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Offline James  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, January 4, 2017 8:56:13 AM(UTC)
James
Joined: 10/23/2007(UTC)
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So I am have been translating these verses, and was wanting some feedback on it. Specifically verse 24-26, which gave me a real hard time because they really seem to lack context making determining who things are happening to dificult. Perhaps I am missing something that one of you might catch. Thanks.

And Moshe walked (halak – traveled to) and returned (suwb – turned back and returned to a previous place) and Yeter (yeter – remainder, that which is left or spared) his father in-law (hoten) and said to him, “I have a strong intention and an urgent need to walk (halak na – travel to, scribed in the cohortative conveying a strong intention, joined with na which is used to emphasize the urgency and strong desire of the speaker) and return (suwb – turn back and return to a previous place) to my brothers (‘aha – relatives and kinsmen) which relationally are in Mitrayim, and I have a strong desire to see (ra’ah – behold and perceive, scribed in the cohortative) whether or not they now (ha owd am) live (chay).”
And Yeter said to Moshe, “You must go and travel (halak – walk, scribed in the imperative) in completeness (shalowm - Completeness, wholeness, harmony, and fulfillment).”
And Yahowah said to Moshe in Midian
(midyan - an area usually defined as NW Arabia, though at times pushing into Trans-jordan and Sinai. Means strife or contention), “You must walk (halak – travel to, scribed in the imperative) returning to (suwb – turn back and return to a previous place, scribed in the imperative) Mitsrayim because indeed (kiy) dead (muwth) are all of the men (enowsh) who sought (baqas) your soul (nephesh – the essence of your life).”
And Moshe took and grasped hold of (laqah) his wife (issah) and his son (ben) and they rode (rakab – traveled on a vehicle) upon the donkey (hamor) returned to (suwb) the land (eretz – land and region) of Mitsrayim. And Moshe grasped hold of and took (laqah) the staff (mattah – rod used to support while traveling) of God in his hand (yad).
And Yahowah said unto Moshe, “When you walk (halak – travel to, scribed in the imperative) returning to (suwb – turn back and return to a previous place, scribed in the imperative) Mitsrayim you must see (ra’ah – behold and perceive, reveal and consider, pay attention to and experience) all of the wonders (mowpat - miracles) which relationally I placed and set (sim) in your hand (yad) and perform (asah – prepare, produce and do) them before Pharaoh’s face. And I will strengthen (hazaq – I will make stronger and more powerful, scribed in the piel meaning Yahowah will bring about this state) his heart (lebab - inner being, mind and understanding, heart and soul, knowledge and thinking, reflections and memories, inclinations and resolutions, your conscience and moral character, your emotions and passions) and he will not send out (lo salah – will not dispatch or send away) the people and family (‘am). And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what (koh) Yahowah has said, My sons, My firstborn (bikor) are Yisra’el, and I say unto you send out (salah – dispatch and send away) My sons and let them work and serve with (ebed) Me, but refuse or resist (ma’am) to send them out (salah), look and behold (hinneh) I will kill (harag – put a creature to death) your sons, your firstborn. And it came to exist on the path (derek – the way or journey) in the place of overnight lodging (malon – temporary overnight lodging, may be an inn, or just a place where you stop and pitch a tent) and Yahowah approached, came near and meet him (pagas – made a linear movement drawing near and approaching him, implying immediate interaction between the two) and He sought (baqas – scribed in the piel stem meaning the object, suffers the action of the verb) to cause him to die (muwth – end life, scribed in the hifil meaning the subject causes the object to participate in the action), but Sip’porah (sip’porah – Moshe’s wife, name meaning little bird or to chirp) took and grasped hold of (laqah) flint and cut off (karat – sever an object from its source) her son’s foreskin (arlah) and touched (naga – caused it to make physical contact with, hifil stem) his foot and she said, “Indeed (kiy) you are a bridegroom (hatan – literally a father’s daughter’s husband, the man of a relationship about to be married to a woman, the same as a son in law with a focus on or around the wedding) of blood (dam) to me.” And he became limp, disarmed and lacking power (rapah) because of it. Then she said, “Bridegroom (hatan – literally a father’s daughter’s husband, the man of a relationship about to be married to a woman, the same as a son in law with a focus on or around the wedding) of blood by means of the circumcision (muwl).”

What makes this section most interesting is the way it comes out of nowhere and ends abruptly. We have Moshe talking to his father in law about returning to Mitsrayim, as Yahowah had instructed him. Then his father in law tells him that he must go in completeness.

Just an aside before we continue, the word shalowm is almost always rendered peace, but is so much more. The general meaning behind the root shin lamed mem is of completion and fulfillment—of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says of Shalowm it means much more than mere absence of war. Rather, the root meaning of the verb šālēm better expresses the true concept of šālôm. Completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment, are closer to the meaning. Implicit in šālôm is the idea of unimpaired relationships with others and fulfillment in one’s undertaking and that it is the result of God’s activity in covenant (beryth), and is the result of righteousness.

Next Yahowah tells Moshe that he must return to Mitsrayim and that all those that sought his soul are dead. First worth noting is the use of the imperative here, which is why it is translated as must. It is easy to want to take the imperative and say that it is a command, but that would not be accurate, especially in this case. Recall the previous conversation and the use of the cohortative, a volitional steam. Yahowah is about choice, and Moshe was not being ordered or forced to do anything. And imperative implies that something must be done to bring about a desired consequence, not necessarily that if it is not done their will be punishment, as a command would imply. So it was imperative for Moshe to return to Israel, in other words he must return to bring about the freeing of his people. Had Moshe chosen not to engage in this mission Yahowah would not have punished him, or prevented him from walking away. Rather as we saw in the conversation between the two which lead to Yahowah telling Moshe that Aaron could be his mouthpiece, Yahowah would discuss and negotiate with him to bring about the desired result.

Also interesting here is that it says all those that sought his soul had died. I find the use of soul here instead of life interesting. We know that there would be those that sought his life as retribution for the life he had taken, but why then use soul here?

Next we come across something that while tangential to our topic is related so I wish to address it. Yahowah tells Moshe to perform all of the wonders He has given him, but that he will hazaq Pharaoh’s heart. This is a verse that is cited by many as proof of predestination, or at the very least a challenge to free will. This is almost universally rendered as I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he does not let the people go. You will notice that I did not translate hazaq as harden. This is because that is not what the word means, despite every translator translating it that way. Hazaq means to become strong, to be strong or to make strong. It conveys to have the ability to accomplish what is intended, implying an element of resolve is needed as well. So harden could be extrapolated from hazaq it would only be so in the sense of something that is hardened is strengthened, but not in the emotional sense of turning his heart against them. So all Yahowah is doing is giving him the strength and courage to carry out his convictions.

In this regard it is also important to understand the difference in how we today view heart versus how it was understood at the time. Today we tend to think of the heart as the seat of emotions, we would say someone put their heart into to convey that something was emotionally moving or that someone took great care and effort out of love. And while the Ancient Hebrew understanding would incorporate that to a degree, it was much more than that. Heart conveyed the inner being, the mind and understanding, it was said to be the seat of judgment, it spoke of knowledge and thinking, of reflections and memories, of inclinations and resolutions, of your conscience and moral character, your emotions and passions. So that is what Yahowah was strengthening.

Next thing to note here is we are told that Pharaoh will not let them go. So despite all of the signs and wonders that Yahowah gave Moshe, Pharaoh will stand convicted and not let them go. Then Yahowah tells us that His firstborn sons are Yisra’el, those who strive with and endure with God. He tells Moshe to tell pharaoh to send out His sons so that they might ‘ebed, ‘ebed is scribed in the jussive form which refers to a third person expression of volition, though the word itself is scribed in the first person. This duality is the reason I choose to render it word and serve with me, instead of the more traditional serve me.

Now after this we are given a very brief description of an encounter that occurred while on the way back to Mitsrayim. Before we jump into this section let me say that I find this difficult to translate because I am a huge fan of context, and we are not given much here. We are not told a lot about Moshe’s life prior to Yahowah approaching him beyond the very broad strokes, for example we do not know how long he dwelt with Yeter before taking Sip’porah as a wife, or how long they were married before she bore their son, or how old the son was when Yahowah approached Moshe, etc. We know he lived to be 120, and since the last 40 of those were in the wilderness we can conclude that at this time he was nearing 80. So when we read this section we are left to infer a lot. But since we are told this part of his story we can be sure Yahowah told us for a reason.

Also worth noting is that unfortunately nothing of Exodus 4:10-25 is extant in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and only four words of 26 are extant and they are …him…then she said...

So we know that they are on the way back to Mitsrayim and staying at an overnight stopping point. Then we are told that Yahowah approached and came near to meet and interact with “him”. We have two possible candidates for “him” the first would be to assume It is still speaking of Moshe. This makes sense because Moshe was the subject previously. The other possibility is that it is speaking of Moshe’s son since he is the one acted upon next. We will explorer the implications of both possibilities. So again we are not given much in the way of context here.

Next we are told the reason that Yahowah came near and approached him, because He sought to cause his death. We are not told why Yahowah is seeking to cause his death, we can infer based on what follows it is because Moshe had not circumcised his son since circumcising him is what resolves the situation.

Then we are told Sip’porah circumcises her son, and touches the foreskin to “his” foot. So again we have a few options for who is meant here. It could be the foot of the son, since he was the last male mentioned. It could be the foot of Moshe if we are to assume that Moshe was the one Yahowah came to. Or it could be the foot of Yahowah who is also present here. Again we will consider all options in a moment.

Next Sip’porah says indeed you are a bridegroom of blood. Once again we are left with possibilities as to who she is referring to. Most commonly it is said that she speaking to Moshe, but she could also be speaking to her son or to Yahowah.

The next part is usually rendered, “so He let him go” meaning Yahowah let Moshe go. But rapah does not mean let go, it means to become limp, lacking power and being defenseless. And that rendering ignores the use of min, which conveys a marker of the source of an event. Hu translated here as it is usually rendered as him in most translations, but since min means that hu is the source of the event I don’t think it can be applied to a person. The event can either be viewed as the actual circumcising of the son, the act of placing the foreskin at the feet, or the statement made.

So the next question is who became limp and defenseless, lacking power? I am leery to apply this to Yahowah as most translators do as I don’t picture Yahowah as ever being defenseless, limp or lame, and since rapah carries with it an association to fear or dread, though these are not always implied by rapah’s use. But it is still possible that Yahowah is the “he” in this sentence. The other options are again Moshe or Moshe’s son.

So now that we have discussed the linguistic nuances of this passage let’s examine the possible combination. So we need to determine:
1. Who Yahowah sought to kill? Moshe, or Moshe’s son.

2. Whose foot did she place the foreskin at? Moshe, the son, or Yahowah.

3. Who she spoke to calling them a bridegroom of blood? Moshe, the son, or Yahowah

4. What caused someone to go rapah? The circumcision, placing the foreskin at the feet, or what was said.

5. Who went rapah?

Regardless of who Yahowah sought to kill, based on the context we can assume that the reason was that the son was not circumcised. So it could be that Yahowah is going to kill Moshe’s son the way He did with Dowd’s because of Moshe’s flagrant disregard for Yahowah’s Towrah. Yahowah had selected Moshe to be His instrument for freeing His people, Moshe was reluctant at first, but agreed. But if Moshe were not willing to circumcise his son as Yahowah instructed then he was no longer fit for the task as such Yahowah could either cease using him, or attempt to course correct him. So if Moshe was the one Yahowah sought to kill it was because he was no longer fit to perform the role needed, but was already on his way to do it and letting him continue would be detrimental to Yahowah’s people. But if He were to engage and show Moshe the severity of the situation Moshe could correct and carry out his mission.

For those that are not comfortable with the idea of Yahowah killing a child keep in mind that as an uncircumcised male this son was not a member of the covenant, and had Moshe turned from Yahowah here it is likely the son never would be part of the covenant. However, by engaging the way He did Yahowah ensured that the son would be circumcised and would be raised by parents who were a part of the covenant, and so through His action the son will now live eternally in Yahowah’s home. Also much like When Yahowah instructed Abraham to take Yitshaq up, He knew going in that the son would not die.
At Whose feet did she place the foreskin? Answering this question, I believe answers the next one as well, it seems clear to me that she is speaking to the same person she places the foreskin at the feet of. So let’s look at what she said, and see if that helps us understand the recipient. Indeed, you are a bridegroom of blood to me. The word translated as bridegroom is hatan. At its verbal root hatan is to make oneself a daughter’s husband, as a noun it is a father’s daughter’s husband on or around the time of a wedding. With this in mind I think we can rule out the son as the one being addressed, since Sap’porah is not marrying her son. At this point she has been married to Moshe for at least long enough to have had a child with him, so she is not marrying him at this point. As Yahowah’s instructions are for a mother and father to circumcise their sons this could be viewed as her accepting the covenant, and so her speaking it to Yahowah would be her referring to Him as her husband.
So what about the of blood part you might ask. In Yahowah’s Word blood is used to symbolize life and the soul. We are told not to eat the blood of animals because the soul is in the blood. The blood of the Pesach lamb was spread on the door of the house, on the upright pillar and was dripped on the ark of the Covenant. The blood of the lamb is what causes death to Passover us, making us eternal. So to say Yahowah is a bridegroom of blood to her is to say that He is a husband of continuing and enduring life.

The final question is who went rapah? The usual translation here that He let him go comes from extrapolating out from rapah and assuming that Yahowah was holding onto in a threatening way Moshe. If this were the case and Yahowah release him then Moshe would likely have gone limp and be defenseless. But there is nothing to indicate that Yahowah was physically grasping anyone here. We are only told that Yahowah sought to kill him, not how or what actions he had taken. That said it could still be Moshe who went rapah, he could have been awestruck by what he had witnessed, and went limp from that. The same could be true for the son. And I know I said earlier that I am leery to ascribe this verb to Yahowah, but if you were to view it from a less literal sense of the word, rapah carries with it connotations of sinking down and lowering oneself. As well it can mean to disarm oneself. So from that perspective applying rapah to Yahowah it could be saying that lowered himself to be with His children, or even that because Sap’porah had circumcised their son that she and him were now protected under the covenant.

The last thing we read is Sap’porah reiterating what she said previously, but telling us that it is by means of the circumcision. So at least from her perspective circumcising her son was the act that brought her into the covenant. This is interesting because I often here the question of what about women, men are to be circumcised to participate in the covenant, but what about women? And my answer is that Yah instructed mothers and fathers to circumcise their sons.
Don't take my word for it, Look it up.

“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.” ― Ayn Rand
thanks 2 users thanked James for this useful post.
Fred Snell on 1/5/2017(UTC), Mike on 1/13/2017(UTC)
Offline ehadahaba  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, January 11, 2017 9:07:18 PM(UTC)
ehadahaba
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Was it Velikovsky that said that "firstborn" (of Pharaoh/Egypt(ians)) can also/alternatively mean chosen/choice / elect/elite? (You may know that but it just says firstborn in the passage translation. Or i may have missed it in first quick skim read.)
(Bikor is similar to word for monring in Genesis 1?)

The fuller/better meaning/translation of shalom is interesting thanks.
Offline James  
#3 Posted : Thursday, January 12, 2017 8:56:51 AM(UTC)
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Bikor does not speak of choosen so much as formost and prefered, so by extrapolation you could say choosen. Bikor is used to speak of the first and foremost in many respects (time, rank, etc.). It's relationship to the word for morning is because morning is the first part of the coming of light or day.
Don't take my word for it, Look it up.

“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.” ― Ayn Rand
Offline ehadahaba  
#4 Posted : Thursday, January 12, 2017 7:18:47 PM(UTC)
ehadahaba
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Thankyou James. That is more or less roughly the same as what i meant, just difficulty of not knew the exact correct words.

Interesting that mattah "staff/rod" is "rod used to support while traveling". Massey reckoned mateh "rod/staff" could also mean ship/boat.
(There is an Egyptian/Phoenician inscription not sure where but seems like possibly Sinai which reads "Bairthy (tutelary goddess of sailors) [of the] z-a_puna_q[m] nut za (make passage) za (fire stick) zau (sailors)", which i thought might possibly be connected with Re(e)d Sea crossing.)

Interesting too the meaning and the relationship to word for morning. Seems to confirm the thesis that "a day begins at sunrise" ( http://www.christianityb...a-day-begins-at-sunrise/ ).

(How long are forums moderated for?)

"S(h)alo(w)m" ("peace, absence of war, completeness/completion & fulfilment, harmony, (entering into a state of) wholeness & unity, a restored relationship, evening/setting sun, submission; the idea of unimpaired relationships with others & fulfillment in one’s undertaking & that it is the result of God’s activity in covenant, & is the result of righteousness").
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