[b-hebrew] "Rope Imagery" in Biblical Hebrew

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Dec 11 11:56:25 EST 2008


On Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 6:51 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Karl:
> You wrote:  "YTR is never used in Biblical Hebrew in the sense of '
> superiority, excellency', not in Genesis 49:3 nor any other verse."
> That was the key point of my post, in equating YTR/"rope" with YTR/"
> excellence".
> Could you please give us your translation of YTR at Genesis 49: 3, and
> explain the reasoning for your translation?
> Reuben, my firstborn, you are my power and the first of my potency, an
excess (abundance leading to having more than enough) of lifting up (there´s
no exact equivalent to this in English, here referring to what he lifts up)
and an excess of strength,
spineless as water, you will not exceed, for ...

Notice that in the context that ¨excess¨ does not mean the same as

> You seem to agree that on several occasions in the Bible, YTR means "cord"
> or "rope".

No, it is listed that way only a few times

Here are 10 standard translations of Genesis 49: 3,

How many times do I have to emphasize that translations don´t impress me?
You could bring 100 translations. What you need to do is to show me from the
language itself, not translations.

In your view, are all of these translations in error?

Possibly. I notice the LXX translated it as ¨hard¨.

Translation is a tricky activity, and most translators are not Hebrew
scholars per se. So when they come across verses such as this where there
are no exact equivalents in English, they then go to BDB or some other
dictionary, without doing their own investigation to see if the dictionary
is right.

> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

Again I emphasize to be careful not to do the etymological fallacy. Just
because a word may have the same letters as a root does not automatically
mean that the word comes from that root. It is possible that the word in
question is a loan word, making its root in a different language with a
different meaning than the root found in Hebrew.

Karl W. Randolph.

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