[b-hebrew] Mowledeth

pporta at oham.net pporta at oham.net
Sat Nov 3 04:33:25 EDT 2007

> Pere  Porta:
> You wrote:  "MWLDT is the Hiph'il Participle,  singular feminine of verb 
> YLD,
> to bring forth.  Thus its literal meaning is "(female)  who causes to 
> bring
> forth", the same
> as "MWRDT" means "(female) who causes  to go down" (of YRD).  …
> From my  answer above it is clear that MWLDT must rather point out to
> ancestors than  to descendants."
> The three answers I have gotten as to what  the meaning of MWLDT is are
> confusing.


Dear Jim,

I'm not able to make a good answer to your reasoning below. By saying that 
from a gramatical point of view MWOLEDET (*)  means "female who causes to 
bring forth" I wanted only to help, to cast some light hereon.

In a neutral viewing, "MWOLEDET = female who causes to bring forth" can 
refer either to past times (ancestors) or to future times (descendants). But 
my feeling is that in biblical writings which you are telling on (Joseph and 
his brothers, etc.) it clearly points out to the past. "Relatives, kindred, 
(family?), offspring" are, in my opinion, good words for MWOLEDET.

Sorry for not being able to do more for you.

(*) remark: MWO, not MOW

Pere Porta
Barcelona (Spain)

 Let's look at a specific verse of text, which may shed light on this
> matter.  Jacob's older sons, whose  mother is Leah, have returned from 
> Egypt,
> where they bought food from a high  Egyptian official who is their younger
> half-brother, Joseph, in disguise.   (Joseph's mother is Rachel.)  Jacob's 
> older
> sons are reporting to their father Jacob the strange series  of questions 
> that
> this Egyptian official had asked  them:
> "And they said:  'The man asked straitly concerning  ourselves, and
> concerning our MWLDT, saying:  Is your father yet alive?  have ye another 
> brother?  and
> we told him according to the tenor of  these words;  could we in any wise
> know that he would say:  Bring your  brother down?'"  Genesis 43: 7 
> (JPS1917)
> (It is clear in context here that "brother" includes both  a full-brother 
> and
> a half-brother.)
> 1.  On your  view, if I am understanding you correctly, in asking about 
> his
> older  half-brothers' MWLDT, Joseph had asked about the mother of Jacob's 
> older
> sons.  That is impossible.  Joseph has no interest in Leah, the  mother of
> his older half-brothers.  Leah is not Joseph's mother, and Leah is not the
> mother of the one person  Jacob is most concerned about at this point: 
> Joseph's
> only full-brother,  Benjamin.
> 2.  If I  understand Karl W. Randolph correctly (which perhaps is 
> doubtful),
> Joseph is  asking about the place of Jacob's older sons' birth.  That also
> makes no sense.  Joseph knows they were born in  Harran.  Joseph has no 
> interest
> in  Harran whatsoever.  No, Joseph is  only interested in whether he has 
> one
> full-brother, Benjamin, who is alive and  well.  Joseph knows that 
> Benjamin
> was born in Canaan, whereas Joseph's older half-brothers were born in 
> Harran.
> Joseph is not asking about  conditions in Harran or in Canaan, or where is
> older half-brothers are  from.  Joseph has no interest in any  such 
> matters.
> Rather, Joseph is  only interested in finding out if the father of his 
> older
> half-brothers has a  son by another wife, who would be Joseph's only 
> full-brother,
> Benjamin.
> 3.  On my  view, everything makes perfect sense.  MWLDT means "father's
> descendants".  Joseph is asking his older half-brothers about their 
> "father's
> descendants".  Thus Joseph is  indirectly, but pointedly, asking his older
> half-brothers if they have a younger  half-brother (Benjamin) by the same 
> father who
> is alive and well, and who would  be Joseph's only full-brother.
> It is perhaps relevant that JPS1917 translates MWLDT here  as "kindred",
> which is very close to my meaning of "father's descendants".  "Kindred" 
> has
> nothing to do with either  female ancestors or the geographical place of 
> one's
> birth.
> I recognize now that I erred in viewing the mem at the  beginning of MWLDT 
> as
> meaning "from".  Based on what I have now learned, here is my new way of
> understanding  MWLDT.
> MWLDT/"mowledeth" literally means "the place from where  one was brought
> forth".  As such, it  can have the following two meanings.  It can mean 
> "one's
> father's descendants", with all such persons having  been "brought forth" 
> by the
> father (either directly, as the father's sons, or  indirectly, as the
> descendants of the father's sons), from one or more  females.  The female 
> aspect of
> the  word has to do with the fact that each child is born of a woman, yet 
> the
> word is  referring to all persons brought forth by the father by all 
> women.
> (That includes all of the father's  wives, and all of the father's
> daughters-in-law.)  In that meaning, the focus is on the  person's 
> siblings, and has nothing
> whatsoever to do with geography.
> Alternatively, MWLDT/"mowledeth" could mean "the geographical place where
> one was born", since that geographical locale is where one was "brought 
> forth"
> (by a female).
> Several times in the Bible, only the meaning of "father's descendants" 
> would
> seem to make sense, not any reference to a geographical locale of a 
> person's
> birth.  Leviticus 18: 9, 11  is referring to being born of one's father.
> Genesis 43: 7 and Genesis 48: 6 also  seem to be referring to people, 
> one's
> father's descendants, and not a  geographical locale.
> MWLDT/"mowledeth" never means ancestors.  The root YLD is referring to 
> what
> comes  forth from an ancestor, namely "descendants", not to one's 
> ancestors
> themselves.
> I myself see the primary meaning of MWLDT/"mowledeth", especially in the
> Patriarchal narratives, as being "the persons who have been brought forth, 
> by
> various women, from one's father", i.e. one's "father's descendants".  The
> accent is on one's living brothers  (including half-brothers, if they have 
> the same
> father), but MWLDT also includes  all the descendants of one's father. 
> The
> closest single word equivalent to that in English is "kindred", in  its
> narrowest meaning.
> At Genesis 43: 7, Joseph desperately wanted to know about Judah's MWLDT,
> that is, Judah's father's descendants, with the accent being on Judah's
> brothers, including both full-brothers and half-brothers (by the same 
> father).  By
> pressing Judah to give  a full account of Judah's full-brothers and
> half-brothers (all sons of the same  father), Joseph quickly found out the 
> one and only
> thing that Joseph really  wanted to know:  Joseph has a  full-brother, 
> Benjamin,
> who is alive and well.
> Rather than being an "aberration", Genesis 43: 7 in my view reflects  the
> core original meaning of MWLDT/"mowledeth", namely "father's 
> descendants".
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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