Friday, February 10, 2012

Chartsubbah ... the bands or pains of death or hell

In Alma 5:7, Alma the Younger quotes the late prophet Abinadi, in speaking of a people "encircled about by the bands of death." "Bands" in such a figurative sense never appears in the New Testament but does in the Old, reducing the probability that this is an anachronistic borrowing by the Prophet Joseph. Something interesting about the Hebrew word that is translated as "bands" figuratively in the Old Testament: it is chartsubbah, and in a figurative sense, it can also mean "pains."

Thus, the KJV of Psalms 73:4, lamenting the prosperity of the wicked, says that "there are no bands in their death." Which doesn't make much sense unless you understand the above, which the KJV translators may have missed. My Hebrew Tanakh has "pangs" rather than "bands."

So whatever word Alma the Younger or Abinadi used that was translated "bands", if it was originally some form of chartsubbah, could also have been have been translated "pains." And a brief look at the writings of Alma the Younger shows that he may have written of spiritual pains more than any other writer in the Book of Mormon, and how they encircled persons, and how persons were loosed from them -- seeming to me to indicate a strong familiarity with the concept of "chartsubbah."


Mike Day said...

Dr David Bokovoy has written an interesting chapter on the bands of death. See "testaments" by Bokovoy and Tvedtnes, chapter 14. Great blog!
Mike Day

Cliff said...

Thanks, Mike!