[b-hebrew] Proverbs 11:3

Pere Porta pporta7 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 01:42:17 EDT 2011

Well, everything is right at home. Only a too much hot September...

>  (KR)
> I appears that we should look at this step by step, and the first one is
> your point #4 above: what does the first half of the verse mean?
> תנחם is the verb in question. There is no question that it is a Yiqtol
> third person singular feminine verb. The question is, which one? I see three
> possibilities:
> 1) נוח to rest. But in this context it should be a Hiphil תניחם which it
> isn’t.
> 2) נחה to lead. Correct me if I am wrong, but would not the form here be
> תנחיהם if it were from the root נחה? Can you give any examples of a lamed
> heh verb in the Yiqtol fem sing with a masc plural suffix where the heh is
> merely dropped?
> 3) נחם to regret, to feel sorry (for) ⇒ to sympathize, comfort where I
> understand it in this context as its derivative meaning of sympathizing,
> comforting.
> After answering this question, then we can go on to the next one.

Answering to your three questions:

1) Verb נוח is thus put aside or discarded.
2) In a general way, verbs lamed-heh drop the heh before taking a suffix.
I've no exact sample fitting the pattern of our word. But there are many
which are quite parallel to it:

a) in the 3rd p. s. m. + suffix M:

1) Qal ------------ in Ps 28:5; in Ps 49:15...
2) Hiph'il-------- in Jdg 1:25

 b) in the 3rd p. s. m. + suffix K:

1) Qal ------------ in Mal 1:8
2) Hiph'il-------- in Jdg 1:25

If necessary, I'd provide some other.

3) This is a real possibility from a grammar viewpoint, in the line of the
third word (from the end) in 2Ki 6:29.
But there is here, methinks, a big problem: verb נחם is never used in the
Hiph'il in the Hebrew bible.
Would it, then, be a Pi'el in the line of  תלקט in Ruth 2:15? Or in the line
of תברך in Nm 22:6?
If so, yes, the meaning of the first part of the verse would be: “the
perfection of the upright comforts”, as you wrote.
Then, yes, the pointing ought to be as it is in תְּחַלֶּק (Ps 68:13),
(without dagesh, of course).
Summing up: תנחם could be a Pi'el, this is a possibility... But it seems to
me that "guide them" or "is a guide for them" fits much better than
"comforts" as for the sense of this first part of the verse.
Having to choose between:
--The perfection of the upright guides them (or themselves)
--The perfection of the upright comforts
I lean to the first translation, mainly because doing so the parallel with
the second part of the verse is fully held up: remark that the last word in
the verse has a final mem too (= them).


>  Do you agree that this is the best way to tackle this question?
> (PP)

Regards from

> Pere Porta
> (Barcelona, Catalonia, Northeastern Spain)

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