[b-hebrew] Psalm 8: 6[5] Teaterehu

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Mon Apr 23 07:43:46 EDT 2007


Harold has given us a good, formal, text-book, analysis of the verb  
in question. Here is how I see it:

1. Every Hebrew word, verb as well as noun, consists of just a root  
plus personal pronouns (also attached prepositions, or single letter  
function words, but we shall leave it out for now). In a verb the  
personal pronouns refer to the actors. In a noun the personal  
pronouns refer to the thing itself.

2. The personal pronouns appear as "prefixes", "suffixes" and  
"infixes". Not to be confused with the radical letters, the  
internally inserted personal pronouns are just the vowels U (O) and I  

3. The root of TeATREHU of Psalms 8:6 is obviously (TR, [where the  
symbol ( = AYIN, and where T is TET]. What is the meaning of (TR?  
Firstly, an indication is given us contextually. Secondly, the root  
(TR contains the telltale letter R. Every Hebrew root containing the  
letter R refers to a state of dispersion or aggregation. You can  
verify this by looking up all Hebrew roots containing this letter.  
You need to be careful, though, not to confuse the metaphoric meaning  
of a root with its inherent concrete meaning. Thirdly, It stands to  
reason that the 3000, or so, roots of the Hebrew language belong to  
but a few grand trait families of common basic meaning. The root (TR  
is a member of the family of roots:

) = ALEF:
)DR, )ZR, )TR [T = TET], )SR, )CR, )$R, )TR [T = TAV]

( = AYIN:
(DR, (ZR, (TR, (CR, ($R, (TR [T = TAV].

The family is actually much bigger---the root KTR (T=TAV), for  
instance, is also closely related to the root (TR, as, indeed, ATARAH  
= KETER, 'crown, wreath', nearly. So, the root (TR essentially means:  
'pile up', 'gather around', 'encompass', 'group together', 'crowd  
together; metaphorically: 'richly and roundly endow', 'bestow in  
abundance or lavishly'.

4. Now to the associated personal pronouns. TeATREHU = T-ATR-E-HU, or  
in full: TeATREHU = ATAH-ATR-HI-HU, where both ATAH and HI refer to  
the actor, here God, and HU to the beneficiary of God's providence,  

5. In the case of a female actor it is: TA-ATR-YI-HU, where YI is  
what is left of HYI), 'she'. In the case of a female beneficiary it  
is: TA-ATR-E-HA, where HA is all is left now of HYI), 'she'.

Notice that a personal pronoun, when in need of complementing, may be  
doubly positioned, before and after the root. For instance:

TI$LAX = TI-$LAX, 'you will send' (male)

TI$LeXYI = TI-$LeX-YI, 'you will send' (female)

TI$LeXU = TI-$LeX-U, 'you will send' (male plural)

TI$LAXNAH = TI-$LAX-NAH, 'you will send' (female plural).

6. Since all the language has to build up on is roots (which are by  
themselves composites, I think) and personal pronouns, it tends to  
use the latter in profusion, particularly to gradually enlarge the  
scope of a characterization. Consider the following examples from  
current Hebrew:

ENOSH (HINO-ISH?), 'human'

ENOSHYI = ENOSH-HI, 'humane, human-he' (male).

ENOSHYIT = ENOSH-HI-AT, 'humane, human-she' (female).

ENOSHUT = ENOSH-HU-AT, 'humanity'.

ENOSHYIUT = ENOSH-HI-HU-AT, 'humaneness'.

* ENOSHYIUTIUT = ENOSH-HI-HU-AT-HI-HU-AT, 'the essence of humaneness'.

I have marked the last example by an asterisk as it is not in the  
dictionary for ENOSH, but I have encountered this same bloated  
construction for other nouns.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Apr 21, 2007, at 3:06 AM, Philip wrote:

> Dear Listees,
>   According to Benjamin Davidson’s Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee  
> Lexicon, (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), page 768,  
> the verb UhreF.;faT4 (teaterehu) in MT Psalm 8:6[5] is formed from  
> a combination of a third person singular feminine imperfect piel  
> verb, rF.;faT4 (teater) (rF.;faT4 (teater) is derived from the root  
> verb, rFafA (tatar) meaning, I surround, I encompass),[1] and the  
> third person singular masculine suffix, Uh (ho) meaning, him;  
> UhreF.;faT4 (teaterehu) therefore literally meaning, ‘she will  
> crown him’.[2]
>   However this analysis of the verb, UhreF.;faT4 in MT Psalm 8:6[5]  
> does not seem to fit the context of Psalm 8:6[5].
>   What is your take on this please?
>   Philip Engmann.
> ---------------------------------
>       [1] Benjamin Davidson, The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee  
> Lexicon, (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), 768.
>     [2] Ibid.
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