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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Jul 30 18:41:08 EDT 2004

That is one word that has puzzled me as well. 
First, outside of being a personal name, it is used only five times in 
Tanakh. Secondly, each time it is used, it is in hiphil, indicating 
that we should look for a causitive meaning for it. When I looked up 
in the dictionaries I have, they concurred with the Arabic meaning of 
brightening up or becoming cheerful, but none of the contexts indicate 
that that is the correct meaning. In fact, each of the contexts 
indicate almost the opposite meaning. 
In the Job passages as well as Jeremiah, if it means cheering up, it 
is of the type of "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" 
forced cheer. In such a way it could be taken as a derivitive of "to 
break out (in joy)" tying it in with Amos "causing violence to break 
out upon the strong". 
Like you, I'm puzzled. 
Karl W. Randolph. 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> 
> 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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