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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Sep 15 18:21:19 EDT 2003


On 15/09/2003 13:24, CS Bartholomew wrote:

>On 9/15/03 12:07 PM, "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org> wrote:
>
>  
>
>>On 15/09/2003 11:19, CS Bartholomew wrote:
>>
>>    
>>
>>>...
>>>Robert Alter translates it as an active QAL, "We will see the LORD's
>>>presence ... 
>>>...
>>> 
>>>
>>>      
>>>
>>I wonder if the key issue here is not so much the form of the verb as
>>the meaning of pene-YHWH. Of  course this is "literally" "the face of
>>YHWH", but as everyone knows (certainly now, not so sure about Samuel's
>>time) God doesn't have a literal face but only a metaphorical one. And
>>it seems that in biblical Hebrew panim, when referring to YHWH and to
>>important humans, tends to refer not so much to the physical face as to
>>the presence. Thus to "see the face" of a king is to be admitted into
>>his presence or his audience chamber. So similarly to "see the face" of
>>YHWH may simply mean to come to the tabernacle, which is the place of
>>his presence and his audience chamber. See BDB sense I 2b of panim and
>>the list of references there, as well as sense II 2.
>>    
>>
>
>
>Peter,
>
>Yes, the idiom is a common one in the MT, but Alter only unpacks the idiom
>about halfway in keeping with his translation philosophy which we have
>already discussed.
>
Well, my point was not to discuss Alter's translation, but it looks to 
me that he has broken his own rules here probably because he finds 
theologically objectionable translation which his method would give him, 
with "face".

>
>My question isn't really about translation, however, my curiosity is
>directed toward the question: what kind of evidence can be used to support
>the vocalization of the MT at this point? Aside from ancient versions what
>kind of evidence is there to support reading nr)h as a nifal or qal or qal
>passive?
>
Well, I would hold that the original author used an active verb, but 
without any anthropomorphic intention as this was an idiom. And later on 
literal-minded precursors of Alter altered the text because they didn't 
understand idioms and thought this was an anthropomorphism.

>
>Also, the qal passive is an intriguing issue. What does it really solve to
>call nr)h a qal passive in 1Sam 1:22.
>  
>
The qal passive idea is simply obfuscation. The only qal passives in the 
Hebrew Bible are participles like BARUK.

>
>
>
>greetings,
>Clay Bartholomew 
> 
>  
>


-- 
Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
http://www.qaya.org/





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