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Yaku Lee
10-20-2009, 06:10 PM
Do the following verses show instances of patronymic names in OT?

Gen 36:32
WTT: אֱלִיצוּר בֶּן־שְׁדֵיאוּר
CSB, NET, NIV, NJB, NLT, NRS, TNIV, TNK, YLT: Elizur son of Shedeur



1Ch 4:37
WTT: זִיזָא בֶן־שִׁפְעִי בֶן־אַלּוֹן בֶּן־יְדָיָה בֶן־שִׁמְרִי בֶּן־שְׁמַעְיָה
NRS, TNK: Ziza son of Shiphi son of Allon son of Jedaiah son of Shimri son of Shemaiah

Though 1Ch 4:37 shows Ziza’s lineage, isn’t it at the same time Ziza’s patronymic name?

Thank you for your comment.

ISalzman
10-21-2009, 11:02 AM
Do the following verses show instances of patronymic names in OT?

Gen 36:32
WTT:אֱלִיצוּר בֶּן־שְׁדֵיאוּר
CSB, NET, NIV, NJB, NLT, NRS, TNIV, TNK, YLT:Elizur son of Shedeur
1Ch 4:37
WTT: זִיזָא בֶן־שִׁפְעִי בֶן־אַלּוֹן בֶּן־יְדָיָה בֶן־שִׁמְרִי בֶּן־שְׁמַעְיָה
NRS, TNK: Ziza son of Shiphi son of Allon son of Jedaiah son of Shimri son of Shemaiah

Though 1Ch 4:37 shows Ziza’s lineage, isn’t it at the same time Ziza’s patronymic name?

Thank you for your comment.

That is an excellent question, Yaku. I think, ultimately, it is too tough to call. But I would be more inclined to accept Elitzur ben Shedeur as a patronymic name (Numbers 1:5ff) than I would Ziza's. It is unlikely that a patronymic name would have had as many generations attached to it as Ziza's. It's unlikely that people would remember that many names.

But whether any of these are examples of patronymic names would be very difficult to determine, ultimately. When names were singular, it would have been very helpful to supply a father's name as in the formula "Ploni ben Ploni (i.e., "so and so," the son of "so and so")" so as to be able to distinguish between other bearers of the same name. So, for example, in the various lists of the Apostles, you'll find both James the son of Alphaeus as well as James the son of Zebedee. But this would have been very practical as the two needed to be distinguished from one another. Ultimately, I believe, we can make no dogmatic assertions about whether these were instances of the usage of patronymic names. But great question! Perhaps others will chime in.

Yaku Lee
10-21-2009, 06:32 PM
That is an excellent question, Yaku. I think, ultimately, it is too tough to call. But I would be more inclined to accept Elitzur ben Shedeur as a patronymic name (Numbers 1:5ff) than I would Ziza's. It is unlikely that a patronymic name would have had as many generations attached to it as Ziza's. It's unlikely that people would remember that many names.

But whether any of these are examples of patronymic names would be very difficult to determine, ultimately. When names were singular, it would have been very helpful to supply a father's name as in the formula "Ploni ben Ploni (i.e., "so and so," the son of "so and so")" so as to be able to distinguish between other bearers of the same name. So, for example, in the various lists of the Apostles, you'll find both James the son of Alphaeus as well as James the son of Zebedee. But this would have been very practical as the two needed to be distinguished from one another. Ultimately, I believe, we can make no dogmatic assertions about whether these were instances of the usage of patronymic names. But great question! Perhaps others will chime in.

I first thank you for your comment. I also thank you for correcting my reference from Gen 36:32 to Num 1:5. I started out with “Bela son of Beor” (Gen 36:32). But while changing the name to “Elizur son of Shedeur,” I forgot to change the reference as well.

I find that the name of two generations connected by “ben” in the form of “X ben Y” occurs in over 690 verses in OT (by searching <’*@np--n* בנ@ncmsc* *@np--n*> on WTM). However names of more than two generations connected by “ben” do not occur very frequently. Actually I counted as follows: 3 generations occur 53 times (3-53 for short), 4-16, 5-10, 6-4, 7-2, 8-3, 14-1, 15-1, 17-1, and 23-1. The name with the longest lineage attached is found in 1Ch 6:33-38.

Now consider the following quotes from “en.wikipedia.org” internet encyclopedia:

“A patronym or patronymic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patronymic), is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor.

“While Jews now have permanent surnames for everyday life, the patronymic form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_surname) is still used in religious life. It is used in synagogue and in documents in Jewish law such as the ketubah (marriage contract).”

The quoted material indicates that a multiple generation patronymic name is used, and that the patronymic name is for “religious life” or for some sort of official use, not for everyday life. The question is: Is this information applicable to OT?

Going back to Num 1:5, NRS reads “Elizur son of Shedeur” but KJV reads “Elizur the son of Shedeur.” Does KJV show an instance of patronymic, or an instance of a short genealogy?
What is the significance of the definite article “the” in the KJV version of the name?

Thank you very much.

ISalzman
10-21-2009, 07:21 PM
I find that the name of two generations connected by “ben” in the form of “X ben Y” occurs in over 690 verses in OT (by searching <’*@np--n* בנ@ncmsc* *@np--n*> on WTM). However names of more than two generations connected by “ben” do not occur very frequently. Actually I counted as follows: 3 generations occur 53 times (3-53 for short), 4-16, 5-10, 6-4, 7-2, 8-3, 14-1, 15-1, 17-1, and 23-1. The name with the longest lineage attached is found in 1Ch 6:33-38.

Wow, you've really done your homework! I'm impressed by your thoroughness.



Now consider the following quotes from “en.wikipedia.org” internet encyclopedia:

“A patronym or patronymic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patronymic), is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor.

“While Jews now have permanent surnames for everyday life, the patronymic form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_surname) is still used in religious life. It is used in synagogue and in documents in Jewish law such as the ketubah (marriage contract).”

The quoted material indicates that a multiple generation patronymic name is used, and that the patronymic name is for “religious life” or for some sort of official use, not for everyday life. The question is: Is this information applicable to OT?

While the above is true, it does not, in fact, indicate that a multiple generation patronymic name is used. The above quote merely suggests that the patronymic name can include that of a father or grandfather or an earlier male ancestor. That is, one of the above; NOT all of the above.

And, I can certainly vouch that this custom survives to this day. I, myself, am Jewish, and whenever I was referred to or called in religious contexts, I was always called by my name ben my father's name. Again, as to whether patronymic names can be read back into the Old Testament, I don't know. As I mentioned in my previous post, biblical characters almost always required a citation of their father's name. But this may merely have served to differentiate them from other similar named individuals. Formal surnames cannot be traced back to biblical times. In fact, in the same Wikipedia article referenced above, it appears that formal surnames didn't surface until the 1700s and later. This is not to deny that biblical characters had patronymic names. I just say that we, perhaps, cannot know with certainty.


Going back to Num 1:5, NRS reads “Elizur son of Shedeur” but KJV reads “Elizur the son of Shedeur.” Does KJV show an instance of patronymic, or an instance of a short genealogy?
What is the significance of the definite article “the” in the KJV version of the name?

Thank you very much.


I think both translations are valid. (And I'm not sure much can be made of the difference in translation.) The term ben Shedeur is what can be called a Hebrew construct chain. That refers to when two Hebrew nouns are placed side by side, with the first in its construct state. Putting the two nouns side by side has the effect of our inserting the word "of" in our translation. Ben literally means "son" and Shedeur is the proper name of Elizur's father. Because the two nouns are in a construct chain, we generally add the word "of" in our translation. Thus, Elizur son of Shedeur. But since Shedeur is a proper name/noun, it would be considered definite. Since the head noun (shedeur) is defuinite, the whole construct chain can be rendered definite. That's why the KJV translates the phrase "Elizur the son of Shedeur." They are not wrong in rendring that translation.

On the other hand, can we really say that Shedeur is definite? What if there were 100 Shedeurs in the Israelite encampment? This might argue for Elizur ben Shedeur being a patronymic name. In the end, we cannot be decisive. The important thing is that this particular individual was known to Moses and the people. And, obviously to God.

Thanks Yaku for an excellent discussion question. Blessings on you in Korea. This is one of the wonderful things about these BibleWorks forums. We are able to fellowship with each other though we may find ourselves in different parts of the world.

Yaku Lee
10-21-2009, 11:14 PM
Things are getting clearer to me, thanks for your comment. Now I can see the meaning of מְפִבֹשֶׁת בֶּן־שָׁאוּל‘Mephibosheth the son of Saul’ (2Sa 19:25/4) if patronymic name is recognized. Although Mephibosheth is Saul’s grandson, he can be said to be “Mephibosheth the son of Saul” in a sort of a “formal” way in Hebrew, without “straining” the basic meaning of ben.

Regarding 1Ch 4:37(there are many other examples of this kind in OT):


זִיזָא בֶן־שִׁפְעִי בֶן־אַלּוֹן בֶּן־יְדָיָה בֶן־שִׁמְרִי בֶּן־שְׁמַעְיָה


I can see that the verse is not an instance of a single construct chain with multiple construct nouns, but an instance of multiple construct chains, one after the other. So a translation into English would be: “Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah” as in KJV.

But I wonder if there are any difference in meaning, subtle or otherwise, among the following English translations of 1Ch 4:37:



KJV Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;





NRS Ziza son of Shiphi son of Allon son of Jedaiah son of Shimri son of Shemaiah --





NLT Ziza son of Shiphi, son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah.





NET Ziza son of Shipi (son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah).





NIV Ziza son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah.





GWN Ziza (son of Shiphi, grandson of Allon, great-grandson of Jedaiah, a descendant of Shimri and Shemaiah).





NJB Ziza, Ben-Shiphi, Ben-Allon, Ben-Jedaiah, Ben-Shimri, Ben-Shemaiah-





Or do these apparently different translations mean exactly the same thing, reflecting differences only in style?




Thank you for your time and comment.

ISalzman
10-22-2009, 06:53 PM
Things are getting clearer to me, thanks for your comment. Now I can see the meaning of מְפִבֹשֶׁת בֶּן־שָׁאוּל‘Mephibosheth the son of Saul’ (2Sa 19:25/4) if patronymic name is recognized. Although Mephibosheth is Saul’s grandson, he can be said to be “Mephibosheth the son of Saul” in a sort of a “formal” way in Hebrew, without “straining” the basic meaning of ben.

Regarding 1Ch 4:37(there are many other examples of this kind in OT):


זִיזָא בֶן־שִׁפְעִי בֶן־אַלּוֹן בֶּן־יְדָיָה בֶן־שִׁמְרִי בֶּן־שְׁמַעְיָה


I can see that the verse is not an instance of a single construct chain with multiple construct nouns, but an instance of multiple construct chains, one after the other. So a translation into English would be: “Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah” as in KJV.

But I wonder if there are any difference in meaning, subtle or otherwise, among the following English translations of 1Ch 4:37:



KJV Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;





NRS Ziza son of Shiphi son of Allon son of Jedaiah son of Shimri son of Shemaiah --





NLT Ziza son of Shiphi, son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah.





NET Ziza son of Shipi (son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah).





NIV Ziza son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah.





GWN Ziza (son of Shiphi, grandson of Allon, great-grandson of Jedaiah, a descendant of Shimri and Shemaiah).





NJB Ziza, Ben-Shiphi, Ben-Allon, Ben-Jedaiah, Ben-Shimri, Ben-Shemaiah-





Or do these apparently different translations mean exactly the same thing, reflecting differences only in style?




Thank you for your time and comment.


In my own personal opinion, I think the different translations reflect stylistic differences only and probably don't intend to signal more than that. But that is just my own opinion.

bkMitchell
10-22-2009, 09:21 PM
...But I wonder if there are any difference in meaning, subtle or otherwise, among the following English translations of 1Ch 4:37...



Punctuation, can also significantly effect meaning in translation. Notice, the NET's & the GWN's use of parentheses in the verse in question:
NET "Ziza son of Shipi (son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah)."
GWN "Ziza (son of Shiphi, grandson of Allon, great-grandson of Jedaiah, a descendant of Shimri and Shemaiah)."

The use of parentheses can imply that some information is not as important, can be skipped, can be omitted, or is not original.

Most, likely the translator only had 'ease of reading' in mind and wanted to allow for readers to continue through the text without spending too much time reading through this genealogy.

While, I doubt most readers will notice any difference in meaning I personally feel that the use of parentheses here is troubling and could be misleading.

Regards,
Brian

ISalzman
10-22-2009, 10:29 PM
Punctuation, can also significantly effect meaning in translation. Notice, the NET's use of parentheses in the verse in question. The use of parentheses can imply that some information is not as important, can be skipped, can be omitted, or is not original.

Most, likely the translator only had 'ease of reading' in mind and wanted to allow for readers to continue through the text without spending too much time reading through this genealogy.

While, I doubt most readers will notice any difference in meaning I personally feel that the use of parentheses here is troubling and could be misleading.

Regards,
Brian

Good point, Brian. I hadn't looked carefully at the NET Bible's rendition of the verse until you pointed it out. The parentheses are obviously an editorial decision on the part of the translators. But there seems to be no justification for it. For what purpose would they insert parentheses around all the names from the generations prior to the individual's father? The Hebrew certainly doesn't do that. In effect, the NET Bible rendition sets off the generations in a way that the original Hebrew doesn't! While they may imply no significance behind this (though one can't be sure of that), it creates an appearance that just isn't there in the Hebrew. Here is a case where you would like to have the translator(s) present to explain his (their) translational decision.

All of which reminds me, I had a different question for the ESV translators. I noticed that in Matthew 18:15, most English versions seemed to be split on whether the words "against you" were in the text of the verse ("When a brother sins [against you], reprove him in private ..." If I remember correctly, NA26 had the words eis se ("against you") bracketed off indicating their "questionableness," if you will. I believe NA27 just removed the words altogether. But regardless of which way the different English versions seemed to go on the issue - that is, whether or not they included the words "against you" - they all seemed to have a note in the margin explaining the textual variant there. By contrast, the ESV left out the words "against you" and had no notation of the variant in their margin. In other words, no one reading the ESV would know that there was a significant textual variant in that verse. As I respect the ESV translators, I was sort of startled by this omission. So I sent an e-mail to the publisher asking why they went the route they did. I got a response from the publisher saying that my question was best directed to the translation committee itself. However, I was promptly informed that the translation committee is not in the practice of fielding and answering questions about their editorial decisions. I just couldn't win! :( But, no doubt, sometimes translators do things that make us scratch our heads.

bkMitchell
10-23-2009, 12:58 PM
Good point, Brian. I hadn't looked carefully at the NET Bible's rendition of the verse until you pointed it out. The parentheses are obviously an editorial decision on the part of the translators...

Neither, had I until I had a look at this thought provoking thread.

briussi
11-04-2009, 05:21 AM
brand new here,bookmarked and b back l8er, bro, :-)