[b-hebrew] labo' lepaney and Gen 6:13

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 14:42:30 EDT 2007


On 4/22/07, B. M. Rocine <brocine at twcny.rr.com> wrote:
> Hi Karl,
> I see what you are saying.   I noticed the two Psalm vv. when I did my
> research.  I will concede the grammatical technicality you point out.
> As for "something in the text that grammar by itself does not support":
> I don't know why we should limit ourselves to grammar alone.  My query
> relates essentially to semantics in this thread, not grammar.  I thought
> we might explore the meaning and use of the idiom _labo' lipney_.  (I
> thought semantics was your special passion.)
It is. But there are more than one tool in semantics, not just
grammar. The other is literary style, which is a Swiss army knife of a
tool with many tools built into it.

Just because you call a screwdriver a chisel doesn't make it one.
Similarly, a literary analysis should not be mislabeled as a
grammatical one.

>From a strict grammatical analysis, three times the subject is an
event, not a person. How it is used in a literary sense is a different

I think what needs to be taking into account is how "before my face"
or "before the face of" is used in Hebrew. In this case, the case can
be made that immediate action was needed, hence the event "has come
before my face". Looking at the history of ship building out of wood,
it was not uncommon that they took years to build, starting with the
chopping down of the trees, allowing the wood to stabilize before
using it in the structure, then carefully fitting each piece in its
place, and so forth, and this is with a full time crew. Now take a man
who is working and can put only part-time work on ship building, in
the later stages with the help of his sons, and 120 years construction
time does not seem out of line for one of the largest, if not the
largest, wooden vessel ever built. Basically, God was telling Noah to
get cracking.

> I just don't see that your grammatical issue makes any difference in the
> two psalms you have cited.  In fact, the two psalms you cite are
> excellent examples where the structure _labo' lipney_ creates an
> audience-scene.  Do you also see what I am saying--that, in view of the
> 15-20 extant uses of this structure _labo' lipney_, Gen 6:13 needs to be
> understood as an audience-scene?
No. Grammatically there is nothing there. Rather it has more to do
with immediacy. Now an audience-scene is an example of an immediacy
situation, but immediacy is not limited to an audience-scene.

> Some on the list may wonder how my assertion that _labo' lipney_ would
> impact translation if it is understood as expressing an audience-scene.
> See the NIV, the TNK, and my own translation below.
> NIV Gen 6:13  So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all
> people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.
> TNK  Gen 6:13  God said to Noah, "I have decided to put an end to all
> flesh, for the earth is filled with lawlessness because of them
> So God said to Noah, "I realize the end of all life approaches because
> the earth is filled with violence from them..."
> Shalom,
> Bryan

How does your translation fit the other uses of the phrase, even in
the sense of audience-scene?

Karl W. Randolph.

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