[b-hebrew] HITPAEL as mutual action and Prov 20:2

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Tue Apr 28 10:07:09 EDT 2009


Richard,

I dislike generalizations and abstractions but think I understand  
what you are saying.
I tend to think that TIT-RA)U of Genesis. 42:1 is a scribal error for  
TIT-YAR)U, 'discourage yoursevs'.
The NIT-RA)EH of 2Kings 18:8 is 'reveal ourselves'.
WYI$TAKXU of Qohelet 8:10 is 'and they sank themselves into oblivion'.
MIT(ABER of Proverbs 26:17 is 'involve himself, get himself mixed,  
bring himself upon', as it is in Proverbs 20:2.
In Proverbs 26:17 (OBER is 'passing by', then MIT(ABER is 'bring  
himself over into', the fray that is not his business.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Apr 27, 2009, at 4:31 PM, Richard Benton wrote:

> Isaac,
>
> The distinction I am making comes from Kemmer's (1993) book, "The  
> Middle Voice."  To put it briefly, she defines the difference  
> between the middle and reflexive according to the  
> "distinguishability of participants."  In an active (transitive)  
> sentence, A acts upon B.  In a reflexive, A acts upon B, but A and  
> B happen to be the same.  The two are cognitively distinct, but  
> pragmatically the same.  In the middle, A acts on itself and is  
> cognitively the same as the affected entity.
>
> This distinction is played out in languages that have clear formal  
> distinctions between reflexive and middle.  For example,  
> spontaneous actions (e.g., "boil") would occur in the middle but  
> not the reflexive.
>
> So I would disagree that the middle participant's action would  
> necessarily be more intentional or that the participant would be  
> under greater control.  Hitpael subjects can be unable to act  
> (e.g., Qoh 8:10).
>
> Regarding Prov 20:2, the translations (e.g., NRSV, NJPS) are  
> difficult, as they seem to understand a causative nuance of the  
> Hitpael, like a Hiphil.  This, I think, is a strange way to  
> interpret the Hitpael.  This verse is hard, but I would interpret  
> it in this way.  The participle refers to someone getting angry (a  
> process--"getting worked up").  The possessive suffix I would  
> understand as the object of the anger.  So I would translate, "the  
> one getting angry at him (the king) sins against himself."  The  
> moral of the story: don't pick fights with the king, because you  
> won't survive the response.
>
> Rich
>
> Isaac Fried wrote:
>> Richard,
>>
>> It would be good if you could explain to us briefly what you mean  
>> by the "distinctions between the middle and the reflexive". Also,  
>> what are the "good examples" of IBHS ?(what is this IBHS?)
>> I see it this way. The hitpael describes an action done by an  
>> actor upon himself. By virtue of this the act appears to be  
>> intentional and under greater control than when cast in the qal  
>> form. For example, saying HOLEK LA-REDET GE$EM, 'it is going to  
>> rain', means that a sequence of atmospheric events is set in  
>> motion that will inevitably result in rain. But upon reading MIT- 
>> HALEK BA-GAN, 'walking in the garden', of Genesis 3:8, one's  
>> imagination is triggered to "see" somebody deliberately and  
>> controllably leading himself up and down the paths of the garden.
>> Isaac Fried, Boston University
>> On Apr 16, 2009, at 6:07 PM, Richard Benton wrote:
>>
>>> Dear George,
>>>
>>> Yes, it sounds like you see my point.  In the past, some authors  
>>> have jumped from this observation to the idea that the Hitpael is  
>>> reflexive, but you can't make that leap necessarily.  Often  
>>> languages make clear distinctions between the middle and the  
>>> reflexive, even though they are related.  (Slavic languages, such  
>>> as Russian, do so, as well as others on every continent.)   
>>> Furthermore, often the middle overlaps with a passive function,  
>>> and we see this in Biblical Hebrew.  (IBHS lists some good  
>>> examples.)
>>>
>>> Cheers,
>>> Richard Benton
>>>
>>> George Athas wrote:
>>>> Good observations, Richard. Your distinction between the Qal and  
>>>> Hitpael of HLK is very illuminating, and shows that the Hitpael  
>>>> is more interested in the subject being the host of the action  
>>>> (i.e. Subject is the locus where the action occurs).
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Regards,
>>>>
>>>> GEORGE ATHAS
>>>> Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
>>>> www.moore.edu.au
>>>>
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