Psalm 2:12 and Proverbs 31 ben/bar

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Fri Mar 22 00:01:33 EST 2002


How often do poets switch languages?
There's no theological reason for translators
not to translate "son" or kissing the feet of the
son, since the Judaean king is already labeled
YHWH's son a few lines above.
Mitchell Dahood, a Catholic priest,
translates it "Serve YHWH with reverence and
live in trembling, O mortal men!"
He reads O mortal men with no consonental
changes: ne$e qaber, men of the grave,
or men appointed for the grave.
He compares i$ mawet (I kings 2:26)
bene mawet (1 Sam 26:16).
To have "bar" you'd have to consider the poem
to be late, Persian period probably is when the
Aramaisms crept into the language. Levine dates
P Persian primarily by the Aramaisms in P, such
as degel.  Dahood believes the poem is 10th century.
Liz
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Schmuel [mailto:schmuel at bigfoot.com]
  Sent: Thu, March 21, 2002 11:35 PM
  To: Biblical Hebrew
  Subject: Psalm 2:12 and Proverbs 31 ben/bar


  Shalom b-hebrew

  Liz wrote:
  > It is extremely unlikely, that the poet would use ben in one verse
  > and a few lines later use bar.

  Trevor Peterson
  Is that because poets don't vary the words they use?

  Schmuel

  Touche :-)
  I was thinking about this driving back..
  Hey dad... c'mon let's go pop....  to the kosher deli.. this is my father,
can we help them..
  How does that sound compared to dad, dad, dad...

  Now this may draw gasps here, but, even in translation, the KJV
  deliberately used various words (in the target language) to express
  the same Greek (or Hebrew or Aramaic word) ..
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------

   Your other post, below, with the explanation about the grammar and the
construct
  was exactly what I was looking for, a moderately precise explanation of
  the "squirelliness" of making claims about how the grammar of a word
  in one language would move into another... and with enough of the
  actual Hebrew and Aramaic that the claimants (who know much less)
  might see that the issue is more of an art than a science..

  Very much appreciated.. the problem is that "grammar claims"
  "this is a deliberate mistranslation <blah blah>" are made
  not to really understand the language, but for spiritual agenda..
  I just happen to be operating in a realm where I see that most every day
:-)

  --------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------

    Schmuel wrote:
    >>  > In Aramaic, bar is used only as a construct "son of" (Proverbs
31:2;
    > Ezra 5:1-2, 6:14), >  > whereas the absolute form of "son" in Aramaic
is ber'a.
    >  > the verse should have read nash-ku ber'a, "kiss the son," not
nash-ku
    > bar, "kiss the son of." >> I know that cross-language "rules" are very
dubious..
    >> What do you think of this claim ?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------

  Trevor,

    The claim is somewhat muddled. Aramaic, like Hebrew, has three states
for
    nouns (more than that, if you count forms with suffixed pronouns as
distinct
    from construct): absolute, construct, and determined. An oversimplified
    picture for "son" would be:
            Hebrew  Aramaic
    abs.    been            bar
    csr.    ben             bar
    det.    habbeen braa

    Of course, those are only the singular forms. The plural in Aramaic
actually
    changes stems to match Hebrew. The plural construct, for instance, would
be
    exactly the same in both. Anyway, what I wanted to say about this issue
is
    that the claim above--that the absolute state in Aramaic is braa--is
    somewhat misleading. It is true that the determined state is much more
the
    default in Aramaic than in Hebrew. Whereas we normally think of the
    determined state in Hebrew indicating definiteness, we could almost
think of
    Aramaic as the opposite situation--the independent noun regularly
appears in
    the determined state, unless it is explicitly marked for indefiniteness
by
    appearing in the absolute. In the Aramaic of the Targums and in Syriac,
the
    absolute state is quite rare and pretty heavily marked for nouns.

    So where I'm heading with this is that I have to wonder whether the
    objection is legitimate. True, the absolute state may be rare and
indefinite
    in Aramaic, but does that mean that an Aramaic word used in Hebrew
poetry
    would have to follow the same patterns? We know that Hebrew avoids its
own
    determined state in poetry, even where the sense is clearly definite; so
    wouldn't it make sense to see the same thing with an Aramaic word?
  Schmuel at bigfoot.com

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