fronted IO in speech formula

Randall Buth ButhFam at
Wed Dec 13 17:21:23 EST 2000

Message text written by "David Stabnow"
The indirect object is fronted in the speech formula five times in the OT,
all in the Pentateuch.  They are: Exod 30:31; Lev 9:3; 24:15; Num 18:26;
27:8.  Is this a meaningful variation?

In Exod 30:31 it seems to be a contrast.  God is giving Moses instructions
regarding Aaron and his sons, and then "To the Israelites, on the other
hand, you shall say ..."  However, the other four occurrences of this
device do not seem to involve contrast.  Any ideas?

Dave Stabnow

without looking them up I would expect them to be Contextualizing
Constituents, that is, elements of a clause that are fronted in order to
provide a contextual tie-in to the larger context. these may be
contrastive, but are not necessarily so.
If the fronted element is the most important part of its clause, then it is
an example of FOCUS and would presumably have had a different intonation
pattern when correctly read outloud to an ancient audience. 

Randall buth

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