In English usually after the word said we add a comma and a quote to designate when the speech began. In Hebrew I hope for some sort of structure language law. As an example:

Genesis 3:4 (Hebrew OT, consonants only)
ויאמר הנחש אל האשה לא מות תמתון

  • ויאמר - "and he will say" : say (אמר) . he will (י) . and (ו)
  • הנחש - "the snake" : snake (נחש) . the (ה)
  • אל - "I will to" : to (ל) . I will (א)
  • האשה - "the woman" : woman (אשה) . the (ה)
  • לא - "not"
  • מות - "die"
  • תמתון - "you will die little" : Diminutive (ון) . die (מת) . you will (ת)

Genesis 3:4, Raw Hebrew to English..

  • Prefix suffix unstructured:

    and he will say ˙ the snake ˙ I will to ˙ the woman ˙ not ˙ death ˙ you will die little

  • Structure attempt version 1:

    and he will say, "The snake I will to the woman not death. You will die little

  • Structure attempt version 2:

    and he said the snake, "I will to the woman not death you will die little

  • Structure attempt version 3:

    and he said the snake unto the woman, "Not death you will die little."

Also an example of a snake talking would be nice. Or the bible mentioning any other animal speaking prior to the time of Babylon.

Where should the quotes and the comma go?

  • Hebrew tells when a speaker starts speaking by context. Sometimes it's not obvious. If you have a specific question about where the beginning of direct speech is, tell us exactly where you're wondering about it. Questions like this need to start from a specific passage. A more general question about how Hebrew shows direct speech will have to wait for the Hebrew site. – Susan Mar 2 '16 at 21:31
  • Focused on Genesis 3:4 – Decrypted Mar 2 '16 at 22:51
  • There is no way of reliably telling when speech ends in Hebrew, though it usually clearly marks when a speaker begins. This is why I find Jeremiah a particularly fun book to translate, because it becomes to hard to tell where the Lord, Jeremiah and the people's words all begin and end (see Jer 8 and 9). Also, WRT "Or the bible mentioning any other animal speaking prior to the time of Babylon"... there are no other animals which speak in the first few chapters of Genesis, so this is the most weirdly specific question I've heard today! – Steve Taylor Mar 4 '16 at 13:19
  • 2
    I recommend actually studying Hebrew from a reputable program somewhere. There are online classes or you can even purchase lectures on video that accompany a textbook. Many of these questions and your answers show a complete ignorance of even the basics of the Hebrew language. I would also recommend a basic course in linguistics and semantics. – Dan Mar 7 '16 at 2:32
  • 1
    I also recommend reading these two meta posts: (1) Strong's is a concordance, not a lexicon; and (2) Minimal Research Effort in Questions About the Original Languages – Dan Mar 7 '16 at 2:35

The following excerpt may help, which comes from Page 95 of Biblical Hebrew for Beginners (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1996).

Based on the explanation, the translation appears below.

Please click on the image to enlarge.

enter image description here


I need to straighten this first. I don't know how you got the Hebrew, because the Gen 3:4 I read is

ויאמר הנחש
then said the serpent

אל האשה
to the woman

לא מות תמתון
Not death shall you get

How did you get the word "wife" or the word "age"? "Wife" is implicated when "woman" is used with a possessive. e.g., his woman, your woman. .

I don't think that [תמתון] means "shall die". I think [מתן] is a 2ndary root constructed from causative of [תן] give => get/be-recompensed.

Which means, the serpent was having a grammatical debate with the woman concerning verse 3. Because [תמתון] in verse three actually means

פן תמתון
shall you otherwise be recompensed

The serpent questions the woman,

did G'd say the word "death" when He said "recompensed"?

The fact that allowed the serpent to question "did G'd say death", is that verse 3 merely says [תמתון]="shall you-girl be recompensed". However, translators jumped the gun and somehow due to the presence of [מת] decided [תמתון] was an unusual but acceptable declension of [מת].

We need to read the Hebrew as it is written, not as we think it could be written.

Mode of punctuation:

The vav is often the used as punctuation. (Some people believe the vav also performs tense inversion, which is a completely nonsensical and anachronistic concept).

The vav is used a subsequence indicator, and therefore spontaneously punctuates a previous phrase.

For example in English,

He came And he saw And he conquered And the people cheered.

I don't see how else more of an answer I could provide, because the Hebrew of this verse is rather plain and simple.

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