wayyiqtol test, gn 20.11-2sm4.8
furuli at online.no
Sun Feb 14 06:37:32 EST 1999
Randall Buth wrote:
>> As far as I know, all examples of conative situations in the Hebrew OT
>> Greek NT are described by Greek imperfect/ present (imperfective) and
>> Hebrew yiqtol/wayyiqtol (imperfective). If my model is correct, an aorist
>> or a qatal/weqatal would be impossible in such situations.
>is rolf claiming that the following must have happened because a suffix
>verb is used?
>gen 20.11 vaharaguni 'and they will kill me' (but they didn't)
>2k 7.4 vamatnu sham 'we will die there' (but they didn't die. several
>nu 14.2 lu matnu berets mitsrayim (but they didn't die)
>dt 6.18 ve`asita ha-yashar veha-tov be`ene Y"Y (they only did right?)
>also, at ex 8.14 the LXX used 'aorist', which i admit breaks the greek
>but rolf would have preferred imperfect.
>ditto at lxx jer 44.12 =heb jer. 37.12.
>The above exx are typical semitisms in greek.
>good greek style, as mentioned, would use an imperfect to signal and
>underline the unsuccessful attempt.
>It occurs parallel to both vayyiqtol and qatal (contrary to rolf's
>e.g. (these are like rolf's hebrew examples, but the greek more sensitively
>gn 43.30 greek imperfect with vayvaqesh (because he didn't cry until he got
>ex 2.15 (moses escaped first) and many examples.
>but also (these are contrary to rolf's examples. perhaps he might claim
>that the lexical content overrides the grammar, but it's the same lexical
>content as the examples immediately above):
>1 sam 14.4 biqesh parallel ezhtei (because he hadn't yet tried to cross)
>and 2 sam 4.8 biqesh parallel ezhtei (because ish boshet never succeeded)
>i would claim that rolf's model is not correct.
Thank you for using your time to find biblical examples. Such examples may
illuminate the bone of contention. Webster's define "conative" this way:
"2. in linguistics, expressing endeavor or effort, especially as an aspect
of the action of verbs. Example Ar:, qAtala, he has tried to kill (as
contrasted with qatala, he has killed)." I used "conative" in this sense in
my post (an attempt which was not executed). My prediction was (and is)
that conative situations "in the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT" (I did
intentially not include LXX which has a varying quality) are always
expressed by imperfective verbs.
Ex 8:14 is contative because the priests *tried to* bring forth gnats, but
did not produce a single one.
Given the sense "go out" for YFC)A in Jer 37:12, the account is conative,
because Jeremiah did not go out from the city. If you can give *conative*
examples like this which are expressed with perfective verbs, I have to
revise my viewpoints; but none of your examples above are contative. Just
take Gen 20:11 as an example. By using the weqatal, Abraham used the
perfective aspect with future meaning. He took a broad viewpoint and
looked at the situation as a whole, including its end, he would be killed.
Abraham's expression is *one* speech-act, and whether the possibility
Abraham expressed would turn out to be true or not is irrelevant to this
one speech-act. A conative situation is also *one* speech-act where the
attempt is included in the very situation. Therefore it is different from
My example from Jer 38:9 is not conative, as I said in my post, but it
shows one of two things: (1) The wayyiqtol can be used for the future., or
(2) The form is imperfective with the meaning (in this case) of "on the
point of" (without reaching that point). Compare:
(1) "John was reaching the top." (= John was on the point where he was
about to reach the top, but whether he ever would reach it is unstated.)
(2) "John reached the top." (= His attempt to reach the top proved to be
Lecturer in Semitic languages
University of Oslo
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