Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

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ralph
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Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by ralph »

What is the parsing of the word Lamoh?

The last word in Isaiah 53:8

לָמוֹ

I'm aware that some may try to translate it as "to him" and some may try to translate it as "to them".

Please don't bring up the rest of the verse or anything theological.

This is a grammatical question.

I'm aware that in Hebrew, 3rd person masculine singular (him), can refer to either an individual or any singular subject and that singular subject can be a group of people. So "to him" wouldn't imply grammatically that it has to mean an individual person.

But what i'm asking is, grammatically,

is Lamoh "to him", or "to them".

What is the construction exactly..

I've heard of Loh - lamed vav. That's "to him". And Lahem(with a heh), - to them. And Lachem(with a chaf), - to you(plural).

But what exactly is Lamoh?!

I heard that it's a very old form of biblical hebrew, that maybe could be either? I don't know.. I'm interested in more info on that

Thanks
Ralph Zak
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Jason Hare
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by Jason Hare »

Grammatically, the ־מו (whether -émo or -ámo) is an extension of ־ם (whether -em or -am). It is third-person masculine plural ("they, them"). למו is the same as להם "to them."

(Why transliterate למו as if there were an h on the end of it? It's lámo (lā́mô). There's certainly no h, even as a vowel letter.)
Jason Hare
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ralph
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by ralph »

I transcribed it rather than transliterated it. Hence Lamoh to be clear that it's an 'o' but not like the 'o' in boat.

Interestingly looking in bibleworks which has Groves Wheeler parsing, it treats Lamed prefix as a different thing/preposition, to Lamed Men Vav.

For example

Lamed prefix,
1cs Lee, 1cp Lanu
2ms Lecha 2ms, 2mp Lachem
3ms Loh 3ms, 3mp Lahem

It has Lamed Mem Vav separately. i.e. as a separate preposition. Though it only has it conjugating as with a suffix of 3mp.

That said..

Some may say Gen 9:27 Lamoh is singular(him).. though granted you could say it's "their" 'cos it's talking about the father of a nation including descendants.

Look at this..

Job 22:17 Most translations have "them".. some translations that use the LXX or Syriac have "us". The JPS 1985 has "it"

הָאֹמְרִים לָאֵל, סוּר מִמֶּנּוּ; וּמַה-יִּפְעַל שַׁדַּי לָמוֹ.

Who said unto God: 'Depart from us'; and what could the Almighty do unto them? (JPS 1917)

JPS 1985 has "They said to God 'Leave us alone! What can Shaddai do about it?' "

Maybe the JPS 1985 is incorrect in that interprtation.. , (taking the whole thing as a quote)..

Maybe the correct one is how most translations have it... (syriac aside)

They said to God "leave us alone". What can the almighty do to Them. (as in, in response to their statement).


Also, and more signfiicantly since it's not just one translation with a singular..

Isaiah 44:15

וְהָיָה לְאָדָם, לְבָעֵר, וַיִּקַּח מֵהֶם וַיָּחָם, אַף-יַשִּׂיק וְאָפָה לָחֶם; אַף-יִפְעַל-אֵל וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ, עָשָׂהוּ פֶסֶל וַיִּסְגָּד-לָמוֹ.

Then a man useth it for fuel; and he taketh thereof, and warmeth himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

NET BIble has IT "he makes an idol and bows down to IT"

JPS 1985 has IT "bows down to IT"

RSV has "IT".

And really "IT" makes the most sense by far.

He has just made an idol. singular. And he's bowing down to the idol he just made.
Ralph Zak
ducky
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by ducky »

Hi Ralph and Jason,

Ralph, I advise you to edit your first post and delete the reference to the verse you quoted.
You - and I guess Everybody else, don't want this thread to turn into an argument that involved theology.
So just delete it - and leave the word alone - because your question is about the word itself.

******************
The word למו is just like להם
both are with a prefix ל
and the suffix מו is parallel to the הם

its meaning is "them' (to them).
Not just in the word למו
but also in nouns like פרימו (in Psalms 21:11) "their fruit"
because the suffix מו is about the plural "they".

*****
as for the grammar
the להם and the למו came from the same basic archaic form
but each one "grew up" in another way.

the basic form is "la+humu:"

the למו=lamo was developed from:
lahumu: -->the H was dropped between two vowels --> lamu:-->lamo:

and the להם=lahem was developed from:
lahumu: --> the suffix vowel was dropped --> laum-->lahem

******************
You quoted verses in your last post that shows that seems that there are obvious cases when this למו means "to him" (and not "to them").
But that is wrong.

we once talked here about the plural of "dignity" (which usually comes before references of God (or even a false god).

And this is what you see.

You quoted Isaiah 44:15
אַף-יִפְעַל-אֵל וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ, עָשָׂהוּ פֶסֶל וַיִּסְגָּד-לָמוֹ

And check Isaiah bove (42:17)
הָאֹמְרִים לְמַסֵּכָה אַתֶּם אֱלֹהֵינוּ

Or Ex. 32:4
יַּעֲשֵׂהוּ עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלֶּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל

So here you see that the reference to the singular "god" is with the grammatical "they"
אתם אלהינו - "you(p) our gods"
אלה אלהיך - "these are your gods"

So same thing is with the quotes that you brought
the "god" is singular, but it is addressed in the grammatical plural.
David Hunter
ralph
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by ralph »

ducky wrote: ...developed from....la-humu:

I see that there is no להומו or להמו in the tanach. So how do you know that such an ancient form "la-humu" exists?

this seems very speculative?

I get what you're saying that if you take L-H-M-U and you drop the heh you get L-M-U and if you drop the vav you get L-H-M. So that works. But still seems speculative.
******************
ducky wrote: .... Isaiah 42:17..

Isaiah 42:17 Pesel in הַבֹּטְחִים בַּפָּסֶל maybe Pesel is like the word "fish", singular in form but plural in meaning. (fish is like that in Gen 1 too).. בִּדְגַת הַיָּם the fish of the sea. So Elohainu in Isaiah 42:17 אַתֶּם אֱלֹהֵינוּ. could be plural for that reason. The subject might be plural in a sense. Hence the Elohaynu that you point out. הָאֹמְרִים לְמַסֵּכָה אַתֶּם אֱלֹהֵינוּ

That would counter what you suggested re plural of majesty. But would explain how Isaiah 44:15 לָמוֹ could be "them".

Isaiah 42:17 הַבֹּטְחִים בַּפָּסֶל; הָאֹמְרִים לְמַסֵּכָה Both pesel and masacah could be like "fish". singular in form, plural in meaning.

But how do we know, if PSL is a plural like fish, or if Elohim is just irregular and can be used to refer to an individual god or even idol.. Or if it's plural of majesty. (a bit strange applied to an idol but from the idolators perspective it could be).
Ralph Zak
ducky
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by ducky »

Hi Ralph,
(sorry if I'm not understood so much)

The "humu" form as the basic one is based on the comparison between the forms in the other Semitic languages. Each one has its form.
And the study tries to understand how each one got its form.
By that, they got to the conclusion that the "humu" is the basic form.

**
As for not seeing להמה or להומו - you are right.
But you do see המה (a long-form of הם)
and on Ezekiel there אליהמה.

this הם ends with a suffix.
And even though it is a suffix "a" (and not "u") - it still shows the combination of the "h" and the suffix
(by the way, the suffix "a" is an influence by the feminine form's suffix).

So to continue my words of before, (to bring an example)
The Hebrew masculine form of "they" was influenced by the feminine form.
And in Arabic, the feminine form of "they" was influenced by the masculine form.
And so, the study figured out what the basic form is.

And after all of that - a general note to say: that everything is an assumption
(No one had a recording tape back then).
But it seems logical.

******
I don't think like you about the פסל is a plural subject in meaning.
If you want to prove it - you should show how it acts like that in other cases.
(but still, one would say that it can be that the people saw the "statue" as a symbol of multiple gods).
But... the verse in Ex (that I wrote before) point at a specific "statue" and it still referred to as plural.
So I see it just as "majesty" (as it is seen in other places)

But anyway, it doesn't change anything since you still explain למו as a plural.

And by the way, if you want to explain the plural למו in Isaiah 44:15 in another way
So you can just say that it refers both to the word אל and to the פסל
(but I think it is just plural of "majesty")

***
The plural of Majesty is not about the real plural (as if the subject represents a plural by numbers).
It is just that the form change from singular to plural, but it doesn't mean that the subject itself becomes plural in the meaning.
David Hunter
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SteveMiller
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by SteveMiller »

The first thing I see about lamo is that it is only used in poetry.
2x in Gen, just in Noah's curse.
4x in Deut, just in the song of Moses
14x in Job
22x in Psalms
1x Proverbs
11x Isa
4x Lam
1x Hab
Poetic use means it is a word that compresses more than normal meaning.

Just looking at a lot, but not all of the uses, I theorize that lamo means something like its sound-alike לעמו "to/for his people" or "to/for his/their extended people/group". In other words lamo refers to the extended group of the antecedent.
We see that in the first 2 instances in Gen 9. It looks like it works in all cases that I looked at.

Then the question is, Is this theory so nebulous that you can't disprove it?
So I looked at instances of lahem in the poetic books.
Job has 5 instances of lahem.
One is in a rare non-poetic portion of Job, Job 42:15. Job gave to them (lahem) [his daughters] an inheritance. - There lahem just refers to Job's 3 daughters, not to their extended group(s).
Job 3:15 with princes who have (lahem) gold. - It does not refer to the nations of the princes. Just the princes.
15:19 to whom (lahem) alone the earth was given and no stranger passed among them. - "alone" would make this not refer to the wise men's extended group.
30:9 I became to them (lahem) for a byword. - antecedent is the fools in the previous verse. Not their whole people.
36:9 Then he shows to them (lahem) their work and their transgressions - referring to the prisoners. Not their people(s).

So my theory is that lamo refers back to the extended group of the antecedent, which antecedent could be singular or plural, while lahem just refers back to a plural antecedent. Both lahem and lamo would be translated "to/for them".
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
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Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)
ducky
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by ducky »

I don't know about that.
The fact that למו comes mostly in poetic might deceive us to think like that.
After all, poetry is basically talking in an "idea" way and in a general way
And so it may be seen as if the meaning of למו is about an extended group.

But I bet that there are many להם that also talk about general groups.
and I guess that we can find למו also in a specific manner.

***
the למו is an extention of the famous לם (I mean just suffix M)

we can see the nouns ends somtimes with הם
as מעשיהם
and sometimes with ם
as פרים
and the מו is just an extention
פרים
פרימו

we can see the noun שמות comes as שמותיהם and also as שמותם
אבתיהם and also אבתם

the suffix is the same - And I don't think that we should see the למו and the להם as if it has a difference in the meaning.
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by Jason Hare »

It should be mentioned that the bet prefix with 3mp can be either בָּהֶם or בָּם.

Also, the kaf prefix with 3ms can be either כָּהֶם or כְּמוֹהֶם. (In the modern language, we also have כְּמוֹתָם.)

It should come as no surprise that the lamed prefix with 3mp can be either לָהֶם or לָ֫מוֹ.
Jason Hare
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Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

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ducky
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Re: Lamoh - what is the parsing of that word? (last word of Isaiah 53:8)

Post by ducky »

Hi Jason,

The מו in the word כמו is not the same as the suffix מו (as in Lamo and so on).

The מו in כמו is based on "ma"-->>mo (Canaanite shift).
While the מו in lamo is from the pronoun form.
David Hunter
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