Thursday, January 1, 2015

The meaning of "messiah" [משח]

The Hebrew ideograph "messiah" [משח] is quite a peculiar word.

The root word is  [שח].. You can form [משח] by applying the Hifil on [שח].

First take the word [שח] ShaX,

  • which means to bend a target, or to hunch a target.
  • idiomatically, to anoint someone by having someone bowed and subjugated.


And then inflecting [שח] with a hifil causative on which then becomes

[משיח] MaShiX and MaShiaX

would mean "cause to bow/hunch", subjugate, "cause to submit", which idiomatically carries the implication of  causing a target into submission, or in humiliation, to vanquish.

In Exodus 12:23 the agent of Almighty is called the-Vanquisher {המשחית / Ha-MaShXit}.

And then make it one of the gerunds
[משחת] MeSheXeT / MiShXeT

which means the event when
  • target is caused to bow, or hunch,
  • vanquishing, humiliating or subjugating the target.
The hufal passive [מושיח]  MoShiaX would mean

  • being caused to bow, or hunch
  • being vanquished, subjugated, humiliated
  • idiomatically, to be anointed by being subjugated.

However, there is not a single occurrence of the word [מושיח]  MoShiaX in the Hebrew text of the Bible. Zero.

It is interesting to note that the word translated as "worship" is the reflexive hitpaal  {משתח / MiShTeaX} and in the exhortative/jussive {משתחו / MiShTaXaV}

  • having oneself bowed down, to subjugate oneself in submission. 


Maimonides aka RaMbaM was a bible fundamentalist. He required comprehending bibllical texts thro logic and proper comprehension of the Hebrew words. He was rather critical of religious "authorities" who would willy-nilly draw meanings from Hebrew words without proper and consistent analysis. He even went so far as writing having understanding of Mathematics was essential to the understanding the Hebrew biblical texts.

The English translations have trouble and are confused and confusing. This word [משחת] is found all over the Bible.

They are unable to demonstrate the criteria of when and whether to decide to translate the word as
  • the act of anointing
  • or the act of subjugating/humiliating.
  • or the act of vanquishing.

Psalm 103 speaks of king David declaring the LORD will deliver him from [משחת]. Did king David declare that the LORD will free him from being "vanquished" or from being "anointed"?

Exodus 12:13
וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה בָכֶם נֶגֶף לְמַשְׁחִית בְּהַכֹּתִי בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

  • then shall not be with you plague to vanquish/devastate with which I would strike in the land of Egypt. 

Or, does Exodus 12:13 say, 

  • then shall not be with you plague to anoint with which I would strike in the land of Egypt. 
??

As Maimonides required, you cannot be illogical and willy-nilly define the meanings of words just to suit an idea.

Isaiah 52 and 53, speaks of a person going thro a life-time in [משחת]. Not just a weekend of [משחת] as depicted in a 2000 year old pagan story, but a life-time of rejection, humiliation and deformity.

THE BIG question is

  • Why is there no occurrence of passive causative word "anointed"  [מושיח]  MoShiaX.
  • Such that even Isaiah 45:1 uses the active causative [מושיח]  MoShiaX, which means "Vanquisher", "anointor". Not the passive "anointed".