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

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Wed Dec 22 14:10:44 EST 2004

On 12/22/04 10:45 AM, "Jim West" <jwest at highland.net> wrote:
> The verb occurs in the Niphal in Nu 5:28, and  And Nah 1:14 (as a
> variant).  These are the two occurrences that describe a woman becoming
> impregnated- but there are simply none in which she does the impregnating.

Jim, it seems to me that the way you phrase things in the quotation above is
based on biology, not syntax. In the MT of Lev 12:2, a woman who becomes
pregnant "sows" her own "seed." In Num 5:28, the agent of the impregnation
is not stated. We know that _biologically_ the agent must be a male. But
that doesn't mean that _syntactically_ the agent must be a male. In the
absence of any actual attested transitive use of ZR( with a masculine
subject to indicate insemination/impregnation, I think the possibility that
ZR( with a feminine subject might mean "to conceive" must remain open. At
least, it is somewhere along those lines that I think the hiphil of ZR( in
Lev 12:2 might be explained. (If it needs to be explained syntactically
rather than text-critically; if the hiphil in Lev 12:2 is a scribal
corruption of an original niphal, then there's really no, um, "issue" here.)

BTW, I'm not seeing any impregnation of a woman in Nahum 1:14 LO) YIZZFRA(
MI$$IMKF (OD, "There will be no sowing from [i.e., "promulgation of"] your
name." Unless I am really misreading things, YIZZFRA( is masculine, and the
suffix on MI$$IMKF is masculine. What am I missing?

(In any event, the noun ZR( in Gen 3:15 surely refers to descendants, not
their cellular precursors. Even so, I find the nitty-gritty of syntactical
investigations fascinating.)


R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Armstrong Fellow in Religion
Pepperdine University

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