Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Eliyahu sent me this interesting thing from Shadal (Shmuel David Luzzato) via IM, which he saw here:

"Ribqah said to Yishaq 'qasti behayyai, (I loathe my life)
because of those Hittite women.'" (Gen. 27:46)

In the masoretic text the letter "q" (qof) is written smaller
than usual. Shadal (Luzzatto) gives an interesting explanation of
this phenomenon which also resolves several other difficult
verses. He says that the ancient scribal practice was to leave
out one letter when the same letter begins the next word. (He
speculates that perhaps instead of this letter a certain sign was
used to indicate that one letter stands for two.) In our case the
letter "q" ends the word Yishaq and begins the word "qasti." Over
time the practice was dropped and the extra letter was added, but
because the space was narrow the letter was made smaller.
Similarly in Leviticus 1:1 "Vayiqra` `el Moshe, the ` (alef) of
vayiqra` is small because `el begins with the same letter. The
practice of leaving out the doubled letter explains some of the
qere and ketib and some other problematic words. 2 Sam. 5:2; Jer.
39:16 "hamebi `et;" 2 Kings 13:6; Jer. 32:35 "hehti `et;" Jer.
23:14 "lebilti shabu" should be read "yashubu;" "lebilti ba`u"
should be read lebilti yabo`u in Jer. 27:18. Other words include:
Yabo--yabo`u Is. 45:24 and Ez. 20:38. beyad--beyado 1 Sam. 19:9.
There are more examples of this phenomenon, according to Shadal.

Of course, there are many other examples where this phenomenon
occurs without any vestige of its ever having been written with
one letter taking the place of two, yet Shadal would claim that
the original practice was completely updated in those places.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin