[b-hebrew] Genesis 15:6

Peter Kirk peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Fri Jul 25 08:06:15 EDT 2003

On 24/07/2003 19:03, waldo slusher wrote:

>Abram believed* the LORD.....
>The NET Bible offers this for believed:
>The non-consecutive vav is on a perfect verbal form.
>If the composer of the narrative had wanted to show
>simple sequence, he would have used the vav
>consecutive with the preterite.
>Is one way of understanding this perfect Hiphil verb,
>partly due to its "non-consecutive vav" in narrative,
>as an English PluPerfect, something like:
>Abram HAD BELIEVED the LORD.....
>A friend of mine argues that this is the only possible
>passage in all of Scripture (both OT and NT) where
>Abram's initial faith in YHWH is alluded to. He
>contends that no other passage references Abram's
>initial faith that must have occured while Abram was
>in Ur.
This WEQATAL verb form is indeed somewhat unusual in a narrative 
context. It is commoner in instructions and predictions, with a future 
force, where it might be translated "he will believe" or "he should 
believe". But in this context it should probably be understood as 
imperfective or continuous, and so translated more like "he was 
believing". So no suggestion that Abraham started to believe at this 
point, more that he was continuing to believe. So I guess your friend is 
partly right, but is reading too much into the situation in trying to 
pinpoint the time when Abraham started to believe. So "had believed" 
would be a poor translation, not least because of the implication that 
by this point he had stopped believing.

Peter Kirk
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com

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