[b-hebrew] barak (bless? curse?) in the Book of Job

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Jan 28 13:26:07 EST 2009


On Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 7:47 AM, Harold Holmyard
<hholmyard3 at earthlink.net>wrote:

> Karl,
> > Harold:
> > I don't follow you. Do you have other examples to back you up? Where in
> > Tanakh would they be found?
> >
> HH: BDB says, After an oath (expressed, or merely implied) )M (the
> formula of imprecation being omitted) becomes an emphatic negative, and
> )M-L) becomes an emphatic positive.

You know what I think of BDB, as a broken reed that will wound the hand
placed on it.

> HH: An example of an emphatic positive would be "surely."
> HH: The examples BDB gives include:

> Num 14:28

Context, look at verse 2, this is not correctly translated. "As I live, if I
won't do what you said …"

> ; 1 Kgs 20:23

Again this is not a negation, such as needed to change a blessing to a

> ; 2 Kgs 9:26

"If I had not seen … then …"

> ; Isa 5:9

"If they will not become … " pointing to a future event.

> ; 14:24; Jer 15:11; 49:20; Job 1:11, and especially
> cases in Ezekiel.

You didn't check the verses for yourself, did you?

> > BTW the phrase is "upon" your face, not "to". A significant difference in
> > Biblical Hebrew.
> >
> HH: One of the meanings the preposition can have in English is "to."

Look at the phrase (L PNY, not just the preposition. It means upon the
surface of …, another referring to bowing down with his face to the ground,
another "in the presence of, before". The phrase does not take the idea of
"to his face" in the sense of the English use of that phrase.

> This is well known. A word in one language does not necessarily have
> only one word in another language to which it is equivalent, for the
> range of meaning of a word in one language may not match the range of
> meaning of one particular word in another language.

You also need to consider idiomatic phrases, not just individual words. The
phrase )M L), depending on its context, would be best understood as "if not
… that …" or "if not … then …" and my understanding of the context of Job 1
& 2 is the latter translation. It is not part of an oath formulation, no
more than the verses in Samuel that I referenced before. I mentioned (L PNY

> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
> Karl W. Randolph.

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