[b-hebrew] Psa 107:19-21 (was WAYYIQTOL)

Ken Penner pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Fri Mar 19 13:37:14 EST 2004

Hi Peter,

You suggested using the LXX and other ancient translations to see what model
of verb semantics they assume.
May I suggest Beat Zuber, _Das Tempussystem des biblischen Hebräisch: Eine
Untersuchung dem Text_ (BZAW 164; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1986). He does
just this, using the LXX and Vulgate. If I understand him aright, he finds
qatal, wayyiqtol, and conjunctive weqatal are indicative (action that is
real); yiqtol, consecutive weqatal, and weyiqtol are modal (action that has
not been fulfilled in reality).

I would very much like to hear responses to Zuber's view, which seems to
anticipate Galia Hatav's, and offers a good fit with what I am finding in
the Qumran texts.

Ken Penner, M.C.S. (Biblical Languages, Greek Focus), M.A. (Hebrew Poetry)
Ph.D. (cand.), McMaster University
pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Hebrew vocabulary software: http://s91279732.onlinehome.us/flash or

> These consequences give us the possibility to test your 
> hypothesis. At 
> least, I presume that there would be similar distinctions between 
> translations according to the two models in translations into other 
> languages, including Greek (several times), Latin, Syriac and 
> Aramaic. 
> The Hebrew Bible was translated directly (although not always 
> entirely 
> independently) into at least these four languages long before 
> the time 
> of the Masoretes. If we can find examples in any of these 
> translations, 
> especially in the more literal ones, in which WAYYIQTOL and 
> rendered differently, that would indicate that there was a 
> pre-Masoretic 
> distinction.
> Looking at my we'a`aseh and wa'a`as examples in the LXX, I find the 
> following:
> Verse      Hebrew form      Greek tense
> Gen 27:9   weyiqtol         POIHSW
> Gen 35:3   weyiqtol         aorist subjunctive
> Exo 32:10  weyiqtol         POIHSW
> Num 14:12  weyiqtol         POIHSW
> Deu 9:14   weyiqtol         POIHSW
> Deu 10:3   short wayyiqtol  aorist
> Deu 12:30  weyiqtol         POIHSW
> 1Sa 20:4   weyiqtol         POIHSW
> 2Sa 9:1    weyiqtol         POIHSW
> 2Sa 9:3    weyiqtol         POIHSW
> 2Sa 24:12  weyiqtol         POIHSW
> 1Ch 21:10  weyiqtol         POIHSW
> Neh 6:13   weyiqtol         POIHSW (2 Esdras 16:13)
> Ezk 12:7   short wayyiqtol  aorist
> Ezk 20:9   short wayyiqtol  aorist
> Ezk 20:14  long wayyiqtol   aorist
> Ezk 20:22  short wayyiqtol  aorist
> Ezk 24:18  short wayyqitol  aorist
> Dan 8:27   long wayyiqtol   imperfect (A: EPRAGMATEUOMHN; B: EPOIOUN)
> Note that the Greek form POIHSW is in fact fact ambiguous 
> between future 
> and aorist subjunctive, but the aorist subjunctive in such 
> contexts has 
> a clearly future modal sense. On the other hand, the aorist 
> indicative 
> is unambiguously past. Thus there is clear indication that 
> consistently translated as future or modal and WAYYIQTOL 
> consistently as 
> past indicative. Daniel 8:27 is interesting because two independent 
> translations seem to have rendered this form, pointed by the 
> Masoretes 
> as an unusual long WAYYIQTOL, with a Greek imperfect.
> But a better test might be with cases which are not distinct in the 
> consonantal text.
> Also you might argue that these cases would be translated as 
> they have 
> been from the context rather than from the verb semantics. So 
> you might 
> like to supply some of your ten thousand examples where you 
> would argue 
> for a translation different from the traditional one, in which 
> presumably the context is ambiguous. We can then examine LXX 
> and other 
> ancient translations to see if they support the traditional 
> understanding or your one. Do you think that would be a fair test, at 
> least of how the unpointed Hebrew text was understood at the 
> time when 
> these ancient translations were made?

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