[b-hebrew] Prophetic Perfect?

furuli at online.no furuli at online.no
Wed May 19 11:19:41 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,

You are right regarding the NIV (and several othermodern 
translations as well) that QATAL is occasionally translated with 
simple future (but often rather reluctantly), something which shows 
that the translators felt they had no other choice. But why not take 
a look at the QATALs that the NIV translates by perfect and past 
tense and ask in each case: Is the event time of this QATAL before, 
contemporaneous with, or after the deictic center? Are not this QATAL 
also a prophecy about what would happen with Bebel? And in that case, 
why use past tense or present perfect? I had these chapters in mind 
(among others) when I spoke of "back-and-fort" and 
"hither-and-thither"- renderings of Hebrew verbs. And NIV is not the 
worst example, so please look at other translations as well.

Best regards


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>Dear Rolf,
>>"In my doctoral thesis I have translated Jeremiah 50 and 51 into 
>>English, and this is a *prophecy* about Babel. In the 104 verses I 
>>have translated, the following verbs  with simple future: 70 
>>yiqtols, 2 weyiqtols, 7 wayyiqtols, 49 weqatals, and 63 qatals. In 
>>addition, 4 qatals are translated with future perfect. "  The verbs 
>>are found in the following verses: Jeremiah 
>>50:1,2,3,5,8,12,15,18,21,23,24,25,27,29,31,33,43,45, and 
>>Please look at these two chapters and decide how many QATALs and 
>>WAYYIQTOLs you will translate by simple future? And if you choose 
>>another tense, please indicate your arguments for that.
>>Of the about one thousand QATALs with future reference I have 
>>listed, less than 10 per cent should be viewed as future perfect 
>>(according to the context), so in most places I will use simple 
>>future. There are quite a number of places where the choice of 
>>QATAL, while being simple future, could signal stress of some kind, 
>>and this must be considered by the translator.  The following 
>>questions should be considered: The way grammars and textbooks 
>>define QATAL, does this mean that a simple future meaning is 
>>excluded?  2) Can we trust these definitions, or are they in need 
>>of a revision?
>HH: The NIV translators put a number of QATAL verbs in Jeremiah 50 
>in the past, beginning with DBR in 50:1. The NIV uses perfects in 
>the first three verbs of 50:6, then two past verbs. They use past 
>verbs in 50:7. They use perfect or past verbs in 50:17 and for the 
>last verb in 50:18 (PQDTY). They use past verbs in 50:23-24. They 
>have perfect verbs in 50:25. They use a perfect translation for B) 
>in verse 27, for (&TH and ZRH in verse 29, and for B) in verse 31. 
>They have two perfect verbs in 50:43 ("has heard, has gripped") and 
>two in 50:45 ("has planned, has purposed"). All the other verbs in 
>Jeremiah 50 are present, future, or imperatives. The past and 
>perfect verbs seem appropriate in their contexts. So NIV would agree 
>with you that the QATAL can be taken as future.
>				Yours,
>				Harold Holmyard
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

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