[b-hebrew] Meaning of prepositions

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sun Apr 16 11:44:15 EDT 2006

Doesn't Bachar Lanu mean "He chose FOR us"?


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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