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There and Back Again: “Tin” or “Lead” in Amos 7:7-9?*

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AbstractScholars have struggled with the meaning of the word אֲנָךְ, which appears twice in Amos 7:7 and twice in Amos 7:8. Traditionally, many scholars have defined אֲנָךְ as “lead” and understood it with reference to a plumb line. In recent years, however, the majority of readers have instead defined אֲנָךְ as “tin.” This has spawned a variety of interpretations that try to make sense of how exactly tin might fit into the context of Amos 7:7-9.This paper critiques the notion that אֲנָךְ means “tin” rather than “lead.” It shows that, contrary to the present interpretative norm, there are no lexical grounds for defining אֲנָךְ exclusively as “tin.” From a lexicographical perspective, the definition “lead” remains the most viable option.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of


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