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Who is the keeper of the wardrobe?

So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her. (2 Kings 22:14)

  • Is it Huldah? (I don't think so because shamar, referring to the keeper, is masculine)
  • Is it Shallum? i.e. Shallum (the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas) the keeper of the wardrobe
  • It is Harhas? i.e. the son of Harhas who was the keeper of the wardrobe

In English the text is ambiguous. Does the Hebrew enable us to ascertain the answer?

וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ חִלְקִיָּ֣הוּ הַ֠כֹּהֵן וַאֲחִיקָ֨ם וְעַכְבֹּ֜ור וְשָׁפָ֣ן וַעֲשָׂיָ֗ה אֶל־חֻלְדָּ֨ה הַנְּבִיאָ֜ה אֵ֣שֶׁת ׀ שַׁלֻּ֣ם בֶּן־תִּקְוָ֗ה בֶּן־חַרְחַס֙ שֹׁמֵ֣ר הַבְּגָדִ֔ים וְהִ֛יא יֹשֶׁ֥בֶת בִּירוּשָׁלִַ֖ם בַּמִּשְׁנֶ֑ה וַֽיְדַבְּר֖וּ אֵלֶֽיהָ׃ (Masoretic text)


This one came up during scripture study today and it was ambiguous enough that I was unable to answer it.

1 Answer 1

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It would be the son of Harhas.

This is an example of apposition of two noun phrases, "the son of Harhas" and "the keeper of garments", where both adopt the same form, are placed directly next to each other, so that the second phrase further specifies the first. Here is a nice blog about it with more examples. Unlike the construct form, where the construct noun is written in a different form, with apposition there is no grammatical marker, you have to search for repeated noun phrases placed next to each other.

To confirm, you can look at the cantillation:

enter image description here

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