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Ezekiel 24:17 New English Translation (NET Bible)

17 Groan to moan for the dead,[a] but do not perform mourning rites.[b] Bind on your turban[c] and put your sandals on your feet. Do not cover your lip[d] and do not eat food brought by others.”[e]


  1. Ezekiel 24:17 tn As it stands in the MT, the syntax is difficult. Most translations say something like “groan in silence,” but this is problematic. According to their form, the two verbs that begin the verse, הֵאָנֵק (heʾanek; to groan) and דֹּם (dom; to be silent), may each be parsed as either imperative or infinitive construct. This allows four possible sequences. An infinitive followed by an infinitive would lack a main verb and can be dismissed. An infinitive followed by an imperative is improper syntax and nowhere occurs with both in the same clause. An imperative followed by an infinitive is very rare. The only three clear cases (Ps 33:3; Isa 1:16; 23:16) appear to involve infinitive complements, which does not fit these terms. Two imperatives back to back are common, occurring over 200 times, but in no case does the second imperative tell the manner of the action in the first (except perhaps a couple disputable parsings of מַהֵר (maher; be quick). So there is no combination of the forms in the MT that supports the common translation. It may also be said that groaning and being silent are mutually exclusive concepts. However, there is a rare homonym, also attested in the cognate languages Ugaritic and Akkadian, another root דמם (dmm), which means to moan. The translation above follows the suggestion of M. Greenberg that דֹּם מֵתִים (dom metim) be taken together and דֹּם be derived from דָּמַם (damam, “to moan, murmur”) meaning: “Groan a moaning for the dead.” See M. Greenberg, Ezekiel (AB), 2:508. Note that in verse 23 Ezekiel affirms that the people will moan to each other (though there the root is נָהַם, naham); therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that Ezekiel is moaning here, since his actions forecast theirs.
  2. Ezekiel 24:17 tn Heb “(For) the dead mourning you shall not conduct.” In the Hebrew text the word translated “dead” is plural, indicating that mourning rites are in view. Such rites would involve outward demonstrations of one’s sorrow, including wailing and weeping.
  3. Ezekiel 24:17 sn The turban would normally be removed for mourning (Josh 7:6; 1 Sam 4:12).
  4. Ezekiel 24:17 sn Mourning rites included covering the lower part of the face. See Lev 13:45.
  5. Ezekiel 24:17 tn Heb “the bread of men.” The translation follows the suggestion accepted by M. Greenberg (Ezekiel [AB], 2:509) that this refers to a meal brought by comforters to the one mourning. Some repoint the consonantal text to read “the bread of despair” (see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 2:56), while others, with support from the Targum and Vulgate, emend the consonantal text to read “the bread of mourners” (see D. I. Block, Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:784).
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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