Friday, May 12, 2006
Riblah or Diblah, Ezekiel 6:14
Should we read 'Riblah' (ESV) or 'Diblah' (NIV) in Ezekiel 6:14? Of course the Hebrew letters daleth and resh look similar in both palaeo-Hebrew and in Aramaic square script. The Leningrad Codex and most strands of MT read Diblah, and the 'd' is also attested by the ancient versions. I suppose that modern authors often reject the 'd' on the grounds that the do not know of a place called 'Diblah' (though otherwise it is not an impossible place name; cf. Jer. 48:22). 'Riblah' is read (according to BHS) by a St Petersburg ms of the year 916. There are a couple of issues. First, it occurs to me that variants within existing mediaeval Hebrew mss could constitute a good argument against the view that all mediaeval mss basically stem from one codex. I suspect that the ms base of MT is broader. Secondly, I am wondering about the exegetical sense of reading 'Riblah'. God is pronouncing judgement on Judah. Why should part of that judgement involve making desolate all the way north to Riblah, if the northern part is not inhabited by Judaeans? Am I missing something? I suppose that with either reading we need to establish the geographical bounds of the judgement. What makes more sense?