[b-hebrew] Why Are Rebekah and Dinah Called "Boys"?
smille10 at sbcglobal.net
Fri Dec 21 15:49:22 EST 2007
Thank you for pointing this out. I think it is a very good question.
It looks like, at the time of the Pentateuch, the female singular form of
na'ar was spelled with the same consonants as the male form. After the
Penteteuch, the female singular form is always spelled with a heh at the
There are 22 uses of the female singular form of na'ar in the Penteteuch.
Eight, as you pointed out, are in Genesis. The other 14 are all in Deut 22.
13 of these 14 uses in Deut 22 are spelled na'ar in the text, with a qeri
correction that it should be read as na'arah. The one exception is Deut
22:19 where it is written directly in the text as na'arah.
Also, Rebekah and Dinah are not really called "boys" if you consider the
It would be interesting to see what is written in the DSS. According to "The
Dead Sea Scrolls Bible", the 1st part of Deut 22:15 is found in 4QDeut. If
anyone has access to this in DJD, could you check if the word there is
spelled na'ar or na'arah? Thanks.
The wicked walk on every side,
the pow'rs of hell grow bold,
when among the children of men,
the worthless are extolled. (Psalm 12:8)
JimStinehart Mon Dec 17 11:50:32 EST 2007 wrote:
Why are each of Rebekah and Dinah referred to as being a "boy"/"na'ar"/N(R
in the Patriarchal narratives? Why is neither such young woman referred to
being a "girl"/"na'arah"/N(RH?
1. Rebekah is called a "boy"/"na'ar"/N(R five times. Genesis 24: 14, 16,
28, 55, 57
2. Dinah is called a "boy"/"na'ar"/N(R three times. Genesis 34: 3, 3, 12
3. No person in the Patriarchal narratives is ever called a "girl"/"na'arah
"/N(RH in the singular.
4. A second meaning of "na'ar"/N(R or "na'arah"/N(RH is "servant".
Here, where servants are involved, we see the expected gender
(a) Rebekah's female servants are called, in the plural:
nun-ayin-resh-chet-yod-heh. Genesis 24: 61 That would seem to be a
feminine plural ending.
(b) Abraham's male servants have a different spelling:
nun-ayin-resh-yod-mem. Genesis 14: 24 That looks like the typical male
So if we're talking about "servants", at least in the plural, nothing is
amiss in the Patriarchal narratives.
6. Deuteronomy also refers on many occasions to a young woman as being a
I don't think that other books in the Bible refer to a young woman as being
"boy"/"na'ar"/N(R. Only the Patriarchal narratives and Deuteronomy do
that. In the rest of the Bible, a young woman is a "girl"/"na'arah"/N(RH,
7. Why are each of Rebekah and Dinah referred to as being a "boy"/"na'ar"
/N(R in the Patriarchal narratives?
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