Jer 15:6-9

yochanan bitan ButhFam at
Tue Sep 14 04:14:00 EDT 1999

>in the mentioned verses I count 12 QATALs, 1 WEQATAL  and 3 WAYYIQTOLs. I
>cannot find any clue in the context suggesting that the events mantioned
>the prophet is past; i.e. that reference time comes before speech time.
>However, I find many clues that they are future; i. e. reference time
>after speech time. How would the particular model for Hebrew verbs that
>believe in, direct you in the translation of these verses? In other words,
>how would you translate the verses?

what's the problem? the 12 qatal and 3 vayyiqtol are all a past
description. the remarkable features are the many clauses without vav
giving a kind of 'stunned' effect to the speaker: "i destroyed my people.
from their ways they didn't repent. their widows became many even for me,
more than the sand of the seas." 
[the veqatal veHafera is ambiguous, either like natasht ... aHor telexi
(you rejected ... and kept going backwards) or more probably as an
idiomatic endiadys with simple vav.] 
the section 15.6-9 ends with a future "their remant i will put to the
sword" which is the only clue WITHIN 15.6-9 of a future application.

the problem is not grammar but the genre of prophecy. prophets are known to
describe things in the past as a dramatic presentation from a futuristic
viewpoint. one of the most well-known in christian circles is isaiah 53. 

by itself, jeremiah 15.6-9 is past. the only way to get a future sense out
of jeremiah 15.6-9 is to put it inside a future prophetic context. did
jeremiah do that in 15.1-5, and 10ff? yes? [yes. vehaya ... ufaqadti ...
unetatim ... (6-9) ... eten ... veha`avarti...]
so what's the problem with the hebrew? translation to another language?
well, that is a different question altogether and depends on the principles
for the translation and the intended audience.

randall buth

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