[b-hebrew] Eccl 4:10 plural

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Jul 22 10:56:31 EDT 2005

On Wednesday 20 July 2005 13:30, Giuseppe Regalzi wrote:
> Dave Washburn wrote:
> > I came across this and the plural verb has me baffled:
> >
> >
> > BHS doesn't show any textual variant here, so I wonder: does anybody have
> > an idea why we have the plural verb YIP.OLW. with "the one", HFEXAD, as
> > its subject?????
> As the text stands, the subject of YIP.OLW. is HA$.:NAYIM in the previous
> verse. Note the zaqef over YIP.OLW.

Syntactically, I don't see how this can be.  First, there's a verse (sentence) 
break indicated.  I know those are somewhat artificial in places, but it must 
be considered.  Second, the whole thing is inside the KIY )IM subordinating 
structure, which helps separate it from the previous clause/verse.  The NIV 
translates as though HFEXFD is the subject of YIP.OLW. where the RSV goes the 
way you suggest.  'Twould appear that others have had the same problem with 

> The verse is not without its problems, though: if both fall, how can "the
> one" help the other to get up again?

Agreed.  In practical terms, the contrast in the second half of the verse has 
to do with a second companion who, apparently having NOT fallen, can help the 
first one up, whereas the one who is walking alone doesn't have that 
advantage.  In that context, if they're both down, they're not going to be 
much help to each other.

Dave Washburn
"Well, if I'd wanted a safe life, I guess I wouldn't have 
married a man who studies rocks." - Betty Armstrong (Fay Masterson)

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