[b-hebrew] Proverbs 11:3
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 18:31:27 EDT 2011
The weather is one of the reasons I like living here. The high today should
be about 19°C. Cool and comfortable.
Thank you. The third person plural object suffix is used so seldom on lamed
heh verbs that when the question came up, I just couldn’t think of any
I just checked with עשה one of the most common verbs in Hebrew usage, and
found only twice where it had an appended third person plural object suffix
on a third person singular use verb: as a Yiqtol in Qohelet 6:12, and as a
Qatal in Isaiah 48:5, where it is also in parallel with the same form in
So the question comes up, is this an example of נחה with an appended third
person plural object, or נחם used as a transitive verb?
If the verb is נחה with suffix, the context makes is pretty clear that it is
the perfection of the upright leads them.
If the verb is נחם without a suffix, it would be used in a transitive sense,
but with an indeterminate object. As such, it should be a Qal binyan, Yiqtol
Other examples of transitive usage include Genesis 5:29, 50:21, or as a
transitive in a reflexive way Genesis 27:42, 37:35.
נחם can also be used as an intransitive verb, such as Genesis 6:6–7.
Just from the form, we cannot tell which word is meant. Now comes clues from
The LXX is not much help here, αποθανων δικαιος ελιπεν μεταμελον προχειρος
δε γινεται και επιχαρτος ασεβων απωλεια.
Are there any examples from the DSS that can clarify this verse? If so, what
do they say?
If we assume, as did the Masoretes, that we are dealing with a copyist
error, that the first letter of the last word should be a yod, then we have
a simple oppositional parallelism, “but [the] bending out of shape of those
who deal underhandedly does them violence.” The parallelism favors the נחה
If, however, this is not an example of a copyist error, but that the waw at
the beginning of the last word was original, then how do we read the
proverb? That’s what my original post addressed. The LXX translation seems
to indicate that the waw was there at that time.
Thanks for considering the question.
Yours, Karl W. Randolph.
On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:42 PM, Pere Porta <pporta7 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Well, everything is right at home. Only a too much hot September...
>> 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
>> 1) נוח to rest. But in this context it should be a Hiphil תניחם which it
>> 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,
>> 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?
> Regards from
>> Pere Porta
>> (Barcelona, Catalonia, Northeastern Spain)
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