[b-hebrew] How emphatic? THAT emphatic?

Keith McCune mccunes at gmail.com
Fri Jul 23 16:03:39 EDT 2010


Let me share with you a letter I wrote to a friend recently.

I would love to hear what you think.

Keith

****************

Dear Michael,

You have probably heard the (perhaps pop) rule of thumb that the function of
doubled verbs-- with infinitive plus finite forms-- is to make the action
EMPHATIC.  One classic example is God's warning to Adam:  "You will SURELY
die."

Do you like this explanation of the meaning of inf+finite?

How about 2 Sam 1:6?  The little opportunistic scavenger who brings David
the crown of Saul is describing what happened (and lying more than once in
the process).  He says:

*נִקְרא נִקְרֵיתִי* בהר גִלְבעַ

Here's my question:
Is the function of the infinitival doubling EMPHATIC?  And if so, in what
specific way?  If the intent is similar to (what is often said about) God's
warning to Adam, then the feeling would be:
'I really mean this!'

In other words, the little liar, who has been, let's say, systematically
pilfering from the dead of his own army all his life, is elaborately saying:
"By PURE CHANCE-- can you imagine!-- by UTTER COINCIDENCE-- I was near Mt.
Gilboa..."

If so, the only version that has even attempted to reflect the elaborateness
of the Amalekite's lie is the NET Bible:
"I *just *happened to be..."

What do you think?  Perhaps I am making a mountain out of a molehill?  But
then, that is what emphatic language does to us!

Yours,

Keith



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