Different reflexes, or variations, of the Hebrew root-word davar appear thousands of times in the Bible. Regarding over 90% of these occurrences there is never doubt that the word in question is directly related to "speech". In the previous posts I demonstrated how simple it is to see that most of the would-be anomalies are also related to speech, and are mistranslated as "thing", or "matter" etc. Simply replace "thing" with "tale" (or "telling"), in most cases, and you reach a very close reading of the Hebrew original.
In Deuteronomy 4:32, for instance, Moses urges the Israelites to remember the extraordinary story of the Exodus. Not the "thing" that happened to them since they left Egypt, but rather the "tale" of their unprecedented experiences:
"For ask now ... whether such a great tale as this has ever happened or was ever heard."
A test case for such a revised reading would concern a previous verse in the same chapter, where Moses refers to the "dvarim" (plural) that the Israelites "saw" with their own eyes (4:9). Verses like this one caused the mistaken understanding of davar in the first place, for how can one "see" a "telling"or a "tale"? Well, in an oral-lore culture that is exactly what you see: "the tales that you witnessed with your own eyes". This is why the end of the verse demands that these very tales, be transmitted--using speech of course--"to thy sons, and thy sons' sons"; oral lore par excellence. As the image below demonstrates, while, arguably, today we capture events primarily through pictures, in ancient times these pictures were made strictly of words.
Such an understanding leaves us with the final fraction of a percent of the uses of "davar" -- a scarce few verses out of thousands -- that are, admittedly, awkward to explain:
Exodus 9:4: "And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall no-davar die of all that is the children's of Israel."
Leviticus 5:2: "If a person touches any unclean davar, whether it is the carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean livestock... he also shall be unclean and guilty."
Numbers 31:23: "Every davar that may abide the fire, you shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean."
Deuteronomy 23:20: "You shall not charge interest to your brother--interest on money or food or any-davar that is lent out at interest."
To achieve unanimity one would have to say that (a) the first verse refers to a "death-sentence", or lack thereof; (b) the second verse refers to an article "pronounced" unclean by a priest; (c) the third verse refers to something "pronounced safe" for fire; (d) the final verse refers to verbal agreements of terms.
Allow for these, and you resurrect dramatic new meaning regarding hundreds of other verses where the "speech factor" involved has been smudged out by translating "davar" as "thing." I believe that in biblical Hebrew (unlike in later times) the term never had such a speechless meaning. Ever.