[b-hebrew] Isaiah 29:11-12

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu Jul 8 18:24:51 EDT 2004

On 08/07/2004 20:31, Medina, Vincent wrote:

>Hello All:
>I have been working on the verse-structure of Isaiah 29:11-12. ... Would you mind telling me what you think?
>v. 11a           Intro.    And every vision has become to you
>v. 11b           A         Like the words of the sealed book
>v. 11c           B         Which they give it to one who knows writing
>v. 11d           C         Saying, read this please
>v. 11e           D         But he says, I cannot
>v. 11f           A         For it is sealed
>v. 12a           B         And the give the book to someone who does not
>know writing
>v. 12b           C         Saying read this please
>v. 12c           D         But he says I do not know writing.
I don't much like the way you have divided 11e and 11f, even making this 
a break between stanzas.

It might help to look at the Hebrew accent structure, at least to see 
how the Masoretes understood the structure of these verses. Here I 
repeat your translation with some reordering but with / corresponding to 
the less important Hebrew disjunctive accents, new lines for 
intermediate disjunctives, and blank lines for major disjunctives:

And has become to you / Every vision
Like the words of / The sealed book

Which they give it
To [one who] knows writing saying, / Read this please

But he says, / I cannot
For is sealed / It

And they give the book
To [someone] who does not know writing saying, / Read this please

But he says,
I do not know / Writing.

I'm not sure what to make of this in terms of poetic lines, except to 
suggest that the first two lines, as I have laid it out, make a good 
bicolon, and there is no major division between "cannot" and "For it is 

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list