Bénédicte Lemmelijn, «The Phrase Mynb)bw Myc(bw in Exod 7,19», Vol. 80 (1999) 264-268
Offering the enumeration of all the places in which the water turns into blood, Exod 7,19 concludes with the formula Mynb)bw Myc(bw. Its meaning is dubious and difficult to understand. However, a meticulous comparison of the usage of this formula in Exod 7,19 with its functioning in other parts of the Old Testament demonstrates that Mynb)bw Myc(bw in Exod 7,19 refers to the Egyptian gods or idols.
sap in the trees and the water in the wells4. Here, wells is interpreted as springs in rocky and stony places. Subsequently, this particular proposal concerning the meaning of Mynb)bw Myc(bw has been related to, affirmed or slightly modified by the significance of similar expressions in Ugaritic texts5.
Following the lead of C. Houtman, I hold the opinion that there is no need to refer to Ugaritic texts in finding a satisfactory explanation for the interpretation of the expression Mynb)bw Myc(bw in Exod 7,196. Within the biblical writings themselves one can find many instances where this formula is used, sometimes applied identically, sometimes somewhat altered.
In many cases, the cited expression refers to building materials, especially with regard to the temple, as can be seen in 1 Kgs 5,32; 2 Kgs 12,13; 2 Kgs 22,6 and 1 Chr 22,14. In other texts, namely Lev 14,45; 1 Kgs 15,22; Ezek 26,12; Hab 2,11; Zech 5,4; 1 Chr 22,15; 2 Chr 2,13; 16,6 and 34,11, the two words C( and Nb) are used with more distance between them and/or placed in a reversed order, but most of the time equally in the context of a description of the temples building materials.
In Houtmans view, this fact enables the reader to interpret the formula Mynb)bw Myc(bw in Exod 7,19 as "a pars pro toto for buildings erected of timber and stones". As a consequence, Exod 7,19 is demonstrating that "the power emanating from Aarons outstretched staff will be so strong that it will penetrate even into solid and impenetrable buildings; water kept in stock there, will not be unaffected, but will turn into blood"7.
Although Houtmans interpretation offers a plausible explanation, it should be noticed that the combination of C( and Nb) in the Hebrew Bible is also used in another sense, namely as an explicit reference to the foreign gods or idols made of wood and stone8. This is clearly the case in Deut