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.



  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

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40 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.'”

      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):


  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!


      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? 😉


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

        Excellent point!


  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.


  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.


  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”


  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!”


      • 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?


    • 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.


      • 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.


  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


    • 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.


  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


    • 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.


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