[b-hebrew] Re:morpho-syntax, was Proverbs 5:16 - a declaration or a question ?

Schmuel schmuel at escape.com
Fri Dec 31 12:54:10 EST 2004

Hi b-hebrew,

Proverbs 5:16 (KJB)
Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. 

>HH: I accept Gesenius. I cannot search for unmarked questions, but they occur now and then, based on context for the most part.

Would it be an interesting exercise to find one to three of those unmarked questions, and then look up how such phrases are considered by Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Radaq (in particular) ?  And it would also be interesting to know if David Kimchi (Radaq) discusses Proverbs 5:16.

We know that Rashi and Ibn Ezra (and the Targum) did not consider Proverbs 5:16 an interrogatory.  Perhaps we will find  that the other unmarked question verses are also interpreted differently by the rabbinics than it is by some of the modern translators, and that the interrogatory usage is very debatable -- even if  unlikely, this is definitely possible, we would only know by looking..

And if they were clear unmarked questions, and the rabbinics also considered the other verses as interrogatory, their unwillingness to do so on Proverbs 5:16 would still stand out.

Either way, I value their understanding highly, and I believe the King James Bible 
translators did the same.  My understanding is that the 17th century semiticists
were most attuned to Kimchi, and were generally well-read in the rabbinics.  This
partly came out of the 16th century Hebraic revival of which Sebastian Munster was
one of the major figures, as discussed by Pinchas Lapide in "Hebrew in the Church".

It is amazing how many people are not really aware of this history, and try to assign
semitic ignorance to the Cambridge and Oxford scholars.  I have seen a variety of 
folks who thought that the King James Bible wasn't really translated from the Masoretic
Text, but from the Greek OT or the Vulgate.  We had a little of that type of dissing here
on this thread, which I had let pass by without comment.  To any such folks, I recommend 
reading about the scholarly background of Lancelot Andrews and the other translators. 

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

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