[b-hebrew] BLG in Jer. 8:18

Reinier de Blois r.de.blois at solcon.nl
Tue Jul 27 03:30:27 EDT 2004


Dear Yigal,

BLG seems to be related to Arabic balaja "to break, appear (of dawn)"
and balija "to be cheerful". Both have something to do with the concept
of shining.
In Amos 5:9 God causes destruction to appear (in a context where there
has been lots of talk of light and darkness, see previous verse), and in
Job and Psalms the idea of cheerfulness fits well. This works for
MABLIYGIYT too, even though HALOT suggests another reading there:
MIB.:LIY GEHAH "without healing".

Bes wishes,

Reinier de Blois

> The first word of Jer. 8:18, "MBLYGYTY on (or for) sorrow". 
> AV translates "When I would comfort myself against sorrow". 
> NRSV has "My joy is gone, grief is upon me". 

> The root BLG is very rare. In Amos 5:9, Hammavlig is "that 
> stengtheneth" in AV and "who makes... flash out" in NRSV. In 
> Ps. 39:14 (13 in Engish), Ve)avligah is "that I may recover 
> strength" in AV and "that I may smile again" in NRSV. The 
> same form in Job 9:27 is "and confort myself" in AV and "and 
> be of good cheer" in NRSV; while for Job 10:20 AV has "that I 
> may take comfort" while NRSV has "find... comfort" with a 
> note that "Heb: That I may brighten up".
> 
> The Jewish commentators, such as Kimhi, seem to understand 
> the word as meaning "to hold back", "I hold back my sorrow". 
> This, by the way, is the meaning that has been adopted into 
> modern Hebrew.
> 
> So: does BLG mean strength, comfort, cheer, sorrow or holding back?
> 
> Yigal
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