Category Archives: Translation Insight

Ruth 3:1-5

Translation helps for the second part of the course (Ruth 3-4) will only include information on less common words, tricky forms, and many of the verbs unless they are easy. For a refresher on special vocabulary useful to memorize for Ruth, see “Special Vocabulary in Ruth.”

Ruth 3:1

Question for class discussion: Why the unusual order after the opening verb, in which a pronoun referring to Ruth comes prior to the mention of Naomi, the speaker?

The ה in הֲלֹא is the interrogative. See Holladay, 75. Continue reading

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Ruth 2:17-23 Translation Notes

VERSE 17: אֲשֶׁר־לִקֵּטָה uses אֲשֶׁר in the sense of “that which ___.” לִקֵּטָה is Piel Imperfect 3fs. כְּאֵיפָה is the preposition כ in front of the noun אֵיפָה, with the כ in this case meaning “approximately” (its general meaning is “like” and context gives us the sense). Continue reading

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Translation Notes, Ruth 2:4-16

This week is week 5 from the syllabus: Ruth 2:4-16. Wordplay in the Tanakh, Hebrew grammar (Hophal verbs, jussive forms of the verb). Reading: Esekenazi lii-lv, 31-42.

VERSE 4: יהוה עִמָּכֶם is a verbless clause (so the verb “is” is understood) and could be rendered “the Lord is with you.” Since the context is a blessing, it is reasonable to understand it as: “May the Lord be with you.” יְבָרֶכְךָ is the Imperfect (in a Jussive or “may he” sense) 3ms of ברך with the 2ms suffix and “the Lord” is the subject (with Boaz as the implied object). Continue reading

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Translation Notes, Ruth 2:1-3

It would be a good idea also to get a head start on next week’s passage (2:4-16) which will be much longer.

VERSE 2, DETAILED TRANSLATION NOTES:

  • וַתֹּאמֶר vav-conversive 2fs אמר
  • רוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה Ruth the Moabitess.
  • אֶל–נָעֳמִי Is the preposition אֶל making Naomi the indirect object.
  • אֵלְכָה–נָּה Imperfect 1cs הלך with cohortative ה ending and particle of entreaty or courtesy נָּה attached. See article on “Cohortatives and the Particle of Entreaty.”
  • הַשָּׂדֶה noun with definite article.
  • וַאֲלַקֳטָה This is not a vav-conversive because the verb form is cohortative (asking permission). The vav here simply means “and.” Imperfect 1cs לקט with cohortative ה ending. Note the vowel under the ל, that it is pronounced “o” as in “low”.
  • בַשִּׁבֳּלִים The preposition ב prefixed to the masculine plural form of the noun שִׁבֹּלֶת
  • אַחַר has several meanings but is used here in the sense of “after” or “behind.”
  • אֲשֶׁר is the relative particle which can mean “that” or “which” or “who” to begin a clause. Ruth is asking permission to glean after “[one} who . . .” or “whomever . . .”
  • אֶמְצָא–חֵן Imperfect 1cs מצא with חֵן noun ms as the direct object of the verb.
  • בְּעֵינָיו The preposition ב is prefixed, followed by עֵינֵי (the plural construct (word pair form, genitive) of עַיִן), with the 3ms suffix ו attached.
  • וַתֹּאמֶר vav-conversive 2fs אמר
  • לָהּ The preposition ל with the 3fs suffix.
  • לְכִי Imperative (command verb) fs הלך
  • בִתִּי The noun בַּת with the 1cs suffix.

TRANSLATION COMMENTS, 2:1, 3-7. Continue reading

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Translation Notes, 1:19-22

For this week’s class: Ruth 1:19-22. Reading: Esekenazi xxxix-xlviii, 23-26. We will also talk about Shaddai, Hiphil and Niphal verbs, and more..

VERSE 19, DETAILED TRANSLATION NOTES:

  • וַתֵּלַכְנָה is the vav-conversive 3fp of הלך.
  • שְׁתֵּיהֶם is the number two in construct (word pair, genitive) form with the 3mp suffix attached (“[the] two of them”). How can the suffix be masculine when the referents are female and the verb is feminine (we should expect שְׁתֵּיהֶן)? This may possibly be another example of words deliberately “mispronounced” to give an archaic effect to the story (although this example does not occur in the speech of Naomi, where most similar examples do). Continue reading

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Translation Notes, Ruth 1:8-18

VERSE 8, DETAILED TRANSLATION NOTES:

  • וַתֹּאמֶר This is a vav conversive (see lesson 1) from the root alef-mem-reish and it is 3fs (3rd person feminine singular). One of the delightful things about Ruth for Hebrew students is the frequency of feminine forms of various verbs which are uncommon and sometimes rare in the Bible.
  • נָעֳמִי is the name, Naomi, and it derives from a root meaning pleasant. Think of modern Hebrew and the expression נעים מאד na-eem me-oad = very pleasant [to meet you]. The vowel under the ayin is the rare Kametz Hatuph (kametz with sh’va) which is pronounced as a long “o”. Continue reading

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Special Vocabulary in Ruth 1-2

This list is somewhat arbitrary. I included on it either words used multiple times which are convenient to memorize or words sufficiently strange to warrant advance notice to students who will be translating. Memorizing these will make translating Ruth 1-2 easier.

מֹאֲבִיּוֹת Moabitesses
כַּלָּה daughter-in-law, bride
מֵעֶה inner parts
זָקֵן be old, grow old
תּקְוָה hope, cord
שַׂבָּר wait, hope for
נעגן shut oneself off
מַר be bitter
חָמוֹת mother-in-law
יְבֵמֶת sister-in-law
קָצִיר harvest time
שְׂעֹרָה barley
לַקָּט glean
קֹצֵר reaper, harvester
הַכִּיר regard, recognize, observe
מוֹלֶדֶת kindred
שִׁלְשׁוֹם three days ago
עֹמֶר sheaf, bundle of grain
צֶבֶת bundles of grain
אָנָה where
הִטָה wheat

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