[b-hebrew] Gen18:1-3

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 15 06:32:01 EDT 2005

On 14/08/2005 22:32, Read, James C wrote:

> Peter wrote:
> although plural in form, just like Elohim. But when referring to humans,
> adonay is plural "my masters", whereas adoni is singular "my master".
> This is quite regular: -i is the basic 1st person singular possessive
> suffix, but when added to a plural which would otherwise by -im,
> construct -ey, the suffixes contract together resulting in -ay.
> JCR: Yes!Ican see your point. However, the text clearly uses the 
> tetragramatton here and it is clear that
> Abram called the messengers YHWH and this pattern of subtituting 
> messengers for yhwh and vice versa is
> recurrent in the torah. Seeing as the text clearly adresses them as 
> YHWH it seems pointless to argue that
> Abram was adressing them as sirs.
James, you need to distinguish here between the perspective of Abraham 
and that of the narrator. It is the narrator who uses the name YHWH, in 
verses 1 and 13, and then YHWH himself speaks the name in vv. 14,19. But 
nowhere in this chapter (according to BHS) does Abraham speak the name 
YHWH, he always says Adonay (vv.3,27,30,31,32) (and interestingly Sarah 
calls Abraham Adoni, v.12). But I do note some textual differences: some 
MSS have YHWH in vv.27,31.

The interesting point is when Adonay is a divine title, and when it 
means "my lords", referring to the three messengers. But I am sure there 
is some deliberate ambiguity, as part of the literary art here.

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

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