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1 Samuel 2:10

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 10, 2007

Someone did a search: 1 samuel 2:10 tanach, so I looked it up.

1Sa 2:10 “They that strive with the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them will He thunder in heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.”

I suspect the problem the searcher is having with this pasuk (verse) is “They that strive with the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them will He thunder in heaven”

Aryeh Kaplan render this pasuk in this manner:

2:10 “God’s foes will be crushed; He will thunder in heaven against them. God will judge the ends of the earth; He will give strength to His king, and exalt the power of His anointed.
Adonay yechatu merivav alav bashamayim yar’em Adonay yadin afsey-arets veyiten-oz lemalko veyarem keren meshicho.”

The root of merivav (foes, they that strive) is rîyb / rûb – and it implies an advesarial position – an argument for arguments sake, an aggressive fight. So this verse speaks about one that takes a hostile position to G-d without due cause.

I looked up Rashi, and he doesn’t say anything about it, which is a good sign – it means that the pshat (the most obvious, clear meaning) is as simple as that.

Unfortunately this is not obvious in most translations, which do render merivav “strive with” or “fight with”, and for many, I think, Yaakov’s struggle with G-d at Jabbok comes to mind as well as a whole lot of rubbish about how we shouldn’t be angry with G-d or question G-d, because then He will break us.

Ya’akov’s struggle with the Angel/G-d at Jabbok doesn’t use the word rîyb/rûb it uses ‘âbaq – which does mean “to wrestle”.

Gen 32:24 “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.”

“Jacob remained alone. A stranger [appeared and] wrestled with him until just before daybreak.
Vayivater Ya’akov levado vaye’avek ish imo ad alot hashachar.

People rant, rave and question G-d G-d throughout Tanakh – and contrary to being broken, they are considered great G-d people. They do it because they have a bone to pick or an issue with G-d, but they don’t do it for the sake of the argument, or because they hate G-d, and that is what 1 Sam 2:10 speaks about. Not arguing to get to a point of clearness or understanding.

3 Responses to “1 Samuel 2:10”

  1. Yael said

    This is one of the things that attracted me to Judaism, this being able to wrestle with God. It took me awhile to realize that there are some within Judaism who also don’t allow for wrestling. My take is just that we have to be careful in that if we won’t ever let go of the wrestling we might end up walking away with a limp. I walk where angels fear to tread….with a limp of course…


  2. *lol*

    Couldn’t agree with you more!


  3. Yael said

    I figured you would!


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