"Plough with the favorite heifer", 1749

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Wed Jun 7 13:37:36 UTC 2006

If the English language was good enough for Samson . . . .

In Wycliff's translation, the Philistines plowed with
Samson's "she calf."  For Coverdale, it was just "my calf"
(was he sanitizing?).  "Heifer" seem to have become standard
with the so-called Bishops' Bible of 1568, followed by
Geneva (1587), Rheims Douai (1609), and KJV (1611).

In the Vulgate, it's "arassetis in vitula mea"; that "in" is
kind of interesting--since (unlike "cum") it can mean "in"
as well as "with."  But little is definitively known
regarding St. Jerome's feelings about heifers.

I don't know what the Hebrew says or implies--or when or
whether the whole phrase became an idiom or stock metaphor!


---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2006 19:30:21 -0400
>From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>Subject: Re: "Plough with the favorite heifer", 1749

>I think an interesting question.  Did Samson
>merely mean that by inveigling his wife the
>Philistines got information from her?  Was there
>a sexual connotation at the time?  Complicated,
>of course, by translation--at Samson's time, or
>when written in the original language, or when translated
into English?
>At 6/6/2006 01:19 PM, you wrote:
>>"And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my
>>ye had not found out my riddle" (Judges 14:18).
>>Yes, Samson is speaking "metaphorically"--but in what way,
>>exactly, remains (to me) uncertain.  He rails against the
>>Philistines for their having obtaining, from his wife, the
>>solution to his riddle that she had inveigled him to tell
>>her as a spousal secret.  Perhaps he is using an idiomatic
>>reference to sexual intercourse as a metaphor for another
>>kind of marital infidelity?
>>---- Original message ----
>> >Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>> >Subject:      Re: "Plough with the favorite heifer", 1749
>> >---------------------------------------------------------
>> >
>> >I see I lack some resources :-)  Is this in
>>the "metaphorical" sense?
>> >
>> >Joel
>> >
>> >At 6/6/2006 12:53 PM, you wrote:
>> >>Judges 14:18.
>> >>
>> >>--Charlie

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