Ps 18 -2 Sam 22
furuli at online.no
Mon Feb 1 16:58:04 EST 1999
After Bryan's post Jan 27th I made a study of Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel 22. The
doubklettes of these two chapters can be viewed and compared from different
points of view. I will continue Bryan's reasonings and particularly
compare the different verb forms which are used in the same temporal
setting. The verses of both chapters correspond. As to the temporal
setting, I compared the 9 English translations TEV, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NAB,
NASB, NJB, JPS, and NKJV, and I comment on two sections which all view as
having past meaning (vv 4-24 and 38-44), except for a few verses in two of
In these 27 verses in Psalm 18 we find 28 yiqtols, 1 weyiqtol, 14
wayyiqtols and 12 qatals. In 2 Sam 22 we find 24 yiqtols, 1 weyiqtol, 18
wayyiqtols and 10 qatals. All these verbs have past meaning.
In v 5 we find a clear parallelism between a qatal and a yiqtol with past
meaning. Are they interchangeable as far as meaning is concerned, or do
they have different meanings but fill the same function?
In v 7 we find the collocation of "call" and "hear". Both must have past
meaning, thus the yiqtol must have the same value as the wayyiqtol. There
is no indication that the "wa" is anything but a simple conjunction.
Interesting here is that Ps 18 has a yiqtol with a slightly different sense
where 2 Sam 22 has the wayyiqtol. This also argues in favour of the view
that there is no semantic difference between the yiqtol and the wayyiqtol.
The reason why 2 Sam 22 has a wayyiqtol, is that it is sentence initial
while the corresponding yiqtol of Ps 18 is medial.
V 8 has an A-B-B-A form. There are four intransitive verbs and two
subjects. This means there are two clauses with two verbs in each and not
four clauses with one verb in each. In the first instance we therefore have
two wayyiqtols in the same clause, and the "wa" of the second is definitely
a conjunction. In the second instance, the "wa" of the fourth verb must for
the same reason be a conjunction, and the reason for the use of the yiqtol
is that the subject in this case comes before the verb. Again a god example
that yiqtol has the same semantic meaning as wayyiqtol.
In v 9 we have a parallelism between a qatal, which even is sentence
initial, and a yiqtol, both with past meaning.
In v 12, Ps 18 has a wayyiqtol while 2 Sam 22 has a yiqtol. There is no
need to explain the difference as a textual corruption, because there also
are other sentence initial yiqtols in the Psalm, for instance in vv 14 and
16. Here we find sentence initial yiqtols in 2 Sam 22 and wayyiqtols in
In v 20 we find a wayyiqtol, a yiqtol and a qatal, all with past meaning;
the wayyiqtol and the yiqtol occurring in main clauses. What is the
difference if any?
In v 24 we have four wayyiqtols with past meaning. However, the occurrence
of HYH is apocopated in Psalm 18 but has the full form in 2 Sam 22 and the
other verb is cohortative in 2 Sam 22. How should we explain that?
vv 38 and 39 are interesting: Psalm 18:38 has a sentence initial yiqtol
and 2 Sam 22:18 has a yiqtol with cohortative in the same position. Next we
find a weyiqtol in the Psalm and a wayyiqtol in 2 Sam. The third verb both
places is a yiqtol. Psalm 18:39 starts with a sentence initial yiqtol while
2 Sam 22:39 starts with a wayyiqtol and continues with another wayyiqtol
which is lacking in the Psalm. In the last part of both verses we find a
yiqtol and a wayyiqtol, and the reason why the yiqtol has no enclitic waw
is that a negation occurs before it. Because of the semantic meaning of the
two verbs, it is clear that the last "wa" is a conjunction with the meaning
"but". Again an example suggesting that wayyiqtol and yiqtol are identical
in meaning. In Psalm 18:39 do we find a yiqtol instead of the last
wayyiqtol in 2 Sam 22.
In v 41 we find a qatal in both places, followed by a yiqtol in Psalm 18
and a wayyiqtol in 2 Sam 22.
V 43 also has several different forms. Psalm 18 starts with a sentence
initial yiqtol while 2 Sam 22 has a wayyiqtol. then follows a yiqtol, a
qatal and a yiqtol both places, all with past meaning.
v 44 starts in Ps 18 with a sentence initial yiqtol while 2 Sam 22 has a
wayyiqtol. then follows a yiqtol, a qatal and a yiqtol both places, all
with past meaning.
(1) If tense is grammaticalized in Hebrew as (+past) and (+future), how can
all the different forms mentioned above be used with the same past meaning
? Particularly regarding the yiqtols is the question pressing.
(2) If wayyiqtol codes for past tense and yiqtol for present/future, how
can one part of the doublette use a wayyiqtol and the other a yiqtol in
exactly the same position, and how can yiqtols with past meaning be used in
the same clause as wayyiqtols with past meaning?
(3) I found 12 yiqtols in sentence initial position in Psalm 18 without any
indication of modality, and I found two qatals in the same position without
any indication of direct speech. Why? Do the traditional scheme hold for
Lecturer in Semitic languages
University of Oslo
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