[b-hebrew] baccar l- "in distress"

Kirk Lowery klowery at wts.edu
Mon Mar 10 09:23:48 EST 2003

Andrew.Wergeland at mf.no wrote:
 > Based on what I know about Hebrew, I'm inclined to side with BDB.
 > Still, if we don't attribute the listing in HALOT to oversight,
 > they must have had some reasoning behind their evaluation.  And
 > before I discard their results, I want to know how they got to
 > them.
 > Does anybody have an explanation as to how HALOT and Westminster
 > came to the conclusion that BCCR L- in Deut. 4:30; 2 Sam. 22:7; 2
 > Chr. 15:4; Ps. 18:7; 66:14; 106:44; 107:6, 13, 19, 28; Isa. 25:4;
 > and Hos. 5:15 is a verb and not a nomen?

Since we here at Westminster maintain this database, I guess it's time
we chimed in! :-)

As to how this set of morphemes *originally* came to be parsed as
infinitives, I cannot answer. Keep in mind that this database is now
over a decade old and it would have been difficult to manually 
maintain a detailed listing of every change and the reason for it, who 
made the change, etc. BTW, in February we installed error tracking 
software on our website to do just that:


Originally the standard used in lemmatizing MORPH was Evan-Shoshan's
concordance. Since the mid-1990s we changed to using HALOT as our
standard for lemmatization and part-of-speech. However, as we all
know, HALOT does have problems...

The relevant place in HALOT is under CRR I, B. intransitive, 3c. All
of your references are cited there.

The issue came up in April 2000 among us here, and I quote an email
exchange with one of the other editors:

On 3 Apr 2000, at 8:24, Dale M. Wheeler wrote:

 > Can you figure out why KBS lists the following from CRR I "to
 > envelope, be constricted" rather than from CAR I "anxiety, need"?
 > All occur in the form CAR L:  -
 > Judg 11:7; 1Sam 1:26; 13:6; 24:14; 28:15; 1Chr 21:13; Ps 31:10;
 > 59:17; 69:18; 102:3; Lam 1:20 (I think that's all of them).
 > Normally the WTS lemmatizes/tags as CAR the adjective, except at
 > Lam 1:20
 > If we decide to follow KBS on this (which we probably should ?!), I
 > have no idea how to parse/tag these occurrences...are they
 > infinitives, ptcs, qal Pf 3ms, ???

Truly curious. Problem is that the construction with lamed is the
Hebrew idiom for possession. So it's difficult to understand CAR as 
anything other than nominal.

Does KBS list any articles on the subject? Unless I see more
justification, I would interpret this as an error on KBS' part. I've 
looked at many of the instances and I have a hard time understanding 
their meaning as anything other than "anxiety, need."

In the absence of other information, I say leave them as they are.


"...leave them as they are.", i.e., as adjectives.

Note that the adjective CAR is isomorphic with the perfect 3ms and ms 
participle of CRR. However, both the syntax of the idiom and the 
presence of the assimilated definite article weigh in favor of these 
forms as being a prepositional phrase and, hence, nominal. So they 
could be participles, and that, most likely, is how HALOT understands 
them. Now the question is, since participles inflect like adjectives, 
on what basis does HALOT (or anybody!) distinguish between participles 
used substantivally and adjectives for this root?

Finally, there is one occurance of the infinitive construct that is 
"normal": pr26:8 C:ROWR

I think we have to conclude that HALOT is in error to list these 
occurances with CRR I and not CAR I.

I will recommend to my colleagues that we relemmatize and reparse 
these 12 to CAR I as adjectives.

Thanks for raising the question!


Kirk E. Lowery, Ph.D.
Director, Westminster Hebrew Institute
Adjunct Professor of Old Testament
Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

Theorie ist, wenn man alles weiss und nichts klappt.
Praxis ist, wenn alles klappt und keiner weiss warum.
Bei uns sind Theorie und Praxis vereint:
nichts klappt und keiner weiss warum!

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