meaning of ל followed by infinitive construct

Sharjeel72

Member
English
Hi

The preposition le means "for", of course. When it is followed by the infinitive construct what does it mean? For example at the end of this

ויכלו השמים והארץ וכל צבאם ויכל אלהים ביום השביעי מלאכתו אשר עשה וישבת ביום השביעי מכל מלאכתו אשר עשה ויברך אלהים את יום השביעי ויקדש אתו כי בו שבת מכל מלאכתו אשר ברא אלהים לעשות
 
  • Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Do you mean in general or do you mean in this specific case?

    Firstly, ל doesn't just mean "for", it also (in fact more often than not) means "to". And the ל followed by infinitive construct is actually an idiomatic and morphologically fused form (unlike with ב or כ) pretty similar to the English "to"-infinitive.

    The particular verse you quote here, however, is a tricky one to understand. There are probably many possibilities of interpreting the function of this infinitive.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכׇּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַעֲשֽׂוֹת׃

    “…because on it God ceased from all of his work which he had done in creation.”
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכׇּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַעֲשֽׂוֹת׃

    “…because on it God ceased from all of his work which he had done in creation.”

    This is maybe a possible interpretation, but frankly it's hard to see it in the words.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    As I said before:

    The particular verse you quote here, however, is a tricky one to understand. There are probably many possibilities of interpreting the function of this infinitive.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Lambdin says that לְ followed by the infinitive construct can have the following meanings:

    1. purpose (German: damit/um zu), e.g.

    באו לשמע
    They came to hear.
    Sie kamen um zu hören.

    2. sequence (German: sodass)

    לא יכלו ללכד
    They could not capture.
    Sie konnten nicht einnehmen.

    3. means (German: indem/dadurch, dass)

    תשמר את־דרך יהוה לעשות צדק
    You shall observe the way of Y----- by doing righteousness.
    Du sollst auf den Weg des Y----- achten, indem du Gerechtigkeit tust.

    In light of this we can revisit

    וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכׇּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַעֲשֽׂוֹת׃

    which probably means

    “And (then) God blessed the seventh day and (then) sanctified it because on it He ceased from all of his work which God had created by bringing about.”
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Furthermore, what does "which God had created by bringing about" even mean? Seems like you're replacing one confusing sentence with another equally confusing sentence.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Lambdin says that לְ followed by the infinitive construct can have the following meanings:

    1. purpose (German: damit/um zu), e.g.

    באו לשמע
    They came to hear.
    Sie kamen um zu hören.

    2. sequence (German: sodass)

    לא יכלו ללכד
    They could not capture.
    Sie konnten nicht einnehmen.

    3. means (German: indem/dadurch, dass)

    תשמר את־דרך יהוה לעשות צדק
    You shall observe the way of Y----- by doing righteousness.
    Du sollst auf den Weg des Y----- achten, indem du Gerechtigkeit tust.
    I suspect this is more about introducing Hebrew to German speakers than describing Hebrew. Following the ל can be any verb and as such any meaning, not necessarily the three above.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    And how does ל in לא יכלו ללכד mean sequence???
    Okay, maybe here it's superfluous, for לא יכלו ללכד and לא יכלו לכד mean exactly the same thing, namely 'They could not capture.'.

    But it can denote sequence, even though here it's not.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Furthermore, what does "which God had created by bringing about" even mean? Seems like you're replacing one confusing sentence with another equally confusing sentence.
    The form/structure that you refer to in Genesis 2:3 is known as the “epexegetical infinitive”, i.e. it somehow expands on the previous form or even explains it. Though I am no Hebrew Bible person, I believe that the exegetes tell us that what is going on in the verse is that עשׂה, a verb with broad semantics, is explained here as being of the ברא-type, itself a debated explanation because the precise semantics of ברא is a discussed topic.
     
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