Isaiah 8:23a

David Stabnow dstabno at
Tue Jan 29 09:33:45 EST 2002

Liz Fried wrote: "How should one translate 8:23a
and having translated it, what does it mean?

"Is it possible grammatically speaking to
change the lo) to a low, as suggested by BHS?
The same is accepted routinely by everyone for

DKS: Several scholars have argued that there is an asseverative particle L-
that the Masoretes sometimes wrongly wrote with the aleph mater.  Some also
argue that the lamed or the lamed-aleph should sometimes be read as the
optitive/concessive "lu".  There are several clear cases where the negative
"lo)" should be the masculine possessive "low" and vice versa.  Of course,
if we begin to assume that any instance of lamed could be interpreted in
any of these ways -- especially if the same particle could be either
asseverative or negative -- we are opening a Pandora's box of speculative
and subjective translations.

See Huehnergard "Asseverative *la and Hypothetical *lu/law in Semitic"
(JAOS 103 (1983): 570f); a response in Steiner, "Lulav versus *lu/law"
(JAOS 107 (1987): 121-22); see also Daniel Sivan and William Schniedewind
"Letting Your 'Yes' Be 'No' in Ancient Israel" (JSS 38 (1993): 209-26) and
bibliography there; and a cautionary note from Muraoka in _Emphatic Words
and Structures_ (Brill, 1985).

Dave Stabnow
david.stabnow at

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