On The Law Of Fringes In Numbers And Deuteronomy -- By: Henry Hayman

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 051:204 (Oct 1894)
Article: On The Law Of Fringes In Numbers And Deuteronomy
Author: Henry Hayman

On The Law Of Fringes In Numbers And Deuteronomy

Henry Hayman

Aldingham, Ulverston, England

Deuteronomy 22:12 reads, “Thou shalt make thee fringes,” etc.,. A. V. and R. V.; the latter, in the margin “twisted threads”; cf. Num. 15:38–41.

I shall hope to show reasons for preferring here the marginal R. V. rendering, in the more definite sense of a cord or cords, i.e., corresponding not with the fringes (or as some think tassels) of Num. 15:38, but with the cord (A. V. ribband) of blue which is the second element there. Not to mention the elaborate reason of edification, with hortatory adjunct, which in Numbers is appended, but omitted in Deuteronomy, where the hortatory element is ordinarily so powerful, the wording of the two passages differs widely, having, except the single word kanaph (wing, corner, extremity), no element in common, and even this in divergent forms, Deuteronomy having the plural in וֹת, Numbers that in DS under the regiminal form יִ. I have found no parallel of laws as between Deuteronomy and the earlier Pentateuch which, evidently dealing with the same subject, seems at first sight to contain—at any rate in the compass of a single verse—so much that is discordant. Even the word for clothing differs, being in Numbers beged in the plural form, in Deuteronomy the collective kesuth, used at Ex. 21:10 for all wearables; cf. 22:26 and Gen. 20:16, in which it has the etymological sense of “covering.”

The analysis may best begin on the side of Numbers as the fullest. Its word for “fringes” (צִיצִת) is used by Ezekiel for the prominent lock of hair by which he is lifted (Ezek. 8:3). This rather suggests a tassel than a fringe. Assuming the garment a four-square piece of cloth, preciseness would require an answer to the question, Is kanaph the side or the angle? A fringe along each side, or a tassel at each angle, would seem, according as this question is answered, an equally suitable sense. Of course one would not exclude the other. The word פָּתִיל (ribband A. V.) is certainly in Num. 19:15 used for such a cord as would fasten the lid on a jar. Let us take it as ‘cord.” That for bluish-purple, “blue” A. V., the well-known sacred color of the sanctuary, occurs over twenty limes in

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