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Genesis 49:12 translation

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:59 am
by Kenneth Greifer
Does Genesis 49:12 say "eyes are red (dark) from wine (more than wine)" or "a redness (darkness) of eyes is from (is more than) wine?"
Does it say "teeth (plural) are white (singular) from milk" or "more than milk"?
Or does it say "a whiteness of teeth is from milk" or "is more than milk?"

Re: Genesis 49:12 translation

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:24 am
by S_Walch
חכלילי עינים מיין ולבן־שנים מחלב

Seems to me to be making a contrast, so "more than" is how I would understand it.

However, I don't think there's anything really against reading it "The eyes are dark from wine, and the teeth are white from milk", indicating that Judah may be reaping the benefits most of the land more than the others.

FWIW, the LXX has:

χαροποιοὶ οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ ὑπὲρ οἶνον, καὶ λευκοὶ οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτοῦ ἢ γάλα.
His eyes gladdened more than wine, and his teeth were whiter than milk.

Needless to say, חכלילי is a hapax-legomenon in Tanakh, so reading up on it I can see why "sparkling" has been given as an alternative meaning of the word.

Either way, "sparkling from wine" or "sparkling more than wine" would also work.

Re: Genesis 49:12 translation

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:43 pm
by SteveMiller
With the preceding verse mentioning vine, wine and grapes, I would say that the wine is the source of the חכלילי of his eyes.
And if wine is the source in the first part of the verse, then milk would be the source in the 2nd part.

Re: Genesis 49:12 translation

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:21 am
by Isaac Fried
I suspect that חכליל is a name of a flowering plant.

Isaac Fried, Boston University