[b-hebrew] "The Negev" at Genesis 12: 9 Is Not the Negev

joel at exc.com joel at exc.com
Sat Aug 23 19:09:04 EDT 2008

>[re NEGBA]
>Actually its not difficult to translate this if you are prepared to accept a
>somewhat old fashioned rendering. You could simply say ``he travelled
>Negev-ward''. If you want to render Negev as south then you would translate
>``he travelled southwards''.

Or, at least in my American dialect, "he traveled south."  Also, in my
dilect, there's no difference between "Negev-ward" and "toward the
Negev."  What started this was:

> The directional suffix he/H at the end of ?the negev? at Genesis 12:
> 9 is hard to translate accurately into English.  Although the
> English words ?to? or ?  toward? are usually used, the concept is
> actually movement in an indicated direction.  Instead of ?toward the

Again, and this time I'm pretty sure it's not just me, "toward" means
"in the direction of."

I don't think this is hard to translate at all, but it does
demonstrate how the obvious is frequently overlooked in translation,
particuarly in Bible translation.  (And yes, NEGEV is also used
metonymically for "south.")


Joel M. Hoffman, PhD

Director of Education
Temple Israel of Northern Westchester

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