[b-hebrew] regarding Proverbs 5:6

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Oct 7 21:22:34 EDT 2009

On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 3:20 PM, gfolbreiii <gfolbreiii at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dave:  You are just no fun to play with at all.  That's a bummer.
> i guess you are just too far advance to interact with me on my lower level.
> Gerry Folbre
> There are problems with your approach that you need to understand, even at
a fairly early stage in your studies.

Unlike Greek, in which we have a veritable library of documents that have
survived from ancient times to the present, so that there is little question
as to what words meant and how their understanding can be tweaked by
context, Hebrew is still somewhat unknown. Some of the vocabulary is still

There is disagreement among scholars as to the exact nature of the Biblical
Hebrew grammar and how it affects meaning. For example, you mentioned that
the piel indicates intensified meaning, while many, including me, believe
that it refers to stative usage of the verb.

The Masoretic points are sometimes wrong, most often in verses that are
difficult to parse. If you do not use the points, as several of us don’t,
then it is a judgement call as to which meaning is correct among possible

The bottom line is that you can’t take the tools that you mentioned and
expect always to get a correct meaning.

When translating, remember that the vocabulary and grammar of the target
language, in this case English, does not have an exact match in Biblical
Hebrew: hence an exact word for word translation is not possible. That is
why we asked you for a meaningful sentence in English to show whether or not
you understood the verse. You referred to the KJV translation as being the
closest, which I reject based on linguistic grounds.

Therefore, based on the above, and maybe a reason or two that I missed, you
should get off your high horse, realizing that a study of Hebrew will take a
lot more work than you have done yet.

Am I a scholar? There are people on this list who would dispute my being a
scholar, based on the fact that I have formally studied all of two
semesters, one year, beginning Hebrew in college. That is why I have to back
up everything I say with specific examples. Yet I started questioning BDB as
early as that year, because, based on learning a couple modern languages and
an ancient one, “languages don’t act that way”. Yet others call me a scholar
because I read Tanakh through over 20 times, the last few times using a
pre-Babylonian Exile font for the text. Just letting the language wash over
me like in an immersion language learning class, I have learned that much of
what was taught me in class was wrong.

Am I always right on what I post here? I have no reputation to defend,
therefore I have contradicted myself in two successive messages in the same
thread, admitting that I changed my mind. Sometimes I’ve made simple,
elementary mistakes. I have learned a lot on this list, and it has made me
more structured in my studies, which is what I needed.

People of all skill levels are welcome on this list. We’ll gladly answer
questions posted here. But some of us don’t suffer fools gladly. Dave
Washburn gave good answers to your questions, don’t just blow him off. If
you disagree, you need to have good reasons that you can back up.

Karl W. Randolph.

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