The Negeb In Exodus -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 069:274 (Apr 1912)
Article: The Negeb In Exodus
Author: Harold M. Wiener

The Negeb In Exodus

Harold M. Wiener

The use of the word נגב, Negeb, for “south” in chapters 26–40 of Exodus has long been a crux, since תהךֵ ווֹרד properly means the dry land in the south of Judah, and this was not to the south of the Israelites in the wilderness. As Robertson Smith emphatically put it: “Moses could no more call the south side the Negeb side of the tabernacle than a Glasgow man could say that the sun set over Edinburgh.”1 J. Weiss in his recent edition of Exodus 2 says, with reason, that in 26:18 the word is a gloss, but he does not go into the evidence for the matter. I find that the LXX presents some striking phenomena in some of the relevant passages, and it seems to me desirable to draw attention to these. The final solution of the problem cannot be reached until more study has been devoted to the textual history of the concluding chapters of Exodus, but I think that this is likely to be helped by calling notice to the singularities that have special reference to our difficulty.

There are five passages in which the Massoretic text presents us with the word; viz. 26:18 with the recapitulatory passage 36:23, 27:9 with its recapitulatory passage 38:9, and finally 40:24 (LXX 22). The last of these passages does not call for special mention, as the LXX does not differ from the Massoretic text, and attention will therefore be concentrated on the other four.

It must first be noticed that in all four cases the Massoretic text presents us not with one word to denote direction, but with two, “the south side, southward,” etc. In all these

cases the first word only is Negeb, the second being the unexceptionable תימנה. The tautology is, of course, strongly in favor of the gloss theory. And it is supported by the fact that in three instances the LXX clearly had only one word, while the fourth passage (36:23) is missing altogether from the pre-Hexaplar Greek. But this is not all.

In Exodus 26:18, 20, ...

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