[b-hebrew] Leviral marriage - prepositions & grammar
VadimCherny at mail.ru
Sun Oct 16 16:49:26 EDT 2005
Well, we need to define what is less than legal wife.
The strongest case, IMO, is leviral marriage. Consider Deut26:6: a child
from leviral marriage succeeds in the name of the gone brother. If that was
a normal marriage, he would of course succeed in his father's name. And such
marriage is consistently referred as lo l'isha.
Next, take Sarah. From a cursory look, the only time she is called l'isha is
when Abraham tries to explain why she is more of a sister to him.
Next, take Rachel. She was the second wife.
Next, take Ruth. Her marriage was--to avoid discussion of
l'isha occurs idiomatically with lo. If preposition l would be simply a
grammatical fluke, irrelevant and meaningless, that correlation would not
A notion of similarity (approaching, but not reaching) which might be seen
in 'verb lo l'isha' is fundamental to preposition l.
> 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.
>>> 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.
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