SVO in narration, for Liz and Dave

Liz Fried lizfried at
Sun Sep 3 12:28:29 EDT 2000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: yochanan bitan-buth [mailto:ButhFam at]
> Dave Washburn and/or Liz Fried are apparently looking for subsequent SVO:
> > (lf-?) I was taught that, the SVO in a narrative text should be
> translated
> > with "meanwhile," i.e., concurrent as you say, or in the pluperfect.
> > Are there any examples where the SVO clause is clearly subsequent?
> > I was working on the Dinah story, and got called to task by my professor
> > because I hadn't taken account of this. Gen. 34:5 I had translated
> > "then Joseph heard," and the prof wanted "Meanwhile, Joseph had heard."
> >
> Many of the paragraph initial and episode initial occurrences of SVO will
> be subsequent.
> A classic case for beginning studetns is Jonah 1.4. The throwing
> of a storm
> to the sea took place AFTER the boat set sail in verse 3.
But how is this certain??
Sasson discusses this verse suggests the subject is fronted for emphasis.
Why could it not just as easily be translated "Meanwhile YHWH had

> I generally refer to SVO as a "pausal" structure, and then explain to
> students that the pause may be temporal, (either simultaneous or
> pluferct),
> or structural (beginning a new structural unit, e.g. paragraph)
> or literary
> (dramatic pause).
Yes, that is true, it can begin episodes. But neither the Jonah example nor
the Genesis example seem to me to be beginning an episode.

This rule of thumb makes reading Hebrew narrative both
> simple and remarkably informative. I wish it were more commonly
> internalized and presented to Hebrew students.
> I would add that any "subsequent" SVOs within a paragraph are a classic
> candidate for "dramatic pause", e.g. passages like Jonah 1.4c (the boat's
> 'a-fixing to breakup'),
I would say this was concurrent with the appearance of the storm.

Gen 19.23-25,
Why is all this not "meanwhile"?
The sun had come out on the land when Lot came to Zoar.
Meanwhile (while Lot was out of the city kevetching to the angels)
YHWH was raining on Sdom and Gomorroh sulfur and fire...
so that he overthrew those cities...(subsequent action).

This seems to be an adverbial clause, setting the time of the
next clause. "When they had gone a short distance from the city,
Joseph said..."
But that too is SVO. It seems vs 3-5 are parenthetical, backstage
to the main action which begins in vs. 6.

Jud 6.21,
"and the angel was gone before his eyes"
This is very interesting. You have a whole series of actions, one occurring
after the other, but this action is out of time. SVO, it means, concurrent
with one of the previous actions the angel had dissappeared. He looked
and he was gone. But there is no telling when exactly that happened.

and the
> breath-taking
> Ester 7.
Are you referring to Esther 7: 7 & 8?
1) either it's a rush of action and everyhting is going on
at once,
or 2) This is written later and the old rules don't apply,
or 3) I'm too hungry for lunch to think about it,
or 4) none of the  above.

> bivraxot
On you too.


> Randall Buth, PhD
> Jerusalem University College
> and Hebrew University

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