[b-hebrew] Basic observations on WAYYIQTOL

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Aug 16 19:27:30 EDT 2005

On 17/08/2005 00:03, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

> ...
>I am looking over Eliezer Rubinstein's booklet and it seems that the
>interpretation is different from his point of view, and as I was "merely 
>rehashing" his description, I think that should be clarified: A QATAL 
>following a WAYYIQTOL suggests past perfect.  But a WAYYIQTOL
>following a QATAL suggests simple sequence.  So in Gen 18:1, Abraham
>still sits down because that is the end state of the verb "to sit down."
>When I ask you to sit down and you complete my request you are 
>seated.  It would be a sort of smart-aleck response for you to sit
>down and stand up and say "I sat down!"  A similar example is Gen
>18:7 where Abraham ran to the cattle and then took a calf.
Thanks for this. I tend to agree with Rubinstein, at least to a first 
approximation. But in 18:1 Abraham sitting is not QATAL but a participle 
and so stative. However, 18:7 is a QATAL followed by a participle and 
these are presumably sequential. The interesting point, however, is that 
this QATAL is not apparently a past perfect preceding the previous 
WAYYIQTOL, as presumably Abraham told Sarah what to do before running 
off. This is more like a contrasting pair WAYYIQTOL followed by X-QATAL, 
the contrast being between Sarah's job of making the bread and Abraham's 
of getting the kebabs ready. It is interesting how in that culture as 
well as so many modern ones cooking a barbecue is the man's work, 
although most other food preparation is women's work.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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