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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Ucal

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(Heb. Ukal', אֻכָל , in some copies, Ukkal', אֻכָּל ). According to the received text of Proverbs 30:1, Ithiel and Ucal must be regarded as proper names; and if so, they must be the names of disciples or sons of Agur the son of Jakeh, an unknown sage among the Hebrews. But there is great obscurity about the passage. The Sept. translates τοῖς πιστεύουσι θεῷ καὶ παούμαι; the Vulg., cum quo est Deus, et qui Deo secum morante confortatus. The Arabic follows the Sept. to some extent; the Targum reproduces Ithiel and Ucal as proper names, and the Syriac is corrupt, Ucal being omitted altogether. Luther represents the names as Leithiel and Uchal. De Wette regards them as proper names, as do most translators and commentators. Junius explains both as referring to Christ. The Sept. probably read לֶאמֵוּנֵי אֵל וָאֵכֶל . The Veneto-Greek has καὶ συνήσομαι=וְאָבַין . Cocceius must have pointed the words thus לָאַיתַי אֵל וָאֻכִל, I have labored for God and have obtained; and this, with regard to the first two words, must have been the reading of J. D. Michaelis, who renders, "I have wearied myself for God, and have given up the investigation," applying the words to a man who had bewildered himself with philosophical speculations about the Deity and had been compelled to give up the search. Bertheau also (Die Sprü che Sal. Einleit. 17) sees in the words "I have wearied myself for God, and have fainted" (וָאֵכֶל ) an appropriate commencement to the series of proverbs which follow. Hitzig's view is substantially the same, except that he points the last word וָאֵכִל, and renders, "and I became dull;" applying it to the dimness which the investigation produced upon the eye of the mint (Die Spr. Sal. p. 316). Bunsen (Bibelwerk, 1, p. 180) follows Bertheau's punctuation, but regards לָאַיתַי אֵל, on its first occurrence, as a symbolical name of the speaker. "The saying of the man I have wearied myself for God;" I have wearied myself for God, and have fainted away." There is, however, one fatal objection to this view if there were no others, and that is that the verb לאה, "to be wearied," nowhere takes after it the accusative of the object of weariness. On this account alone, therefore, we must reject all the above explanations. If Bertheau's pointing be adopted, the only legitimate translation of the words is that given by Dr. Davidson (Introd. 2, 338), "I am weary, O God, and am become weak." Ewald considers both Ithiel and Ucal as symbolical names, employed by the poet to designate two classes of thinkers to whom he addresses himself, or, rather, he combines' both names in one, "God-with-me-and-I-am strong," and bestows it upon an imaginary character, whom-he introduces to take part in the dialogue. "The name God-with-me," says Keil (Havernick, Einleit. 3, 412), "denotes such as gloried in more intimate communion with God, and a higher insight and wisdom obtained thereby, while I-am- strong' indicates the so-called strong spirits who boast of their wisdom and might and deny the holy God, so that both names most probably represent a class of freethinkers who thought themselves superior to the revealed law, and in practical atheism indulged the lusts of the flesh." Both names are probably symbolical, but the exact import remains uncertain. (See PROVERBS).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ucal'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/u/ucal.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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