1

The pronouns in Gen. 14:20, the Melchizedek blessing, flip from third person (he) to second person (you). "Blessed be Abram" (third person)..."Blessed be God Most High, who has delivered" (third person), and then it flips to second person "Your enemies into your hand". My question is the identity of the 'your'.

  1. The commentaries I've read say this means God delivered Abram's enemies into Abram's hand, but could the text mean that God delivered God's enemies into God's hand?

  2. Bible hub says that 'hand' is feminine and that the word is singular. Abram was male and had two hands. Could this word refer to a feminine attribute of God?

1
  • 3
    That 'hand' is female in Hebrew is a matter of grammar, not gender. 'Into your hand' does not mean, literally. It is a metaphor expressing total dominion and power over the future of the delivered. blessed `is' God Most High, who hath delivered thine adversaries into thy hand;' [Young's Literal]
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 20:21

1 Answer 1

2

The noun יָד (yad = hand in Hebrew) is grammatically feminine. As is well-known, grammatical gender does not necessarily imply biological gender. Thus, the grammatically feminine "hand" in Hebrew remains feminine regardless of whether it is man's hand or female's hand.

For example, we have the following instance of a man's hand being referred to in the feminine grammatical gender, Gen 3:22, 4:11, 8:9, 9:5, 14:22, etc. Note the last instance here - just two verses later (V22) where Abram's hand is feminine.

Thus, I agree that when Melchizedek is addressing Abram (see V19) in Gen 14:20, it is unsurprising that Abram's hand is feminine. The alternate reading of making Melchizedek change the addressee mid-blessing (from Abram to God) would make nonsense of the text.

That the blessing in Gen 20:19, 20 was bestowed by Melchizedek upon Abram is confirmed by Heb 7:1, 6, 7.

Barnes expresses it thus:

"Thy foes." Here Abram is personally addressed. Melkizedec as a priest first appeals to God on behalf of Abram, and then addresses Abram on behalf of God. Thus, he performs the part of a mediator.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.