[b-hebrew] Definite Article 7:14 - HNH

JoeWallack at aol.com JoeWallack at aol.com
Tue Jul 17 12:58:08 EDT 2007

In a message dated 7/16/2007 11:05:39 AM Central Daylight Time,  
hholmyard3 at earthlink.net writes:

Dear  Joseph,
> "
> יד  לָכֵן יִתֵּן אֲדֹנָי הוּא,   לָכֶם--אוֹת:  הִנֵּה 
> הָעַלְמָה, הָרָה  וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן,  וְקָרָאת שְׁמוֹ, 
> אֵל. 14 Therefore the  Lord Himself  shall give you a sign: behold, the 
> woman shall conceive,  and  bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
>  "
> The closest Textual Marker I see here to the  offending word is:
> הִנֵּה
> Common  translations are "here is", "behold" and "look". For starters, BDB  
> Lexicon looks to me to give a most often usage in the Jewish Bible of  a  
> connotation of the visual as in pointing to something  physically present. 
This  is a 
> Natural combination to the use of  the definite article for the young woman 
> the picture is  Isaiah physically pointing to the young woman in the 
>  of Ahaz. 
> HNH is a relatively common word though and  has a broader meaning than the  
> physical connotation. BDB gives  the next usage category as emphasizing the 
> connotation of an  attention getting device for new information and has  
>  categorized 7:14 here (mistakenly in my opinion).

HH: Your claim here  that HNH has to point to an event which is 
happening, rather than to one  in the imminent or even distant future, is 
incorrect. Look at one of the  first references to HNH in the Bible:

Gen. 6:13 So God said to  Noah,  “I am going to put an end to all people, 
for the earth is  filled with violence because of them. I am surely going 
to destroy (HNH  plus first person suffix plus Hiphil participle) both 
them and the  earth.

The flood was some time away when God spoke these words because  Noah had 
not yet built the ark or collected the food and animals.   HNH can refer 
to the future, especially with the so-called "futurum  instans" 
participle.  Other examples are Gen 6:17; 1 Sam 3:11; and 2  Kings 7:2.

I did not indicate in what you quoted by me that "HNH has to point to an  
event which is 
happening, rather than to one in the imminent or even distant  future". What 
I did indicate 
is that BDB gives a most common meaning of physically present. So you have  
responded to my point that physical presence is the most common meaning and 
responded to a point I did not make.
Moving forward from the definite article of 7:14 which is usually  translated 
as "the"
to the surrounding Textual Markers and Context, we now have HNH at the  start 
of the
sentence which supports the Hebrew definite article here as referring to a  
woman who was physically present. This explains, for Peter's benefit, why  
the young
woman does not need to be named by the text. The definite article is  
primarily for the
benefit of the Hebrew Hearer and not the reader. What is most important  here 
is that 
Ahaz knows who the young woman is and not that we do. 
As HNH is supporting the definite article as meaning not only that the  young 
woman was
known to Isaiah but also Ahaz this increases the demand on the surrounding  
context to
clearly counter this conclusion if the author intended to communicate a  
young woman
that was not known to Isaiah or at least not known to Ahaz.
Joseph Wallack

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