MIXED UP VERB OR MIXED UP SCHOLARS?
“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop:
but a good word maketh it glad.”
This proverb is rendered by Dahood in the following clumsy fashion: “Anxiety in a man’s heart causes fever, But a kind word radiance.”1 This is justified by first using the fallacious argument of referring to authority, which in this instance is J. Greenfield who stated that “This verse clearly stands in need of emendation and has been variously emended.”2 Who is Greenfield to decide that this verse “clearly” needs to be emended?
What he and Dahood then do is propose that the root in ysmx (or ysmH) be interpreted as a hypothetical verb meaning to be hot or feverish based on the Ugaritic ¸sHn, to be hot or feverish. This is easy to argue. First of all, the verb does not exist in Hebrew.
Second, the source of the alleged meaning of the Ugaritic verb is an Arabic cognate meaning to be hot. This root was not unknown to exegetes, so the Ugaritic source has added nothing to our knowledge.
Third, this not only requires the creation of a hypothetical verb, but it does so by metathesizing the M and H and then changing the voiced bilabial to a dental, all of which makes the suggestion preposterous.
Fourth, the Masoretic reading makes perfect sense. In other words, it ain’t broke; don’t fix it!
The imagination of the modern scholar has become deified. What is especially sad about it is that their imaginations are the imaginations of madmen.
1 Dahood, Proverbs, p. 27.
John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.