Leviticus 25:35-36

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Isaac Fried
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Leviticus 25:35-36

Post by Isaac Fried »

We read there:
וְכִי יָמוּךְ אָחִיךָ וּמָטָה יָדוֹ עִמָּךְ וְהֶחֱזַקְתָּ בּוֹ גֵּר וְתוֹשָׁב וָחַי עִמָּךְ. אַל תִּקַּח מֵאִתּוֹ נֶשֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּית וְיָרֵאתָ מֵאֱלֹהֶיךָ וְחֵי אָחִיךָ עִמָּךְ
NIV: "If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you"
Notice that in verse 36 it is וְחֵי with a tsere.

Isaac Fried, Boston University
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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Leviticus 25:35-36

Post by Kirk Lowery »

Isaac,

I'm not following you on your point. This is a qal perfect from חיה, he lived. And it's usually interpreted as a "consecutive perfect".

Is the tsere unexpected? It doubly weak (final he, middle yodh), so...

Thanks for clarifying.

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Jason Hare
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Re: Leviticus 25:35-36

Post by Jason Hare »

In §165e on the Clause of Curse and Oath, Joüon and Muraoka have the following to say:
B) With an exclamatory formula: חַי־אָ֑נִי I am alive! = Upon my life!; חַי יהוה Y. is alive!; חֵי פַרְעֹה (Upon the) life of Pharaoh!; חֵי־נַפְשְׁךָ Upon your life!

For a positive statement, Hebrew uses כי certainly, which is no doubt derived from נִשְׁבַּע כּי (§b): 1Sm 26.16 חַי יהוה כּי בְנֵי מָ֫וֶת אַתֶּם by Y. the living God! (certainly) you deserve death; 2Sm 12.5; 1Kg 18.15. In 2Kg 5.20; Jr 51.14 we find כּי אם; cf. §164c.
[[Paul Joüon and T. Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Roma: Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2006), p. 583.]]

I'm also curious about where this came from, but with the tsere is the common form outside of חי אני and חי יהוה.

Waltke and O'Connor (§40.2.2.b) have the following to say on the question:
b An oath need not be introduced by an exclamation. It may have no introduction or it may be preceded only by the particles כּי (‘certainly,’ 39.3.4e; positive, # 1), אם (negative; # 2), אם לא (positive; # 3), or כּי אם (positive; # 4); with the particles only, the oath has the form of a protasis with no apodosis. An oath can also be preceded by the term חי + a name (or some powerful or sacred substitute); the term is sometimes pointed חַי (perhaps a verb but probably a noun), and sometimes חֵ֫י (< חַיִים). The חי + name combination is followed by a clause with כּי (positive; # 5), אם (negative; # 6), אם לא (positive; # 7), or כּי אם (positive; # 8); the two items are grammatically independent (note # 9), despite the standard translation of the ḥy phrase as a protasis and of the ʾm clause as its apodosis (‘As Yahweh lives, may …’).
[[Bruce K. Waltke and Michael Patrick O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), p. 679.]]
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Jason Hare
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Re: Leviticus 25:35-36

Post by Jason Hare »

Given that that specific verse in Lev 25 isn't an oath formula, it makes it even more interesting. I would have expected וָחַי like we have in verse 35. I'm going to look around and see if anyone comments on it.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Leviticus 25:35-36

Post by Jason Hare »

Gesenius (§76i) says:
The form חָיַי to live, in the perfect Qal, besides the ordinary development to חָיָה (fem. חָֽיְתָה), is also treated as a verb ע״ע, and then becomes חַי in the 3rd pers. perfect, in pause חָי, and with wāw consecutive וָחַי Gn 3:22, and frequently. In Lv 25:36 the contracted form וְחֵי is perhaps st. constr. of חַי life, but in any case read וָחַי perfect consecutive as in verse 35....
In §93aa, he adds:
In the constr. st. חַי living (in the plural חיים also a substantive, life), and דַּי sufficiency, are contracted to חֵי and דֵּי.
He then adds a footnote that reads:
חֵי only in Dn 12:7 as const. st., since in the asseverative formulae (cs. §149) חֵי פַרְעֹה‎, חֵי נַפְשְׁךָ‎ (otherwise only in 2 S 15:21, after חַי יהוה‎, and Amos 8:14), חי is a contracted form of the absol. sg. (prop. living is Pharaoh! &c.). It is evidently only a rabbinical refinement which makes the pronunciation חַי‎ distinctive of an oath by God (or of God by himself), as in the regular formulae חַי אָ֫נִי‎ (חַי אָֽנֹכִי‎ Dt 32:40) and חַי יְהוָֹה‎ (= חַי אֲדֹנָי).
[[Wilhelm Gesenius, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, Second Edition trans. by E. Kautsch (Mineola, NY: Dover, 2006).]]

That's all I can find about it in the grammars that I have.
Jason Hare
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Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
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