fronted IO in speech formula

Alviero Niccacci sbfnet at
Mon Dec 18 09:36:13 EST 2000

At 9:20 AM -0600 12/18/00, David Stabnow wrote:

>  Your point that weqatal is not
>usually used at the beginning of direct speech is well taken. You and David
>Dawson pointed out that wayyiqtol is *never* used at the beginning of
>direct speech. However the inclusion of "usually" with regard to weqatal is
>correct. Num 14:13 is one contrary example.

Dear David Stabnow,

	Yes, weqatal at the beginning of a direct speech is also 
found in Exod 30:18 and Jos 22:28. In these cases, weqatal carries on 
a speech from the previous context; it does not actually convey a 
fresh start. Let us look at the examples:

- (Num 14:12) (God said to Moses) I want to strike them (the 
Israelites) with the pestilence and disinherit them, and make of you 
a nation greater and mightier than they."( 14:13) But Moses said to 
the Lord,  "THEN the Egyptians WILL HEAR (weqatal) of it, for you did 
bring up this people in your might from among them," etc.

- Exod 30:18 is part of a speech of the Lord that for some reason is 
subdivided in several sections by means of fresh introductions--*The 
Lord spoke to Moses (saying)* (see 30:11, 17, 22, 34; also see 31:1, 

- Similarly, two *wanno'mer* verb forms subdivide in two sections a 
(reported) speech by the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe 
of Manasseh in Jos 22:26 and 28:
"(22:26) THEREFORE WE SAID,  'Let us now build for us the altar, not 
for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, (22:27) but it is a witness 
between us and you . . . lest your children say to our children in 
time to come,  "You have no portion in the Lord.' "
(22:28) THEREFORE WE SAID,  'AND IT WILL HAPPEN (weqatal) that if 
this shall be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we 
shall say,  'Behold the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our 
fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a 
witness between us and you.' "

As is well known, weqatal is also used in a past context. In this 
case it signals repetition, habit, description.

Peace and all good.
Alviero Niccacci

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum      Tel. +972 - 2 - 6282 936
POB 19424 - 91193 - Jerusalem      Fax  +972 - 2 - 6264 519
Home Page:
Email       mailto:sbfnet at

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list