Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

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Kenneth Greifer
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Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:34 pm

Abraham said to G-d not to go away "from upon Your servant" in Genesis 18:3. Is "from upon" unusual in this quote? Do people go "from upon " other people or does it mean that He could have been seeing G-d in a vision besides seeing the angels?
Kenneth Greifer

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:20 am

I just realized that Exodus 18:13 says the people "stood on" Moses, so I guess "on" can mean next to also, so "from upon" מעל can mean "from next to" in Genesis 18:3.
Kenneth Greifer

Saboi
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Re: Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

Postby Saboi » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:38 am

Gen 18:3 - And said my Lord if perhaps they find favour in thy sight, thou will not pass away thy child.
Lee Mcgee

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Re: Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

Postby S_Walch » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:16 am

Hi Kenneth - I'm guessing you're referring to the preposition על in these two verses?

Gen 18:3:
וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ אַל־נָ֥א תַעֲבֹ֖ר מֵעַ֥ל עַבְדֶּֽךָ

Exod 18:13:
וַיְהִי֙ מִֽמָּחֳרָ֔ת וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב מֹשֶׁ֖ה לִשְׁפֹּ֣ט אֶת־הָעָ֑ם וַיַּעֲמֹ֤ד הָעָם֙ עַל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה מִן־הַבֹּ֖קֶר עַד־הָעָֽרֶב

Whilst על certainly means 'on' or 'upon', it has such a wide variety of uses that context will determine the meaning of the preposition, which is not to dissimilar to the Greek επι, which whilst meaning an ultra-literal 'upon' has more than enough different uses in context for that not to be the understanding.

For the Genesis verse, I wouldn't disassociate it from the other preposition -מ and have them used together to just mean 'by'; for the Exodus verse, understanding it as meaning 'before' would be more than fine.
Ste Walch

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SteveMiller
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Re: Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:19 pm

על has the meaning of being a burden on.
In Gen 18:3, Abraham tells the Lord that Abraham wants to give him hospitality, which is a burden Abraham wants to bear.

In Exo 18:13 The people stood as a burden upon Moses from morning until evening.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
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http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

David Colo
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Re: Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

Postby David Colo » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:27 pm

Kenneth Greifer wrote:Abraham said to G-d not to go away "from upon Your servant" in Genesis 18:3. Is "from upon" unusual in this quote? Do people go "from upon " other people or does it mean that He could have been seeing G-d in a vision besides seeing the angels?


This is a fairly common mistake made by some translators... They see מן (from) prefixed to על (upon) and assume that the semantic nuance of מעל is a combination of its parts (from upon). In reality, however, מעל is a single word with its own semantic function--the parts that came together to form it do not operate independently or even jointly. Though it is a more emphatic form of על, it carries the same semantic nuances. In this particular case (Gen 18:3), מעל functions as a helping particle for the verb עבר (to cross/pass). Typically, the helping particle for עבר is על, as one can see a few verses later (Gen 18:5). If anything more is communicated by the use of the emphatic form, it is simply the degree or intensity of the statement, not its meaning. In both verses, the helping particle has a locational sense (at/beside/by/around/about), not a spatial sense (on/over/upon). Thus, אל־נא תעבר מעל means "please do not pass by." The meaning is simply this: Abraham does not want the messengers to move on past his location until he has shown them proper hospitality and honor.

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SteveMiller
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Re: Genesis 18:3 "from upon"

Postby SteveMiller » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:45 pm

Hi David, welcome to B-Hebrew.
You are supposed to sign your posts with your first and last names, which you can do easily by putting them in your signature.

David Colo wrote:This is a fairly common mistake made by some translators... They see מן (from) prefixed to על (upon) and assume that the semantic nuance of מעל is a combination of its parts (from upon). In reality, however, מעל is a single word with its own semantic function--the parts that came together to form it do not operate independently or even jointly.

How did you arrive at that conclusion? Did you look at a large number of the occurrences of מעל?
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)


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