Construct + Finite = Relative?
dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Sep 8 12:44:18 EDT 2000
A follow-up on the discussion of this matter:
Peter and Liz both objected to the Gesenius-based rendering "In
the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth" partly
because there is no Hebrew equivalent of "when" in the text. I
pointed out that Gesenius seems to suggest that the combination
of construct plus finite clause produces a relative-clause kind of
sense. Waltke and O'Connor seem to concur. On p.156 they say
"Relative clauses after prepositionally used constructs are found; in
these three [sic] examples the relative clause is asyndetic (or
headless, i.e. lacks a relative pronoun):"
They give the examples of Jer 2:8 and Exod 4:13; the former has a
finite (yiqtol) clause after )AXA:R"Y and the latter after B:YAD.
"The relative clause may be used after a construct noun with no
They give the example of Isa 29:1, the "city where" example we
have already looked at. Their second example is Gen 39:20 Qere,
which they acknowledge includes a relative pronoun. From there
they go on to illustrate clauses where a construct is used before a
non-relative, giving Lev 25:48 and 1 Sam 25:15 as examples. They
conclude this section with the following:
"It is also possible for a construct of no prepositional force to stand
before a non-relative clause. This construction is extremely rare."
They give the example of Hos 1:2, T:XIL.AT DIB.ER YHWH
B:Ho$"A( which they translate "The beginning *of YHWH-spoke*
This last one seems rather significant for testing this approach on
Gen 1:1, since it is clearly a construct and involves temporal
indicators (though obviously it doesn't use R"$IYT...). I'm not sure I
agree with their translation, but it does suggest that a construct
before this kind of finite clause in a temporal setting is possible. It
also might have some bearing on the presence of the W at the
beginning of Gen 1:2, since the next clause in Hosea begins with a
Again, I'm not sure I buy this approach to Gen 1:1, but it does
seem to have some material to back it up.
"Éist le glór Dé."
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