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

Harold Holmyard hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 17 13:27:14 EDT 2007


JoeWallack at aol.com wrote:
>  
> 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, 
>>     
> עִמָּנוּ 
>   
>> אֵל. 14 Therefore the  Lord Himself  shall give you a sign: behold, the 
>>     
> young 
>   
>> 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 
>>     
>  as 
>   
>> the picture is  Isaiah physically pointing to the young woman in the 
>>     
> presence  
>   
>>  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.
>
>
>
>
> JW:
> 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  
> not 
> 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  
> young
> 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.
>   

HH: HNH does not require physical presence or even necessarily imply it. 
It can have a deictic force, but the context needs to clarify it. The 
context in Isa 7:14 could have done this by saying, 'Behold (HNH) the 
virgin standing by the king. She will conceive . . . ." Or it could have 
done something similar. But as the verse stands, HNH does not have to 
imply anything about physical presence. In the verse HNH is drawing 
attention to what a/the virgin will do, not to the presence of the virgin.

Yours,
Harold Holmyard



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