[b-hebrew] Fact of language?

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Jun 5 16:02:51 EDT 2010

On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 10:06 PM, Randall Buth wrote:

> Actually, some spoken Hebrew dialects in the biblical period probably included
> an hipta`el like we see in Phoenician and Moabite. A qal-based 't'
> form just like
> the hitpa``el is a pi``el-based 't' form. One person could say
> 'yiltaHem' 'he will
> fight', and another might say 'yillaHem'.]

There is an apparent qal t form in htpqd as in Judges 20:15, 17 (the lack of
dagesh in the qoph differentiates it from a Piel).

However, the Moabite form is problematic in my opinion.  Because it is exactly
comparable to Hebrew Niphal, it suggests that the Moabite -t- form is a passive,
not reflexive, form.  Moabite has other morphological affinities with Aramaic,
and this would be one more -- Aramaic uses Hitpael as the passive form, rather
than Niphal.  (Old Aramaic still had a Niphal,but that Niphal was not
passive, just
like the Hitpael of Hebrew in Judges 20:15 is not passive).  We also
don't see a
Niphal in Moabite.

The statement that one would say yiltaHem (perhaps the hypothesized form
should have been yitlaHem?) and another would say yillaHem is doubtful.

For the word nlHm - attacked -- this suggests that in this case the etymology
might be useful.  The original meaning might have been nuanced as the more
passive viewpoint of the battle -- defended against.

Yitzhak Sapir

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