Jovial (25 May 2012)
"Dan 11:37, the "desire of women", and how to interpret Hebrew"

In re Kevin's note at http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/may2012/kevinh524.htm, let me explain a few things about interpretting Hebrew.

 

ANY Hebrew word can be interpretted as a noun or verb and there can also be ambiguity as to whether something is an adjective, etc, under certain circumstances as well.  For example, "מלך" can either be interpretted as the verb "to reign", pronounced MALAK in Hebrew, or as the noun "king", which would be pronounced "MELEK".  Somewhere around 800-1000 AD, the Masoret Scribes added vowels to the Hebrew text and "מֶּלֶךְ" would be the noun "MELEK" or King, but did the Masorets added the correct vowels?  There are places in the Talmud where the correct interpretation of Scripture is argued over in this regard.

 

Both teshuqah and chemdah ar reasonably synonymous words and can refer to an emotion.  If you want to compare what one Hebrew sentence says about desire with another, the fact that they did not use exactly the same word does not disqualify the comparison.  If I say I FOUND something that does not mean I failed to DISCOVER it.

 

It is not an inherent character of the word "chemdah" that it must refer to an OBJECT.  In fact such a differentiation is part of grammar, not word root word definitions.  A word must be in noun form in order to be an OBJECT.  In Dan 11:37 , CHEMDAH appears as "Chemdat nasim".  Ignoring the Masoret added vowels, it could be interpretted as either a feminine verb or an adjective in construct form.  It is not in noun form and thus does not have to inherently refer to an object of emotion versus an emotion.  Whether it refers to a desire women have for something else, a desire for women, or what makes women desireable is completely a matter of interpretation.

 

Many reference books written for those who don't read Hebrew natively make assumptions, such as interpreting a standard English text or interpreting the Masoret text.  But if you really want to analyze a Hebrew text and get beyond a traditional translation, you haveto get beyond using reference books that make assumptions without telling you their assumptions.