Constituent Order Zech 13:1-2

Alviero Niccacci alviero.niccacci at
Mon Apr 29 02:12:54 EDT 2002

>Been doing a little reading in the book reviews written by A. Niccacci.
>Waiting for the library to ILL his "Syntax" so I can read it.  Meanwhile, I
>am still working in Zechariah, and noted the inversion of constituent order
>at the beginning of Zech 13:2.
>Zech. 13:1 bayyom hahu' yihyeh
>Zech. 13:2 wehaya vayyom hahu'
>This is not a narrative.
>hyh is not a typical verb.
>So what are we to make of this inversion of constituent order?

Yes, this is not narrative but direct speech.

- Hyh is a verb like any other verb (Zech 13:2). *Bayyom hahu' 
yihyeh* is a x-yiqtol construction that is expected at the start of a 
direct speech referring to the future, while *wehaya* is a weqatal 
form that is expected as continuation form on the same level of an 
initial x-yiqtol construction.
This *wehaya* is not followed by a substantive that can be taken as 
its subject. It is followed by *bayyom hahu'*, a circumstantial 
phrase functioning as protasis, and *'akrît*, the main sentence, or 
apodosis. The subject of *wehaya* is the double sentence as a whole, 
i.e., literally, "And it shall happen the-fact-that-on-the-third-day 
(ne'um YHWH ceba'ôt) + I will cut off...".

- This is followed by *welo'-yizzaker*, which is the negative 
counterpart of a weqatal form and therefore coordinate to the 
previous weqatal: "and they shall be remembered no more".

- The next sentence is *wegam 'et-hannebi'îm we'et-rûax ha++um'â 
'a`abîr min-ha'arec* which is a waw-x-yiqtol construction, a 
background sentence expressing a circumstance to the previous 
main-line weqatal, i.e., "and also/even the prophets and the spirit 
of uncleannes will I remove from the earth".

- The next sentence (13:3) starts again with *wehayâ*, a weqatal that 
continues the main line of communication. It introduces a double 
sentence (as in 13:2) with *kî-yinnabe' 'î$ `ôd* as the protasis and 
*we'amerû 'elayw 'abîw we'immô yoledayw..." as the apodosis, i.e., 
lit., "and it shall happen the fact that if any one will prophesy 
again, his father and his mother who bore him shall say to him...".

- The main line of communication in the future goes on with a chain 
of weqatal and its negative counterpart welo' + yiqtol: (13:4) 
*wehayâ + bayyôm hahû' [protasis] + yebo$û hannebî'îm [apodosis] ... 
welo' yilbe$û ... (13:5) we'amar ... (13:6) we'amar ... we'amar ...*

Peace and all good.
Alviero Niccacci
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
PO Box 19424, 91193 Jerusalem (Israel)
Tel. +972-2-6282936; 6264516/7 + extension 250; Fax +972-2-6264519
Home Page:
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