We have explained in our article
Biblical Formatting located on the world wide web at
that the Biblical Author indicated unspecified emphasis
by using repetition.
That is, if a modern
author wanted to get a point across using bold, italics, underlhine
- an indication of unspecified emphasis -
then the Biblical
Author would instead use repetition.
Today's verse illustrates this principle.
With this in mind we review verse Gn31-50a, discussing Laban's
warning not to afflict his daughters, which states
If thou shalt afflict my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives beside my daughters, no man being with us; see, G-d is witness betwixt me and thee.'
Note the repeated underlined word, daughters. Malbim, clarifies the nature
of this repetition: The verse could have substituted a pronoun for the second
occurrence of daughters:
If thou shalt afflict my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives beside them,
The repetition of the word, daughters creates an unspecified emphasis, similar to
a modern bolding or italicizing of the word. In modern notation we would write
If thou shalt afflict my daughters. Rashi comments on the unspecified emphasis:
Daughters includes his actual daughters, Rachel and Leah, and apparently also
includes their handmaids, BIlhah and Zilpah. Apparently Bilhah and Zilpah were also his
daughters from live-in girlfriends (concubines).
Advanced Rashi: For further examples of regarding Biblical styles such as
repetition as parallel to modern styles such as bold, italics, underline, see
my article Biblical Formatting
located on the world wide web at