

Postby SteveMiller » Thu May 09, 2019 8:36 pm

Isaac Fried wrote:Seems to me that הָעֹשׂוֹ יַגֵּשׁ חַרְבּוֹ means that the creator, הָעֹשׂוֹ, of the big beast, the behemoth בְּהֵמוֹת, endowed, יַגֵּשׁ, him, namely the בְּהֵמוֹת, with his (the בְּהֵמוֹת) means, חַרְבּוֹ, of violence and destruction. In short, God made the behemoth fearsome upon creation.

It appears to me that Job vividly describes scenes from the volcanic regions of east Africa.

Isaac Fried, Boston University


Isaac, What you say makes sense except that יַגֵּשׁ never means "endowed" as far as I know.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)


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