[b-hebrew] Initial "Beged Kefet" consonants always have a...

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sun Oct 23 10:28:38 EDT 2005

On 10/11/05, Dr. Joel M. Hoffman wrote:
> >>It's not a prosodic rule.  It's not hard to find examples in Tanach of
> >>the same prosody with different trope types, and, hence, different
> >>BEGED KEFET behavior.  The Masoretes invented this arbitrary
> >>inter-word rule (and, actually, for all we know, invented the entire
> >>BEGED KEFET rule).
> >
> >[...]
> >word within a short phrase. And there is surely pre-Masoretic evidence
> >for the different pronunciations of begadkepat letters in
> >transliterations into Greek, Latin etc.
> There is considerable pre-masoreteic evidence, and none of it confirms
> the Masoretic Beged Kefet rules.  I go through the evidence in great
> detail in my NYU book (_In the Beginning: A Short History of the
> Hebrew Language), which is available from most libraries.  "Rebekka"
> demonstrates well, as the Masoretes recorded two syllables and a /v/
> for the second consonant, while the LXX gives us three syllabes and a
> /b/ for the second consonant.  "Milcah" shows the same pattern, with
> /k/ according to the Masoretes but /x/ according to the LXX.

I was thinking of these examples.  Why do you assume that if two names
have the same form (mishqal) in the MT, they necessarily had the same
form a few (or more than a few) centuries earlier.  Two possibilities can
derive from this.  1) The original form was entirely lost in Hebrew and
merged with the second form.  2) The original form was maintained in
some words.  If the second, could we not suggest the form of Rebeccah
might earlier on have been the same as "m:sillFh" (Isaiah 40:3) or
"c:biyyFh" (Song of Songs 3:5)?  It's possible of course that different
communities had different pronunciations of words, but I think this is
less likely in the case of popular names.

Yitzhak Sapir

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