<wayyiqtol> again

Bryan Rocine brocine at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 28 23:13:45 EST 1999

Dear Galia,

Thanks for your answers.  Enjoying the discussion!

You ask for examples of wayyiqtol in modal contexts in
Gen-Ki of the sort we fairly often find in Proverbs (and
I'll add Psa).  You ask on the grounds that the Gen-Ki
material is First Temple text, but the Pro (and most or all
of Psa?) is Second Temple material.  The arguement is not
entirely fair.  If I go to a few poems in Gen-Ki such as
Deborah's Song, Moses' Song, Hannah's Song, David's Song,
will my examples of modal wayyiqtol then be disqualified for
being Old (as in *real* old) Hebrew?  But the same "anomoly"
is found in so-called "late" Hebrew.  Are we to think that
modal wayyiqtol was present real early, dropped out during
the writing of standard Gen-Ki prose, and then came back in
the Second Temple time?  I gues stranger things have
happened, but it seems a bit of a force fit.

The Proverbs and Psalms use what I call a gnomic (or
proverb-like) present that I think you would classify as
modal.  Gen-Ki simply does not contain anything but the
slightest examples of the gnome.  So are we to conclude that
the difference in use of verb forms between the poetry and
the Gen-Ki prose is a function of language evolution or
genre effect?  The answer is not entirely clear to me, but I
confess to leaning toward the latter.

As for your request, I have not catalogued all the
(alledgedly) modal wayyiqtols as Rolf Furuli may have, but a
few come to mind (a couple of which are *not* in poetry):

Gen 49:17 wayyiqtol used in series with modal yehi
Deu 32:22 not a simple matter to chose what tense in an Eng
translation is best.
1 Sam 1:7 wayyiqtol in a series with a yiqtol refering to
past habitual action in prose!
1 Sam 2:6 gnomic present in series with participles
1 Sam 17:35 vayyaqam is an interesting one.  It is in a
series of weqatals that is traditionally thought of as
habitual past, but that puts vayyaqam out of place in a
habitual past context (and thereby turning it into a
counter-example for you).  Personally, I don't think the
weqatals do refer to a habitual past.  I think they refer to
a one-time, over-and-done-with past in an attributive
pragmatic, rather than a narrative pragmatic, something like
we might do in a resume.  I think your theory is safe from
this vayyaqam!  ;-)
2 Sam 22: 33-34 actually, I would prefer a present tense
translation for much of the poem.


You wrote:

> Dear Bryan,
> You wrote:
> >
> >Wayyiqtol is fairly common in habitual/gnomic (modal)
> >material in poetry such as in Pro 31's description of the
> >virtuous woman.
> When we analyze the verb forms in BH we must distinguish
> the books attributed to the First Temple period, namely
Genesis through
> Kings, and the books attributed to the Second Temple
period. Ben-Hayim,
> Hurvitz and other Hebraists make a solid argument that the
temporal systems
> of the two periods are very different. So just like we
would not illustrate
> our findings of BH by examples from the Mishna or the
Hebrew translation of
> the New Testament (or from Modern Hebrew literature, for
that matter),
> neither should we use the text from the books attributed
to the Second
> Temple period. For that reason, we should not be concerned
> counter-examples from those books.  To my knowledge,
although the belief is
> that King Solomon wrote Proverbs, it is still not
attributed to the First
> Temple period.  Do you have examples of this sort from the
poetry or
> prophecy in the books from the First Temple period? I am
not saying there
> aren't any. Since I have not checked poetry at all, I do
not know; I am
> just hoping there aren't.


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

(office) 315.437.6744
(home) 315.479.8267

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list