[b-hebrew] Leviral marriage - prepositions & grammar

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sat Oct 15 15:21:05 EDT 2005

Hi Vadim,

Roman law forbade polygamy. This did not necessarily obligate citizens (or 
kings) of client states, but Herod did his best to emulate Roman customs.

As far as the Bible - you have not quoted a single example of l'ishah 
unequivocally meaning anything "less" than a legal wife.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Vadim Cherny" <VadimCherny at mail.ru>
To: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 6:27 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Leviral marriage - prepositions & grammar

> Shalom Yigal,
>> Herod walked a fine line between Oriental despotism and Roman "rule of 
>> law". A Roman could only have one wife at a time, so Herod was careful to 
>> dispose of one before marrying anothe.
> Other monarchs in the Roman world did not care. Polygamy, I think, had to 
> do less with fine feelings than with the practical issues of inheritance 
> and--in the case of kings--of regency. Also, common people would have find 
> it difficult to provide for several wives.
> I do think that 'verb lo l'isha' etymologically means something like 
> concubine, or property-wise lighter than marriage. In time, it might 
> acquire either colloquial sense, close to concubine, or archaic and 
> ceremonial sense. Russian, "take into [the circle of one's] wives" became 
> ceremonial. Both interpretations are meaningful in the case of Rivka, 
> though each remains a more or less possible conjecture.
> The point is, however, that the preposition l in 'verb lo l'isha' is 
> meaningful; not just "became a wife" (instrumental), or "took a wife" 
> (accusative), but perhaps, "took for a wife," "took similarly to a wife" 
> or something like that, an idiom originally different from simple "took a 
> wife." Since "verb lo l'isha" is an idiom, it seemingly does not prove 
> instrumental case for l'nephesh in Gen2:7. I still assert that l is always 
> dative, and hih l always mean that subject becomes close to the object, 
> but not strictly an object; thus, similar to it.
> Vadim

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list