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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 12:56:20 EDT 2007

Dear Peter:

On 8/25/07, Peter Bekins <pbekins at fuse.net> wrote:
> Karl,
>  >> 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.
> ...
>  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.
To have insight into requires the listening already to have taken
place, and not only that, but internalizing and thinking about it as
well. This is in contrast with the fool (recognized by his babbling
mouth) who doesn't even listen to a rebuke.

There are many places in Hebrew, particularly in poetry, where blanks
need to be filled in, such as understanding requires first the
listening and learning.

> 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?
> Secondly,
>  >>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
> Deborah:
> 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
> Israel"
This can also be translated "I am the LORD's, I even I will sing, I
will play musical instruments to the LORD Israel's God." with no need
for backwards filling in of gapping. This is not a clear example. Do
you have any others? I don't know of any. I'm not in a hurry, I can

> 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

The reasons I disagree with your translation are precisely based on
context and poetic structure. Further this is an example of good
poetry because the author took an existing convention and tweaked it,
yet in a way that is still understandable. As far as other
translations are concerned, I have a reputation on this forum of
ignoring them as I have read Tanakh all the way through only once in
translation, but several times in Hebrew, therefore I want to see any
discussion dealing directly with the text in Hebrew, not in

Karl W. Randolph.

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