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Nahum 3:9

Context

3:9 Cush 1  and Egypt had limitless strength; 2 

Put and the Libyans 3  were among 4  her 5  allies. 6 

1 sn Cush is the Hebrew name for the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia (also known as Nubia) along the Nile valley south of Aswan in Egypt. Many modern English versions render this “Ethiopia,” but this area is not to be confused with modern Ethiopia (i.e., Abyssinia).

2 tn Or “Cush was limitless and Egypt was strong.” The NIV treats the two nations (“Cush and Egypt”) as a hendiadys of the predicate and translates them as one clause. On the other hand, NJPS treats them separately and translates them in two different clauses.

3 tn Heb “Lubim.” Most modern English versions render this as “Libya” or “the Libyans.”

4 tn The preposition בְּ (bet) in בְּעֶזְרָתֵךְ (bÿezratekh) should probably be taken as a bet of identity rather than in a locative sense (DCH 2:84 s.v. בְּ 7; HALOT 104 s.v. בְּ 3).

5 tc Although the LXX and Syriac read a 3 fs suffix, the 2 fs suffix on MT בְּעֶזְרָתֵךְ (bÿezratekh, “your strength”) should be retained because of the support of 4QpNah, which reads בעזרתך. The MT is the more difficult reading and best explains the origin of the variants, which attempt to harmonize with the preceding 3 fs suffix.

tn Heb “your strength.”

sn This is an example of enallage – a figure of speech in which a speaker addresses a party who is not present. Here, the prophet Nahum addresses the city of Thebes.

6 tn The Hebrew noun עָזָר (’azar) has been understood in two ways: (1) In the light of the Ugaritic root gzr (“hero, valiant one, warrior”), several scholars posit the existence of the Hebrew root II עָזַר (“warrior”), and translate בְּעֶזְרָתֵךְ (bÿezratekh) as “in your army” (M. Dahood, Psalms, 1:210; P. Miller, “Ugaritic GZR and Hebrew `ZR II,” UF 2 [1970]: 168). (2) It is better to relate the Hebrew עָזָר to Canaanite izirtu (“military help”) which appears several times in the El-Amarna correspondence: “Let him give you soldiers and chariots as help for you so that they may protect the city” (EA 87:13) and “I have provided help for Tyre” (EA 89:18); see K. J. Cathcart, “More Philological Studies in Nahum,” JNWSL 7 (1979): 11.



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