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Nahum 2:4

Context

2:4 The chariots 1  race madly 2  through the streets,

they rush back and forth 3  in the broad plazas;

they look 4  like lightning bolts, 5 

they dash here and there 6  like flashes of lightning. 7 

Nahum 3:2

Context
Portrayal of the Destruction of Nineveh

3:2 The chariot drivers will crack their whips; 8 

the chariot wheels will shake the ground; 9 

the chariot horses 10  will gallop; 11 

the war chariots 12  will bolt forward! 13 

1 tn Heb “the chariot.” The Hebrew noun הָרֶכֶב (harekhev, “the chariot”) is a collective use of the singular, as indicated by the plural verb “[they] race madly” (see GKC 462 §145.b).

2 tn The Hitpolel imperfect יִתְהוֹלְלוּ (yitholÿlu, “they rush wildly”) is from the root III הלל (“to be foolish, to be senseless, to be insane”). The Hitpolel stem describes seemingly insane actions: “to pretend to be insane; to act like a madman” (1 Sam 21:14; Jer 25:16; 50:38; 51:7; see HALOT 249 s.v. III הלל). When used in military contexts, it describes the wild, furious action of war-chariots charging forward to attack the enemy (Jer 46:9). The Hitpolel stem is the equivalent to the Hitpael stem for geminate verbs (see IBHS 425-26 §26.1.1). The Hitpolel stem expresses energetic, intense, and rapid action; it gives special energy and movement to the verbal idea (J. Muilenburg, “Hebrew Rhetoric: Repetition and Style,” VTSup 1 [1953]: 101).

3 tn The Hitpalpel imperfect יִשְׁתַּקְשְׁקוּן (yishtaqshÿqun, “they rush back and forth”; see GKC 153 §55.g) is from שָׁקַק (shaqaq, “to rush upon; to rush forth”); cf. Prov 28:15; Isa 33:4; Joel 2:9 (HALOT 1009 s.v. I שׁקק). The Hitpalpel is the Hitpael stem for geminate verbs (IBHS 425-26 §26.1.1). The Hitpalpel stem gives special energy and movement to the verbal idea; it connotes intense, furious, and energetic action (e.g., Deut 9:20; Jer 5:22; see J. Muilenburg, “Hebrew Rhetoric: Repetition and Style,” VTSup 1 [1953]: 101). The nun ending on יִשְׁתַּקְשְׁקוּן may denote additional energy and emphasis (see IBHS 516-17 §31.7.1).

4 tn Heb “Their appearance is like.”

5 tn Or “like torches.” The Hebrew term לַפִּיד (lappid) often means “torch, flame” (Gen 15:17; Judg 7:16, 20; 15:4, 5; Isa 62:1; Ezek 1:13; Zech 12:6; Dan 10:6), but sometimes refers to “lightning bolts” (Exod 20:18; Job 12:5; see HALOT 533 s.v. לַפִּיד; BDB 542 s.v. לַפִּיד). Most English versions render this usage as “torches” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NJPS). However, the parallelism with כַּבְּרָקִים (kabbÿraqim, “like lightning flashes”) suggests that in this context כַּלַּפִּידִם (kalappidim) may be nuanced “like lightning bolts.”

6 tn Or “they flash here and there.” The Polel imperfect יְרוֹצֵצוּ (yirotsetsu, “they dash here and there”) is from the root רוּץ (ruts) which means “to run quickly” in reference to men (Gen 18:2; 2 Kgs 23:12; Prov 4:12) and “to gallop” in reference to horsemen (Joel 2:14). The Hiphil stem denotes “to drive off with haste” (Jer 49:19; 50:44). The Polel stem, which is used here, means “to race about swiftly; to flash by speedily; to run to and fro” (HALOT 1208 s.v. רוץ; BDB 930 s.v. רוּץ).

7 tn Or simply, “like lightning.” The term “lightning flash” (בָּרָק, baraq) is often used to compare the brightness of an object to the flash of lightning: the glory of Yahweh (Ezek 1:13), the splendor of an angel (Dan 10:6), the glitter of swords (Deut 32:41; Ezek 21:15; Nah 3:3; Hab 3:11), and the gleam of arrowheads (Job 20:25). It is also used as a figure (hypocatastasis) for speed, such as the swift destruction of an enemy (Zech 9:14). Perhaps both images are suggested here: the bright glitter of the chariots ( v. 4b) and the speed of the chariots as suggested by the verb “they dash here and there” (יְרוֹצֵצוּ, yÿrotsetsu, v. 5b).

8 tn Heb “the sound of a whip.”

9 tn Heb “the shaking of a chariot wheel.”

10 tn Heb “a horse.”

11 tn Albright argues that the term דֹּהֵר (doher) should be translated as “chariot driver” (W. F. Albright, “The Song of Deborah in Light of Archaeology,” BASOR 62 [1936]: 30). More recent research indicates that this term denotes “to dash” (HALOT 215 s.v.) or “to gallop, neigh” (DCH 2:417 s.v. דהר I). It is used as a synonym for רָקַד (raqad, “to skip”). This Hebrew verb is related to Egyptian thr (“to travel by chariot”) and Arabic dahara VII (“to hurry”). The related noun דַּהֲרָה (daharah) means “dashing, galloping” (Judg 5:22; HALOT 215 s.v.; DCH 2:417 s.v. דַּהֲרָה I).

12 tn Heb “a chariot.”

13 tn The Piel participle מְרַקֵּדָה (mÿraqqedah, “jolting”) is from רַקַד (raqad); this verb means “to dance, to leap” (of children, Job 21:11), “to skip about, to dance” (Eccl 3:4), and “to leap” (of chariots, Joel 2:5). In related Semitic languages (Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Arabic) the root raqad means “to dance, to skip about.” Here, the verb is used as a figurative expression (hypocatastasis) to describe the jostling of the madly rushing war-chariots.



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