[b-hebrew] Why a whole thread?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Dec 15 20:08:16 EST 2010


On Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 10:55 AM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>wrote:

> and Karl Randolph wrote:
> > your proposed answer below makes no sense, as far as we understand it.
>> >
> > That part (verbal noun) doesn’t make sense to me either.
>> >
> a verbal NOUN is another way of talking about what
> is often called an "infinitive construct" in English.
>> Getting back to Song 1.12, as soon as one sees
> עד ש- or עד אשר
> one expects a full predication to follow. A full predication
> means a clause with a QATAL, YIQTOL, or a "verbless"
> clause that has a subject and predicate.…
> Consequently, it is misreading Biblical Hebrew to try and
> read an "infinitive absolute" after עד אשר or עד ש. One needs
> something at the clause level.

The phrase עד אשר is found more than 40 times in Tanakh, and each time it
refers to a goal towards which an action is leading (e.g. ויטחן עד אשר
דק Exodus
32:20) or the completion of an action (e.g. בדרך המלך נלך עד אשר נעבר גבלך
Numbers 21:22). We never find it followed by a noun with a definite article
prefix without a verb between the noun and the phrase עד אשר . As a result,
context tells us to expect to find a verb or verbal phrase following the phrase
עד אשר and not a noun with a definite article.

> What do we find at Song 1.12?
> 'The king is in his *mesib-/*meseb/*mesab."
> The LXX understood this as referring to 'reclining',
> that is 'reclining at a meal'.

The LXX is an untrustworthy source for understanding difficult passages,
particularly when those passages contain terms used about five times or
fewer in Tanakh. There is evidence that the translators did not know the
meanings of many terms (their definitions had been forgotten) and that they,
too, were just guessing. In this case, is this their understanding from
post-Biblical Hebrew, a meaning that was unknown in Biblical Hebrew? You
cannot deny that as a possibility.

In this case, מסב is found only twice in Tanakh. In the other case, it
clearly refers to surroundings. While it is possible that this is a second
homograph from סבב with a different meaning, good lexicography will say that
that is unlikely unless there is good evidence to indicate such.

> And all this fits the context rather well. Verse twelve appears
> to begin the bride's speech about 'him' and continues with
> verse 13 "my lover is a bundle of myrrh, between my breasts
> he will spend the night."

That’s part of the question. The phrase עד אשר usually indicates a secondary
clause in the sentence, usually following the main clause. With this being
the case, that would make us expect that verse 12 is the completion of verse
11. E.g. Deuteronomy 3:19–20, Joshua 1:14–5.

> Randall Buth
> --
> Randall Buth, PhD
> There is the possibility that here we are dealing with a copyist error,
what alternate readings are there for this verse?

>From its contexts, it appears that נרד referred to a fragrant plant growing
in a garden, not a harvested and processed spice. So a plucked off or
clipped off plant makes sense.

I do not read this as a verbal noun, aka infinitive construct.

Karl W. Randolph.

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