[b-hebrew] Proverbs 13:1 (was Using an unpointed text)

Peter Bekins pbekins at fuse.net
Sat Aug 25 10:45:04 EDT 2007


 >> But you also YD( it (Proverbs 1:2) which has a similar function  
as BYN.

You only YD( it in Proverbs 1:2, which is indeed parallel to BYN, but  
which is also a broad summary statement of the topics you are about  
to learn about in the Proverbs in general.

In the Proverbs proper the consistent concern is not that the wise  
person is able to understand MUSAR (instruction/discipline) but that  
they listen to it receptively in the first place without demanding  
numerous proofs and examples (just kidding ;-) ). This is especially  
the case in the relationship between father and son.


Prov 1:8 שמע בני מוסר אביך
"Listen my son to the instruction of your father"

Prov 4:1 שמעו בנים מוסר אב
"Listen O sons to a father's instruction"

Prov 8:33 שמעו מוסר וחכמו
"Listen to instruction so that you may be wise"

And in the opposite:

Prov 15:5 אויל ינאץ מוסר אביו
"A fool spurns the instruction of his father"

 From the context of Prov 13:1, the main idea again seems to be that  
it is wise to listen to discipline/instruction. Hence the second  
clause gives the negative example of the scoffer who does not listen  
to rebuke. I would expect the first clause to express the positive  
example that a wise person does indeed pay attention to MUSAR. Thus,  
from the context of Proverbs as a whole I do not expect a Proverb  
extolling the importance of understanding MUSAR, rather listening to  
MUSAR is what leads you to become more wise and perceptive. From the  
context of this verse I would expect the first clause to express  
something the opposite example from the first clause, which would be  
about listening/receiving MUSAR. Further, because it is specifically  
called MUSAR AB I would expect a son to be in there somewhere. This  
is why I lean towards BN as son, not a verbal form of BYN.

Now, about the gapping...

 >>Yes, there is gapping, but do you know of other cases where the verb
 >>comes from a parallelism that follows, instead of preceding?  
 >>is there another case where there is contrasting parallelism with the
 >>negative verb is used in the positive in the gapped section?

 >>If you can show examples that answer my two questions above, then I
 >>can entertain your suggestion, other than that, I will maintain that
 >>in Proverbs 13:1, the first word is a verb, not a noun.

 >>Karl W. Randolph.

Gapping where the verb is supplied from the second clause is indeed  
rare. I have seen it referred to as either leftward or rightward  
gapping depending on if you are reading Hebrew R-to-L or English L-to- 
R so the terminology is a little confusing. Obviously it can be hard  
to read if you are left to wait for the verb until a later clause.  
The first example that comes to mind is the intro to the Song of  

Jd 5:3b ‏אָֽנֹכִ֗י לַֽיהוָה֙ אָנֹכִ֣י  
אָשִׁ֔ירָה אֲזַמֵּ֕ר לַֽיהוָ֖ה  
אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל‎
"I - to the Lord, I will sing, I will sing praise to the Lord God of  

Now, you undoubtedly can question rather this really counts since the  
two clauses are so short, and in a certain sense it can be seen as a  
SOV sentence where the author just threw in a second pronoun to  
balance the meter and create a small amount of delay/anticipation  
before getting to the main verb, so I accept your criticism in advance.

Unfortunately I do not have the resources in my home library to chase  
down better examples, and with school ramping up I will have less  
time to devote, but if you can wait a few days I will put some  
research into demonstrating "negated rightward gapping".

However, even if I do not come up with convincing examples of the  
poetic structure, I would ask you to entertain this translation on  
grounds of context (I'm not being novel here BTW, I think I am  
following most major English translations as well as the relevant  
ancient ones), remembering that it is the very nature of good poetry  
to take existing conventions and tweak them just enough to be new and  
unusual, while still being understandable.

Peter Bekins

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list