[b-hebrew] Where Is Jacob's Ladder?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Nov 9 18:19:08 EST 2007


On 11/9/07, dwashbur at nyx.net <dwashbur at nyx.net> wrote:
> On 9 Nov 2007 at 14:51, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:
> > Could you please explain to me the basis for the following key contention  of yours?
> > "[T]he grammar of the clause supports the translation 'a certain  place'...." I am obviously missing something here.  Are we looking at the same Hebrew letters?  Or am I missing the  significance of one Hebrew letter in the text? Why "a certain place", instead of "a  place"?
> Because this is how biblical Hebrew indicated such a thing.  See under Speiser below.
> No, the patach under the B indicates the assimilated definite article.  I didn't go there because you've already said you reject the pointing.  At the same time, you must have some kind of pronunciation pattern, so whether it's the Masoretic or something else is pretty much academic.  Karl reads unpointed text as well, but I suspect he probably reads a definite article here, as well.  He can correct me on that if I'm wrong, because I'm essentially guessing :-)  It's the difference between B'MAQOM and BAMAQOM, whether you actually notate it or not.  Basically, the literary meaning is "THE place [that we're going to talk about in this part of the story].  It's better English idiom, and hence more readable for the average English reader, to say "a certain place."
Here is a case where Biblical Hebrew uses a definite article and good
English an indefinite one. As for the meaning, the context indicates
the following interpretation:

> OTOH, if you eliminate the definite article, you have "a place [which is where this story happens], which again amounts to "a certain place" in good English.


> ....  The difference is one of focus: with the article, the place is something prominent, as in this case; without the article, it's just a place for the prominent events to take place.  Does that clear it up?
Here I think you overemphasize the importance of the definite article.
I think its position here is more to fulfill the expectations of
grammar than to change meaning.
> Dave Washburn

As for the grammatical structure, we expect to see a definite article,
in translation into English, an indefinite article, from context this
is not jes' enny ole place, but where something important happens.
It's the important place, but Jacob didn't know it yet.

You know, I'm larnin' a lot o' Hebrew from these discussions.

Karl W. Randolph.

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