[b-hebrew] Meaning of prepositions

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Sat Apr 15 06:51:18 EDT 2006


Most grammarians are of the opinion that Hebrew prepositions have widely varying meanings. That opinion is convenient for exegetical translators. Is it, however, true?

I submit that the idea of fluctuating meaning of prepositions often comes from inaccurate translations.

Take, for example, bahar lanu. Preposition l, if anything, is directional, thus dative. In the translation, he chose us, the omitted preposition is, however, accusative.

The sense of bhr is, thrust in the direction. Directional preposition l perfectly fits that sense. There are derivative meanings, to cut through, divide, choose, and prefer. 
The phrase bahar lanu should be perhaps translated, he was attracted to us. Besides preserving the correct preposition, that translation better relates the dynamic sense of the Hebrew phrase.

Shall we discuss some cases of the ostensibly non-standard or rather non-etymological meaning of prepositions, and see whether such cases really depend on inaccurate translation?

Vadim Cherny


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