The linguistic history of מדהבה‎: from textual corruption to lexical innovation

Noam Mizrahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The paper discusses the linguistic history of the Hebrew word which is a hapax legomenon in the Bible (Isa 14:4), but is also documented several times in the Dead Sea scrolls. Since text-critics commonly hold it to result from a scribal mistake (the original reading being, as witnessed by 1QIsaa), its sense and distribution throughout the Second Temple period have eluded explanation thus far, and the exact relation between the two corpora of Biblical and Qumran Hebrew remains obscure. It is proposed that sound changes peculiar to the Greco-Roman period have facilitated a lexical reanalysis of and that the word was eventually integrated into the lexicon of Second Temple Hebrew by means of associative etymology, which is a recognized mechanism of semantic change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-114
Number of pages24
JournalRevue de Qumran
Issue number101
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Bible -- Isaiah -- Language, style
  • Bible -- Isaiah -- XIV -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • Bible -- Isaiah -- Hebrew -- Isaiah scroll
  • Dead Sea scrolls -- Language, style


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