January 28th, 2003

Sometimes enough is enough

There is a biblical phrase "...thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee." (Isaiah 49:17, KJV) In Hebrew, it's מהרסיך ומחריביך ממך יצאו. The Hebrew original can be read as "thy destroyers and they that shall make thee waste shall originate in thee." However, the context (Isaiah delivering a prophecy of comfort to the people of Israel, promising that the enemies would leave (i.e. the KJV translation is correct)) clearly disallows this reading.

Nevertheless, a great many people use this phrase out of context in the wrong sense described above, when responding to, or rather just commenting upon, some criticism made by someone perceived as part of the group, e.g. an Israeli voicing allegedly unpatriotic opinions, or a Jew expressing, heavens forbid, support for the cessation of racial discrimination in Israel, etc. That phrase is used, often as the sole content of the message, often with a high and mighty air, as in "as is written in the Bible..."

This really bugs me. Today, an article ygurvitz linked to (in Hebrew) received a reader comment with this phrase as title and as the final sentence of the (long) comment itself. Ugh. So it finally bugged me enough to put up a short Web page explaining this (Hebrew). I hope it will eventually be noticed and linked to by people in whose face this phrase is thrust -- quoting the bible out of ignorance can and should be exposed and discredited.

The things that push my buttons... :)
  • Current Music
    Bach -- Violin Concerto No. 1 -- Yehudi Menuhin & Bath Festival Orchestra