> 1) He asks how it is that this nuance I have
>pointed out managed to "escape the hundreds of linguistic
>scholars who were involved" in the translations he
>quotes. We will give some reasons for this shortly;
Just out of curiosity, I would like to know if anyone besides me wonders why
if Turkel could refer to a nuance that "I have pointed out," he couldn't
have gone on to say, "I will give some reasons for this shortly," rather
than hiding behind the pedantic "we." As a former writing instructor, I'm
probably more aware than others of this constant affectation in Turkel's
writing, because I encountered it many times in my teaching career. I found
that it was usually rooted in insecurity or the misimpression that formality
or pretentiousness in writing constituted substance. In Turkel's case, I
suspect that both account for the stylistic facade that he tries to hide
>for now, let only this be said:
Okay, let it be said.
>Aside from the fact that this argument presumes a host
>of motives and directions upon teams of scholars about
>whom neither we nor Till knows a single thing,
Oh, indeed? Has Turkel never read any of the introductions that are
published in most versions of the Bible. If not, then he should do so,
because most of these introductions flagrantly acknowledge a bias for the
traditional view that the Bible is the "inspired word of God." The
"foreword" to the NASV says, "The New American Standard Bible has been
produced with the conviction that the words of Scripture as originally
penned in the Hebrew and Greek were inspired by God. Since they are the
eternal Word of God, the Holy Scriptures speak with fresh power to each
generation, to give wisdom that leads to salvation, that men may serve
Christ to the glory of God." The preface to the NKJV says, "In faithfulness
to God and to our readers, it was deemed appropriate that all participating
scholars sign a statement affirming their belief in the verbal and plenary
inspiration of Scripture, and in the inerrancy of the original autographs."
The preface to the RSV says, "The Bible is more than a historical document
to be preserved. And it is more than a classic of English literature to be
cherished and admired. It is a record of God's dealings with men, of God's
revelation of Himself and His will. It records the life and work of Him in
whom the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among men.... It is our hope and
our earnest prayer that this Revised Standard Version of the Bible may be
used by God to speak to men in these momentous times, and to help them to
understand and believe and obey His Word." The preface to the NIV says,
"From the beginning of the project, the Committee on Bible Translation held
to certain goals for the New International Version: that it would be an
accurate translation and one that would have clarity and literary quality
and so prove suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching,
memorizing and liturgical use.... In working toward these goals, the
translators were united in their commitment to the authority and
infallibility of the Bible as God's Word in written form. They believe that
it contains the divine answer to the deepest needs of humanity, that it
sheds unique light on our path in a dark world, and that it sets forth the
way to our eternal well-being."
I could continue by quoting the prefaces of other versions, but this is
sufficient to show that Turkel's claim that "we" know not "a single thing"
about the "motives and directions " of the "teams of scholars" who produced
the various English translations is wrong. If their own statements are to
be trusted, they were "scholars" who approached their task with the
assumption that they were translating the "inspired word of God." In
quoting their translations of Hosea 1:4, then, I have not relied on the
works of people who were committed to ridiculing or destroying the Bible but
on the conclusions of people who translated this verse with the
understanding that it was a part of the verbally inspired word of God. If
Turkel wants to challenge their decision, he will be found challenging the
opinion of scholars of "all stripes," but that will be nothing unusual. I
have found that biblicists will challenge anyone and everyone who in any way
dares even to suggest that there may be mistakes or discrepancies in the
>it should be recognized that commentaries
>as a rule provide much more in-depth information than
>mere translations, and are the products of a generally
>higher rank of scholarship and of much more in-depth
>study and analysis than the translations are. If it
>comes down to a battle royale between the two,
>commentaries should assuredly be given preference.
I'd be interested to know how Turkel decided that the word "battle" is
feminine, which he implied by using the affected French feminine form of
"royal." His affection aside, I'd like to see him present some reasonable
evidence that commentaries "as a rule" are the "products of a generally
higher rank of scholarship and of much more in-depth study and analysis than
the translations are." How does he know this? Has he never read the
introductions to various versions of the Bible, which describe the
meticulous tasks of the translators in their consultations to decide on the
most likely meanings of disputed words and expressions? Is he unaware that
commentaries usually reflect the theological views of the individuals who
wrote them? Find a commentary written by conservatives, and you will
invariably find a commentary that is traditional in its approach to
biblical hermeneutics. Find a commentary written by liberal theologians,
and you will almost always find a commentary that ignores religious
tradition. If Turkel doesn't know this elementary fact, I have to wonder
just what planet he has been living on.
>(Naturally, depth does not equal accuracy; but we should
>certainly be prepared to offer better arguments in reply
>to such detail-work than we would to lesser-detailed
>work. As it is, noting our next entry, "better arguments"
>from Till seems quite unlikely.
It's nice of Turkel to recognize that "depth does not equal accuracy." Now
if he could only realize that one who quotes "in-depth" commentaries should
also be prepared to give his readers at least enough details to make
informed judgments about whether the "in-depth" conclusions of biblical
commentaries are tenable, he would make some real progress in his quest for
fame as a biblical "apologist," but so far we have seen no indication of any
such awareness. He seems to think that he can sustain a position by simply
noting that Coogan or Provan or McCominsky agrees with him. This is
> 2) Till also suggests that my commentators are
>"actually believers in biblical inspiration" who "are
>looking for a way to plug a big hole in the traditional
>claim that the Bible is a work of perfect harmony." Such
>charges are the province of those who have not the
>wherewithal to search for their own answers:
I have to wonder if Turkel is unaware that Bible commentaries are generally
the works of people who believe that the Bible is in at least some sense the
"word of God," just as Bible translations are generally the works of those
with the same belief. If so, then, as I said above, I have to wonder what
planet Turkel has been living on. The fact is that so-called biblical
scholars are for the most part Christians of at least "some stripe." We can
therefore expect in their works the same kind of objectivity that we would
encounter in books written by Muslim or Mormon scholars.
>While accusations of conspiracy are polemically viable (viz.
>the works of Robert Price), and manage to provide an
>answer without the drudgery of actual research, they
>deserve very little attention, other than to point out
>that this is exactly the sort of tactic I noted was
>typical of Till in AJINOD Chapter 1:
It's always amusing when an apologetic "want-to-be" resorts to logical
fallacy in an effort to show fallacy in the works of those he opposes. He
makes an ad hominem assault on Robert Price and me in a pathetically weak
attempt to hide the same flaw in his own writing that he claims to see in
what Price and I have written, i. e., providing answers "without the
drudgery of actual research." Maybe Turkel just doesn't understand that
stringing together quotations from commentaries, which he probably found by
using computerized search modes, in agreement with his position hardly
constitutes "the drudgery of actual research." One could take just about
any position on Christianity or even Islam or Mormonism and by use of the
same methods of "research" compile stings of fragmented quotations from an
array of "scholars" and thereby "prove" that this position is undoubtedly
>When arguments fail, polemic will substitute.
Isn't that the truth, and anyone who doubts it needs only to read Turkel's
"polemics" to see the process at work. He is still so intellectually
immature that he just can't see that quoting books does not constitute
> That said, let it be clarified
Okay, "let it be clarified."
>(as if it were really needed by anyone other than Till) that
>my "commentators" run the spectrum from conservative to
>moderate to liberal. All three groups, when seeking resolutions to
>apparent problems, are really doing no more than any
>responsible historian (outside of the radical and
>presumptuous critical school) is doing, which is seeking
>first to resolve a given difficulty before assuming some
>error on the part of the source material.
I have already addressed this argument and shown that
conservative-moderate-liberal agreement on a point of controversy in no way
establishes the truth of that agreement. As I showed, one can find
conservative-moderate-liberal agreement on different biblical issues, but
that doesn't necessarily establish the truth of whatever it is that they
agree on. If conservative-moderate-liberal agreement could be found on
matters of controversy concerning disputed points in Islam or Mormonism,
would Turkel see this as proof that whatever the three schools agreed on
must be true? He just can't seem to understand that quoting "scholars"
cannot serve as a substitute for logical argumentation, and we see very
little logical argumentation in Turkel's writings.
>They also have different solutions: Some of the liberal bent suggest a
>type of progressive revelation, in which God has set
>higher standards of action in Hosea's time than were set
>in Jehu's time, in response to the human need for growth.
>[see AndFree.Hos, 178; Crai.12P, 12; for reply, see
Yes, why don't we just "see" what "AndFree" and "Crai.12P" have to say about
this, as if we have nothing to do but spend our time looking for these
sources that Turkel slings at us throughout his articles. This approach to
argumentation works on the assumption that "references" like this scattered
throughout an article looks impressive, but it provides no real support for
Turkel's position. If he thinks there is any merit in what these works have
to say on the subject, then he should present the evidence that they used to
arrive at their conclusions, but Turkel doesn't do this. Why he doesn't is
no mystery. He posts his stuff on a website that will be read primarily by
those who are already committed to his view of the Bible, and so he knows
that most of them will just gullibly think that such as this looks
"scholarly" and go on without ever consulting the sources to see what they
had to say on the subject. In the first place, Turkel knows that most of
his readers wouldn't be able to find these sources even if they tried, but,
gee, it sure looks impressive, doesn't it? . Those who use this method of
"argumentation," regardless of which side they may be on, are actually
saying to their readers, "Do my work for me, because I'm not going to take
the time to look all of this information up myself and quote it in support
of my position. You'll have to do all of the research."
>Others remain content with seeing
>contradiction (but seldom offer any detailed work on the
Just as someone named Turkel does so often, i.e., "seldom offer[s] any
detailed work" to support his position?
>see Wolf.Hos, 17-18; May.Hos, 28; Jone.12K, 2/473].
Well, sure, I'll drop everything I'm doing right now and get down to finding
these sources and reading everything they had to say on the matter. Is this
Turkel a real person?
>Irvine [Irv.ThrJez, 503] suggests that our 2 Kings passage (10:30-1)
>is a piece of imperial propaganda that was being refuted by Hosea,
>which would raise the question of interpolation in 2 Kings or its sources.
Then can we assume from this that "commentators of all stripes" don't agree
that there was unity in the views of Hosea and the author(s) of 2 Kings? At
any rate, the statement above is a good example of the type of ambiguity
that we see in Turkel's writings parading around under the claim of
"in-depth" scholarship. This "Irvine" whom Turkel quotes has presented a
view that would conflict with the inerrancy position, but I really don't
know whether to agree with Irvine or not, because Turkel doesn't give enough
information to enable me to know if this opinion of 2 Kings 10:30-31 is
tenable. How then can he expect me to accept the fragmented quotations that
he cites from commentaries that support the inerrancy view of the scriptures?
>Of course, regarding those of "all stripes" who do seek to
>resolve the issue--if Till wishes to assert some harmonic
>conspiracy at work, that is his prerogative.
I see no need to assert that there is any such conspiracy, because, as I
have shown, I'm intelligent enough to know that
conservative-moderate-liberal agreement on a particular point of theology
doesn't automatically prove that the point is true. Turkel apparently can't
>It is certainly much easier for him than taking the time to
>absorb the requisite knowledge and make his own,
>qualified assessment of the matter, and slightly easier
>than engaging in the drudgework of seeking an answer in
>properly and better--informed sources.
Of course, we are supposed to believe that Turkel has put in long hours of
"drudgework" on this particular point so that he could "absorb the requisite
knowledge" to understand that no problem exists between 2 Kings 10:30 and
Hosea 1:4, when the only evidence of "drudgework" we can see in his
"apologetic" efforts is that he has strung together fragmented quotations
from various commentaries and saved them in computer files that he can tap
into whenever he
wishes to give the impression of "in-depth" research. In all likelihood,
much of what he quotes when he inserts bracketed references like "[see
AndFree.Hos, 178; Crai.12P, 12; for reply, see Irv.ThrJez, 499]" are
secondhanded citations that he saw in articles or books he was looking
through. The chances that he has read even significant sections of the
sources that he quotes are slight to next to none, but such "apologetic"
antics as this are nothing new to those who have had experience with his
type of "apologetics." On the Errancy list, we saw this kind of
"argumentation" most recently from David Conklin, who when he was pressed to
tell us more specifically what the sources he had strung together had said
couldn't tell us. When the pressure to put up or shut up intensified, he
withdrew from the list, in all probability to save face. I can't help
suspecting that we are seeing the same type of "scholarship" from Turkel,
who if also pressed to tell us more exactly what Coogan or Craig or Freeman
or such like said about whatever issue they were called upon to settle
couldn't do it any more than Conklin could. Conklin like Turkel constantly
talked about the range and depth of his research and chided members of the
list for the shallowness of their research, but when it came time for him to
prove the depth of his research, he couldn't produce the evidence. I may be
wrong, but I suspect that in Turkel we have only another Conklin, whose
research has been no deeper than coffee spilled over from its cup into the
>We of a more serious bent may feel free to ignore such paranoid
>shenanigans and seek rather for a resolution of the issue.
If this is true, then why haven't we seen less talk about Turkel's "serious
bent," "entitlement to independent thinking," and "in-depth research" and
more efforts to show us "a resolution of the issue." The fact is that
Turkel has done very little so far except to assert that I am shoddy and
incompetent in my methods as if he thinks that saying this enough times may
convince some to think that it is so.
I haven't had much to do yet, because Turkel hasn't really given me much to
refute, but I urge everyone to stick around, because I have reached a point
in his article where he actually tried to present an argument, in this case
about what "paqad" meant in Hebrew. The fun is about to begin, as I show
how flimsy his case is and how "shallow" his research has been.
> To begin, now, with the answer for the a)
>visit/punish problem. Here we will give the floor to
>McComiskey's detailed exegesis [MCom.MP, 20n; see also
>MCom.PrIron and Garr.HosJoe, 57], which argues that the
>word "paqad" here "establishes a relationship expressing
>supreme irony." Places where Hebrew characters appear in
>the text are represented with material in ():
> (Paqad) is difficult to define.
And so are other words and expressions in foreign languages that don't have
their counterparts in other languages; however, that does not mean that the
sense of the words cannot be conveyed in other languages. Translators simply
use definitional expressions when they encounter such terms.
TURKEL [still quoting McComiskey]
>It frequently describes an action that precedes the bestowal of
>blessing (Gen. 21:1, 50:24-5, Exod. 3:16) or the
>execution of judgment (Ex. 32:34, 1 Sam. 15:2, Is. 23:7)
>on the part of God. Since the word may precede an act of
>blessing, it cannot denote the sole idea of punishment.
>It is best to understand it as attending to or giving
>heed to a person, object or situation before responding.
Yes, and I have already discussed this aspect of the word in Part 9 of my
reply to Turkel. To refresh his memory, this is what I said about how PQD
was used in Hebrew.
>I am not going to play the game of my-scholars-against-your-scholars, and so
>I am just going to say at this point that my research into "pqd," when it
>was used in a sense most often translated as "visit" or "punish," showed
>that the word has no exact parallel in English but that it connoted the idea
>of "remembering" in either a positive or a negative sense. That a word in
>one language may not have an exact parallel in another doesn't mean that the
>sense or meaning of the word cannot be translated into another language. I
>think immediately of the word "chez" in French. If one should say in French,
>"Je suis chez mon frere," he would mean that he is at his brother's home or
>house, even though the word "home" or "house" is not actually in the
>sentence he used. To translate this sentence as, "I am at my brother's
>house" would be an accurate representation of what the speaker meant. To
>say that an accurate translation of "pqd" in Hebrew isn't possible would be
>a strange position for a biblicist to take, because he would be arguing that
>his god inspired the writing of the Bible in a language that cannot be
>As I mentioned above, in its sense of "visit," the word "pqd" denoted the
>idea of "remembering," but whether the "remembering" was positive or
>negative could be determined by context. If an English speaker should
>encounter an insult or a spiteful deed from someone, he might say, "Okay,
>I'll remember that." The statement would carry the sense of a threat or
>payback, which anyone fluent in English would understand. On the other
>hand, if a good deed were done to a person, he might also say, "I'll
>remember this," but here he would be speaking in a positive or favorable
>sense. The idea of a payback would be understood in the statement, but the
>person it was said to would understand that it was a promise to return the
>favor when the opportunity presented itself. No one fluent in English would
>experience any problems understanding what was meant in either situation, so
>it is reasonable to assume that the same would be true of "pqd" in Hebrew.
>the contexts would clarify meaning. Here are some statements where PQD was
>translated "visit" in the KJV but used in obvious positive or favorable senses.
SO didn't I say exactly what McComiskey stated above? I even went on to
give examples from the OT to show how that the context in which PQD was used
enabled readers to determine whether the word conveyed a positive
(favorable) or negative (punitive) sense. Here are some examples in which
the word had obvious positive connotations.
>>Genesis 50:24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will
>surely visit [PQD] you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which
>he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
>>25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will
>surely visit [PQD] you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
>>Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had
>straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit [PQD]
>you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
>>Genesis 21:1 And Yahweh visited [PQD] Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh
>did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
>>2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set
>time of which God had spoken to him.
>>Exodus 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the
>children of Israel, Yahweh God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God
>of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for
>ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
>>16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, Yahweh
>God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared
>unto me, saying, I have surely visited [PQD] you, and seen that which is
>done to you in Egypt:
I followed these examples with passages in which the context clearly showed
when the word PQD was used to connote negative or punitive meaning. I won't
quote them here, but anyone can go back to Part 9 of my reply [above] and
find these examples.
TURKEL [still quoting McComiskey]
>This concept of mental apprehension is apparent in the
>frequent association of the word with (remember, see,
>e.g., Jer. 14:10).
Yes, isn't this what I said in my comments on PQD that I have quoted above?
TURKEL [still quoting McComiskey]
>There are many other nuances, but in
>contexts of judgment it describes an action in which God
>attends to the wrong he observes by intervening with
This is exactly what I said in Part 9 of my reply, which anyone can check to
see. I also pointed out how that there was always a contextual pattern in
of PQD to enable readers to determine whether it was being used to denote
positive (favorable) or negative (punitive) intention, so there is nothing
at all unusual about this. As I also noted in Part 9, languages have
homographs (different words that are spelled alike but have different
meanings), and so the contexts in which homographs are used always enable
those who speak these languages to determine what was meant. Turkel wasted
a lot of time talking about nothing that's at all unusual.
TURKEL [still quoting McComiskey]
>When (paqad) is collocated with
>(upon)as well as a direct object and an indirect object
>(as it is here) in statements of judgment, the direct
>object is viewed as attending the indirect object. That
>is, the direct object is brought into the experience of
>the indirect object.
It's sort of amusing that those who want to talk about "nuances" in Hebrew
don't seem to understand even elementary points of grammar. All the way
through his explication of "paqad," McComiskey confuses indirect objects
with objects of prepositions and refers to indirect objects in sentences
where the structure is really that of prepositions and their objects. An
indirect object names the receiver of a direct object as in , "I gave him
five dollars." Five dollars is the direct object of gave, and him is the
receiver of the direct object, hence the indirect object. However, if the
sentence said, "I gave five dollars to him," although the sense or meaning
would be the same, "him" is now the object of the preposition "to" and not
an indirect object. McComiskey speaks of the direct object as "attending"
the indirect object or being "brought into the experience of the indirect
object," but that's a rather imprecise way of defining "indirect object."
An indirect object, as I explained, simply identifies the receiver of the
direct object. Let's suppose that we had the following sentences:
God will send them a plague.
God will send upon them a plague.
God will send upon them a plague for their sins and iniquities.
In the first one, "them" is an indirect object, which denotes who will
receive the plague. In the second one, "them" is the object of the
preposition "upon." The meanings are the same, but if one is going to speak
about "nuances" in an ancient, dead language, he should at least demonstrate
that he understands basic grammatical principles. The third sentences
states not just the recipient of the punishment but also the reason for the
punishment, i.e., their sins and iniquities.
> McComiskey cites as an example Jeremiah 15:3, where
>"paqad" is used: "I will send (`paqad') four kinds of
>destroyers against them," declares the LORD, "the sword
>to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds of the
>air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.
> He then writes: The collocation (visit upon) cannot
>denote punishment "for" in this context. The nation will
>not be punished "for" these destroyers, but "by" them.
>The direct object (the four destroyers) is to come into
>the experience of the indirect object (the nation as the
>object of the preposition upon).
A written statement contains only the information that the writer puts into
it. If there is no reason given for the sending of the "destroyers" in
Jeremiah 15:3, it is because the writer didn't state the reason. If,
however, the writer had said, "I will [paqad] four kinds of destroyers
against them for their sins and iniquities: the sword to kill, the dogs to
drag away, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour
and destroy," then the statement would contain the reason for the sending of
the destroyers, so McComiskey is laboring to explain away the problem in
Hosea 1:4 by trying to compare it to a statement by another writer that was
not linguistically parallel to it. Just because two statements contain the
same word ("paqad" in this case) doesn't mean that they are literarily
parallel. In Hosea 1:4, the prophet stated the reason for the impending
vengeance on the house of Jehu. Yahweh would extract this vengeance because
of the "blood of Jezreel." The reason is specifically stated, and so this
statement cannot be compared to another statement by another writer who used
"paqad" but did not state the reason why Yahweh would "visit" or "remember"
or "send" destruction or punishment.
The fact is that when Jeremiah 15:3 is considered in its context, we can see
that the writer DID state the reason why four "destroyers" would be sent
upon the people of Judah, and the reason was (what else?) their sins. In
chapter 14, Jeremiah cataloged the "sins" of the people of Judah:
>Jeremiah 14:10 Thus says Yahweh concerning this people: Truly they have
loved to wander, they have not restrained their feet; therefore Yahweh does
not accept them, now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
>11 Yahweh said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people.
>12 Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer
burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword,
by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.
The tirade continued throughout the chapter, after which Jeremiah told in
specific details what Yahweh intended to do about the iniquity of these
>Jeremiah 15:1 Then Yahweh said to me: Though Moses and Samuel stood before
me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my
sight, and let them go!
>2 And when they say to you, "Where shall we go?" you shall say to them:
Thus says Yahweh: Those destined for pestilence, to pestilence, and those
destined for the sword, to the sword; those destined for famine, to famine,
and those destined for captivity, to captivity.
>3 And I will appoint [PQD] over them four kinds of destroyers, says
Yahweh: the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the air
and the wild animals of the earth to devour and destroy.
>4 I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of
what King Manasseh son of Hezekiah of Judah did in Jerusalem.
So actually Jeremiah did state the reason for the sending [PQD] of the four
destroyers. They were being sent because of the sins sand iniquities of the
people. (After all, Yahweh is Yahweh, isn't he?) In actuality, then, there
is no substantial difference in the way that PQD was used here and in Hosea
1:4 except that the verse in Jeremiah specified the kinds of punishment that
Yahweh would use. For some reason Turkel thinks that I see Hosea 1:4 as a
warning that Yahweh would do to the house of Jehu exactly what Jehu had done
at Jezreel, and so Hosea was saying that the house of Jehu would be brutally
massacred, just as Jehu brutally massacred the royal family of Israel, but I
have never thought that the verse was necessarily conveying the WAY that
Yahweh would punish the house of Jehu but only the REASON why he would
punish it. After all, vengeance doesn't necessarily entail payback in kind.
If Smith should vandalize Doe's car, Doe could extract vengeance in many
ways without doing exactly the same by vandalizing Smith's car. Doe could
report to IRS a suspicion that Smith has been cheating on his income tax
reports, or Doe could hire someone to beat Smith up. Any number of acts
could constitute "vengeance" without resorting to the same act that Smith
In my opinion, this is the situation in Hosea 1:4. The prophet claimed that
Yahweh had said, "Yet a little while, and I will avenge upon the house of
Jehu the blood of Jezreel." The promise is that vengeance will be
extracted, the object of the vengeance would be the house of Jehu, and the
reason for the vengeance was the "blood of Jezreel." If we assume the
existence of McComiskey's and Turkel's primitive deity Yahweh, then Yahweh
could have avenged the blood of Jezreel in any number of ways. He could
have caused all living descendants of Jehu to die peacefully in their sleep
or he could have brought them all together in one place (as Satan did to
Job's sons and daughters, Job 1:13-19) and sent [pqd] a tornado upon them.
Either way or some other bloodless way that achieved the same results could
have constituted vengeance on the house of Jehu, but the WAY the vengeance
was carried out would not have been the same as the REASON why it was
carried out. As far as biblical history is concerned, it recorded no
massacre of Jehu's descendants. Jeroboam II, the fourth-generation
descendant of Jehu, was assassinated by Shallum (2 Kings 15:8-12), and this
ended the reign of the dynasty that Jehu began. The Bible, however, records
no massacre of all of Jehu's descendants, and I can see no reason to
interpret Hosea 1:4 to mean that the prophet was saying that all of the
descendants of Jehu would die in a violent massacre like the one that he
performed at Jezreel.
Turkel didn't give much of the context of McComiskey's commentary, but from
what he did give, it seems to me that McComiskey was comparing apples (Hosea
1:4) to oranges (Jer. 15:3) in an effort to find some way out of the problem
that the text in Hosea poses to biblical inerrancy. The two texts simply
are not parallel, and the stubborn fact remains that of all of the 27
translations that I have in my personal library, I found NONE that did not
translate Hosea 1:4 to indicate that Yahweh would punish or bring vengeance
upon the house of Jehu because of the blood that Jehu had shed at Jezreel.
McComiskey struggles to make a point based on what Hosea did NOT say rather
than on what he said. Let's suppose that the prophet had said, "Yet a
little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu by
a pestilence." In this case, we would be able to see that Hosea
communicated (1) the promise of vengeance, (2) the reason for the
vengeance, (3) the object of the vengeance, and (4) the mode of vengeance.
The fact that Jeremiah used "paqad" in a sentence that did not state the
REASON for the vengeance (which had already been stated in earlier verses)
is hardly sufficient grounds to justify McComiskey's quibbling in this
matter as he looks for "nuances" that aren't there.
TURKEL [still quoting McComiskey]
>This sense of the idiom is exists [sic] in every context where
>(visited upon) has two objects. On the other hand, the translation
>"punish for"does not apply in every context. We must not assign
>that sense to the collocation uncritically
Well, let's see how McComiskey's claim holds up.
Here is Hosea 1:4 as literally rendered in *Hendrickson's Interlinear
Bible,* "Yet a little [while] and I will visit the blood of Jezreel on the
house of Jehu...." This is in agreement with *Young's Literal Translation*:
"Yet a little, and I have charged the blood of Jezreel on the house of
Jehu...." The word "blood" is the direct object of "visit" or "charged,"
and there is no indirect object that McComiskey talked about at length.
"House [of Jehu]" is instead the object of the preposition "on." As I have
acknowledged, my Hebrew is a bit rusty, so if I err in my analysis, I'm sure
that Turkel who seems to understand all about the "nuances" of Hebrew will
be able to correct me, but as I look at the text in Hebrew, I see the
preposition ['al, ayin and lameth] before the word "bayith" (house), so this
is a situation in which there is no indirect object but an object of a
My eyes, which are admittedly rusty to Hebrew, see the same construction in
Hosea 4:9, "And I will visit [PQD] on them their ways and their doings...."
The direct objects of "paqad" [visit] in this verse are "ways" and "doings,"
and "them" is the object of the same preposition ['al], so we see a striking
linguistic parallel between this verse and Hosea 1:4. If the concept of
punishing is present in 4:9, why wouldn't it be present in 1:4? The "two
objects" of PQD, as McComiskey has interpreted the grammatical term
"object," are present in both passages.
Exodus 20:5 and its related texts in Exodus 34:6 and Deuteronomy 5:9 are
also parallel in structure to the verses in Hosea. These verses warn that
Yahweh is a jealous god (so what else is new?) "visiting [pqd] the iniquity
of fathers on ['al] children" even to the third and fourth generations.
The direct object of the verbal "visiting" is "iniquity," and the object of
the preposition ['al] is "children." Hence, the verses are warning that the
infinitely loving Yahweh will actually punish third- or fourth-generations
of "fathers" who committed iniquity. So if Hosea said that Yahweh would
visit [pqd] the blood of Jezreel ON ['al] the house of Jehu, why wouldn't
that carry the same sense as Yahweh's visiting [pqd] the iniquities of the
fathers ON ['al] children of the third and fourth generations? Perhaps
there is a "nuance" here that I am overlooking. If so, Turkel can surely
point it out.
If we had before us the entire text of McComiskey's commentary on Hosea 1:4,
I have no doubt that we would find just another attempt to try to explain
away the problem that exists between this verse and 2 Kings 10:30-31, but
does anyone think that McComiskey, Turkel, or anyone else would subject a
single verse to such quibbling as we have seen from them if the text in 2
Kings 10:30-31 didn't exist? Theirs is just one more effort, under the
guise of "scholarship" and discovering subtle "nuances," to keep from
admitting that the Bible is not the uniquely harmonious work that Turkel's
hero Josh McDowell has claimed.
In the next posting, I will analyze Turkel's examples of how "paqad" was
used in the OT, and further expose his pseudoscholarship.
> A few citations will bring home the point that this
>word "paqad" is a difficult translation to determine--
>which explains why (in answer to Till) so many
>translations (as well as less in-depth commentaries)
>continue to use it. Speiser once remarked of "paqad"
>that, "there is probably no other Hebrew verb that has
>caused translators as much trouble"--and it will take
>only a few citations to see why.
Well, of course, if Spiser "once remarked" this, then it must be true. This
is a good point to remind everyone of my previous comments about homographs.
All languages have them, and those who speak a language can determine the
meaning of homographs by the way they are used. Whether "PQD" in every
instance of its occurrence within the OT was always the same word may not be
true. It could be that there were merely different words in Hebrew that
were written as PQD, just as "mean," "mean," and "mean" or "bear" and "bear"
in English are not always the same word, even though they are spelled and
pronounced the same. We have no difficulty determining what is meant when
we encounter such words, because the contexts in which they are used
determine meaning or which homograph was being used.
> Gen. 21:1 - Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he
>had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.=20
> Note: This verse has a blessing visited upon Sarah.
>"Paqad" is not literally translated and emerges through
>the word "did."
Well, "paqad" may not have been literally translated in the version Turkel
has quoted, but it WAS translated in the KJV of this verse, which I quoted
earlier to show that the positive (favorable) or negative (punitive) sense
of PQD can be determined by the way it was used. Here is my citation of the
very same verse cut and pasted from Part 9 of my reply.
>Genesis 21:1 And Yahweh visited [PQD] Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did
unto Sarah as he had spoken.
>2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set
time of which God had spoken to him.
So PQD is translated as "visited" in the KJV, and the context in which it
was used clearly denotes that Yahweh "visited" Sarah in order to bestow a
blessing. The word "did," as Turkel claimed, really does very little to
convey the positive nature of PQD. This is done in verse 2, which states
what it was that Yahweh did for Sarah.
> Gen. 40:4 - The captain of the guard assigned
>("paqad") them to Joseph, and he attended them. After
>they had been in custody for some time..
All we have to do is keep my comments about homographs in mind. PQD had
different meanings in Hebrew as does "bear" in English. If we heard someone
say, "I can't bear to see animals suffer," who would think that the
homograph "bear" was being used here to convey the sense of the ursine
animal that we call a "bear"? If someone said, "I don't know what this word
means," who would think that the person was using this homograph in the
sense of "midway" or "average"? The homograph PQD could mean "appoint,"
"commit to," or "assign," and the context in this verse shows that this was
the sense intended. Where is the problem? Is this the best that Turkel can
do in his quest to prove that the homograph PQD was so ambiguous or
mysterious in meaning that we just can't be sure what it meant in Hosea 1:4?
> Ex. 3:16 - "Go, assemble the elders of Israel and
>say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God
>of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--appeared to me and said: =7FI
>have watched ("paqad") over you and have seen what has
>been done to you in Egypt.' =20
I also used this same verse in Part 9 to show how that context will
determine whether PQD was used in a positive or negative sense. Here is
what I noted.
>Exodus 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the
children of Israel, Yahweh God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for
ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
>16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, Yahweh
God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared
unto me, saying, I have surely visited [PQD] you, and seen that which is
done to you in Egypt:
When the next verse goes on to say, "I declare that I will bring you up out
of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing
with milk and honey," the positive (favorable) usage of PQD is very clearly
indicated. I'm sure a speaker of Hebrew would have encountered no more
trouble understanding the word in this context than an English speaker has
with words like "bear" and "bear."
> Ex. 32:34 - "Now go, lead the people to the place I
>spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when
>the time comes for me to punish, I will punish ("paqad")
>them for their sin.
The KJV of this verse says, "Nevertheless in the day when I visit [pqd], I
will visit [pqd] their sin upon them." So again the context in which PQD
was used indicated that it conveyed a negative or punitive sense. Where's
> Num. 1:3-21 - In these verses, "paqad" is used
>several times in relation to the numbering of the
>Hebrews. The KJV and NIV offer no English word as a
Well, whether three times would be "several" times is debatable, but there
certainly is no problem. The PQD homograph in Hebrew sometimes meant "to
count" or "number," and the context, which is clearly narrating the taking
of a census, makes it clear that PQD had that meaning in this particular
context, so where is the problem? Surely, Turkel wouldn't argue that PQD in
Hosea 1:4 could have meant "count" or "number" or "assign" or "appoint." As
for Turkel's claim that the KJV and NIV "offer no English word as a
parallel," I have to wonder what he means. Both versions use the word
"number" in this passage, so "number" is an appropriate "parallel" to PQD in
this particular context.
> 1 Ki. 11:28 - Now Jeroboam was a man of standing,
>and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work,
>he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the
>house of Joseph.
> Note: "Paqad" here is used to refer to Jeroboam
>being "put in charge" of the labor force.
Yes, in the same way that the homograph PQD was translated "assigned" in
Genesis 40:4 to denote that Joseph was put in charge of the pharaoh's chief
guards and butlers when they were put into prison with Joseph, PQD in this
verse also denoted "assign to" or "put in charge of." The homograph
sometimes carried this meaning, and the context enables readers to
understand whether PQD was being used in the sense of "visit" or "remember"
or "punish" or "count" or "assign" or "appoint," etc., so I will have to ask
again where the problem is.
> 1 Ki. 14:27 - So King Rehoboam made bronze shields
>to replace them and assigned ("paqad") these to the
>commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the
Sigh! See my comments immediately above. I do hope that those who may be
in Turkel's "adoring fold" are at least beginning to see how hard Turkel has
to strain to try to find a point to use in support of his position.
>1 Ki. 20:26 - The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered
>("paqad") the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight
Let's look at the KJV of this verse and its immediate context.
>26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered
[PQD] the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
>27 And the children of Israel were numbered [PQD], and were all present,
and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like
two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
We have already noted that the homograph PQD could carry the meaning of
counting or numbering, and in this passage, a counting or numbering of
soldiers was done in order to go to battle. Thus, it would be appropriate
in this context to use the word "muster." The "numbering" in the passage
that Turkel cited in Numbers is another example of how this word was used,
because the census or counting was done in order to determine how many men
there were of military age (1:2-3). PQD was used four times in Judges 20-21
in reference to the "numbering" of the children of Benjamin and the "men of
Israel" as Benjamin prepared for war against the other tribes of Israel in
the matter concerning the ravishing of the Levite's concubine. The men on
both sides were "numbered," but this was done in order to "muster" them for
military service. The homograph PQD sometimes meant to count or number and
was used when counting or numbering was done in order to muster armies.
Where is the problem? Does Turkel have any trouble recognizing this meaning
when he reads the verse in context?
> 2 Ki. 3:6 - So at that time King Joram set out from
>Samaria and mobilized ("paqad") all Israel.
See my comments above. The KJV says, "King Joram went out of Samaria the
same time, and NUMBERED all Israel," so all that we have in this verse is an
example of counting or numbering that was done in order to "muster" or
"mobilize" an army. Where is the problem? How does any of this show that
we just can't tell from the context of Hosea 1:4 what PQD meant in this
> 2 Ki. 12:11 - When the amount had been determined,
>they gave the money to the men appointed ("paqad") to
>supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those
>who worked on the temple of the LORD--the carpenters and
Yes, as I have already noted, the homograph PQD was used at times to mean
"appoint" or "assign," and this is just one example of others that could be
given when it was so used. Does Turkel seriously think that any of this
proves that the meaning of PQD in Hosea 1:4 just can't be determined?
Another point should be made here. Turkel ranted about how my practice of
quoting translations is "superficial" scholarship, but look what he has
done. He has selected a Hebrew homograph that was used in several senses in
an effort, I assume, to prove that its meaning in a particular passage just
can't be determined, but in every example that he cited, the context in
which PQD appeared made it easy to determine whether it meant "visit,"
"remember," "punish," appoint," "assign," "count," "muster," etc. So just
who is showing signs of superficial scholarship?
> So, the obvious difficulty with this word helps
>explain why translators continue to use "punish" in Hosea
Obvious difficulty? What obvious difficulty? Would Turkel please tell us
which of the examples he cited were such that the meaning of PQD just
couldn't be determined from the context? To show the absurdity of his line
of argumentation, let's suppose that a person who speaks English should
encounter the following statement in a written text: "She couldn't bear
children." That statement alone would be insufficient to determine whether
"bear" meant "to give birth to" or "to endure or tolerate"; however, if the
text went on to say, "She found them to be insufferable and avoided all
situations where she might encounter the little brats," this additional
information would make the meaning of "bear" quite clear to anyone whose
native language is English.
If this isn't enough to convince Turkel that he has led us down a long
tangent that went nowhere, then I suggest that he just browse through an
unabridged dictionary. He will find that it lists homographs as separate
words and that they are commonplace in English, yet I'm sure he doesn't
think that he has any particular difficulty reading and understanding the
English language. It is only English versions of the Bible that give him
problems. Does Turkel, for example, have any problems determining from
context which "leave" is being used when he encounters this homograph?
Perhaps he won't mind telling us.
It is also explained by a couple of other factors
> * Most importantly - and a good reason why the
>majority of Till's translations don't carry this
>interpretation! - is that the detailed linguistic work....
My, my, Turkel seems to know all about Hebrew "nuances," but he doesn't seem
to know that his sentence above should read, "Most important--and a good
reason why...." The reason why people make this very common mistake is that
they don't know that they have used an elliptical expression. They are
actually saying, "What is most important is...." "Importantly" is an
adverb, but in the construction that Turkel has used, there is nothing for
it to modify. I point this out just to note that when I see such mistakes
as this in Turkel's writing, I find myself seriously doubting that his
knowledge of the "nuances" of Hebrew is what he wants us to think it is.
> - is that the detailed linguistic work on
>the matter has only been done in the last 5-7 years or
I certainly don't doubt that this "detailed linguistic work" on PQD has been
done within the last 5-7 years, because the biblical inerrancy doctrine has
faced some rather strong opposition during that period, much stronger than
before then, so I can imagine biblical inerrantists in recent years
desperately searching for something to use in explaining away the problem in
Hosea 1:4. I have frequently said to amateurs who seek to expose
discrepancies in the Bible that if they think there is any such thing as an
"unanswerable" argument against inerrancy, they need to think again. Give a
dedicated inerrantist a little time, and he will dream up some way to
explain how that the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says. Just recently
on the Errancy list some have remarked about the way that inerrantists seem
to have a special talent for always knowing exactly what biblical writers
meant, so the fact that Turkel's "explanation" of Hosea 1:4 may be new
doesn't faze me in the least. It merely strengthens my suspicion that
inerrantists realize that there is a real problem in Hosea 1:4, and they
have been so sensitive to the problem that they have done "detailed
linguistic work" only within the past 5-7 years to see if they could find a
way out of the problem.
>The majority of Till's translations were performed
>and/or published earlier than this research was done.
And so I guess we are supposed to believe that it has taken over 2,000 years
to determine what the word "pqd" meant in Hosea 1:4 and that it took
non-Jewish scholars to make that determination. How seriously does Turkel
expect us to take the claim that as much as the OT has been studied for
centuries and centuries, the meaning and usage of a particular word, which
was used repeatedly in the Bible text, just happened to be clarified within
the past 5-7 years and was done by biblicists in a way that coincidentally
solved a discrepancy in the Bible?
>* The specific collocation here, we might add, appears
>NOWHERE ELSE in the OT! [Irv.ThrJez, 497] Unique words or
>word combinations are nearly always problematic
Well, excuse me, but I think I showed in Part 13 that the same "collocation"
that McComiskey talked about is also found in Exodus 20:4; 34:6; and
Deuteronomy 5:9. These passages all have the word PQD, which is followed by
a direct object, and the object of the preposition ['al], which McComiskey
called an indirect object, so if there is a "specific collocation" in Hosea
1:4, which "appears NOWHERE ELSE in the OT," Turkel is going to have to be a
bit clearer about just what this collocation is. =20
Let's assume, however, that he is right and that this "specific collocation"
appears nowhere else in the OT. That being so, there would be no other
passages to which to compare PQD as it was used in Hosea 1:4, so rather than
this being a point in favor of Turkel's position, it would actually work
against it. How could a credible argument be based on a "specific
collocation" if that collocation occurred only once in a body of literature?
> * An undoubtedly influential factor is that the
>Greek translation of the OT uses "punish/avenge" here.
>Of course, from the point of view of the later writers of
>the LXX, Jehu's house has already had their "visit" and
>it has turned out to be a "punishment"! Their selection
>has rather the taste of hindsight.
Turkel does have problems explaining himself. What does he mean by the
"later writers of the LXX"? The LXX was merely a Greek translation of books
that had been written earlier in Hebrew, so there were no "LXX writers."
Maybe "translators" was what he meant. At any rate, if I understand him, he
is asserting that the LXX was "an undoubtedly influential factor" in the way
that Hosea 1:4 has been translated in modern translations of the OT, but he
gave no evidence whatsoever to support this assertion. Hence, there is
really nothing here for me to refute. Since the concept of "vengeance" or
"punishment" is in all 27 versions of the OT that I have in my personal
library, including two that are in Greek and French, and since Turkel
apparently can't cite any that favor his strained interpretation, I'm going
to assume that all of the hundreds of translators that were represented in
producing these works translated PQD in Hosea 1:4 as they did, because their
scholarship told them that this was the meaning that the word in this
particular context conveyed. Until Turkel can produce reasonable evidence
for his unlikely assertion that the LXX translators have exercised an
influence on this particular verse that has caused a mistranslation to
endure for 2300 years, I'm going to give Turkel's assertion no more
consideration than it deserves, which is exactly NONE.
> * Hosea uses "paqad" six additional times (2:13,
>4:9, 4:14, 8:13, 9:9, 12:2) in his book. In most cases,
>it clearly indicates the "punish" mode, but obviously
>this should not mean that it is used that way throughout
Actually, Hosea used "paqad" SEVEN other times. In Part 9 of my response, I
quoted every one of those other uses of "paqad" in Hosea and noticed that it
didn't indicate in "most cases" the "punish mode" but rather the context of
EVERY one of them conveyed the idea of punishment. To make it harder for
Turkel to ignore the way that Hosea used the word, I am cutting and pasting
that section of Part 9 below.
>A good way to determine how a particular writer probably intended a word or
>expression to be understood is to note other statements in which he used the
>same word. If we do this, in the case of Hosea, we find the following
>>2:12 And I will destroy her [Hosea's wife of "whoredom," symbolically
>Israel] vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards
>that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts
>of the field shall eat them.
>>13 And I will visit [PQD] upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned
>incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels,
>and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
>>4:9 And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish [PQD]
>them for their ways, and reward them their doings.
>>10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom,
>and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.
>>11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
>>12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto
>them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have
>gone a whoring from under their God.
>>13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon
>the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is
>good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall
>>14 I will not punish [PQD] your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor
>your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with
>whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not
>understand shall fall.
>>8:13 They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat
>it; but Yahweh accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and
>visit [PQD] their sins: they shall return to Egypt.
>>9:7 The days of visitation [PQD] are come, the days of recompense are
>come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad,
>for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.
>>8 The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a
>fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.
>>9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah:
>therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit [PQD] their sins.
>>12:2 Yahweh hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish [PQD]
>Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.
>So SEVEN other times, Hosea used PQD, and in EACH case, the word carried
>the sense of remembering sins and iniquities and punishing for them. Is it any
>surprise that PQD is translated in the sense of "punishment" in other
>versions of the OT? Here are the renditions of the Jewish Publication Society:
>2:15 (verse 13 in KJV): Thus I will punish [PQD] her for the days of
>4:9, Therefore the people shall fare like the priests: I will punish [PQD]
it for its conduct, I will require it for its deeds....
>14 I will not punish [PQD] their daughters for fornicating nor their
daughters-in-law for committing adultery; For they themselves turn aside
with whores and sacrifice with prostitutes....
>8:13-15, When they present sacrifices to Me, it is but flesh for them
>to eat: The Lord has not accepted them. Behold, he remembers their
>iniquity, He will punish [PQD] their sins: Back to Egypt with them!
>9:7-9, The days of punishment [PQD] have come for your heavy guilt;
>The days of requital have come--Let Israel know it. The prophet was
>distraught, the inspired man driven mad by constant harassment. Ephraim
>watches for my God. As for the prophet, fowlers' snares are on his paths,
>harassment in the House of his God. They have been as grievously corrupt as
>in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, he will punish
>[PQD] their sins.
>12:3 The Lord once indicted Judah, and punished [PQD] Jacob for his conduct....
>A check of other translations will show that most of them were rendered to
>carry the sense of punishment wherever Hosea used PQD. Except for the
>damage that this translation does to his pet inerrancy theory, Turkel would
>see no reason to disagree with them, but when inerrancy is on the line, an
>inerrantist must deny the obvious in order to defend his position.
>(Note that the KJV translators rendered "paqad" as "visit" in some cases.
Which means what? We have shown that a common translation of "pqd" in
English is "visit," used in the sense of to "remember." The fact that the
KJV rendered "paqad" as "visit" in some of the passages in Hosea would not
affect the contextual meaning of those passages. However, if Turkel wants
to talk about how the KJV rendered "paqad" in some of the passages in Hosea,
perhaps he will want to take note of the times that the KJV used "punish" in
these passages, and perhaps he will want to notice that a Jewish
translation used "punish" ALL eight times that Hosea used "paqad."
> * Andersen and Freedman acknowledge the viability
>of the "visit" translation and accept the same
>explanation of the issue as we have, as noted below.
>However, they stick with "punish" and reject a "visit"
>translation because "its vacuity misses the juridical
>connotations of the idiom." In other words, they use
>"punish" because of problems with the vacuity of OUR
>language - not because of the Hebrew.
As usual, Turkel has quoted just a "snatch" of what his source said, but
even at that, it seems that he doesn't seem to understand what "Andersen and
Freedman" appear to be saying. On the basis of the fragmented quotation
that Turkel cited, they appear to think that the ENGLISH word "visit" is too
to connote the intention of the Hebrew idiom, and so for that reason they
favored using the word "punish" to translate "paqad" in this particular
context. Apparently, they think that this English word does have the
substance to capture the "juridical connotations of the [Hebrew] idiom." On
what grounds can Turkel argue that if a homograph in Hebrew
conveyed in one of its senses the idea that is denoted by "visit" in
English, a translator would be admitting "vacuity" in English unless he
always used "visit" to translate that particular Hebrew homograph? Does
Turkel think, for example, that the English homograph "bear" will always be
translated by the same French word? In some instances, it would be
translated by "ours" (to denote the animal in the Ursine family), in others
it would need to be translated with "porter" (to carry), in others by
"supporter" (to support or hold up), etc. So the best that I can tell from
Turkel's fragmented quotation from Andersen and Freedman, they weren't
saying that vacuity exists in the English language but that a particular
word "visit" lacked the substance to convey the sense of an idiom as
effectively as "punish" would. Apparently the
translators of the Jewish Publication Society agree, because they used
"punish" to translate "paqad" in EVERY instance where Hosea used it.
> * "Punish" is also selected in part because of the
>supposed connotation of the word for "massacre" (see
At this point, Turkel began to tell us that just as we poor, ignorant
skeptics don't know enough about the "nuances" of Hebrew to understand what
"paqad" meant in Hosea 1:4, the same is true of our understanding of "dam,"
the word that is translated "blood" or "bloodshed" in most versions.
(Turkel is apparently quoting the NIV, which used "massacre" for "dam.")
Before I undertake to answer his quibbling on this point, I will suggest
that readers who want to see real "vacuity" in action should go back to Part
9 of my response and review the 25 different translations of Hosea 1:4 that
I quoted, and this review should convince them that vacuity abounds in
Turkel's quibbling in this matter. Twenty of them used "blood,"
"bloodshed," "bloody deeds," or some such to translate "dam," and all but
one of the others used terms denoting "murder." The only one that used
"massacre" was the NIV, so again there seems to be pretty solid agreement
among translators about what "dam" meant in Hosea 1:4. Now let's listen to
Turkel as he tries to tell us that the
translators got it all wrong on this word too.
> And now to argument b), involving the word
>"massacre." The Hebrew here is "dam," and the
>interpretation of it in our view yields a similar result
>to the matter of a) above.
Everyone should keep in mind what I just said, immediately above, about the
way that "dam" was rendered in the 25+ translations that I quoted earlier.
> Let's give the floor this
>time to commentator Douglas Stuart [Stu.HosJon, 23n; see
>also MCom.MP, 21-2]. Places where Hebrew symbols
>appear in the text are indicated with an ().
> It should be noted that the present oracle does not
>per se condemn Jehu's coup at Jezreel, called for by
>Elisha. (Dam yizre'el) COULD mean "bloodguilt of
>Jezreel" in the sense of a great, decisive slaughter.
>The former connotation, "bloodguilt," is found is found [sic]
>for (dam) in Lev. 20:9, Duet. 19:10, 2 Sam. 21:1, etc.
Okay, let's just take a look at these passages, which Turkel (through his
spokesman Stuart) seems to think sheds so much light on how "dam" should
really have been translated in Hosea 1:4.
>Leviticus 20:9 All who curse father or mother shall be put to death;
having cursed father or mother, their blood is upon them.
Under the Mosaic law, one could be put to death for cursing his father or
mother: "And he that curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to
death" (Ex. 21:17). Thus, all that Leviticus 20:9 did was to repeat this
law but to go on and say that those who curse their parents have no one to
blame but themselves when they are put to death. "Their blood is upon
them." In other words, the responsibility for the shedding of their own
blood falls upon them, because they violated a law that called for the death
>Deuteronomy 19:8 If Yahweh your God enlarges your territory, as he swore
to your ancestors--and he will give you all the land that he promised your
ancestors to give you,
>9 provided you diligently observe this entire commandment that I command
you today, by loving Yahweh your God and walking always in his ways--then
you shall add three more cities to these three,
>10 so that the blood of an innocent person may not be shed in the land
that Yahweh your God is giving you as an inheritance, thereby bringing
bloodguilt [DAM] upon you.
The word translated "bloodguilt" is "dam," the same word that was used in
Leviticus 20:9 and Hosea 1:4, so the text in Hebrew literally said, "thereby
bringing blood upon you." To "bring blood" upon someone or upon oneself was
simply an idiom in Hebrew that meant to make one responsible for or guilty
of shedding blood. Hence, rather than supporting Turkel's claim that "dam"
wasn't correctly translated in Hosea 1:4, the passages his source cited
really support the idea that Hosea was saying that punishment would be
brought upon the house of Jehu for the guilt of having shed blood at Jezreel.
>2 Samuel 21:1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years,
year after year; and David inquired of Yahweh. Yahweh said, "There is
bloodguilt [DAM] on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to
This text literally said that there was blood on Saul and on his house, and
so rather than supporting Turkel's claim that there are "nuances" in Hebrew
that I am overlooking, such passages as these indicate that he is really the
one who can't seem to catch the nuances of Hebrew. The story that the verse
above introduced teaches that Yahweh sent a famine upon the land during the
reign of David for an act of bloodshed that Saul, who was dead by this time,
had committed. If ever a scripture citation backfired in an inerrantist's
face, this one certainly has. To show that it was clearly a barbaric custom
in those times to hold descendants and successors responsible for sins that
had been committed in the past, I am going to post the rest of this story
for Turkel's consideration.
>2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites
were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites;
although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had tried to
wipe them out in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.)
>3 David said to the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make
expiation, that you may bless the heritage of Yahweh?"
>4 The Gibeonites said to him, "It is not a matter of silver or gold
between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put anyone to
death in Israel." He said, "What do you say that I should do for you?"
>5 They said to the king, "The man who consumed us and planned to destroy
us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel--
>6 let seven of his sons be handed over to us, and we will impale them
before Yahweh at Gibeon on the mountain of Yahweh." The king said, "I will
hand them over."
>7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan,
because of the oath of Yahweh that was between them, between David and
Jonathan son of Saul.
>8 The king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to
Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab daughter of Saul,
whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite;
>9 he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they impaled them on
the mountain before Yahweh. The seven of them perished together. They were
put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest.
Although this particular text did not use the word "paqad," the writer could
certainly have stated that Yahweh "visited" [pqd] the blood of the
Gibeonites upon the house of Saul by holding Saul's descendants responsible
for an atrocity that Saul had committed. Not until seven descendants of
Saul were killed did Yahweh take away the famine on the land, so it was
clearly the belief of biblical writers that Yahweh would "visit" the guilt
of one's sins or iniquities upon his descendants. The only substantial
difference in this story and Hosea 1:4's denunciation of the house of Jehu is
that no biblical writer ever expressed approval of Saul's actions with
reference to the Gibeonites, as did the writer of 1 Kings 10 in reference to
Jehu's massacre at Jezreel. If such an approval had been expressed
elsewhere in the Bible, we would be seeing Turkel and his inerrantist
cohorts picking 2 Samuel 21 to pieces, looking for "nuances" in Hebrew that
would suggest that the writer of 2 Samuel wasn't really denouncing what Saul
>But the connotation "killing" or "bloodshed" is also
>well-attested as in (dam) "bloodshed-of-battle" (1 Kgs.
>2:5) or (dam) "unnecessary bloodshed" (1 Kgs. 2:31), etc.
In the interest of time, I won't quote these passages and analyze them,
because they will show only what has been noted above. "Dam" in Hebrew
meant "blood," but in expressions that referred to "blood" being upon
someone, it meant that the person was guilty of shedding blood or inherited
the guilt or responsibility for it. The passages above from 1 Kings 2
referred to "blood" that Joab had shed, which Solomon feared would be "upon"
David's house or, in other words, bloodshed by Joab that Solomon was afraid
Yahweh would hold him responsible for, and so he gave orders to Benaiah to
fall upon Joab with the sword to take away from him and his father's house
the blood that Joab had shed "without cause" (v:31). Solomon went on to
tell Benaiah that Yahweh would then "return his [Joab's] blood upon his own
head" (v:32). Turkel's problem is that he can't seem to understand that
these passages that his eminent source quoted merely reflected an ancient
superstition that "God" could hold one person responsible for the crimes of
another. I'm having a hard time understanding what relevance all of this
has to Hosea 1:4, a passage that obviously indicated a belief that the
descendants of Jehu were going to be punished for blood that Jehu had shed,
because nothing that Stuart said after Turkel "yield[ed] the floor to him"
has even remotely suggested that Hosea's use of "dam" meant anything but
what it meant in the scriptures that Stuart quoted. In ancient Hebrew
superstition, it was believed that the "blood" that a person shed could
sometimes be "upon" other parties in the sense that these parties would be
held responsible for it. Hence, Hosea was saying that Yahweh would hold
present members of the house of Jehu responsible for blood that their
ancestor had shed at Jezreel.
TURKEL [still quoting Stuart]
>Recognition of the use of (dam) in the context, so often
>associated with requital of justice in the Old Testament,
>should not lead to the conclusion that Hosea is
>condemning Jehu for fulfilling God's command.
We're just supposed to take Stuart's word for this? If he thinks that this
is the case, then he should have cited some evidence from the text of Hosea
that would justify this conclusion. As it was, all that he did was to cite
several passages that upon examination clearly showed that "dam" [blood] was
often used to convey the sense of guilt for having killed unjustly. If this
is what it meant when Solomon expressed fear to Benaiah that the "blood"
that Joab shed might be upon him [Solomon] and his father's house unless
Joab were killed with the sword as he had killed others, then what reason is
there to think that the "blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4 meant something
entirely different? So we see that once again Turkel has taken us down a
long tangent that led to nowhere, but this is the kind of exercise in
futility that inerrantists must engage in when they try to show that the
Bible doesn't mean what it plainly says.
TURKEL [still quoting Stuart]
>Instead, Yahweh now announces that he will turn the tables on the
>house of Jehu because of the real issue, i.e., WHAT HAS
>HAPPENED IN THE MEANTIME.
Turkel seems to think that he is adept at finding "nuances" in Hebrew, so I
defy him to find any hint at all in Hosea 1:4 that the prophet was referring
to what had "happened in the meantime." Stuart is arguing, of course, that
Hosea was saying that Yahweh would punish the house of Jehu for what Jehu
and his descendants had done AFTER the bloody massacre at Jezreel, but that
is not what the text says, and it nowhere hints that this was what was
meant. The blood of Jezreel happened during a coup d'etat led by Jehu to
seize political control of Israel, and so there is no reason to think that
the "blood of Jezreel" in Hosea 1:4 referred to anything but this massacre.
To say that it was referring to what had happened in the house of Jehu after
the events at Jezreel is to take ridiculous liberties with the text. At any
rate, I should point out to those who may have missed it that Turkel is
talking out of both sides of his mouth in this matter. He began by saying
that the house of Jehu was going to be punished because Jehu had exceeded
the commandment that Yahweh had given to him by killing more than just those
who were members of the house of Jehu, but now he has yielded the floor to
Stuart who is arguing that Hosea 1:4 meant that the house of Jehu would be
wiped out not for what Jehu had done but for what had 'HAPPENED IN THE
MEANTIME." Will the real Robert Turkel please stand up and tell us what he
really believes in this matter?
TURKEL [still quoting Stuart]
>In the same way that Jehu in 842 had annihilated a dynasty
>feared for its long history of oppression and apostasy, so Yahweh
>himself will now put an end to the Jehu dynasty because it, in turn,
>has grown hopelessly corrupt. (emphasis in original)
No comment is necessary, because I have refuted this claim above. It is
simply an arbitrary assertion for which Stuart offered no analysis of the
context of Hosea as support of his claim. However, to end this part of my
response, I want to show the absurdities that inerrantist reasoning will so
often lead to. Second Kings 9:1-10 clearly states that Yahweh selected Jehu
to be king of Israel and sent him to completely destroy the house of Ahab,
so we have every reason to wonder why an omniscient, omnipotent deity would
have selected for a mission like this someone who would himself form a
dynasty that would grow "hopelessly corrupt" and require extermination just
as Ahab's dynasty. Did this Yahweh delight in bloodshed so much that he
selected such men as these to be kings over his people? A more realistic
interpretation of these stories would be that if they did accurately report
political massacres and assassinations of the times, the notion that Yahweh
was behind everything was merely the writers' reflection of ancient
> So, tying these two arguments together with a little string:
The two arguments, in effect, were that "paqad" didn't mean punish and that
"dam" "blood" [of Jezreel] didn't really refer to the blood that Jehu had
shed at Jezreel but to wrongs that Jehu and his descendants had committed
after the massacre at Jezreel. I have spent considerable time showing that
these two claims are baseless quibbles, so it is going to take more than
just a "little string" for Turkel to tie these two arguments together.
> 1) Had Hosea wished to indicate the avenge/punish
>interpretation, then he picked an unusual word for it.
>The present form "does not clearly inform the collocation
>with the sense of retributive justice." [MCom.PrIron, 94]
So I suppose that we should assume that ALL of the 25+ translations of the
OT that I consulted and quoted in earlier replies to Turkel translated Hosea
1:4 to convey the sense of retributive justice because the "present form"
did not clearly "inform the collocation" with that sense?
>A much stronger and precise word to use would be "naqam,"
>which means only "punish" as Strong's indicates
Turkel, of course, meant to say that a "much stronger and MORE precise word
to use would be 'naqam,'" but apparently he has spent so much time learning
the intricacies of Hebrew "nuances" that he hasn't had time to learn the
basics of English grammar. At any rate, his argument is one that he would
instantly reject if he should encounter it from me on an issue like Isaiah's
virgin-birth prophecy. In Isaiah 7:14, the prophet gave to king Ahaz the
sign that a "virgin" [ALMAH in Hebrew] was with child and would bear a son.
Although scholars "of all stripes" have pointed out that the word rendered
"virgin" in many English translations was actually a word in Hebrew that
conveyed the sense of "maiden" or "young woman" without any connotations of
her sexual history, fundamentalists persist in arguing that this was a
"prophecy" of the birth of Jesus. Scholars "of all stripes" have also
pointed out that if Isaiah had really meant a woman who was sexually pure,
he would have surely used a "much stronger and more precise word" like
"bethulah," which its usage in contexts like Deuteronomy 22:13-21 show did
convey a clear sense of virginity in its strictest sense, but
fundamentalists persists in arguing that this doesn't prove anything. I
would be curious to know how Turkel would react to an argument like this
against the all-important Christian doctrine of a prophesied virgin birth of
the Messiah. Why do I suspect that he would find some "nuances" in Hebrew
that he would consider sufficient grounds for rejecting this argument?
At any rate, I have shown through analyses in earlier replies that "paqad"
did indeed convey the sense of "retributive justice," as the primitive,
barbaric god Yahweh defined retributive justice, so there is no need for me
to rehash this material again. The finding of other words in Hebrew that
conveyed the sense of retribution or punishment would in no way prove that
"paqad" did not denote this meaning too.
TURKEL [quoting Strong]
> 5358. naqam, naw-kam'; a prim. root; to grudge, i.e.
>avenge or punish:--avenge (-r, self), punish, revenge
>(self), X surely, take vengeance.
As just noted, the fact that "naqam" conveyed this meaning in no way proves
that "paqad" did not convey the same sense of retribution and vengeance.
All we have to do is look at one example to see this.
>1 Samuel 15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember [PQD] that which
Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up
>3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and
spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and
sheep, camel and ass (KJV).
As I have indicated in brackets above, the word translated "remember" in
verse two was "paqad" in Hebrew, and the context in which it was used
clearly conveyed a sense of "retributive justice" that Yahweh was going to
demand of the Amalekites for an offense against Israel that their ancestors
had committed about 450 years earlier. The fact that the sense of
"retributive justice" that Yahweh expressed in this context was perverted in
terms of modern morality does nothing to remove the fact that the passage
clearly conveys a sense of retributive judgment, but according to Turkel's
"logic," Yahweh erred by not using a "much stronger and [more] precise word"
to convey this meaning. This passage, by the way, provides an excellent
example of what I posted earlier about the meaning of "paqad": It carried
the sense of "remembering" in either a positive or negative sense (depending
on how it was used). We might warn someone that we are going to "remember"
an insult or an improper act, just as we might tell someone that we are
going to "remember" a good deed. In both uses, the word "remember" conveys
the sense of "payback," but the former is negative while the latter is
To show that the KJV, which I have quoted above is not alone in seeing a
sense of "retributive justice" conveyed by "paqad" in 1 Samuel 15:2, I'm
going to cite other translations.
NKJV: Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I will PUNISH [pqd] Amalek for what he
did to Israel...."
ASV: Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, I have marked [pqd] that which Amalek did
to Israel.... (My version of this translation has a footnote to explain that
"will visit" could have been used in this verse.)
NASV: Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I will punish [pqd] Amalek for what he
did to Israel...."
NIV: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish [pqd] the
Amalekites for what they did to Israel...."
RSV: Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I will punish [pqd[ what Amalek did to
NRSV: Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I will punish [pqd] the Amalekites for
what they did in opposing the Israelites...."
REB: This is the very word of the LORD of hosts: I shall punish [pqd] the
Amalekites for what they did to Israel....
NAB: This is what the LORD of hosts has to say: "I will punish [pqd] what
Amalek did to Israel...."
NWT: This is what Jehovah of armies has said, "I must call to account [pqd]
what Amalek did to Israel...."
GNB: Now listen to what the LORD Almighty says. He is going to punish [pqd]
the people of Amalek because their ancestors opposed the Israelites....
AMPLIFIED: Thus says the Lord of hosts, I have considered [and] will punish
[pqd] what Amalek did to Israel....
JERUSALEM BIBLE: Thus says Yahweh Sabaoth, "I will repay [pqd] what Amalek
did to Israel...."
TYNDALE: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I have called to remembrance [pqd]
that which Amalek did to Israel....
CONFRATERNITY: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I have reckoned up [pqd] all
that Amalec has done to Israel....
REVISED BERKELEY: The LORD of hosts says, "I have in mind [pqd] what Amalek
did to Israel...."
JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY: Thus says the LORD of Hosts: I am exacting the
penalty [pqd] for what Amalek did to Israel....
There is no need for me to continue. ALL other translations that I have
access to rendered PQD in this context to convey an obvious sense of
remembrance with a view to punishing the Amalekites for a past offense against
Israel. If that doesn't convey a sense of "retributive justice," then what
does it convey? Turkel, of course, thinks that it is "superficial
scholarship" to quote translations, but I suspect that all it would take for
him to change his mind about this would be to find that translations
overwhelmingly support his view. In that case, I think that we would find him
not the least bit hesitant to quote translations.
At any rate, an analysis of 1 Samuel 15:2 is plenty sufficient to show that
his claim that "paqad" did not convey a sense of "retributive justice" in
Hebrew is completely without merit. Such an argument would be comparable to
claiming that the sense of "retribution" could not be conveyed in English
except by a word like "vengeance," when many other words, such as "reprisal"
or "requital" or "recompense" and others can be used in contexts that would
clearly convey the meaning of retribution.
> This word is found in the following verses, where it
>clearly indicates punishment or vengeance.
So what? If, as I have repeatedly shown, "paqad" was used to clearly
indicate punishment and vengeance, all that Turkel's citations below prove
is that there were other words in Hebrew that could convey the idea of
punishment or vengeance. In that sense, Hebrew was just like other languages.
> Gen. 4:15 - But the LORD said to him, "Not so; if
>anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance ("naqam")
>seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so
>that no one who found him would kill him.
Well, let's suppose that this verse had said, "If anyone kills Cain, I will
visit [pqd] the blood of Cain on him seven times over." In that case, would
Turkel argue that the statement did not carry the sense of retribution or
By the way, are we entitled to assume that Turkel's practice of quoting
translations as he is doing here is a sign of "superficial scholarship"?
> 2 Ki. 9:7 - You are to destroy the house of Ahab
>your master, and I will avenge ("naqam") the blood of my
>servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord's
>servants shed by Jezebel.
Well, let's just do it again. Suppose that this verse had Yahweh saying,
"You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will visit [pqd] on
Ahab the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord's
servants shed by Jezebel." In that case, would Turkel argue that this
statement did not convey the sense of retribution or punishment?
> Is. 34:8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance
>("naqam"), a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause.
Let's suppose that Isaiah had said, "For Yahweh has a day of visiting [pqd],
a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause." Would Turkel then argue
that the statement carried no sense of vengeance? In the KJV and other
versions, "PQD" is translated "visiting" in Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers
14:18, and Deuteronomy 5:9, where all verses carry the sense of "retributive
> Another word that would have been better was
>"yacar." It is used elsewhere by Hosea (7:12, 15;
>10:10). It means:
> 3256. yacar, yaw-sar'; a prim. root; to chastise,
>lit. (with blows) or fig. (with words); hence to
>instruct:--bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct,
>punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach.
Turkel thinks that this would have been a better word to convey a sense of
"retributive justice" in the extermination of the house of Jehu? Such a
claim only shows his desperation. Just look at the definitions that Strong
gave for this word: chastise (with blows), correct, instruct, reform,
reprove, teach, etc. These definitions convey the sense of "corrective
punishment" rather than "retributive justice." It was the word used to
instruct parents to "chastise" or punish their children.
>Proverbs 19:18 Discipline [yacar, "chasten" in some versions] your
children while there is hope; do not set your heart on their destruction.
>Deuteronomy 8:5 Know then in your heart that as a parent disciplines
[yacar] a child so the LORD your God disciplines [yacar] you.
>Deuteronomy 21:18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will
not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline
>19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out
to the elders of his town at the gate of that place.
When used to convey nonparental "chastisement," it conveyed a punishment
that was less harsh than death. When, for example, a man falsely accused
his new bride of nonvirginity, the elders were to "punish" [yacar] him as
instructed in Deuteronomy 22:18: "The elders of that town shall take the man
and punish [yacar] him; they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver
(which they shall give to the young woman's father) because he has slandered
a virgin of Israel." The punishment or chastisement was just a fine, not
the death penalty, which was clearly conveyed in passages we have noted
where "paqad" was used to denote impending punishment.
I could cite other examples, but these are sufficient to show Turkel's
desperation to find something to shore up his untenable position on Hosea 1:4.
> And is used in Gen. 15:14: But I will punish
>("yacar") the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward
>they will come out with great possessions.
Well, let's do it again. If this passage had said, "But I will visit [pqd]
on that nation the slavery of my people, and afterward they will come out
with great possessions," would Turkel argue that "paqad" did not convey a
sense of "retributive justice"? That anyone would argue that word X in a
language could not mean a certain thing within a disputed text because there
were other words in the language that conveyed that same sense is about as
ridiculous an argument as anyone could make. In this case, word X is the
Hebrew word "paqad," and we have seen in example after example that it
clearly conveyed the sense of "retributive justice." That there were other
words in Hebrew that also conveyed the idea of retribution or vengeance in
no way proves that "paqad" didn't. The matter is simple: Turkel is grasping
for any straw he can find to try to quibble his way around an obvious
> That Hosea chose another word for his "condemnation"
>besides one of the two above should be a signal to us.
Yes, it should, and that signal would be no more than that Hebrew had
synonyms in it, just as other languages do. If we want to look for signals,
we should look for the signal of desperation that we are seeing in Turkel's
futile attempt to explain that the Bible does not mean what it clearly says.
>However, there is more.
> 2) Let us consider the argument that Hosea is here
>displeased with what Jehu did to the house of Ahab. An
>unasked question is, "Why should he have been?"
There are three likely answers to this "unasked question." First, it could
well be that Hosea personally thought that no matter how grievous the sins
of Ahab may have been, this was no justification for massacring descendants
of Ahab who were not responsible for what Ahab had done or to kill those who
were not descendants of Ahab. It can be shown, as Robert Dornbusch did in
"Theological Development Rather than Revelation" (*The Skeptical Review,*
July/August 1998, pp. 9-10), that there was a tendency after the time of the
captivity to reject the notion that children should bear the sins of their
fathers (Ez. 18:1-20; Jere. 31:29:30). However, since Hosea apparently saw
nothing wrong with punishing the descendants of Jehu for the blood that Jehu
had shed at Jezreel and since Hosea seemed to pronounce punishment upon
others for the sins of their ancestors (2:4; 9:12), he probably had no
scruples against bringing vengeance upon the descendants of those who had
done wrong, which was a common practice in those days. Second, Hosea could
have thought that Jehu's actions at Jezreel had been excessive. This is not
to express agreement with Turkel's claim that Jehu had gone beyond what
Yahweh had commanded him to do and that this was the reason why Hosea
pronounced vengeance upon the house of Jehu, for even if Hosea did think
that Jehu's actions had been excessive, this would not mean that the writer
of 2 Kings also thought that Jehu had exceeded his orders. The problem is
NOT whether Jehu was right or wrong in what he had done but that two
biblical writers (Hosea and the author of 2 Kings) obviously disagreed on
the acceptability of Jehu's conduct at Jezreel. If the writer of 2 Kings
approved of Jehu's actions, as his statement in 10:30-31 clearly indicates,
and if Hosea disapproved of the actions, this disagreement and not what Jehu
did at Jezreel becomes the discrepancy.
Later, I will state a third possible reason (which is the most probable one)
why Hosea would have condemned Jehu's conduct at Jezreel.
>Hosea is no less condemning of the sins of the sort committed by
>the house of Ahab than the Kings writer is,
The writer of Kings was very condemning of the "sort" of sins committed by
the house of Ahab (1 Kings 21:1-26), but his inconsistency was in praising
Jehu for committing atrocities that were fully as bloody as anything Ahab
had done. Furthermore, the writer of Kings also condemned the idolatry of
Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31-32; 18:1-40) but gave Jehu only a slap on
the wrist for allowing the worship of the golden calves to continue (2 Kings
10:29, 31). Hosea was more consistent in his condemnation of such sins than
was the writer of Kings.
>and "nowhere else in the book (of Hosea) are the murders at Jezreel
>cited as the cause of Israel's demise." [MCom.MP, 20 ].
Is Turkel saying that because Hosea did not condemn this atrocity several
times, we can't conclude from his one denunciation of it that he opposed
Jehu's actions? What kind of logic is that? How many times must one express
disapproval of something before it can be known that he disapproved of it?
>Instead, it is all the usual sins that are the problem!
>Andersen and Freedman [AndFree.Hos, 179; see also
>Acht.MP1, 16-7] bring this point home nicely.
Hosea's use of the present tense throughout his book indicates that his
focus was on "sins" that were contemporary to his times, but his reference
in 1:4 to the past actions of Jehu clearly indicates his disapproval of what
Jehu had done and expressed his prediction that Yahweh would punish the
house of Jehu for the "blood of Jezreel." Hosea was an 8th-century B. C.
prophet living in the northern kingdom of Israel. In 722/721 B. C., the
northern kingdom fell to Shalmaneser, and the population was deported to
Mesopotamia and Media, so the kingdom of Israel came to an end during the
prophetic "ministry" of Hosea, which he claimed in 1:1 extended until the
reign of Hezekiah of Judah (ca. 715 B. C.). In other words, Hosea was in a
position to see that the kingdom of Northern Israel was in serious jeopardy,
and the custom of that time was to find a reason why a nation's god would
abandon it. Turkel has introduced the Semitic and Neareastern "mind" into
the discussion, so he needs to understand that the idea of kingdoms just
rising and falling in the natural course of events was completely foreign to
the Neareastern mind. When it happened, an explanation was needed. When
Judah fell to Babylon, the writer of 2 Kings put the blame on the wickedness
of King Manasseh (2 Kings 21:12-15; 23:26-27; 24:3-4), and so it is
completely compatible with the thinking of the times to suppose that Hosea,
seeing in contemporary political affairs the impending end of the kingdom of
Israel, put the blame on a well known bloody massacre from Israel's past and
attributed the end of Israel to the blood that Jehu shed at Israel. In so
doing, he put himself into direct conflict with another biblical writer who
had praised the actions of Jehu at Jezreel. This is the third reason,
referred to above, which offers a reasonable explanation for why Hosea would
have condemned Jehu's actions at Jezreel. Knowing that political
circumstances were such that the kingdom of Israel wasn't likely to survive,
he needed an explanation for why the national god would allow this to
happen. The reason that he found was Jehu's massacre at Jezreel. In other
words Jehu was made the scapegoat for the downfall of the northern kingdom,
just as Manasseh was later made the scapegoat for the downfall of the
southern kingdom. This was simply the way the "Semitic" mind worked.
> There is no reason to suppose that Hosea's view of
>Israel's history in relation to its God was significantly
>different from that of the biblical historians (the Kings
>writers - ed.) or the prophets who preceded or were
>contemporary with him.
There isn't? What about the fact that the "biblical historian" who wrote 2
Kings heaped praise on Jehu's actions at Jezreel, as we have repeatedly
seen, but the prophet Hosea expressed disapproval of it by identifying it as
the reason why Yahweh was going to bring the kingdom of Israel to an end?
Would that be sufficient reason to "suppose that Hosea's view of Israel's
history in relation to its God was significantly different from that of the
biblical historian's"? If it isn't, why wouldn't it be?
>In the rest of his book we find numerous points of contact
>and agreement, although emphases and tendencies vary from
Yes, we do, but we find disagreement over the judgment of Jehu's actions at
Jezreel, and that is the problem that all of Turkel's rambling on and on
about nothing cannot explain away.
>In this case as well, we may suppose his full agreement with the
>thundering condemnation of Ahab and his house, and the
>necessity for the violent overthrow of that infamous regime.
>While, therefore he, along with other prophets and
>historians, could approve Jehu's action in overthrowing
>the house of Ahab, that in itself does not require automatic
>approval of Jehu and his dynasty in other matters.
First of all, Turkel should forget about Jehu's "dynasty in other matters,"
because the context of Hosea 1:4 makes no reference to anyone in Jehu's
dynasty. It cited only the "blood of Jezreel" as the reason why the house
of Jehu would be punished. For Turkel to claim that the punishment was
pronounced on the house of Jehu for what the dynasty had done "in other
matters" is a crass assertion for which he can present no evidence. The
text said that Yahweh would avenge THE BLOOD OF JEZREEL on the house of
Jehu. Nothing was said about what anyone else in the house of Jehu had done
>Thus the historian condemns Jehu and his
>house in the stereotyped fashion after granting the
>inexorable divine oracle and promise. The house of Jehu
>has turned out to be no different from the house of Omri;
>it will come to the same bloody end for the same reasons.
Now all that Turkel needs to do is to find a biblical text that states this,
but he can't do it. The biblical "historian" clearly stated that Jehu had
"done well in exercising that which [was] right" in Yahweh's eyes and that
he had done to the house of Ahab "according to ALL that was in [Yahweh's]
heart" (2 Kings 10:30). As a reward for this, Yahweh promised to allow
Jehu's sons to sit on the throne of Israel for four generations. So where
is the condemnation that the "historian" pronounced in "stereotyped fashion"
on the house of Jehu? He pronounced no such condemnation. The condemnation
came four generations later from the prophet Hosea, and the end of the house
of Jehu that Hosea pronounced was not for "the same bloody" reason for
having acted "no different from the house of Omri." All such claims as
these are flagrant attempts to read into the biblical text what is not there
but what Turkel needs to have there in order to make his far-fetched
interpretation of this matter fly, but it hasn't flown yet... and it won't
fly, because Turkel can't find biblical evidence to support it.
> In this aspect, Andersen and Freedman see in Hosea's
>words a similarity to the situation that Israel had when
>entering Canaan: They entered on a promise, but when
>they took up the evil ways of the Canaanites, the promise
>was turned back upon them.
Although Andersen and Freedman didn't cite any references, at least not in
what Turkel has quoted, they could have produced biblical passages to
indicate that the land promise in Canaan was conditional, but I could also
produce passages that show that it was completely unconditional and
something that Yahweh had to do in order to fulfill his promise to Abraham.
This is just another of many inconsistencies that can be cited in the Bible,
but be that as it may, neither Turkel nor any of his "scholars" can cite a
single scripture that suggests that Yahweh's approval of Jehu's actions at
Jezreel were conditional on the good behavior of his descendants. NO SUCH
SCRIPTURE EXISTS. The fact is that Yahweh praised Jehu for his actions and
promised, without conditions, that because of what Jehu had done to the
house of Ahab, Jehu's sons would sit on the throne of Israel for four
generations. The "historian" reminded us of this promise when he recorded
the circumstances of Zechariah's assassination in 2 Kings 15:8-12. "This
was the word of Yahweh," the historian said, "which he spoke to Jehu saying,
Your sons to the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. And
so it came to pass." Zechariah was the fourth-generation descendant of Jehu,
and so when he was assassinated, the "historian" considered the promise to
Just where are all of these conditions that Turkel, Andersen, and Freedman
are reading into the text? They aren't there!
>Thus, regarding Jehu's actions, they write that Hosea..
> ...viewed the behavior of Jehu in a dual light; in
>the very act of carrying out the divine judgment against
>the house of Ahab, he overstepped the bounds of his
>mandate and showed that arrogance and self-righteousness
>which was the undoing of the preceding dynasty.
Andersen and Freedman may regard Jehu's actions in this way, but one thing
they cannot do is cite scriptural references that state that Jehu
"overstepped the bounds of his mandate." If they could cite any such
references, Turkel would have paraded them before us in bold letters. As my
replies continue, I will be demolishing Turkel's claim that Jehu overstepped
the bounds of his mandate, because that is where he leads us next, so there
is no need for me to address this quibble now. In due time, everyone will
see that it has no more merit than Turkel's claim that "nuances" in Hebrew
show that Hosea was pronouncing doom on the house of Jehu for what the
"dynasty" had done after the events of Jezreel and not for what Jehu had done.
>Already the seeds of destruction were sown in the terrible
>slaughter initiated by Jehu.
How about a biblical reference to support this crass assertion?
> This excess, Andersen and Freedman find (as we do)
>in the destruction of members of the house of Judah (see
>below; see also Hous.12K, 293). They therefore conclude:
> We should not suppose that in the thought of the
>prophet(s) it was Jehu's sin which doomed his
Why, no, why should anyone conclude this? After all, all that Hosea said
was that Yahweh would AVENGE the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, so
what would give anyone any reason to think that Jehu's "sin" at Jezreel had
anything to do with the "doom" that was being pronounced on Jehu's
descendants? We have seen a lot of speculation from Andersen, Freedman, and
Turkel (all for the sake of desperately trying to preserve biblical
inerrancy), but we have seen NO textual evidence to support their denial of
> Accordingly we reject the modern interpretation of
>Hos. 1:4 which maintains that the prophet here repudiates
>Jehu's extermination of Ahab's line and sees this as a
>crime for which his descendent must pay.
Of course, Turkel rejects this "modern interpretation," which he has yet to
prove is a "modern interpretation." After all, he is the one who has
claimed that there are "nuances" in the Hebrew text that have been
discovered only within the past 5-7 years, and so this is why all of the
translations of Hosea 1:4 present the idea of vengeance or punishment on the
house of Jehu. The poor translators just didn't know about these "nuances"
that came to light only 5-7 years ago. So just who is the one who is
presenting a "modern interpretation" in this matter? At any rate, Turkel
rejects what the text plainly says only to try to preserve biblical
inerrancy. If Hosea 1:4 had Yahweh saying, "I will bring retribution upon
the house of Jehu for the people that Jehu killed in Jezreel and will bring
the kingdom of Israel to an end specifically because of the bloody massacre
that Jehu committed against the royal family of Israel," Turkel would reject
all claims that this in any way meant that Hosea disagreed with the
"historian" who wrote the account of Jehu's actions in 2 Kings 10. We would
still see Turkel talking about "nuances" in Hebrew that show that the text
does not really mean what it appears to say. This is something that
biblicists do routinely when confronted with plain statements in the Bible
that conflict with other plain statements.
>On the contrary, the main target of Hosea's criticism of the
>royal house of his day is precisely the sin of the
I hope everyone is noticing that each time Turkel makes an assertion like
this, it is unaccompanied by ANY scriptural citation to support it. The
fact is that Omri was not even mentioned by Hosea, but somehow turkel is
able to know that Hosea's criticism of the house of Jehu "of his day is
precisely the sin of the Omrides."
>Hosea is saying that what God did to Ahab and
>his brood by means of Jehu is exactly what he will now do
>to Jeroboam (II) and his family, AND FOR SIMILAR REASONS.
>(emphasis in original)
Oh, so now Turkel or Andersen or Freedman or whoever is saying that what
Jehu did to Ahab "and his brood" was actually what God did to the house of
Ahab, but a central claim in Turkel's quibbling on this matter has been that
Jehu "overstepped the bounds of his mandate." If Jehu "overstepped the
bounds of his mandate," would that mean that God, who did all of this "by
means of Jehu," overstepped too?
At any rate, I will simply point out again that we have another bald
assertion here but no biblical text referred to or cited to support it.
Doesn't everyone know that if any such text existed, Turkel would have
> The above exegesis travels a slightly different
>road, but arrives at the same conclusion that we have.
Well, there is a difference in "exegesis" and "eisegesis." Exegesis is the
process of bringing out of a text its probable meaning through the
application of recognized principles of literary interpretation. Eisegesis
is the process of reading into the text meaning that is not there and is not
justified by what the text says. We have no "exegesis" from Turkel but
plenty of "eisegesis." This has been demonstrated so thoroughly that there
is no need to rehash it here.
>Andersen and Freedman see the logical sense of the fact
>that, if Hosea condemns the same sins as those committed
>by the house of Ahab, how could he here be disapproving
>of Jehu's destruction of their house?
Let me venture a guess. Because Hosea considered the brutality and
excessive bloodshed that Jehu administered at Jezreel to be worthy of
disapproval? How about that? Or what about another reason I suggested.
Hosea could read in contemporary affairs the probable end to the kingdom of
Israel, and so he needed an explanation for why Yahweh would abandon his
people. The sin of Jehu became that reason.
>We would also add, to complete the circle: Without any reasonable
>supposition as to why Hosea would take this tack against
>Jehu and his house in the matter of the house of Ahab,
>where is the logic or compulsion to read "paqad" in its
Since I have presented a sensible reason why Hosea would have disapproved of
Jehu's actions, there is no need of further comment on it. I will, however,
remind everyone that I have presented a MOUNTAIN of evidence to show that
Hebrew scholars obviously see reasons to "read 'paqad' in its avenge/punish
sense." A more puzzling question is why Turkel would see any other meaning
in the text. Well, actually, we know why he leans over backwards to see
another meaning in the text. He wants to preserve his precious belief in
biblical inerrancy, and he is willing to do that at the cost of his personal
> And so, we, coupled with a mass of detailed
>scholarship, conclude that there is no grounds to read
>into Hosea any sort of condemnation of Jehu's actions.
And I, with a mass of scholarship on my side represented in the hundreds of
Hebrew experts who worked on the many translations of Hosea 1:4 that I have
quoted, conclude that there are no grounds to read into Hosea anything but a
condemnation of Jehu's actions. Everyone should bear in mind that this
"mass of detailed scholarship" that Turkel referred to consisted primarily
of what Andersen and Freedman and McComiskey asserted without proof, because
they were certainly skimpy in their citation of textual evidence.
>This by itself is sufficient to overturn Till's case for
>disharmony with 2 Kings,
We'll let those who read Turkel's web page and my replies to it decide if
"this by itself is sufficient to overturn [my] case." I suspect that many
will think otherwise and see Turkel as the one who really has no case to
>but because there is much yet to do, and because of the relative
>newness of this linguistic work (which we anticipate Till shall use
>[along with his usual machinations] as reason to discard
>it), we shall delve further into the matter and attack from the
>2 Kings perspective.
No, actually, what I'm going to do is ask everyone to take note again of how
Turkel talks out of both sides of his mouth. He said at one point that the
linguistic work on Hosea 1:4 and the meaning of "paqad" was probably unknown
to those who worked on translating the OT, because this linguistic work had
been done only within the last 5-7 years; then he sarcastically referred to
my view of Hosea 1:4 as a "modern interpretation" that he rejects, and now
at the end, he has come full circle and referred to "the relative newness of
this linguistic work" on which he bases his view of Hosea 1:4. So which way
does he want it? Is my view the "modern interpretation" that deserves our
scorn, or is his view, which depends on linguistic work done within the last
5-7 years, the modern one? He can't have it both ways. If he thinks that
the "modernness" of my interpretation is reason to be suspicious of it,
wouldn't this work both ways? I certainly know that this discrepancy
between 2 Kings 10:30 and Hosea 1:4 was recognized long before 5-7 years
ago, so it is certainly not a view as "modern" as his, which by his own
admission depends upon linguistic work that is relatively new. I point this
inconsistency out only to remind readers of the tail-chasing that we see
when inerrantists undertake to "explain" biblical discrepancies. They're on
this side of the street at one moment and on the other side at the next.
They run in circles trying to show that the Bible doesn't really mean what
it plainly says.
We have now seen that Turkel's quibbling about Hebrew "nuances" proved
exactly nothing, and so I will begin in my next posting to show that his
effort to prove that Jehu "overstepped the bounds of his mandate" is also a
position that cannot be defended.
> For the purpose of the remainder of this essay we
>shall continue under the assumption that Hosea did indeed
>offer condemnation of some sort in the avenge/punish
The evidence I presented in my 17 previous replies to Turkel have shown that
this is a safe assumption. I remind everyone of the evidence I have
presented to show that Hosea intended to convey a sense of vengeance or
punishment upon the house of Jehu, so that no one who joins the list at this
point will be deceived into thinking that Turkel is arguing only from the
point of view of an assumption for which there is no convincing evidence. I
have shown that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the interpretation of
vengeance or punishment in Hosea 1:4. I will be glad to send them to anyone
who missed my 17 replies to Turkel's quibbles on that point.
Another point that is worth mentioning here is that hundreds of
discrepancies like the one now under consideration have been identified by
biblical scholars and skeptics. To "explain" the one in Hosea 1:4, Turkel
has had to stretch imagination to the limits in order to find a far-fetched
"nuance" in Hebrew to support his view that the prophet wasn't expressing
disapproval of Jehu's actions at Jezreel. Although Turkel has obviously
failed to sustain his position, let's just suppose that he should be able to
show conclusively that there is no discrepancy between Hosea 1:4 and 2 Kings
10:30. If he should succeed in doing this, all that he would have
accomplished is to explain just ONE discrepancy. What are the odds that he
or anyone else could successfully explain away the hundreds of other
discrepancies that have been identified in the Bible? My point is that even
if Turkel should win on this one point, he would not have proven biblical
inerrancy. On the other hand, if I should prevail in this discussion--and I
certainly believe that I have and will--I will have won not just a battle
but the whole war, because proving just ONE point of discrepancy in the
Bible is sufficient to prove that the Bible is not the inerrant work that
biblicists claim it is. In other words, Turkel is not in a very enviable