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Acts 12:4 and 12:6 Alaph, or no Alaph?
This may be like "straining out a gnat", <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> but, in the UBS text, the word for "soldiers" is spelled one way (without Alaph) in Acts:12:4, and another way (with Alaph) in Acts 12:6. The Eastern manuscripts that I have seen all have the word spelled the same way (with Alaph) in both verses...while both the UBS and ADD MSS 14473 (Jacobite), has it spelled the two different ways.

So, are the Eastern Peshitta Manuscripts correct here? Or is the UBS and 14473 correct?

The Khabouris, 1199 (Ashael Grant), the Mingana, and the 1886 printed edition, all copies of the Eastern Peshitta text, have the Alaph in the word in verse 4 as well as in verse 6.

Also, I am wondering if this is a mistake in verse 4 (without the Alaph) in the UBS and 14473 text, because I think this word "soldiers" is always seen in the other verses with an Alaph at the head of the word.

Any help with this is appreciated.

P.S. I sure wish we could put the Estrangela font in this forum.


According to CAL, this word appearing without the Alap, is only once more seen in the Sinaitic Palimpsest (Old Scratch) in Matt 8:9. The Curetonian has it with the Alap.
"Any help with this is appreciated."
I'm not sure I can help (I hope so...) but I thank you for pointing out the 2 verses. Your Sensing is serving you properly here. I have interest in these verses, albeit for different reasons. May we find some common ground in looking at these Stories?

Matthew 8: 9 (RSV):

[9] For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,' and he goes, and to another, `Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,' and he does it."
I believe that this is another "Herod Story". The "Slave" is Herod and the (Roman) soldier orders his slave to do something and he does it. There is a VERY interesting comment in the next verse. The entire Story:

[5]As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him
[6] and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress."
[7] And he said to him, "I will come and heal him."
[8] But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
[9] For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,' and he goes, and to another, `Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,' and he does it."
[10] When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.
[11] I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
[12] while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."
[13] And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.

Notice that the Lord is in Capernahum. This provides a bit of cover for the statement in verse 10: "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.".
"Israel"? "Judah", maybe, but..."Israel"?

Matthew 15: 24 (RSV):

[24] He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

Now, I could go on and on about "sheep" and "Immar" ( and have...) but the point here is that there is (I believe) another level of understanding for this verse that goes back to, in this case, the death of Herod. Herod was, in fact, "healed" - he died.
So, we move to Acts and find:

Acts 12: 1 - 6 (RSV):

[1] About that time Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church.
[2] He killed James the brother of John with the sword;
[3] and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.
[4] And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.
[5] So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
[6] The very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison;

A Herod Story! But...which Herod? Here is the puzzle for me, illuminated by the verses you have examined. Often, we get the phrase "In those days..." as an introductory phrase to a "Looking back" to some historical event. Here is a weaker form of this but you may have hit on the "Looking back" that preserved the language of the event (as usual, "In Type"). I'm out of my league on the details of the languages here but the "Meta-Story" points to something greater ("To me...").

It's not "straining out a gnat"! It's Very Good Work!!

Thank you.


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