Hexagram 8, line 4

外比之。貞吉。

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

比之自內.

while line 4 says

外比之.

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.

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