Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 2:8

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Genesis 2:8
ח וַיִּטַּע יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים גַּן־בְּעֵדֶן מִקֶּדֶם וַיָּשֶׂם שָׁם אֶת־הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר יָצָר:
Transliteration: Va-yita **** elohim gan-b’-eden mi-qedem va-yasem sham et-ha-adam asher yatsar.
Translation:    **** Gd planted a garden in Eden toward the east and placed there the man whom He had made.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
To the east
Placed, positioned
Had formed
Mi has two meanings: toward; and from.  In some places it is debatable which it means but in most it is clear.
You see the past tense of ytsr from the pal binyan in this verse.  Remember I said that the past tense not only indicates completed action, it has the sense of a pluperfect.  That’s what it does here.
Yasem is from the root sim.  Since there’s a long vocabulary list in this lesson, I’ll show you sim in a later one.
For now, I want to point out a connection to past times in this verse.  About 3000 BCE, edin was a word for land that once lay along the Euphrates and was easy to irrigate.  When the river shifted west (miqedem, “from the east”) the lands to the east (miqedem) were abandoned.  They were too dry and it took too much work to irrigate them.
The Akkadian epic Atra-Hasis begins with a tablet set in these times, in which the major gods have the minor gods doing the irrigation.   The minor gods complain and humans are created to take over the work.
The general desiccation in Mesopotamia at this time promoted control over the population so that levies of work crews were established to do the irrigation to prevent starvation.
But that’s not the situation in this episode of the Bible, as you will see.

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