Sunday, April 18, 2010

First new Blog Post: Gabriel's wit in Daniel 11

This blog will exclusively focus on Hebrew and Greek rhetorical styles in the Bible.  And this is its first post.  Posts will be random, usually on specific verses, and usually about God's Witty way of using rhetoric to communicate a TON of doctrine everyone misses.

You wouldn't expect to find wit in a chapter of future history revealing one horrific disaster after the next, would you?  But that's just what Gabriel uses.  In fact, what makes Daniel 11 hard to understand in English, is the fact that the Hebrew uses a TON of wordplay and soundplay, with many deliberate double-entendres.  So it's not a vagueness, but a MULTI-FACETED method of saying many things at once.

Example:  11:26 talks about those who have a share in KON's food, breaking him up.  Yeah, and when you know what's meant (the siege of Alexandria and its aftermath), the 'vague' wording is multi-faceted wit!  For look:
  • Antiochus IV first ran down to Pelusium, defeated Ptol. VI Philopater there, verse 22.  
  • Then A IV baby claims he's the PROTECTOR of the young king, and 
  • uses that as an excuse to invade Alexandria, but 
  • takes the long way around, going south to Memphis (to avoid the marshes), then 
  • up the backway to Alexandria, which he then besieges by starving them nearly to death.
  • The plucky Alexandrians manage to stop this guy simply by keeping their sea supply open, 
  • by having good fortifications (A IV couldn't breach the walls), and most of all,
  • by finally cooperating with each other rather than fighting over who is Pharaoh.
  • So now A IV is the 'provider' of the food -- get it?  Which of course, he's withholding!
  • So now those dependent on him will soon call on Rome for help, which ends up causing A IV to retreat!
See, it's WITTY.  Just as it was back in 11:18, where A III's insult (to God, really) is turned back on his head alone!  Check out the wordplay there!

Gabriel wryly links future human history to the Angelic Conflict, playing on his own 'strengthening' in lone partnership with Michael (at God's Order): trace Hebrew word 'hazaq' beginning at 10:21, where the Chapter really begins.  Notice how it threads through the Chapter.  Not to be missed, is 10:20's birthing play between yatsa and bo. What goes around, comes around. :)

Also notice these delightful bits: 
  • 11:6's (KJV) 'agreement' is  meyshariym -- aha, meyshariym with Mitsrayim!  Upright?  Or right up to disaster?  Woe to those who go down to Egypt, right? :)
  • Of course, in the same verse you've got the concept play with sound, zeroa (arm) versus zera (seed), which the parties contract to have, to avoid using arms.  And legs.  And head.  Doesn't quite work out as intended, they lose ALL their parts -- at verse end.  Exit, stage left.  Cursed is the man who puts his trust in man, who makes the flesh his ha'arm in ha'eretz..
  • 11:10, my favorite -- Gabriel was obviously enamored of the same soundplay on "PassOver" aka abaru (ayin beth resh) aka "Hebrew" as Daniel, in his prayer (9:11).   
  • Clever way to stress WHOSE LAND is being passed over for transgression: the PassOver People, Who Passed Over Yam Suph just after that first Passover, flowing over to the Land overflowing with Milk And Honey with 400 years' of back money... k'nora'ot niph'leiti, niph'laiym MaseyKA!

1 comment:

jesseakers said...

still figuring out this blogging thing- more to say later!