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Zechariah 7:2-3 (with my emphasis)

The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech, together with their men, to entreat the LORD by asking the priests of the house of the LORD Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

Who is the "I" mentioned here? The context suggests is was people asking the question, hence I expected to read "We". Or was a specific individual, e.g.a leader, asking the question?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

There's no indication in the Hebrew text of who the 'I' is, as the question is introduced by the infinitive "le'mor".

However, while the emissaries are plural, the "people" are not, since they aren't in the Hebrew at all.

Hebrew is normally a VSO language, so we know that the verb in the first sentence is a singular "sent", but whether Bethel sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech (as your extract above) or whether Bethel-Sharezer and Regem-Melech sent unnamed people (as here) is not clear.

Which doesn't really answer your question, but does indicate that some of your assumptions are questionable.

Edit: thinking further, it occurs to me that the particle "ﬡﬨ", which is usually used before a definite object, is not present. This means that the "Bethel sent Sharezer" interpretation is very much less likely.

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Would you say, therefore, that this might be a translation problem? – Jon Ericson Oct 28 '11 at 18:28
@JonEricson: that what might be a translation problem? There are evidently substantially different translations of the passage available, and "people" is certainly a translator's (or editor's) insertion. – Colin Fine Nov 1 '11 at 11:28
I'd forgotten why I asked the question by the time you answered. ;-) But now I remember that I thought it interesting that the question didn't indicate there was any problem in the translation and I wondered if it should be retagged. Thanks for the feedback. – Jon Ericson Nov 4 '11 at 20:09

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