וידי משה. ידענו כי אין כח באדם להרים ידיו יום שלם ואפי' שעות מועטות ואף כי עד בא השמש. והנה הזכיר וידי משה כבדים יותר מידי שאר הזקנים. על כן לא היה יכול להרימם תמיד: BUT MOSES’ HANDS WERE HEAVY. We know that a human being does not have the strength to hold his hands up for an entire day. One cannot even hold them up for a few hours, certainly not until the going down of the sun.36Therefore what purpose does Scripture have in telling us but Moses’ hands were heavy? Now Scripture notes that Moses’ hands were heavier than the hands of other old people.37Ibn Ezra does not indicate why Moses’ hands were heavier than those of other people his age. Moses thus could not continually hold his hands up.
וטעם וישימו. שלא היה יכול לעמוד. ושגבו מקומו: [AND PUT IT.] Its meaning is, they strengthened his place38By placing a stone beneath him (Krinsky). because he was not able to stand up.39Not only were Moses’ hands tired but Moses himself was unable to stand.
ואהרן וחור. עמדו. ואמר הכתוב כבדים על לשון זכרים. וככה מזה אחד ומזה אחד. וכמוהו והנה יד שלוחה אלי והנה בו מגלת ספר: AND AARON AND HUR. Stood. Scripture employs the masculine kevedim (heavy)40Rather than the feminine kevedot. Yad (hand) is a feminine, hence I.E.’s comment. and similarly reads, mi-zeh echad u-mi-zeh echad (the one on the one side, and the other on the other side).41I.E. interprets our text as meaning: one was supporting this hand and one was supporting the other hand. In other words, mi-zeh refers to the hands. However, since yad is feminine Scripture should have read mi-zot echad u-mi-zot echad. Ve-hinneh yad sheluchah elai, ve-hinneh vo megillat sefer (behold, a hand was put forth unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein) is similar (Ezek. 2:9).42Vo (therein) is masculine. However, yad is feminine. We thus see that Scripture occasionally combines feminine nouns with masculine pronouns or adjectives.
ויהי ידיו אמונה. כל א' מידיו כמו בנות צעדה. וכמו וצדיקים ככפיר יבטח. AND HIS HANDS WERE STEADY. Each one of his hands.43Yadav (his hands) is plural; emunah (steady) is singular. Hence va-yehi yadav emunah (and his hands were steady) means: and his hands was steady. I.E. holds that when a verb or an adjective in the plural governs or modifies a noun in the singular, the verb or adjective refers to each one within the plural. Hence, “and his hands was steady” means: and each one of his hands was steady. See Vol. 1, Foreword, p. xvii. The phrase is grammatically similar to Its branches run over the wall (Gen. 49:22)44Banot (its branches) is plural; tza’adah (run) is singular. According to I.E., Gen. 49:22 should be translated: each one of its branches runs over the wall. See I.E. on Gen. 49:22 and the notes thereto. and But the righteous45Tzadikim (righteous) is plural; kefir (young lion) is singular. According to I.E., Prov. 28:1 should be translated: but each one of the righteous is secure as a young lion. are secure as a young lion (Prov. 28:1).
ואמונה דבר עומד וקיים והוא שם דבר וי"א מגזרת ויהי אומן את הדסה. כאילו אומנים הם שישאו ידיו: STEADY. Emunah (steady) is a noun meaning something lasting and permanent.46Literally, standing and everlasting. Moses’ hands turned into something firm and steadfast (Shadal), for he did not lower his hands but held them up steadily. The image is of something pillar-like. Others say that emunah comes from the same root as the word omen (brought up)47The noun omen means a person who raises a child. Cf. Num. 11:12; II Kings 10:1; Is. 49:2. in And he brought up Hadassah (Esth. 2:7). Aaron and Hur were like nursemaids who lifted up his hands.48Netter. The idea being that Aaron and Hur lifted up Moses’ hands the way a nursemaid carries a child. Thus va-yehi yadav emunah (and his hands were steady) means: and his hands were nursed by nursemaids. For other interpretations and possible translations see Weiser and Krinsky.