[b-hebrew] 998 non-past wyyqtl's
B. M. Rocine
brocine at twcny.rr.com
Mon Nov 29 18:15:05 EST 2004
Thanks for your good question. I am always pleased when we discuss specific
texts on this forum. You wrote:
> On Sunday 28 November 2004 06:57, B. M. Rocine wrote:
>> Take your example of two wayyiqtols in Jer 51:29. The consensus among
>> five or six modern translators I checked is that the wayyiqtols are
>> non-past; they differ on whether to translate them as present or future.
>> quickly vote future with you. I do not, however, think the text is
>> evidence that the wayyiqtols are not perfective. The perfectivity of the
>> forms is utilized to explicitly embed sequentiality into the text. I
>> translations should use the word *then* or *so*: "Then the land will
>> quake, then it will writhe for the thoughts of YHWH stand against Babel."
> Would you insist that they use the word "then" or "so" in Judges 12:9-14
> Dave Washburn
I suppose we might use "then," but I surely wouldn't insist on it or even
recommend it in all cases in the passage.
I think you may be asking whether I think wyyqtl always represents a
sequence. I do not, but I still the best explanation of the form is that it
*means* sequence. I do *not* think the meaning of a form is only that which
is uncancelable. Such a standard does not allow for the chaos which is
bound to be evident in language use. So I can tolerate a fair handful of
exceptions to a verb form's meaning, especially if they are distributed in a
regular manner (patterned chaos? oy vey, have patience with me!).
Take for instance Jdg 12:11 vayyishpot 'axarav 'et yisra'el 'eylon
hazzebuloni vayyishpot 'et yisra'el `eser shanim
The same story time is covered twice by two successive wayyiqtol clauses.
In other words, stroy time does not move forward as we expect from a series
of wayyiqtols. It's easily negotiable for the reader though because both
clauses have the same kernel witht he same subject. If we have this series
Sam hit a homer.
Bill hit one out of the park.
we understand that first Sam hit a homer, and then Bill hit one. If we have
Sam hit a homer.
Sam hit one out of the park.
we understand that the second clause is elaborating on the first, even
though in English story telling, a second clause with a simple past verb
usually moves forward story time. (I am only speaking of English simple
past as an analogy. I am not equating the English simple past with the
wayyiqtol, even though both are used as the mainlines of narrative in their
I think the majority of the wayyiqtols that do not advance story time may be
found in one of the following three categories:
1. wayyiqtol of 'mr after a wayyiqtol expressing a verbal event, like
vayyiqr'a 'el YHVH vayyo'mer...
2. a second wayyiqtol paraphrases the first, like many times in the flood
3. an identicle wayyiqtol covers the same story time as a previous
Such cases do not negate the basic meaning of the wayyiqtol as a sequencer.
B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206
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