Friday, November 27, 2015

2 Kings 1 - another sickness story

Can tribes and nations 'sin' (a carelessly used gloss) or transgress (my concordant gloss for verse 1) against each other? Shouldn't be hard for a modern person to answer this in the affirmative. Can my nation sin or transgress against another? Some will have a harder time answering this in the affirmative. Believe it, righteous ones and saints, you can corporately sin against the other. Especially those of you whose 'merchants are as numerous as the stars of heaven'.

Your / our nation can also change its spirit and do good rather than evil (if we can tell the difference).

We have to hear the criticism. And in this passage it is introduced by four levels of indirect speech! Maybe we are deaf. Baalzebub, the lord of the flies, and all those other molten images, don't be confused by ancient idolatry. It's all the same today, sex and money and other powers that seduce.

There is a clear pattern of recurring words in this chapter, 36 that recur more than twice (53 if I don't restrict them). But its not poetry so though I could produce a pretty picture, it would not be readable anyway. It is instructive though to sing through the music and hear the recurrence and non-recurrence. E.g. compare verses 3 and 6 and my choice of ambling (הלך, walk) as a gloss for 3 since the music descends so low, where in the same phrase in verse 6, there are no low notes and the word is send (שׁלך) rather than הלך. I sense a touch of sarcasm.

The three-fold killing of the companies of 50 seems also to be symbolic rather than exact. But what symbolic of? Perhaps a political reality that we do not hear clearly. Certainly there is a tug of war between Elijah (Yahweh) and Jeroboam. And there is considerable play on going up (ascending) and coming down (descending) and I suspect there will be a great deal of this imagery in the Elijah cycle.
2 Kings 1
וַיִּפְשַׁ֤ע מוֹאָב֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אַחֲרֵ֖י מ֥וֹת אַחְאָֽב 1 And Moab transgressed against Israel after the death of Ahab.
וַיִּפֹּ֨ל אֲחַזְיָ֜ה בְּעַ֣ד הַשְּׂבָכָ֗ה בַּעֲלִיָּת֛וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּשֹׁמְר֖וֹן וַיָּ֑חַל
וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח מַלְאָכִ֔ים וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵהֶם֙ לְכ֣וּ דִרְשׁ֗וּ בְּבַ֤עַל זְבוּב֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י עֶקְר֔וֹן אִם־אֶחְיֶ֖ה מֵחֳלִ֥י זֶֽה
2 And Achaziyah fell through the fretwork in his upper room that was in Samaria and was ill.
And he sent messengers and he said to them, Go search out from Baalzebub the God of Eqron if I will survive this illness.
וּמַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהוָ֗ה דִּבֶּר֙ אֶל־אֵלִיָּ֣ה הַתִּשְׁבִּ֔י ק֣וּם עֲלֵ֔ה לִקְרַ֖את מַלְאֲכֵ֣י מֶֽלֶךְ־שֹׁמְר֑וֹן
וְדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם הַֽמִבְּלִ֤י אֵין־אֱלֹהִים֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אַתֶּם֙ הֹֽלְכִ֔ים לִדְרֹ֕שׁ בְּבַ֥עַל זְב֖וּב אֱלֹהֵ֥י עֶקְרֽוֹן
3 But the messenger of Yahweh spoke to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise. Go up to encounter the messengers of king of Samaria,
and speak to them, Is it that there is no God in Israel you are ambling to search out Baalzebub, the God of Eqron?
וְלָכֵן֙ כֹּֽה־אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה הַמִּטָּ֞ה אֲשֶׁר־עָלִ֥יתָ שָּׁ֛ם לֹֽא־תֵרֵ֥ד מִמֶּ֖נָּה כִּ֣י מ֣וֹת תָּמ֑וּת
וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ אֵלִיָּֽה
4 And therefore thus says Yahweh, From the couch that you have ascended to, there you will not be coming down from it, for it is your deathbed.
וַיָּשׁ֥וּבוּ הַמַּלְאָכִ֖ים אֵלָ֑יו
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֖ם מַה־זֶּ֥ה שַׁבְתֶּֽם
5 And the messengers returned back to him.
And he said to them why this turning back?
וַיֹּאמְר֨וּ אֵלָ֜יו אִ֣ישׁ ׀ עָלָ֣ה לִקְרָאתֵ֗נוּ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלֵינוּ֮ לְכ֣וּ שׁוּבוּ֮ אֶל־הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֣ח אֶתְכֶם֒ וְדִבַּרְתֶּ֣ם אֵלָ֗יו כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה הַֽמִבְּלִ֤י אֵין־אֱלֹהִים֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אַתָּ֣ה שֹׁלֵ֔חַ לִדְרֹ֕שׁ בְּבַ֥עַל זְב֖וּב אֱלֹהֵ֣י עֶקְר֑וֹן
לָ֠כֵן הַמִּטָּ֞ה אֲשֶׁר־עָלִ֥יתָ שָּׁ֛ם לֹֽא־תֵרֵ֥ד מִמֶּ֖נָּה כִּֽי־מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת
6 And they said to him, Someone came up and encountered us and he said to us, Go. Return to the king that sent you and speak to him, Thus says Yahweh, Is there no God in Israel that you are sending to search out Baalzebub, the God of Eqron?
Therefore from the couch that you have ascended to, there you will not be coming down from it, for it is your deathbed.
וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם מֶ֚ה מִשְׁפַּ֣ט הָאִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָלָ֖ה לִקְרַאתְכֶ֑ם
וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵיכֶ֔ם אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה
7 And he spoke to them, What astuteness had this someone who came up to encounter you,
and spoke to you these words.
וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו אִ֚ישׁ בַּ֣עַל שֵׂעָ֔ר וְאֵז֥וֹר ע֖וֹר אָז֣וּר בְּמָתְנָ֑יו
וַיֹּאמַ֕ר אֵלִיָּ֥ה הַתִּשְׁבִּ֖י הֽוּא
8 And they said to him, Someone of lordly hair, girt with a skin girdle on his loins.
And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
וַיִּשְׁלַ֥ח אֵלָ֛יו שַׂר־חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וַחֲמִשָּׁ֑יו
וַיַּ֣עַל אֵלָ֗יו וְהִנֵּה֙ יֹשֵׁב֙ עַל־רֹ֣אשׁ הָהָ֔ר וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלָ֔יו אִ֚ישׁ הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים הַמֶּ֥לֶךְ דִּבֶּ֖ר רֵֽדָה
9 And he sent to him a chief of fifty and his fifty.
And he ascended to him, and behold, he is sitting on the top of the hill. And he spoke to him, Man of God. The king has spoken. Come down.
וַיַּעֲנֶ֣ה אֵלִיָּ֗הוּ וַיְדַבֵּר֮ אֶל־שַׂ֣ר הַחֲמִשִּׁים֒ וְאִם־אִ֤ישׁ אֱלֹהִים֙ אָ֔נִי תֵּ֤רֶד אֵשׁ֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְתֹאכַ֥ל אֹתְךָ֖ וְאֶת־חֲמִשֶּׁ֑יךָ
וַתֵּ֤רֶד אֵשׁ֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַתֹּ֥אכַל אֹת֖וֹ וְאֶת־חֲמִשָּֽׁיו
10 And Elijah answered and he spoke to the chief of the fifty, If I am a man of God, let fire come down from the heavens and devour you and and your fifty.
And fire came down from the heavens and devoured him and his fifty.
וַיָּ֜שָׁב וַיִּשְׁלַ֥ח אֵלָ֛יו שַׂר־חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים אַחֵ֖ר וַחֲמִשָּׁ֑יו
וַיַּ֙עַן֙ וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלָ֔יו אִ֚ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים כֹּֽה־אָמַ֥ר הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ מְהֵרָ֥ה רֵֽדָה
11 And he turned and he sent to him a chief of another fifty and his fifty.
And he answered and he spoke to him, Man of God, thus says the king, Swiftly come down.
וַיַּ֣עַן אֵלִיָּה֮ וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶם֒ אִם־אִ֤ישׁ הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אָ֔נִי תֵּ֤רֶד אֵשׁ֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְתֹאכַ֥ל אֹתְךָ֖ וְאֶת־חֲמִשֶּׁ֑יךָ
וַתֵּ֤רֶד אֵשׁ־אֱלֹהִים֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַתֹּ֥אכַל אֹת֖וֹ וְאֶת־חֲמִשָּֽׁיו
12 And Elijah answered and he spoke to them, If I am a man of God, let fire come down from the heavens and devour you and your fifty.
And the fire of God came down from the heavens and devoured him and his fifty.
וַיָּ֗שָׁב וַיִּשְׁלַ֛ח שַׂר־חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים שְׁלִשִׁ֖ים וַחֲמִשָּׁ֑יו
וַיַּ֡עַל וַיָּבֹא֩ שַׂר־הַחֲמִשִּׁ֨ים הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֜י וַיִּכְרַ֥ע עַל־בִּרְכָּ֣יו ׀ לְנֶ֣גֶד אֵלִיָּ֗הוּ וַיִּתְחַנֵּ֤ן אֵלָיו֙ וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלָ֔יו אִ֚ישׁ הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים תִּֽיקַר־נָ֣א נַפְשִׁ֗י וְנֶ֨פֶשׁ עֲבָדֶ֥יךָֽ אֵ֛לֶּה חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים בְּעֵינֶֽיךָ
13 And he turned and he sent a third chief of fifty and his fifty.
And he ascended and came in, the chief of the third fifty, and bowed down on his knees before Elijah and made supplication to him and he spoke to him. Man of God, let, if you will, my being and the being of your servants these fifty be precious in your eyes.
הִ֠נֵּה יָ֤רְדָה אֵשׁ֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַ֠תֹּאכַל אֶת־שְׁנֵ֞י שָׂרֵ֧י הַחֲמִשִּׁ֛ים הָרִאשֹׁנִ֖ים וְאֶת־חֲמִשֵּׁיהֶ֑ם
וְעַתָּ֕ה תִּיקַ֥ר נַפְשִׁ֖י בְּעֵינֶֽיךָ
14 Behold, there came fire from the heavens and devoured the two chiefs of the former fifties and their fifties.
So now, let my being be precious in your eyes.
וַיְדַבֵּ֞ר מַלְאַ֤ךְ יְהוָה֙ אֶל־אֵ֣לִיָּ֔הוּ רֵ֣ד אוֹת֔וֹ אַל־תִּירָ֖א מִפָּנָ֑יו
וַיָּ֛קָם וַיֵּ֥רֶד אוֹת֖וֹ אֶל־הַמֶּֽלֶךְ
15 And the messenger of Yahweh spoke to Elijah, Descend with him. Do not fear his presence.
And he arose and descended with him to the king.
וַיְדַבֵּ֨ר אֵלָ֜יו כֹּֽה־אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֗ה יַ֜עַן אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֣חְתָּ מַלְאָכִים֮ לִדְרֹשׁ֮ בְּבַ֣עַל זְבוּב֮ אֱלֹהֵ֣י עֶקְרוֹן֒ הַֽמִבְּלִ֤י אֵין־אֱלֹהִים֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לִדְרֹ֖שׁ בִּדְבָר֑וֹ
לָ֠כֵן הַמִּטָּ֞ה אֲשֶׁר־עָלִ֥יתָ שָּׁ֛ם לֹֽא־תֵרֵ֥ד מִמֶּ֖נָּה כִּֽי־מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת
16 And he spoke to him. Thus says Yahweh, Because you sent messengers to search out from Baalzebub, the God of Eqron, (is no there God in Israel to search out to speak to him?)
therefore from the couch that you have ascended to, there you will be not coming down from it, for it is your deathbed.
וַיָּ֜מָת כִּדְבַ֥ר יְהוָ֣ה ׀ אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֣ר אֵלִיָּ֗הוּ וַיִּמְלֹ֤ךְ יְהוֹרָם֙ תַּחְתָּ֔יו בִּשְׁנַ֣ת שְׁתַּ֔יִם לִיהוֹרָ֥ם בֶּן־יְהוֹשָׁפָ֖ט מֶ֣לֶךְ יְהוּדָ֑ה
כִּ֛י לֹֽא־הָ֥יָה ל֖וֹ בֵּֽן
17 And he died according to the word of Yahweh that Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead, in the second year of Jehoram, a child of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah,
for no there was for him son.
וְיֶ֛תֶר דִּבְרֵ֥י אֲחַזְיָ֖הוּ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה
הֲלֽוֹא־הֵ֣מָּה כְתוּבִ֗ים עַל־סֵ֛פֶר דִּבְרֵ֥י הַיָּמִ֖ים לְמַלְכֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
18 And the remaining words of Achaziah that he did,
are not they written in the record of the words of the days of the kings of Israel.


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