Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- two transitives

I want to repeat something I brought up in the last post, with more examples.  There is a website which claims that when qal and piel have pretty much the same meaning, qal will be used for intransitive meanings and piel for transitive.  That’s not correct.  The “pretty much” issue is the problem.  This analysis only works when the qal meaning is restricted to the intransitive.  A lot of times you will find that the qal progressive of such a verb is used adjectivally, which is intransitive.  Then the piel has to be used for transitive usages.  One case of this is Deuteronomy 1:38.
יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן הָעֹמֵד לְפָנֶיךָ הוּא יָבֹא שָׁמָּה אֹתוֹ חַזֵּק כִּי־הוּא יַנְחִלֶנָּה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל:
The word is chazeq which is piel and the question is why?  Well, the qal is techzaq and in progressive, you know it as chozeq, “be strong.”  That’s intransitive.  But in the sentence above, the meaning is “strengthen him,” which is transitive.  
Now: why not use hifil?  Because machziq is used to mean holding on fast, as in Proverbs 3:17-18 which, reversed, are a Sabbath hymn:
יז דְּרָכֶיהָ דַרְכֵי־נֹעַם וְכָל־נְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ שָׁלוֹם:
יח עֵץ־חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ וְתֹמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר:
Such an interpretation doesn’t work for shilach versus shalach; both piel and qal have transitive meanings.  Genesis 38:23 says shalachti ha-g’di, “I sent this kid…”
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה תִּקַּח־לָהּ פֶּן נִהְיֶה לָבוּז הִנֵּה שָׁלַחְתִּי הַגְּדִי הַזֶּה וְאַתָּה לֹא מְצָאתָהּ:
And of course Genesis 28:6 says shilach oto.
וַיַּרְא עֵשָׂו כִּי־בֵרַךְ יִצְחָק אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וְשִׁלַּח אֹתוֹ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם לָקַחַת־לוֹ מִשָּׁם אִשָּׁה בְּבָרֲכוֹ אֹתוֹ וַיְצַו עָלָיו לֵאמֹר לֹא־תִקַּח אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן:
The only way somebody might think that Genesis 38:23 was not transitive is that it doesn’t use the direct object particle, which 28:6 does bound to an personal suffix.  The meaning of both verses is transitive, however; both of the verbs have a direct object, even though in one it doesn’t have the particle to mark it.
It’s easy to see why somebody would make a claim that doesn’t hold water.  Tannakh is a large body of text, and the way I found my data is with a computer that could search on the Hebrew text.  The person making the claim might not have had that capability.  He might not have done the work himself if he was not an expert on Jewish Hebrew.  He might have been quoting a source, and he might have used outdated sources, or sources that ignored contradictory data to try and be right when they weren’t. 
You understand my point completely, because you are reading these lessons and you are learning things you never heard of before.  Your previous teachers didn’t access Dr. Cook’s dissertation, or anything comparable, so they didn’t have the information, so they couldn’t give it to you.  It was lucky you found me!

OK, ask the question.  I know you want to.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Outdoors -- true spring

Squirrels beware -- the mockingbird is back.

He opened up Thursday morning which, coincidentally, was Purim. 

I've seen him all winter.  He has finally started taking berries from my back porch.
Mockingbirds are very smart; he might have seen the robin come to the porch  and decided something good was going.
He was right.  When I ran out of blueberries, I substituted raisins.  The robins really love those.

Yes, my robin is back and I think he has taught his wife about the berries.
Odd thing: he now has some white dots next to his right eye.
I did some googling and sometimes this is a sign of trauma, so maybe he got into it with another  robin.
I did see a robin scuffle Wednesday but scuffles are never deadly.

The song sparrows have been singing for a couple of weeks when it was warm.
The Carolina chickadees are establishing their turf.

The trees and flowers have been amazing: Bradford pear, rich white with a brown undercurrent;
ethereal cherry with its pink blush;
soulangea magnolia, huge teacup bloomss with deep pink bases;
golden yellow forsythia;
purple-pink redbud;
narcissus of all varieties -- pure yellow, white with yellow or orange trumpets;
fresh green of privet and euonymus hedges.
My grape hyacinths have extended their turf a little bit into a place where normally I have to keep pulling up creeping charlie.  You go guys!

I picked some chickweed for a salad for lunch  on the Ides of March with a classic vinaigrette dressing.
I picked dandelion greens the day after Purim and they made a nice stir fry with smoked turkey and red bell pepper and mushrooms.

Spring is really here!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- is it science?

Now for the theoretical portion of our program.  Archaeology is a science.  It is often lumped under “soft sciences” but make no mistake.  It deals with physical remains and it does so using scientific principles.
Misunderstandings of archaeological results sometimes come from not understanding how science works.
Modern science got its philosophical start with Rene Descartes’ Discours sur la Methode.  In it, Rene said that languages are indeed the gateway to knowledge, but they are applied to knowledge of classical authors.  The classical authors have some problems.  One is that they never solve anything.  There is no practical outcome of their works.  People in Descartes’ time, almost 20 centuries after Plato, were still rehashing the same problems Plato did in the same terms.
The second problem with classical authors is that they propagate urban legends.  This includes Pliny’s report of people with their heads in the middle of their chests, as well as Herodotus’ claim that in his time, the 400s BCE, the only people who practiced circumcision were Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Colchians.  Those are my examples; Descartes didn’t give any.
Descartes lived in a time when mathematics was making great leaps forward under a new way of doing math which agreed on symbols and definitions for mathematical terms, putting all mathematicians on the same page and letting them achieve provable results.  Descartes himself created analytical geometry which incorporates algebra, the first sign of things to come, and leading directly to Wiles’s use of geometrical concepts to solve Fermat’s theorem in algebra.
The most important of Descartes’ scientific principles is to document the details of work as completely as possible.  The way science uses this principle is to insist that multiple tests based on those details all give the same results.  Otherwise the original worker might have made mistakes either in method, or by changing the data, or by coming to a mistaken conclusion.  Or we have just learned something new, as Richard Feynman pointed out in his 1963 lectures.
Ron Wyatt’s work fails because he did not provide complete details.  He also failed to provide his physical samples for testing by other workers.  Without examination by people with no vested interest in proving any specific result, we can suspect that Wyatt did not have enough information to back up his claims.  Or he had the information but he had a vested interest in making claims the data doesn’t support.
This same issue discredits the “Bible Codes”.
It will also discredit another field I will talk about much later, which has been described as wissenschaft but really amounts to authoritarian studies and is not an authoritative science.
Next week I’ll discuss another basic principle of science which undercuts some archaeological claims, and it’s one you probably already know about.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- piel perfect and consequences

Now I’m going to drill down one more level and after this subject, I’ll back out and go to a higher level topic.  I said I had important information on piel that you might not have heard of from your teachers and I said I had more to tell you about Exodus 22:4.
Here it is again.
כִּי יַבְעֶר־אִישׁ שָׂדֶה אוֹ־כֶרֶם וְשִׁלַּח אֶת־בְּעִירֹה וּבִעֵר בִּשְׂדֵה אַחֵר מֵיטַב שָׂדֵהוּ וּמֵיטַב כַּרְמוֹ יְשַׁלֵּם:
It starts out with a conditional using imperfect aspect, a standard “if” clause.
Then it says v’shilach.  That’s not only a perfect aspect verb, it’s in piel binyan, not qal.  Why? I said before that piel sometimes appears when a verb either isn’t used in qal or the qal has only an intransitive meaning.  The verb shalach in qal is transitive in meaning so piel is not needed to get a transitive meaning. 
My suggestion is that this is an unintended consequence.  Another example uses the same verb, shilach; Genesis 28:6:
וַיַּרְא עֵשָׂו כִּי־בֵרַךְ יִצְחָק אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וְשִׁלַּח אֹתוֹ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם לָקַחַת־לוֹ מִשָּׁם אִשָּׁה בְּבָרֲכוֹ אֹתוֹ וַיְצַו עָלָיו לֵאמֹר לֹא־תִקַּח אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן:
Yitschaq shilach Yaaqov.  He didn’t do it to send a message to Esav; he did it to save Yaaqov’s life.  But Esav heard that Yaaqov had been told to marry while away, and in verse 7 Esav marries a daughter of Yishmael, although his other two wives were local pagan girls.
Using piel for unintended consequences leads directly to using it in the legal code.  People sometimes do things on purpose to get benefits, but there’s a downside and they aren’t careful enough to keep it from having bad consequences.  The law wants people to think things through and take reasonable precautions.  So it punishes people who fail more than once to take reasonable precautions.  That repetition is piel all over, aside from the lack of intention.
The law doesn’t generally get involved in one-off incidents; it cares about the piel repetitions.  So even if a root has a transitive qal, Hebrew might use piel in Mishnah and Midrash Halakhah, to stress the fact that the case is not the first instance in history, or even the first time this individual did it.  He has established a pattern of behavior, which is undesirable because he regularly fails to think things through.  It’s time he suffered some consequences now that an innocent party has suffered.
Discussions of piel only as intensive don’t apply here.  The fire didn’t get out more intensely, it simply got out. 
Discussions of piel as transitive don’t work here.  Qal could have been used if a simple transitive meaning was intended. 
Something else went on that only the piel could capture.  That’s the repeated, unintended consequences for which the firestarter has to pay damages.

But there's one thing piel does better than almost any other morphology.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 18, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah: Cross the wide -- Sinai

The modern urban legend about what happened at Yam Suf has nothing to do with the Bitter Lakes. I first heard about it something like 20 years ago when somebody sent it to me in an email claiming it was true. Fortunately I read Bible pretty well and know a bunch of other stuff, but I still did research to come up with my answer.
The claim is that chariot wheels have been found underwater at Nuweiba, Egypt and they are Pharaoh’s chariot wheels. The Egyptians chased the Israelites to Nuweiba and were drowned there.
It’s nearly 200 kilometers from Sukkot to Nuweiba, right across the rocky part of the peninsula.
Horse-drawn conveyances traveling at most 13 kilometers an hour at a gallop, would take 15 hours to make that trip. They would have caught up with the Israelites, traveling by foot and ox-cart, at a speed of 5 kilometers an hour, long before reaching Nuweiba. This is one of those algebra problems you hoped you would never see again after high school, if you’re my age.
Horse-drawn conveyances had to stop about every 30 kilometers to change horses as late as 1800 CE, or the horses would die in harness. That means even if Pharaoh’s chariots crossed Sinai, they would need at least 6 depots with at least 600 changes of teams at every depot, plus grooms plus water plus food for the grooms and the exhausted horses. They would have been large establishments, set up ahead of the chase (and how would Pharaoh know to do that?), or kept up full time. Permanent depots would have been vulnerable to the depredations of Shasu (Bedouins) and other groups who wanted their horses, so they would have to be garrisoned. More water and food and buildings.
The chariots would also have to be replaced. Since the horse-collar had not yet been invented, the chariots had to attach to the horses with systems of straps as shown in pictures from Hyksos times, and the chariots themselves had to be quite lightweight, and that means they weren’t very sturdy. The depots would have to have repair shops and extra chariots to replace the ones that broke down. More people, more food and water, more buildings. And bits of metal that would survive where other remains would not (more on that later).
It seems to be a fairly simple task to find them; go 30 kilometers from Tell el-Maskhuta and sound every 30 kilometers after that for stone walls and large settlements. Nobody has done it. If anybody ever does it, I expect them to come up empty.
This is a subject called logistics. I worked for the government for years trying to explain to people that their pet project would cost 10 times what they had budgeted unless everything was thrown away as soon as it broke. That’s not economical with large low-tech items like cars or chariots. In the 1600s BCE Pharaoh couldn’t do the math I could do in the late 1900s CE, but he would realize that at 2 horses per chariot, he had to put 1200 horses at every depot for a total of almost 10,000 horses, besides the ones he hitched to the chariots in the first place.
When I did the research, an M1A Abrams tank could travel the width of Sinai on just one tank of gas, but at Nuweiba it would become a paperweight without a depot with the right fuel. Pharaoh was in an even worse position because if he drove his horses to death, he had no way to get back home.
So “Pharaoh’s chariot wheels at Nuweiba” goes the way of Ron Wyatt’s other claims even before we perform metallurgical and radiocarbon tests to see whether the wheels are bound in iron instead of bronze, or whether the wood dates to the right time.
Neither of which tests have been performed.
Because Wyatt refused to provide a wheel for testing.
Anybody making a claim has to provide the material for testing the claim, or provide the test results. We’ll never know more about this because Wyatt died in 1999 and what has happened to his “find” is not documented, at least, not online.
By the way, it’s about 50 kilometers from Avaris to Sukkot.  After all this talk of logistics, you have to realize that Pharaoh’s chariots could not set out from Avaris and finish the chase.  The timing given in Exodus allows Pharaoh to realize that the Israelites have left Avaris; a fast rider or relays of runners could have notified commanders to turn them back.  When the Israelites showed up at Sukkot 10 hours after leaving Avaris, Pharaoh might have been there to take command, but the chariots would have been those posted at Sukkot.
It’s time to teach you what you might not know about archaeology itself, so you will understand what has gone wrong with archaeology in its claims about Torah.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- perfect timing

Now that I’ve discussed the volitive, and also the sequential based on perfect aspect, I want to go back and elaborate on something I discussed some time ago.
Remember the parallel structure using both perfect and imperfect?  Well, it’s not just in poetry and prophecy.  In other places it elaborates laws. 
The structure of imperfect verb plus ki im plus perfect verb has been called “use of the perfect verb in a future tense” but that’s not accurate.  See Genesis 32:27.
וַיֹּאמֶר שַׁלְּחֵנִי כִּי עָלָה הַשָּׁחַר וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ כִּי אִם־בֵּרַכְתָּנִי:
The action of the perfect verb has to be completed before the imperfect verb will happen.  The same structure occurs in Genesis 40:14 and Leviticus 22:6, and it hinges on the ki im.
A contrasting  structure starts with something I already discussed, ki or im plus the imperfect.  It is followed by a clause containing perfect aspect, which is another action.  This second action has to be completed before the law comes into effect, making it a sort of “then-if” clause.  Exodus 22:4 is a good example.
כִּי יַבְעֶר־אִישׁ שָׂדֶה אוֹ־כֶרֶם וְשִׁלַּח אֶת־בְּעִירֹה וּבִעֵר בִּשְׂדֵה אַחֵר מֵיטַב שָׂדֵהוּ וּמֵיטַב כַּרְמוֹ יְשַׁלֵּם: 
The man who started the fire, probably to burn off weeds, isn’t liable to pay damages until a) the fire gets out of control (shilach)  AND b) it burns another field (u-vier), probably belonging to somebody else.   I’ll come back to this verse later for another illustration.
One more example, Exodus 12:44, has neither ki  nor im.
וְכָל־עֶבֶד אִישׁ מִקְנַת־כָּסֶף וּמַלְתָּה אֹתוֹ אָז יֹאכַל בּוֹ:
The verb is maltah, “circumcise”, with the same final “ah” as natatah.  The verb is based on perfect aspect, not imperfect, and the vav suggests that it’s a “then” clause logically as well as in terms of timing. 
Why is it in a sequential format?  The issue here is somebody who sells you an exclusive services contract on himself, (see the Fact-Checking discussion about the eved) and he is NOT a Jew. (If he was a Jew he already would be circumcised.)  You can circumcise him, in which case he becomes a nominal Jew, but you can’t do that until you have paid him the money for the contract.  When he takes up that money and signs the contract, then you can circumcise him, and not before.
This structure seems to be the opposite of the one where the imperfect aspect verb couldn’t take place until a perfect aspect verb was carried out.
Now, you’re asking how sure I am that the heh is not a feminine object ending.  The answer is that natatah and similar “ah”  verbs appear with masculine singular and plural objects, and the feminine object ending would be either ungrammatical or superfluous.  When vowelling was standardized, this form was always written with a plain heh, no dagesh in it, and the feminine object suffix requires the dagesh.

I'll show another use of perfect that Dr. Cook didn't discuss next week.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 11, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- when is a Yam not a Yam

Your assignment for this week was to read Exodus 13:18, 15:4 and 22.  These verses refer to the escape over Yam Suf.
Where is Yam Suf?
The original urban legend, created by the Septuagint (don’t get me started, I’ll say more about Septuagint in part III), was that it was the Red Sea.  Two problems. 
The Septuagint translators chose this.  In Greek.  Yam Suf does not mean Red Sea, it means Reed Sea. 
Second problem.  The Red Sea is on a different bearing from Ramses than Tell el-Maskhuta and the mountain currently believed to be Mt. Sinai.
Understand that Reed cannot be mistaken for Red except in English, a language which became official in England only about 1364 CE when the king declared it the official language of law courts.  Before that the courts operated in Latin, most of the clerks being clergy who, of course, were Catholic.
There is no way to mistake Red for Reed in Greek.
The word suf for reed shows up in Exodus 1:4 when Moshe’s mother puts his basket in the reeds, and also in Isaiah 19:6 in parallel with a kenning, qaneh, also meaning reed.  There’s no way to mistake suf for the Hebrew for “red,” adom.
What’s more, yam is used elsewhere in the Bible with other non-maritime meanings.  Kings II 25:13 uses it for the basin of water in the temple from which the priests washed their hands and feet.  So yam doesn’t exclusively mean a natural body of water, or a large one, or a body of salt water; it was fresh water in the yam in the temple.
If the yam had suf growing around it, it wasn’t nearly as salty as sea water.  It also wasn’t necessarily deep.  This would be typical of a body of water in the process of disappearing through desiccation.
The shallow parts could blow dry given the famous parching winds from the east that also destroyed crops, immortalized in the second dream of Pharaoh in Genesis 41:5-6.  Once the wind stopped, the water in the rest of the lakes would fill in the dried part, turning the mud into soup and dragging chariots to a halt.  Unless and until the panicked horses ran mad and went deeper into the water.  The way they will sometimes plunge into a fire instead of running away from it.
Me being an Israelite, I’m not going to look back until I’m sure I’m far enough away that the water won’t get me, and even then the pressure of people behind me will probably keep me from seeing the end of what happened.  All I know is that the pursuit breaks off and we get to Sinai relatively safely.
So to answer the title, a yam is always a yam, but what it yam might not be what you think.
Next week I’ll bust the modern urban legend about this event.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- "Next!"

Biblical Hebrew has a volitive morphological form which expresses a wish contrary to fact.  It adds a syllable to an imperfect aspect verb; the syllable is “ah” with a heh at the end, for a verb which is not part of the lamed heh class.
If you have continued reading Torah independently after lesson 97 of this series, you might have seen verbs with the “ah” ending that are based on perfect aspect, not imperfect, but are not 3rd singular feminine verbs.
The earliest example is one you came across when we read Genesis 3:12.  Adam says, “the wife you gave me….”
וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הָֽאָדָ֑ם הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָתַ֣תָּה עִמָּדִ֔י הִ֛וא נָֽתְנָה־לִּ֥י מִן־הָעֵ֖ץ וָֽאֹכֵֽל:
I’m still trying to figure out why this verb happens in Torah so many times.  It’s in the entire Tannakh a total of 65 times.  The closest thing I can come up with is that it means something that can’t happen until something else happens.  There is a cluster of examples in Exodus, in the making of the tabernacle.  In half a dozen of the instructions, it says natatah. Exodus 25:12 says:
יב וְיָצַקְתָּ לּוֹ אַרְבַּע טַבְּעֹת זָהָב וְנָתַתָּה עַל אַרְבַּע פַּעֲמֹתָיו וּשְׁתֵּי טַבָּעֹת עַל־צַלְעוֹ הָאֶחָת וּשְׁתֵּי טַבָּעֹת עַל־צַלְעוֹ הַשֵּׁנִית:
These are the instructions about the aron, the box in which the tablets will be kept.  The point is that you don’t cast the rings for the staves as part of the gold covering for the ark.  You cast them separately and then fasten them to the gold covering. 
So back on Genesis 3:12, what Adam is really saying is that Gd gave the woman to him as a wife after something else.  What is that?  Read the whole story.  Gd told Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and only after that did He create woman.  Had the two actions been reversed, Eve would have heard the commandment from Gd’s own mouth.  As it was, she heard it from Adam, and by the time the serpent caught up to her, she had gotten it mixed up in her mind.  And the rest is history.
The sequential natatah feeds into one more subject which I’ll discuss next because it rounds off another recent discussion.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Dateline Egypt

Your assignment for this week was to read Exodus 7:14 through 9:35.
So what do we know about the end of the Hyksos in Egypt?
First, while “credit” for chasing them out goes to Ahmose, founder of the 18th dynasty, the project was discussed in his father’s time.
In fact we have notes from a council meeting which had the subject on its schedule.  At one point, a council member spoke up saying that it wasn’t necessarily a good idea to attack the Delta.  That would disrupt the supply of wheat, and the “native” Egyptians in southern Egypt used that wheat to feed pigs.
There is an urban legend that the ancient Egyptians hated pigs, but this reference argues with that.  Actually, the Coffin Text says that Set turned into his beast form to cure an inflammation of Horus’ eye and the urban legend was that this beast form was a pig and therefore the gods hate such beasts.  But that’s false: the beast form, called sha, is dog-like and has nothing in common with a pig.
The council meeting brings up an interesting possibility.  As long as the Delta was a good trading partner, the south held back.  As soon as Thera’s eruption caused agricultural problems – like no more wheat – the southerners decided that the north must be in disarray and even with a marching distance of over 700 kilometers (and the long supply line since there was no food where they were going), an attack might be successful.
Now look at the chapters in Exodus I pointed out, particularly chapter 9.  Anybody caught in the Mount St. Helens eruption, or fond of reading about historic eruptions like Vesuvius in Italy and Mt. Pelee in Martinique, will recognize the burning ash that raised boils, the burning hail mixed with rain, and the thick darkness as stages of a severe volcanic blast.  Radiometric data at Thera from a dead olive tree, and those ringless trees in Ireland, set the timing at 1628 BCE, and this agrees with the radiometric data from the last time Avaris was inhabited under that name. 
What’s more, modern radiometric dating for the New Kingdom which Ahmose founded, and recent work on the Ahmose “Tempest” stele, both put Ahmose’s reign within 50 years of the Thera eruption and record his eyewitness account of rainstorms which reasonably could result from the explosion indirectly (remember, this was over 700 kilometers south of Avaris).  The sort of deadly thunderstorms recorded on the stele are not normal in Egypt, or Ahmose wouldn’t have taken the trouble to record them. 
The other data in Exodus 9 shows that the eruption ruined the spring crops, coordinating with Passover as a springtime festival.
Next time I’ll discuss one of the last urban legends about the Exodus, which is, what is the exact translation of Exodus 13:18, 15:4 and 22?
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- "wish I may..."

The Biblical Hebrew system of modality includes three forms.  I discussed oblique modality only briefly; because of having so many possible meanings, there are too many examples to go into,  but it requires vav plus a perfect aspect verb in VS syntax, in a subordinate clause.
The second class of modalities is deontic and it includes imperative morphology.  Imperatives require quick action, but they also require a two-step process.  There will always be subsequent text which shows whether the imperative was carried out or not.  Imperatives that don’t go into force identify a speaker who was not “authorized” to issue an imperative. 
Deontics express the world as we would like it to be and since it isn’t, deontics have to be based on imperfect aspect verbs.  Imperatives do not carry within themselves the evidence that they have been carried out and that goes along with a basis in the imperfect, in contrast to 2nd person perfect verbs used in commandments.
The other deontic is one you probably use in English even if you have never heard of its technical name.  Any time you say “I wish that X would happen” or “I would like it if you did X,” you are using the volitive. 
The volitive in Biblical Hebrew doesn’t use auxiliary verbs like it does in English.  When you see a verb that starts like an imperfect and ends in heh, BUT you know (or find in the dictionary) that it is NOT a lamed heh verb, AND it ends with an “a” sound, AND you know it’s not the perfect aspect in 3rd feminine singular AND you know it doesn’t  have a feminine object suffix, that is a volitive.  As you might guess, there are so many things such a word might be, that it’s relatively rare to find a real volitive in Torah.
Note that it has to be a verb.  A noun that ends in the “ah” sound with a heh on the end is either a nominative feminine gender single number noun, or if it has a dagesh in it, that’s a feminine singular object suffix.  If it’s masculine, it’s a name like Yehudah.
The volitive always means “this is how I wish things were, contrary to fact.”  The best example is probably Genesis 19:20 in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot tells the angel “I wish to flee to Tsoar,” imaltah.  (It also uses the humble na.)
הִנֵּה־נָא הָעִיר הַזֹּאת קְרֹבָה לָנוּס שָׁמָּה וְהִוא מִצְעָר אִמָּלְטָה נָא שָׁמָּה הֲלֹא מִצְעָר הִוא וּתְחִי נַפְשִׁי:
It’s contrary to fact because the angel has just told Lot to flee to the mountains. 
The King James Version says “let me escape there.”  That misses the point.  Lot is simply expressing a wish.  The Septuagint has the bald statement, “I am going to flee to Tsoar.”  Very rude.  Especially to an angel who, after all, is speaking for Gd.
I was on the track of what this meant when I read Dr. Cook’s dissertation.  It made me feel good  that I had figured out a real thing, instead of just making it up as I went along.  But there are some similar things that Dr. Cook didn’t write about, that I think I have figured out.  You  might have seen them, but they are not volitives and I will talk about them next week.
The volitive always appears in 1st person, as far as I remember; there are examples in plural, as in the Aqedah story, Genesis 22:5:
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל־נְעָרָיו שְׁבוּ־לָכֶם פֹּה עִם־הַחֲמוֹר וַאֲנִי וְהַנַּעַר נֵלְכָה עַד־כֹּה וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנָשׁוּבָה אֲלֵיכֶם:
Avraham says “we wish to go…we wish to return.”  He knows his troopers won’t think anything of that.  Stuff happens: they might not get there and come back anyway.  But  Avraham has in mind that they will get there, but they won’t both return. 

Next week I'll talk about something that  is easy to mix up with volitive and another verbal issue.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Garden -- March 2016

Last month I talked about preventing Japanese beetles.  Mosquitoes are worse -- and better.

Here is McGrath's plan for suppressing mosquitoes.

Notice that you are going to decoy the females into laying eggs in poisoned water.

There are other things you can do.  A number of flowers have two benefits; they're good for pollinators and they repel mosquitoes.  They include lavender, bee balm, and marigolds.

You can attract bug eating birds.  You can put up bird apartment houses, which could attract purple martins.  They might get taken over by sparrows, but that isn't a bad thing because sparrows eat aphids.

Plant chokeberries and blueberries.  These will attract catbirds, mockingbirds, and other bug eaters, but most especially yellow warblers which eat mosquitoes.   Euonymus, which makes nice hedges, is another berry that bug-eating birds like.  Just make sure you prune only at the end of winter before the flowers come  on, otherwise you destroy the berries before they are born.

Also now is the time to buy your corn gluten meal to suppress crabgrass and other broadleaf weeds, and the compost to plant your early leafy greens and peas.  That's the big job for March.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved