lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
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Gen 12:11 in the Masoretic Text reads:
It came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that you are a fair woman to look upon: וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר הִקְרִיב לָבוֹא מִצְרָיְמָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ הִנֵּה־נָא יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אִשָּׁה יְפַת־מַרְאֶה אָתְּ׃
In the Samaritan text, however, it reads:
וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר הִקְרִיב לָבוֹא מִצְרָיְמָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ הִנֵּה־נָא יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אִשָּׁה יְפַת־מַרְאֶה אָתִּי׃

This is fascinating, because it affords a window into the history of the Hebrew language. In the Hebrew of the Masoretic Text and all later periods, the second person female pronoun is אַתְּ at. (In the above verse in the Masoretic Text, we see it in pausal as אָתְּ āt.) In Akkadian (as I know from my abortive attempt to learn to read Assyrian cuneiform), however, the pronoun reads at-ti. The ancestor of Biblical Hebrew also had this form; however by the time the Bible was written down atti had become at. (We also see the loss of -i in the genitive form, which in Biblical Hebrew is identical to the nominative.) However, the Samaritan text has here preserved the ancestral form.

Genesis 17:14 בראשית יז יד
And the uncircumcised male whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant. וְעָרֵל זָכָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִמּוֹל אֶת־בְּשַׂר עָרְלָתוֹ וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מֵעַמֶּיהָ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי הֵפַר׃
The Samaritan text evidently places more value on performing circumcision exactly the way as specified in verse 12:
And the uncircumcised male whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised on the eighth day, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant. וְעָרֵל זָכָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִמּוֹל אֶת־בְּשַׂר עָרְלָתוֹ בְּיוֹם שְׁמִינִי וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִיא מֵעַמֶּיהָ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי הֵפַר׃

In Jewish law a child that is not circumcised at eight days may be circumcised later (I myself was circumcised later, as I was born prematurely), and if it is not done by the time he achieves majority, the responsibility for his circumcision falls upon him. One wonder if among the Samaritans anyone who is not circumcised on the eighth day cannot be redeemed if he has it done later.

[Samaritan Torah] Samaritan Torah notes         Jewish learning notes index


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