Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 151:603 (Jul 94) p. 355
“The Hebrew Masculine Plural for ‘Weeks’ in the Expression ‘Seventy Weeks’ in Daniel 9:24, ” Gerhard F. Hasel, Andrews University Seminary Studies 31 (1993): 105-18.
In an informative and illuminating article dealing with a fine point of Hebrew grammar, Hasel, of Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, seeks to bring together two fields of study so that the one may inform the other. He discusses the morphology of the noun שָׁבֻעִים (“weeks”) in the Book of Daniel, and on that basis he draws a rather sweeping conclusion regarding a common point of dispensational eschatology. The grammatical point Hasel makes is a good one and may be readily accepted; unfortunately he then builds on it a theological non sequitur.
As is well known, the word for “weeks” (Hasel argues that this is the preferred meaning of the word, and not “sevens,” “besevened,” “heptad,” or “hebdomad”) in Daniel 9:24 is masculine plural. Only in Daniel does the masculine plural for this word occur (9:24, 25 [twice], 26; 10:2–3); elsewhere in the Old Testament the feminine plural is used. Some have maintained that word play with the following numerical adjective “seventy” accounts for this difference; others hold that the word is an Aramaism caused by a mechanical rendering into Hebrew of an original Aramaic text of this portion of Daniel. Still others have suggested that the masculine form is a late-Hebrew variation. Rejecting all these explanations, Hasel looks to the usage of other double-gender plurals in Hebrew to seek to discern a pattern of meaning related to the morphology of such words.
As has been documented by major biblical Hebrew grammars, in cases of double-gender plurals the masculine ending ִים—stresses totality, fullness, wholeness, and entirety, whereas the feminine plural ending וֹת—stresses constituent parts. Thus according to Hasel (following Joüon and Muraoka), שָׂדֶח (“field”) with the feminine plural ending means “individual fields, individual farms,” whereas with the masculine plural ending it has the more comprehensive sense of “fields, countryside” in a more unitary sense. Likewise the noun אֲלֻמָּה (“sheaf”) with the masculine plural ending refers to sheaves in general, whereas with the feminine plural ending it refers to individual
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