Pro 31 (was Re: Verbs in Ps 18 ans 2 Sam 22)

Bryan Rocine 596547 at
Sun Sep 6 14:54:10 EDT 1998

Dear Rolf, 

In a recent post you asked me to comment on aspect in Pro 31:13-28.  If you
don't mind, I'll use the translation and parsing of verb forms which you
have so kindly written out for the list.  It is below.  You have called
qatals (P), yiqtols (I), and wayyiqtols (IC).  

But before I comment on
aspect in the passage, I would like to note the organizing value of the
qatals.  Each qatal introduces an additional quality of the virtuous woman.
 This is in keeping with the note by Lambdin in section 44.4 that the qatal
is used to note habitual activity without a specific tense value.  In v.
13, a qatal introduces her industry in crafts, in v. 14 her industry in
food-getting, in v. 16, seperate qatals introduce her industry and wisdom
in real estate ventures and vine-dressing, and so on.  When a yiqtol
follows a qatal, the yiqtol further depicts the activity which was already
by a qatal, usually in greater, *but unsequenced* detail.  (I wonder why
"negative" description is given with the yiqtol.)    Wayyiqtols which
qatals are used to denote seqenced activity.

As for aspect:  Seeing that the passage is about the habitual behavior
which distinguishes the type called the _)e$et xayil_, the
entire passage is imperfective.  How could we view it any other way?  As I
have said, the use of typically perfective
wayyiqtol in such an imperfective context is to represent sequenced
activity.  The typically perfective meaning of the wayyiqtol(if it does
indeed have it) is over-ridden
by the imperfectivity of the discourse, yet the wayyiqtol still impacts our
view of the temporal make-up of the situation by adding sequence.   I think
we discussed a
case in Ps 107 in the thread "aspect and the universal discourse paradigm"
that I alledge has a similar use of the wayyiqtol .   The imperfectivity of
the qatals in this passage is furhter underlined by the parallel use of the
participle in v. 27 where we must agree that the qatal could also have

The use of yiqtol in v. 21 is interesting.  Might the use of the yiqtol
mean v.
21 is to be considered in relation to the preceeding clause?  This would be
in keeping with the use of the yiqtol in the rest of the passge.  And if
so, v. 21 would mean that her lack of fear is a comment on or elaboration
of the manner in which "she reaches out her hands to the needy."

Good to here from you Rolf.  Off to a good start in your teaching?


(13) She seeks (P) wool and flax, and works (IC) with willing hands.
(14) She is (P) like the ships of the merchant, she brings (I) her food
from afar.
(15) She rises (IC) while it is yet night, and provides (IC) food for her
(16) She considers (P) a field and buys (IC) it, with the fruit of her
hands she plants (P) a wineyard.
(17) She girds (P) her loins with strength and makes (IC) her arms strong.
(18) She perceives (P) that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does
not go out (I) at night.
(19) She puts (P) her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold (P) the
(20) She opens (P) her hands for the poor, and reaches out (P) her hands to
the needy.
(21)She is not afraid (I) of snow for her household, for all her household
are clothed (pass.p.) in scarlet.
(22) She makes (P) herself coverings, her clothing is fine linen and
(23) Her husband is known (Nif p.) in the gates, when he sits (inf.c.)
among the elders of the land.
(24) She makes (P) linen garments and sells (IC) them; she delivers (P)
girdles to the merchant.
(25) Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs (IC) at the time
to come.
(26) She opens (P) her mouth with wisdom, and teaching of kindnes is on her
(27) She looks well (act.p.) to the ways of her household, and does not eat
(I) the bread of idleness.
(28) Her children rise up (P) and call her blessed IC), her husband also,
and he praises (IC) her.

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


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list