[b-hebrew] Genesis 3:15 and order of ideas

Trevor Peterson abuian at access4less.net
Tue Dec 21 05:30:48 EST 2004


Sesamo m. wrote:
> Gen 3:15
> "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed 
> and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
> 
> I remember having heard when I was a child that though the chronological 
> order of events is inverted (first the serpent "bruises" the woman's 
> seed "heel" and then the Seed bruises the serpent head destroing it), in 
> Hebrew sometimes the most important event is mentioned first, and that's 
> why the order of events in this verse is inverted.
> Was there any truth in that statement?

I don't know about that, but perhaps it helps to realize that the 
construction of these two clauses at the end of the verse (with subjects 
before verbs) is not what you would normally use to show sequence. 
They're really more in parallel, so that if possible the actions could 
be taken as simultaneous. At least, the action is presented that way, so 
that the writer chooses not to give us a particular sequence for which 
happens first. And the structure makes sense, when you think about it, 
because clearly here the two actions are related to each other most 
significantly in terms of their similarity, not their chronology.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics



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