[b-hebrew] Genesis 15:6, Peter

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Sun Jul 27 16:14:03 EDT 2003

Hi Peter, you wrote in response to Waldo's query on Gen 15:6:

> 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".

To signal a reference to the continuous in the past, I think the writer
would have used an X-yiqtol construction if the action was repeated in the
past or a participle if the action was on-going activity in the background
as you have translated it, "he was believing."  I realize that weqatal
within narrative can refer to repeated action in the past, but only so when
it follows an X-yiqtol clause as in Gen 2:24 `al ken ya`azob 'ish 'et 'abiv
ve'et 'immo vedabaq be'ishto.

Often, a procedural passage (that is, one that describes how something was
repeatedly done in the past) is set off by a discourse switch cue like
miyyamiym yamimah "yearly" or mishpat ha-X "the custom of the X" prior to
the first X-yiqtol.

See my other post in Gen 15:6 for my understanding of wehe'emin.


B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

ph: 315.437.6744
fx: 315.437.6766

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