Monday, June 12, 2017

Exodus 16 - a few verses with odd words

This chapter has some unusual words, like לגלגלת which I have rendered per individual. I changed another spot (where I had used the word unnecessarily and perhaps incorrectly in retrospect) to reserve this word individual for this very odd word. We have already seen the root גלגל in other contexts as Gilgal, or whirlwind, or tumbleweed, so I was really surprised to find this in the story of the manna in the key verse which NIV translates as

Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.

I am sure they have the sense of it. The Hebrew reads in the third person rather than the second and the oddball word is basically consumed by other common English glosses.

The other difficult word is חספס flaky. Both these words are produced by duplicating letters of a perhaps more common root: גלגלת from גלל, and חספס perhaps from חסף. The language game being played is a bit like calling the younger members of the family rugrats.

You get enough of the stampy flaky stuff - about a bale of it - for each of your rugrats in your tent.

Don't worry - that's not my rendering. Just what I'm thinking about the odd language that is (literally) glossed over in English translations.

So JB: Everyone must gather enough of it for his needs, one omer a head, according to the number of persons in your families.
or REB: Each of you is to gather as much as he can eat : let every man take an omer apiece for every person in his tent.
KJV is quite misleading for us: Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

Here's what I put. It seems to me that there is a careful wording so that no one is left out.
Glean from it each per mouth for it to eat.
A bale per individual, from the count of yourselves, each will take up for whoever is in its tent.

mouth it seems has another usage. I have to adjust some prior decisions about what root is what and which are related. This is a fascinating problem and I wonder to what extent I will be able to present what I find.

They had counted. The sense of individuality is here in the bread, and also the sense of family by tent with a gleaner/taker in each tent gathering on behalf of dependents.

As for the flaky stuff.
When the dew lying there went up,
then behold, over the surface of the wilderness, finely ground flaky stuff, finely ground as frost over the earth.

JB: When the coating of dew lifted, there on the surface of the desert was a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground.
REB: When the dew was gone, there over the surface of the wilderness fine flakes appeared, fine as hoar-frost on the ground.
NIV: When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.
KJV: And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.

Interesting examples - my awkwardness will continue. Slowly this week - important visitors at home.

Exodus 16 Fn Min Max Syll
וַתַּ֖עַל שִׁכְבַ֣ת הַטָּ֑ל
וְהִנֵּ֞ה עַל־פְּנֵ֤י הַמִּדְבָּר֙ דַּ֣ק מְחֻסְפָּ֔ס דַּ֥ק כַּכְּפֹ֖ר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ
14 When the dew lying there went up,
then behold, over the surface of the wilderness, finely ground flaky stuff, finely ground as frost over the earth.
3e 4C 7
20
וַיִּרְא֣וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וַיֹּ֨אמְר֜וּ אִ֤ישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו֙ מָ֣ן ה֔וּא כִּ֛י לֹ֥א יָדְע֖וּ מַה־ה֑וּא
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם ה֣וּא הַלֶּ֔חֶם אֲשֶׁ֨ר נָתַ֧ן יְהוָ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם לְאָכְלָֽה
15 And the children of Israel stared, and they said each to its kin, What is it?
For they did not know what it was, and Moses said to them, It is the bread that Yahweh has given to you for food.
3c 4C 23
23
זֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֔ה לִקְט֣וּ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ אִ֖ישׁ לְפִ֣י אָכְל֑וֹ
עֹ֣מֶר לַגֻּלְגֹּ֗לֶת מִסְפַּר֙ נַפְשֹׁ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם אִ֛ישׁ לַאֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּאָהֳל֖וֹ תִּקָּֽחוּ
16 C This is the thing which Yahweh commanded, Glean from it each per mouth for it to eat.
A bale per individual, from the count of yourselves, each will take up for whoever is in its tent.
3d 4C 20
23