Genesis 2:16

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PhiloDim
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Genesis 2:16

Postby PhiloDim » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:49 pm

Hello,
I would like to ask you a question about the translation of certain words in the Hebrew Bible.
I also presume, because I do not speak Hebrew, that the link below is original script, how original I do not know.
The link to the Hebrew text, please see Genesis 2:16:
http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen2.pdf
The text from the book (Philo of Alexandria) dates from first century AD.
Genesis 2:16
“And the Lord God commanded Adam, saying, “Of every tree that is in the Paradise thou mayest freely eat ; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat but in the day on which ye eat of it ye shall die the death."
Please tell me if "Ye shall not eat" and "In the day in which ye shall eat of it ye shall" — Ye (second person plural) exists in the text (scripture4all.org)? Was it incorrectly translated as ”Thou” — (second person singular).
Also “die the death” is very important, could the Hebrew text be translated this way as well?

Schubert
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby Schubert » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:21 pm

Philo, welcome to the Biblical Hebrew Forum. The forum's policy requires all participants to use their real name. You can insert that it an automatic signature.

I'm not sure where you found the "ye" and "thou's". Although this forum does not focus on translation issues, I'll say that in all instances you've asked about in Genesis 2:17 the Hebrew is masculine 2nd person singular.

I'll leave for others to comment on the translation of ‎ מוֹת תָּמוּת .
John McKinnon

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SteveMiller
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:38 pm

PhiloDim,
מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת is a common phrase meaning "you shall surely die". It is also used in Gen 20:7; 1Sam 14:44; 22:16; 1Kings 2:27, 42; 2Kings 1:4, 6, 16; Jer 26:8; Ezek 3:18; 33:8, 14.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

Isaac Fried
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:36 pm

תָּמֽוּת = אתה-מוּת with an insistive or assertive אתה, 'you'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

PhiloDim
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby PhiloDim » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:03 pm

Thank you all,
Dmitry S.

Saro Fedele
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby Saro Fedele » Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:54 pm

First of all, I apologize for my wobbly English. I hope the concepts I will set out will be rather clear.


In Gen 2:17, some sort of verbal form’s repetition - linked with the meaning of ‘to die’ - must possess a proper and univocal sense (traditionally, this phenomenon is called ‘Infinitive Absolute’).

We have to ask ourselves, The sense of this repetition is related with an emphatical/intensive nuance? Or with an axpect linked with a certainty sense?

Let us proceed step by step.

Young's Literal Translation (and the like): “and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it - dying thou dost die”.
The Young’s Literal Translation-style reading have no sense, at all. What means - really - ‘dying thou dost die’? Nothing (in English language).
It is very interesting, as this regard, the passage of 1 King 2:37 ( תמות מות כי תדע ידע). In this verse we found two verbal repetitions, one related to the sense of ‘to know’ (IDO TDO), and the other to the sense of ‘to die’ (MUT TMUT).
Now, let we examine this expression according the various hypothesis.

According the YLT-style hypothesis: “knowing you will know that dying you will die”. An absolute non-sense, in English language (in Italian, also);
According the 'certainty' hypothesis: “you will have to know for sure that you will die, without fail”. A very apt translation.

Now, returning to Gen 2:17, we may repeat the experiment. We have to include also the previous verse (16) because it is contextually linked with the 17.

Not everybody knows the fact that this verse possess two verbal repetition (like 1 Kin 2:37). In fact, we read (Gen 2:16, 17):
Gen 2:16 ויצו יהוה אלהים על־האדם לאמר מכל עץ־הגן אכל תאכל׃ Gen 2:17 ומעץ הדעת טוב ורע לא תאכל ממנו כי ביום אכלך ממנו מות תמות

Taking into account the two 'repetitions' (AKL/TAKL [in Gen 2:16], and MUT/TMUT [in Gen 2:17]), ask ourselves, What is the commonest translation of this paragraph?

KJV: [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, [17] but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Like you see the KJV-style translation implies two different meaning of the two verbal repetition!
But this is not logical, at all.
If we accept to assign to the first verbal repetition (AKL TAKL) the meaning of ‘mayest freely eat’ I’ve so choose the emphatical/intensive hypothesis. In this case, why - as regards the second verbal repetition (MUT TMUT) - I would skid to the certainty hypothesis, translating “thou shalt surely die”? Where is the coherence?

A given, single, linguistic phenomenon (in this case, the verbal repetition, aka ‘Infinitive Absolute’) ideally matches with a given, single meaning. This is an universal grammar principle (in every language).

So, what meaning is the best meaning we may apply to the phenomenon of the verbal repetition? The certainty of the verbal-expressed action/condition.
You may ascertain for yourself the correctness of this conclusion examining the following sampling Bible passages (1 Sam 22:16; 1 Kin 2:37, 42; 2 Kin 1:4; Jer 26:8; Eze 3:18, 33; 8:14).

Then, a better translation of Genesis 2:16, 17 (along with my inserted ‘amplifications’) can be:
IEUE God urged the man, saying: ‘From the whole of the Tree of the protected garden you will eat, beyond all doubt [Adam can’t avoid eating some fruit of the trees. His peculiar bio-physical structure forced him to do so]. [17] Whereas, from the tree of the knowledge concerning good and bad, do not eat from it. For in the period you will eat from it you will die, beyond all doubt [Adam can’t avoid dying after eating the forbidden fruit]’.”

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SteveMiller
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:23 pm

Saro,
This is an excellent subject that would be very helpful to solve and you have used good logic,
but you need more data (examples in the text).
When the verb is to die, it does appear correct that the infinitive absolute adds certainty because you have included many examples.
What about for other verbs?
You only give one other verb "to eat" and only 1 example for that verb.

Here are the other examples for "to eat":

Leviticus 7:18 And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offering be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, it shall not be reckoned to him that hath presented it; it shall be an unclean thing, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity.
וְאִ֣ם הֵאָכֹ֣ל יֵ֠אָכֵל מִבְּשַׂר־זֶ֙בַח שְׁלָמָ֜יו בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי֘ לֹ֣א יֵרָצֶה֒ הַמַּקְרִ֣יב אֹת֗וֹ לֹ֧א יֵחָשֵׁ֛ב ל֖וֹ פִּגּ֣וּל יִהְיֶ֑ה וְהַנֶּ֛פֶשׁ הָאֹכֶ֥לֶת מִמֶּ֖נּוּ עֲוֹנָ֥הּ תִּשָּֽׂא׃

Leviticus 10:18 Lo, its blood was not brought in within the sanctuary: ye should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.
הֵ֚ן לֹא־הוּבָ֣א אֶת־דָּמָ֔הּ אֶל־הַקֹּ֖דֶשׁ פְּנִ֑ימָה אָכ֙וֹל תֹּאכְל֥וּ אֹתָ֛הּ בַּקֹּ֖דֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוֵּֽיתִי׃

Leviticus 19:7 And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is an unclean thing: it shall not be accepted.
וְאִ֛ם הֵאָכֹ֥ל יֵאָכֵ֖ל בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֑י פִּגּ֥וּל ה֖וּא לֹ֥א יֵרָצֶֽה׃

1 Samuel 14:30 How much more, if the people had eaten freely to-day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for would there not now have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?
אַ֗ף כִּ֡י לוּא֩ אָכֹ֙ל אָכַ֤ל הַיּוֹם֙ הָעָ֔ם מִשְּׁלַ֥ל אֹיְבָ֖יו אֲשֶׁ֣ר מָצָ֑א כִּ֥י עַתָּ֛ה לֹֽא־רָבְתָ֥ה מַכָּ֖ה בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּֽים׃

2 Samuel 19:42 And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to me; and why then are ye angry for this matter? have we eaten anything which came from the king, or has he given us any present?
וַיַּעַן֩ כָּל־אִ֙ישׁ יְהוּדָ֜ה עַל־אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל כִּֽי־קָר֤וֹב הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ אֵלַ֔י וְלָ֤מָּה זֶּה֙ חָרָ֣ה לְךָ֔ עַל־הַדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּ֑ה הֶאָכ֤וֹל אָכַ֙לְנוּ֙ מִן־הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אִם־נִשֵּׂ֥את נִשָּׂ֖א לָֽנוּ׃

Joel 2:26 has the infinitive absolute after the normal verb rather than before:
Joel 2:26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of Jehovah your God, who hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֤ם אָכוֹל֙ וְשָׂב֔וֹעַ וְהִלַּלְתֶּ֗ם אֶת־שֵׁ֤ם יְהוָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֥ה עִמָּכֶ֖ם לְהַפְלִ֑יא וְלֹא־יֵבֹ֥שׁוּ עַמִּ֖י לְעוֹלָֽם׃

Does certainty work for these examples?
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

Isaac Fried
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:39 am

Every Hebrew present day nursery school legend book starts with היוֹ היה פעם, 'once upon a time' or merely היוֹ היה 'once there was'. I don't remember ever thinking about this quaint form as implying 'certainly -- once there certainly was'.
Translating מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת as 'you will die, beyond all doubt', degrades the Hebrew text with an English redundancy about, a coming from nowhere, "doubt". מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת is 'you will die'. Sorry, English.
So, what is the difference between מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת and תָּמֽוּת? Nothing, the end result of both is death.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Saro Fedele
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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby Saro Fedele » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:50 pm

Thanks (@ Steve Miller) for your comments on the post I've sent. The fact you reply me comforts me, because this indicates my English was enough clear to express what I want to tell.

So, you've mentioned some passages of verbal form's 'repetitions' (aka Infinitive Absolute) related to the concept of 'to eat' (Lev 7:18; 10:18; 19:7; 1 Sam 14:30; 2 Sam 19:42; Joe 2:26), and then you asked me: "Does 'certainty' work for these examples?"

The direct answer to your question is 'Yes'.

In English language (in Italian, too) we use - very often - some adverbial forms to match the semantic range of the 'certainty' mood, as in the phrase 'Don't you be going to work? - Surely I will go." (in Italian, an uncommon - though correct - structure that is is similar to the Hebrew phenomenon we expatiate on. In fact, we say 'Certamente andrò' [= 'Surely I will go'], but also 'Andrò, andrò' [= 'I will go, I will go']. This last manner to speak is semantically equivalent to the first cited - 'Surely I will go'. I'm not sure if English language possesses a similar manner to express 'certainty'.)

So, we may try to insert some adverbial 'certainty'-related forms inside each of those passages you cited (I will use the translation you quoted).
Lev 7:18 & 19:7: "And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offering be actually eaten on the third day..."
Lev 10:18: Here the adverbial form 'certainly' is mentioned yet in the translation you quoted.
1 Sam 14:30: "How much more, if the people had eaten really to-day of the spoil...!"
2 Sam 19:42: "Have we actually eaten anything which came from the king..."
Joe 2:26: "And ye surely shall eat, and be satisfied."

It seems to me that in this manner these TaNaKh passages acquire a plain and consistent sense, besides to consent to maintain the logical principle I've cited ('A given, single linguistic phenomenon ideally matches with a given single meaning').

Saro Fedele

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Re: Genesis 2:16

Postby Saro Fedele » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:55 pm

@ Isaac Fried

Thanks for your comments.

If the difference between מות תמות and תמות is nonexistent (since - like you say - the "end result of both is death"), why the vast majority of translations translate the first expression with a 'certainty'-related sense? Are all of them "quaint" (included ASV, Brenton, CJB [Complete Jewish Bible], Gesenius ["thou shalt surely die" - Hebrew Grammar, § 113n], KJV, JPS, NAB, NET ["That certainty is underscored with the infinitive absolute 'you will surely die'" ... "The construction simply emphasizes the certainty of death..."], NIV)?

If this is the case, I'm in good company, evidently.


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