Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ruth 1:19-22 - Return to Bethlehem

I had better keep going and not let my grammatical studies and reading of dictionaries take me too far away from story. (I have added an automated transcription - let the v's melt into the following vowel if it is a 'u'.)

וַתֵּלַכְנָה שְׁתֵּיהֶם
עַד-בּוֹאָנָה בֵּית לָחֶם
וַיְהִי כְּבוֹאָנָה בֵּית לֶחֶם
וַתֵּהֹם כָּל-הָעִיר עֲלֵיהֶן
וַתֹּאמַרְנָה הֲזֹאת נָעֳמִי
and the two of them went
till they came to Bethlehem
and it was as they came to Bethlehem
that all the city was excited concerning them
and the women said - is this Naomi?
It is a pleasure again to be in twos. Our story-teller loves the pairing of people. We should be getting better at grammar too - finally! וַתֵּלַכְנָה is the (guess before reading on) the third person plural feminine preterite. And the same form occurs with the next verb בּוֹאָנָה and that verb repeats immediately.  Our story-teller is very fond of repetition. She takes nothing for granted. We do not have to fill in blanks. The form occurs again before the end of the verse.
שְׁתֵּיהֶם is another instance of the archaic dual (per Campbell). In contrast עֲלֵיהֶן shows the normal feminine plural ending.
vàtélàknah shtéyhem `àd-bvo)anah béyt laxm vàyhy kbvo)anah béyt lexm vàtéhom kal-ha`yr `aléyhen vàto)màrnah hazo)t na`amy
 וַתֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶן
אַל-תִּקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי
קְרֶאןָ לִי מָרָא
כִּי-הֵמַר שַׁדַּי לִי מְאֹד
and she said to them
do not call me Naomi
call me Mara
for bitter is the Sufficient to me - greatly so
And she said -וַתֹּאמֶר third person singular feminine preterite of אמר. To them - אֲלֵיהֶן this time with the expected ending perhaps since there are many women. Another third person feminine plural imperfect - it seems that קרא is often followed by the preposition ל in this case with a first person singular pronoun. (I know someone named Mara - a dangerous anticipation, it seems to me.) One question in my mind is - do we hear Naomi praying her complaint? I have suggested we should read some of her words this way.
vàto)mer )aléyhen )àl-tiqre)nah ly na`amy qre)na ly mara) ky-hémàr shàdày ly m)od
 אֲנִי מְלֵאָה הָלַכְתִּי
וְרֵיקָם הֱשִׁיבַנִי יְהוָה
לָמָּה תִקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי
וַיהוָה עָנָה בִי
וְשַׁדַּי הֵרַע לִי
I myself full went away
and empty יְהוָה has returned me
why call me Naomi
for יְהוָה has answered me
and the Sufficient brought trouble to me
Some sources name this word as the qal perfect of הלך rather than of יָלַךְ but as noted earlier, my more recent and Hebrew dictionaries do not distinguish these two verbs. I suspect that if we wrote out the entire paradigm for each that we could also not distinguish them - maybe later...
)any mlé)ah halàkty vréyqam heshybàny yy lamah tiqre)nah ly na`amy và-yy `anah by vshàdày hérà` ly

 וַתָּשָׁב נָעֳמִי
וְרוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה כַלָּתָהּ עִמָּהּ
הַשָּׁבָה מִשְּׂדֵי מוֹאָב
וְהֵמָּה בָּאוּ בֵּית לֶחֶם
בִּתְחִלַּת קְצִיר שְׂעֹרִים
So Naomi returned
and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her
she returned from the fields or Moab
and they came to Bethlehem
at the commencement of the harvest of barley
Green is for grammar - have I missed any? Or included too many? Notice how 'ite' as an English appendage is a use of letter forms in a grammatical way. I doubt that the Latin alphabet applied to Languages that use it would divide itself neatly into two piles as Hebrew seems to have done. What is that word הֵמָּה? Stand alone pronoun or a story teller's word for 'what do you know'? The word for 'commencement' is also of interest - indistinguishable from profane!
vàtashab na`amy vrvut hàmvo)abyah kàlatah `imah hàshabah misdéy mvo)ab vhémah ba)vu béyt lexm bitxilàt qcyr s`orym

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