Home » Hebrew Yay! » Next Verse: Judges 3.8 translation

Next Verse: Judges 3.8 translation


 וַיִּחַר־אַף יְהוָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּמְכְּרֵם בְּיַד כּוּשַׁן רִשְׁעָתַיִם מֶלֶךְ אֲרַם נַהֲרָיִם וַיַּעַבְדוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־כּוּשַׁן רִשְׁעָתַיִם שְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנִים׃

Judges 3.8

Various Translations:

ESV: “Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.”

JPS: “The Lord became incensed at Israel and surrendered them to King Cushan- rishathaim of Aram-naharaim; and the Israelites were subject to Cushan- rishathaim for eight years.”

NASB: “Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.”

NAB: “the anger of the LORD flared up against them, and he allowed them to fall into the power of Cushan-rishathaim, king of Aram Naharaim, whom they served for eight years.”


Original: “And Yahweh was hot of nose at Israel and he sold them into the hand of Cushan Rishathaim King of Aram Naharaim and sons of Israel served Cushan Rishathaim eight years

Revised: “Therefore[1] the fury of Yahweh blazed[2] against Israel, so[3] he sold them into the hand of Cushan the Double Wicked,[4] King of Aram-naharaim.[5] Thus[6] the children of Israel served Cushan the Double Wicked for eight years.”


Now the children of Israel did what was wrong in the eyes of Yahweh.  For they ignored Yahweh their god but they served Baal and Asherah[7].  Therefore the fury of Yahweh blazed against Israel, so he sold them into the hand of Cushan the Double Wicked, King of Aram-naharaim.  Thus the children of Israel served Cushan the Double Wicked for eight years.

Hebrew Notes:

 וַיִּחַר־ – Qc10 – חָרָה – burn, kindled, of anger, and he was hot of

אַף – nose, face

יְהוָה – YHWH – Yahweh, or the Lord

בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל – ב – in/at – Yiśrā’ēl – Israel – at Israel

וַיִּמְכְּרֵם – Qc10s5 – מכר – to sell – and he sold them

בְּיַד – ב – in/into – יָד – hand – into hand of

כּוּשַׁן – kû∙šǎn – Cushan

רִשְׁעָתַיִם – riš∙ʿā∙ṯǎ∙yim – Rishathaim – רִשְׁעָה – wickedness – רָשָׁע – wicked, criminal  – double wickedness

מֶלֶךְ – king of

אֲרַם – ’ărām – Aram

נַהֲרָיִם – nǎ∙hǎrǎ∙yim – Naharaim

וַיַּעַבְדוּ – Qc15 – עָבַד – work, serve, worship – and they served

כּוּשַׁן – kû∙šǎn – Cushan

רִשְׁעָתַיִם – riš∙ʿā∙ṯǎ∙yim – Rishathaim – רִשְׁעָה – wickedness – רָשָׁע – wicked, criminal  – double wickedness

שְׁמֹנֶה – eight

שָׁנִים׃ – שׁנה – year – years

Revised Translation Notes:

[1] Therefore cf. ESV: Hey another ו here it is cut off by some (cf. JPS, NAB, TNIV, etc), while others have “Therefore” (cf. ESV, NRSV) or “Then” (cf. NASB, NJB, NLT).  I have chosen “therefore” to reflect the actions of 3.7 brought about this consequence of 3.8, they ignored Yahweh brining out Judgment.  (van der Merwe p. 166 or section 21.2 1 ii b)

[2] Fury Blazed: Literally “Hot of Nose, Hot Nosed, etc.” TWOT 736: “This word is related to a rare Aramaic root meaning “to cause fire to burn,” and to an Arabic root meaning “burning sensation,” in the throat, etc. The Hebrew verb is always used in reference to anger. The meaning of the root differs from such words for “anger” as ˒ānap, ˓am, and ap, in that it emphasizes the “kindling” of anger, like the kindling of a fire, or the heat of the anger, once started.” Also TWOT 133a “The main use of ˒ap is to refer to the anger of men and of God. This anger is expressed in the appearance of the nostrils. ˒ap gives specific emphasis to the emotional aspect of anger and wrath, whereas its synonyms and terms related to them give particular expression to other aspects.” I have chosen to put the Blazed to reflect its connection to fire and fury since I feel its shows more emotion then angry. NJB has a similar translation “Yahweh’s anger blazed out against Israel,” or TNIV “The anger of the Lord burned against Israel,” Boiling has “ Yahweh’s wrath blazed against Israel.”  Often kindled is used, (cf. ESV, NASB, NRSV,etc.)

[3] Again another ו often as “and” (cf. ESV, JPS, NAB, etc.) NASB and TNIV have “so,” NJB cuts it out.  I have chosen “So,” again as seeing it as a consequence, they’ve wronged Yahweh so he is punishing them. (van der Merwe p. 166 or section 21.2 1 ii b)

[4] The Double Wicked: I have chosen to make this a title to reveal one suggestion of the meaning of the Hebrew, but note: Boiling p. 80 “Cushan-rishathaim. The Masoretic scholars associated the second element of the name with ʿ “wicked,” and pointed the ending so that it meant “two,” hence “Cushan Double-Wickedness” or the like. That the early narrator was also interested in the name is suggested by the envelope construction in which the name occurs four times: twice in vs. 8, twice in vs. 10. I owe this recognition to Susan Seuling.” Or Block p. 153 “The man’s name is even more problematic than his title. Formally it looks like “Cushan of Double Wickedness,” in which case it probably functions as a mocking and parodic pseudonym. … there is no consensus on who Cushan-Rishathaim might be. A variety of identifications have been proposed… [but]… We are forced to concede that it is impossible to link Cushan-Rishathaim with any known historical figure…”

[5] Schneider p. 38 “Aram-naharaim is often considered to be Mesopotamia, but more accurately refers to the area of upper Mesopotamia around the great bend of the Euphrates in northern Syria.”

[6] Final ו most translations have “and” (cf. ESV, JPS, NASB, etc.) NAB seems to cut it off, unless “whom” equals it, similar to TNIV’s “to whom,” NET Bible cuts it straight out.  I have chosen “Thus,” to reflect a sequential action, i.e. God was angry, he sold them to Cushan so now they serve Cushan.  (van der Merwe p. 165 or section 21.2 1 ii a)  I almost wonder if it could also be seen as contrast.  i.e “Instead the children served Cushan…” Instead of seaving Baal they are now serving Cushan, instead of ignoring Yahweh they are serving Cushan (for 3.9 points to them crying to him), or even instead of serving Yahweh they are serving Cushan (for their wrong deeds).

[7] I have changed two things Firstly I reworded “the wrong thing,” based on suggestions and I have chosen to go back to Asherah instead of Astarte based on suggestions and after doing some more reading since Baal’s associate seems to be rather confusing.  Note: the IVP Articles Canaan, Canaanites and  noting such things as that “There are fertility goddesses paired with gods, but who is paired with whom varies in different sources. … In Ugarit Baal s paired with Anath, called “virgin.” … However, during Ahab’s time Baal is associated with Asher ah (1 Kings 18) and in other biblical passages with Astarte…” p. 127 Also the IVP Article Canaanite Gods and Religion “In the Hebrew Bible Baal tends to be associated nota with Anat, but with Athirat/Asherah or with another goddess, Ashtoreth/Astarte.” p. 137



  1. Calvin says:

    I’m interested to see how you handle the other vavs in this particular passage. I’d personally probably drop the “thus” and just have, “the children of Israel served…” On the other hand, I think you’re correct in trying to bring across some of the idea of sequence. The question, I suppose, is whether that sequence is communicated by the vav, per se, or whether it is a result of the use of the Wayyiqtol form in discourse. I’d tend to favor the later explanation–but then again, I’ve been known to be wrong.

  2. Le Bel Inconnu says:

    I thinks the vavs are what I’m most interested in with this translation at the moment, and I hope that I explained each reason well enough, but to fair you probably do know a thing or two more abut the whole construction of things then I do… So I highly expect to have more fun with these ו until I finish this particular story.

    As I sidenote I had also meant to put up a meaning for Cushan, which must have slipped my mind, but here are the best I could find concerning it: “= Same as Cush = A black countenance; full of darkness; black; (roots = [1] to scorch; [2] the countenance).” from Stelman Smith and Judson Cornwall, The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names (North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos, 1998). 55.

    Or Strong’s : Cushan = “their blackness”

    I almost wonder if I could make him : “The Dark Doubly Wicked One…” but that’s probably way too much play.

  3. […] For Translations notes on previous verses please refer to these links: Judges 3.7, Judges 3.8, Judges 3.9, and Judges 3.10, As with the current verse comments are appreciated on the previous […]

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