Shemot/Exodus 23:5 - usage of עזב

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by OhevIvrit, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. OhevIvrit New Member

    I was just just looking at פרשת משפתים earlier today in ספר שמות and came across this pasuk-
    כי תראה חמור שנאך רבץ תחתמשאו חדלת מעזב לו עזב תעזב עמו

    Okay to me the pasuk reads "For when you will see the donkey of someone you do not like lying on the ground on account of the load it is carry you will not abandon him abandon abandon you will abandon him"

    which does not make contextual sense as why would the pasuk state that one just ignores his fellow man whose donkey is exhausted and lying there on account of the load it is carry it it must mean that he should rather help him. Rashi backs this up by saying עזב means in this case לשון עזרה( language of help) which is right given the context that it is used here but it's a strange word to use seeing that עזב comes from the shoresh ע-ז-ב which means to abandon forsake so why does the Written Torah uses עזב to convey the point that the Israelite must help a fellow Israelite whose donkey is exhausted even if he is not too fond of him when it means linguistically the opposite you would have thought the end of the pasuk would read עזר תעזר לו

    Anyone here have any insight into this
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2013
  2. Tararam Senior Member

    The root עז"ב is used here as the root עז"ר:
    "If you see the donkey of someone you hate struggling with the weight it carries, will you not help it? , help it you shall!"
  3. Diadem Senior Member

    USA (English)
    So you changed the root altogether. What's the precedent for doing so?
  4. OhevIvrit New Member

    But why is the root עז"ב used in the sense of עז"ר i still do not get it
  5. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België
    Interesting. I took a quick look at different christian translations, recent and old. Most of them translate with 'to help'. The Dutch 'Statenvertaling' (17th century) and Luther's bible both have something like 'drop everything' (abandon what you were doing, namely to help him). Another interpretation is in Gesenius (Brown Driver Briggs), you can read it here.
  6. origumi Senior Member

    The theory is about two different roots ע-ז-ב which have merged from different ancient roots due to consonant merger in Hebrew (or Canaanite). The merger is of the middle letter "ז". Historically there are two "ז", one corresponds to Semitic /z/ and the other to /ð/ (also written as ḏ, pronounced like "th" of "this"). Ugaritic, a language close to Hebrew, maintained the /ð/ sound, and there's indeed a root עד'ב (where 'ד = ð) with meaning "to help, assist". Note that this meaning was abandoned in later Hebrew.

    So the traditional explanation by רש"י and other of עזב = to help (in several Biblical locations), that preceded modern linguistics, conforms the later discoveries.

    Added: I cannot find עד'ב ʕḏb = help in the Ugaritic Lexicon, not sure how much the resource I took the answer above from is authoritative. Sorry.

    Added (2): According to A Glossary of Old Syrian by Joaquín Sanmartín there's only one root, originally עד'ב ʕḏb and in Hebrew עזב ʕzb. It conveys both meanings, to leave (e.g. Hebrew, Akkadian) and to fix, to put in order (e.g. Old South Arabian). Old Syrian (which is, as I understand, archaic Aramaic) has both meanings, the one of to fix is prefixed by š - שעד'ב (if I correctly understand the notation). So the story above about root merger may be wrong, and for some reason the root got both meanings in a very early period.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  7. GeriReshef

    GeriReshef Senior Member

    In addition, I guess the text talks about חמור שנאך (the donkey of someone you do not like) because there is no doubt about the donkey of someone you do like.
    A kind of קל וחומר.
  8. arielipi Senior Member

    This pasuk is about the obligation of helping; even to those you hate, if you see theyre in trouble, or any of their belongings are in trouble - you must help.
    What its saying is that you cant leave the donkey if you see it cant handle the weight, you must help the donkey.
  9. Diadem Senior Member

    USA (English)
    We have no problem understanding what the verse is attempting to say. The issue is that it seems that two meanings are given to the same root verb, עזב, in the same verse. The primary sense "leave, forsake" is certainly attested elsewhere in the Tanakh, but the other sense, supposedly "loose," is not, which adds to the complexity of the matter.
  10. GeriReshef

    GeriReshef Senior Member

    As far as I remember - Rashi himself quote a verse from נחמיה where the same root with the same meaning (=help) appears.

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