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JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. NOTES TO SIRACH XLIII. 20 AND XL. 12 I59 NOTES TO SIRACH XLIII. 20 and XL. 12. mpo M^ap' 1 apiai yw pax nn wx De. Taylob's interpretation of this passage (in the Jewish Qtjab- TEBLY Review, X, 471 sq.) has the advantage that it does justice to the text without any alterations or conjectures. But the proof that the LXX took the word 3p"i in Job xiii. 28 to mean "skin-bottle," does not alter the fact that the word was misunderstood in that passage, and that it is an Aramaic word which Sirach would not have used, because it does not occur in holy writ. But apart from this, the possibility of the word having been used by Sirach in that sense is disproved by the incongruity of the expression. You can collect liquids in a skin-bottle, but you cannot make them freeze to it. All other attempts to explain the passage are objectionable because they attribute most incongruous similes to the poet, besides having recourse to violent alterations of the text. The reading is correct beyond doubt, even Smend has nothing to say against its accuracy. Bacher's suggestion to read Vp'Ol (J. Q. R., IX, p. 552) is inadmis- sible, because the alteration is gratuitous, and the simile would become improbable. Schlatter, p. 48, inserts his conjecture 3[pn]31 into the text ; but it is just the passage in Job x. 10 which proves that Sirach would not have employed the congelation of milk as a metaphor of the power of the frost which hardens all water. NOldeke conjectures from the Greek translator that these must have been l"Pp31 in his copy. But the absence of any particle of com- parison in Ka\ nayr](T(Tai KpvaraWa <i<f>' v&aroc proves that there was no 3 in his text. I am of opinion that he had an abbreviated word in his text, namely 'p">31, of which he made np")31 instead of 3p"01, and which he translated xpuoraXXoy (cf. Israel Levi in Revue des Ittudes Juites, XXXIV, 14). The passage must certainly not be trans- lated et comme se durcit la boue, both the words and the metaphor are against it '. 1 Isr. Levi, L'Ecclesiastique, Paris, 1898, p. 75. l6o THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW The phenomenon which Sirach wishes to describe is the sudden metamorphosis of the liquid into the solid state, the moveable into the rigid. It is therefore necessary that the metaphor he would employ should be something symbolizing firmness and hardness. It is known how easily a 1 is sometimes misread for a , in Hebrew writing, and this at once disposes in our passage of all that the metaphor demands. God causes the cold north wind to blow, and he causes the springs 1 to become rigid like a winepress — 3p*31. The icy surface of the spring resembles the smooth, hard bottom of the vat of the winepress. The springs, which formerly moved joyfully between their banks, have now become like so many wine- presses by the frost of the north wind. The striking aptitude of the simile is obvious, and the probability of the suggestion is clear from a poetical point of view. But it is, besides, supported, firstly by the Greek translator, and secondly by several parallel cases in the Hebrew original. In the immediately following verse : ffnp^ D'D HDJJC ?D , the translation runs : eVi irao-av avvaymyriv vbaros KaraXva-ei, the translator's copy had evidently had dip* which he misread as D" 1 ?'' = KarnXvo-ei 2 . Another obscure passage in Sirach also receives light from the assumption that the letters 1 and * were sometimes interchanged. The introduction to the description of the glorious rising of the sun has at its very beginning the following stumbling-block : HD3 imiO JTaD EW. It is true the marginal note 1J1NS3 clears the way, but how can we explain the troublesome irr«3 of the MS.? I think that one of the MSS., from which the various readings of our Sirach text took their origin, showed TO instead of 1DKV3, which again was turned into the enigmatical VT1X3. The letters , and 1 ought to be utilized as clues for the solution of several difficulties in the text of our translator. His translation of xxxix. 1 6 p'SD" 1 1]"IJD *pii? ?31 by (cal nav npocrTnyua iv Katpa avrov Harm can be understood at the first glance. His text had the abbreviated written word "US which he misread as , 1S instead of completing it into "pttf. Again, in xl. lib ODD bx DVIOO lEW was turned into Kal anb vbdrtov «r 8aKa<j(Tav avaKafinrei. : the case is simply that he misread "*D ^N ''DD for '"ID bti 'iDD of his text. In the same way I see the reading of his text through the break in chapter xlii. 3 b. There K"1 iTTIJ is rendered KXrjpovonias fralpap. Now, the C was in all ancient MSS. usually written with only two heads when occurring at the end of a word, and was thus easily 1 I assume that the original copy had 'mpo which must be completed into rmipn. 2 Cf. Levi, 1. c. 74. NOTES TO SIRACH XLIII. 20 AND XL. 12 l6l mistaken for a V- The translator read JH1 for K*!. A clinching proof for the frequent confusion of the two letters caused by the writing is afforded also by xlviii. 13 b, where ~W2 K"Q3 TWIDDl is rendered ko\ £v kgi/xt/ctci eirpo(f>r)Tcv(rev to owfia airoii : here it is evident that N , 33 was read for K"03 . This confusion of the vowel letters of the original text of Siracb was not of rare occurrence, especially of the letters , and 1, which were of almost identical shape in the old writing. We need only think of the substitution of mm for the tetragrammaton, where thus 11 and 1 appear as quite identical. But I will add one other example which will solve a riddle of the Greek translation. Verse xL 12 has not, unfortunately, been preserved in the Hebrew original. What then may have been the stumbling-block in the text by which the translator was tripped up ? For such nonsense as nav bS>pov xa\ dducia i£akci(f)6!i<T(Tai cannot have been written by Sirach. Why should the gift be destroyed ? How can the innocent gift be synonymous with injustice ? I do not doubt but that the copy before the trans- lator was written "ipE-'l 1K> ?3. Our poor Hebraist read this as ipen ^ bo 1 . But the verse xliii. 20 is also syntactically unexceptionable. flJ^X *2X mi is not bad Hebrew, certainly not as Isr. Levi, I. c. 74, assumes. Instead of the adjective— in this case the cold north wind — a sub- stantive joined to the final word in status constructus is used, quite in accordance with a nice syntactic usage in Hebrew. Thus Genesis iii. 23, instead of a " flaming revolving sword " we have 3inn DH? rDSnnCfl, and instead of the "fulminating weapon" we read in Nahum iii. 3 J"p;n p~Q. So also here, instead of the "cold north wind" we have in unexceptionable Hebrew |1SV im WS. Sirach keeps faithfully to Biblical Hebrew in other passages also. Thus, in xli. 3 he has TplPI H1CD Iran ?N, quite after the pattern of Vn Drp "WtDil, Prov. xxx. 8. Strange enough, no translator has hitherto noticed this. In modern usage the verse says : "Do not be afraid of thy assured death." Altogether, Sirach is so full of biblical reminiscences, and applies quotations to such an extent, that passages from the Bible must be constantly referred to for the purpose of elucidating his tropes and expressions. Thus, he says, xliii. 20 c CD *1CJ?D ?3 ?]}, only because it reminds us of the expression D'D TluJ?' 1 D'HH 7]} of Ps. civ. 6, a fact of some weight in the explanation and justification of an expression which may otherwise appear strange and questionable. In the same way it seems to me that the expression xlii. 4 m?C 1 This disposes of Levi's explanation in R. &. J., XXXIV, 43 sq. VOL. XI. M l62 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW ffnn pvT COB', which the Variants prove to be the correct reading, is established by a Biblical reference. The TpmXaa-icos of the Greek translator, who is slavishly followed by the Syrian, is a desperate shift, which does not hold good against the readings n7lE> and ITW. His copy had undoubtedly the abbreviation 'w, which he could not complete into anything except the unmeaning B>w. But Sirach wrote without doubt m?K>, and intended to imitate therewith a classical passage of the Bible. He thought he was allowed to form an expression BW m^C? in imitation of DW EHJ 1JD01 of Deut. xxxiii. 14. This parallel would secure the reading as meaning "the shooting out of the beams of the sun." David Kaufmann.