Maher Shalal Hash Baz

views updated


MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ (Heb. מַהֵר שָׁלָל חָשׁ בַּז), traditional vocalization of the name which, according to Isaiah 8:3–4, *Isaiah was commanded by the Lord to give to the son who was born to him during the Aramean Ephraimite war against Judah (734/3–732 b.c.e.), with the explanation that "before the lad is able to call 'father!' and 'mother!' the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria shall be carried off before the king of Assyria." Since the four words express twice the idea of speed and booty, it is easy to understand how the name can signify that, but the traditional vocalization leaves the parallelism imperfect; for according to it the words mean literally "Hurry, spoil! Booty has rushed." It therefore seems probable that either the vocalization of the third word is to be corrected to ḥush, in which case the name will mean, literally, "Hurry, spoil! Rush, booty!" or the vocalization of the first word is to be corrected to mihar, yielding the literal sense, "Spoil has hurried, booty has rushed." Such prophetic namings as portents of the future notoriously not only portend the future but help to bring it about, exactly like other prophetic acts that symbolize what they predict (see *Prophecy). Accordingly, the writing involving the four words in 8:1–2 is also intended at once to portend and to effectuate the early plundering of Damascus and Samaria by the Assyrians; on some problems of detail, see Isaiah a, Panel 3, Field a.

[Harold Louis Ginsberg]