Verbs in Ps 18 ans 2 Sam 22

Bryan Rocine 596547 at
Thu Sep 3 18:20:44 EDT 1998

Dear Fiends,

I wonder why my earlier question did not illicit any responses on-list.  I
am under the impression that folks still learn their Hebrew from texts
which teach the "waw-conversive," that a prefixed vav(or waw) converts
yiqtols to qatals and qatals to yiqtols.  I know Jouon-Muraoka prefers the
term "waw-inversive"(see § 111a), Waltke and O'Connor prefers the term
"vav-relative"(see § 33.1.2e-g), and Gesenius, "vav-consecutive"(see §§
111-112), but they all teach the conversion doctrine.  What are we to do
with the "un-vavved" yiqtols of Psa 18 and 2 Sam 22?  Of the three grammars
mentioned above, only W and O'C compare the two versions of the poem(see §
31.1.1d) and in so doing seem to contradict their § 33.1.2e-g.
Jouon-Muraoka does describe a "preterital yiqtol" with examples from Psa 18
but not 2 Sam 22(see § 113g-i).  He says that such yiqtols have the value
of qatal and that a qatal would have been even a better choice of form in
many such cases.  In all due respect I ask, better for whom?  Us?  Didn't
the ancients understand their language better than we?  I would say that if
the ancients used the yiqtol that chances are, the yiqtol was a better
choice; and if our model can't explain the choice, we may need a better

Is it o.k to try my own answer to my own question?  At the off-list
prompting of some list members, I shall.

A comparison of Psa 18 and 2 Sam 22 indicates that the allegedly magical
morpheme, the so-called "vav(or waw)-conversive," no matter what exactly it
is called,--Oh, boy, I shouldn't say many scholars, so much
weighty tradition!!!-- does not exist.  The prefixed "narrative morpheme"
<vav-patakh-dagesh forte> on a yiqtol has discourse function rather than
conversive power.  It makes *explicit*(like the English words _then_ and
_so_) the consecutivity of events that is left implicit without it.  

There really is no great shortage of "un-vavved" yiqtols which represent
single, past events, for instance, over 20 of them following the particle


I had written:
>Here's a comparison of some of the verb forms in Psa 18 and 2 Sam 22(the
verse numbers conveniently correspond) which are essentially the same poem.
 How can this be?
>Verse   root    Psa 18      2 Sam 22
>7       $m(     yiqtol      wayyiqtol
>12      $yt     yiqtol      wayyiqtol
>14      r(m     wayyiqtol   yiqtol
>15      $lx     wayyiqtol   yiqtol
>16      glh     wayyiqtol   yiqtol
>24      hyh     wayyiqtol   wayyiqtol
>                 (short)      (long)
>38      )sg     weyiqtol    wayyiqtol
>39      npl     yiqtol      wayyiqtol
>44      pl+     yiqtol      wayyiqtol

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


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