Brian W. Davidson

sharing things I enjoy

In Isaiah 9:6 the apparatus of BHS says that 1QIsa-a reads למ רבה, with a space between the mem and resh. I don’t think there is a space between the two letters.

  1. Without the high-resolution images we have access to today, one might not be able to see just how closely the tail of the mem extends toward the resh.
  2. It is true that in the DSS final mems are not always used, but in this case, as is clear in the photo below, the scribe used a final mem in the previous word. If he intended the text to read similar to the LXX’s μεγάλη ἡ ἀρχὴ αὐτοῦ, then one would expect to see a final mem or a waw after the mem.

What do you think? Does the distance between the top of the mem and the resh warrant reading the text as למ רבה?

3 responses to “Isaiah 9:6 | BHS on 1QIsa-a”

  1. Could the scribe have been hedging, or even just hesitating as he struggled to make sense of the word boundaries?

  2. James, sorry if you had to read my previous reply. I thought your comment was with respect to a different post!Could he be “hedging his bet” here? Perhaps, but I don’t know of another place where a scribe does such a thing. If you do, let me know.

  3. Da Zieg

    I think it was important for the scribe to not overlap letters and was just beginning the next letter after the stroke for the mem. This particular mem seems to take a wider space than some others. What is odd is the squareness of the bottom of the mem, looks almost like lamed-noon-lamed. :p