Hebrew is funny

Really, it is. I mean, not always intentionally, but simply because it says things differently than how we say them in English. Like all languages, Hebrew can be idiomatic. In other words, like all languages, sometimes it says things that are natural in Hebrew that aren't so natural in English.

Again, all languages do this. Case in point, "My nose is running."

Eh? To where? And is it making good time?

There is a great Hebrew idiom found in the middle of a story about David in 1 Samuel 25. Here's a quick summary of the story:

David, the shepherd who killed Goliath, is leading a band of rebels and is considered an enemy of the current king, Saul. David and his merry men have been camping without permission on privately owned land. David sends word to the owner, Nabal (whose name means foolish, by the way), and asks for anything Nabal might be able to spare for David and his guys. It turns out David and his rebels have been protecting Nabal's shepherds from bandits and Tusken Raiders and the like, and he thought he should be compensated.

Unfortunately, Nabal says no way. He claims to have never heard of David, as if to say, "You're not that big of a deal." David tells his men to prepare for battle. Well, it's a bit stronger than that. In 1 Samuel 25:22, we find out that David wants every male belonging to Nabal dead by morning.

Seems like a bit of an overreaction.


This phrase is repeated again a few verses later in 1 Samuel 25:34, and it shows up a few other times in the Hebrew scriptures as well. In English, it's simply a way of saying that David will bring an end to the house (or family line) of Nabal. It's used in the same way for the house of Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:10), the house of Baasha (1 Kings 16:11), and the house of Ahab (1 Kings 21:21 and 2 Kings 9:8).

But in Hebrew...

A more literal translation of this portion of 1 Samuel 25:22 would be, "all of his (Nabal's people, that is) who urinate against the wall."

Understand?

David wants everyone in the house of Nabal who pees standing up to be dead by morning.

A lot of translations soften it by translating it as not one male left alive by morning. Truth is, that's not wrong. It's exactly the sense of the Hebrew. But I love the King James Version here, which translates it as "any that pisseth against the wall" will be dead by morning.

My mother raised me not to say that word and I want to know why.

Come on, mom! What's the big deal? If the King James Version can, why can't I?

I'm going to start saying it.

And I'm going to say it in the King's English. With -eth on the end of it.

I'm going to make it a thing. You'll see.

I intended for this post to be longer, but I have to pisseth.

Comments

  1. I love the poetic nature of the Hebrew language. I wish I were disciplined enough to take it on to learn it, but, being a creature of habit, I would probably be overwhelmed with the simple concept of having to read from right to left.
    Ooops, coffee is doing its thing...I must go...well, you know...urinate against the wall.

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    1. Thanks for checking out the post. Come back often.

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  2. I am literally laughing out loud. I dont say that word but I might just start. I'll use it in another context though. "I am pisseth(ed). That makes more sense for me anyways. I'm a lady. I wouldn't say I need to take a pisseth. Again laughing out loud

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    1. Good. We all could use a few more laughs. Mission accomplished.

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