[b-hebrew] Offend/dealt corruptly - chet bet lamed (nehemiah 1:7)

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Jun 25 19:28:31 EDT 2004


Dear George:

Thanx for the story about Arabic word definitions—my boys also enjoyed it.

Whereas most verses can be understood without referring to verses around about them, Micah 2:10 required me to look at other verses to establish a larger context before I could say I understood it. That’s why I said it was more difficult than most verses. Once I looked at the context, then it makes sense. Even within the larger context, it could mean either packed up as I understand it, or corrupted, though packed up seems to fit both the context better, and better fit my understanding of how languages act.

“Bear” in English comes from at least two, if not three, roots. Usually words have one root and all the derivitives and their meanings are recognizeably from that root. That is not always true. But it’s true often enough that I find learning root meanings a useful tool to understand foreign languages. It is true with every modern language I have studied, as well as the other ancient language. So I see no reason not to expect the same pattern with Biblical Hebrew. So far what I have seen follows that pattern.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "George F. Somsel" <gfsomsel at juno.com>

> On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 12:02:50 -0500 "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> writes:
> > Dear George:
> > 
> > Of course, you had to focus on the verse that gives me the most 
> > trouble    :-)
> > 
> > Again, the context beyond the verse can provide clues as to how to 
> > read the verse. Verses 8–9 mention being captured in battle, the 
> > women driven from their houses and stripped of their finery; then 
> > verse 10 “Rise up and go, this is not the rest, on account of 
> > impurity it was packed up (tied up to be taken away as in 
> > despoiling) and land connected to the city vilified.”
> > 
> > A question I have is the meaning of MRC &#1502;&#1512;&#1509; a word 
> > + derivitives that occures only 3 times in Tanakh, 1 Kings 2:8, Job 
> > 6:25 and here. Tentatively I have the meaning of vilify. Does anyone 
> > have any clues to nail down this definition?
> > 
> > Karl W. Randolph.
> > 
> _____________
> 
> The problem is that I don't think you can derive a definition for a word
> which is all-inclusive from one sense.  It doesn't work that way in
> English and, as far as I can see, neither does it work in any other
> language.  There was a joke when I was in graduate school (not entirely
> true, I assure you) that every Arabic word had four meanings :  
> 
> (1)  Its normal meaning
> (2)  The precise opposite
> (3)  Something obscene
> (4)  Something to do with a camel
> 
> The kernel of truth in the joke is that words don't always mean the same
> thing.  Take the English word "bear" as an example.  Does it refer to a
> large animal?  Does it refer to an act of carrying?  Does it refer to a
> movement in a designated direction ("Bear left at the fork in the road")?
> Does it refer to a metaphorical carrying ("I can't bear to hear about
> that")?  Of course, it has all of these significances (and perphaps more)
> some of which are derived from others and some which aren't.  That's
> simply the nature of language.
> 
> gfsomsel

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