[b-hebrew] Ecclesiastes 3:11
B. M. Rocine
brocine at twcny.rr.com
Thu Nov 1 21:56:33 EDT 2007
I like your analysis.
As you noted a key word is, mib.:liy.
It's an idiom that I think the BDB does better defining than the HALOT.
See BDB p. 115, highly edited here:
"2. adv. of negation ...With preps. c. MI (a) from want of; for lack of;
on account of there being no..."
Ironically, the BDB does not list Ecc 3:11 under sense 2c(a), but under
2c(b) with pleonatic lo', as you have mentioned. In this latter
interpretation mibliy means "so that no...", also, as you have mentioned.
Like you, I think the mibliy belongs in section 2c(a) rather than 2c(b),
and may be thought to mean "because without..." as it often does. See
Isa 5:13 mibliy da`at "because [they are] without knowledge."
We may say the notion or deep structure of Ecc 3:11 is mibliy tet
'elohiym ha`olam bilbam, where tet... surfaces as 'a$er.
Thank you for sharing your analysis.
Martin Shields wrote:
> Hello Bryant,
>> My question is, "What is your take on the phrase in the second half
>> of the
>> verse, "et-olam natan bilbam milbam asher lo-yimtza hadom et-hammaaseh
> There are a couple of issues in this verse (aren't there always), the
> meaning of העלם and the meaning of מבלי אשר לא.
> Taking the second first, we have a double negative which is
> universally understood as either indicating a negative purpose ("so
> that not") or else a simple negative ("yet [he] cannot"). The problem
> is that the parallels frequently cited to justify these translations
> do not include אשר between the negatives so that the second negative
> is effectively in a separate clause. If you look for examples where
> this does happen, the double negatives in those instances never lose
> their individual negativity (if you follow my meaning).
> Hence I render the expression "without which [he] cannot find..." I'll
> admit that I'm on my own here, but I think that it both makes sense in
> context (see below) and also makes sense of the Hebrew.
> As a result of the usual understanding of this clause, some propose
> reading העלם as "darkness" so that the "darkness" God has placed in
> our hearts functions to inhibit any ability to find our what God has
> done from the beginning to the end. With my reading I think taking
> העלם as a temporal term (so "eternity" in most translations) makes
> sense: God has placed "eternity" (some sort of awareness which extends
> beyond the present moment) in our "hearts" without which we could not
> find what God has done from start to finish.
> How does this make sense in context? The fact that Qohelet proceeds to
> make assertions about what God has done and will do (cf. especially
> Qoh 3:14-15) immediately demonstrates that Qohelet has some awareness
> of what God has done and will do (at least he thinks he does!). It is
> obvious that Qohelet isn't claiming omniscience nor comprehensive
> knowledge of what God has and will do, but he has some awareness and
> that seems to be sufficient to justify his observation.
> I hope that helps!
> Martin Shields,
> Sydney, Australia.
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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