The definition of the Hebrew word hmmd (found in Biblical as well as in Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew) has been debated for many years. Recent dictionaries and studies of the word have proposed defining it as “sighing” or “whisper” and deriving it
from the root d-m-m II associated with mourning and/or moaning. This study considers how the word is used in the Bible, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as how similar words are used in other post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic texts; it
concludes that the word hmmd is more likely to mean “silence, quiet” or the absence of loud sound and motion in both the Hebrew of the Bible and that of the Dead Sea Scrolls and should be derived from the root d-m-m I (“to be silent”).
Lamentations reflects the silence of God. God seemingly does not act or speak. To some, this detachment represents an absence of God; to others, a «hiddenness» of God (Deus absconditus). Analysis of Lam 3,55-57, the crux interpretum for the divine silence, suggests the q strophe may break this oppressive silence. The strophe reflects an awareness of God who speaks. God stands in the background of the whole of life for this poet, emerging only fleetingly and in ways oblique. This perspective is similar to the ambiguous, indeterminate approach to reality in postmodernism. The divine Voice thus joins other voices in Lamentations.
Why has the Aramaic translator rendered the mysterious «sound of subdued silence» (hqd hmmd lwq) in 1 Kgs 19:12 by «the sound of those (= the angels) praising quietly» (y#Oxb Nyxb#Omd lq)? It can be that, with the root Mmd «to be silent, quiet» in front of him, the meturguman has thought of the synonym I xb#O «to calm» and from there has «skipped» to the (mainly Aramaic) homonym II xb#O «to praise». This connection between Mmd and I xb#O + II xb#O would thus explain the Aramaic translation, which in its own peculiar way stays quite close to its Hebrew model.
This article argues that Rev 6-8:1 is structured on Zech 1-2. It first undertakes a survey of interpretational difficulties that exist in Revelation 6-8:1. It contains a survey of commentators’ views regarding the unit of discourse. Then there is a demonstration that structuring Rev 6-8:1 on Zech 1-2 solves many of the difficulties, notably the rapid shift in scenes in the text. An exploration of the issue of reference ensues with the intention of suggesting that one should import information from Zech 1-2 into Revelation. Consequently, there is an investigation into the meaning of Zech 1-2. Finally, information from this book is imported into Rev 6-8:1.