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Numbers 23 and 24 - The oracles of Bil'am - notes

23:1)

23:2)

23:3)

23:4)

23:5)

23:6)

23:7)

23:8)

23:9) The parallelism tsurîym ... gebâ‘ôth (instead of the more common hârîym ... gebâ‘ôth) is noted in Ugaritic CTA 4:5:77-78 and elsewhere. There is the additional interpretive fact that in second millennium sources, tsûr is often linked with mountains seen as representing deity.

23:10) The parallelism dust-grains of Ya'aqob ... dust-cloud of Yisrael has been noted by H. Cohen (Biblical Hapax Legomena - see Acknowledgements page) in Akkadian sources. The normal Hebrew and Ugaritic parallel is ‘pr ... ’rts. But in Akkadian this pair (dust ... dust of feet) has been noted, especially in situations where military or numerical strength is being stressed. For example epram pîki tarbu’amam paniki - with dust (to) your mouth, a dustcloud (to) your face - in a charm-incantation against Merchu of Old Babylonian origins (BIN II, 72:16-19). There are also parallels in Sennacherib's annals. This interpretation requires that the Masoretic ’t r.b.‘ be amended to t.r.b.‘. In support of this, it has been noted that 't as accusative particle does not occur in early Hebrew (cf its absence in Deuteronomy 32), and that during the development of the language the accusatvie marker began as prefixed t- before ending as a separate item. Thus, scribal error in this case is understandable.

Finally, it has been proposed that the two verses be made more explicitly parallel by dividing ûmiçepâr into ûmîy çepâr. From a translational point of view there is little difference.

23:11)

23:12)

23:13)

23:14)

23:15)

23:16)

23:17)

23:18)

23:19)

23:20)

23:21)

23:22)

23:23)

23:24)

23:25)

23:26)

23:27)

23:28)

23:29)

23:30)

24:1)

24:2)

24:3)

24:4)

24:5)

24:6)

24:7)

24:8)

24:9)

24:10)

24:11)

24:12)

24:13)

24:14)

24:15)

24:16)

24:17)

24:18)

24:19)

24:20)

24:21)

24:22)

24:23)

24:24)

24:25)

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