Construct + Finite = Relative?

Alviero Niccacci sbfnet at
Mon Sep 18 08:37:26 EDT 2000

At 2:02 AM +0200 9/15/00, Ian Hutchesson wrote:

	< . . . >

>How then would you explain the various headings referring to David in the
>psalms, using b- to locate the "context" of the psalm at a particular time
>but leaving the time reference dangling? There doesn't seem to be the
>necessaity to attach them to a finite clause. (Pss 56, 57, 63 etc.)

Dear Ian Hutchesson,

Many words and phrases in the headings of the Psalms are of doutful 
interpretation, as far as I know. From the grammatical point of view 
, I would say that the headings constitute a non-verbal sentence, 
frequently with an elliptic subject--<This is for...  / This belongs 
to...>, or <It is...>, e.g.

- Psa 56:1 ... < This is / This belongs > for / to David; < It is > a 
Miktam, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.
- Psa 57:1 ... < This is / This belongs > for / to David; < It is > a 
Miktam, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
- Psa 63:1 < This is > a Psalm of David, when he was in the 
Wilderness of Judah.

In the book of Genesis we find the heading, "These are the 
generations of... --a complete non-verbal sentence with *'elleh* as 
the predicate, and *tôledôt...* as the subject. (BTW, this heading is 
found 10 times and subdivides the whole book of Genesis into 10 

Many prophetic books also begin with a heading, e.g.,

- < This is > the vision of (Isaiah, Obadiah)
- < These are > the words of (Jeremiah, Amos)
- < This is > the word of the Lord that came to (Hosea, Joel, Micah, Zephaniah)
- < This is > an oracle concerning / of (Nahum, Malachi), etc.

GRAMMATICALLY an heading is an independent non-verbal sentence; 
however, SYNTACTICALLY it depends on the following text. Obviously, 
no heading can stand without its body, or its development--the psalm, 
or the prophetic book.

Peace and all good.

Alviero Niccacci

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