Re: 'ish vs. 'adam

Dick Fischer (
Sat, 08 Jun 1996 08:57:40 -0500

Garry wrote:

>I would find your case stronger if you could demonstrate a semantic
>distinction between the two in a non-poetic text where they could not be
>equally well (or better) understood as parallel. If you do this in your
>book, just say so; I intend on ordering both yours and Glenn's as soon as
>I can (read: have the cash...).

There are two other instances in Psalms that I believe are good examples,
but of course, what are Psalms?

Psalm 8:4 reads: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son
of man, that thou visitest him?" How are men different from sons of men?
Why the redundancy? Aren't all men sons of men? Yes, but not all men are
sons of Adam! In this verse, God is "mindful" of "man" ('ish), but it is
the sons of Adam ('adam) that He visits. There is a clear distinction here
and a logical one when you consider that the Jews were the chosen race.

In Psalm 80:17, "Let thy hand be upon the man ['ish] of thy right hand,
upon the son of Adam [it should read] whom thou madest strong for thyself."
Again, notice the distinction. Place your hand upon man, guide him. It's
the son of Adam that you have made strong for yourself.

The best non-poetical example would be Numbers 23:19. The Lord speaks to
Balaam who relates the Lord's parable to Balak. This is part of it, "God
is not a man ['ish], that He should lie; neither the son of man ['adam],
that He should repent ..." Again, a logical distinction. There was no
reason for a man outside of the faithful remnant to come to repentance.
There was no provision for redemption. So men lie, God doesn't. Those men
in covenant relationship need to repent, God doesn't.

I'm not saying this is overwhelming evidence, Garry, but it is another
link in the chain.

Dick Fischer
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