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

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