(1st word.) (I have circled the word in red in the text above) In the Masoretic text this word is written as ” sameq – yod – nun – yod – mem” It is vocalized in M and the Masoretes recognized the yod as a semi vowel and pointed it as “hiriq yod” which recognizes the yod as a vowel with no consonantal value. The Q text gives this word as “sameq – waw – nun – yod – yod – mem”
In these pages we have called attention to the numerous times that waw is inserted in the text as an alternate of yod. See references to these descriptions on both the Directory page and the Introductory page and the numerous occasions that we made notes on in the preceding pages that show the consistency of using or inserting waw in place of any vowel. If in fact we would note each occurrence of insertion of waw for a vowel sound this document would be too cumbersome. It is possible that Q scribe meant to write a different word than Siniym and wrote something similar to “Seve:niym” but it is more probable that the peculiarities of using waw, that has been consistent with the Q scribes, either as a substitute for yod or for the indication of a vowel is at work here. See the discussion of the name of Hezekiah on page 28 and comments there under line 29 for more on the use of waw as a semi vowel and how it relates to this discussion.
Furthermore, since the “hiriq yod” of “Siyniym” is recognized as a single vowel sound, then it is perfectly consistent with the Q scribes’ practices for the insertion of waw here to stand for the “i” sound. This is further indicated by translators who give the English transliteration of the M text as “Sinim” being perfectly aware that there is a hiriq yod at the end of the word they simply put the single vowel “i” for the “hiriq yod;” thus illustrating that a single vowel sound is meant by the yods in this word. Therefore the substituting of waw for the first “hiriq yod” sound is perfectly consistent with the Q scribes’ usage
In transcribing the Q reading many modern texts write Seveniym in the footnote as “seve:niym” while the actual Q reading ends the word with a double yod + mem. This is the usual method of denoting nationality in Q as “Kasdiyym” (Chaldeans) and other nationalities are denoted in the same way. See page 18; line 19: 3rd word and page 38, line 25: 2nd word. for 2 or the 64 examples where Chaldean nationality, not place is denoted by the use of the double yod in Q. Thus it is plain that the Q scribe referred to a nationality and not to a place. It more likely refers to “the land of the Chinese” as Gesenius and others suggest, than to the land of Aswan.
A reader who had received a long explanation as to why Aswan should be in the text at this place asked my opinion of the letter. I add here the answer I sent to him:
I am not a “scholar” but I read Hebrew and have a small degree of ability to speak the language. Thus I often find fault with “scholars” who know all the grammatical terms for the printed text but with rare exception can not even answer the vocal question “ha-‘im atah me-daber ‘ivrit?” (Do you speak Hebrew?) Fluency in the language gives me an advantage because I am familiar with “idiom” in the language. You do not have to be a “scholar” to understand language. If you know the language. Perhaps you speak Chinese. Do you need a scholar to tell you what a simple sentence means in Chinese?
In any case your writer says that the word in Isa 49:12, also appears in Eze 29:10, Eze 30:6. This simply is not the case. Strong’s concordance does not accept the relationship of the roots of “s’veneh” in Ezek and “sin” in Isaiah. They are two different words.
I am sometimes at a loss to explain why translators make mistakes but there are reasons here. Often when one makes a mistake those who follow continue the same mistake. There may very well have been a town in South Egypt named S’veneh but the translation of the Hebrew in Ezek 29:10 that says “from the tower to Seneh” is simply incorrect. The passage in Hebrew is exactly what the KJV renders: “from the tower of S’veneh to the border of Ethiopia” is an indisputable rendition of the literal Hebrew text and any other rendition is an INTERPRETIVE translation. Probably based on the LXX which has the rendering that says “from the Tower and Suenes to ( or until) the border of Ethiopia.” (But even in the LXX this puts Suenes at the opposite extemity to Ethiopia, not on its border.) The “scholars” have put other things and their own idea into the Hebrew text and have not rendered the words from Hebrew to English as the KJV has and I just did.
The Hebrew text in both Ezekiel passages plainly say “from the tower of S’veneh.” not “from the tower to S’veneh” That is an interpretation not a translation.
Listing names of people who accept the mistake does not change the text. It is still the same in Hebrew. In Hebrew therefore the tower of S’veneh is at the other extreme from the border of Ethiopia and therefore can not be Asswan.
The Hebrew text of Ezekiel 30:6 says of the “tower of S’veneh” that the Egyptian’s pride shall “fall in it”. “IT” is the tower of S’veneh. There are some linguistic complexities which I will try to explain that are at work here in the route the scholars take to go from “S’veneh” and arrive as “Syene”: The V is this word is a Hebrew waw and is a semi vowel. It is either a consonant (v or w) or a vowel (u or o) It can not be both. It is either a vowel or a consonant in this word. If it is a vowel then there is no V is the word. As a vowel in later times (Dead Sea Scroll times) the waw was used as a sign of a vowel, any vowel and it could be and frequently was substituted for a yod which is also a semivowel. Keep this in mind as the “Sin” in Isa 49:12 could therefore be related (in this way as these scholars say) to the “Suneh” of Ezekiel 29:10 if you substitute yod for waw and drop the “h.” Do you follow so far? Next: the “h” on the end of a word in Hebrew, particularly a place can mean “toward” (It is a locative “he”. For instance Jerusalem is yerushalayim and going to Jerusalem often is “going yerushalaymah.” As noted this adds another syllable to the word. I hope you can follow this. It is not that complex. Next
Thus in “S’veneh” some one might take the “h” to be locative and translate it “to S’ven.” or (using the waw as a vowel) “Son” or “Syn.” This is route “scholars” take. Notice the Masoretic scholars did not take it as such. The waw is considered a consonant by them In fact some of the translators use it as a consonant. IT, therefore according the masorah, can not be “toward Sin” in Ezekiel. Why? The Masoretes also pointed the word so that the “he is part of the word and is not (in the Masoretic text) a directional “h” but is part of the root of the word. They also point the waw so the waw is a consonant. Using all these complexities and more, while ignoring the masorah, results in the “scholarly” rendering of “S’veneh” as “Syene” in some translations that favor Asswan. The “he” is dropped off and the waw becomes a “y” and in that round about way the attempt is made to relate the word to “syn” of Isa 49:12. However the Masoretes saw the waw as a consonant and pointed it with a vowel. To them it can not be Syn but Svnh as the name of a place.
As above: the use of waw as a sign of any vowel sound was not used as early as Ezekiel so the substitution of yod or Y for waw is very unlikely in the verses in Ezekiel.
But further complicating this word is the fact that the DSS scribes did use waw for any vowel and in this word in Isa 49:12 they inserted a waw to stand for the yod that is in the Masoretic text. I have fully explained this in my article above on this verse. It is plain that the waw above in this verse is a vowel but in the Ezekiel passages it is a consonant.
See also my comments on this verse in my Isaiah commentary.