[b-hebrew] Re: Prov. 30:19

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Oct 6 20:52:25 EDT 2003

Dear Peter: 
I plan to have this as my last posting on this subject, because I am repeating what I 
said before. 
First of all, a sexual reference does not bother me, as there are far more explicit ones 
in Tanakh, assuming that this is one. 
Secondly, (LMH referring to a young woman refers to one who is unknown, as does 
its root. This is in contrast to a man knowing his wife and she becomes pregnant. Of 
the various discussions from many viewpoints I read on Isaiah 7:14, the ones I find 
most convincing are those that insist that (LMH must mean "virgin". 
Thirdly, you have not shown, at least in a way that I can recognize, a parallel 
between heavens, bare rock, sea and virgin. 
Fourthly, first in the fourfold use of DRK in the verse, indicating that the parallelism 
should be with the road and the action connected therewith, and not the object 
(heavens, bare rock, sea and virgin), and secondly there is a tradition that is different 
from the tradition you cite and predates it, one that fits the parallelism of DRK in a 
way that you have not shown that yours fits. 
My original question started with looking at the parallelism of DRK, looking at the root 
of (LMH, namely (LM which means "to be unknown" or in hifil "to cause to be 
unknown, i.e. hide" and proposed a noun referring to the unknown. Thanks to another 
responder on this mailing list, he pointed out that the LXX has a translation that fits 
the parallelism of DRK in the same way as my proposed noun, also fits the root (LM 
in a similar way as mine, and also fits a grammatical construct. 
In conclusion, while I'm quite ready to give up my proposed meaning seeing as it is 
based only on the parallelism and verbal root, I will go with the LXX as it is based not 
only on the parallelism of DRK, and the verbal root, but it adds evidence of a prior 
tradition to the tradition that you cite. Shouldn't an earlier tradition be closer to the 
original meaning than a later tradition? 
Unless you can add to this discussion something new that has not been brought up 
so far, I will not respond to it. To preserve the gentility of this mailing list, shall we 
declare this thread closed? No one needs to respond, just not post anymore.         :-) 
Karl W. Randolph. 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org> 
> On 06/10/2003 16:01, Karl Randolph wrote: 
> >Dear Rodney:  
> >  
> >I am a little surprised at the response I am getting from this thread.  
> >  
> >To start out, I have never been able to make heads or tails out of this verse. What 
> >of road does a man have in a virgin? The moment of a physical entrance of a man 
> >knowing a woman, she is no longer a virgin. Therefore, we cannot be talking 
> >the physical action. But if we are not talking about a physical action, how does the  
> >man remain the subject? Is not the subject then really the virgin's hopes, 
> >and dreams?  
> >   
> > 
> Two answers to this one. One is that `alma does not mean strictly a  
> virgin in the medical sense, rather  a young unmarried woman who was  
> generally assumed to be a  virgin. See any discussion of Isaiah 7:14.  
> The other is that according to your argument no one can ever be accused  
> of "deflowering" or raping a virgin because she is no longer a virgin  
> after the act - but that is no defence as what matters is that she was  
> one before the act. And  a  third one: we may not be talking about the  
> sex act  itself, but rather about the man's active part in winning the  
> girl's attention and affection. The suggestion that this is about "the  
> virgin's hopes, expectations and dreams" doesn't really fit with the  
> male-dominated world of  Proverbs. 
> >  
> >I proposed that a different definition for (LMH consistent with the unpointed text 
> >grammar would give a reading consistant with the parallelism of the rest of the 
> >  
> >As I understand the response, it is that one cannot go against 2000 years of 
tradition. ... 
> > 
> I think this shows that you have totally misunderstood the response.  
> References to older versions etc have been meant to show you that there  
> is no evidence at all for your understanding of the word and so it must  
> be totally speculative. You can reject tradition if you like, but you  
> need something to put in its place if you are to read the Hebrew Bible  
> itself. You can't just say that each word means what you want it to mean  
> or what you think fits the context best. I suppose you could try to  
> decipher the text from first principles without reference to  
> dictionaries or older translations, but I don't think you'll succeed -  
> Champollion relied on an ancient translation when he deciphered Egyptian  
> hieroglyphs, and Ventris on his knowledge of Greek when he deciphered  
> Linear B. So in one way or another you are dependent on tradition. 
> >  
> >... Why not? After all, the LXX, which predates the 2000 year old tradition, has a  
> >different reading. If my proposed definition is wrong, and it could be, why not 
> >the LXX translation? It also fits the grammar, parallelism and unpointed text. Yes, I  
> >know there are problems with the LXX, but why not at least hear them out on this  
> >verse? ... 
> > 
> The LXX reading is certainly worth considering, but I would reject it  
> because it offers no real parallel to sky, rock and sea, whereas the  
> understanding as young woman offers an excellent parallel and makes this  
> into a very vivid image. I just can't understand why you persistently  
> reject this image. Do you perhaps have problems with the idea that there  
> might be sexually explicit language in a holy book? Well, whether you  
> like it or not there is, and much more so than this passage. 
> --  
> Peter Kirk 
> peter at qaya.org (personal) 
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work) 
> http://www.qaya.org/ 
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