Exodus 11:1b in the Revised English Bible (REB) reads:

When he finally lets you go, he will drive you out forcibly as a man might dismiss a rejected bride.

The simile seems most unusual. Was it in the original language?

  • Admittedly, my Hebrew is rusty but, as I read Exo. 11:1, the difference in how to read the word is not in its voweling but its spelling; e.g., KaLaH vs. KaLLaH. More specifically: both the unpointed Masoretic Text (MT) and the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) show כלה (KLH) to be read as "completely". If the Hebrew word for "bride" was in that verse, then the spelling of that word would be כּלּה (note dagesh Lamed or L, transliterated as KLLH). Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


tl;dr There is no basis for "bride" in the original Hebrew.

The Hebrew text of Exodus 11:1b is:

כְּשַׁ֨לְּח֔וֹ כָּלָ֕ה גָּרֵ֛שׁ יְגָרֵ֥שׁ אֶתְכֶ֖ם מִזֶּֽה׃ (Westminster Leningrad Codex)

The word which is translated by REB as "bride" is the word "כָּלָה".

The word "כָּלָה" (vocalized here with a qamatz below the kaph and no dagesh in the lamedh) means completion, especially complete destruction or annihilation.

REB confused "כָּלָה" with "כַּלָּה" (with a pataḥ below the kaph and a dagesh in the lamedh), which does, in fact, mean "bride", but has no relationship to Exodus 11:1.

  • 3
    Thanks, and +1 for the explanation. I think they didn’t really “confuse” the issue so much as they thought it appropriate to emend the MT vocalization. The original proposal appears to be in French (beyond me), but see Morgenstern, J, The Despoiling of the Egyptians. JBL 1949 for summary and development.
    – Susan
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 13:49

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