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Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by Isidore Demsky, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Would a literal translation of אכזב (as used in Job 6:28) be "lie," or "I lie"?

    ועתה הואילו פנו־בי ועל־פניכם אם־אכזב׃

    Would I be correct in assuming the word is a verb, that it's first person singular masculine, and that a literal translation would be "I lie"?


    I'm told the word itself could also be translated as "failing" or "unfailing," but how is that possible?
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  2. nwperson New Member

    As far as I understand, and it's pretty hard to read it without nikud, but yeah. It sounds like - if I am to be disappointed. (By someone, something ).
  3. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Thank you.

    Is אם־אכזב one word or two words?
  4. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Two words.

    @nwperson: It's in the thread title with nikud.
  5. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    I have a "literal" translation that renders it as "And, now, please, look upon me, Even to your face do I lie?"

    Why would it be rendered as a question?

    I don't see any interrogative ה, and Biblical Hebrew doesn't have any punctuation, so what is there in the word or sentence structure that indicates a question?
  6. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    This page at Bible Hub has 19 different translations of this verse into English. Four of them end with a question mark. Fifteen do not. Much of the difference is in the translator's interpretation and how close he, she or they want to stay to the original structure. That said, even in English "see if I lie to you" is pretty close in meaning to "am I lying to you?" The interrogative version captures the meaning as a 21st-century Job might say it.
  7. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    I was quoting Young's Literal translation, which claims to stay as close as possible to the original structure.

    Are questions always introduced with an interrogative ה?

    Also, in this particular sentence, where do translators get the "if"?

    The interlinears I've seen tend to put "if I lie" under אכזב.

    So is there something in the word that suggests some kind of question?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  8. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    The word אם means "if."
  9. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    MODERATOR NOTE: As this question appears to be a follow-up question of previous thread, I merged both threads.

    Is א a word, and does it mean "I," or "A"?
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  10. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    In what context did you see it?
  11. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    So it can be a word then?

    Thank you.

    I saw it in this context: אִםאכזב
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  12. GodFatherQsubs Senior Member

    א on its own is not a word.

    There is no such thing as אםאכזב, maybe אם אכזב ("if he disappointed", אם means "if"), but it seems to be a part of a larger sentence.
  13. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Thank you.

    So אכזב could mean "he disappointed"?
  14. GodFatherQsubs Senior Member

    It's the only thing it can mean. It also can mean the command form of the verb, as in "disappoint!", but naturally it's not a verb that you'd use as a command. Not in "אם אכזב".
  15. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Thank you very much.
  16. origumi Senior Member

    I don't think Biblical Hebrw has evolved since your other thread about אכזב: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2709778

    It would be beneficial for you to try a dictionary of Biblical Hebrew first, for example the (old) Strong's or Gesenius which are available online:

    The meaning (at least the primary one) of אכזב in the Bible is not related to disappoint.
  17. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Indeed, and if you have access to a decent library there are also modern works like Gesenius/Meyer/Donner, 18th edition.
  18. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    But it would seem Hebrew has evolved, and I was interested in what the word means today here.
  19. origumi Senior Member

    Well, asking vague questions and providing no context, you are likely to get arbitrary answers. You should know already that a combination of four letters in Hebrew can mean many different things. In this case, the word may belong to two different roots, be an adjective or a verb, if a verb then either in past or future tense, active or passive, etc.
  20. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    So without אם (if), would אכזב (I lie) be a statement or a question?
  21. origumi Senior Member

    The אם is not exactly if in this case. I'd translate (freely) the Hebrew to: And now please turn your faces to me, in front of your faces would I lie? If you remove the would it can be a question or a statement depending on intonation. Just like in English. Yet in Biblical Hebrew it's usual that the interrogative ה marks a question, so a verb like אכזב with no אם or -ה or alike would more often be a statement.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  22. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

  23. InfatigableLearner

    InfatigableLearner Junior Member

    Isidore Demsky,

    You asked for a “literal” translation of Job 6:28. By your referencing Young’s Literal Translation I assume what you are seeking is an atomistic and myopic “word-for-word” translation. Well I have two resources right here that give such translations which I will share with you. The first is John R. Kohlenberger III’s The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament. The words given in its word-for-word interlinear translation along with their associated Hebrew words are as follows:

    But-now (וְעַתָּה) be-kind! (הוֹאִילוּ) look! (פְנוּ) at-me (בִי) and-to (וְעַל) faces-of-you (פְּנֵיכֶם) indeed (אִם) would-I-lie (אֲכַזֵּב)

    The other resource I have is Jay P. Green’s The Interlinear Bible. The words given in its word-for-word interlinear translation along with their associated Hebrew words are as follows:

    But now (וְעַתָּה) agree (to) (הוֹאִילוּ) face me (פְנוּ־בִי) and to (וְעַל) your face (פְּנֵיכֶם) I will not lie (אִם־אֲכַזֵּב)

    Now if you found the forgoing “literal” translations helpful, great, glad I could help. I, however, do not find either of these “literal” translations to be particularly helpful in understanding Job 6:28 as a whole and in fact find that each introduces problems toward such understanding. Words in a sentence are not individual units whose meaning exists wholly apart from the sentence in which they stand. Thus the biggest problem with word-for-word translations is that by design they often assign meanings to each word with little to no regard for the larger syntactical relationships that the words have with each other in the sentence. I can do no better than to cite Kohlenberger himself who says in the introduction of his interlinear cited above:

    “Because the interlinear supplies only a word-for-word grammatically literal equivalence, it cannot be used as a normal English translation.”
    -John R. Kohlenberger III, The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987), xii.

    Indeed. Thus do not make the mistake of taking such “literal” translations as accurately representing what the Hebrew text itself says.

    Now if you want what I think to be better translation of the verse, even though it is not “literal” in the sense you asked, I offer you the following:

    וְעַתָּה הוֹאִילוּ פְנוּ־בִי וְעַל־פְּנֵיכֶם אִם־אֲכַזֵּב׃

    “And now, please turn to consider me, and whether I lie to your faces”

    The main verb here is פְנוּ (Qal imperative masculine plural √פנה) whose basic meaning is “to turn,” but has the meaning “to look in consideration” in the present context (see Clines CDCH s.v. פנה I Qal 1a, d). This use of פָּנָה may also be seen at Ecclesiastes 2:11 where we read (note the use of the preposition בְּ for the objects of the verb as in Job 6:28):

    . . . וּפָנִיתִי אֲנִי בְּכָל־מַעֲשַׂי שֶׁעָשׂוּ יָדַי וּבֶעָמָל שֶׁעָמַלְתִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת

    “And I turned to consider all my works which my hands had done and all the labor which I had labored to do . . .”

    Note that the use of the imperative in Job 6:28 as well as the use of הוֹאִיל as an auxiliary (“please,” cf. 2 Kings 5:23) show quite clearly that Job is not asking a question, but imploring his interlocutors to take a course of action (i.e., to consider him).

    In the second clause one finds the conjunctive אִם before the verb in that clause. Although this conjunctive is often translated “if,” a better translation here is “whether” since it stands as a conditional statement that is directly tied to back to Job’s imploration to his interlocutors to consider him (see HALOT s.v. אִם 6). The same usage of אִם may be seen at Song of Solomon 7:13[12]:

    . . . נִרְאֶה אִם פָּרְחָה הַגֶּפֶן . . .

    “. . . let us see whether the vine has budded . . .”

    Translations which phrase this clause as a question do so because אִם is indeed used at times as an interrogative (see HALOT s.v. אִם 5). As far as I can see, however, such usage depends on the appearance of some explicit interrogative in the immediate context, e.g. הֲ־, that is used alongside אִם (e.g. Job 21:4). Such is not the case here so that an interrogative use for אִם seems highly unlikely.

    As to the verb אֲכַזֵּב in this clause, it is a Piel imperfect 1st person singular of √כזב whose basic meaning is “to lie” (see Clines CDCH s.v. כזב I Pi. 1a). As I see it, the imperfect aspect of the verb (= incomplete action) could be translated a number of ways here depending on what one understands to be the focus of the act of lying in the conditional statement. Although I translate as “whether I lie,” Origami’s suggestion to translate modally with “would,” thus “whether I would lie,” is an equally viable option in my opinion.

    You mentioned “to fail” as another meaning of כִּזֵּב. This meaning is given for Isaiah 58:11:

    . . . וְהָיִיתָ כְּגַן רָוֶה וּכְמוֹצָא מַיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יְכַזְּבוּ מֵימָיו׃
    “. . . and you shall be as a watered garden, and as a fountain of water whose water does not fail.”

    However, “does not fail” here is actually a gloss for the sake of English with the real meaning still being “does not deceive.” To understand the imagery used here one must know that some sources of water are not always reliable, e.g. the water in wadis disappearing during the summer, so that they can be characterized as deceptive. At any rate, such a gloss is unnecessary in Job 6:28 since what is in view in this clause is concretely whether or not Job lies.

    Thus taken all together what is seen in Job 6:28 is an imploration by Job to his interlocutors to consider him and, more importantly, to consider whether or not he lies in what he is saying to them. Hope that clears everything up for you.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  24. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Would the numerical value of אם be 41?
  25. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    According to Wikipedia, final mem (ם) is 600 so it would be 601 but I don't know anything about Gematria, so maybe 41 is correct.
  26. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    >>> MODERATOR NOTE: Threads merged. Isidore, if you have follow-up questions about the verb כזב, please post them in this thread. Thanks!

    I understand יכזב, as used in Prov. 14:5, means lie (in Biblical Hebrew), but does it mean anything in modern Hebrew?

    And does anyone have any idea why google translate would render it "should lie" (and כזב "lie")?
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  27. Manedwolf Junior Member

    יְכַזֵּב (yehazev) = will lie
    כזב = a lie or the singular masculine past tense of לכזב (to lie)

    High register word
  28. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Thank you.

    But why does my translator keep telling me יְכַזֵּב (yehazev) = should lie?

    Could it be used in a sentence like "joe should not lie to jane"?

    Or would it mean "joe will not lie to jane" if used in that sentence?
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  29. Manedwolf Junior Member

    Only "will lie". Hebrew words for "should" are "צריך" (tzarih; also means "need to") or "אמור" (amur; supposed to).
    Ex: ג'ו לא צריך לשקר לג'יין or ג'ו לא אמור לשקר לג'יין
    מה ילד בן 4 אמור לדעת? (What a 4 year old should know?)
    לא היית צריך לעשות את זה (You didn't have to do that)
  30. chlomoh New Member

    It's a question . The futur who knows it ? In hebrew the futur ask and at the first person(אני) is
    א. The best traduction is in Bible Hub,Jubilee Bible 2000 :
    《Now, therefore, if ye desire, look upon me and see
    if I shall lie in your presence》?
  31. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    So could יכזב בלוא be translated "will not lie"?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  32. Isidore Demsky Senior Member


    In Biblical Hebrew, would "will not lie" be written

    לֹ֣א יכזב


    יכזב לֹ֣א ?

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  33. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    The first one, just like in modern Hebrew.
  34. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Thank you.

    So if you wanted to say "Jacob will not lie" (reading right to left) how would you write it?

    Could it be written as follows?

    בלוא יכזב יעקב

    Or would it be written like this?

    יעקב בלוא יכזב

    Would either of these be grammatical?
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  35. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    First of all, it's לא. Secondly, the ב shouldn't be there. So it's יעקב לא יכזב or לא יכזב יעקב. Both are correct as the word order is flexible in Hebrew.
  36. Isidore Demsky Senior Member

    Thank you.

    But would either בלוא יכזב יעקב or יעקב בלוא יכזב be grammatically correct in Biblical Hebrew?

    (בלוא is used to mean "not," or "no" in Eccl. 10:11.)
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  37. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België
    Short answer is no. I don't know why you would insist on using בלוא instead of לא. Clearly in Eccl. 10:11 בלוא needs to be broken down into ב + לוא: with-out, with no hissing/charming/whispering.
  38. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    This is interesting, is there evidence that בלי was originally בלא or בלוא?

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