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Ezekiel 3:12-13a (BHS | ESV):

וַתִּשָּׂאֵ֣נִי ר֔וּחַ וָאֶשְׁמַ֣ע אַחֲרַ֔י ק֖וֹל רַ֣עַשׁ גָּד֑וֹל בָּר֥וּךְ כְּבוֹד־יְהוָ֖ה מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ׃
וְק֣וֹל ׀ כַּנְפֵ֣י הַחַיּ֗וֹת מַשִּׁיקוֹת֙ אִשָּׁ֣ה אֶל־אֲחוֹתָ֔הּ

Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the LORD from its place!"
It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another....

I started this question wondering what "from its place" means here ("blessed....from..?"). Then I noticed BHS has a note suggesting an emendation of ברוך (blessed) to ברום (in the rising / while rising), which makes a little more sense with "...from its place". The NRSV (also NET, NIV) apparently agrees:

...as the glory of the LORD rose from its place

Not having it as a quote also eliminates the need for "the voice of a great earthquake" (NRSV: "the sound of loud rumbling"), which feels awkward, not least because it appears to be equated with the rustling of wings in the following verse. Despite making it into BHS (BHQ Ezekiel forthcoming 2016), evidently not all translations have seen the emendation as necessary.

  • Does “blessed be the glory of the LORD from its place” make sense?
  • Is a כ/ך interchange with מ/ם something that happens with any regularity? (Or maybe that’s irrelevant?)
  • Is there a convincing case for emendation here?
  • A spirit or the spirit ? Or simply spirit? – Cynthia Avishegnath Oct 8 '15 at 5:55
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    @Blessed That’s not the topic of this question, although possibly a relevant contextual point for an answer to discuss. As you can see, the ESV quoted does say the Spirit. I’m not a big fan of that decision myself, but the focus of this is elsewhere. – Susan Oct 8 '15 at 6:01
  • Most Jewish prayer books render your troubled phrase as "blessed is the glory of the L-rd from HIS place." This doesn't rub me as being too difficult, but maybe I am biased from reading this so often. The mem-resh exchange seems not likely to me. – Tim Biegeleisen Oct 8 '15 at 14:35
  • קול רעש ממקומו ברוך כבוד יי – Cynthia Avishegnath Oct 8 '15 at 14:49
  • @TimBiegeleisen Thanks for your thoughts (actually mem-kaf exchange; I was just giving the final forms, and that rendition of ך is especially resh-like). Do you mean morphologically the exchange doesn’t seem likely? FWIW, I’m not sure we’re talking about a square-script-era (hypothesized) change, which leaves me clueless on that front. – Susan Oct 8 '15 at 15:09
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Letter Exchange?

I cannot address with any certainty the "regularity" of "a כ/ך interchange with מ/ם," other than to state that such seems unlikely from a square script view (the letters look nothing alike), but at least feasible to me from a paleo-script comparison, which appears to show more similarity of the letters. Since the paleo-script is believed to have been in use up to the 5th century B.C. and Ezekiel composed in the early 6th century B.C., then its original composition was likely in paleo-script. So a change is at least plausible in that sense.

Warrant to Emend?

The real question is whether there is good warrant to even seek emendation, even if the paleo-script might have been more likely to allow such. The answer to that question, I believe, is a clear "no." There are at least two coherent solutions without calling for emendation.

First, it is possible that the third person masculine suffixed pronoun on מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ does refer back to YHWH, and so a translation like the NKJV might be more appropriate:

Blessed is the glory of the LORD from His place!

Such a rendering would refer to the fact that wherever the LORD is manifesting, His glory emits from there, and that glory is (and is to be) praised. This makes sense, no emendation needed.

Second, it is possible that the third person masculine suffixed pronoun on מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ does refer back to the glory itself, the grammatical gender of which is masculine, and so a translation like the ESV the OP gave:

Blessed be the glory of the LORD from its place!

This makes sense as well in the context of Ezekiel, as seen in 1:26-28 (ESV; bolding added for emphasis and discussion following):

26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.

Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

This is actually the encounter Ezekiel is having with YHWH that is continuing on in chapter 3, actually coming to an end in the verses under question (v.12-15). The "place" of the "glory of the LORD," from the context of Ezekiel, would then be that which had the likeness of a throne, upon which the one with an appearance as a man was "seated," and who, while seated, was emitting a brightness about him above and below his waist (which would be located immediately at the "bend" point of the human figure being seated, essentially the central point of the figure when seated on the throne.

Conclusion

What one finds, I believe, is that whether the pronoun should be translated "His" or "its" makes little difference, because in this case, the "place" of the throne is where the He who sits on it is, and the glory is emitting in brightness from Him and thus from this place.

In either case, an emendation is simply not needed, because the glory emitting from a location is clear in the context; and that such glory is linked to praise is not anything out of the ordinary (e.g. Ps 72:19; Isa 42:8; 1 Chr 29:10-11; Eph 1:12).

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