Prophetic Perfects in the Psalms

Lee R. Martin lmartin at
Mon Apr 23 16:49:47 EDT 2001

Dear Rolf,
You did not respond to any of my points regarding Gen. 17:20 or 17:16. Do
you agree with my assessment of these verses?

> Lee Martin wrote;
> >>
> >> Dear Lee,
> >> I wonder if we understand the concept "future perfect" in the same way.
> >
> >Dear Rolf, Yes I understand it in the same way.
> >>
> >> I have never heard of any approach in linguistics when one presumes
> >> particular verbs are future perfect (a relative tense) if there are no
> >> evidence for it both in the form itself and in the context.
> >
> >The evidence for future perfect is that the form is QATAL (which I
> >to be perfective) and the deictic point is future. A perfective form with
> >future tense is future perfect.
> >
> >> >> (3) Gen. 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard (QATAL) you: I will
> >surely
> >> >> bless him (QATAL); I will make him fruitful (WEQATAL) and will
> >
> >While it is true that we have no indicator of a future deictic point
> >there is no evidence that the "blessing" (QATAL) is not in the immediate
> >past. Thus is not at all necessary to make this future.
> >>
> >> >Gen. 17:16 I will bless (WEQATAL) her and will surely give you (QATAL)
> >> >> a son by her. I will bless (WEQATAL) her so that she will be
> >the
> >> >> mother of nations; kings of peoples will come (YIQTOL) from her."
> >
> >In the case of Gen 17:16, the WEQATAL is enough to indicate a future
> >point, thus the QATAL could very easily be a future perfect.
> Dear Lee,
> 1) We both agree that QATAL represents the perfective aspect in Hebrew.
> the English and the Hebrew perfective aspects identical in meaning, to the
> effect that QATAL *allways* shows that an event is terminated?

Dear Rolf, It is a mistake to impose the definitions of English tense on the
Hebrew language.  While QATAL shows termination of an event, the results of
the event may remain, especially in verbs whose Aktionsart requires it to be
so (e.g. verbs such as "love" and "know.")
> 2) If the answer is yes, do you say that the 2.505 QATALs I claim have
> present meaning, in reality are present perfects or something else, i.e.
> that all the events they describe were terminated at reference time, and
> that QATAL  cannot have present (unterminated) reference?

I do not know. I have not looked at your list.  Please list a few QATALS
with non-durative Aktionsart which show unterminated reference.
> 3) If QATAL does not *allways* show that the event in question is
> terminated, how can you know that the more than 900 QATALs I claim have
> future reference are future perfects (or something else) and not simple
> futures, just by looking at the form?

I never said they were. I only said that you should begin with the
assumption that a perfective verb in future time is a future perfect.  I do
not think you have given any convincing reason to begin otherwise. Why
should you begin with the assumption that they are future?
Lee R. Martin

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