I have seen two translations of Samuel 1:17. Mechon Mamre says:

Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou hast asked of Him

The Art Scroll Rosh Hashannah Machzor translates it as:

...will grant the request that you have asked of him.

The Hebrew word that I highlighted is שֵׁלָתֵךְ which, I believe means, "your placenta" or "your birth" (metaphorically). See, by comparison, Devarim 28:57 1st word is translated as "afterbirth".

Is the Mechon Mamre / Art Scroll translation incorrect, or is this one of those situations where Tana"ch drops the silent Aleph?

It seems that my interpretation would fit into the meaning, but upon mentioning this to my rav, he agreed with the idea of my interpretation (*meaning "birth") but suggested that it is doubtful that Eli would use such "vulgar" language esp. when speaking to a woman whom he did not know.

Note: This does not seem to be a kri / ketiv situation, as there is no mention of this, anywhere. (Otherwise, I wouldn't have posted the question.)

  • 2
    Just for the record, the mechon mamre English is actually the JPS 1917 translation. – Popular Isn't Right Sep 28 '14 at 16:44

Rashi says that the writing of the word with the aleph removed was to connect "request" and "child/birth"

your request: (שלתך, instead of שאלתך). The ‘alef’ is missing to expound in this word an expression of ‘children,’ as in Deut. 28:57: ובשליתה “and against her young, which came out, etc.”

Other meforshim (Metzudat Tziyon, Metzudat David, Radak) also say that the word is "she'elah" but without the aleph though they seem to connect it to the notion of prayer, possibly infused with prophecy of a child.

Though I don't really understand it, the R' Yeshaya seems to be making a purely grammatical statement about what letters can be dropped. Anyone who can further expound, I would appreciate the help.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .