Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?
Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned?
Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned?
Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants?
May a man take fire to his breast without burning his clothing?
Can fire be carried in the bosom without burning one’s clothes?
Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned?
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The Qal imperfect (with the interrogative) here has a potential nuance – “Is it possible to do this?” The sentence is obviously a rhetorical question making an affirmation that it is not possible.
2 sn “Fire” provides the analogy for the sage’s warning: Fire represents the sinful woman (hypocatastasis) drawn close, and the burning of the clothes the inevitable consequences of the liaison. See J. L. Crenshaw, “Impossible Questions, Sayings, and Tasks,” Semeia 17 (1980): 19-34. The word “fire” (אֵשׁ, ’esh) plays on the words “man” (אִישׁ,’ish) and “woman” (אִשָּׁה, ’ishah); a passage like this probably inspired R. Gamaliel’s little explanation that what binds a man and a woman together in a holy marriage is י (yod) and ה (he), the two main letters of the holy name Yah. But if the
3 tn Heb “snatch up fire into his bosom.”
4 tn The second colon begins with the vav (ו) disjunctive on the noun, indicating a disjunctive clause; here it is a circumstantial clause.