weqatal in Jdg 3:23

Bryan Rocine 596547 at ican.net
Fri Oct 2 16:30:50 EDT 1998

Dear Rolf,

> From: Rolf Furuli <furuli at online.no>
> To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
> Subject: Re: weqatal in Jdg 3:23
> Date: Friday, October 02, 1998 11:29 AM
> Bryan Rocine wrote:
> >B-Haverim,
> >
> >How about that crazy weqatal in Jdg 3:23?   My tanslation:"And Ehud went
> >out(wayyiqtol) porchward(?), and closed(wayyiqtol) the doors of the
> >roof-room upon him[Eglon], and was a 'locker'(weqatal: _w:na(al_  ).
> >
> >Here are some views.  I have put them in order of "friendliness to the
> >text";  that is, the degree to which the author justifies the text as it
> >stands.

(Rolf writes:)
> JUDGES 3:23 The first transitive WAYYIQTOL, the second verb phrase
> included) with WAYYIQTOL and the WEQATAL are all telic. I view the first
> two as imperfective and the third as perfective. But how can
> accord with telicity when we see that the acts objectively were
> This is not more difficult than with the "answering and saying" of Daniel
> acts which also can be viewed as telic and concluded;  or with the
> infinitive absolutes of the Phoenician narrative. Our understanding of
> depends of our understanding of "the institution" of each language. If we
> look at verses 24.25 we find four active participles of verbs which can
> viewed as telic ("covering", "opening", "falling", and "dieing"), where a
> resultant state seemingly is stressed. Thus there was not strange for a
> Hebrew to focus on a small part of the action (imperfective view) or on
> result of an action in a past context.  Objectively speaking the actions
> the three verbs of v 23 were concluded and what was objectively conveyed
> would not have been different if the third verb had been a WAYYIQTOL
> rather than a WEQATAL, but the subjective presentation of the viewpoint
> of course different. Judges 7:13  starts with a QATAL and ends with a
> WEQATAL - the first presents the dream as a whole, and the last presents
> the event as a whole with the tent completely fallen. In between we have
> the same imperfective views of a small part of each action, or of the
> action and the resultant stage. In a translation into English with a
> general target group in mind, it is difficult to differentiate between
> QATALS ( including the WEQATAL) and the WAYYIQTOLS.

To assert that verb forms which make visible the end of an event *in
discourse* is not to force an issue(if that's what you mean by "brute
facts") or to lean on analysis of discourse to our hurt.  On the contrary,
it is a fact(the "institutional" kind   ;-)   ).

Anyhow, I have to disagree with your interpretation of Jdg 7:13.  The first
qatal does not present the dream at all.  It presents the *dreamer*.  As a
whole?  O.K.  Could the writer have said _wf)ex:lom_?  Sure.  _b:xfl:miy _ 
?  Sure.  Is the choice insignificant?

What do you mean by  "the event" in "the last presents the event as a whole
with the tent completely fallen"?  _w:nfpal_ makes visible only the fallen
state of the tent.  It does not present *any* of the previous activity such
as that of the tumbling barley cake.  The use of the weqatal here,
juxtaposed as it is to the wayyiqtol of the same root, stresses the
completeness of the tent's condition.  It is the "punchword" of the little

> I will conclude with a quote from A. Sperber, 1966, "A Historical Grammar
> of Biblical Hebrew", p 52, illustrating how he felt the traditional
> as a straitjacket: "Whether he admits it or not, the exeget assumes that
> the laws of the Hebrew language, as laid down in the Hebrew grammar, are
> binding for the Bible. Whenever a discrepancy is discovered between the
> Bible and these 'established' laws, the Bible is the looser: the text is
> 'emended'  so as to conform with the grammar...It is high time that Bible
> scholars... approach the Bible, not as schoolmasters teaching the
> how Hebrew sentences should be formed and Hebrew words spelled, but as
> humble students of these great masters of Hebrew."

Your inclusion of this delightful quote seems to put you, with the rest of
those who responded in this thread, with the "friendly" approaches to the
BH corpus, away from Gesenius in this case and closer to Revell and
Longacre.  Your letter has the tone of warning but the substance of
agreement.  I'm a touch confused.

Take care,

B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13208


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