The lexical and syntactic ambiguities of the word עַד in Gen 49:10, the third verse of Jacob’s blessing to Judah, have helped to make that verse one of the most difficult cruxes in the Hebrew Bible. Ancient and medieval interpreters of the verse took עַד as equivalent to English (1) "ever" (in the phrase "not ever"), (2) "forever" (in the phrase "not forever"), (3) "until" (indicating a point of cessation), and/or (4) "until (not to mention after)" (indicating a point of culmination). These four interpretations of עַד correspond to three different ways of bracketing the word with the neighboring words in the verse. Two of the interpretations are joined together in an ancient double interpretation of עַד that is reflected in Targum Onqelos and possibly also in 4Q252 (4QCommGen A) and the Testament of Judah. These ambiguities did not go unnoticed in the biblical period. During the course of that period, they gave rise to a number of distinct interpretations of the oracle, interpretations that are reflected in the prophecies of Nathan, Ahijah the Shilonite, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. Each interpretation corresponded to a different historical development: the rise of the Davidic dynasty in the time of Nathan; the decline of the Davidic dynasty in the time of Ahijah; the fall of the Davidic dynasty in the time of Ezekiel; and the limited renewal of Davidic leadership in the time of Zechariah. Thus, they allowed the oracle to adapt to the changing fortunes of the House of David, making it possible for each generation to adopt an interpretation that was suited to its own time.

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