Hannah and Je together

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Is Haman the first trans-gender in history?

Haman is the villain in the Esther story of the Bible.  There are many things to talk about him, but let me focus on one thing.  Is Haman the first trans-gender in history?

I learned biblical Hebrew in the first year of the seminary.  I am not fluent, but I can slowly read the Hebrew Bible.  One day I read Esther 3:11 in the Hebrew Bible (paper book).  The English translation is “And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee (KJV).”  And the Hebrew Bible says,

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ לְהָמָ֔ן הַכֶּ֖סֶף נָת֣וּן לָ֑ךְ וְהָעָ֕ם לַעֲשֹׂ֥ות בֹּ֖ו כַּטֹּ֥וב בְּעֵינֶֽיךָ׃

The fifth word from the right (Hebrew is written and read from the right to left) is “to you” (or thee in KJV) but the form is 2nd person, feminine, singular.  The king is talking to Haman and he referred Haman as female.  I was confused and did not know what is going on there.

Then I kept reading.  The last word (which is the first word from the left) is literally “in your eyes.”  KJV does not say ‘eye’ but it would be “in thy eyes” in KJV style.  In this word, it is 2nd person, masculine, singular.

I was quite confused seriously.  So I looked up the BibleWorks, the Bible software, in the school library.  The software also confirmed that I am right.  Feminine first time, and masculine for the second time.

I talked to Brooks, who learned Hebrew last year together, and who is Hebrew EA (professor’s assistant) with me.  He and I discussed a lot and concluded that the Haman is trans-gender, probably the first one in written history.  The king refers Haman from female to male, and maybe Haman was originally a woman and became a guy.

And we went to Paula, the Hebrew professor, and as soon as she saw  the sentence, she confirmed that it is pausal form.  In “to you” section, there is pause mark, and it changed the vowel from “leka” to “laku” which made the masculine look identical to feminine.

So Haman is not a trans-gender.

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