Neh 1:3

The main place for discussion the Hebrew Bible, its language and message.
Forum rules
Members will observe the rules for respectful discourse at all times!
Please sign all posts with your first and last (family) name.
davew
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:55 pm

Neh 1:3

Postby davew » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:05 pm

I couldn't help noticing the phrase "burned with fire" and wondering "what else would they be burned with?"

I know Hebrew creates emphasis by repeating a root, "feared a fear," that sort of thing. I wonder if this is a similar type of idiom, some sort of emphasis? Or is it just the way they said it? Any thoughts?
Dave Washburn

My show page:
[url]http:www.irvingszoo.com[/url]

My online Josiah novel:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89444

My unmaintained biblical languages page:

http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur

S_Walch
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby S_Walch » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:27 pm

As it says ושעריה נצתו באש, I think it's safe to say it's "just they way they said it".

I personally would also translate it as "and its gates have been burned in the fire" rather than "with fire".

It might also be contrasting the burning of the gates with the breaking down of the Jerusalem wall. The gates were specifically "burned in the fire", compared to the walls which were broken down, but not burnt to the ground.

Should also note that this exact phrase also occurs in Neh 2:17.
Ste Walch

Yigal Levin
Moderator
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:38 am
Location: Tzur-Yigal, Israel

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby Yigal Levin » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:22 am

Actually, the root NTC נתצ does not mean "burn" but rather "smash". For example, Deut. 7:5: מִזְבְּחֹתֵיהֶם תִּתֹּצוּ, וּמַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּ; וַאֲשֵׁירֵהֶם תְּגַדֵּעוּן, וּפְסִילֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ. "break down their altars, smash their pillars, hew down their sacred poles, and burn their idols with fire."
So Neh. 1:3 is really "and its gates were smashed (brought down/destroyed) by fire.
Of course, you could ask the same question of Deut. 7:5's "burn their idols with fire" - what else would you burn them with? But human speech is often redundant.

Yigal Levin

S_Walch
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby S_Walch » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:45 am

Yigal Levin wrote:Actually, the root NTC נתצ does not mean "burn" but rather "smash".

Think you've got the wrong root here, Yigal: you appear to have read the ת and the צ the wrong way round. :)

The root is actually יצת ("kindled, burn") - Josh 8:8, Jer 9:9, Jer 51:58.

The phrase "burn (something) in the/with fire" appears quite frequently: Josh 8:8, 19; Jdg 9:49; 2 Sam 14:30, 31; Isa 33:12; Jer 51:58.
Ste Walch

kwrandolph
Posts: 906
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby kwrandolph » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:45 pm

davew wrote:I couldn't help noticing the phrase "burned with fire" and wondering "what else would they be burned with?"

I know Hebrew creates emphasis by repeating a root, "feared a fear," that sort of thing. I wonder if this is a similar type of idiom, some sort of emphasis? Or is it just the way they said it? Any thoughts?


Here I agree with Yigal Levin, that the word actually has the meaning of pulling down as a destructive act. So here fire was used to destroy the gates which had both wood and stone elements. Burn out the wood elements, then the stone parts were not effective.

The root actually is נתץ which, as is typical of a verb starting with a Nun, often has the initial Nun not expressed. It’s used over 40 times in Tanakh.

Karl W. Randolph.

S_Walch
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby S_Walch » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:53 pm

kwrandolph wrote:The root actually is נתץ which, as is typical of a verb starting with a Nun, often has the initial Nun not expressed. It’s used over 40 times in Tanakh.

Karl W. Randolph.


Surely we would expect to have נתצו (Jer 39:8; 52:14) here rather than נצתו if נתץ was the root?

How often do two main letters in roots get flipped in Hebrew? Of the 42 times נתץ appears in the Tanakh, I don't see the צ coming before the ת.

Edit:

Just did a quick search for יצת, and of its 27 uses in the Tanakh, only 5 of those instances don't have a mention of "fire" to go along with יצת:
2 Kings 22:13, 17; Isa 9:18(17) (although this does mention fire in the phrase before it); Jer 9:9; 51:30.

The other 22 all mention fire/אש:
Josh 8:8, 19; Jdg 9:49; 2 Sam 14:30 (x2), 31; Isa 33:12; Jer 11:16; 17:27; 21:14; 32:29; 43:12; 49:2, 27; 50:32; 51:58; Ezek 21:3; Amos 1:14; Lam 4:11; Neh 1:3; 2:17.

It appears that יצת + אש is a very common combination.

נתץ on the other hand, appears to stand by itself.
Ste Walch

davew
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby davew » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:02 pm

So it would appear that the phrase is somewhat idiomatic, if I'm following all this correctly.
Dave Washburn

My show page:
[url]http:www.irvingszoo.com[/url]

My online Josiah novel:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89444

My unmaintained biblical languages page:

http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur

S_Walch
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby S_Walch » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:34 pm

A ha, that's the word I was trying to remember to describe the combination of אש + יצת.

Yes, it's certainly idiomatic: "to burn with fire" = "destroy by the use of fire" = "burn down", with a specific emphasis on the destruction being caused by fire. Essentially, translating most of the phrases as "burn down" would be sufficient without having to mentioned fire.

נתץ certainly carries the same sense of destruction that יצת does, but from the looks of things it looks like it's more used in reference to things made of stone/rock (altars, walls etc., etc.): Lev 14:45; Jdg 8:9; 2 Kings 11:18; 2 Chron 36:19; Isa 22:10; Nah 1:6.
Ste Walch

kwrandolph
Posts: 906
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: Neh 1:3

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:45 pm

S_Walch wrote:
kwrandolph wrote:The root actually is נתץ which, as is typical of a verb starting with a Nun, often has the initial Nun not expressed. It’s used over 40 times in Tanakh.

Karl W. Randolph.


Surely we would expect to have נתצו (Jer 39:8; 52:14) here rather than נצתו if נתץ was the root?


Oh oh, it looks as if you’ve found a typo in the computer file of the WLC that I usually use. Or is this a variant reading?

When I look at both the Aleppo and WLC from the http://www.Crosswire.org site, both show נצתו.

I withdraw my previous statement.

Karl W. Randolph.


Return to “General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests