A carefully counted number.
Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the TALE of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. ( Exodus 5:7-8 )
tal (tokhen, mithkoneth, micpar; leros):
In the King James Version of the Old Testament (with one exception, Psalms 90:9) "tale" (in the sing.) means number. "Tell" often has the same meaning, e.g. "I may tell (i.e. reckon) all my bones" (Psalms 22:17). When Moses requested permission to go three days' journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to Yahweh, Pharaoh replied by demanding the full "tale" of bricks from the Israelites although they were compelled to provide themselves with straw (Exodus 5:8,18; see also 1 Samuel 18:27; 1 Chronicles 9:28). In Psalms 90:9, "as a tale that is told" is a doubtful rendering (see GAMES). The Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) render "as a spider's web." The literal and perhaps accurate translation is "as a sigh" (Driver, in the Parallel Psalter, gives "as a murmur"). The word used in this psalm means "to whisper," or "speak sotto voce," as a devout believer repeats to himself the words of a favorite hymn or passage (Psalms 1:2).
The disciples considered the account given by the women in regard to the resurrection as "idle tales" (the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "idle talk"), literally, "nonsensical talk" (Luke 24:11).
In talebearer the word has another meaning, namely, "slanderous talk or gossip." The word occurs 5 times in Proverbs 11:13; 18:8; 20:19; 26:20,22 (the King James Version) and once in Leviticus (19:16). The word used in Leviticus and also in Proverbs 20:19 means a person who gads about from house to house hawking malicious gossip (compare 1 Timothy 5:13). From the same root comes the Hebrew word for "merchant." In Ezekiel 22:9 for the King James Version "men that carry tales" the Revised Version (British and American) gives "slanderous men," as Doeg (1 Samuel 22:9,22); Ziba (2 Samuel 16:3; 19:27); and a certain maid-servant (2 Samuel 17:17).
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