Constructs with finite verb.

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Sat Sep 9 13:13:25 EDT 2000

Thanks, Dave. Maybe we have been talking at cross purposes a little because
of subtle differences between British and American English.

I will just answer the part of this below. As I stated before, I take "the
city where David encamped" to be synonymous with "the city at which David
encamped", in other words, the "where" clause is adjectival (i.e. relative)
modifying "city" rather than adverbial modifying the main verb of the
sentence. But your parsing of Gen 1:1 has "when God created..." as
adverbial, not adjectival or relative modifying "beginning". Now I don't
know what Gesenius meant. I would assume that Gesenius' translator Cowley,
who was a scholar at Oxford, intended the same sense when he translated "the
city where David encamped" (section 130d) as the sense in which I read it.
But he wrote 90 years ago, so I may be wrong.

No, I can't explain why I find "where" acceptable and "when" unacceptable.
It is simply a linguistic fact about my dialect of English.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Washburn" <dwashbur at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Friday, September 08, 2000 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: Constructs with finite verb.


Unfortunately this sense cannot be the meaning of the
> Hebrew text as there is nothing to signal the "when".

But there's nothing to signal the "where in the Samuel quote above,
either.  That's precisely the point.  It seems to me that Gesenius is
saying that a construct ruling a finite verb clause produces some
sort of relativization.  Whether this relativization is realized in
English as "where," "when" or "which" would depend on the
semantics involved.  In the statement about David's city, we're
dealing with semantics of locale, hence "where."  In this verse,
we're dealing with semantics of time, hence "when."  I'm not saying
that I accept this analysis, I'm merely trying to apply Gesenius'
principle to Gen 1:1, sort of a playing-devil's-advocate approach.
Perhaps you might help me understand why you can accept
"where" in the Samuel passage but not "when" here?


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