[b-hebrew] Re: Proverbs 30:19

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Oct 2 14:01:59 EDT 2003

What I see is the utter unpredictability of action.

When an eagle soars on the updrafts, it is constantly on the ourlook for prey. It jerks back and forth, sudden turns if it thinks it see something promising, only to turn back if not, or to swoop down in a dive if prey is confirmed: I wouldn’t be surprised if the eagle itself doesn’t know from second to second what its next action will be.

A snake in grass or on sand has much to anchor its actions, hence has no problem with making a smooth, undulating motion. Not so on bare rock: the smoother the rock, the more discontinuous, jerky the action becomes. There is no predicting which way the snake will turn next to find unevennesses to grip onto to move forward.

When a ship travels from headland to headland, there is no predicting which way it will turn when it reaches the next headland. Even the captain doesn’t know until he reaches it and sees the conditions. In the Mediterranean there are no tides to complicate the decision, but ships were still captive to wind and wave conditions. Maybe the last time he turned left to go to the next headland, but this time he turns right for shelter against an arriving storm. There is no prediction.

Now if DRK GBR B(LMH means a man dealing with a virgin, what sort of jerky, unpredictable motion are we talking about? In those days of arranged marriages, are we talking about courtship as we presently practice? The LXX finesses it by recognizing the often unpredictability of a man’s actions in his youthfulness before marriage. My youngest wants to become a mechanical engineer, so he started college at 15. Will he stay the course? Time will tell. My eldest started college at 16 because it gave a larger pool of options to bounce around than high school. There was no predicting which field he wanted to continue until well into his second year. My middle son went four years in high school. There was no way I could have predicted their actions. My postulate that (LMH may mean “unknown” making a man’s way in it one of exploration, gives the same sort of jerky, unpredictable motion. It fits the parallelism of the rest of the verse. I’m not wedded to my proposal: the LXX meaning ha
 s the added advantage that it could be a varient on (LWMYM, a word already known.

So what is DRK GBR B(LMH ?

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: Deborah Millier <deborahmillier at yahoo.com>

> I had written:
> >> Me-thinks that if you call to mind the action of
> >> gliding-type undulation you will see that the
> >> parallelism fits just fine--even employing the
> >> standard understanding of ALMAH.
> To which D. Washburn replied:
> > Perhaps I'm a little slow, but I 
> > don't see the need for such an 
> > explicit parallelism in this passage.  
> > ISTM that the writer is simply 
> > describing some things he doesn't 
> > understand, as the previous verse 
> > says.  How does an eagle soar?  How 
> > does a snake slither?  How does a 
> > ship slice through the waves?  
> > How is it that people fall in love?  
> > I hardly think that the "gliding-type 
> > undulation" referred to above would 
> > qualify as something beyond his 
> > understanding, but matters of the 
> > heart very well might.
> Well, I think it comes down to the matter of a common
> denominator between all the mentioned scenarios.  I
> suppose the author had stared in wonder on many
> occasions at eagles on wing, snakes making their ways
> across rocks, ships moving through the waves...and
> they all have in common a smooth rhythmic motion.  Now
> I don't think our guy is clueless about the "birds and
> the bees," I actually think he is *in awe* of the
> whole deal.  That's what I think Dave, but...if it
> seems too explicit an interpretation for you, please,
> by all means, stick with yours.  Me, I kind of like
> watching flying birds, undulating snakes, ships
> rocking back 'n forth, ...and...  ;-)
> -- Michael Millier
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