Hebrew discrepancy

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Jack Hairston | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Jan 22 2019 9:37 AM

In my ignorance, I expected Hebrew dictionaries to be consistent.

DBL Hebrew has: רְאוּבֵן (reʾû·ḇēn) 

While TWOT has: רְ וּבֵן (rĕ ûbēn) Reuben.

Is this merely a typo by one or the other, or is there more to it than that?

Posts 31
Chris Galloway | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 11:02 AM

Jack,

First I must give the caveat that I am more of a Hebrew hack than a Hebrew scholar! So, hopefully, some folks with a deeper knowledge can speak more definitively on this than I can. 

I think the issue here is not so much inconsistency as the two lexicons (dictionaries) trying to show different things.

The TWOT starts with the root word רָאָה (To see, look, perceive, behold) and uses רְ וּבֵן as an example of one of the ways the root ראה is used. 

So when TWOT writes it "רְ וּבֵן", it is showing you that the full word is actually a combination of multiple words (smashing two or more words together and using it as a name is one of the things Hebrew likes to do.) Here, they are showing us that the ר is a remnant of רָאָה (To see, look, perceive, behold) and וּבֵן being a modification of the word בֵן for "son." So, putting the two together... "Behold" + "a son" becomes both an exclamation by Leah who cries out "Behold a Son!" and the name for this new child.

Meanwhile, DBL is simply letting you know that רְאוּבֵן is a proper name for Leah's son.

Hope this helps,

Chris

Posts 31
Chris Galloway | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 11:20 AM

Jack I also wanted to point out that the way I checked this out was twofold.

1.) When I find discrepencies between two lexical entries, I consult a few good lexicons other than the two in question (a third opinion often throws light on both prior opinions). The best is HALOT but many base packages don't have it so you have to pay a bit extra for it. I also like the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew but in your case HALOT is probably the best option. If you don't have HALOT and don't want to purchase it, look to see if you have the Concise Halot (CHALOT) which would be a solid point of reference as well.

2.) I checked to see if it was used in different ways elsewhere in scripture via logos...

   a) I Right clicked on the Hebrew word רְאוּבֵ֑ן in Logos.

   b) I selected רְאוּבֵ֑ן at the top of the menu that appeared.

   c) I clicked on Morph (inline) search and it opened a window with all the times רְאוּבֵ֑ן is used in scripture.

   d) Seeing that the list was not very long, I simply scanned through all of them looking to see if the word showed up in forms that I didn't expect. 

And, just to close the loop... here is a portion of what HALOT shows on this topic...

רְאוּבֵן: SamP. rēʾūbən, (ar)rēʾūbēni: n.m., name of a tribe; Sept. Ρουβην, Josephus Ῥουβῆλος (Schalit Namenwörterbuch 102) Pesh. Rōbīl (rwbyl); Arb. Ribāl: רָאָה and בֵּן (see Gn 2932): “see, a son!” (Fschr. Stamm 83, 147), a so-called welcoming name 127ff (:: Noth Personennamen 256b: with an Arabic etymology, but on this see also Ryckmans Noms Propres 1:195a.

Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1994–2000). The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 1162). Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Posts 687
Jack Hairston | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 22 2019 2:49 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Chris.

Jack [neither scholar- nor even hacker-status]

Posts 1689
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 23 2019 7:37 AM

Chris Galloway:
1.) When I find discrepencies between two lexical entries, I consult a few good lexicons other than the two in question (a third opinion often throws light on both prior opinions). The best is HALOT but many base packages don't have it so you have to pay a bit extra for it. I also like the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew but in your case HALOT is probably the best option. If you don't have HALOT and don't want to purchase it, look to see if you have the Concise Halot (CHALOT) which would be a solid point of reference as well.

Great reminder!

Chris Galloway:
2.) I checked to see if it was used in different ways elsewhere in scripture via logos...

Nice use of Logos!!

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