notes on 2:7

The verb of the first line is problematic for translators. The literal sense seems to be something like: "gasping because the dust of the land upon poor people's heads". The verb can refer to lust giving something like "lusting for gain even though poor people's heads are in the dust of the land". However this does not reflect the construction in Hebrew. Proposals to read another verb are not convincing (despite the practice of most translators). In view of these difficulties I have chosen to follow the syntax and render "gasp" as "laugh" (though with no great confidence).

The phrase "father and son go with the same servant-girl" is open to differing readings. Does the word "na'arah" imply a servant in the household (Mays 46), or just a "girl" (Paul n.392; Wolff n.286; cf. Anderson & Freedman 318-319 who seem unable to decide)? Few commentators now continue to uphold the suggestion that she is a temple prostitute, qodeshah, as "na'arah" never has this meaning in the Bible.

Four reasons support the reading given here, "servant-girl":

It is clear, in either case, that the phrase "go with" refers to sexual intercourse (Paul 82; Wolff 167 and n.287) cf. the English expression "go with" (though Alter, xxx-xxi, suggests the Hebrew is probably cruder).

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