Hexagram 8, line 4


Wai 外: those outside the clan, not related by blood, ‘outsiders’, those with different surname. In oracle bone inscriptions wai was used as a prefix for former kings that were not from the direct lineal line (Liu Xinglong 刘兴隆, 新编甲骨文字典, p. 404) The expression waisun 外孫 referred to the children of one’s daughter: when a daughter married she took the surname of her husband and from that moment she (and her children) belonged to the other clan (金文常用字典, p. 700; 王力古漢語字典, p. 176).

In manuscripts from the Warring States period wai is also used as a loan for gui 禬: a sacrifice, ritual or prayer to dispel disasters and sickness (Bai Yulan 白於藍 (ed.), 戰國秦漢簡帛古書通假字彙纂, p. 527; 王力古漢語字典, p. 836-837; 漢語大詞典, Vol. 7, p. 966).

Some may wonder why I translate wai as ‘outsiders’ but choose to translate nei 內 in line 2 as ‘women (of the emperor)’ when ‘insiders’ would also be a plausible translation. My choice is decided by the structure of the sentences. Line 2 says


while line 4 says


In line 2 the joining/bonding comes from (zi 自) inside, the text does not talk about joining/bonding with inside. Line 4 however says that wai, ‘outside’ is joining.

Bi 比: see line 1. The Shanghai Museum manuscript has 𢻹 instead of 比. Shaughnessy says about this character “It is not clear if or how the added 攴 signific changes the sense of the word here.” (Unearthing the Changes, p. 80) and most scholars regard it as a loan for 比. Chen Renren 陳仁仁 proposes another view. According to the Fang Yan 方言 dictionary the Southern region of the state of Chu used 𢻹 to denote a crack in earthenware or porcelain but the utensil is still used and not discarded (器破而未離,南楚之閒謂之㩺(𢻹)). The Shanghai Museum manuscript comes from the Southern region of the former state of Chu, therefore Chen thinks this meaning might still be valid and he interprets this line as “although there might be conflicts with other feudal lords the bond is not yet completely broken” (與其他諸侯發生了矛盾,但關係並未完全破裂). That is why the Shanghai Museum Manuscript ends this line with 亡不利, ‘nothing is unfavourable’ (Chen Renren 陳仁仁, 戰國楚竹書《周易》研究, p. 172).

Outsiders joining. Auspicious divination.

Hexagram 8, line 3


Bi 比: see line 1.

Fei 匪: ‘without’:

If the sovereign had not the multitude, there would be none to guard the country (for him)…
Shujing 書經 (tr. Legge)

How do we proceed in splitting firewood?
Without an axe it cannot be done.
How do we proceed in taking a wife?
Without a go-between it cannot be done.
Shijing 詩經 (tr. Legge)

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Hexagram 8, line 2


Bi 比: see line 1.

Zi 自: (starting) from:

From the emperor to the common people…
(Mengzi 孟子, Lun Heng etc.)

Nei 內: its regular meaning is ‘inside, interior’, but in early texts it also refers to the women of the emperor (qiqie 妻妾, wife and concubines), the women’s quarters in the imperial palace, or women in general (漢語大字典 2nd ed., p. 111; 漢語大詞典, p. 995; 王力古漢語字典, p. 57):

Qing Feng of Qi was fond of hunting and drinking. He gave over the government [to his son] Qing She, and then removed with his harem and valuables to the house of Lu Pubie, with whom he drank, while they exchanged wives at the same time.
Zuozhuan 左傳 (tr. Legge, p. 541)

Even though the grammar and meanings in the sentence 比之自內 are pretty straightforward some translators are struggling to make sense out of it. For example, Lars Bo Christensen translates it as ‘Uniting with what comes from within is correct and good’, adding as a note ‘The question is what “from within” means. I don’t see any way you can connect physically with things from within, whether it be your body or an area.’ He totally misses the point that bi 比 is about people, persons, and that therefore a better translation of nei 內 is one that points to persons. His insertion of the words ‘with what comes’ is totally unnecessary and makes the translation not only wrong (these words are not in the Chinese original) but also more confusing.

In line 2 nei 內 might refer to allies that have a blood relationship with the wife of the king. Zi 自 means that the bond originates there.

Bonding via the empress.
The divination is auspicious.

Hexagram 8, line 1


About you fu 有孚 see here.

Bi 比: ‘assist, support’, ‘join (to support)’, to form a bond to reach a common goal, if necessary in a secondary position, to put yourself 2nd place:

(…) the King charged the Elder of Wu saying, “Lead your troops on the left in support of Father Mao.” The King ordered the Elder of Lü saying, “Lead your troops on the right in support of Father Mao.”
Ban gui 班簋 (殷周金文集成 4341; translation from R. Eno, Inscriptional Records of the Western Zhou, p. 30)

Roderick B. Campbell writes in his dissertation Blood, Flesh and Bones: Kinship and Violence in the Social Economy of the Late Shang (p. 117-118):

(…) the Shang king could (…) draw upon the coercive resources of allies, “meeting/joining” (bi 比) them for joint endeavours (Lin Yun 林沄, 《甲骨文中的方国联盟》, in 《古文字研究》第六辑, 1982):

51) 乙卯卜,殼 貞:王比望乘伐下危,受㞢  㞢 . (32)
Cracked on Yimao day, Ke tested: The King (should) join with Wang Cheng (to) attack Xia Wei, (for if he does) he will receive divine aid.

52)貞:叀   象令比倉𥎦. (3291)
Tested: It is Xiang (who the King should) order to join with the lord of Cang.

Campbell adds in a footnote,

There is some controversy over whether in inscriptions like the example above the graph I have transcribed should be read 比 (to join) or 从 (to follow/to cause to follow). The Jiaguwen Heji Shiwen, for instance, transcribes 比 as 从 in examples like (32). I, however, find Lin’s (1982) argument persuasive. Based on my own tabulations of oracle-bone political geography, there does indeed seem to be a real statistical difference between place/actors that the king “orders” as opposed to “joining with” or ordering subordinates to “join with” for military action. As Lin (1982: 78) notes, bi 比 “to join with” is never used for close subordinates of the king like Fu Hao 婦好, Que 雀, Zi Shang 子商 and so on.

About wujiu 無咎 see the third line of hexagram 1.

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