Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gimel, the first of the non-grammatical letters

What can one say about a non-grammatical letter by itself? If we were singing, I would advise some to unvoice the consonant in order to keep the singing line 'forward'. G, especially Glo at this time of the year, is a difficult sound to sing on one accurate pitch. So the advice is think G, sing K or vice versa. But this is Hebrew and these are letters and I am not giving instruction but exploring sounds and function.

When one is reading a dictionary, besides its being a tiring exercise, one concentrates on the first few words at the beginning of a letter's dominance. For aleph, there was fresh (from which the month of אָבִיב and Passover) and then perish אָבַד! For bet, the preposition dominates the first few pages. For gimel, the words are all of pride and boasting (גָּאוֺן from גָּאָה to triumph). Another dominant G word in Ruth is for the kinsman redeemer גְּאָל.and we must deal with this at some point - I am still thinking of how that system 'worked' or not.

Here are some more of the words beginning with gimel in the book of Ruth:

לָגוּר בִּשְׂדֵי מוֹאָב
לָגוּר - to stay (preceded by the preposition in this case)
וַיָּמֻתוּ גַם-שְׁנֵיהֶם
גַם - even (a frequent word in Ruth - a story teller's word for emphasis) - and they died - even the two of them.
הֲלָהֵן תְּשַׂבֵּרְנָה עַד אֲשֶׁר יִגְדָּלוּ
יִגְדָּלוּ - gadol to grow, increase, magnify - in this case third person plural imperfect. Could you wait till they had grown up? The word doesn't begin with gimel, but the root does.
אִישׁ גִּבּוֹר חַיִל
גִּבּוֹר - strong (2:1) a man of strength and valor
לְעֵת הָאֹכֶל גֹּשִׁי הֲלֹם
גֹּשִׁי - draw near (second person feminine imperative) - aha but this root doesn't begin with gimel! The root is נגש but the nun drops out - being of a weak disposition

וְלֹא תִגְעֲרוּ-בָהּ
an example I used in the prior post also, the middle word is second person masculine plural imperfect - why is it translated as imperative? and do not rebuke her. Perhaps it could be read as in English as a future prohibition: and you will not rebuke her.
הִנֵּה-הוּא זֹרֶה אֶת-גֹּרֶן
גרן the threshing floor where Boaz winnows
וּבָאת וְגִלִּית מַרְגְּלֹתָיו
גלה to uncover - and you come and uncover his feet
וּפָרַשְׂתָּ כְנָפֶךָ עַל-אֲמָתְךָ כִּי גֹאֵל אָתָּה

גֹאֵל the redeemer - in this case the one redeeming, participle form. The one redeeming is you yourself.

Not very many words but a few (8) whose lead sound is G in the book of Ruth.

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