[b-hebrew] Proverbs 16:27

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Dec 10 19:02:04 EST 2007

While Yigal overstates my opinion concerning the Masoretic points (I think
on the whole they were pretty accurate as far as meaning is concerned),
there's one group in particular I hold in lower esteem than the Masoretes,
namely lexicographers.

On Dec 10, 2007 5:36 AM, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Karl,
> There is no difference between the Massoretic dots and the consonantal
> text,
> as far as questioning them.  Both come from the same source, both were
> transmitted by the same people, and both were susceptible to similar
> textual problems, and linguistic developments.

That is not entirely true. The Masoretic points were developed to record a
vocal tradition, the written text is physical, copied from much earlier
(though mistakes crept in).

> ... Maybe you believe for some
> reason the "consonantal text" has a special status.

Yes, physical object vs. aural tradition.

> ... In that case, that is your
> own belief.  The fact is that the accuracy of both must be evaluated
> appropriately
> after a full understanding of what the text conveys in the current
> form is achieved.
> The spelling of KWR as KR stands out in the Bible, and in the DSS
> apparently
> as well.  This may have been one reason why KR was not read as KWR but was
> redivided with the following word HR(H as KRH R(H.

When were the word divisions made? The DSS already had them. We find word
divisions in the Siloam inscription and Mesha stone, so the word divisions
could be (most likely are) pre-Exile.

> ... Nevertheless, we do have
> some understanding of the development of spelling conventions, and it
> seems
> that until the Persian period, long vowels were not always marked.  This
> orthography may have even survived by some into the Persian period.  The
> phonetic reconstruction of this word based on related cognates appears to
> be
> *ku:r already in very early times so that the vocalization did not change
> even
> until the Massoretic period.  Specifically, the -w- was not at any
> time consonantal,
> but rather served as a vocalization marker.  This means that a spelling KR
> is
> consistent with the spelling conventions of this word until the Persian
> period.

You have no support within Hebrew for this statement.

The Siloam inscription uses waw and yod as vocalization markers at about the
same rate as found in most of Tanakh. So when words are always used with a
waw or yod, that is an indication that that may go back to pre-Exile
practice for those words.

> The verse as it stands does not make a whole lot of sense.  Compared to
> the
> imagery provoked by the interpretation of Kenneth, it definitely lacks
> a lot. ....
> 3) The current reading stands in stark contrast that it does not provide
> such a
> clear image or reasoning of why the two parts are connected or what the
> burning
> on the lips has to do with digging.

Go back to the beginning of this message, noting which group I hold in lower
esteem than the Masoretes, then to my last message where I refer to a
possible translation and why. My translation does not change anything in the
Hebrew text.

> ...
> The reading of the verse, following Kenneth, is:
> A man of wickedness is the furnace of evil;
>  Which, on his lips, burns as fire.
> Yitzhak Sapir

Karl W. Randolph.

Ps: I AM a lexicographer, having written a dictionary from Biblical Hebrew
to English. Discussions on this list are helping me improve it.

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