1 Kings 19, 12

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sebalou
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1 Kings 19, 12

Postby sebalou » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:46 am

Dear colleagues,

in 1 Kings 19,12 we meet the well-known phrase "קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה" (qol demamah raqqah). I have found 2 ways of reading it (maybe among others?).

We can consider that "qol" and "demamah" are a construct state. In that case, we could translate "a voice of thin silence".

But if we look closer to the BHS text, we notice a small disjunctive accent below the word "qol". It means that we should have a short break after reading "qol", as if there were a comma. In that case, I tend to think that we should read something like: "a voice, a thin silence".

The difference between both interpretations is... thin, though it makes a great difference in meaning.

What would be your opinion on this? What would be the correct reading according to you?

Thanks in advance for your lights.

Sébastien Louis (Belgium)
Sébastien Louis (Belgium)

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SteveMiller
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby SteveMiller » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:44 pm

Hi Sebastien,
I think the 2 choices in meaning you are suggesting are:
1)a voice followed by thin silence
or
2) a voice which is thin silence

please correct me if I have wrongly understood.

choice 2) does not make sense, so for this choice, it would be better to translate the last 2 words as "fine whisper"

While 1) is a powerful thought, it gives no description of the voice.
Just a voice followed by what I feel to be an uncomfortable silence, which, as I said, is powerful.

Rendering it as "a voice, a fine whisper" would normally be understood as "fine whisper" in apposition to "voice", meaning they are the same. The voice is a fine whisper, which has the same meaning as the construct "a voice of a fine whisper".

To understand it as קוֹל followed in time by דְּמָמָה דַקָּה would have been better written with a waw prefix on דְּמָמָה .

So I think the better rendering is "a voice, a fine whisper", understanding that the voice is a fine whisper.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

S_Walch
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby S_Walch » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:27 pm

FWIW, the LXX took קול as construct rather than absolute state:

καὶ μετὰ τὸ πῦρ φωνὴ αὔρας λεπτῆς.
And after the fire was a sound of a small breeze.

I personally prefer the translation 'sound' rather than 'voice' for קול, so would suggest that 'a sound of a low whisper' be the understanding of קול דממה דקה

I envision pretty much the lone sound of a tumble weed when I read this passage for what occurred after the fire :)
Ste Walch

sebalou
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby sebalou » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:25 am

Hi Steve and Ste Walch,

thanks a lot for your input. I do agree that "demamah" could be rendered as "whisper" rather than "silence". Etymologically though, I would prefer "silence" as the root "daleth mem mem" means "to cease, be still". But in that case, I admit that the paradox between "voice" and "silence" is difficult to understand.

My question was: is "qol demamah" a construct state or are both words in absolute state in apposition (because of the disjunctive accent below "qol")? In the second case, the voice is the thin whisper/silence which is not 100% the same as saying "the voice of a thin whisper/silence".

As Ste Walch said, the LXX took "qol" as construct though I'm not sure if this is right. I tend to think that both words are in absolute state.

Anyway, thanks again for your point of view.
Sébastien Louis (Belgium)

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Jason Hare
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:54 am

I would take קוֹל דְּמָמָה as a construct. Notice (from the the OP) that דַּקָּה is daqqâ rather than raqqâ (ד ≠ ר).
Jason Hare
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sebalou
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby sebalou » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:03 am

Hi Jason,

thanks for your answer. And sorry for the typo, you are completely right, this is "daqqâ".

If we take it as a construct, what would be the reason of the disjunctive accent under "qol" in the BHS? I'm a bit confused with it.

Thanks again to all.
Sébastien Louis (Belgium)

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Jason Hare
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:04 pm

Honestly, I hadn't look at the trope.

וְאַחַ֣ר הָאֵ֔שׁ ק֖וֹל דְּמָמָ֥ה דַקָּֽה׃

munach katon || tipcha | mercha sof-pasuk

I think the purpose is to join the phrase דממה דקה since דקה is actually modifying דממה and not קול. Therefore, the anchor of the קול becomes the whole phrase דממה דקה. That is, [a-voice-of [a thin whisper]], if we take דמהה as "whisper" like you mentioned before. Remember that tipcha doesn't break a phrase completely. Otherwise, "the heavens and the earth" in Genesis 1:1 would be broken apart.

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃

It is a minor disjunction, not a major one.
Jason Hare
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Isaac Fried
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:47 pm

I would translate קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה as 'a sound of zero (null) volume.'
Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Jason Hare
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:21 pm

Isaac Fried wrote:I would translate קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה as 'a sound of zero (null) volume.'
Isaac Fried, Boston University

Which would be... silence...
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Re: 1 Kings 19, 12

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:51 pm

Yes, indeed, the sound קול trailing off to thin silence דממה דקה.

Isaac Fried Boston University


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