[b-hebrew] ps 29:11 BA$.FLOWM vs B:$FLOWM

Vincent DeCaen decaen at origin.chass.utoronto.ca
Mon Nov 26 09:57:02 EST 2007

dear friends on b-hebrew,

the problem of ps 29:11 and related puzzlers is not addressed (apparently) 
in standard works. any insights/references would be appreciated.


re BA$.FLOWM (ps 29:11) for B:$FLOWM

the pointing with the definite article here appears to be a glaring error 
for at least two reasons:

(1) BA$.FLOWM is clearly and uncontroversially a "long word", and should 
not trigger the accent transformation (conjunctive munach in the place of 
revia-mugrash). the accents presuppose B:$FLOWM. (curiously, sharp-eyed 
Wickes used this phrase as a parade example of shalsheleth without 
noticing the problem: vol I, p. 67.) crucially, it's hard to imagine a 
wholesale jigging of the accents, including the introduction of 
shalsheleth; but easy to understand a minor difference in pointing the 

(2) consulting the lisowsky concordance, we see that the inseparable 
preposition is usually pointed with shwa: 29/29 with lamed, 34/36 with 
beth. (perhaps not coincidentally, the other case is also in the poetic 
system: job 15:21?)

on the other hand, there are things to be said for the definite article:

(1) not only is the form attested in our best/earliest mss, it is 
protected by MT mas. parva: BHS note confirms "twice" (ie ps 29:11, job 
15:21). the form is undoubtedly part of the tradition.

(2) the form is the lectio difficilior, and should be preferred, all 
things being equal. (mas. parva is designed to protect the l. diff.)


(1) the presence/absence of the definite article does not appear as a 
problem in standard commentaries. can it be that it makes no difference?

(2) but then, what would the difference be? what would motivate the 
definite article in the face of overwhelming stats to the contrary?

(3) does the possibility of a mistake in vowel-pointing slipping in 
against the accents say anything about the masorah: theoretically, 
practically? what value should we assign to the accents as "quality 
control" in copying?


Dr Vincent DeCaen
DeCaen and Associates Research and Communications
135 Bleecker Street, Suite 307
Toronto ON, M4X 1X2
vince at decaen.ca

Information provided is compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but 
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