[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53

furuli at online.no furuli at online.no
Sun May 16 03:09:40 EDT 2004

Dear Vadim,

It appears that you do not realize that the Hebrew conjugations do 
not necessarily signal tense - and I claim that the don't. So the 
QATAL of 52:14 is not necessarily past. To get an introduction to the 
problems of Hebrew verbs and their time references, I recommend Cook, 
J. A. (2002) "The Biblical Hebrew Verbal System A Grammaticalization 
Approach, University of Wisconsin- Madison. This doctoral 
dissertation is the best discussion of the Hebrew verbs I have seen. 
My own dissertation, which will be completed in two months, will 
express many conclusions that differ from Cook, but his work is 
scholarly and balanced, and his conclusions deserve to be seriously 

How would you have reacted if a WAW was prefixed to the QATAL  of 
52:14? Would you then have said that the verb is past? Cook draws the 
following interesting conclusion regarding QATAL and WEQATAL: "In 
conclusion, there is no evidence that qatal and weqatal are separate 
and independent conjugations or that they have different origins. The 
only distinction by which qatal and weqatal can be distinguished is a 
syntactic one: weqatal clauses are always VS word order (hence the 
designation weqatal) whereas qatal clauses are often SV."  He then 
says that weqatal is modal and qatal indicative.

I agree that there is no difference between the two forms - weqatal 
is a qatal with the conjunction WAW prefixed. Weqatal is often modal 
but in many cases it signals future indicative. In the prophets there 
are hundreds of both forms with future indicative meaning.

Best regards


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>Dear Rolf,
>Perhaps I missed something...
>Both verbs in 52:14 are in the past, clear and simple. Why future?
>Best regards,
>"52:14 puts
>the suffering in the *past*"? I note that the LXX has future verbs in
>this verse, one translates the Hebrew QATAL and the other translates
>a Hebrew substantive. I take v. 14 as simple future, just as does the
>LXX. Why should I not?

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