sbfnet at netvision.net.il
Sun Jan 3 09:22:51 EST 1904
At 2:53 PM -0500 11/10/00, Bryan Rocine wrote:
>Randall Buth also pointed out that the verbs I labelled
>qatals are participles in the MT. Thanks, both. I confess
>I was reading Esther in an unpointed text and jumped to a
>Re the "habitual" qatal in poetry about which you ask, how
>about Ps 1:1 the verbs of which should logically display
>concord with _yehgeh_ in v. 2? How about Ps 93:3, "The
>seas have lifted (qatal) O YHVH; the seas have lifted
>(qatal) their voice; the seas lift (yiqtol) their pounding
>waves" or Jer 8:7, "...the dove, the swift, and the swallow
>keep (qatal) the time of their migration"?
Here is my analysis of the texts you mention:
(Ps 1:1) Blessed is the man who NEVER WALKED [NEGATIVE QATAL = PAST]
in the counsel of the wicked, or NEVER STOOD [IDEM] in the way of
sinners, or NEVER SAT [IDEM] in the seat of scoffers;
(1:2) but his delight is [NON VERBAL SENTENCE = PRESENT] in the law
of the Lord, and on his law HE SHALL MEDITATE [X-YIQTOL = FUTURE] day
(1:3) HE SHALL BE [WeQATAL = FUTURE] like a tree planted by streams
of water, that SHALL YIELD [X-YIQTOL = FUTURE] its fruit in its
season, WHILE its leaf SHALL NOT WITHER [X-NEGATIVE YIQTOL]. In all
that HE SHALL DO [X-YIQTOL], he SHALL PROSPER [YIQTOL].
Ps 1:1-3 switches from past, to present and to future, a
switch that is well possible in direct speech. The verb forms appear
to have the same functions they have in direct speech. *Yehgeh*
initiates a future perspective that continues into the next verse.
More serious is the problem posed by Ps 93:3:
(Ps 93:3) The floods HAVE LIFTED UP [QATAL = PAST], o Lord, the
floods HAVE LIFTED UP [IDEM] their voice, the floods WERE LIFTING UP
[YIQTOL = CONTINUOUS PAST] their roaring.
Such cases of qatal // yiqtol for the same event/information
is a phenomenon that has been studied, e.g., by U. Cassuto and M.
Held in the sixties-seventies on the basis of Ugaritic and ancient
Hebrew poetry. S. Gevirtz also suggested that the alternation
qatal-yiqtol was a Canaanite peculiarity, also found in the Amarna
letters sent by the city rulers of Palestine, Phoenicia and Syria.
When I presented a brief discussion on the use of verb forms
in poetry (see my _Syntax_ Chapter X), I was sympathetic with the
view of those who believe that in this alternation qatal and yiqtol
have the same meaning. At that time, I was still much under the
influence of my studies of Ugaritic under my teacher Mitchell Dahood.
With the years I have realized more and more that, despite the
similarities, each language needs be analyzed on its own merit.
Presently I do not think it justified to keep that theory.
Actually from a text-linguistic analysis of prose texts follows that
both qatal and yiqtol are used in historical narrative. Both express
a secondary level of communication, or background, but they differ
one from the other in terms or aspect--qatal indicates a single
event/information while yiqtol (and similarly weqatal) indicates
habit, continuity, repetition, or description. These functions qatal
and yiqtol also play in poetry.
As for Jer 8:7, I think that a past reference is suitable:
(Jer 8:7) Even the stork in the heavens HAS ALWAYS KNOWN [QATAL] her
times; and the turtledove, swallow, and crane HAVE ALWAYS KEPT
[QATAL] the time of their coming; but my people know not / OR: HAVE
NOT COME TO KNOW [QATAL] the ordinance of the Lord.
If Jer 8:7 contains a proverbial utterance, Biblical Hebrew
is not the only language that employs a past tense to express a
Peace and all good to you and all the BH-list Haverim.
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