Gen 1:2 "was"/"became"

Jason Hare language_lover64801 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 6 17:21:21 EDT 2000


I will put comments within, so please follow:

> Let me mention that there are two positions for the
lamed in
> a hyh + lamed construction, one prefixed to the
"indirect
> object" and one prefixed to the "direct object."
> Schematically represented:
> hyh meaning became / L+to or for whom / L+what


HYH cannot have a "direct object" relation, because it
is intransitive.  Rather, it would have a subjective
complement (forgive me for using English grammarian
terms, but it fits).  HYH as 'become' generally has a
lamed after it and attached to the predicate
nominative (or subjective complement), which in
reality would be considered the resultative state.

'I was an apple; I became an orange.'
'Orange' would have a lamed attached to it, because it
is the resultative state (or a type of predicate
nominative).


>
> eg. 2 Sam 8:2 vatthi moab ledavid la`abadim
> "And Moab became to David servants"


Here is a good example.  The resultative state is
expressed with a lamed.  And L:DFWID is *not* an
indirect object.  Intransitive verbs hold neither
direct nor indirect objects.  Instead, it is a
possessive.  Y"$ LIY means 'there is to me' or 'I
have.'  This is possessive.

2 Samuel 7.14
):ANIY )EH:YEH-L.WO L:)FB W:HW.) YIH:YEH-L.IY L:B"N
I will become his father, and he will become my son.

In this passage, the 'become' element is expressed by
HYH + L+noun, but the second set of L+noun is
possessive (LWO and LIY).  'I will become a father
to him, and he will become a son to me.'  It has
nothing to do with direct/indirect objects.


> hyh may clearly mean *became* when the lamed is not
present
> on the "direct object" but is still present on the
"indirect
> object."  I *think* you mean only the lamed on the
"direct
> object."  So I believe the following should satisfy
your
> request for examples of hyh *without* lamed clearly
meaning
> *became*.
>
> eg. 1 Sam 16:21  vayehi lo nose' kelim
> "And he became his armor bearer."
>
> There are numerous other examples of a like kind.
>
> There are indeed examples in which hyh clearly means
> *became* that do not have lamed on either an
"indirect
> object" or a "direct object."
>
> Gen 19:26, 21:20, 25:27, Exo 8:13, to name a few.
Gen 19:26
> goes like this:
>
> vatthi netsib melax
> "And she became a pillar of salt."
>


It must be conceded that HYH does *sometimes* mean
'become,' even when the lamed element is wanting. 
However, it seems that the reason for such a
translation is clearly expressed in the fact that it
is shown by the previous state as opposed to the
resultative state of the subject.  For example, if I
was a boy when I was younger and later I was a man,
the
tendency would be to say that I 'became' a man.  With
David, he was _not_ Saul's armor-bearer before, then
he was (hence, he 'became') one.  This applies to all
of the above mentioned 'exceptions.'  Either they grew
up and 'became' what they were not before (as a child)
or they had an expressly mentioned former state
contrasted with a different resultative state (woman
--> salt; dirt --> gnats).

IMHO, this lends *_no_* justification to the
translation 'became' in Gen. 1.2.  There is neither a
lamed, nor a previously mentioned former state,
nor the idea that it was something and changed to
something else as it developed.  The base for this
comes strictly from theological argument, but
has no ground in the text.  I do not think that
interpretation is justifiable grammatically.

B.:$"M Y"$W.(A,
Jason Hare

Ozark Christian College
1111 N. Main
Joplin, MO  64801
http://www.occ.edu

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