Jer 27:18--again

Alviero Niccacci sbfnet at
Thu Sep 23 14:59:00 EDT 1999

Dear list-members,

Forgive me for taking up again Jer 27:18, on which much has been 
said, and maybe also too much speculated. -- BTW the more I study, 
the more I appreciate the Masoretic Text. Even where one may have 
good reasons for disagreeing with it, still one should feel obliged 
to trying to understand what they actually understood. IMO this is 
true unrespective of possible divergent ancient versions or any 
modern scholarly emendations. The Masoretes knew Hebrew better than 
we do despite our wide knowledge of Semitic languages and literatures.

Back to Jer 27:18, Keil-Delitzsch suggested what I think is the right solution:

*The extraordinary expression _lebiltî bo'û_  has probably come from 
the omission of Jod from the verb, which should be read _yabo'û_. As 
it stands, it can only be imperative, which is certainly not 
suitable. _Lebiltî_ is usually construed with the infinitive, but 
occasionally also with the temp. fin.;  with the imperf., which is 
what the sense here demands, in Ex. 20:20; with the perf., Jer. 

The principle of a shared consonant is being used by different 
authors; in this case, the final Yod of _lebiltî_ is shared with the 
following verbform.

In my view, _lebiltî_ + a finite verb--yiqtol or qatal-- can be 
explained by assuming an ellipsis of _'asher_ before the finite verb.
In this same way we can explain the cases of a finite verb used as 
nomen rectum. A famous, though not always recognized, example is 
_bere'$ît bara' 'elohîm_, lit. 'In the beginning of God-created,' 
i.e. 'When God began creating.' One may consult my _Syntax_ #18.
Similar cases of a finite verb used as nomen rectum are Exod 4:13; 
6:28; 1Sam 25:15; Jer 6:15; 8:12; Psa 65:5; 81:6.

For equivalent constructions with and without _'as$er_ and/or a 
demonstrative pronoun, one may compare different ways of asking, 
'What have you done?' as found in 2Sam 12:21; Judg 8:1; Gen 12:18, 
and Gen 4:10. One may consult my paper in C.L. Miller, ed., _The 
Verbless Clause..._ pages 242-243.

Peace and all good.

Alviero Niccacci
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