[b-hebrew] verb forms--perfect as future

michaelabernat9001 at sbcglobal.net michaelabernat9001 at sbcglobal.net
Thu Apr 12 23:47:09 EDT 2007

I know some of the members reject the idea that the perfect is used for the future so I spent a few minutes examining some of the passages used to support this concept.
While I can understand how some of these passages may be considered a matter of interpretation, there were two that I could not see how the perfect could be translated as a past tense--Ruth 4:3 and 2 Kings 5:20.
Ruth 4:3 reads
3 וַיֹּאמֶר לַגֹּאֵל חֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר לְאָחִינוּ לֶאֱלִימֶלֶךְ מָכְרָה נָעֳמִי הַשָּׁבָה מִ‍שְּׂדֵה מוֹאָב׃

Rth 4:3  And he said unto the near kinsman: 'Naomi, that is come back out of the field of Moab, SELLETH the parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's;

I can't see how you could translate sells as a past tense. Verse 4 makes it plain that the property has not been sold yet. I can understand how one could take this as a present tense-- "Naomi is in the process of selling" or as a future "Naomi will sell."  But "Naomi sold" seems to be excluded by context.

2 Kings 5:20 reads

20 וַיֹּאמֶר גֵּיחֲזִי נַעַר אֱלִישָׁע אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים הִנֵּה חָשַׂךְ אֲדֹנִי אֶת־נַעֲמָן הָאֲרַמִּי הַזֶּה מִ‍קַּחַת מִ‍יָּדוֹ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־הֵבִיא חַי־יְהוָה כִּי־אִם־רַצְתִּי אַחֲרָיו וְלָקַחְתִּי מֵ‍אִתּוֹ מְאוּמָה׃


2Ki 5:20  But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said: 'Behold, my master hath spared this Naaman the Aramean, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought; as the LORD liveth, I will surely RUN after him, and take somewhat of him.' 


Verse 20 describes what Gehazi plans to do. He does not carry through with this action until the following verse.


Michael Abernathy 

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