Literal translation of Dan 11:32

Lewis Reich LBR at sprynet.com
Sat Sep 26 08:44:21 EDT 1998


On 25 Sep 98, at 15:17, Paul Zellmer wrote:

> Lewis,
> 
> I'm not sure you're understanding the question.  I'm absolutely certain
> that Lee realizes that (aM is normally a collective noun.  I know I
> realized that with my response to the original question.  But, if it is a
> collective, why is it only *grammatically* treated as a collective in the
> 3ms pronominal suffix. All the other referents are 3mp (i.e., the
> participle and the two yiqtols). How do you propose we explain the
> plurals?

You're quite right - Lee kindly wrote me off-list, and I 
realized that I missed that difficulty in the verse.

Interestingly, this is not the only verse where (aM is 
treated both as plural and as singular.  A cursory search 
turned up the following examples in Exodus:

Ex.  4:31 - WaYYa):aM"N  Hf(fM  WaYYi$:M:(W.  

Ex. 12:27 - WaYiQoD  Hf(fM  WaYiY$:TaX:aWW.

Ex.  16:4 - W:YfCf)   Hf(fM  W:LfQ:+W.

Ex.  17:2 - WaYYfReB  Ha(aM  (iM  Mo$eH  WaYYo(M:RW.

(and similarly Ex. 20:15; Ex. 33:4;  Ex. 33:10; Lev. 11:32; 
Num. 20:3;  Num. 21:7; Num.  25:2;  Josh. 6:20; Josh 24:16; 
Josh.  24:21; Judges 9:42; Judges 20:22; Judges 21:2; 
1 Samuel 4:3; 1 Samuel 4:4; 1 Samuel 14:32.  I did not 
continue my search past this point, having satisfied 
myself that this was not a rare occurrence.)

Does the relative frequency of this interesting phenomenon  
suggest the possibility that Biblical Hebrew may have 
regarded this collective noun as having a dual character as 
both a singular assembly and a plural collective that did 
not necessarily require consistent treatment within a  
verse?  

Lewis Reich
LBR at sprynet.com



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