My Servant the Chosen One…

I was still in a vacation when I saw brother Paul’s post here entitled “Calling all hebraist…” about the translation of Isaiah 42:1 which the Hebrew word אתמך atmak could originally have been אחמד Ahmad, my apology for the delayed response. This short post is my two-cents…


Dead Sea Scroll (DS)S Manuscript Evidence

Here is the lines extrapolated from Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) manuscript portion also known as Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa) at column 35) [1]

1QIsa Isa 42-1

Most scholars render 1QIsa into modern hebrew alphabet as the following:
DSSI Isa 42-1Hen avdi atmak bo, bechiri ratzetah nafshi; natatti ruchi alav, mishpat laggoyim yotzi

However as we can see here the word in question is not legible with high degrees certainity. Here we also see spelling peculiarities compared to masoretic rule where ה”he” is appended to the end of word and ו “waw” is employed to stand for qamets vowel sound unlike the masoretes holam male and shuruq mater lectionis rule. Nevertheless because of the very close similarities between He He and Taw Taw  as well as Dalet Dalet  and Kaf Sofit Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 14.21.04  in hand-written Qumran scripts, there is always a possibility that the scribes got it mixed-up.  By by looking at the manuscript evidence at hand (1QIsa), Im not entirely certain, that it is decisive what the scribe intended to write whether it is atmak אתמך or rather Ahmad אחמד.

 

The Question of the Servant of God

It is obvious that Isaiah 42 talk about the figure of the servant of God. It describes athe character of the servant, while emphazising God greatness over idols.  Even the Gospel of Matthew sees this as a prophecy (Matt 12:18–21).

However if we have ever noticed that in all beginning chapters in Isaiah, whenever God address His servants it is always referenced by their names:

…וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הָלַ֛ךְ עַבְדִּ֥י יְשַׁעְיָ֖הוּ

“And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah…” (Isaiah 20:3)

…וְהָיָ֖ה בַּיֹּ֣ום הַה֑וּא וְקָרָ֣אתִי לְעַבְדִּ֔י לְאֶלְיָקִ֖ים

“On that day I will call for my servant, Eliakim ” (Isaiah 22:20)

וְגַנֹּותִ֛י עַל־ הָעִ֥יר הַזֹּ֖את לְהֹֽושִׁיעָ֑הּ לְמַֽעֲנִ֔י וּלְמַ֖עַן דָּוִ֥ד עַבְדִּֽי

“For I will defend this city and rescue it because of Me and because of My servant David.” (Isaiah 37:35)

…וְאַתָּה֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל עַבְדִּ֔י יַעֲקֹ֖ב

“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob…” (Isaiah 41:8)

There are other examples in which God references His messiahs and His servants by proper name [2].

Isaiah 42  begins with the words: “Here is my servant (abdi עבדי) …” I can’t help to wonder why there is no mention here about the servant of God name here in contrast with the other passages.

It is also worth noting that the Hebrew root corresponding to the word is atmak אתמך which is tamak תָּמַך appears totally 21 times in TaNaKH but only once takes a form of. “atmak” אתמך.  Although, as a verb, it is gramatically correct as a first person imperfect singular masculine pa’al form but it seems like disjointed word as a sentence especially with the a preposition with 3rd person masculine singular pronomial affix bo בּוֹ (meaning: “in him”) following it.

The following literal translation of the opening sentence from the masoretes text (MSS)

isa 42-1 etmak

Hen avdi atmak bo, bechiri

Behold, my servant I will support in him my chosen

Now consider to replace the “atmak” אתמך with “Ahmad” אחמד:

isa 42-1 ahmad

Hen avdi atmak bo, bechiri

Behold, my servant Ahmad in him my chosen

I personally think the latter construct make more sense.

Now if we compare the Isaiah 42:1 in Hebrew bible with its corresponding Greek Septuagint 42:1 (LXX) thing gets more interesting:

Ιακωβ ὁ παῖς μου, ἀντιλήμψομαι αὐτοῦ· Ισραηλ ὁ ἐκλεκτός μου, προσεδέξατο αὐτὸν ἡ ψυχή μου· ἔδωκα τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν, κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἐξοίσει.

Iakōb ho pais mou, antilēmpsomai autou; Israēl ho eklektos mou, prosedexato auton hē psychē mou; edōka to pneuma mou ep᾿ auton, krisin tois ethnesin exoisei.

“Jacob is my servant, I will help him; Israel is my chosen, my soul has accepted him; I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”

So things seem to get more mixed up here, who is the servant whom God has chosen here? why is it Jacob and Israel both mentioned where in original MSS Isaiah 42:1 none of the words  ‘Jacob’ neither “Israel” exists?. Does it mean that the rabbis were not sure what the hebrew word “atmak” used in Isaiah 42:1 means hence the variances?

The writer of Matthew supposedly quotes Isaiah’s 42:1 prophecy as following [3].

οπως (ἵνα) πληρωθη το ρηθεν δια ησαιου του προφητου λεγοντος : Ιδου ο παις μου ον ηρετισα ο “αγαπητος μου” ον ευδοκησεν η ψυχη μου θησω το πνευμα μου επ αυτον και κρισιν τοις εθνεσιν απαγγελει

Pōs (hina) plērōthē to rēthen dia ēsaiou tou prophētou legontos : Idou o pais mou on ēretisa o “agapētos mou” on eudokēsen ē psychē mou thēsō to pneuma mou ep auton kai krisin tois ethnesin apangelei

“This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, “my beloved” with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”

It is interesting to note the glaring differences from this quote compared to the DSS and LXX,  the phrase: “I will support” is gone, and now therein a noun [4] is introduced ie: “beloved”. To me this makes a strong argument that the original hebrew word Matthew quoted was in fact a proper name.

 

What Islamic sources tell us

There is a narration from Islamic historian from medieval era Ibn`Asakir ابن عساكر (b. 1106 AD, Damascus, Syria)  which recorded a an instance where a prominent jewish rabbi named Ka’ab كعب was aware of this servant of God name and he has confirmed that it was written in his Torah that his name is “Ahmad”, the chosen one, who is neither rude nor harsh and he would not a loudmouth  in markets [5]. The rabbi said:

.أجد في التوراة: عبدي أحمد المختار, لا فظ ولا غليظ ولا صخاب في الأسواق,

‘Ajid fil tawraat abdii ‘Ahmad al Mukhtaar, la fadhin wala ghaliidhin wala sakhkhaabin fil ‘aswaaq

I find in the Torah: My servant, Ahmad, the Chosen one. He is neither rude nor harsh. And he would not a loudmouth in markets.

Notice how rabbi named Ka’ab pronounced the servant of God name from 1200 years ago ” ‘Abdi Ahmad, al’muhtar…” in Arabic and compare this with its hebrew equivalent in the TaNaKH  “Hen abdi ahmad, bo-behiri…” if the original word is Ahmad אחמד. It is also interesting to note also that the narration goes on with sentences “He is neither rude nor harsh. And he would not a loudmouth in markets”  which is clearly a direct reference from Isaiah 42:2 [6],[7]

It is highly plausible that that the rabbi memorized the prophecy from the Jewish oral tradition not from the Masoretic text like many of ancient religious teacher do in their milieu thus such reading exists.

 

Context Matters

We will go through Isaiah 42:1 line by line and analyse it  how they relate to prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The translation is based form the Lexham English Bible  unless otherwise (my own translation) stated.

Look! here is my servant; אחמד,  my chosen one, in whom my soul delights.

 

“‏ لاَ تُطْرُونِي كَمَا أَطْرَتِ النَّصَارَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ، فَإِنَّمَا أَنَا عَبْدُهُ، فَقُولُوا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولُهُ ‏”

“Do not exaggerate in praising me [Muhammad] as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Servant. So, call me the Servant of God and His Apostle.” [8]

 

I have ⌊put⌋ my spirit (Ruach רוּחַ) on him;

وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا ۚ

And thus We have revealed to you [Muhammad] a spirit (Ruuhan رُوحًا) of Our command.”…[9]

He will bring established law (Mishpat משפט = a divine ordinance) [10] forth to the nations.

ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَىٰ شَرِيعَةٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Then We put you, [O Muhammad], a divine law [11],[12] (shari’atin شَرِيعَةٍ )  , from my command; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know [13]

 

It is obvious that Isa 42:1 is a prophecy of the advent of an individual person, a God’s servant whose qualities match with Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Even if  we carefully analyze the whole 42nd chapter it points to Kedarite Prophet, Muhammad ﷺ but that is for another post. Having said I find it very persuasive that the hebrew word אתמך etmak in Isa 42:1 could  originally have been אחמד Ahmad another name of prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

 

Footnotes:

  1. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, The Great Isaiah Scroll
  2. Some notable examples: Assyria; Isaiah 10:5;  Nebuchadnezzar; jeremiah 43:10; Koresh; Isaiah 45:1; David; Ezekiel 37:24; Hazael 1 kings 19:15)
  3. Matthew 12:17-18
  4. Agapētos ἀγαπητός here takes the form of verbal adjective in -τός (-tós) which has the meaning of a perfect participle passive which technically can function as a noun.
  5. History of Damascus by Ibn ‘Asakir
  6. לֹ֥א יִצְעַ֖ק וְלֹ֣א יִשָּׂ֑א וְלֹֽא־יַשְׁמִ֥יעַ בַּח֖וּץ קוֹלֽוֹ

    “He shall not cry out or shout aloud, Or make his voice heard in the streets.” (Isa 42:2)

  7. In the other narration from Sahih Al Bukhari Chapter 50, prophet Muhammad ﷺ is described as having some of the qualities mentioned in the Torah that he is “neither rude nor harsh and he would not a loudmouth in markets” : “laysa bifadhin wala ghaliidhin wala sakhkhaabin fil ‘aswaaq” لَيْسَ بِفَظٍّ وَلاَ غَلِيظٍ وَلاَ سَخَّابٍ فِي الأَسْوَاقِ
  8. Sahih Al Bukhari Chapter 60, Hadith 654
  9. Al-Qur’an 42:52
  10. Strong’s Lexicon H4941 – mishpat מִשְׁפָּט; a divine law. This is a universal reign and rule of God, cf. Jer 8:7, “My people do not know the law (mishpat) of God.”
  11. A Dictionary and Glossary of the Quran: by John Penrice Sharia john penrice
  12. In arabic lexicons, shariatin is commonly defined as “لشَّرِيعةُ : ما شرعَه الله لعباده من العقائد والأحكام” ie. “What Allah has decreed in His creeds and rulings (Ahkaam)”. See also Rabbi Saadia Gaon  Attarjamah Al’arabiyya Attawrah الترجمة العربية للتوراة  in Number 27:11 on his rendering of hebrew  mishpat משפט, here he use the word Hukm حكمBemidbar 27:11
  13. Al-Qur’an 45:18


Categories: Bible, Islam, Tanakh

Tags: ,

67 replies

  1. @ Eric Bin Kisam

    Salamualakum wa rahma tu lahi wa barakatu.

    Your article was pretty interesting but to play the other side and help strengthen the argument I think an important thing that does need to be addressed is does the context support this reading? From my understanding, this is known as part of the 4 “servant” poems in the Bible. The Jews are arguing that these passages have nothing to do with prophets period (whether Christianity or Islam) and that the servants are a metaphor for the nation of Israel (for example the suffering servant is Israel’s persecution and not a Messianic prophecy).

    So I wanted to know do you have any research (whether Muslim or Christian) to refute this claim of theirs in regard to Isaiah 42? And do you know anything in regards to this passage’s textual criticism or history?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wa alaykumusSalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

    To my knowledge rabbinic literature do not hold monolithic opinion who is the identity of figure  in Isaiah 42, we find that there is diverse opinions and some believe that it is prophet Isaiah himself  (See Rabbi Ibn Ezra commentary on Isa 42:1, he said: b’ani shehu hanavi בְּעֵינִי שֶׁהוּאהַנָּבִיא which meam “To me he is the prophet” ie. Isaiah himself.  Some rabbis thought that it was Cyrus (according to R’ Saadia Gaon), the future Messiah (R’ Targum and R’ Radak), and the nation of Israel (Rashi).  You may check “The Jewish Study Bible” on Isa. 42:1-9.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Okay, inshaAllah I’ll check the Jewish Encyclopedia out. I’m not trying to be difficult by the way I just want to cover bases. Personally, I do favor there is a peculiarity to this passage even from my research. It appears some Sahaba believed this was also about the Prophet ﷺ:

      Ata’ ibn Yasar said, “I met ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and I said, ‘Tell me about the description of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the Torah.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘By Allah, he is described in the Torah partly as he is described in the Qur’an:
      “O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good news and a warner and a protection to the unlettered. You are My slave and Messenger. I have called you the trusty one who is neither coarse nor harsh nor loud in the markets. Allah Almighty will not take him until He has made the crooked community straight by him so that they say, “There is no god but Allah,” and by it they will open blind eyes, deaf ears and covered hearts.'”

      https://sunnah.com/adab/12/9

      https://sunnah.com/urn/45170

      https://sunnah.com/bukhari/34/77

      This isn’t an exact word for word quote of Isaiah 42 but it’s close. If you’re familiar with Targum this could be what the Jews of Arabia we’re using and this passage was the prophecy in which they were using when they expected a prophet to come to Medina.

      Liked by 1 person

    • As-salam aleikum wa rahmatullah dear brother Eric, I wrote to you but still no response from you. I do extensive research on the topic of Prophet Mohammed (SAAW) in the Old Testament using scholarly works. I proposed to you earlier to join my project, but no definitive answer I received from you 😦 I work on biblical prophecies since 2013. I always wanted to publish a solid work on this topic. I have good intentions… alhamdulillah. On Isaiah 42 I have many things to say. I’m currently concentrating on Isaiah 29:12 and other related passages. See my research devoted to this particular section here under nickname Idris (2-Isaiah 29 mentions cave Hira χιρα): http://www.answering-christianity.com/isaiah29_12.htm

      Like

  3. Masha’ Allah, Tbarak Allah. May Allah reward you!

    //However if we have ever noticed that in all beginning chapters in Isaiah, whenever God address His servants it is always referenced by their names//
    Indeed it’s a very brilliant observation, which supports the reading we suggest even better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Assalamu Alaykum Br. Abdullah1234

      Do you have a link to the research study, in Arabic, on Isaiah 42? if not, can you please post the name of the research study (in arabic text please) and I will try to find it online?

      Thank you!

      SB

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a very interesting topic which warrants further research. There is more going on here than the Christians and Jewish apologists are willing to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is far more plausible than anything the Christians have tried to use for Jesus (pbuh), such as the “Immanuel” and “Nazarene” prophecies, which no reasonable person would find impressive.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed many of the so called Jesus prophecies in the Hebrew Bible fit better in Prophet Muhammad in my opinion.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Except some Jews (and they wrote it in the New Testament, the true Injeel) in the first century AD, found that Isaiah chapters 7-11 and chapters 42-53 is about the Messiah, Jesus, the Servant (Mark 10:45), the root of David, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ken, you have no clue who the authors of the gospels are, let alone to know whether they were jews or not.

        //the root of David//
        And that’s why they invented 2 contradictory lineages for Jesus to prove for jews that Jesus is from the line of David.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “Except some Jews (and they wrote it in the New Testament, the true Injeel) in the first century AD, found that Isaiah chapters 7-11 and chapters 42-53 is about the Messiah, Jesus, the Servant (Mark 10:45), the root of David, etc.”

        Yes, and some Jews also believed in another prophet to come. See John 1 as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls. So clearly, your idiotic argument holds no merit. Jewish interpretations have varied. Just because some Jews may have interpreted alleged “prophecies” to be about Jesus (pbuh) doesn’t mean they were. In fact, when we analyze these “prophecies”, we find no evidence linking them with Jesus (pbuh). No run away and whine like you usually do. How’s your master Fatty Shamy? 😉

        Like

      • “Ken, you have no clue who the authors of the gospels are, let alone to know whether they were jews or not.”

        Excellent point!

        Like

    • What?.. Eric might be a great guy, but his Hebrew is not good. Read his post on Kedar to see what I mean… There is a 0% chance that Atmak was Ahmad… The identity of the servant is not a mystery. Ch 40-48 of Isaiah are a unity, with the servant being named on multiple occasions and even called God’s Messiah: Cyrus. This is written in the text, no exegesis needed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Say what, more going on?! From the incisive analyses performed below the sole conclusion to be inferred is that it is rather the Muslim apologists who have invented this out of thin air and instead, in true in conspiratory fashion, accuse Christian and Jewish apologists of dishonesty.
      To make such an uneducated comment quite simply demonstrates you are ignorant of the Bible and the scrolls from the Dead Sea.

      Marc C.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh please. Get over yourself. Christians have literally concocted dozens of alleged prophecies about Jesus in the Tanakh and then accuse the Jews of hiding these prophecies.

        As it stands, on this issue, I am pretty neutral. It should be investigated more closely. Also, personally, I don’t use the Bible to look for prophecies about Muhammad (pbuh). It’s not even necessary and frankly I couldn’t care less what the Bible says.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So why are you making comments about something of which you are clearly ignorant and according to yourself couldn’t care less about?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can comment wherever and whenever I want, thank you very much.

        Saying that something warrants further study is a perfectly reasonable statement to make.

        What’s not reasonable is how Christians such as yourself use inconsistent approaches to “prophecies” in the Bible for Jesus while a priori rejecting the alleged prophecies of Muhammad (pbut). Like I said, further research is needed. Until then, I’m pretty neutral on the subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ Marc

        As QB said I’m pretty neutral however let’s not act like its so ridiculous that Christians and Jews are being called dishonest when we have dozens of things to prove it.

        Like

      • Sadly, I can agree: there is enough dishonesty to go around. You may have proven certain Jews and Christians to be dishonest. That’s all good. Nobody likes dishonesty whomsoever it may come from. On this very blog Paul Williams, not a Christian or a Jew, has just recently exposed dishonest Muslims to his everlasting credit. So where does that leave us?

        I look at it rationally and yes I would have to see very good evidence too accept prophecies of Muhammad and Jesus, both of which some Muslim apologists claim are prophecised in the Hebrew Bible and at least in respect to Muhammad accuse the Jews of hiding.

        No one suggested you are not free to comment. On this specific issue I’m simply pointing out that it is an own goal to imply that Christian apologists are somehow being dishonest and know more than they are letting on when in fact it is the Muslim apologists who pulled this one out of thin air. Did you somehow not notice the incisive analyses? As you can see, Biblical and Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship are highly specialized fields and 99,99% of all Christian apologists wouldn’t even know, what if anything suspect is going on here, so that is a silly claim to begin with, though that’s a minor point.

        What it does clearly demonstrate is that you are ignorant of these fields. On this basis it makes little sense here to point fingers at others as if more is going on than apologists are willing to admit. Had you simply stated that it merited more study, without lashing out at others in a conspiracy fashion I might have accepted a neutral position.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ Marc C

        I needed a little clarification you said:

        “…both of which some Muslim apologists claim are prophecised in the Hebrew Bible and at least in respect to Muhammad accuse the Jews of hiding.”

        Are you saying Prophet Muhammad(saw) claimed to be in the Bible? If so this is untrue.

        Like

      • @stewjo004

        Sorry if I was unclear. I intended to say that some Muslim apologists claim that there are prophecies about Muhammad and Jesus in the Hebrew Bible. And that the Jews hid those prophecies of Muhammad in their scriptures. Hope that makes sense.

        Like

      • @ Marc C.

        Ahhhh…copy. Question are you Jewish?

        Like

      • Rationalist. Agnostic on a good day.

        Liked by 2 people

      • @ Marc C.

        Copy. I was hoping you were as I was trying to understand what Maimondes was talking about as Muhammad(saw) being the man on the camel in Isaiah. While I believe it is an insult of some sort I was curious as to what he was saying.

        But anyway, so you’re agnostic (like I was). So if you don’t mind me asking have you ever considered Islam? If not why?

        Like

  5. Denis already destroyed any argument that the Hebrew text has somehow been changed. There is simply no textual evidence for your arguments, and his point about the preposition, “Bo” בו also devastates your arguments.

    https://bloggingtheology2.com/2018/12/26/calling-all-hebraists-eric-denis-et-al/comment-page-1/#comment-855

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And this article by Ernest Hahn also decimates your arguments and destroys the video that Abdullah1234 put up on the earlier post where Denis destroyed the textual arguments.

    https://www.answering-islam.org/Hahn/gentiles.html

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eric can you also look into Isaia 40:1-6 in Hebrew. It talks about a place called Arabah and in Isaiah 40:6 it says a voice will say “Read/Qera” and he will reply “What shall I read/Mah Eqra.”

    In the English NIV/KJV Bible Arabah translated to “Desert” and Qera/Qare translated to “Cry”

    Like

  8. Poor Kenny can’t handle the truth.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thanks for the article. It’s very interesting that one of the meanings in Hebrew attached to the three letter root חמד (حمد) is: to love or to delight in

    This becomes interesting when one reads how Matthew translates the verse (as quoted above):

    “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, “my beloved” with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”

    It is not unreasonable at all to suggest that Matthew had אחמד in the manuscript he was reading from and he translated it to beloved, a possible translation.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a response to the article posted by Mr. Eric Bin Kisam, in which he considers the possibility that the “Hebrew word אתמך atmak” in Isaian 42:1, usually translated “I will uphold” “…could originally have been אחמד Ahmad”.

    I find several problems with this possibility but will deal here only with the Hebrew reading itself.
    The suggested reading of “Ahmad” is not attested in any known manuscript of Isaiah. Bin Kisam appeals to the most ancient complete manuscript of Isaiah of the Dead Sea Scrolls and states that “the word in question is not legible with high degrees certainity (sic!)”. And that the word in the scroll exhibits “spelling peculiarities”. I think he is correct in the second observation, though I disagree with the first. In fact, from the photo he provides, one may, with no great difficulty, identify the letters אתמוכה (“I will uphold”), which Bin Kisam provides highlighted in a red modern script and acknowledges is the rendering of most scholars. (Bin Kisam’s English rendering of the word, as “atmak” appears to me incorrect and should have been “etmokah”).

    The word in the scroll, אתמוכה (“I will uphold”), has six letters, whereas the word אחמד (“Ahmad)” has only four and the two words have only two letters in common (in order to read Ahmad in the scroll one will have to posit that two letters were exchanged and another two added, cf. below). And especially the third letter “vaw” indicates that the scribe of 1QIsa did not intend to write the proper name “Ahmad”, as this letter, here representing an o-sound, does not form a part of the name “Ahmad”. Bin Kisam, however, does not explain this, nor does he provide an alternative description of the letters visible in the image detailing how one could arrive at a reading of “Ahmad”.

    Further, Bin Kisam notes that “because of the very close similarities between He and Taw as well as Dalet and Kaf Sofit in hand-written Qumran scripts, there is always a possibility that the scribes got it mixed-up. By by (sic!) looking at the manuscript evidence at hand (1QIsa), Im (sic!) not entirely certain, that it is decisive what the scribe intended to write whether it is atmak אתמך or rather Ahmad אחמד.”
    In Hebrew script some letters, such as the letter “Kaf” (representing a “kh” sound) have two forms. One utilized if the letter is placed at the end of a word and one for the remaining positions. A “Kaf Sofit” or a “final Kaf” is thus the form indicating it is placed as the final letter of a word.

    Bin Kisam is correct that these letters are similar and so it is possible that a scribe might confuse them. He is also correct in noting that the word is spelled differently in the Isaiah scroll (אתמוכה) when compared to the Masoretic text (אתמך).

    I will not here go into the reason for this variant spelling. However, it does not appear to me as supporting the possibility that “…the scribe intended to write Ahmad אחמד.”. This is because the letter “Kaf Sofit” or “final Kaf”(ך) does not appear in this word in the scroll where it is written with a normal “Kaf” (כ). This is because it is followed by the letter “Heh” and is thus not the final letter of the word (“Final Kaf” is used in the Masoretic text. I have highlighted the two forms above). Thus, If the vorlage the scribe copied from read אתמוכה (again, written with a normal “Kaf” כ) it is much less likely he could confuse the “final Kaf” /” Kaf Sofit” that wasn’t there with a “Dalet” (ד) as these two letters do not resemble each other.

    While one may argue for the reading Ahmad, I think Bin Kisam should at least describe how this reading is supported by the Isaiah Scroll.

    In my opinion much of the material adduced by Bin Kisam is not consistent with the evidence and I would be glad to explain my reasons for this. That, however, would be a longer treatment. I would be happy to do it should anyone have an interest in this.

    Let me conclude that I am not interested in polemics but simply in discussing the issues in a factual and cordial manner. Also, I would like to express my respect for Mr. Bin Kisam for engaging with the texts in their original scripts and languages.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “2) There are many cases which prove that scribes could easily fall in some mistakes because of this similarities between the letters.
      For example, Isaiah 14:4
      NIV has it (…: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!)
      KJV has it.(…How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!)
      This is because of the similarity between the ד & ר .
      [[ Line 7: 3rd word: M = “madhebah” translated in KJV as golden city, but
      Q=”marhebah” (fury) which is cited by NASV as the favored reading. NIV does not
      see the resh in the Q text which seems apparent.
      For instance, compare the daleth in line 4: 3rd word with the resh in “marhebah”]] Frid Miller

      In fact, the researcher mentioned many examples of these mistakes and even worse in which the overlapping occurs between letters which are not similar to each other to the extent of similarity between the taw ת & the Het ח!”
      https://bloggingtheology.com/2018/12/26/calling-all-hebraists-eric-denis-et-al/

      Like

      • I agree with you that scribal errors could come about for a variety of reasons, including similarity of letters.

        However, as I argued the form attested in the 1Qisa scroll אתמוכה “I will uphold” make it less likely that the scribe intended to write Ahmad. This is because (1) he included a “Vaw” (an o-sound) not found in the proper name Ahmad and (2) the non-final form of the letter “Kaf” used in the scroll is less likely to be confused with a “Dalet” (d-sound) needed to form the proper name “Ahmad”. (3) In addition, the word ends with the letter “Hey” (ah- sound) for a total of six letters vs. four in the proper name Ahmad with only two common letters.

        To me, these reasons, based on the evidence of the scroll, make an original reading of Ahmad less likely. Please elaborate on how the form in the scroll makes the reading Ahmad more likely.

        Also, could you please describe the process that took place leading from the now unattested proper name אחמד (Ahmad) to אתמוכה (etmokah) “I will uphold” found in the scroll?

        Like

    • Greeting Roy,

      Thank you for your comment, Im a bit strecth on time so I will reply quickly on your salient point that the word why “אתמוכה” etmokah in the scroll is written as atmak in my latin transliteration.  I am sorry about the confusion but that because I use the masoretic spelling. If you notice this (by checking all the masoretic codex available that the word is written as אתמך atmak. I did mention that this is a spelling peculiarities (compared to masoretic rule) common in that era where ה”he” is appended to the end of word and ו “waw” is employed to stand for qamets vowel sound.

      Like

      • Greetings Eric

        And thank you for your clarification. I do not wish to nitpick about it, my intention is simply that we be clear about the issues, even if somewhat technical. I hope you accept my sincerity.

        However, the Masoretic text for “I will uphold” is written אֶתְמָךְ-בּוֹ = etmokh(-bo) and not “atmak” as you write. This is due to the “connective” maqqef (the “hyphen”) making etmokh unstressed and thus the qamets vowel (a-sound) becomes a qametz hatuf vowel (an o-sound). In other words, the letter “Waw” employed in the scroll is not standing for a qametz vowel sound (a-sound), but rather a qametz hatuf vowel, an o-sound. The fact that the scribe of 1QIsa included the letter “Waw” indicates that he understood the word the same way as the Masoretic text did.

        Thus, in my opinion, the o-sound in 1Qisa scroll indicates that the scribe did not intend to write the proper name “Ahmad” which has no such sound.

        Like

  11. Greetings Eric

    I have, to my regret, come to realize that I was perhaps a bit terse in my response to you. I apologize to you for that and offer the below, hopefully useful response, even if my position has not changed. Let me start with a question and proceed to a few brief points.

    You write that the letter “ה”he” is appended to the end of word and” ו “waw” is employed to stand for qamets vowel sound unlike the masoretes holam maleand shuruq mater lectionis rule”.

    I have never seen anybody working in the field claiming that ו “waw” can be employed for a qamets vowel (long a sound). Could you please provide me a source where this is documented?

    The letter Vaw, when used as a vowel (as it is in the word under consideration), can stand for an o/u sound. Otherwise, it is employed as a consonant, a “V” sound. Thus, it is very similar to Arabic Vaw, In Hebrew, just as in Arabic, the proper name “Ahmad” has four letters and cannot be correctly spelled with a “Vaw” preceding the letter “dal/dalet” (d).

    You correctly note that the letter “ה”he” can be “appended to the end of word” as it is in the word under consideration “אתמוכה” – etmokah (translated as “I will uphold”). However, as it adds an extra syllable to the word as well as the ending “–ah” it is far from inconsequential, phonologically and orthographically speaking if the scribe wanted to represent the proper name Ahmad.

    Why would a scribe, if he intended to write the proper name Ahmad – a two syllable, four letter word – not only add the letter “Vaw” which cannot properly be a part of “Ahmad” but also add a “ה”he”, making it a three syllable, six letter word, ending in an “ah” sound, which again, is not in the name Ahmad?

    And to begin with, the verbal form in the scroll has only two letters in common with “Ahmad”, namely “A” and “M”, “Alef” and “Mem”, Arabic “Alif” and “Meem” In contrast, the verbal form of the scroll represents a perfectly good Hebrew word which fits the context and appears in the Masoretic text, albeit in variant orthography.

    For all of these reasons, I do not consider it likely that the scribe of 1QIsa intended to write the proper name Ahmad.

    Blessings and best of wishes

    Like

    • Greetings Roy,

      Thank you for your comment, and my apology for not replying promptly.

      I see your point, but I am still not persuaded by this. I don’t think the spelling peculiarities found in Q manuscript works the same way with the masoretes convention ie the addition of ו “vav” is not necessarily meant to indicate the vowel sounds of  “o” and “u”.  The Q scribes are more general with the use of waw and they employ it with great frequency to stand for any vowel sound including the patach “a” sound (there is example in the Q scrolls for this).  The introduction of the hey at the end of the word is just superflous and very likely  Aramaic influence, where  very frequently “hey” is added to the end of words which do not need the open syllable that is created thereby. Aramaic orthography  has distinctively aleph frequently the ending to most nouns, this does not carry phonetic significance but semantically it is an in indicator of definiteness. This fact inclines me even more to believe that the the Q scribe intend to write it as noun (thus a proper name) rather than as verb.

      Like

  12. Blessings Eric,

    Do not apologize –I appreciate your response very much – and indeed you did mention that you have been busy.

    Now I am very perplexed. You write that: “The Q scribes are more general with the use of waw and they employ it with great frequency to stand for any vowel sound including the patach “a” sound (there is example in the Q scrolls for this)”.

    Waw for o/u sounds are ubiquitously present in the DSS where the corresponding Masoretic text does not employ the plene or “full” orthography, but indicates the o sound only by vowel points. To me, this is not, at all unusual. In contrast, it does not appear to me at all usual, that the letter wav exhibits the usage you suggest in the DSS. Could you please direct me to a source that documents that the DSS employs the letter Wav with great frequency to stand for any vowel (a very surprising statement, indeed) in general and for a Patah (short a sound) in particular? I also become a little nervous and confused of the changes in your statements. Previously you stated that the letter Waw could stand for a Qamets vowel (long a sound) and now it can stand for any letter including the patach” (short a sound).

    The addition of a final “he” (-ah) in the Hebrew of the DSS may, or may not, be of consequence in terms of meaning, as the case may be.

    However, I am very surprised of your statement that the addition of “he” in DSS Hebrew as well as the definite article in Aramaic, represented by a suffixed Aleph (-a) has no phonetic significance, i.e., it was not pronounced. This is, to my knowledge, certainly not the view of scholars working in the field. Could you please provide me with a source that documents this?

    There is in fact, evidence to the contrary, namely that a final affixed aleph/heh was pronounced, in the form of transcriptions of words in ancient historical texts. Let me quote a very famous example.

    We read in John 19:17 that Jesus: “…went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha” (Γολγοθᾶ = Golgotha, cf. the parallels in Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33 and Matthew 27:33). In Biblical Hebrew the word for the skull is הַגֻּלְגֹּלֶת = (ha)gulgolet (2 Kings 9:35, “ha” is the definite article in Hebrew). Thus the, form in the New Testament may either be the Hebrew form with the “hey” (-ah) added or the author of John got it wrong (as some scholars consider probable) and the word is actually the Aramaic form with the definite article. In either case the final syllable “-a(h)” was pronounced and hence the author of John’s Gospel wrote it with a final alpha.

    Let me also offer an example of noun morphology in Aramaic to illustrate my point. Daniel 7:1 reads: “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream…” In Aramaic the word for the indefinite noun “a dream” is חֵלֶם (pronounced helem, the first occurrence in the verse) whereas the definite “the dream” is חֶלְמָא (helma, the second occurrence). The final a, is pronounced as the qamets vowel below the “mem” preceding the aleph, testifies to, but even if you question this – now getting a little technical, sorry – you also note the protonic vowel reduction in the definite form, proving again, to my mind, the phonological significance.

    Thus, the verbal form, as orthographically represented in 1QIsa, does, in my opinion, make the thesis that the scribe intended to write the proper name “Ahmad” very unlikely.

    Blessings and salutations

    Like

    • BTW, please substitute, in the above post, definite article and indefinite with emphatic and absolute state, which are the correct terms for the determinate and indeterminate nouns when speaking of Aramaic – shouldn’t be writing too late in the evening! Apologize if this has been a source of confusion.

      Like

    • Greetings Roy,

      Look at the DSS scribal spelling at Isaiah 66:9 (1QIsaA)

      האני אשביר ולוא אוליד יואמר יהוה אם אניא המוליד ואעצרה אמר אלוהיך

      the word וא-עצרה must be in the first person singular perfect (As it is God who doer of the verb) there it is clear that the extra “he” is superflous as it should be read as עָצַר atzar (God/He stopped)

      Another example in 1QIsaA is in Isaiah 66:5,

      שמעו דבר יהוה החרדים אל דבריו אמרו אחיכמה שונאיכמה מנדיכם למען שמי יכבד יהוה יראה בשמחתמה והמה

      The MSS construct :  Preposition‑ב | Noun feminine singular שִׂמְחָה simchah (joy)| 2nd person masc plural pronoun תמ clearly got additional “he” in DSS which has no phonetic significance, I dont follow any particular any particular scholar but it is quite obvious from the DSS text.

      There are other examples but I hope this suffice to explain my reasoning.

      Regarding to “waw”, sorry for the confusion, my point was  the Q scribes are more general with the use of waw and they employ it with great frequency to stand for any vowel sound (from scheva to qamets ) including the patach.

      Regards

      Like

      • Greetings Eric

        I think we are in agreement on the basic fact that the Hebrew of 1QIsa will often add a final heh to a word not found in the Masoretic text. I differ with you that ואעצרה is perfect, I think it is clearly imperfect (could be interpreted as a jussive form), so again the added heh makes perfect sense as the elongated verbal form.

        One disagreement, it seems, is whether an added heh has a phonetic value, i.e., the sound is pronounced or not. Scholars working in the field consider that many such “plene” writings reflect the desire to help the pronunciation along at the time the scroll was written.

        I think now I know the orthographic phenomenon you refer by the statement that waw can “stand for any vowel sound”. This wording is very imprecise and not the way a scholar would have formulated it. But I can understand that such a formulation can easily be misunderstood. It does not mean that you can interpret any waw as an a-sound. Some examples of the phenomenon are discussed in the scholarly literature. At any rate, I believe I found the internet source you employed for this formulation and how it leads to misunderstanding. Apparently this source was asked by a certain “brother Steve” if one could interpret the word “sinim” as Aswan, and the author of the webpage had to provide a long answer why this was unlikely. Also, this author (not a scholar by his own admission) claims that the spelling of Isiaiah 42:1 reflects spoken dialect and does not think the vaw of אתמוכה (1QIsa 42:1) stands for an a-sound (let alone Ahmad). He thinks it is “etmokah”, a lengthened form compared to the Masoretic text’s etmokh.

        But let me, for the sake of argument allow that all of your assumptions are possible and then compare the two options.

        On the reading you propose we have to first assume a scribal error of not one but two letters. Secondly, we have to assume that the scribe added a waw which muddled the issue rather than clarified it, since on your reading it can be any vowel (so we now further have to assume it to be an a-sound because that helps the argument). Finally the scribe also added a heh, for a reason not yet explained, but which we are now forced to interpret as of no phonetic value and apparently no other value for that matter (I have already provided historical evidence to the contrary, namely that it has a phonetic value though it does not necessarily change the meaning) in order to make it work.

        The other option is to simply take it as the longer plene form of the verb as it appears in the Masoretic text (attested many times as you yourself correctly pointed out). No assumption of multiple scribal errors, no vowels employed in unusual ways, and no assumption of non-phonetic endings added for apparently little reason other than that it was possible. Even on a generous reading one will have to stretch the evidence quite a bit to make the proposed reading work.

        All the best

        Like

      • Thank you for your insightful analysis.

        on Isa 66:5 I do not see how see ואעצרה could be imperfect (let alone some kind of unusual jussive) with the fact that the MSS form is in perfect (1st-m).  And I am not convinced that אתמוכה is a form of verbal plene, unless there is similar instance attested in the DSS or MSS. It is equally plausible that the word אתמוכה is not intended as a verb at all  but as a proper noun as I opt to believe.  I show you  examples of superflous final “he” in DSS which does not have phonetic significance or ..it (as I ponder more about it) could some sort of adverb similar to directional suffix which expresses some sort of emphasis toward the person (or thing). 

        I honestly have no idea regarding your comment about my internet source and this brother “Steve”, these are not my references. The use of waw as a mater lectionis not only to indicate the o/u sounds of the MSS tradition, but also  as the short vowel sounds such as qibbuts, qamets hatuf, hatuf, patach, qamets, and even shewa is part of  the characteristic feature of the orthography of the DSS. The example in which a waw appears where the corresponding MSS has a patach or qamets is found in the word “nettle” סרפד sirpaḏ in Isa 55:13, the DSS has “סרפוד”. Others appear in Isa 60:6 Sheba and Ephah שבא and עיפה while DSS has vocalization: שבו and עיפו.

        Regards.

        Like

      • Dear Eric

        If ואעצרה of 1QISA 66:9 is not the (lengthened) imperfect 1. cs. form, how do you account for the alef, indicating the prefix form, and the lack of the perfect 1 cs. suffix -ti תי in the scroll, which is pressent in Masoretic text’s perfect form of 66:9?

        We agree that the final “he” is orthographically “extra” when compared to the Masoretic text, but you have not shown – only stated – it has of no phonological value. The Hebrew of 1Qisa, has for some 60 years, generally been considered to reflect the spoken language of the time. S. Fassberg summarizes:

        “He [Kutscher’s study of 1QIsa] composed a detailed linguistic profile of the language concluding that 1QIsaa was a popular version of the book of Isaiah, whose language reflected “the linguistic situation prevailing in Palestine during the last centuries B.C.E.” Or to be more precise, “the linguistic anomalies of IQIsaa reflect the Hebrew and Aramaic currently spoken in Palestine towards the end of the Second Commonwealth.” (https://www.biblico.it/doc-vari/conf_fassberg_testo.pdf).

        I am aware of the orthographic phenomenon but did not recognize it from the formulation “great frequency to stand for any vowel”, as a scholar would not have put it this way. So I searched for it and found what I believe to be the internet source. But what, then, is your source for that particular formulation?

        And even so, if it can be any vowel – not just an a-sound – it does not really make the reading Ahmad more likely. It simply heaps up assumption upon assumption making the final reading increasingly unlikely with each new assumption.

        PS

        I agree with you that ואעצרה is not necessarily the jussive or cohortative, but my point is that the spelling is identical and so it would not be unusual in any way. The context often helps determine the correct understanding.
        Blessings

        Like

      • Shalom Roy,

        If ואעצרה of 1QISA 66:9 is not the (lengthened) imperfect 1. cs. form, how do you account for the alef, indicating the prefix form, and the lack of the perfect 1 cs. suffix -ti תי in the scroll, which is pressent in Masoretic text’s perfect form of 66:9?

        As I mentioned before it looks the scribes intended the word as the 3rd person singular perfect and thought that God (יהוה not אני) is the subject of the verb thus grammatically it should be read as עָצַר atzar (God/He stopped). So that the extra “he” is superflous .

        am aware of the orthographic phenomenon but did not recognize it from the formulation “great frequency to stand for any vowel”, as a scholar would not have put it this way. So I searched for it and found what I believe to be the internet source. But what, then, is your source for that particular formulation?

        Its not supposed to be taken as a scholarly formulation but the phenomenon of using of waw as a mater lectionis for ANY vowel for the Qumran hebrew are discussed in prominent scholarly books for instance “Qumran Hebrew: An Overview of Orthography, Phonology, and Morphology” by By Eric D. Reymond, also “The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls” by Elisha Qimron

        And even so, if it can be any vowel – not just an a-sound – it does not really make the reading Ahmad more likely. It simply heaps up assumption upon assumption making the final reading increasingly unlikely with each new assumption.

        I am glad that you make room for this plausibility, however we do not arrive on any conclusion just from this only, why we find it very persuasive that the hebrew word אתמך originally have been אחמד Ahmad, that judgment come from OTHER grounds too, I stated in my original post.

        Regards,

        Liked by 1 person

      • Waalaykum salaam ya Bin Kisam

        Thank you for your response and for engaging in such a pleasant manner. I really appreciate and enjoy the cordial back and forth we have had so far.

        Below I quote you first, and respond to your statements.

        “It is equally plausible that the word אתמוכה is not intended as a verb at all but as a proper noun as I opt to believe”.

        Why do you consider it equally plausible when not only the form in the scroll, as it stands now, is a verb, but also the corresponding word in the Masoretic text is a verb? Not to mention that we have to emend two letters and make assumptions about two more letters to make it work?

        “As I mentioned before it looks the scribes intended the word as the 3rd person singular perfect and thought that God (יהוה not אני) is the subject of the verb thus grammatically it should be read as עָצַר atzar (God/He stopped). So that the extra “he” is superfluous.”

        Well, that is an interesting theory. But now you will not only have to emend away the final letter “heh” but also the second letter “alef” or at least assume it was added, perhaps for phonological reasons, though, as it stands now it is a lengthened verbal form. A form that is ubiquitous in the Dead Sea Scrolls. As Fassberg notes, after the publication of the Isaiah scroll in 1950: “Articles soon followed both in Israel and abroad, in which the most striking linguistic pecularities were noted, namely, the extreme plene orthography, weakening of gutturals, lengthened pronominal forms, pausal-looking forms in context, frequency of lengthened imperfects (that is to say, the cohortative), and the presence of Aramaic-like forms” (https://www.biblico.it/doc-vari/conf_fassberg_testo.pdf ). Finally עָצַר (“to close”) is not, as far as I know, attested in any manuscript to 66:9.

        “I am glad that you make room for this plausibility, however we do not arrive on any conclusion just from this only, why we find it very persuasive that the hebrew word אתמך originally have been אחמד Ahmad, that judgment come from OTHER grounds too, I stated in my original post”.

        Yes, I have read both books and it is a little more complicated. But again, I do not really consider it plausible, because you have to emend two letters, make a questionable assumption about the final letter and when we get to the waw we have to assume it to be an –a sound, when on your theory it could also be any other vowel.

        I am ready to respond about Matthew and the LXX if you wish, but I do not consider the reading very likely to begin with.

        Blessings and best of wishes

        Like

      • Greetings Roy,

         

        Thank you for your response and for engaging in such a pleasant manner. I really appreciate and enjoy the cordial back and forth we have had so far.

        I also thank you for time for this exchanges of the topic, only I can not entertaint a prompt response as I have many other commitment in  real life, (business, family etc) 

        Why do you consider it equally plausible when not only the form in the scroll, as it stands now, is a verb, but also the corresponding word in the Masoretic text is a verb? Not to mention that we have to emend two letters and make assumptions about two more letters to make it work?

        Again, two extra letters looks to me is not really an issue since it is plausible it may not affect the original spelling so it is equally plausible than alternative assumption (you seems to propose) that the two extra letters is a kind of (unattested) plene form.  The fact that the corresponding word in the Masoretic text is designated as a verb, really is part of the crux of the issue here.. that the very word should be contested.. I propose that the corresponding MT could not originally be intended form. The fact that the form of the verb in MT is unique and also the corresponding greek Matthew did not render  the passage using any verb “I support” but instead using and adjective “ἀγαπητός” (beloved) which cognate to hebrew stem “חמד” (beloved) makes the case is more likely.

        “As I mentioned before it looks the scribes intended the word as the 3rd person singular perfect and thought that God (יהוה not אני) is the subject of the verb thus grammatically it should be read as עָצַר atzar (God/He stopped). So that the extra “he” is superfluous.”

        Well, that is an interesting theory. But now you will not only have to emend away the final letter “heh” but also the second letter “alef”

        But the final “heh” could be superflous like shown in other instances and the extra “alef” can not also be said for sure that it is a intended as lengthened verbal form as it is not attested in any other manuscripts, so it can be defective.

        Finally עָצַר (“to close”) is not, as far as I know, attested in any manuscript to 66:9.

        Not in GIS but there are instances of this form in MSS and rabbinic corpus.

        “I am glad that you make room for this plausibility, however we do not arrive on any conclusion just from this only, why we find it very persuasive that the hebrew word אתמך originally have been אחמד Ahmad, that judgment come from OTHER grounds too, I stated in my original post”.

        Yes, I have read both books and it is a little more complicated. But again, I do not really consider it plausible, because you have to emend two letters,

         

        I meant that you consider it plausible that the waw can be spelled as an –a sound  as we have instances in DSS.

        I am ready to respond about Matthew and the LXX if you wish, but I do not consider the reading very likely to begin with.

         

        Please do so, God willing I keen to hear your usual thougtful analysis. This is not an easy topic, there have to be assumptions and In the end we might have disagreement in some ways but it is always beneficial to learn from you.

        Regards,

         

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Eric
        Thanks, I appreciate that you despite real life commitments, found time to respond.

        I respond here to your observations and you can give me your thoughts, before we move on to the context, LXX and Matthew.

        “Again, two extra letters looks to me is not really an issue since it is plausible it may not affect the original spelling so it is equally plausible than alternative assumption (you seems to propose) that the two extra letters is a kind of (unattested) plene form”.

        I really am at a loss to understand how you can believe that emending two letters and interpreting two more in a particular way “is not really an issue”. Especially when we potentially talk of a prophet’s name that Isaiah prophesized about back, in the 8th century BCE on the traditional understanding. I think we might rightfully demand absolute clarity here. Would you agree?

        I am accounting for the six letters as we have them in the scroll, not assuming scribal errors superfluous letters etc. It is a perfectly normal Hebrew word in the 1cs lengthened imperfect. The lengthened form is ubiquitous in the scrolls and is also found to a lesser extent in the Masoretic text (MT). See for example Isaiah 1:24 (twice), 1:26, 5:1 and in particular see 1QIsa Col 14. Line 29 and MT 18:4 (Qere/Qetiv).

        I quote: “The Qumran biblical texts exhibit 197 cohortative of 769 first person imperfect forms… Of the large manuscripts exhibiting this feature, with the notable exception of occurrences in 1Q8, all are also plene: 1QISAa, 4Q13, 11Q5, and the borderline 4Q51 (Martin, Abegg: “The Linguistic Analysis if the Dead Sea Scrolls” in “Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Approaches and Methods”. Edited by Maxine L. Grossman. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010, p. 61, cf. also his following section on pausal forms, relevant as well).

        You may also have a look at Gesenius’ grammar § 48 on jussives and cohortatives.

        The verb form you quoted of 1QISA to MT 66:9 ואעצרה (root of to shut, to close) is also a lengthened 1cs imperfect form. That is, if one does not emend it (cf. below).

        Once more, when we compare the two readings one full of unsubstantiated assumptions and the other that accounts perfectly well for the reading as we have it, there really is no good reason – philological, text critical or otherwise – to choose the former over the latter.

        To be continued…

        Like

      • “The fact that the corresponding word in the Masoretic text is designated as a verb, really is part of the crux of the issue here.. that the very word should be contested.. I propose that the corresponding MT could not originally be intended form. The fact that the form of the verb in MT is unique and also the corresponding greek Matthew did not render the passage using any verb “I support” but instead using and adjective “ἀγαπητός” (beloved) which cognate to hebrew stem “חמד” (beloved) makes the case is more likely”.

        Why, if both scroll and Masoretic text agree that the word in question is a verb, would that be a crux and a reading that should be contested? For what reason would we think it was not intended, and should be emended to a proper name? Even if the scroll did read Ahmodah or Ehmodah (let’s call it the “Ahmad form”) and not Etmokah as it now stands, these “Ahmad forms” would also be unique. If the Masoretic Text had preserved a similar but no identical form, and this form was reflected in the LXX, and say the targums and Peshitta would you then also contest it due to its uniqueness? Just to be clear the root tmk (uphold) is found in various inflections, but not in the 1cs lengthened form (though found in the 1cs form of MT at 42:1, “etmokh”).

        I will deal specifically with Matthew/LXX/context later. “

        “But the final “heh” could be superflous like shown in other instances and the extra “alef” can not also be said for sure that it is a intended as lengthened verbal form as it is not attested in any other manuscripts, so it can be defective. Finally, עָצַר (“to close”) is not, as far as I know, attested in any manuscript to 66:9”.

        You are emending the text again to make it work. Of course עָצַר (“he shut, he closed”) is attested in elsewhere in the Masoretic text. Just not here.

        Best wishes to you

        Like

      • “The fact that the corresponding word in the Masoretic text is designated as a verb, really is part of the crux of the issue here.. that the very word should be contested.. I propose that the corresponding MT could not originally be intended form. The fact that the form of the verb in MT is unique and also the corresponding greek Matthew did not render the passage using any verb “I support” but instead using and adjective “ἀγαπητός” (beloved) which cognate to hebrew stem “חמד” (beloved) makes the case is more likely”.

        Why, if both scroll and Masoretic text agree that the word in question is a verb, would that be a crux and a reading that should be contested? For what reason would we think it was not intended, and should be emended to a proper name? Even if the scroll did read Ahmodah or Ehmodah (let’s call it the “Ahmad form”) and not Etmokah as it now stands, these “Ahmad forms” would also be unique. If the Masoretic Text had preserved a similar but no identical form, and this form was reflected in the LXX, and say the targums and Peshitta would you then also contest it due to its uniqueness? Just to be clear the root tmk (uphold) is found in various inflections, but not in the 1cs lengthened form (though found in the 1cs form of MT at 42:1, “etmokh”).

        I will deal specifically with Matthew/LXX/context later. “

        “But the final “heh” could be superflous like shown in other instances and the extra “alef” can not also be said for sure that it is a intended as lengthened verbal form as it is not attested in any other manuscripts, so it can be defective. Finally, עָצַר (“to close”) is not, as far as I know, attested in any manuscript to 66:9”.

        You are emending the text again to make it work. Of course עָצַר (“he shut, he closed”) is attested in elsewhere in the Masoretic text. Just not here.
        Best wishes to you

        Like

  13. Salam aleikum,

    dear brother Eric, will all respect, it is very difficult to defend the hypothesis about “etmok” being the result of scribal error. Some of these difficulties were already described above by Roy. And I will add also few critical comments as well from my research on this particular topic. I was inspired by the this book in Arabic “Ahmed in DSS” since I found it in 2014 by myself while extensively browsing the internet. I started my own research and I came to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely that the name Ahmed was mistranscribed by the copyist. Rather, I was able to find numerous quite interesting details strongly suggesting that the name Ahmed indeed must have been mentioned somewhere in Isaiah 42 (which was most probably a part of the Pentateuchal corpus at that time!) as quoted by Ka’b al-Ahbar BUT IT WAS INTENTIONALLY CHANGED along with its original narrative background (there is even a clear hint of that recorded in Israiliyyat literature). However, this could happened only during the time of Prophet Mohammed or shortly after his death (not 700 years before his appearance). Consequently, the so-called 1QIsa-a cannot be dated to 2nd century BC, it is a medieval copy written some time after Prophet Mohammed (e.g. in many places it shares identical textual readings as in Kennicot’s medieval collection of Hebrew MSS). There were reputed Jewish scholars who dismissed the antiquity of 1QIsa-a and many of the DSS in general.

    Liked by 2 people

    • @ Ahmed 1988

      ” I was able to find numerous quite interesting details strongly suggesting that the name Ahmed indeed must have been mentioned somewhere in Isaiah 42 (which was most probably a part of the Pentateuchal corpus at that time!) as quoted by Ka’b al-Ahbar BUT IT WAS INTENTIONALLY CHANGED along with its original narrative background (there is even a clear hint of that recorded in Israiliyyat literature). However, this could happened only during the time of Prophet Mohammed or shortly after his death”

      Salamualakum wa rahma tu lahi wa barakatu.

      Now that’s interesting do you mind sharing more details about this because I have seen some ahadith of Kab (rh) quoting text and I would just scratch my head about what he was reading from.

      Like

      • @ stewjo004 if you are interested, I can simply propose you to join my project. The primary goal of my project is to present the first Muslim research which would provide critically acceptable historical-evidential reasons for believing that Prophet Mohammed is and can be the direct fulfillment of at least some specific Old Testament or/and New Testament prophecies. My research is very extensive and innovative and it applies complex intertextual analysis which subsequently shows that most of the biblical prophecies are connected with each other like a one big spider-web.
        @ quranandbibleblog rightly said that “further study is needed” with reference to Isaiah 42 since in order to make the “ahmad > atmak” hypothesis to some degree admissible, a much more precise and critical study is required.

        The problem of today’s Muslims is that many of them are egoists and jeolous, so they are not willing to help unless they will see an oppurtunity to get some benefits in the form of money, etc. Sad but true.

        Anyway, whoever who is interested in this topic and would like to engage in my extensive project, can contact me through my email: esrafil.0@gmail.com

        Like

    • Greetings to all,

      I will wait for Eric’s response as well, but I too would be curious to know more about the details you discovered.

      I concur with you that the hypothetical assertion of Ahmed is “almost impossible to maintain”. I haven’t given it much thought, but is not the theory that Ahmad and Isaiah 42 was once part of the Pentateuch, before being altered around the time of Muhammad, and that the great Isaiah scroll (1QIsaa) is a medieval copy even more improbable? A few simple points of the top of my head:

      (1) The DSS and 1QIsa have been radiocarbon dated numerous times and 1Qisa is no later than the first century C.E. Certainly not from the Middle Ages. Paleography, while not an exact science, has generally confirmed the dating of the scrolls to the period between the 3rd century B.C.E and the 1st century C.E.

      (2) The linguistic profile of 1Qisaa (e.g., orthography, morphology, use of special forms and features etc.) generally fits this period rather than that of the middle ages.

      (3) As far as I am aware none of the ancient pre-Islamic textual witnesses to the Pentateuch, namely the DSS, Samaritan Pentateuch, Peshitta, LXX, Targums etc., preserve such a reading.

      (4) The same goes for scriptural quotations found in pre-Islamic extra-biblical texts, such as the Talmud, Midrash, exegetical works, church fathers, Biblical exegesis in the DSS etc.

      What do you think?

      All the best

      Like

  14. Salam,

    just to inform you brother, the above my comment was NOT critical, just wanted to relate my own experience and the conclusion at which I arrived since I’m afraid the idea about etmok being a scribal error for ahmed is almost impossible to maintain. There are too many problems with this hypothetical assertion which you simply took (including myself) from the Arabic book by عبدالله بن عيسى آل عبدالجبار. Ka’b al-Ahbar could well have access to some rare Yemeni or Syriac version of Jewish scriptures that are no longer available now and there is nothing extraordinary with such claim.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: