The following conversation was overheard recently. It is completely true. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Jake: Hey Carol, you need to get back in the room so you can get your robe on for the Cantata.
Carol: I’ll go in a minute.
Jake: You better go now or you’ll get in trouble!
Carol: I’ll go in a minute so stop telling me to go.
Jake: What will you do if I tell you again, knife me?
Carol: No, I’ll fist you (Carol waves fist in the air in a punching motion).
What this little exchange illustrates is that people often say one thing while something else completely is heard. What the speaker intended certainly wasn’t what the hearer (and not a few readers of the exchange) understood. If that is true of a conversation from the last 24 hours, we must certainly suppose that it is also true when we read (hear) ancient texts. If we don’t listen to what authors intend, we will certainly hear amiss- and maybe even terribly.