SHORT NOTES "TO GRASP THE HEM" IN UGARITIC LITERATURE One of the most familiar sources of idiomatic expressions is that in which a specific gesture which accompanies an emotion or general activity comes to signify by a sort of synecdoche that emotion or activity all by itself. Speakers can then evoke the entire nexus of inner feeling and outward action implicitly by verbalizing an idiom that describes the accompanying gesture. Examples in the Semitic langu- ages abound. For the sake of illustration we may mention here: Akkadian lita mahdsu and Hebrew hkwt«1 b)4by "to strike the check" "to humiliate"; and Akkadian qdta nczsu and Hebrew ns' yd "to raise the hand" = "to pray" i). Another such idiom, "to grasp the hem (of a garment)", has been identified in Akkadian (sissikta(m) Old Aramaic ('bz bknp), and in Biblical Hebrew bknp; 1 Sam. xv 27) 2). It derives from a gesture whereby a suppliant beseeches, or indicates his submission to, his superior by grasping the hem of the superior's garment. Used alone, the locution serves to denote "supplication, importuning, submission to a superior" 3). Somehow overlooked in recent discussion of this expression is the fact that the gesture is
Vetus Testamentum – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1982
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