[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Vol 33, Issue 16
Harold R. Holmyard III
hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Sep 12 17:40:42 EDT 2005
> >>If my memory serves me correctly (I don't have a Hebrew text at
>>>work) another is Gen 16:2 where Sarah is wanting a son through Hagar,
>>>yet the text does not explicitly say so. That meaning comes from
>>>understanding the word play, which I recall as depending on a single
>>>word. In one sense it means to be built up, but it also means Sarai
> >>wants a son through Hagar.
> >HH: Why do you think the text does not say so? It seems perfectly
>I checked three tranlation-commentaries last night. These are their
>Speiser, Comment: ``...it is an obvious word play on ben `son' alluding to
> `I shall have a son'...''
>Plaut, Translation: ``...perhaps I shall have a son through her.''
> Comment: ``Have a son. Literally `be built up', a word play on
> ben, son and banah, build up''
>Alter, Comment: ``The Hebrew 'ibaneh puns on ben `son' and so means "I
> will be sonned through her".''
>Their colective opinion is that we learn of Sarai's specific desire
>for a son, not merely for a child of either sex, by understanding the pun.
>I'm not saying this is obscure, Plaut thinks it is so clear he puts the
>punned meaning in his translation rather than relegating it to a comment
>as do Speiser and Alter.
>I think this is a good example because both meanings are so clear.
>If we took 'ibaneh out of context and asked what it means we could say
>its first person, refers to the future, and means I will be built up.
>However, in context, it has a clear second meaning by virtue of it
>sounding similar to ben, son.
>The writer had a choice of several words which are more directly
>related to childbearing that he could have picked from. It seems
>clear to me that he chose 'ibaneh over the other options because
>of its ability to carry a double meaning in this context.
>I'm open to suggestions of other verses which you think would
>be better examples.
HH: Thanks for the scholarship, Bill, but I am
not particularly impressed this supposed pun.
Sarah's words had a plain meaning used elsewhere
in the Hebrew Bible. We all know that the ancient
Jewish view was that it was especially good to
have a son. This notion is present numerous times
in the Bible. There is no need to claim an
ambiguous pun to obtain that idea. But BNH was
used of building a family in a number of verses.
Here is part of the HAL entry on BNH:
human beings are built = live on (in their
children) (MHb.2 nif., JArm.tg itpe., qal 6) Jr
12:16; 31:4; Mal 3:15; with min a woman obtains a
child by Gn 16:2; 30:3.
HH: It would be good to ask these authors whether
it is a pun in Gen 30:3 as well. That is another
woman. Perhaps this family just loved this pun.
It seems that this may be a shorter form of the
following expression as indicated in HAL:
BNH BYT L to build a family for, to provide
someone with offspring Dt 25:9; to let a person
(a nation) live on in his children (said of God;
cf. VT 12:345, :: hrs) Jr 24:6; 31:4; 33:7;
42:10; Ps 28:5 ( Bach Fschr. vRad 7ff); n.m.
(u®)b§naya¦h, n.loc. yabn§}e¦l
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