[b-hebrew] "their altars" or "his/its altars"?

Deborah Millier deborahmillier at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 6 21:21:42 EST 2005

Reinier de Blois wrote:

> You could argue that the singular 
> possessive pronoun refers back to 
> the singular YOWSHEB "inhabitant" 
> in verse 12, which functions as a 
> collective: a singular form with a 
> plural meaning. Therefore neither 
> the singular nor the plural possessives 
> are incorrect.

Yeah . . . I’m not so much trying to establish what in
the text is “correct” (or not) as I am interested how
best to *understand* the text as is. When I read Exo
34:13 this last go around I simply *noticed* for the
first time the differences between the singular and
the plural possessives. (Tells you about my level of
Hebrew, huh?). Your comments provide me a possibility,
but then evoke the question: If the pronominal
suffixes all point to the same essential referent(s)
(i.e. the idolatrous inhabitants of the land), then
why would the writer have formally differentiated
):aS"RaYW from MiZB:XoTaM and MfC"BoTaM ? 

It is possible, but unlikely to my mind that it was a
stylistic issue since the two preceding nouns were
feminine plural. So why  ):aS"RaYW  in the sentence
rather than a corresponding plural possessive
pronominal suffix?  We’re only exploring viable
options. However, I’m not yet convinced that going up
to YoS”B (vs 12; or down to vs 15) satisfactorily
explains things as they stand. :-)  Any more thoughts?

--Michael Millier
Manila, Philippines

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