BC700c.1

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Ball-Pitching in the Bible?

Salience Noteworthy
Text

"He will surely wind you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a large country. There you will die . . . " Isaiah 22:18.

The word "ball" appears only twice in the Bible, and the other one refers to the ball of the foot of a beast (Leviticus 11:27). The Isaiah usage was the inspiration for a January 1905 news article headed, "Isaiah's prophesies were written [in Hebrew] late in the eighth century BC.

Sources

Isaiah 22:18.

"Played Baseball in Bible Times: The Prophet Isaiah Made the only reference to the Pastime to be Found in the Holy Writ." (The Hamilton [Ont] Spectator - from an unidentified clipping in the Origins file at the Giamatti Center in Cooperstown.)

A compilation of 15 English translations [accessed at http://bible.cc/isaiah/22-18.htm on 12/29/10] shows that most of them summon the image of an angry God hurling the miscreant, like a ball, far far away. (One exception, however, cites the winding of a turban, not a ball.) A literal translation is unrevealing: "And thy coverer covering, wrapping round, Wrappeth thee round, O babbler, On a land broad of sides—there thou diest."

 

Warning

We have incomplete assurance that Isaiah actually referred to a ball, or even to the act of throwing.

A compilation of 15 English translations [accessed at http://bible.cc/isaiah/22-18.htm on 12/29/10] shows that most of them summon the image of an angry God hurling the miscreant, like a ball, far far away. (One exception, however, cites the winding of a turban, not a ball.) A literal translation is unrevealing: "And thy coverer covering, wrapping round, Wrappeth thee round, O babbler, On a land broad of sides—there thou diest."

Comment

Protoball user Benjamin Roy has done some further digging in 2014 on the meaning of this text . . . see Supplemental Text, below.

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Query

Can other readers throw any more light on this ancient (and, to Protoball, handsomely obscure) text?

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Has Supplemental Text Yes



Comments


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Supplemental Text

 

A 2014 Contibution by Benjamin Roy --

 

From: Benjamin Roy [mailto:benjamin.m.roy@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2014 11:32 PM
To: lmccray@mit.edu
Subject: RE: Protoball, Pitching in the Bible

 

Protoball's entry BC700c.1 includes these notes to readers:

"Warning:  We have little assurance that Isaiah actually referred to a ball, or even to the act of throwing

Query:  Could a Hebrew reader or a Bible scholar among you clarify this question?  Please?"

 

I'm not an expert, so appropriate grain of salt, but I did a little digging into this.  I *think* the reference to a ball is pretty solid. The modern hebrew word for ball is כדור, duwr or kaddur. The first letter "כ" (Hebrew is read right to left) appears to at least originally have been a prefix meaning "like a." 

The word is definitely there in the Leningrad Codex as כַּדּ֕וּר (the dots are vowels, and generally only present in texts to be read by non-native speakers).

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2022%3A18&version=NASB;WLC

[Note: the Codex is the earliest known intact manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, dated 1008 AD. -- LMc]

I'm pretty sure it's also in the Great Isaiah Scroll:

http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah#22:18

(Column XVII, 8th line from the bottom, 2nd word from the left)

[Note: the Great Isaiah Scroll is one of the scrolls discovered in the 1940s.  - LMc] 

I couldn't really find anyone* disputing the translation as ball, despite it only occurring once in the Bible. 

http://lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/1754.html

What's more dubious than "ball" is "throw," which is *not* in the text, just implied by the context. Some commentaries take the references to winding as sling imagery, as in David and Goliath.

https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/ball

 

*The one possible exception is entirely in Hebrew, and google translate seems to think it's referencing throwing around sheaves of wheat or somesuch.

http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%9E%22%D7%92_%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A2%D7%99%D7%94%D7%95_%D7%9B%D7%91_%D7%99%D7%97

To really know what that says, you'd have to find someone who actually speaks the language. 

 I don't know how much any of this helps, but if you can't find someone who knows what they are talking about, maybe it does.

 Ben

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