Nehemiah 4

 

וַיְהִי כַאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע סַנְבַלַּט וְטוֹבִיָּה וְהָעַרְבִים וְהָעַמֹּנִים וְהָאַשְׁדּוֹדִים כִּי־עָלְתָה אֲרוּכָה לְחֹמוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם   4:1

 כִּי־הֵחֵלּוּ הַפְּרֻצִים לְהִסָּתֵם וַיִּחַר לָהֶם מְאֹד׃

Nehe. 4:1   And it was when Sanballat heard, with Tobiah and the Arabians and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites, that the restoration to the walls of Jerusalem had gone forth, that the breaks had begun to be sealed, then he became very angry regarding them.

וַיִּקְשְׁרוּ כֻלָּם יַחְדָּו לָבוֹא לְהִלָּחֵם בִּירוּשָׁלִָם וְלַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ תּוֹעָה׃   4:2

Nehe. 4:2   Then all of them conspired together to go to do battle with Jerusalem so as to make a disturbance for it.

וַנִּתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־אֱלֹהֵינוּ וַנַּעֲמִיד מִשְׁמָר עֲלֵיהֶם יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה מִפְּנֵיהֶם׃   4:3

Nehe. 4:3   So we prayed to our God because of them, and we set a watch against them day and night.

The first word in this verse, translated as so we prayed, is another exception to my theory of inverting vavs.  As I see it, the Hebrew should be Wnl.L;Pi Wnx.n:a]w:.

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה כָּשַׁל כֹּחַ הַסַּבָּל וְהֶעָפָר הַרְבֵּה וַאֲנַחְנוּ לֹא נוּכַל לִבְנוֹת בַּחוֹמָה׃   4:4

Nehe. 4:4   And Judah said, “The strength of the burden bearer is weakened, and the debris is too much, so we might not be able to build onto the wall.”

וַיֹּאמְרוּ צָרֵינוּ לֹא יֵדְעוּ וְלֹא יִרְאוּ עַד אֲשֶׁר־נָבוֹא אֶל־תּוֹכָם וַהֲרַגְנוּם וְהִשְׁבַּתְנוּ אֶת־הַמְּלָאכָה׃   4:5

Nehe. 4:5   And our enemies said, “They will not know or see until when we will come into their midst and slay them and cause the work to stop.”

וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ הַיְּהוּדִים הַיֹּשְׁבִים אֶצְלָם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָנוּ עֶשֶׂר פְּעָמִים מִכָּל־הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר־תָּשׁוּבוּ   4:6

 עָלֵינוּ׃

Nehe. 4:6   And it was when the Jews dwelling near them came, that they said to us ten times, “You must return to us from all the places.”

וָאַעֲמִיד מִתַּחְתִּיֹּות לַמָּקֹום מֵאַחֲרֵי לַחֹומָה (בַּצְּחִחִיִּים) [בַּצְּחִיחִים] וָאַעֲמִיד אֶת־הָעָם לְמִשְׁפָּחֹות   4:7

 עִם־חַרְבֹתֵיהֶם רָמְחֵיהֶם וְקַשְּׁתֹתֵיהֶם׃

Nehe. 4:7   Then I set from the lowest parts in the space behind the wall to the highest places, and I set the people by families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

The word in the parentheses has a misplaced yad.  The correction is in the brackets.

וָאֵרֶא וָאָקוּם וָאֹמַר אֶל־הַחֹרִים וְאֶל־הַסְּגָנִים וְאֶל־יֶתֶר הָעָם אַל־תִּירְאוּ מִפְּנֵיהֶם אֶת־אֲדֹנָי הַגָּדוֹל   4:8

וְהַנּוֹרָא זְכֹרוּ וְהִלָּחֲמוּ עַל־אֲחֵיכֶם בְּנֵיכֶם וּבְנֹתֵיכֶם נְשֵׁיכֶם וּבָתֵּיכֶם׃

Nehe. 4:8   Then I inspected and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “You must not be afraid before them.  Remember the Master Who is great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses.”

This verse contains three exceptions to my theory, the first, second, and third words.  For the first, translated as then I inspected, the Hebrew should be ytia]r' ynIa]w:.  For the second, translated as and [I] arose, the Hebrew should be yTim.q ynIa]w.  For the third, translated as and [I] said, the Hebrew should be ytir'm.ai ynIa]w.

וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר־שָׁמְעוּ אֹויְבֵינוּ כִּי־נֹודַע לָנוּ וַיָּפֶר הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת־עֲצָתָם (וַנָּשׁוּב) [וַנָּשָׁב] כֻּלָּנוּ אֶל־הַחֹומָה   4:9

 אִישׁ אֶל־מְלַאכְתֹּו׃

Nehe. 4:9   And it was when our enemies heard that it had been revealed to us, and God had made their plan ineffectual, that we returned, all of us, to the wall, each to his own work.

The word in the parentheses, translated as that we returned, is not only misspelled, but it is another exception to my theory.  The correct form of the Hebrew, as far as I am concerned, which would make the correction in the brackets unnecessary, should be Wnb.v Wnx.n:a]w.

וַיְהִי מִן־הַיּוֹם הַהוּא חֲצִי נְעָרַי עֹשִׂים בַּמְּלָאכָה וְחֶצְיָם מַחֲזִיקִים וְהָרְמָחִים הַמָּגִנִּים וְהַקְּשָׁתוֹת   4:10

 וְהַשִּׁרְיֹנִים וְהַשָּׂרִים אַחֲרֵי כָּל־בֵּית יְהוּדָה׃

Nehe. 4:10   And it was from that day, half of my young men would be attending to the work and half of them would be maintaining security with the spears, the shields and the bows and the armor, and the princes were behind all the house of Judah.

הַבּוֹנִים בַּחוֹמָה וְהַנֹּשְׂאִים בַּסֶּבֶל עֹמְשִׂים בְּאַחַת יָדוֹ עֹשֶׂה בַמְּלָאכָה וְאַחַת מַחֲזֶקֶת הַשָּׁלַח׃   4:12

Nehe. 4:11   The rebuilders would be on the wall and the bearers burdened with a load, each with one hand attending to the work and the other firmly holding the weapon.

וְהַבּוֹנִים אִישׁ חַרְבּוֹ אֲסוּרִים עַל־מָתְנָיו וּבוֹנִים וְהַתּוֹקֵעַ בַּשּׁוֹפָר אֶצְלִי׃   4:12

Nehe. 4:12   And of the rebuilders each his sword would be harnessed at his side; thus went the rebuilding.  And the sounder of the horn would be beside me.

וָאֹמַר אֶל־הַחֹרִים וְאֶל־הַסְּגָנִים וְאֶל־יֶתֶר הָעָם הַמְּלָאכָה הַרְבֵּה וּרְחָבָה וַאֲנַחְנוּ נִפְרָדִים   4:13

  עַל־הַחוֹמָה רְחוֹקִים אִישׁ מֵאָחִיו׃

Nehe. 4:13   And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and spread out, so we are separate all over the wall, remote, each from the others.”

The first word in this verse, translated as and I said, is another exception to my theory of inverting vavs.  As I see it, the Hebrew should be ytir'm.ai ynIa]w.

בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת־קוֹל הַשּׁוֹפָר שָׁמָּה תִּקָּבְצוּ אֵלֵינוּ אֱלֹהֵינוּ יִלָּחֶם לָנוּ׃   4:14

Nehe. 4:14   “In any place, when you will hear the sound of the horn there, you must assemble to us.  Our God will fight for us.”

וַאֲנַחְנוּ עֹשִׂים בַּמְּלָאכָה וְחֶצְיָם מַחֲזִיקִים בָּרְמָחִים מֵעֲלוֹת הַשַּׁחַר עַד צֵאת הַכּוֹכָבִים׃   4:15

Nehe. 4:15   So we were attending to the work, and half of them were maintaining security with spears from the coming up of dawn until the appearance of the stars.

גַּם בָּעֵת הַהִיא אָמַרְתִּי לָעָם אִישׁ וְנַעֲרוֹ יָלִינוּ בְּתוֹךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם וְהָיוּ־לָנוּ הַלַּיְלָה מִשְׁמָר וְהַיּוֹם מְלָאכָה׃   4:16

Nehe. 4:16   At that time I also said to the people, “Everyone and his servant shall lodge within Jerusalem, so they be a guard for us by night and a worker by day.”

וְאֵין אֲנִי וְאַחַי וּנְעָרַי וְאַנְשֵׁי הַמִּשְׁמָר אֲשֶׁר אַחֲרַי אֵין־אֲנַחְנוּ פֹשְׁטִים בְּגָדֵינוּ אִישׁ שִׁלְחוֹ הַמָּיִם׃   4:17

Nehe. 4:17   Then neither I nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me -- none of us would be removing our clothes, each his weapon at the water.

In one way or another, all the popular bibles mistranslate the last phrase of this verse, which I translate as each his weapon at the water.  Quite peculiar!  Because as I interpret it, the phrase means that every worker kept his weapon with him even when he went to get water.  Some bibles use something like this as the translation, adding words that don’t appear in the Hebrew.  A couple of bibles even omit the translation of this phrase altogether.  However, I don’t think anything has to be changed from the literal Hebrew.  It seems fairly clear to me what is intended here.

 

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