[b-hebrew] 2Sam24:1 v. Gen18:1-3

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Sun Aug 14 17:36:36 EDT 2005

Yitzhak wrote:
I am not sure what Peter Kirk holds, I hold and think I have stated in
this regard
here that a series of "wayyiqtol"s or the wa- prefix, when applied to
a verb, marks
a sequential action that begins after the last action had completed. 
Gen 18:1-3 is a
good paragraph illustrating the various ways this concept is put to practice.

In Gen 18:2, Abraham raises his eyes, "and sees" ("wayar)").  It should be clear
that he cannot see the three men before raising his eyes.  But the linguistic 
sequence conveys that.  Similarly, in the later part of 18:2, he sees them, runs
to them, and then bows before them.  He cannot run to them, before seeing them,
and he bows to them only after he finishes running.  In both these cases we have
a sequence of "wayyiqtol"s which convey sequential action.

But in 18:1 we do not have such a sequence.  In 18:1, instead of
saying "wayye$eb"
it says "and he sits."

JCR: Good! But we would never say in English 'and he sits' but something like 'while he was sitting' or
'when he was sat/sitting'. And so the rather inflexible view that 'wa' must be translated as 'and' as if it
is always a sequence of events is unreasonable. As you have shown the translation of 'when' or 'while' much 
better fits the context on many occasions.

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