Saturday, November 12, 2011

When Your Son Becomes Your Great Grandson

Noticed in this weeks parasha:

  וַיְהִי, בָּעֵת הַהִוא, וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ וּפִיכֹל שַׂר-צְבָאוֹ, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם לֵאמֹר:  אֱלֹוקים עִמְּךָ, בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה עֹשֶׂה.22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his host spoke unto Abraham, saying: 'God is with thee in all that thou doest.
כג  וְעַתָּה, הִשָּׁבְעָה לִּי בֵאלֹהִים הֵנָּה, אִם-תִּשְׁקֹר לִי, וּלְנִינִי וּלְנֶכְדִּי; כַּחֶסֶד אֲשֶׁר-עָשִׂיתִי עִמְּךָ, תַּעֲשֶׂה עִמָּדִי, וְעִם-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-גַּרְתָּה בָּהּ.23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son; but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.'

In modern Hebrew the word "נין" (nin)  means great grandchild. However, while reading the parsha I suddenly asked myself why does he mention a great grandchild, before he mentions the grandchild? a quick look in Onkelos showed that he translated Nin as child, and Neched as grandchild. That is also how it was translated above. Clearly this is a case where the modern meaning of the word, is contrary to its biblical meaning.

I have no idea why the word נין(nin) suddenly jumped two generations in modern Hebrew.

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