[b-hebrew] Ecclesiastes 3:11

Martin Shields enkidu at bigpond.net.au
Mon Nov 19 07:45:25 EST 2007


>> This is often true, but is it always true? HALOT goes on to list  
>> examples of clauses with an antecedent referent but without any  
>> resumptive pronoun (e.g. Gen 2:8; Deut 1:39; Jud 21:5). It says,  
>> "so any word relating to a preceding noun may be omitted and the  
>> sense of the omitted element is inferred from the the context."
> But you have such a word, whether you realize it or not.  It is ?$r!

Exactly my point. I understood you to be saying that standard BH  
syntax required a resumptive pronoun, my claim was that this was  
unnecessary and that אשר alone could function referentially, as I  
think it does in Qoh 3:11. This seems to be the point made in HALOT,  
although it is expressed more clearly by Waltke & O'Connor.

> Furthermore, while the reference to an antecedent can be omitted,  
> where is it omitted when it is the object of a preposition.

Isa 47:12, for example, contains a preposition + relative with no  
resumptive pronoun and the antecedent to the relative is specified in  
the preceding clause.

> I agree that bly is acting as a preposition, but then it must take  
> an object... In your reading, it is just ?$r where ?$r is the  
> reference to an antecedent.  But where do you find that ?$r can  
> reference the antecedent like this?

See above.

> While ?$r can be properly translated by 'which' in many cases, this  
> is only where 'which' introduces a subordinate clause.  It does not  
> translate 'which' when 'which' references just the antecedent. There  
> may be border cases where it seems a reading says, for example, 'by  
> which such and such', but the Hebrew phrase really reads 'by { which  
> such and such }' whereby ?$r and the entire clause is the object of  
> 'by'.

I'm afraid I'm having difficulty understanding you here. When you say  
"[i]t does not translate 'which' when 'which' references just the  
antecedent" are you referring to אשר with or without a preposition?  
We've already seen examples where אשר does refer to an antecedent.

I don't see how your second sentence above addresses the referent for  
the relative at all.

> Furthermore, bly cannot take the object suffix forms of the 3rd  
> person, which is why in that case bl(dy would have to be used.

Except that we've already established that the use of an object suffix  
is optional, so there is no such obstacle to the use of בלי. You  
need to demonstrate why the grammars are incorrect at this point and  
why the examples I cited from them (as well as others) are incorrectly  
understood. You may be correct, but as far as I can see you have not  
demonstrated the point, just asserted it.

> This is why the form that properly references the antecedent is  
> bl(dyw, even if bl(dyw is not attested by itself in BH.   It is a  
> reconstruction, but a very reasonable one.

If reason dictated the way language worked, we'd all be speaking  
Esperanto ;-).

> Finally, ?$r is not always found immediately after its referent.

Which is why I wrote "ISTM that אשר is frequently found immediately  
after its referent." Frequently does not mean always.


Martin Shields,
Sydney, Australia.

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