[b-hebrew] Proverbs 30:19 (LMH

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Oct 2 11:59:44 EDT 2003

Dear Peter:

By referencing the Septuagint, you have put another arrow in my quiver, so to speak. It also provides a tie-in to another discussion in another thread, namely that of when to have a feminine or masculine noun for a similar meaning.

The flight of an eagle is soaring, constantly looking back and forth and around again for targets of opportunity, the snake on bare rock (according to recent research) grips on the slightest of bumps to propel himself forward, therefore is casting back and forth to find those bumps, the ship in the sea in the days before the invention of the compas and modern charts, crept along the coasts or from headland to headland, back and forth, watching for reefs and shallows, ready to turn in an instant, and a man in his youth, looking at many options, before settling on his life’s work (sort of like my eldest, spent three years in junior college looking at many options, different subjects, before deciding on following his great-grandfather’s footsteps into physics). A man exploring in the unknown, as in my original question, is like the eagle, snake and ship as described above. In none of the cases are we dealing with a sinuous or rythmic action. (A snake’ sinuous action is in vegeta
 tion or on sand or soft soil, not hard, bare rock.)

While my original question was merely saying I have a problem understanding the text as it is presently understood, does it mean the deflowering of a virgin or is it something in her heart, either way it didn’t fit the parallelism. The LXX with its definition of youthfulness (I checked a dictionary, my knowledge of Greek is not that good) or my suggestion of “unknown” both fit the parallelism and, as far as I can understand, the meaning of the unpointed text. In the case of the LXX, (LMH refers to the status of a young man before he has settled down with a wife.

My contention is that “virgin”, i.e. a female who has not had sex, does not fit here (at least not the parallelism and not well) and that is why I brought up the question in the first place.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>

> On 30/09/2003 23:54, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >Peter:
> >
> >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)
> http://www.qaya.org/

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