[b-hebrew] Prophetic Perfect? Psalm 107:18-21

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Thu May 20 22:15:43 EDT 2004

> Hi Liz,
Hi Ken.
> I mention Psalm 107 because it was the subject of some 
> discussion in March here on B-Hebrew. Bryan Rocine asked us 
> to look at verses 19-21, and Peter Kirk thought verse 18 
> should be included. 
I guess I wasn't following it.
> > I suppose there are exceptions. How would you know when 
> anything is an 
> > exception tho? I don't think context is trustworthy since you deny 
> > part of the context when you ignore the form of the verb.
> > I tend not to make exceptions myself.
> Context is trustworthy when we have explicit time indicators 
> in the text.
> Consider in context Exodus 10:3,  )D-MTY M)NT L(NT MPNY: 
> "Until when (will?
> or did?) you refuse to humble yourself before me?" Pharaoh 
> hadn't stopped refusing when he was asked this.
I think it ought to be translated:
"For how long (now) have you refused to humble yourself before me?"
> Even the context is not necessary at times: how can living 
> people say GW(NW (Numbers 17:27), if the tense means the 
> event of dying (or the state of being dead) preceded the act 
> of speaking ("we died")?
Well, um, uh. Hmm.
I have actually always assumed that the speaker was speaking
in hyperbole: We're dead! It's over, we're dead meat.
However, I admit, that translates it into the present. But I assumed
for the speaker, they may as well be already dead.
I think to translate it by the future doesn't convey the force, the
insistence that the writer is trying to convey by his use of the past.
Still it sounds funny in English, I admit, to put it into the past. 
But I think by the use of the past, the writer is saying that hope
is lost, that it is as if they have already perished.

> This is how we know when something is an exception. Would you 
> still say context is never trustworthy? Or would you say, 
> yes, sometimes (however rarely), QATAL forms are used for 
> future events?
Dunno. I think the writer is trying to say something by the QATAL
that is different from what he would be saying if he used YiQTOL.
I would try to translate with a circumlocution, if the past sounded
too odd in English.

Liz Fried
Ann Arbor
> Ken Penner

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