In Malachi 3:10 the LORD suggests (?) putting him to the test him in order to see

אִם־לֹא אֶפְתַּ֣ח לָכֶם אֵת אֲרֻבּוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וַהֲרִיקֹתִי לָכֶם בְּרָכָה עַד־בְּלִי־דָי
if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (ESV)

I'm having trouble with "until there is no more need." The Hebrew is literally "until there is not sufficiency" (ʿad-bĕlı̂-dāy) which to me means just the opposite of "until there is no more need." Of course, in context the ESV makes a lot more sense than "until there is not enough", but how does one arrive at that translation?

  • 2
    BDB offers: "until there is not sufficiency, i.e. until my abundance can be exhausted, or, as this can never be, for ever." Now there's a leap that wouldn't have occurred to me.
    – Susan
    Jul 4 '16 at 9:31
  • you really should make that an answer. It definitely answers the question and provides an enhanced understanding of the verse.
    – Joshua
    Jul 5 '16 at 15:16
  • @Joshua Thanks. I'm not sure I buy it though. NIV takes a different sort of leap: "so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."
    – Susan
    Jul 5 '16 at 15:48
  • "... until there no more room for it all" is probably the intended meaning, but anything indicating "beyond measure" is likely fine for capturing the intent. See bottom of p.72 and top of 73 in Mitchell's commentary.
    – Dan
    Mar 30 '17 at 20:31

The Talmud in tractate Sabbath Page 32B sees it as a play on words.

מאי "עד בלי די"? אמר רמי בר חמא אמר רב: עד שייבלו שפתותיכם מלומר די


What does "Ad Beli Dai" mean?
Rami Bar Hama said in the name of Rav:
"Ad shibalu sefatecha melomar dai"


Until you lips will wear out from saying "enough"

Also, sometimes in Hebrew we use opposites to mean something. The most famous and well known case is calling a blind person "Sagi Nahor" which means "Plenty/Enough light".

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