[b-hebrew] verb conjugations, Pr. 5:5 & 6

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Oct 8 12:28:46 EDT 2009


On Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 6:21 AM, Gerry Folbre <gfolbreiii at gmail.com> wrote:

> Karl:  I screwed up (regardless of how hard I try not to) on the
> transcription of Proverbs 5:6.  I will correct that error now: Pr. 5:6
> should read:
> ארח חיים פן תפלס  נעו מעגלתיה לא תדע׃
> I apologize for the typo-error.  If my little finger reaches over too far a
> פ becomes an ע.  My bad.  I will also correct it below.
> I just copied and pasted.

What keyboard are you using? An ע is a stretched pointer finger on the left
hand, second row, while a פ is the right hand pinky, third row.

> I get the Kethib version of Pr. 5:5 & 6 from the Masoretic Hebrew text,
> Codex Leningrad B19A, taken from Biblia Hegraica Stuttgartensia (BHS)
> 1967/77, 1983, Vierte verbesserte Auflage 1990.
> You don’t need to go into such detail.

> Now I need to explain my variant reading. My interpretation of Pr. 5:5 & 6
> appears to me to flow in context with one another.  The father tells the
> son: Pr. 5:5 Her steps go down to death; the grave her steps lay hold of.
> Pr. 5:6 A path of life that you do not maintain; her unstable ways you will
> not know.
> Your variant reading you now admit was a typo, not your interpretation of
the verse. Don’t you know what a “variant reading” is vis-à-vis textual

> The father is telling the son that her steps go down to death, and the
> grave
> takes hold of her steps.

No problem with verse 5.

>  Then the father warns his son, essentially saying,
> "A path of life that you do not maintain makes you vulnerable to her
> unstable ways that are unknown to you.
> I don’t see how you get this from the verse. The verse doesn’t say
“unstable ways” nor “that are unknown to you”. Where is the “maintain” and
“that” (both of them)? It looks as if you have strayed well away from the
text to get this interpretation.

> How I justify that this particular verbal clause is Piel {intensive): The

content of the verses above suggest to me that the father is making a very
> important point to his son.  The very idea that if the son does not follow
> his father's guidance and counsel the son may well stray from the path of
> life and follow the woman to death and the grave.  It would make logical
> sense that the verbal clause, תפלס = you {must} make smooth/maintain, would
> denote an intensive clause.
> When I studied Hebrew in class, oh so many years ago, I was taught that
piel indicated intensive action. But after reading the text through umpteen
times, I came to the realization that this is not so. The piel is
recognizable from some forms, but most of the time looks the same as a qal.
Therefore I came to the conclusion that there had to be other contextual
clues that indicate piel.

> That is my take on it.  Furthermore, sorry about the typo earlier.
> Gerry Folbre

Look at my message from Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 7:18 PM where I gave two
possible readings, one of which I rejected. Then Kenneth Greifer on Tue, Oct
6, 2009 at 12:39 PM gave another possible reading: I considered נעו as
movement down the road of life whereas he considered movement of the road

Karl W. Randolph.

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