In Ezekiel 29:3

“...התנים הגדול הרבץ בתוך יאריו  אשר אמר לי יארי ואני עשיתני”

“...the great dragon that lies in the midst of his rivers, that says, The rivers are mine, and I made them.” (Ezekiel 29:3, Brenton)

“..., the great monster lying in the midst of its waterways, who has said, "My Nile is my own, I made it for myself...” (Ezekiel 29:3, NETfree)

The word עשיתני, in hebrew means like "I made myself", but it is a very uncommon word. But all the translations I encountered project this word unto the river, that he made the Nile river. I think that if the text would like to say that he made the river, the correct word would be עשיתיהו or עשיתיו.

Few verses afterwards, in verse 9 it becomes:

“...יען אמר יאר לי ואני עשיתי”

But the english translation stays the same as above.

“...The rivers are mine, and I made them.” (Ezekiel 29:9, Brenton)

So my question is what is the correct translation of these two verses.


2 Answers 2


The word עֲשִׂיתִנִי is a contraction of עֲשִׂיתִי (first person perfect "made") and אֲנִי (first person pronoun). Compare with similar contractions such as הנני.

The meaning is "I made it, me". The Netfree translation "I made it for myself" is a looser translation, but easier on the English ear.

As the OP notes, עֲשִׂיתִנִי is "a very uncommon word". In fact עֲשִׂיתִנִי is a unique, poetic, intentional pleonasm intended as an emphatic, to suggest megalomania or narcissism.

Therefore the Netfree translation is preferable to Brenton for verse 29:3 and the Brenton translation for 29:9 is correct.

The logic is, from the MT:

לִי יְאֹרִי וַאֲנִי עֲשִׂיתִנִי For me my Nile an I made it, me

Notice the maximalist pattern of the yod's, referring to "me" that are augmented by an additional word initial yod in יְאֹרִ. Using עֲשִׂיתִנִי allows the writer to form a sentence attributed to the crocodile in which no word does not include "me". Therein lies the message to Pharaoh. Everything is me, me, me. When you read the verse with Hebrew vocalization everything is "eee", "eee", "eee" and the עֲשִׂיתִנִי, aseeteenee, completes the meter of the phrase:

lee yeeoree, wa'anee aseeteenee

עשיתיהו would also work here as the OP suggests, in terms of diction, and would also complete the meter, but wouldn't pack the unexpected punch of the pleonasm and the extended alliteration of עֲשִׂיתִנִי. This word is a Hebrew delicacy that contributes greatly to the memorability and quotability of the verse.

Note also,

The form עשיתֵַַני (masculine second person perfect "you made" + first person pronoun) means "he made me". Not used in the OT. Found in rabbinic Hebrew.

The form עָשָׂתְנִי (masculine third person perfect עשה "he made" + first person pronoun, i.e. "He made me") is found in Job 33:4.


Ezekiel | יְחֶזְקֵאל Yechezqel 29:3

Pharaoh פַּרְעֹה, king-[of]-Egypt מֶֽלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם, **[the-great crocodile]** הַתַּנִּים הַגָּדוֹל that lies down in the midst of its rivers, who said, "Mine לִי [is] **My-[Nile]** יְאֹרִי , and-I וַאֲנִי made עֲשִׂי [it]-myself תִנִי ."
  • Yechezqel's great crocodile הַתַּנִּים הַגָּדוֹל was sarcastic reference to sobek

  • Rashi on [ יְחֶזְקֵאל Yechezqel 29:3] : " the great crocodile Since all the greatness of Egypt and all its plenty comes though the Nile River, the prophet compares its king to a crocodile and its people to the fish of the river. "

  • "My-River" יְאֹרִי associated with pharaoh & sobek would be referencing the Egyptian יְאֹרִ Nile (river). << use sefaria.org to highlight this יְאֹרִ word in Ezekiel 29:3 for additional details.

  • Great answer, but can you focus more on the word עשיתי and עשיתני
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 30, 2022 at 5:28

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