A Pillar of Cloud to Guide (Exod 13,21). Text-critical, Redactional, and Linguistic Perspectives on the Old Testament in Honour of Marc Vervenne pages:569-579
This contribution argues that the polysemy of the root נבט attested in other Semitic languages, is also present in Biblical Hebrew. Next to ‘watching’, the root may also designate ‘shining’, ‘sprouting (of plants)’ and ‘welling up (of water)’. Against this background the three instances of the noun(s) מבט are analyzed and it is suggested that the traditional interpretation as ‘expectation, hope’ or ‘trust’ are unsatisfactory. Rather, we have to do with two different nouns, with different vocalizations. The first noun, vocalized as מַבָּט, occurs in Isa 20,5f. with the meaning of ‘sheen’ or ‘glory’, while the second noun, מֶבָּט, found once in Zech 9,5 has the meaning of ‘sprout’. These translations not only are more probable semantically than the traditional one, they also allow for better interpretations of the verses in which they occur.