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Ezekiel 44:5 ESV

And the Lord said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I shall tell you concerning all the statutes of the temple of the Lord and all its laws. And mark well the entrance to the temple and all the exits from the sanctuary.

I've always thought that "Mark Well" meant "Remember". However, in looking at the Jewish Bible:

Ezekiel 44:5 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Adonai said to me, “Human being, pay attention; see with your eyes and hear with your ears everything I tell you about all the regulations of Adonai’s house and about all its Torah; pay attention to who can enter the house and who must be excluded from the sanctuary.

Does "Mark Well" mean "Pay Attention" in this passage?

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mark‌​, v.t. 5. To notice or observe; to give attention to; to take note of; to remark; to heed; to regard. –  TRiG Aug 27 '13 at 18:22
@TRiG, your definition sure does make it sound simple. However, please read Monica's answer. –  The Freemason Aug 27 '13 at 19:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The Hebrew for the first "mark well" is שִׂים לִבְּךָ , which is literally "give your heart". (The Hebrew for the second uses a different formation from the same roots -- וְשַׂמְתָּ לִבְּךָ .) This is probably an idiom, like "give ear" in Deut 32:1. The Ezekiel passage follows "give your heart" with appeals to vision and hearing -- וּרְאֵה בְעֵינֶיךָ (see with your eyes) and וּבְאָזְנֶיךָ שְּׁמָע (with your ears listen/hear), so the phrase you're asking about serves as a poetic introduction, a "pay attention, guys" marker.

The second "mark well" uses a different grammatical form and I'm not sure why, but it doesn't follow with the vision/hearing language, just the object (what you're marking, i.e. entrance to the temple). I suspect that it's used here because it was used earlier; the language of the prophets is sometimes much more poetic and flowery than the language of the torah.

Please note: This answer was written for a neutral, academic audience and is not intended to be interpreted in the context of a religious belief or doctrine.

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So then... neither translation is exact :) –  The Freemason Nov 7 '12 at 15:20
Neither is exactly literal, but sometimes to capture the intent or feel of a text you need to translate less literally and more figuratively. (Ideally you footnote that and most don't...) –  Gone Quiet Nov 7 '12 at 15:57
That's always been a battle for me. How to contend with literalists in both the translation and usage. Do you have a pronunciation key for Hebrew words? –  The Freemason Nov 7 '12 at 16:00
The first is an imperative, "Set your heart". The second is the imperfect, use for the future, "And you will set your heart". But I don't get the nuance of why. –  Colin Fine Nov 9 '12 at 0:06

It is certainly an idiom, so a literal translation won't convey the actual meaning of the phrase. Now, a literal translation of the Hebrew שִׂים לִבְּךָ (sim libbeka) would be "Set/ put/ place into your heart!" Again, the heart was considered as the locus of thought --- a function we now give to the brain. Thus, to place something into your heart was to give something ample consideration and evaluation. God is asking Ezekiel to deeply consider "all that I say to you" (ibid). Chew on it! =)

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Nice parting shot! Some metaphors don't translate well. FYI: it might help to edit this answer to link to your other answer where you begin: "Again..." You can use Markdown directly, but I find it easier to use the formatting tools on the top of the editing window. –  Jon Ericson Nov 14 '12 at 0:17
Done! Thank you Jon. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Nov 14 '12 at 1:07

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