[b-hebrew] Waw Copulative in Hebrew Narrative

Alviero Niccacci alviero.niccacci at studiumbiblicum.org
Mon Apr 19 01:25:07 EDT 2004

>  >
>>  >Dear Alviero,
>>  >What about the waw copula that begins the book of Ezra (and Shemot and 1
>>  >Kings)?
>>  We are dealing with wayyiqtol form, not with waw preposed to a
>>  non-verbal element.
>Yes, I am changing the subject a bit, if you don't mind.
>Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph. D.
>Visiting Scholar
>Department of Near Eastern Studies
>University of Michigan
>2068 Frieze Bldg.
>105 S. State St.
>Ann Arbor, Michigan  48109-1285

No, when waw is placed before a non-verbal element it does not affect 
the syntactic function of the sentence--i.e. its function remains the 
same as without waw.
What counts syntactically is the position of the finite verb, i.e.:

first position = main function--as is the case with wayyiqtol, which 
continues the main line of communication of the preceding narrative,

and second position = usually secondary function--as is the case with 
the x-qatal constructions found at the beginning of Ezra and 1 Kings, 
while Exodus begins with waw + non-verbal sentence--all of them are 
secondary-line constructions providing antecedent information (or 
setting) before the start of the main line of a new narrative. They 
signal a break in the narrative while wayyiqtol signals continuation.

I think I have explained this issue several times in this forum.
Sorry, I am not in a position to continue a long discussion.
Best wishes,
Alviero Niccacci
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
PO Box 19424, 91193 Jerusalem (Israel)
Tel. +972-2-6282936; 6264516/7 + extension 250; Fax +972-2-6264519
E-mail: <alviero.niccacci at studiumbiblicum.org>
Home Page: http://www.custodia.org/sbf
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