First Corinthians 6:9
15. “Do you not know that the wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not misled; neither the immoral (prostitutes) nor idolaters nor adulterers nor the corrupt, nor [men] who lie with males...” (1 Corinthians 6:9 Lamsa). Dr. Lamsa translated the Aramaic word m'ḥab-le (plural) as "the corrupt" here. This is an acceptable interpretation since this is the meaning of m’ḥab-le when the Aramaic text describes Israel as “corrupt children” (Isaiah 1:4). M’ḥab-la (singular) also means “corrupt” at Titus 2:8, which says: “who is modest (chaste, self-controlled) and not corrupt; and no one shall be despising it (i.e. your teaching, speech), that he who stands against us shall be ashamed when he will not be able to speak against us [any] hateful thing.” (Peshitta).
Mḥab-le literally means "corrupted ones" or “those being corrupted,” and hence "the corrupt (plural)." Mḥab-le acts as a noun here as many Aramaic participles do. It is the plural active Pael participle for the word ḥwal; which means: “to destroy, corrupt, writhe, etc.” The Aramaic letter beth, has a "b" and a "w" sound. The Aramaic word ḥwal is the same as the Hebrew word kha-val (Or Strong’s pronunciation: kha-bal, #2256). Kha-bal has the same meanings of ḥwal that I have seen in the Aramaic Bible.
M'ḥab-le refers to those corrupted by heresy or have wrong opinions. It's in the intensive form; so these people are really "corrupted." The statement m'ḥab-bal rai-ya-neh "his mind is corrupted" refers to "one of corrupt opinions, i.e. a heretic" (see 2 Cor. 11:30). Subsequently, a person's conduct can also be corrupted (see Psalm 14:1, etc), and hence mḥ'ab-le also refers to "the morally corrupt" or "the debauched, depraved." This would be the closest in meaning to how it was translated into Greek as malakoi "the morally weak, those lacking in self control, unrestrained, voluptuous, etc."
Lastly, m'ḥab-le refers to the "crazy ones" or those who do abnormal things. This last meaning was given to me by a native Aramaic speaker. This meaning has some merit because Aramaic participle nouns have the personification meaning of their verb root, and sometimes, as in this case, the combined meaning of their verb root and the accompanying noun. Smith's Syriac Dictionary has the verb root ḥwal in the Ethpaal form (i.e. ith-ḥab-bal) in the statement ai-len ith-ḥab-bal pur-sha-nay-hon "those whose divisions were corrupted" and refers to "those who have lost their reason." Nevertheless, I'm not convinced Paul had this meaning in mind when he wrote this letter because I don't see the verb "to corrupt" describing any word in the Bible where someone would get the impression that the people referenced were "crazy" or "lost their reason."
There is no evidence that m'ḥab-le means “effeminates” or “homosexuals” anywhere in the Bible.
Note: At Isaiah 1:4, the Aramaic text literally describes Israel as “children being corrupted,” which Dr. Lamsa translates as “children that are corrupt.” For Titus 2:8, believers are to be modest “ and not being corrupted;” is what the Aramaic literally says.
The Aramaic pronunciation of shach-bay am dich-re is translated as [men] who lie with males (Lamsa). Dr. Lamsa adds the word men in our English translation and gives the literal meaning of the Aramaic words; which isn't correct in this case. The Aramaic word shchow has a good and a bad meaning. These Aramaic words as voweled (pointed) should read: “those who commit rape with men,” or simply “those who rape men.” Or translated as "those who rape a man," with the last word re-voweled into the singular pronunciation since there isn’t any extra grammar indicating that the word is plural. This interpretation will be discussed further down.
The bad meaning is correct because the context is about the "wicked" who will not enter the kingdom of God. Or if Paul is referring to the gang rape of a man, then the construction and joining of the following two words would also be an indicator that shchow carries the meaning of "to rape" and not: "to lie (have sex) with [consentingly]." There are at least three other Aramaic words that I am aware of that have a good and a bad meaning. They don't carry their literal meaning in certain contexts or when accompanied by a distinguishing word or words. I will give a few examples at the very end even though these words are rare in the Bible.
Shchow carries the meaning of "rape" in the following instances. It appears in the Ithpaal form as ish-ta-chow in the Aramaic Targums of Isaiah 13:16 and Zechariah 14:2. So even though ish-ta-chow literally means "to be lain with;" that meaning changes into "to be raped" in those contexts. Isaiah 13:16 says "their infants will be ripped up before their eyes, their households will be plundered, and their women will be raped." Zechariah 14:2 says "...and the women will be raped, and half of the city will go into exile..." Shchow is also used in the phrase: “And one of them came seeking to rape the wife of that man” (A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, first edition by Michael Sokoloff). Lastly, shchow appears in the sexual usage at Genesis 35:22 and may carry the meaning of "rape" in that context.
Shchow is the same as the Hebrew word sha-cav. It should be noted that the Hebrew word sha-cav also has a good and a bad meaning, and hence also means "to rape" at (Zech. 14:2; Isa. 13:16; & possibly Deut. 28:30). Sha-cav appears in the Nifal form as tish-sha-cav-nah "they shall be raped" in the side margin of the Masoretic Text as a variant reading at those places. The text on www.chabad.org lists tish-sha-cav-nah as the original reading but that it is (written tish-sha-gal-nah).
In the Aramaic Old Testament, the Hebrew word sha-cav was translated two ways. Approximately ninety-nine percent of the time, sha-cav was translated as dmik; which means “to lie down, sleep.” Dmik can also mean “to lie with” when the word “with” is added after it. When sha-cav was translated as shchow in the Aramaic for a sexual act, the context is referring to rape (see Gen. 35:22). So the Aramaic Old Testament that the apostles and believers used showed a precedence of dmik am meaning "to lie with" and shchow am meaning "to rape." So it's obvious that Paul is referring to "men raping men (or a man)" here. The Targums, however, don't use the same discrimination. Shchow is used for the translation of sha-cav perhaps all of the time, and hence the context or accompanying word(s) let the reader know which meaning is meant.
This Aramaic phrase used here at 1 Corinthians 6:9 may have the interpretation of: “those who commit rape with a man” or simply “those who rape a man.” Generally, there needs to be a plural pronoun to let the reader know if the second noun is plural, though not always. A plural pronoun isn’t needed if the second noun’s plural spelling is different than its singular spelling. Or if the second noun is performing an action and the verb is written plural.
Most Aramaic nouns are spelled the same in their plural and singular form. Plural or singular pronouns attached to the verb will let the reader know if the noun is plural or singular. When the word “of” is used between a [verbal] noun and another noun, the absence of the pronoun them means the second noun is singular. If the pronoun them (usually attached to the first noun) appears before the second noun, then that second noun is plural.
In the above example, the Aramaic literally says: “rapers of with a man (dich-ra).” The verbal noun (rapers) is in the plural construct form, so it is clearly plural. Since there is no plural pronoun afterwards to indicate that the second noun is plural, then it may not be.
The following are a few examples of the regular or normal way to express a statement which has two plural nouns connected with the word “of.” “…the souls of the disciples…” (Acts 14:22) is literally in the Aramaic: “the souls of them - of the disciples…” “…the words of the prophets…” (Acts 15:15) is literally in the Aramaic: “…the words of them – of the prophets…” A third example is at Acts 15:10: “the necks of the disciples…” The Greek translator translated the word “necks” in the singular though, as “neck.” The meaning of both the Aramaic and Greek text here is the same. The Aramaic text isn’t saying that the disciples have more than one neck. Neck is plural here because there is more than one person spoken of in the phrase.
Here are some examples of the same construction used in 1 Corinthians 6:9. In some of the examples I left the word “of” out. Revelation 17:8 says: “inhabitants (pl.) upon the earth (sing.).” Revelation 18:17 says: “all the passengers (pl.) in the ship (sing.).” Revelation 19:5 says: “worshippers (pl.) of His Name (sing.).” Additionally, there are some examples with this verbal noun form in which the second noun sounds like it should be plural to an English speaker, but it is not. We know this because at Revelation 22:15, the Greek text has the second noun in the singular form as in: “makers (pl.) of a lie (sing.).” And at Job 13:4, the phrase says: “speakers (pl.) of a lie (sing.).” We know that the word “lie” is singular because the original Hebrew text has the word “lie” in the singular form.
Additionally, there are some occurrences where nouns are pointed plural in the Aramaic New Testament when they should be pointed singular. I know they are singular because there is nothing in the text suggesting that the noun is plural. Additionally, the Greek New Testament translated those words singular. These errors occur frequently in the Aramaic Old Testament Translation and in Dr. Lamsa’s Translation. The Aramaic Old Testament is very often a literal translation of the Hebrew and doesn’t always have the additional grammar needed to let the reader know if the noun is singular or plural. Dr. Lamsa many times translated a noun plural when the Hebrew noun is singular and vice versa. Since the Aramaic Old Testament is a translation of the Hebrew, then the Aramaic noun is singular when the Hebrew noun is singular and plural when the Hebrew noun is plural (in most cases). I haven’t come across this problem of not knowing if a noun is singular or plural in the Aramaic New Testament; which was originally written in Aramaic and is very precise. Though I do have to say that I may not agree with how a noun is pointed (voweled) and translated as in this example at First Corinthians 6:9.
We know from the Bible that there is such a thing as gang rape where men attempted or succeeded in lying with another person. The Bible gives examples of this in the story of Sodom and of the men of Gibeah.
The following are a few words that have a good and a bad meaning, and hence their literal meaning isn't always meant. The Aramaic word raw-ba can have a good meaning of "sound, shouting" (Rev. 21:4 Crawford; 2 Ki. 11:13) or a bad meaning of "clamor" (Eph. 4:31). The Aramaic word yas-ra can have the good meaning of "disposition, inclination, bent" (Deut. 31:21) and the bad meaning of "the bad disposition [inclination, bent]" (4 Macc. 3:4). Ḥsa-ma can mean "zeal, competition" and "jealousy, envy, a grudge."
The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon
Shchow – to rape (Galilean Aramaic), kill (Jewish Babylonian)
Is the Bible Against Homosexuality? by Preacher Mattai © 2016. All rights reserved.