Re: Translation request.

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Fri May 01 1998 - 00:49:34 EDT

On Thu 30 Apr 98 (09:45:00), wrote:
>  The word is "image" to translate the Hebrew, teraphim (see also v.
> 13). Liddell and Scott include this entry (p. 938) under the auspices
> of kenotafew, i.e., honor with an empty tomb.
>  In Gen 31:19 this same Hebrew word is translated by the Greek, ta
> eidwla tou patros autns, i.e., her father's household gods. See also
> vv. 34, 35, household gods, i.e., eidwla.

 Matthew and Michael,

 Yes, KENOTAFIA is a Cenotaph, an empty tomb (KENOS TAFOS). This is probably
 a derogatory or pejorative term for Laban's "household gods", a
 representation of the local /Ba`aL/ or territorial demigod.

 Why it was so important for Laban, was that it served as a Title Deed to his
 family inheritance, a property held freehold from the local godling. When
 Laban failed to find it in Jacob's tents (because Rachel was sitting on it),
 his immediate reaction was to make a territorial treaty with Jacob, to
 preserve his *property rights*. This was ratified with a sacrifice, a "pillar
 altar" /MaTsTseBhaH/ and a cairn of stones. "And Laban called it
 SaChaDhuWTha': but Jacob called it GaL`eDh" (Genesis 31:47). This GaL`eDh
 became a GeBhuWL (Deuteronomy 27:17). "Cursed be he who removeth his
 neighbour's landmark".

 This new covenant was in the name of the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor.
 Jacob objected to the polytheistic linking of Abraham's God with Nahor's, so
 he swore by the "Fear of Isaac" PAChADh YiTsChaQ (verse 42). The teraphim of
 the territorial baal were now rendered worthless as a title deed, or for any
 other purpose. They were also defiled by Rachel's alleged menstrual condition
 as she sat on them. She had come to trust in Jacob's God, and despised the
 baal whose idol she sat on. She stole it as a title deed, not as an idol.

 What was David doing with an idol in his house, 1 Samuel 19:16? WF Albright
 interprets TeRaPhiYM to mean "old rags": compare BaBBaGheDh (verse 13).
 A rag doll? A statue of a god? Michal is one of the anti-heroines of the
 Bible. Although much is made of her faithfulness to David here, lies and
 idolatry marred her character. Although prohibited by the law of Moses,
 family idols were not eliminated until Josiah's reign (2 Kings 23:24).

 Just my $0.02

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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