Proverbs 11.14

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at
Fri Apr 12 10:19:20 EDT 2002

>===== Original Message From Scott Ogden <oakvalleylodge at> =====
>Could someone help me with a grammatical/translation question?  Most
>translations of Prov 11.14 say that "in a multitude of counsellors there
>is safety" or the like.  However, recently I came across two versions that
>translate it in the singular.  One says "safety lieth in the greatness of
>the counsellor."  The other says "in a great counsellor there is safety."
>I would appreciate any comments on how, grammatically, BRB YW(C may/should
>be understood.  Is the singular rendering legitimate?  And how, then, does
>RB relate to YW(C ?  Does the translation "the greatness of the
>counsellor" best represent the singular interpretation? (The limited
>Hebrew references at my disposal have not been helpful in this regard.)

The issue here seems to be that rov normally goes with a plural 
noun--abundance of . . . (things). It does sometimes appear with singulars, 
though. The dictionaries note rov adam, for instance. Keep in mind that 
sometimes adding modifiers can remove the need to give the head noun a 
strictly plural form. So one approach would be to say that "abundance of 
counsellor" means something like "abundance of counsellors" or "many 
counsellors." On the other hand, it's reasonable to suggest that "the 
abundance of the counsellor" refers to the superiority of the one counsellor's 
counsel. In other words, I think it's understandable that some translations 
conform "counsellor" to the expected plural with rov and some conform to the 
singular form that appears for "counsellor." If you wanted to represented the 
singular reading in a literalistic way, I'd suggest "the abundance of the 
counsellor"; but I think "greatness" gets the point across.

Trevor Peterson

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