Haggai 2:7b (ובאו חמדת כל הגוים ) in light of verbal valency patterns

This paper looks to the data-driven method of verbal valency analysis to help clarify the meaning of the difficult clause ובאו חמדת כל הגוים in Hag 2:7b, and so the verse as a whole. Attention to the valency patterns associated with the clause’s verb (i.e., בוא [qal]) suggests a fresh interpretive option that is not only contextually fitting, but also (unlike previous proposals) linguistically robust. These patterns suggest that the cryptic phrase חמדת כל הגוים is not the clause’s subject as most interpreters and translations hold. Rather, it names the locative goal of the verbal action, and consequently should be understood (in conjunction with the context) as an epithet for Zion (“The Desire of all the Nations”). This analysis of the phrase identifies כל הגוים of the previous clause as the subject, yielding the following rendering of the verse as a whole: “And I (Yahweh) will shake all the nations so that they will come to ‘The Desire of All the Nations’ (i.e., Zion), in order that I may fill this house with glory, declares the Lord of Hosts.”

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