Hexagram 4, line 3


Qu nü 取女 = 娶:

Qu 取 normally means ‘to take by force’, but the phrase qu nü 取女 is most probably equal to the character qu 娶, which has the same pronunciation and components, and means ‘to marry’ (漢語大字典, p. 1056.1). That 取 can have the meaning of 娶 is apparent in the Shijing, where it is used in the meaning ‘to marry’ (see odes M101, M138, M158 and M261). In the Mengzi 孟子 ode M101 is quoted, “取妻如之何、必告父母”, but 取 is replaced with 娶 (Legge, The Works of Mencius, p. 345), which shows that in this case 取 and 娶 were considered as exchangeable. And 女 might be a short form for 妻.
(from A Mulan in the Yijing article)

Jin fu 金夫: A wealthy man.

Gong 躬: loan character for qiong 窮, ‘poor, poverty-stricken’. The Mawangdui text has qiong 竆, a variant of 窮. The Shanghai Museum MS has gong 躳, which is a component in the MWD character.

You gong 有躬 =  you qiong 有窮, ‘suffer from poverty’ (遭受困窮):

When [Confucius] was in Chen, their provisions were exhausted, and his followers became so ill that they were unable to rise. Zi Lu, with evident dissatisfaction, said, “Has the superior man likewise to endure in this way?” The Master said, “The superior man may indeed have to endure want, but the mean man, when he is in want, gives way to unbridled license.”
(Lun Yu 論語, tr. James Legge)

Bu you gong 不有躬: without poverty.

Do not marry the woman.
(You will) meet a wealthy man without poverty.
Not going far is advantageous.

Hexagram 4, line 2


Bao meng 包蒙: Several old books, like Lu Deming’s 陸德明 Jingdian Shiwen 經典釋文,  claim that  older texts used biao 彪 instead of bao.

唐石經作”苞”. 京房、鄭玄、陸績、一行作”彪”.
The Tang Stone Classics use bao 苞. Jing Fang, Zheng Xuan and Lu Ji all use 彪.
(Deng Qiubai 邓球柏, “帛书周易校释”, p. 136)

Karlgren says in his Loan Characters in Pre-Han Texts:

Loan Characters: 苞 ‘reed mat; bushy, dense” voor 彪 defined as = 文 ‘motley; to make beautiful, to refine’ says Cheng Huan (following the tradition of the Jing Fang school) on Yi: Gua 4 苞蒙 (in later editions changed to 包蒙) – Possible. Whether 包蒙, as mostly stated, means: “(to embrace:) have patience with the ignorant”; or 彪蒙 means: “(to make fine:) to educate the ignorant”; or the both mean something entirely different cannot be determined, since the Yi text, as often, is quite obscure.
(entry 1160)

Biao originally refers to the stripes on a tiger’s body, but later it also referred to outstanding literary talent, beautiful written essays, literature etc. In the Cai Zhong Lang Ji 蔡中郎集 by Cai Yong (132–192) we read:

童蒙来求, 彪之用文…
When the young ignorant comes to ask, biao him by using literature…

From the context we can deduce that biao might refer to education, teaching or training. The later used bao 包 is often read as ‘include, tolerate, pardon’ (包容;包含), meanings that the variant character bao 苞 also has.

Na 納:  ‘to take’, ‘to marry’ (娶)

Fu 婦: daughter-in-law (兒媳)

Zi 子: a son, but it can also refer to the heir of a monarch (國君的繼承人,嗣君)

Ke 克: can, be able, be capable of (能夠)

Jia 家: get married (結婚成家)

Educating ignorance; auspicious.
To take a daughter-in-law is auspicious,
(So that) the heir can marry.

Hexagram 4, line 1


Fa meng 發蒙 = fa meng 發矇: make a blind person recover lost eye sight. Analogy for enlightening the stupid, open one’s eyes to new point of views (使盲人眼睛復明. 喻啟發矇昧; 開拓眼界):

I shall take a barge and go sailing down the river,
Lest by some good chance my lord should yet come to his sense.
(The Songs of the South, tr. D. Hawkes, p. 249)

When the three students heard these words from the Master, it was obvious they felt their ignorance exposed.
(Liji 禮記)

Xingren 刑人: Punished criminals doing physical labour (受刑之人. 古代多以刑人充服勞役的奴隸).

Tuo 說 = tuo 脫: ‘take off, to free, relieve’.

Yi 以: cause, reason (緣故; 原因; 道理).

Exposed ignorance.
Favourable to use prisoners (as slaves).
Remove hand- and foot shackles
As these hinder going.

Hexagram 4, Judgement


Meng 蒙: ignorant, confused, dark, hidden.

Tuan 彖


Fei 匪 = fei 非: ‘not, not be’.

Qiu 求: ask, inquire (請求; 詢問)

Tong meng 童蒙: same as tong meng 瞳矇 or tong meng 僮矇 – a person without knowledge or education:

純德行而民瞳矇, 曉惠之心未形生也.
Virtuous actions were out of the question, and the people were dull and beclouded. Knowledge and wisdom did not yet make their appearance.
Lun Heng 論衡, tr. Alfred Forke

But the context given by the line texts shows that tong is a verb, or an adverb: something is done to, or with, meng. With the proper meanings that tong has this is not possible. However, tong is often used as a loan for other characters, and one of these characters is zhong 重 (古代漢語通假字大字典, p. 646; 古文字通假字典, p. 468; 簡牘帛書通假字字典, p. 250). This character, among many other things, means ‘to repeat, do it again’ (表示動作行爲的重複,相當於“再”、“又”、“重新”). This meaning fits the Judgement text as well.

Meng 蒙: ignorant, confused, dark, hidden. Tong meng: repeatedly confused, ignorant.

Shi 筮: oracle consultation by means of yarrow stalks.

Gao 告: inform, report, notify.

Du 瀆: excessive, beyond the limits.

Accepted offering.
I do not ask the repeatedly ignorant,
The repeatedly ignorant asks me.
The first yarrow stalk oracle I report,
Two, three times is excessive.
When excessive I do not inform.
Favourable to divine.

Hexagram 3, line 6


See also line 2 and 4.

Qixue 泣血 is a fixed expression used in several ancient texts: ‘weep tears of blood’. In the Lun Heng 論衡 we read:

At the time of the Kings Li and Wu, Pien Ho presented them with a jade-stone, and had his two feet cut off. Offering his stone he wept, till his tears ran dry, when he went on weeping blood.  Can the sincerity of Tsou Yen bear a comparison with Pien Ho’s sufferings, or his unjust arrest with the amputation of the feet? Can the sighs towards heaven be put on a parallel with tears of blood?
(tr, A. Forke, p. 113)

From this context we learn that qixue means to cry until the tears are tried up and you continue to cry blood.

Liang 漣: flowing, streaming. Like in the Shijing 詩經 :

I ascended that ruinous wall,
To look towards Fuguan;
And when I saw [you] not [coming from] it;
My tears flowed in streams.
(tr. James Legge)

Carts lingering.
Shedding bloody tears in streams.

Hexagram 3, line 4 & 5

Line 4

乘馬班如.求婚媾.往吉. 無不利.

See also line 2.

Carts lingering,
Seeking marriage (for tying bonds).
Going is auspicious.
Nothing disadvantageous.

Line 5


Gao 膏: The best; cream; quintessence of something. The 王力古漢語字典 gives as one of the meanings ‘the best place/location’ (‘精華所在’; p. 1008).

The best place for stationing troops.
Divination for small issues: auspicious.
Divination for big issues: inauspicious.

Hexagram 3, line 3


Ji 即: approach; be close to

Lu 鹿: general term for deer, reindeer, moose, etc. According to Lu Deming’s 陸德明 Jingdian Shiwen 經典釋文 the Wang Su 王肅 notes have lu 麓, the foot of a hill or mountain. Kong Yingda 孔穎達 reads 鹿 as 麓 in his Chunqiu Zuozhuan Zhengyi 春秋左傳正義 :

Lu 鹿 is the foot of a mountain. A forest that is joined to a mountain is called lu 鹿.

Yu 虞: a forester; someone who is in charge of the forests and everything that lives in it. In the Shujing 書經 we read:

The Di said, ‘Who can superintend, as the nature of the charge requires, the grass and trees, with the birds and beasts (on my hills and in my marshes)?’ All (in the court) replied, ‘Is there not Yi?’ The Di said, ‘Yes. Ho! Yi do you be my forester.’

In the Zhouli 周禮 we have a passage in which a forester is specifically linked to the forest that is near a mountain (麓):

Every large forest at the foot of a mountain requires 12 men of the Shi 士 (officials), of the Shi 史 (historians) four men, of the Xu 胥 (petty officials) twelve men, of the Tu 徒 (common workers) one hundred and twenty. A forest of middle size requires a quantity of foresters equal to the quantity required for a middle sized mountain. A forest of small size requires a quantity of foresters equal to the quantity required for a small sized mountain.

Ji 幾: before a verb it should be read as ‘should, ought to’ (用于動詞前,表示理當如此.可譯為“應當、“應該”等; 古代漢語虛詞詞典, p. 457).

Buru 不如, ‘not as good as’, ‘it is better to’.

She 舍: stop and stay overnight (留宿)

Lin 吝: similar to lin 遴, ‘difficulties; difficult progress’. According to Lu Deming Jing Fang 京房 uses 遴 instead of 吝. The Mawangdui text uses 𠳵, which is a known variant of 鄰 –> 遴.

Approaching the forest without a forester, only ending up in the middle of the woods. The lord should stop and stay overnight. To go results in difficulties.

Hexagram 3, line 2


Tun 屯: to gather, assemble; to station troops, (to) garrison.

Ru 如: According to 古代漢語虛詞詞典 (p. 458-459) ‘多用于形容詞或副詞之后,也有用于動詞之后的,表示事物或動作的状态.可譯為“….一的樣子”、“….的” ‘ . Used behind a verb it denotes appearance, how something behaves or acts. Similar to today’s  ’…一的樣子’ or ‘….的’. Often translated as ‘…-ing’. Ru after tun means that tun is a verb.

Zhan 邅: haltering, lingering; not able to go forward because of difficulties ahead.

Changma 乘馬: cart drawn by a horse; ride a horse.

Ban 班: same as ban 般, ‘linger, stay’. Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 has ban 般.

Kou 寇: invader, enemy (侵略者;敵人)

Hun 婚: marry

Gou 媾: is also related to marrying, meaning ‘to marry again’, ‘take a second wife’ (重婚,重疊交互為婚姻) with the sole purpose of tying bonds between families (親上加親; 結爲婚姻).

Zi 字: pregnant.

Shinian 十年: ‘ten years’, meaning ‘a long time’ (形容時間長久).

Troops gathering, haltering,
Carts lingering.
It is not an invader who wants to marry (for tying bonds).
Divination for a woman: she is not pregnant.
Only after a long time she will get pregnant.

Hexagram 3, Judgement & line 1


Tun 屯: to gather, assemble; to station troops, (to) garrison (漢語大詞典, Vol. 1, p. 483).

Tuan 彖


You wang 攸往: see here. This phrase is currently under reinvestigation. About wang 往: The opposite of lai 來. To go to a place.  Wang Li 王力 says:

“往”是到某地去, “去”是離開某地,詞義正相反。直到近代, “去”才有 “往”義.
“往” is going to a certain place, “去” is leaving a certain place, it’s meaning is the opposite. Only until recent times “去” got the same meaning as “往”.
(王力古漢語字典, p. 295)

According to Wang, wang was not used to stress the meaning of ‘leaving’, it was used as a verb to indicate going in a certain direction.

Jian hou 建侯: establish feudal lords (封立諸侯).

Greatly accepted offering.
Favourable to divine.
Do not undertake a far journey.
Favourable to establish feudal lords.

First line


Panhuan 磐桓 = panhuan 盤桓: to stop, to stay, linger (逗留).

Ju 居: residence, the place where one stays to live or reside (住所); also ‘to stop (moving)’ (停息).

This line seems to talk about an oracle consultation for deciding the place to stay. There might be a link (albeit weak) with the story of Pan Geng 盤庚 in the Shujing about relocating the capital. Pan 磐 is an often used loan for pan 盤, en this line has intriguing connections with this story:

Pan-geng wished to remove (the capital) to Yin, but the people would not go to dwell there. He therefore appealed to all the discontented, and made the following protestations. ‘Our king came, and fixed on this. He did so from a deep concern for our people, and not because he would have them all die, where they cannot (now) help one another to preserve their lives. I have consulted the tortoise-shell, and obtained the reply: “This is no place for us.”

See also LiSe’s translation.

If we read pan 磐 as the name Pan (Geng) 盤(庚) the phrase 磐桓 could also read ‘Pan is worried’. But let’s not do that.

Stay (at the current location).
Favourable divination for (deciding) a residence.
Favourable to establish feudal lords.

Youwang 攸往

I am reinvestigating the phrase you wang 攸往: Li Xueqin 李学勤 says you 攸 was a place where king Di Yi 帝乙 travelled to, to perform sacrifices. This is interesting because Di Yi is mentioned in the Zhouyi. Will keep on digging, am not sure if this will lead somewhere. Scanning the complete 甲骨文献集成 corpus for leads. This will take some time.