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One translation of Numbers 12:2 says:

And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it.

In the interlinear Bible I see the Hebrew word for "built" בָּ֣נוּ or bā·nū in the verse without the Strong's Hebrew number 1129 above it. It is interpreted as "through us".

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/numbers/12-2.htm

In other passages this same word is translated as "built". http://biblehub.com/hebrew/banu_1129.htm

I'm wondering if someone could help me understand why this is interpreted as through us instead of built? Is this the way things are built?

Thank you

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1 Answer 1

They're actually different words, even though they look almost identical!

בָּנוּ could be "they built", from the root b.n.y. But in that case it takes penultimate stress (ba-NU) as indicated by the cantillation mark (see, for example, Gen. 11:5). Here it is BA-nu, showing us that it is the prefix בּ (b-), "in," "with," or "through," plus the pronominal suffix נוּ–, "us," thus: "through us," an excellent translation, although "with us" would be fine as well.

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All the vowels and extra stresses and marks were added later weren't they. –  Kate Jan 12 at 0:37
    
Yes, the Masoretes codified their reading tradition sometime around the 8th century CE. Written consonantally (as in the Torah scroll), the two words are identical. –  Noam Sienna Jan 12 at 2:59
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