ethical dative

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan

What is the best way of translating the ethical dative? For instance, how would you translate the last word of the following?

וַיֹּאמֶר בִּלְעָם אֶל מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה חָטָאתִי כִּי לֹא יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אַתָּה נִצָּב לִקְרָאתִי בַּדָּרֶךְ וְעַתָּה אִם רַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ אָשׁוּבָה לִּי.

And Bil'am said to Yahweh's messenger, "I have sinned because I did not know that you were placed to call me on the way, and now if it seems bad to you let me return...

And does the ל of the ethical dative always take a דָּגֵשׁ‎?

אני מודה לכם מאוד
  • Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    You don't translate it in most cases. English doesn't have such a concept.

    The dagesh has nothing to do with the ethical dative. Rather, when two words are connected by certain cantillation marks, and the first one ends in an open unstressed qamatz or segol, then the next word will often start with a dagesh chazaq (if it's a letter than can take a dagesh).


    Senior Member
    Similarly to (but independently of) Romance languages, I believe, it makes the verb (somewhat) reflexive.