JER 27:18

Galia Hatav ghatav at
Thu Sep 23 06:59:17 EDT 1999

>Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 11:57:39 +0100
>To: Rolf Furuli <furuli at>
>From: Galia Hatav <ghatav at>
>Subject: Re: JER 27:18
>Rolf wrote:
>>Galia Hatav wrote:
>>>Dear Rolf and Dave,
>>>Why do you think that the verb 'come' appearing after L:BIL:TIY is in
>>>qatal? Morphologically speaking it has the form of the imperative (second
>>>person masculine plural), which, of course, is odd.  (But not that odd
>>>since you would expect here a modal form.) I have not checked other
>>>versions, but the pointing in our version suggests that it is not a qatal.
>>>>> Dear list-members,
>>>>> The RSV rendering of the verse is: "If they are prophets, and if the word
>>>>> of the LORD is with them, then let them intercede (YIQTOL jussive)
>>>>>with the
>>>>> LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the
>>>>>LORD, in
>>>>> the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem may not go (QATAL) to
>>>>> Babylon."
>>>>> Is the reference time of the QATAL after speech time (=future), and
>>>>>is the
>>>>> verb modal? Or is it past indicative, as those sticking to traditional
>>>>> grammar would expect of a QATAL?
>>>>In my approach, which is an amalgam of my own ideas and Galia
>>>>Hatav's, qatal is indicative with a syntactic connection to what
>>>>precedes.  In this case it looks like result:  "Let them
>>>> that the vessels will not depart..." The problem is the
>>>>preceding word, L:BIL:TIY, "lest."  This word with an indicative is an
>>>>oddity that even the manuscripts noticed, since BHS suggests
>>>>following the minority mss and reading YFBOW)U.  How many
>>>>other examples of a qatal after L:BIL:TIY do you know of?  I lean
>>>>toward the yiqtol reading, though I wouldn't go to the stake for it.
>>Dear Galia,
>>We can look at the Hebrew text from at least three angles; one is dangerous
>>and should consciously be avoided, the two others may be very helpful.  The
>>dangerous angle is to look at the text in the light of one's understanding
>>of grammar. The helpful angles are either to look at the text from the
>>viewpoint of orthography (=consonants) or from the view of the Masoretic
>	I agree. I wish we could rely only on orthography, since we know
>that the Masoretic pointing is not necessarily accurate, and many times it
>even changes the pointing deliberately to match their understanding of the
>text. However, with respect to the verbal system we cannot ignore the
>vowels pointing since many times it distinguishes between verb forms.
>E.g., the orthography of <wyiqtol> and <wayyiqtol> is identical. In our
>example the imperative and the <qatal> are identical with respect to
>spelling.  My policy is to accept the pointing generally speaking, and
>question it only when it raises problems of the kind we are talking about
>here. In such cases other versions might support not accepting the
>Masoretic pointing, but I still consider them as counter-examples.
>>If we start with orthography, the word B)W may either be a plural
>>imperative or the 3rd person plural of the QATAL conjugation.  In such
>>cases, when the orthography is ambiguous, we have to rely on the context.
>	This is dangerous as it might result in a circular argumentation.
>But see what I said above.
>>As far as I can see, to analyze the form as an imperative is impossible.
>>Even though an imperative has a modal force which in principle is not
>>different from the force of a jussive or a cohortative, the syntactical
>>role of an imperative is different. If B)W were and imperative we would
>>need a personal subject, but such is lacking. The subject of B)W evidently
>>is HAKKELIM, and therefore B)W must be a finite verb form ("the vessels may
>>(not) go").
>	Yes; it is a problem. I was thinking, is it possible that the
>ORTHOGRAPHC text has a typo and what we have here is actually a <yiqtol>
>verb *YABO'U*?
>>I agree that the Masoretic pointing suggests that B)W is a plural
>>imperative, but because this is excluded by the context, we have to accept
>>that the form is a variant to BF)W (perhaps as an analogy with 	BW$W);
>	I am sorry, but I am not familiar with this transcription. Is the
>*F* in BF)W the vowel *a*? And what the $ sign in BW$W) means? I have
>noticed other people on the list using this transcription; is it now the
>convention for computer chatting? Sorry for the digresssion from our
>>find such variants with several verbs, so I see no real problem with such a
>>suggestion. That the form is a QATAL is admitted by several commentators,
>>from B. Davidson in the last century to the Gramcord text at present. In MT
>>there are 155 examples of  L:BIL:TIY with a following infinitive construct,
>>including 20 in the book of Jeremiah, 1 example with a following participle
>>(Jer 17:23), 2 with a following YIQTOL (Ex 20:20; 2 Sam 14:14), and 3
>>examples (in addition to our example) with following QATALs (Is 44:10; Jer
>>23:14; Ezek 13:3). There are no examples of a following imperative. Some
>>QATALs with future meaning nearby are JER 20:11 (BW$); 22:23 (XNN) 25:14,
>>((BD) 31 (NTN).
>	I believe in Is 44:10 the verb following LEBILTI is in infinitive,
>not qatal. In the other two cases (Jer 23:14 and Ezek 13:3) the verbs are
>in qatal.
>>So the problem remains: We have to account for a QATAL with future/modal
>	This is not the only enviroment where we find qatal verbs in modal
>clauses.  I discuss the phenomenon briefly in my book (section 5.2.4).
>	Galia
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