[b-hebrew] 998 non-past wyyqtl's

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Nov 30 15:00:40 EST 2004


When reading through Tanakh over and over again, there seems to be so many exceptions to all the rules that  I have seen concerning wayyiqtols, qatals, weqatels, etc. that I finally just threw up my hands in frustration and concentrated on lexeme definition. Admittedly, this is not very scholarly, but I had my hands full with lexeme analysis so I let it slide.

Take for example, Jonah. The prefix W- is used at the beginning of every verse except those that quote speech. Here it seems to be a sign of narration, not tense nor aspect. Unless I missed one, every verse in Judges 12 starts with a W- prefix, as if to signal narration. A translator could ignore them and treat all verbs as a simple past. Another example is Psalm 105, with a royal mix where the W- seems to signal a continuation of discussion of a subject, and the lack thereof a signal of broaching a new subject, but even there it seems not to be 100% consistent and sometimes other words are used instead of W-.

In other words, there may be more than one set of rules concerning these: one set for one context and another for a different context.

Well, I have no ax to grind to defend any theory, so it's interesting to watch your discussions.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Washburn" <dwashbur at nyx.net>
> This is where I get bogged down in the question of what constitutes "meaning"
> and how it may be canceled.  Just to throw a couple of other grammarians into
> the pot, Hatav's view of the wayyiqtol is that it advances R-time.  The
> Judges verse would seem to question that.  Waltke-O'Connor describe the
> wayyiqtol as "usually successive and always subordinate to a preceding
> statement."  F. I. Andersen, in his monograph "The Sentence in Biblical
> Hebrew" way back in 1977, found profuse examples that call this into
> question, particularly his "begin a new line of thought" use.  For that
> matter, Jonah 1:1 might easily contradict this idea, though that one is a
> WYHY, and the verb "to be" behaves in strange and unpredictable ways in every
> language with which I am familiar.  Anyway, my point is that these various
> grammarians have sought to find a solid "meaning" in the form, without real
> success.  So I'm interested to see how you have gotten around this problem
> with your idea of "meaning" (basic or otherwise ;-)
> Looking forward to your response,
> --
> Dave Washburn
> http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
> "No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk
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