[b-hebrew] Proverbs 30:19 (LMH

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Oct 1 05:58:04 EDT 2003

On 30/09/2003 23:54, Karl Randolph wrote:

>I still don’t see the parallelism when [‘almah] “virgin” is used, but at least I think I know how you approach this verse. Correct me if I am wrong, I think you are looking at it with the focus on the object (heavens, bare rock, sea, virgin) while I’m looking at it with the emphasis on the action (flight of the eagle, snake crossing bare rock, ship sailing in sea, man going in unknown). As long as I understood it as “virgin”, the parallelism based on action broke down and I was unsatisfied with every answer I got. ...
In each case the action is of course implied. Surely it doesn't take 
much imagination to understand the action of a man with a woman. And by 
making the action implicit in each case the author cleverly avoids 
having to use a euphemism.

>... But when I realized that with different points the word could mean “unknown”, then the parallelism throughout the verse fits.
The problem is, the word doesn't mean "unknown". At least, if it does it 
is an unknown word. This kind of speculation is just about OK when there 
is no known word which fits the sense. But in this case there is a 
perfectly good and well known word, which is supported by the Masoretic 
pointing and presumably the Jewish tradition behind it. LXX has NEOTHS, 
"youth" in the abstract or collective sense, cf. Hebrew `ALUMIYM which 
could have an unattested singular, and this is a possible reading which 
probably connotes the same kind of thing. But, as far as I know, there 
is no evidence at all for your speculation. You can't just make the 
Bible say what you think it ought to mean and make up new meanings for 
well-known words to fit your own understanding.

>(Incidently, I read a research project a few years ago where scientists found out just how does a snake get across a bare rock? Fascinating.)
>And I don’t have to use a euphemism.       ;-)
>Karl W. Randolph.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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