[b-hebrew] Proverbs 8:21 Y$

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Oct 15 06:14:08 EDT 2003

On 14/10/2003 18:12, Karl Randolph wrote:

>To All:
>Here is a question as to the definition of a word.
>Proverbs 8:21 Y$ appears to be a noun. As far as I can tell, this is the only use of this lexeme in Tanakh where it appears to be a noun.
>The dictionary I have here gives no clue as to its possible meaning, is there any definition in other dictionaries? Cognate languages?
>I know the usual definition is “there is” and it is rather common in Tanakh with this meaning, but in this verse the context seems to call for a different definition.
>Any thoughts?
>Karl W. Randolph.
BDB, for what it's worth, defines Y"$ as a noun "being, substance, 
existence", quoting this verse only for the nominal sense but 
considering the common sense "there is" as a secondary sense of the 
noun, presumably with an implied verb "to be". But no evidence from 
other languages is quoted for the noun sense.

This double sense may seem improbable at first sight, but actually 
exactly the same double sense occurs in Azerbaijani, where "var" 
basically means "existence" but with the secondary meaning "possessions, 
riches" (and "varlı" means "rich"), but also, with an optional 
equivalent of "is", is the regular way of saying "there was".

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

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