Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:26 PM
Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:56 PM
Dabar does mean a thing as well as a word or a saying, but one should be careful about deriving theological conclusions from facts such as this. If you don't know Hebrew, try looking up the relevant Key words in one or more of the tagged English Bibles to get an idea of the range of meanings.
- Dan Francis, PhilT, Al Dobko and 2 others like this
Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:07 PM
Out of curiosity, I decided to search all my Hebrew dictionaries/lexica, the entire Old Testament, Midrashim, Targumim, Mishnah, Talmud and Tosefta for this particular usage of דָּבָר, but I found nothing. As Dr. Brown said, it usually means "word", "saying", "matter/thing" and so on. But there isn't, it seems, any link to the word "jewel". Not on a linguistic level, at least. The closest I got was a "link" in the Akkadian language between the word for lip and jewel - in the [A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. (2nd corrected printing. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2000) by Jeremy Black, Andrew George, and Nicholas Postgate], it says on page 358 under šaptu(m) that it means "lip" of people or animals (same root as the hebrew noun שָׂפָּה), but it can also mean "word/speech" or "rim of jewel". The Hebrew שָׂפָּה does not have such connotations, though. But the biggest issue with this link I found is that šaptu(m) cannot be translated as "matter" or "thing", meaning it isn't really comparable to the Hebrew דָּבָר in this regard. The proper Akkadian equivalent for דָּבָר is awatu(m) - which also lacks the meaning of "jewel".
Posted 26 August 2014 - 05:50 PM
- Pchris likes this
Posted 26 August 2014 - 07:51 PM
"Hand" (יד) has a wide range of meanings in Hebrew - "in the hand of x"(ביד) is a fixed expression which means "through/by means of" in a purely instrumental manner no matter what verb is used. All the dictionaries seem to agree on this. HALOT (Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament) even specifically calls it an intensifying expression on page 388. In Akkadian there is an identical construction "ina qat x" - in the hand of x", which has the same connotations even though different roots are used. The instrumental meaning of "hand" is also known from the Ugaritic language, an extremely close cognate to Hebrew, where it simply means "with". The main difference from the Hebrew and Akkadian constructions, however, is that the preposition "with" (ב in hebrew) isn't even used together with "hand", (yd) in Ugaritic - it is already implied within the noun itself.
"Speaking to the (her) heart" (דבר על לב) is also a fixed expression, which generally means to "speak gently/to comfort" according to all the dictionaries. In this particular case, the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon even suggests that she might be speaking to herself. While it is within the scope of the expression partially due to the fact that there is an identical Akkadian expression "itti libbišu" (with one's own heart) when used with the verb dababu(m) I am personally not very keen on this interpretation, though. But that is beside the matter.
Seeing that both "in the hand of x" and "speaking to the heart" are to be understood as abstract, fixed expressions (and that none of the dictionaries state that "דִּבֶּר“ can be translated as "to lay" - another verb שׂים is used for this purpose) it is unlikely that it could mean that a word is literally being held and subsequently placed in the heart, at least from a linguistic point of view. From a dogmatic-theological perspective it's a different story.
Hope it helps!
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