ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Fri Feb 26 22:10:46 EST 1999
On Fri 26 Feb 99 , upoxarin at aol.com wrote:
> ... ... The word LAKEM appears to be refering to a feminine
> subject (Naomi's two daughters), yet the form is masculine. I am sure
> that there is a basic answer to this but at the moment it is beyond our
> meager skills. This same construction also appears in verse 9.
I think you will find that when Naomi is addressing her daughters-in-law
as *married women* she gives them the gender of their late husbands; but
when she kisses them as *individuals* she gives them their natural gender.
In verse 9, YiTTeN YHWH LaCeM... (masculine, because they are each married
women, 'i$$aH BeYT 'iY$aHh) ... WaTTi$$aQ LaHeN (feminine, as widows now).
In verse 11, Chilion and Mahlon are clearly in Naomi's mind; she muses
that two more sons might take their place according to the Levirate law
(Numbers 27:1-11); but dismisses the thought. All this talk of sons and
husbands caused Naomi to use the gender-inclusive masculine LaCeM,
instead of the feminine-specific LaCeN.
IMHO, that is. In this day and age, we in the English-speaking world
have got hung up by the feminist lobby insisting that the masculine
pronoun does NOT include the feminine, and wanting the feminine element
to be mentioned separately. Until recently, the male pronoun was gender-
inclusive of male and female; only the feminine pronoun was gender-specific
of the female only. So in modern English, we are now forced to use the
gender non-specific plural pronoun "they" instead of the singular "he"
which feminists consider masculine-specific; but it was not ever thus...
I'll be interested to see what our professional Hebraists have to say
Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
<ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
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