Constructs with finite verb.

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Tue Sep 5 13:18:51 EDT 2000

> Last night I found a relevant section in Gesenius
> on this topic. There it said that in these cases the
> whole rest of the sentence (or maybe he meant the clause
> which began with the finite verb) was in a dependent
> genitive relationship to the noun in construct.
> There was no elaboration and I'm not sure how to undersand
> what is being said. What does that mean exactly?
> Does that mean we translate it as if it were a verbal noun?
> Is that what Rashi meant? Rather than emend it 
> you read these as if they were verbal nouns?

What section of Gesenius are you looking at?  The only one I could 
find is 130d (p. 422 in GKC) where he says that the construct can 
govern independent sentences and gives the example of Exod 4:13 
and others.  He also refers there to section 155, where he says 
much the same thing.  It is interesting that he doesn't mention Gen 
1:1 in either of these sections, though he spends about half the 
paragraph talking about this construction with time indicators.  
Considering the examples he gives, such as Isa 29:1 QIR:YAT 
XFNF DVWID which he renders "the city where David encamped," I 
doubt that he has a verbal noun sense in mind here; it looks more 
as though he would be likely to suggest for Gen 1:1 a more relative-
clause type sense: "In the beginning when God created the 
heavens and the earth etc."  At least that's how I read it.  I quite 
agree that he doesn't say much that is of interpretive value, but this 
is more or less how I read what he does say.  Considering the 
quote that was given earlier by someone, the verbal noun idea may 
be what Rashi had in mind; however, I don't see any indication that 
Gesenius is going in the same direction.  At the same time, it 
seems to me that if B:R"$IYT is actually a construct, Gesenius' 
approach has real possibilities: "In the beginning, when God 
created the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless and 
empty etc."  I could live with this :-)

Dave Washburn
"Éist le glór Dé."

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