[b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Thu Apr 5 23:42:28 EDT 2007

Dear Isaac,

Gesenius, Paragraph 45, pages 122-123:

The Infinitive is represented in Hebrew by two forms, a shorter and longer;
both are, however, strictly speaking, independent nouns (verbal
substantives). The shorter form, the Infinitive construct, ... is used in
very various, sometimes in connexion with pronominal suffixes, or governing
a substantive in the genitive, or with an accusative of the object (Para.
115), sometimes in connexion with prepositions (...Para. 114), and sometimes
in dependence upon substantives as genitive, or upon verbs as accusative of
the object.

On the other hand, the use of the longer form, the Infinitive absolute, is
restricted to those cases in which it emphasizes the abstract verbal idea,
without regard to the subject or object of the action. It stands most
frequently as an adverbial accusative with a finite verb of the same stem
(Para. 113, h-s).

Paragraphs 113, 114, 115, pages 339-355. I will quote paragraph 113, number
3, page 342:

3. The Infinitive Absolute occurs most frequently in immediate connexion
with the finite verb of the same stem, in order in various ways to define
more accurately or to strengthen the idea of the verb. ... We further
distinguish- (a) The infinitive absolute used before the verb to strengthen
the verbal idea, i.e. to emphasize in the way either the certainty
(especially in case of threats) or the forcibleness and completeness of an
occurrence. In English, such an infinitive is mostly expressed by a
corresponding adverb, but sometimes merely by putting greater stress on the
verb; e.g. GN2:17...thou shalt surely die.

I will note that "surely" is an adverb. Surely = Certainty. So my question
is, In what word would you use to intensify the verb and Infinitive Absolute
to clearly indicate in English, the idea of absolute death?

MOT is a state (lying on the back with closed eyes, an
> idle pulse, a drained brain and a departed spirit), while TAMUT = ATA-
> MUT is how you (ATA) will get there.

That may be the idea today, at least with the body, but is that what was
understood by Adam and Eve? (This last question should be answered off-line,
Please.) There is really no way of knowing since the idea of death also
includes the inner person and the text in no ways indicates this; it is
speculation albeit educated speculation.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
To: "Scott McAliley" <scottanderin1 at hotmail.com>
Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2007 10:38 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17

> Scott and All,
> I must say that I find the addition in the translation of 'surely'
> troubling. Surely God does not need to amplify his forewarnings by
> the use of "surely". God is not the principal of GAN-EDEN high
> school, emphatically warning a misbehaving student that unless he
> rectifies his behavior and refrains from sucking smoke out of the rod
> of pleasure he will SURELY find himself over the wrong side of the gate.
> The terminology of Infinitive Absolute is opaque and  gives no hint
> of its function. As I have said in the past on this Forum, I consider
> the Hebrew word as consisting of a root plus personal pronouns (and
> auxiliary prefixed prepositions), which in my opinion is the essence
> of Hebrew grammar. In order not to garble the root, the internally
> inserted pronouns (the 'infixes') are reduced to the bare vowels U
> (O), I (E), which are the core of the universal pronouns HU), HI).
> In Isaiah 22:13 "HAROG BAQAR", HAROG = HAR-HO-G, from the root HRG
> (related to XRG and XRQ), 'kill', and HO) = HU) referring to a
> general, unspecified, actor pulling off the act of slaying (notice
> the subtle difference between HAROG and the QAL passive participle
> HARUG = HAR-HU-G). This is exactly the function in English of the
> suffix 'ing' in 'slaying'. Surely the BAQAR, 'ox', did not die
> unaided; someone intently caused its expiration by some brutal means.
> In the jussive form HAROG!, the inserted personal pronoun stands for
> the person being commanded to perform the act.
> As an example of a succession of cognates derived from the same root
> consider the random GADOL TIGDAL constructed out of the strong
> (stable, complete), root GDL, 'grow'. In this GAD-HO-L the personal
> pronoun HO) = HU) refers to the the addressee, predicted, or wished,
> to be in the state of GDL. How will he get there? By virtue of TIGDAL
> = TI-GDAL, where TI is the personal pronoun AT-HI), referring once
> more to the predicated listener. Hence the English translation of
> GADOL TIGDAL is "big you will become", or "big you will grow".
> Just think about it; it is nothing short of a miracle that ADAM and
> EVE understood at all what MUT means, considering the lack of a
> precedent and their being denied accesses to BDB.
> In conclusion, MOT is a state (lying on the back with closed eyes, an
> idle pulse, a drained brain and a departed spirit), while TAMUT = ATA-
> MUT is how you (ATA) will get there.
> Notice the conceptual affinity of MUT with a TAV and MUT with a TETH.
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> On Apr 4, 2007, at 12:29 AM, Scott McAliley wrote:
> > I was reading through some archives addressing the infinitive
> > absolute in
> > Genesis 2:17, trying to find some answers to questions that only
> > Hebrew
> > students and experts could answer(I am neither of these, by the
> > way).  And I
> > am hoping that someone can give me some insight.
>     [cut]
> > Thanks,
> > Scott McAliley
> >
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