[b-hebrew] Participle or Qatal?
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Aug 9 12:16:09 EDT 2011
Recently while reading Deuteronomy, I came across the phrase, “אשׁר־יהוה
אלהיך נתן לך” )$R YHWH )LHYK NTN LK (it occurs once in Exodus, 29 times in
Deuteronomy). It suddenly hit me as I was reading it that even though I was
reading an unpointed text, I was reading the verb נתן NTN as a participle (I
later checked some of the verses with the Masoretic text, and they have it
pointed as a participle). Yet the unpointed text could be read as either qal
participle or qal qatal.
This is not a big thing as reading it as a participle emphasizes God as the
one giving, while reading it as a qatal emphasizes the act of the giving. A
very minor point of emphasis that makes no discernible (to me) change in
In translation it will make no difference, as either participle or qatal
will give the same meaning in English. It is only a fine point in
understanding the Hebrew language.
My personal preference is to continue to read it as a participle.
But is that what Moses said? What think ye?
Karl W. Randolph.
More information about the b-hebrew