Sunday, March 24, 2024

Something else that was "hidden" in the מגילה

While others might have been having more mainstream הערות or simply paying attention to the מגילה, I had the following observation:

ומה שאלתך וינתן לך ומה בקשתך עוד ותעש

Certainly, the word שאלה is feminine. Therefore, we would expect the פסוק to read ומה שאלתך ותנתן לך just as ותעש is in feminine form due to בקשה being feminine. I believe the following must be the explanation: If someone requests something, it is certainly possible to perform the request. However, if someone asks for something, you cannot give them "their asking." Rather, you give them the thing which they asked for. Therefore, we treat this as if there were a hidden word, perhaps as follows: ומה שאלתך וינתן הדבר לך and that is why it is masculine.

However, as MG points out in the comments, even בקשה switches seemingly to masculine earlier on in the מגילה. The אבן עזרא says there that it is referring to a hidden דבר. So my explanation for the gender change was correct. But my distinction between בקשה and שאלה apparently was not.

Recently, the following excerpt was posted in the Dikduk WhatsApp group which addresses this question:


MG said...

I think you are incorrect. If you cannot give someone "their asking", how do you explain 7:2 where it says "v'sinasein"??
Also, I'm not sure why your question didn't bother you much earlier in the Megilla at 5:3 where it says "UMa Bakashaseich...v'yinasein lach". The word "Bakashah" is also feminine, as you point out. I'm sure you'll be glad to know that the Eben Ezra addresses your question there and says that "v'yinasein" is going on "the thing" that she was asking for, as you yourself answer. However, it is clear that there is no fundamental difference between "Bakashah" and "Sh'eilah"; you can use the masculine or the feminine when describing either one - when the feminine is used, it is referencing the request, and when the masculine is used, it is referencing the object of the request.

Shtikler said...

Fair enough.
I suppose then the only mystery that remains is what governs when the gender switch is used. Why would it be used in one place and not the other?

ELIE said...

אין זה פלא לראות שימוש וינתן על נקבה

כנראה אין במקרא הקפדה על זה
דוגמה לדבר כי "יהיה" נערה בתולה
עיין למשל ראב"ע (אבן עזרא) קהלת יא ב רד"ק בראשית א יד רד"ק ירמיה יג יח