[b-hebrew] Why a whole thread?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 20:53:49 EST 2010


On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 10:44 PM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>wrote:

> >> 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
> posts.
> It would be great if you did   not   read hmlk as a verbal noun,
> aka 'infinitive construct'.

You need to read my posts more carefully.

I clearly indicated that after עד אשר there is found only either an
adjective indicating the final state of the subject of the sentence, or a
verbal phrase, usually the verb itself, though sometimes the verb is
preceded by an adverb such as לא, כה or אם. It is never followed by a noun
nor an infinitive construct. Not even in poetry.

Options are that this is a copyist error, a verb whose existance has been
forgotten, or we could be misreading עד connecting it to a wrong meaning, or
something else. That’s why I asked what is the witness from the DSS?

> In reality, you do, but don't seem to recognize that.
> So listen to yourself discuss hmlk
> on two previous posts:

Why take things out of context? I also indicated that I was dissatisfied
with those translations. I am equally dissatisfied with your explanations so

It is because of my dissatisfaction with all the explanations I have seen so
far that has led me to ask what this verse means, and to consider that maybe
we all are reading the wrong meanings into the words, or that maybe we are
dealing with a copyist error.

> 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.")

All languages have certain word orders that are never violated, and Hebrew
is no exception. Those word orders are not changed even in poetry where they
are most likely to be changed. What you are asking for is not found in
Biblical Hebrew. it may be found in other languages, like Mishnaic Hebrew,
Ugaritic, or other languages that I don’t know, but not in Hebrew.

> 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.

This phrase has a different meaning, therefore will act differently. So
Genesis 34:22 it is followed with a personal pronoun. Exodus 5:13 (I don’t
know how to give a grammatical description of this), Numbers 32:25, 27, etc.

If one uses אשר as a stand-alone phrase, it acts differently yet again.

> 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".

That’s a mistranslation of verse 13. “My beloved is a small bag of myrrh, it
will lodge between my breasts”.

> 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.

Sorry, עד אשר indicates an action that comes to a conclusion. A verbless
sentence does not have a conclusion. It’s stative. Therefore your
description makes no sense.

> 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.

Who said I believed that verse 12 originally had a different text? All I did
was to ask a question. What is the evidence? Why take my statement out of
its context?

> Meanwhile I've said my peace. (English correction, “I’ve said my piece.”)
> And it's late,
>  שדי אשתי קוראים אותי ללון הלילה

Uri is correct in the stylistic correction.

This structure indicates who is doing the calling, but it you want to
indicate the action, the sentence should read קראונני שדי אשתי הלילה לשכב
where the meaning is that they are calling you that you should
sleep tonight,

If your intent was to indicate that your wife wanted you to lodge with her
that night, use לון, but if the intent is to share the bed, שכב. Your
sentence may have been correct for modern Hebrew, but not Biblical.

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

While I have read Tanakh over 20 times, that does not mean that I understand
every verse. Each time the number of verses that I don’t understand gets
fewer. There might be an answer to this verse that is simple that I merely
have overlooked, some of which I mentioned at the beginning of this posting.

Remember what I said before, that the duty of the linguistic scholar is to
be descriptive, not predictive? I still hold to that. To me it appears that
you told to the opposite, which is how I understand some of our

I also think you don’t have that innate feel for the Biblical Hebrew
language, a feel that is dulled and obfuscated by expertise in Aramaic,
Ugaratic, Arabic, and especially in Mishnaic and modern Hebrews.

Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list