[b-hebrew] Tenses and aspects; was: footnotes

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Wed Aug 10 11:58:30 EDT 2005

> Interestingly, from a brief glance through Ezekiel 40-48 I cannot find a
> WAYYIQTOL used for an actual event which Ezekiel saw, only for his
> seeing and moving and what his guide said to him - one of the few actual
> events in these chapters, 43:4, is described with a form BA' which is I
> think ambiguous between QATAL and a participle.

This difference between wayiqtol and qatal makes sense to me. When Ezekiel
is transposed in his vision, he moves and "thinks" slower, and slower
becomes his speech. He uses longer, "more ceremonial" words, thus wayiqtol.
Kind of a habit of interspersing slow, contemplative speech with "and."

> Are there actually passages in the Hebrew Bible in which an
> unambiguously future set of events is presented as an extended narrative
> using WAYYIQTOL forms? There are some WAYYIQTOLs in Ezekiel 37:7,8,10
> which is explicitly explained as a prophecy of the future, but in an
> interesting mixture with WEQATALs suggesting that this is not simple
> narrative displaced into the future.

Such mix is understandable. Ezekiel mainly relates the received prophecy, a
past event, thus wayiqtol, but sometimes is transposed into the events
described and speaks about the future, thus weqatal.

> I would suggest that at least some Hebrew verb forms can be described as
> relative tenses, which I would consider to be a sub-category of tenses.

Perhaps, Hebrew verb tenses in some emphatic contexts become relative.
Everything is relative under certain conditions...

Vadim Cherny

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