that never has favour been conferred upon a child of Israel

bet2173

Senior Member
Turkish
Hello everyone,

In the sentence below taken from Ivanhoe, I couldn't get the part starting with "that never has favour been conferred...". Does he mean to say he will pay back to them in a way that no child of Israel has been favoured since the captivity OR is he just whining on the fact that no child has been bestowed any favours and so hewill be very grateful and pay them back?

"Would it but please your valours," added Isaac, in a tone of deep humiliation, "to permit the poor Jews to travel under your safeguard, I swear by the tables of our law, that never has favour been conferred upon a child of Israel since the days of our captivity, which shall be more gratefully acknowledged."

Many thanks
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Isaac is asking for permission for the Jews to "travel under your safeguard".

    The complicated bold bit of the sentence is saying that if this permission is granted the favour will be more gratefully acknowledged than any other favour granted to a child of Israel since the days of their captivity (in Egypt). I hope my complicated sentence is a little easier to understand than the original :)

    << Moderator note: Please do not title your thread something general like "sentence interpretation". The title should tell us something specific about the question you are asking. I have changed the title :) >>
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Maybe it's easier to read it this way:

    I swear that never has a/anyfavor been conferred upon a Jew which shall be more gratefully acknowledged.
    (I promise that, out of all favors that have been done for Jews, no one favor exists that will be more gratefully acknowledged (than this one will be).)
    (I promise that, out of all the favors that have ever been done for Jews, this one will be the most gratefully acknowledged yet.)
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Not that it really matters, but I think it's likely he was referring to the Babylonian captivity (or something else much later than Egypt). God did quite a few favors for them during and after the exodus from Egypt.
    Isaac does not dispute that God did other favors for Israel. He acknowledges that. He is saying that his gratitude for the favor of protection will be greater than the gratitude of Israel for those other favors. A bit of exaggeration, perhaps - but he's trying to make the point that he'll be grateful, not write a paper in logic.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Isaac does not dispute that God did other favors for Israel. He acknowledges that. He is saying that his gratitude for the favor of protection will be greater than the gratitude of Israel for those other favors. A bit of exaggeration, perhaps - but he's trying to make the point that he'll be grateful, not write a paper in logic.
    Regardless of that logic, I still think "the captivity" is somewhat more likely to refer to the period that is commonly called the Babylonian captivity or possibly the period that is commonly called the Assyrian captivity than any period that is not commonly called a "captivity", but, as I said, it's really not important to the understanding of the general meaning.
     

    bet2173

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Regardless of that logic, I still think "the captivity" is somewhat more likely to refer to the period that is commonly called the Babylonian captivity or possibly the period that is commonly called the Assyrian captivity than any period that is not commonly called a "captivity", but, as I said, it's really not important to the understanding of the general meaning.
    According to the Explanatory Notes at the back of the Penguin Books for Ivanhoe, it is the Babylonian captivity.
     
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