Dying thou shalt die

Liz Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Fri Aug 25 10:55:04 EDT 2000


Dear Mark, Since this is, after all, a list about Biblical Hebrew,
I thought I'd take some time to explain the infinite absolute,
of which this phrase mot tamut is an example (sorry, I don't know
the transliteration system used here).

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Wilson [mailto:emory2002 at hotmail.com]
> 
> 
> I still prefer the literal reading of this phrase since
> it allows one to take the passage at face value.
> 
> Fancy gymnastics are required to read into this passage
> anything other than the simple meaning. Why seek another
> sense when common or literal sense makes sense  :o )
> 
> To wit:
> 
> "Dying thou shalt die"
> 
> Adam and Eve began "dying" immediately and literally.
> There are some hard things to grasp in Genesis chapters
> 1 and 2, but this does not seem to be one on the surface.
> 
> What am I missing HERE?
Mark, mot tamut is the infinite absolute. 
The infinite absolute conveys exactly
the *opposite* of the meaning you derive. You have derived
a *gradual* dying, a dying that occurs over 900 years.
This is not the function of the infinite absolute.
Otherwise you would have in Gen 20:7 Abimelech dying
in a slow process of over 900 years. See also Gen 26:11,
"whoever touches this man or his wife will die, but only
after 900 years." Exodus 19:12: "anyone who touches this
mountain shall be killed, but will live a good life (but a
hard one), will have children, and will only die after 900 years."
How about Exodus 21: 12? "Anyone who strikes a man and
he dies, he shall be killed, but only after 900 years, having children and 
grandchildren in the meantime."
Exodus 21:15: "Anyone who strikes his father or his mother
shall be killed, but only after 900 years." Etc.

I need not multiply examples. This form of the verb is used
countless times throughout the HB. It is used to intensify
the action of the verb. It should be expressed in English as
"surely", "certainly," "utterly" or some such.

Hope this helps.

Liz
> 
> Thank you,
You're welcome.
> 
> Mark Wilson

> 
> 
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