[b-hebrew] Re: agent or patient in Psa. 33:12?

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Thu May 13 14:55:06 EDT 2004

> > > HH: Liz gave one reason, and I gave another. But
> > > if you want a third reason, your translation
> > > doesn't have YHWH as a possible object. If LW
> > > means "for itself," then there is no object for
> > > the verb "choose."
> > >
> > Harold,
> > This is what I've been trying to say all along.
> > LW means "for itself/himself." There's no object for
> > "choose." To have "Him" be the object as Michael
> > wants, it would have to be BW.
> > Liz
> Liz and Harold (...anyone?),
> Please assume that I am totally dense and walk me
> through this, okay?  I am actually trying to learn
> from those with more experience in the language.
> Therefore, lets not work off my *translation* which
> we all agree could use some work.  Lets please argue
> and instruct from the MT of Psa. 33:12.
> Now here are my observations.  Tell me exactly where
> my reasoning is faulty:
> 1.  HGWY and H(M are in synonymous parallelism  both
> referring back to )$RY.

> 2.  The first stiche is a verbless clause; the second
> is not.
> 3.  The verb in the second stiche is ms; YHWH and (M
> are both ms.
> 4.  Therefore the same syntactic rules apply to either
> YHWHs choosing or H(Ms choosing.  If one
> requires a prefixed B- then so does the other.
It is the OBJECT of BXR that is prefixed by B,
BXR takes BET. The thing chosen is prefixed by BET,
not the Subject.
> 5.  But this is poetry and terse, therefore object
> markers and prepositions are sometimes missing.
> 6.  Consequently, in our little poetry world, what
> applies syntactically to the ms YHWH theoretically
> applies to the ms H(M.  If YHWH can choose
> something/one LW, then so can H(M choose
> something/one LW.  And visa-versa.
You want LW to be the object of BXR.
You want LW to be the thing chosen.
LW can NEVER be the thing chosen.
In an normal prose sentence
A bxr b'B lw
A chose B for himself.
Here B is fronted, it doesn't get the prefix.
Also the subject A is dropped.
Ignoring the subject you have the construction
bXr lw
He/it chose for himself.
Now you're missing the object, the thing chosen.
You could have (I suppose)
The people chose for itself --what?
He chose the people for himself.
However, in Hebrew it is customary to drop
subjects. It is called in linguistics a pro-drop language,
meaning the subject is dropped. There are lots
of languages where the subject is dropped. I don't
know of languages where the objects are dropped.
Consequently you have
The people he chose for himself.
This is the correct translation.
> 7.  Therefore, the verse is syntactically ambiguous.
NO, it really isn't.
Once you realize that lw means "for himself",
that it is a REFLEXIVE pronoun, the
ambiguity evaporates.
> 8.  So the question must now go beyond the range of
> syntax.
Sorry, it doesn't go beyond syntax.
It doesn't even get up to syntax.
It is simply a fact that you cannot translate
LW as "Him" . It has to be "for himself."
In order for a word to be translated "Him"
you have to have a word BW in the sentence
which you do not have. You do not have BW,
therefore NO ONE choses HIM, to choose HIM
you';d have to have BW.
I am saying the same thing over and over again.
I'm not responding to this thread any more.

Karl R. has offered some helpful thoughts
> concerning who (or Who) usually does the choosing in
> Israels and YHWHs covenant relationship.  It is
> YHWH.  Usually.
> 9.  However, it is not always YHWH Who chooses;
> sometimes people choose Him in the TaNaKH.  And it is
> not always Israel who is YHWHs NXLH (i.e.
> inheritance); sometimes YHWH is described as Israels
> or the Levites, or someones inheritance.
> 10. Therefore I wonder why this verse is consistently
> translated one way, with Israel ending up as YHWH
Because that is the only way to translate it.

Liz Fried

> Sincerely,
> -- Michael Millier
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