Journal of Semitic Studies LXIV/2 Autumn 2019 
 doi: 10.1093/jss/fgz003
© The author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of Manchester. All rights reserved.
401
TWO INSTANCES OF LANGUAGE CONTACT IN ISAIAH 45:14
S
 AMUEL
 B
OYD
 
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER 
 Abstract 
Scholars have identified two traces of loans srcinating from Aramaic and Akkadian in Isa. 45:14. In this article, I examine each of the proposed borrowings, offering further support for the first, but argu-ing for a different path from Aramaic into the Hebrew of Isa. 45:14 for the second. In doing so, I add precision to the loan phonology of the lexeme
קז
 as it relates to the sibilants involved and I call into ques-tion comparative evidence cited in Ludwig Köhler and Walter Baum-gartner’s
The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament 
.
Introduction
Isa. 45:14 contains traces of contact-induced change that, in the first instance, may have led to scribal alteration of the verse. While an interpreter can make some sense of the text as it exists, scholars have suggested a slight emendation in order to bring to the fore the puta-tively srcinal reading that came from an Aramaic borrowing. The observation that the verse includes a loan phrase is the basis for this emendation, and, once emended, the literary background and rheto-ric become clearer. This passage is also instructive because it is an example of how considerations of genre and linguistics can clarify and aid the study of the transmission of literature and language from Mesopotamia to the Hebrew Bible. In this article, I present the basis for identifying evidence of lan-guage contact (or, contact-induced change) in this verse. Second, I provide supporting data for one of the proposals regarding Aramaic influence, namely the reading
המ
 
יאנ
. Finally, I demonstrate why a suggestion concerning the second proposal of contact-induced change in the loan
םיקז
 is not convincing based on typical loan phonologies from Akkadian into West Semitic (such as Aramaic and Hebrew). I provide an alternate thesis regarding this loanword,
D ownl   o a d  e d f   om  t   t   p s  /   /   a c  a d  emi   c . o u p. c  om /   j   s  s  /   a t  i   c l   e- a b  s  t   a c  t   /   6  /   /   0  /   5  5  5  0  b  y  eN ew o u b l  i   c i   b  a y - ei   o d i   c  al   s Di  i   s i   on u s  e on u g u s  t   0  9 
 
TWO INSTANCES OF LANGUAGE CONTACT IN ISAIAH 45:14
402
a thesis that, in turn, calls into question the comparative linguistic evidence contained in Ludwig Köhler and Walter Baumgartner’s
The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament 
.
Isa. 45:14 and the Masoretic Text 
The verse is as follows:
ויהי
 
ךלו
 
ורבעי
 
ךילע
 
המ
 
ישנא
 
םיאבסו
 
שוכ־רחסו
 
םירצמ
 
עיגי
 
הוהי
 
רמא
 
הכ
 
ספא
 
וע
 
ןיאו
 
לא
 
ךב
 
ךא
 
וללפתי
 
ךילא
 
ווחתשי
 
ךילאו
 
ורבעי
 
םיקזב
 
וכלי
 
ךירחא
 
׃םיהלא
 Thus says the LORD: the wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush and the Sabeans,
anshe-middah
, will come over to you and be yours. They will follow after you, they will come over in chains and they will bow down to you. They will plead with you ‘Surely God is  with you, and there is no other beside him!’
 While the versions are mostly in agreement with the Masoretic Text (though the Tg. Isa. diverges a little), Naphtali Tur-Sinai and Shalom Paul have argued that the phrase
המ
 
ישנא
 provides evidence of lan-guage contact in this verse.
1
 Paul in particular has claimed that there are two parts of the verse that show evidence of contact-induced change. I examine his thesis and support it below, though along dif-ferent lines for the second datum. It is nonetheless the case, however, that the Masoretic Text makes sense in some fashion (though see more below for the peculiarity of the phrasing
anshe-middah
), and a defence for seeking evidence of language contact needs to be provided.This defence is particularly the case with the phrase
המ
 
ישנא
,  which could be understood well in the Masoretic Text. The
nomen rectum
,
הָד מ
,
middah
, in Hebrew typically means ‘measure’ or ‘length’, and is related to the geminate verb
m-d-d 
. In Isa. 45:14, the word could be understood in relation to its
nomen regens 
 as a genitive of specification, leading to the common translation ‘men of measure/stature’. This phrase as it appears in Isa. 45:14 would seem to fit normal usage in Hebrew, as
המ
 
שיא
 appears in several verses (1 Chron. 11:23; 20:6; perhaps in 2 Sam. 21:20, spelled
ןימ
 
שיא
). The singular
nomen regens 
 with the plural
ת ד מ
 (
middot 
) occurs in
1
 S. Paul,
Isaiah 40–66: Translation and Commentary
(Eerdmans Critical Com-mentary, Grand Rapids, MI 2012), 265; N.H. Tur-Sinai,
Peshuṭo shel-Miqra: Perush la-Setumot shebe-khitve ha-Qodesh, III 
 (Jerusalem 1962), 1:121.
D ownl   o a d  e d f   om  t   t   p s  /   /   a c  a d  emi   c . o u p. c  om /   j   s  s  /   a t  i   c l   e- a b  s  t   a c  t   /   6  /   /   0  /   5  5  5  0  b  y  eN ew o u b l  i   c i   b  a y - ei   o d i   c  al   s Di  i   s i   on u s  e on u g u s  t   0  9 
 
TWO INSTANCES OF LANGUAGE CONTACT IN ISAIAH 45:14
403
 Jer. 22:14,
ודמ
 
יב
 (‘a spacious house’). The only other attested appearance of a plural
nomen regens 
 with
הדמ
 occurs in Num. 13:32,  where, because the
nomen regens 
 is plural, the
nomen rectum
 is also plural, resulting in the construction
ודמ
 
י נא
. On this basis, the edi-tor of Isaiah in Biblia Hebraica Kittel proposed an emendation from
middah
 to
middot 
 also in Isa. 45:14. In fact, the great Isaiah scroll (1QIsa 
) preserves this very reading,
ודמ
 
י נא
 in Isa. 45:14. There exists, then, evidence of some textual complexities with this phrasing.
Kittel’s proposed emendation, however, is not itself sufficient evi-dence to seek external explanations for understanding this phrase. The verse makes some sense on its own: various people groups from  African empires will come and pay homage to Israel, and these people are great in stature. The use of
המ־ישנא
 may call to mind the con-quest of Canaan and reverse the report of the spies in Num. 13:32: ‘men of stature’ will no longer be a hindrance in Israel’s ability to claim Yahweh’s promises, but now will come and serve the nation and proclaim Yahweh’s glory. It should be noted that Second Isaiah may have some relation to P, and that Num. 13:32 is not only non-P but takes a view of the conquest radically different from that of P and H.
2
 Isaiah 45:14 could perhaps be read against this background.
3
 
Isa. 45:14 and
הדמ
 
יאשנ
 As Paul observes, however, a slight emendation, not to
המ
 but to
 
ישנא
, fits the context better and calls to mind the political world of Second Isaiah, giving a basis for positing the presence of language contact in the srcinal reading, a reading that was later changed to match the normal Hebrew pattern. The emendation involves placing the
א
 of
ישנא
 after the
ש
 and repointing the
ש
 as a
. Regarding the latter change, the confusion between
 and
ש
 occurs elsewhere, par-ticularly when a rare word or phrase is changed to a more familiar one.
4
 For example, the Masoretic Text of Gen. 26:20 reads:
2
 For the varying perspectives on the conquest in the different Pentateuchal sources, see B.J. Schwartz, ‘Reexaming the Fate of the ‘Canaanites’ in the Torah Traditions’, in C. Cohen, A. Hurvitz and S.M. Paul (eds),
Sefer Moshe, The Moshe Weinfeld Jubilee Volume: Studies in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, Qumran, and Post-Biblical Judaism
 (Winona Lake, IN 2004), 151–70.
3
 B. Sommer,
 A Prophet Reads Scripture: Allusion in Isaiah 40–66 
 (Contraver-sions, Stanford, CA 1998), 132
51, 168.
4
 Victor Hamilton, for example, lists the difference between the Masoretic Text and Septuagint (LXX) in Gen. 26:20 as an example of when ‘the LXX replaced a rare word with a more common one’, involving ‘the confusion of the graphemes
D ownl   o a d  e d f   om  t   t   p s  /   /   a c  a d  emi   c . o u p. c  om /   j   s  s  /   a t  i   c l   e- a b  s  t   a c  t   /   6  /   /   0  /   5  5  5  0  b  y  eN ew o u b l  i   c i   b  a y - ei   o d i   c  al   s Di  i   s i   on u s  e on u g u s  t   0  9 
 
TWO INSTANCES OF LANGUAGE CONTACT IN ISAIAH 45:14
404
׃ ֽ
 
֖קְַְתֽ ה
 
י֥
 
קֶ֔
 
֙רֵאְַה־םֽֵש
 
א֤ָְק ַ
So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him.
The wording in the LXX reflects a different underlying Hebrew phrasing, one that was more familiar and involved changing, in this case, the
 to a
ש
:LXX to Gen. 26:20:
καὶ
 
ἐκάλεσεν
 
τὸ
 
ὂνομα
 
τοῦ
 
φρέατος
 
Ἀδικία
 
ἠδίκησαν
 
γὰρ
 
αὐτόν
 And he called the name of the well Adikia (or, Eshek), for they oppressed him.
5
The Hebrew underlying the LXX to Gen. 26:20 would be something like the following:
6
׃ תא
 
קשע
 
יכ
 
קשע
 
ראבה־םש
 
ארקיו
In a similar fashion, in Isa. 45:14 the srcinal
 could have been replaced with a
ש
 to arrive at a more familiar reading, since
המ
 
יאנ
  was srcinally an Aramaic idiom that at a later stage was no longer recognized, leading to the alteration that became the wording in the Masoretic Text (see more below). As for the changing position of the
aleph
, metathesis of this letter occurs in a variety of manuscripts, often due to its quiescent nature. The appearance of the
aleph
 in manuscript variation occurs frequently enough, both in terms of the quiescence of the letter resulting in metathesis and in terms of its insertion to function as a
mater 
, that postulating changing its position in a reading such as Isa. 45:14 presents no difficulties generally. For example, in Isa. 13:19, the Masoretic Text has the word
תראפת
 for
sin
and
shin
(
The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1–17 
, [NICOT, Grand Rapids, MI 1990], 74).
5
 The translation ‘Eshek’ brings out the pun in Hebrew underlying the Greek rendering.
6
 The morphology of the verb in the MT, the tG of
קע
, has been altered in the Hebrew underlying the Greek since the Hebrew verb suggested in the Greek,
קשע
, appears as a transitive verb only in the G, with an object complement in the accusative (object suffix or definite direct object marker). Though Hatch and Redpath identify the Hebrew behind the LXX in Gen. 26:20 as
קע
 instead of
קשע
 for the Greek verb
ἀδικεῖν
, it is the only place where they identify
קע
 with this verb. Compare the correlation between
ἀδικεῖν
 and
קשע
 in Hatch and Redpatch,  which are matched fourteen times. See E. Hatch and H.A. Redpath,
 A Concordance to the Septuagint and the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the  Apocryphal Books)
(Grand Rapids, MI 2005), 24–5. Hamilton’s assessment of the Greek and Hebrew of Gen. 26:20 is, therefore, on solid ground.
D ownl   o a d  e d f   om  t   t   p s  /   /   a c  a d  emi   c . o u p. c  om /   j   s  s  /   a t  i   c l   e- a b  s  t   a c  t   /   6  /   /   0  /   5  5  5  0  b  y  eN ew o u b l  i   c i   b  a y - ei   o d i   c  al   s Di  i   s i   on u s  e on u g u s  t   0  9 
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