Monday, March 7, 2022

The Hebrew verb נכה (nâkâh, pronounced na-KAH) means "strike" or "smite." As a very common verb, נכה (nâkâh) appears in several famous biblical scenes. One well-known use is in 1 Samuel 17:49: "David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck (ויך) the Philistine on his forehead." Numbers 20:11 is another: "Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck (ויך) the rock twice with his staff." And then there is Exodus 12:29: "At midnight the LORD struckכה) down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt." Given the various potential outcomes associated with "striking," נכה (nâkâh) often requires a more nuanced translation. An excellent example of this occurs in 1 Kings 20:20–21, "Each killedכו) his man; the Arameans fled and Israel pursued them, but King Ben-hadad of Aram escaped on a horse with the cavalry. The king of Israel went out, attacked (ויך) the horses and chariots, and defeated (והכה) the Arameans with a great slaughter."