[b-hebrew] Gen. 2:16-17 :: idiom or clumsy lie

Jay Frank jif_mail at mac.com
Wed Nov 29 08:01:06 EST 2006

On this day, you will surely die!

But, of course, they didn't. And it can reasonably argued that the  
same is true of Shimei in 1 Kings 2:36-46. Alter, in his The Five  
Books of Moses, writes ...

> The form of the Hebrew in both instances is what grammarians call  
> the infinitive absolute: the infinitive immediately followed by a  
> conjugated form of the same verb. The general effect of this  
> representation is to add emphasis to the verb, but because in the  
> case of the verb "to die" it is the pattern regularly used in the  
> Bible for the issuing of death sentences, "doomed to die" is an  
> appropriate equivalent.

Interestingly, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan reads "for in the day that thou  
eatest thou wilt be guilty of death."

What support, if any, can be offered for this rendering? Thanks.

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