[b-hebrew] Plural Verbs/Adjectives Modifying Elohim

Yosef Shalom yossiyeshua at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 4 16:16:48 EST 2007

I don't really want to get into an evaluation of the merits of The American Heritage Book of English Usage per se, but here is the full context of what Gordon quoted from...
  "“There once was a man from 
” “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe 
” Lovers of limericks and nursery rhymes are familiar with the anticipatory there that functions as a “dummy subject,” delaying the real subject until the end of the clause. In this use there is usually classified as a pronoun and is distinguished from its use as an adverb indicating location, as in There’s the glove I’ve been looking for.     5 
  According to the standard rule, when the pronoun there precedes a verb such as be, seem, or appear, the verb agrees in number with the following grammatical subject: There is a great Italian deli across the street. There are fabulous wildflowers in the hills. There seems to be a blueberry pie cooking in the kitchen. There seem to be a few trees between the green and me. But people often disregard this rule and use a singular verb with a plural subject, especially when speaking or when using the contraction there’s. The Usage Panel dislikes this construction, however. Seventy-nine percent reject the sentence There’s only three things you need to know about this book. But when there’s is followed by a compound subject whose first element is singular, the panel feels differently. Fifty-six percent of the Usage Panel accepts the sentence In each of us there’s a dreamer and a realist, and 32 percent more accept it in informal usage. The panel is even more accepting of the
 sentence When you get to the stop light, there’s a gas station on the left and a grocery store on the right; 58 percent accept it in formal usage, while 37 percent more accept it in informal usage. Although this usage would seem to violate the rules of subject and verb agreement, the attraction of the verb to the singular noun phrase following it is so strong that it is hard to avoid the construction entirely."
My question is whether this can serve as a good rational hypothesis of how sometimes in speech the ancient Hebrew when speaking of Elohim might have not resisted the temptation to modify it with a plural adjective, especially when that was the normal way to speak of the "elohim" in the surrounding paganisms that they interacted with on a daily basis.
  If this is a rational and convincing possibility, the attempts to derive some trinitarian significance from the appearance of the plurals is a bit "cheezy." imho

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