[b-hebrew] two quotes like Genesis 24:16

Tory Thorpe torythrp at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 2 00:46:28 EDT 2007

On Aug 1, 2007, at 8:10 PM, kenneth greifer wrote:

> If a woman had some children, and then became infertile, would she  
> still be called "barren"?

Zion is (Isa. 54:1).

> I thought barren meant that the person never had children,

That's one way "barren" is used in English, and this is the problem  
with studying Hebrew with English.

> so saying she was barren and did not give birth before in Judges  
> 13:2-3 was an unnecessary repetition.

That's true only if you arbitrarily decide that the English word can  
only or usually means "never having produced offspring" (but it can  
also mean "not producing offspring") and so (QR must mean "never  
having produced offspring" in biblical Hebrew. HALOT has it right  
this time. For (QRH read "infertile" and the words WL) YLDH in Jdgs.  
13:2 become explanatory. Likewise, the unnecessary repetition in  
Genesis 24:16, "...a virgin and she did not know a man," does not  
exist in the Hebrew; it is created by the English translation. For  
BTWLH read "pre-adolescent" (MH) and the tautology goes away, as it  

> I did not think about the possibility that a barren person could  
> have already had children.

This is not an impossibility in BH. It's not impossible in modern  
English either.

Tory Thorpe

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