Archive for March 2010

Why you should read the Bible everyday

March 1, 2010

I am currently marking up text to form the database that will be the corpus for my dissertation research. It is very boring work, but one of the benefits is that I am reading a lot of Bible, and because I’m pulling verbs at random, I am reading some obscure passages that I probably otherwise would not have noticed. Today, one of the verses I read was 2 Sam 18:18:

‏וְאַבְשָׁלֹ֣ם לָקַ֗ח וַיַּצֶּב־ל֤וֹ בְחַיָּו [בְ][חַיָּיו֙] אֶת־מַצֶּ֙בֶת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּעֵֽמֶק־הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ כִּ֤י אָמַר֙ אֵֽין־לִ֣י בֵ֔ן בַּעֲב֖וּר הַזְכִּ֣יר שְׁמִ֑י וַיִּקְרָ֤א לַמַּצֶּ֙בֶת֙ עַל־שְׁמ֔וֹ וַיִּקָּ֤רֵא לָהּ֙ יַ֣ד אַבְשָׁלֹ֔ם עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה
Now Absalom had taken and erected during his life the pillar which is in the Valley of the King because he thought, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He named the pillar after himself, but it is called “Absalom’s Dick” to this day.

Is that classic or what? Most translations render יד אבשלם as “Absalom’s monument.” KJV has “Absalom’s Place” apparently following the Targum. The ESV at least gives a footnote “or Absalom’s Hand,” but I don’t think a pillar is usually shaped like a hand.

Notice all the interesting tense-aspect variations among the verbs as well. It opens with an anterior perfect “he had taken…” continued by a wayyiqtol, then back to a perfect in the כי clause, followed by two wayyiqtols at the end–the last one having a habitual sense.