Sunday, November 23, 2014

Genesis 3:15-Hebrew and Greek

וְאֵיבָ֣ה ׀ אָשִׁ֗ית בֵּֽינְךָ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וּבֵ֥ין זַרְעֲךָ֖ וּבֵ֣ין זַרְעָ֑הּ ה֚וּא יְשׁוּפְךָ֣ רֹ֔אשׁ וְאַתָּ֖ה תְּשׁוּפֶ֥נּוּ עָקֵֽב׃ ס
(Westminster Leningrad Codex)

καὶ ἔχθραν θήσω ἀνὰ μέσον σου καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τῆς γυναικὸς καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σπέρματός σου καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σπέρματος αὐτῆς· αὐτός σου τηρήσει κεφαλήν, καὶ σὺ τηρήσεις αὐτοῦ πτέρναν (LXX).

From the Pulpit Commentary:

"shall bruise.

1. Shall crush, trample down - rendering שׁוּפ by torero or conterere (Vulgate, Syriac, Samaritan, Tuch, Baumgarten, Keil, Kalisch).

2. Shall pierce, wound, bite - taking the verb as - שָׁפַפ, to bite (Furst, Calvin).

3. Shall watch, lie in wait = שָׁאַפ (LXX., τηρήσει - Wordsworth suggests as the correct reading τερήσει, from τερέω, perforo, vulnero - Gesenius, Knobel). The word occurs only in two other places in Scripture - Job 9:17; Psalm 139:11 - and in the latter of these the reading is doubtful (cf. Perowne on Psalm in loco). Hence the difficulty of deciding with absolute certainty between these rival interpretations. Psalm 91:13 and Romans 16:20 appear to sanction the first; the second is favored by the application of the same word to the hostile action of the serpent, which is not treading, but biting; the feebleness of the third is its chief objection. Thy head. I.e. the superior part of thee (Calvin), meaning that the serpent would be completely destroyed, the head of the reptile being that part of its body in which a wound was most dangerous, and which the creature itself instinctively protects; or the import of the expression may be, He shall attack thee in a bold and manly way (T. Lewis). And thou shalt bruise his heel. I.e. the inferior part (Calvin), implying that in the conflict he would be wounded, but not destroyed; or 'the biting of the heel may denote the mean, insidious character of the devil's warfare'" (T. Lewis).

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between the seed of thy son, and the seed of her sons; and it shall be when the sons of the woman keep the commandments of the law, they will be prepared to smite thee upon thy head; but when they forsake the commandments of the law, thou wilt be ready to wound them in their heel. Nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine, but for thee there will be no medicine; and they shall make a remedy for the heel in the days of the King Meshiha" (PsJon Gen 3:15).

19 comments:

Duncan said...

Edgar,

τηρησει

Thayer Definition:
1) to attend to carefully, take care of
1a) to guard
1b) metaphorically to keep, one in the state in which he is
1c) to observe
1d) to reserve: to undergo something

So are you proposing that the Vulgate is more accurate?

What is the estimated date of composition of this Targum?

The significant question relating to this verse is "HE will fall upon first ("a head" - what is the evidence of a construction of - in the head)" Vs "THEY will fall upon first"?

and you will fall upon last.

Duncan said...

Notice in the Targum - "seed of her sons" (plural) in other words - THEY. Since in Hebraic terms a woman does not have a seed in the way a man does. So in Hebraic terms the "he" is translated "they" (as it is in a number of other places). Compare NEB.

Duncan said...

"41 sn The Hebrew word translated “offspring” is a collective singular. The text anticipates the ongoing struggle between human beings (the woman’s offspring) and deadly poisonous snakes (the serpent’s offspring). An ancient Jewish interpretation of the passage states: “He made the serpent, cause of the deceit, press the earth with belly and flank, having bitterly driven him out. He aroused a dire enmity between them. The one guards his head to save it, the other his heel, for death is at hand in the proximity of men and malignant poisonous snakes.” See Sib. Or. 1:59-64. For a similar interpretation see Josephus, Ant. 1.1.4 (1.50-51)."

https://net.bible.org/#!bible/Genesis+3:9

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan,

Meaning number 1 is not only supported by the Vulgate, but also by Syriac, Samaritan, etc.

K-D also insist: "The seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head, and the serpent crush the heel of the woman's seed. The meaning, terere, conterere, is thoroughly established by the Chald., Syr., and Rabb. authorities, and we have therefore retained it, in harmony with the word συντρίβειν in Romans 16:20, and because it accords better and more easily with all the other passages in which the word occurs, than the rendering inhiare, to regard with enmity, which is obtained from the combination of שׁוּף with שׁאף

Edgar Foster said...

But I'm not maintaining that the Vulgate got it right in this instance, although it probably did.

We don't know the exact date of this Targum--it could be a fairly late writing. Possibly 5th century CE or later.

Yes, the pronoun issue is significant too. I've read some interesting articles on this point here lately.

Duncan said...

Edgar,

The construct "bruise IN THE head". I am referring to the construction of the Hebrew. I read, bruise you a head (head can also enterpreted as first & heel as last). I read no "in the" or "on the" etc. Context cannot insert terms that are just not written.

Duncan said...

Edgar,

thejewishhome.org/counter/Gen315.pdf

Regarding the "they" problem.

Duncan said...

http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/9315/what-is-the-historical-basis-for-viewing-genesis-315-as-the-protoevangelium

More references quoted here.

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan,

in order to clarify any potential misunderstanding which might come from two differing concerns between me and you, I'll make these points:

1) My original reason for making this blog entry was to explore how ה֚וּא יְשׁוּפְךָ֣ should be translated. So when you asked if I thought the Vg got it right, I was particularly thinking about its rendering, "she shall crush thy head," although I don't accept the "she" rendering here.

2) You are correct about how the verse should be rendered. VG (etc) have it right in this respect also.

"she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (translated from the Vg).

"he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (ASV).

But translation is more complicated than rendering Hebrew terms word-for word. Compare, for example, the NASB:

"He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

In the link that you provided from jewishhome.org, it shows that a more literal treatment of the verse is "[he] will strike your head, and you
will strike their [his] heel."

Duncan said...

Edgar,

Let's look at this litteraly. YLT - THE head & THE heel. Which is actually not literal since neither term are prefixed with a definite article. I do not see this as being complicated at all unless there is some suggestion that the MT is in error. I am saying that there are textual problems here that non of the standard interpretations cover. Hebrew does have construction to say "in the" but it is not present.

Head can legitimately be translated as first & heel as last.

As to they or he. The question is how would this have been read in Hebraic culture as part of the Torah without the later books & the only interpretation that would fit with the seed of women would be "they".

Duncan said...

Edgar,

יְשׁוּפְךָ֣ - The pictograph's of the two letter root are the teeth & the mouth. Combined these probably mean "sharp teeth in the mouth". A serpent (venomous snake) has sharp fangs in the mouth. So to understand the term as "strike" seems quite reasonable. Not sure about "crush" here.

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan,

We agree that saying "the head" or "the heel" is not literal. However, that doesn't mean that NASB or the old NWT were mistaken when they use/used the definite articles. Things that are not in the source language may be used in the target language to clarify or communicate some essential idea. Yet, the revised NWT does translate this part of 3:15, "He will crush your head, and you will strike him in the heel."

So it still retains the definite article when referencing the serpent's actions toward the woman's seed.

On your last point concerning the pronoun, I think it's far from certain that "they" is our only alternative. One scholar has done an exhaustive study of this Hebrew term and concluded otherwise.

Please see http://www.galaxie.com/article/tynbul48-1-07

Edgar Foster said...

Here's another good journal article on the translation issues of Gen 3:15:

https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/01-genesis/text/articles-books/woudstra_gen3_15_ctj.pdf

Duncan said...

Edgar,

Thanks again for the studies you posted. I have looked at the second one & it falls back to the LXX for it's arguments & yet, strike & protect are poles apart in understanding & we can pictorially understand the basic meaning of that term as strike. This is completely ignoring the examples in NT where "he" is translated "they" & would make no sense otherwise.

The fundamental issue is a cultural one within the language - a woman does not have A seed - she can have seed generally even a male line of descendants as other examples imply.

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan,
concerning the seed issue, see Gen 4:25; 1 Sam 1:11; 2:20 for an example of a female bearing a singular "seed."

Jack Collins also references 2 Sam 7:12-14 which uses a singular pronoun with reference to David's seed.

Duncan said...

A singular pronouns for Davids seed?

JPS - "I will raise up your (Davids) offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship."

As I said A seed from the male.

Duncan said...

2 Sam 2:20 JPS "may the lord grant you (El-kanah) offspring by this woman"?

Duncan said...

Edgar,

I believe that this issue has already been covered unless you have something new to counter it.

thejewishhome.org/counter/Gen315.pdf

"3. What about Genesis 3:15?
Into which of these two categories does Genesis 3:15 fit? In other words, does Genesis 3:15 belong in the group characterized by the applications of the noun זֶרַע in Genesis 16:10, 24:60, Leviticus 22:13, 1Samuel 2:20-21, and Isaiah 54:3 – verses that clearly and unambiguously (at least in the Hebrew
text) refer to unidentified multitudes of humans? Or, does Genesis 3:15 belong in the group characterized by the applications of the noun זֶרַע in Genesis 4:25 and 1Samuel 1:11 – each of which clearly and unambiguously (at least in the Hebrew text) refers to a specific individual (Biblical personality)
***that is identified, by name, nearby***?
The examples given above clearly demonstrate that the verse Genesis 3:15 belongs in Category 1, along with the other examples in which the application of זֶרַע is in the generic plural sense.
Conclusion: The verse Genesis 3:15 belongs in Category 1. Therefore, the respective applications of the Hebrew noun זֶרַע to the woman (Eve) and to the serpent are references to their generic descendants and do not serve as “pointers” to any specific person or entity."

"at least in the Hebrew text" - and this is the point. To use LXX as an argument is to ignore the elephant in the room. The OT & NT do not allude to an LXX style interpretation of this verse (another point to argue against a general use of LXX in original NT texts).

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan,

on 2 Sam 7:12ff, I have posted the remarks from Collins separately. But it's not only David that is singular in the 2 Samuel account, but also his seed: "I will establish his kingship."

Gen 4:25 and 1 Sam 1:11 both speak about seed issuing from females.

As for 1 Sam 2:20, it's addressed to both Elkanah and Hannah, is it not?

On your last comments, Collins does not solely rely on the LXX to establish his syntactical point regarding the possibility that Gen 3:15 could have an individual primarily in view. At the very least, the individualist understanding is grammatically possible. Cf. Gal 3:16.