[b-hebrew] Proverbs 5:16 - a declaration or a question ?

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Sun Dec 26 18:33:02 EST 2004

Hi Steve,

Considering grammar alone and putting context aside, as you requested:

Not only does v. 16 not have any sign of a question, as George mentioned, it 
also features a clause-initial yiqtol form, which I think is highly unusual 
in an unmarked question, particularly in a question that is not parallel 
with a question.  Neither does a clause-initial yiqtol favor indicative 
mood.  The vast majority of clause-initial yiqtols are volitional, 
preferring the "may" or "let" translation like the KJV uses.  I think 
context would have to be definite before we would prefer the interpretation 
of v. 16 as a question.  I will let you decide if you think it is "definite 

Bryan Rocine

> Hi b-hebrew,
>     I have a question about determining whether a verse is a declaration, 
> or a question.
> Proverbs 5:16 (KJB)
> Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the 
> streets.
>    In some modern translations, this is switched to a question, as it is 
> believed to fit the
> context better.  (However, John Gill and some others explain the verse as 
> being a
> reference to children, descendents, which would leave it as a declarative 
> sentence.
> In fact, Gill quotes both the Targum and Ibn Ezra as fitting this 
> understanding.)
>    Independent of the contextual issues, are their clues in the Hebrew 
> grammar or
> construction that would indicate which way this verse is mentioned ?  Or 
> is it purely
> a contextual issue ?
> Shalom,
> Steven Avery
> Queens, NY

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

ph: 315.437.6744
fx: 315.437.6766 

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list