qumran (was ruth)

peter_kirk at SIL.ORG peter_kirk at SIL.ORG
Sun May 9 20:59:33 EDT 1999


If we look carefully the Hebrew (MT - BHS) of Habakkuk 1:6-11, it is 
quite possible to understand these verb forms according to their 
regular Hebrew meanings, and not take them to indicate something 
different from regular prose. This passage deals with the general 
characteristics of the Chaldeans and so uses yiqtol and weqatal forms. 
But in verses 9-11a there is an embedded chronological narrative of 
their procedure used in each attack (advance - gather prisoners - 
build ramps - capture them - sweep past) - this is probably thought of 
by the prophet as past, as what the Chaldeans have already done to 
other cities. Thus we have a miniature embedded narrative using 
wayyiqtol and X-qatal forms. Further embedded within this are the two 
yiqtol forms of v.10 (scoff - laugh) which are again habitual and so 
yiqtol.

I suspect that the LXX translators (not native speakers of Hebrew and 
working from a consonantal text) missed the nuances and read weyiqtol 
for wayyiqtol. As for the Qumran commentary, its writers reinterpreted 
the Chaldeans as the Kittim or Romans, and so they had to reinterpret 
the Hebrew text as entirely prophetic and future from Habbakuk's 
viewpoint.

Peter Kirk




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