[b-hebrew] Why a whole thread?

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Fri Dec 17 01:44:13 EST 2010

>> 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" after עד אשר or עד ש. One needs
>> something at the clause level.
. . .

> 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.

Well, your responses show that you did not understand my post,
and do not seem to recognize what you are claiming about your own
It would be great if you did   not   read hmlk as a verbal noun,
aka 'infinitive construct'.
In reality, you do, but don't seem to recognize that.
So listen to yourself discuss hmlk
on two previous posts:

KR: “Until you cause it to be plucked off,"
KR: "Right now I am guessing (until shown a better
option) that this is a hophal with a second person singular suffix."

The 'k' suffix is a nominal suffix, used with infinitives (verbal nouns)
and as objects added to verbs, but 'k' is not a verbal subject suffix
like '-t'.
Your translation 'you cause it to be plucked off' appears to read the
'k' suffix as the subject of an infinitive phrase, and an infinitive phrase
is not a clause capable of filling an "asher" slot.
NB: An infinitive would have been appropriate if ONLY עד `ad had been
used. That is, `ad by itself could be followed by an infinitive phrase in well-
formed BH.  עד `ad by itself would NOT want a full verb YIQTOL/QATAL
or a full sentence like a verbless clause.
But S 1.12 has `ad sh-, which equals `ad asher and needs something at a
clause level to follow. It doesn't appear that you have understood what
this means. So . . .

You should look at the larger phenomenon before responding
You need to know not only the difference between
עד and עד אשר   `ad and `ad asher
but also
אל and אל-אשר
בלי and בלי-אשר
מן and מאשר
ב and באשר
תחת and תחת-אשר
למען and למען-אשר
על and על-אשר
כ and  כאשר

There is a "global process" going on in the language that you
have been ignoring. The basic purpose of the 'asher' syntax is to
provide for a clause-level predication (aka sentence) to be
subordinated to a preposition that would otherwise be limited
to a nominal. Unfortunately, I am speaking about Hebrew syntax
in English, and English is a language that mixes these things
up. English allows 'prepositions' to be used as 'conjunctions'.

In addition, you have not seemed to understand that clauses/
sentences can have word orders changed for various
pragmatic reasons. (this refers to your statement:
"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.") That statement doesn't
seem to allow for word order changes after asher-clauses. 40
examples using 'unmarked', normal orders do not change
this piece of the way in which BH works. Consider just the
last example from the list above, כאשר, out all of the
"preposition+asher" structures listed above.. This conjunction has
a verb as the next word 463 times, and a noun as the next
word 10 times. And in both cases, the following material is a
clause/sentence. What you do not find is כאשר introducing a
simple infinitive. Why? Because a simple infinitive is not a
sentence but a nominal and it does not fulfill an asher clause
(unless it were part of an assumed verbless clause).
Consequently, you have presented "40" examples in order to
constrict Hebrew syntax against itself, and Song 1.12 and
Ex 32.20 and Dt 9.21 (reading daq as an adjective in the
eleptic sentence "until that [it is] thin") provide three potential
examples of the allowable and to-be-expected verbless
clause examples.

Anyway, "until [that] the king is in his mesib-* is perfectly
consistent BH syntax, even if 40 to 1 or 40 to 3 for `ad asher.
And what's more, it fits the context great by lining up with
verse 13 "between my breasts he will spend the night".
And mesab having a meaning like "seating" fits the
following verse as a poetic parallel to lying between the
breasts, plus nard ends up in parallel with myrrh,
AND mesab turns up in post-Biblical Hebrew, which is
not a crime, AND it was recognized by the LXX, which is
not a crime. You always like to claim that it is POSSIBLE
that these later sources make mistakes or ignorant guesses
that were not part of BH. That is always a possibility.
BUT -- That claim needs to be balanced to include that
it is POSSIBLE that these later sources also preserve
a piece of BH that was accidentally unattested because of
the limited nature of the Hebrew Bible. When we examine
Song 1.12, the PROBABILITY is that we are looking at
an example of the latter, at an example where both Mishnaic
Hebrew and the LXX still possessed/knew the BH-era word
that was otherwise unattested in the Bible.

The context of Song 1.12-13 just fits too well.

>There is the possibility that here we are dealing with a copyist error,

You may want to believe that verse 12 originally had a different
text. Fine. I see no evidence of that and find it completely
unnecessary according to a full understanding of BH.
But you are free to go that route.

Meanwhile I've said my peace.
And it's late,
 שדי אשתי קוראים אותי ללון הלילה

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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