may his tribe increase
Posted: 05 April 2018 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Seeing this in a newspaper editorial recently got me to wondering: is it an ancient blessing, possibly from Hebrew, or did it originate with Leigh Hunt’s “Abou ben Adhem”? The parenthetical way it’s used in the poem suggests that it was pre-existing, but that’s where I first heard it.

I miss lionello.

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Posted: 05 April 2018 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m not sure what you’re asking—the use of a word for tribe, or the third person nature of the blessing? People being blessed with numerous descendants is traditional in the Bible.

I miss lionello as well. Saw the thread too late to reply.

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Posted: 05 April 2018 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hunt’s poem was published in 1838. There are a number of uses of the phrase in Google Books, but all postdate the poem.

To me, the parentheses don’t say anything about the phrase’s provenance. Rather it just marks it as an aside.

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Posted: 05 April 2018 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dr. Techie - 05 April 2018 09:05 AM

Seeing this in a newspaper editorial recently got me to wondering: is it an ancient blessing, possibly from Hebrew, or did it originate with Leigh Hunt’s “Abou ben Adhem”? The parenthetical way it’s used in the poem suggests that it was pre-existing, but that’s where I first heard it.

I miss lionello.

Seems to be an Arabic blessing according to several Googlebooks exegeses of the parable.

In the spirit of Lionello, I should offer the story of the late comedian Alexander King.

He would tell the story of a friend who ended every visit to King’s house by stopping in the doorway, lowering his eyes, folding his hands and saying, “May this house be safe from tigers.” King finally asked him what was the meaning of “this idiot prayer?” His friend responded with a hurt look and a question. “How long have I been saying it?” About three years, King said. “Three years,” the friend said. “Well — been bothered by any tigers lately?”

I bought this book by this title when I was a young man.

[ Edited: 05 April 2018 04:56 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 07 April 2018 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I wondered if it came from the Arabian Nights. The first English translation was published in 1811. The translator was Jonathan Scott working from the 17th century French version of Antoine Galland. I’m sure all the Romantics would have been familiar with at least some of the work and Hunt’s poem really does have the ring of a tale from the Nights.

And I miss Lionello too.

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Posted: 08 April 2018 12:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Seems to be an Arabic blessing

But do these sources say it is a genuine one? Because it’s exactly the kind of “traditional blessing” that any English-speaker writing a cod-Arab story would invent.

I’m not saying it isn’t a translation of a real Arabic phrase, only that I’d want assurance of that from a real Arabist before believing that it is.

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Posted: 08 April 2018 02:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’d be interested in any parallels for blessing someone not directly addressed, but a living third party. As far as I’m aware, that’s only done for people who’ve died. But that’s only as far as I’m aware.

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Posted: 08 April 2018 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I found this in a 1690 printed document, “Aron’s rod: or a scourge for the malicious slanderers of the tribe of Levi.” The piece is anonymous and found in the National Library of Scotland. (It appears to be a fragment or a separate pamphlet with no publication info printed on it, at least according to the Early English Books Online database.)

May Levies tribe increase

And there is this from 1698 “To His Sacred Majesty, King William III, a panegyrick presented to the Earl of Portland” by someone named Manning:

Then let the KING the Muses Tribe increase

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Posted: 09 April 2018 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I recently noticed in the 1951 COD I inherited from my father that ichabod (all lower case) is defined as an archaic exclamation meaning ‘’the glory has departed’’ (from Israel) from Samuel I and there’s an account of Ichabod here though nothing about it being an exclamation.

Ichabod, lionello can no longer help. He was always generous with his research into OT questions I had and a lot more. A fine fellow.

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Posted: 10 April 2018 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’d be interested in any parallels for blessing someone not directly addressed, but a living third party.

Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king.
And all the people rejoiced, and said:
‘God save the King! Long live the King! May the King live for ever’.

If you think about it, many toasts are essentially blessings on living third parties, e.g.:

‘Absent friends’
‘Wives and sweethearts’

and even:

“Here’s a health to all those that we love,
Here’s a health to all those that love us;
Here’s a health to all those that love them that love those that love them that love those that love us”.

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Posted: 10 April 2018 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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There’s also the Jacobite toast, “To the King over the water”, as also “To the little gentleman in black velvet”, ie the mole whose molehill reportedly caused William of Orange’s horse to stumble and throw him resulting in a broken collar-bone and eventually the monarch’s demise.

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