Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 4:9-12

Genesis 4:9-12
ט וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל־קַיִן אֵי הֶבֶל אָחִיךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא יָדַעְתִּי הֲשֹׁמֵר אָחִי אָנֹכִי:
י וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה עָשִׂיתָ קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן־הָאֲדָמָה:
יא וְעַתָּה אָרוּר אָתָּה מִן־הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר פָּצְתָה אֶת־פִּיהָ לָקַחַת אֶת־דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ מִיָּדֶךָ:
יב כִּי תַעֲבֹד אֶת־הָאֲדָמָה לֹא־תֹסֵף תֵּת־כֹּחָהּ לָךְ נָע וָנָד תִּהְיֶה בָאָרֶץ:
Translation:  **** said to Qain, where is Hevel your brother and he said, I didn’t know, am I my brother’s guardian?
He said what did you do, the voice of your brother’s blood cry to me from the earth.
Now you are cursed beyond the earth that opened its mouth to take the blood of your brother from your hand.
When you work the earth, it will not additionally give its strength, you will be a trembler and wanderer in the land.
                                                                                                     Your brother
Blood, construct state of plural
Opened, made a hole
Its mouth
Its strength
Normally, “blood” appears in the singular, dam.  Why the plural appears here is open to guess.  Normally, the plural of dam means money, especially money damages for a transgression like battery.  But as a horeg, Qain doesn’t owe damages.  He has to flee the goal ha-dam, the blood redeemer (see what I mean?) but there are no cities of refuge for him to go to.  That’s why he has to tremble and wander.  He’ll say it himself in a moment.
The normal version of “strength” is koach but like other –ach nouns, the “a” drops out when an ending is added.  We saw this before with ruachruchot. 
“Brother” is ach.  Notice the yod that is added before a personal ending.  The same thing happens with av, “father,” avikha, your father; and em, “mother”, imekha, your mother.  “Sister” is achot and the personal ending is added directly, achotkha, your sister.
Notice that the serpent was cursed “beyond the domestic and wild animals,” although Torah never says that these were cursed; and Qain is cursed “beyond the earth”, which was cursed because of what his father did.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved


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