Jer 15:6-9

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Mon Sep 20 16:21:44 EDT 1999

See my comments interspersed below.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[3]: Jer 15:6-9
Author:  <furuli at> at Internet
Date:    19/09/1999 01:48

Dear Peter,

>In fact the whole problem with your arguments is that they are based a 
>large number of cases each of which is individually doubtful. On your 
>other E-mail you wrote of "the hundreds of QATALs and WAYYIQTOLs with 
>future meaning", but despite many attempts you have not given any 
>unequivocal examples (apart from "future perfects").

Your claim that my examples are doubtful evidently is based a strong belief 
that the meaning of some examples cannot have another meaning than the 

PK: No, my claim is based on finding that at least many of your 
examples can be understood as well (or almost as well) by interpreting 
the QATALs and WAYYIQTOLs as past. This is certainly the case with 
Jeremiah 15:6-9. If the verb forms are ignored, this passage is 
ambiguous for time. If I have to resolve the ambiguity (as in a 
translation into a language using tense), I prefer to resolve it in 
accordance with the commonest use of the verb forms in question, and 
the regular usage by the author, within the discourse type or genre. 
At first sight that suggests a past meaning. I would need to look more 
at the rest of Jeremiah to confirm this.


"Jeremiah, chapter 6 may give some parallel thoughts:

v1: The RT of the QATAL  must come after C (=future). 
v2: The RT of the QATAL  must come after C (=future).
v3: The RT of the YIQTOL must come after C, and this demands that the same 
is true with the two QATALs.
v4: The RT of the WEYIQTOL(which has modal force) must come after C, and 
the QATAL and the YIQTOL covers exactly the same time period: RT either 
comes after C in both or coincides with C in both.
v5: The RT of both WEYIQTOLs comes after C.
v6: The RT must come after C in the second QATAL.

There is no doubt that the setting is future, something which is shown by 
the 6 imperatives, the two YIQTOLs and the two WEYIQTOLs. The use of 5 
QATALs with future meaning in-between these other verbs is a strong 
argument in favour of QATAL being used with a true future meaning. So 
again, why cannot all the verbs in 15:6-7 have future meaning?"

PK: I would like to look at this, but do not have time now.


.. To use an old theory about the meaning of particular verb forms, a 
theory which is disputed by some grammarians today, as a basis for Bible 
translation, instead of putting most trust in the context, is in my view 
really dangerous. Poor readers!

PK: Surely it is even more dangerous to follow your own theory (at 
least unless it receives much wider support) and ignore the important 
and determinative evidence encoded by the author in the verb forms 
which he uses. In much of the Hebrew Bible (as in much of all 
language) the context is highly ambiguous, apart from the verb forms 
which are used to disambiguate such matters as tense, aspect and mood. 
Poor readers if they are deprived of the data which the author encoded 
and are instead given what some scholar has tried to reconstruct from 
the context.


Peter Kirk

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