[b-hebrew] Vocalization of wnr)h 1Sam 1:22

CS Bartholomew jacksonpollock at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 15 14:19:05 EDT 2003


I did some more work on this but was hesitant to go on with discussion
because I felt like I was "putting my feet in the bilge"* and without help
from some expert source would just get further and further into confusion.

Here are some of the issues:

Passive QAL

Under r)h HAL (page 1160 sec. 4) suggests that where nr)h might be a passive
QAL. Waltke/O'Connor #22.6 explain this but after reading it half a dozen
times I was no less enlightened than before.

Active/Passive Translation

Robert Alter translates it as an active QAL, "We will see the LORD's
presence ... 

The Vulgate translates active but using appareat, a word which in the active
form has the same semantic value as nr)h read as nifal.

> Also note that the Vulgate supports the MT:
> 1Sam. 1:22 ... et appareat ante conspectum Domini et maneat ibi iugiter
> The vulgate uses the active form appareat to render the niphal r)h where the
> LXX uses the passive ophthesetai. Both render the sense of the MT

So the Vulgate and LXX appear to read nr)h as nifal, note person and number.
I am very open to correction here, since I am in over my head on this

If we read  nr)h as a QAL passive it would be third person plural, No?

The ancient versions are only one form of evidence, but they do undermine
Robert Alter's suggestion that the nifal reading of nr)h 1Sam. 1:22 didn't
show up until the middle ages.

Clay Bartholomew 

*i.e., getting embroiled in difficulties, see Euripides, Heraclidae line168

On 9/15/03 10:32 AM, "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com> wrote:

> Upon further reflection, it appears that the verb in the phrase “to see the
> face of YHWH” is in Qal form, not Niphal. Here is where we need to separate
> how the word is used in Hebrew from how to translate it into another language.
> For example, Exodus 34:24 and Deut. 31:11 is a Qal infinitive in reading an
> unpointed text. Examples of the Niphal infinitive include Judges 13:21, 1 Sam.
> 3:21, 2 Sam. 17:17 and 1 Kings 18:2. It is noticeably different.
> Did the people actually expect to see YHWH’s face? I don’t think so. It has
> the meaning that they went to God’s temple to worship. It appears to be an
> idiomatic phrase with no equivalent in any other language I know.
> As for translation, I would render it as “to appear before” which has a
> passive meaning. But that does not mean that in the original language it is
> passive.


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