[b-hebrew] Gen 2.18

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 07:46:08 EDT 2007


On 10/28/07, A Becker <ABecker at nerdshack.com> wrote:
> K Randolph wrote:
> > You have added to the text, a "Then ...." The text, as written, leaves
> > open the possibility that the animals were formed after, ... or before.
>       I really don't see how translating the WAW as "then" is "add[ing] to
> the text" since, as I said, the most straight forward way of understanding
> the wayyiqtol (WYCR) in verse 19 is that the act of forming the animals is
> temporally successive to God's concern that Adam is alone in verse 18. I
> guess understanding a logical succession here as the RSV does with
> "So...formed" would be equally justified. It is true, however, that
> "then...formed" brings out the temporal succession more concretely than a
> simple "and...formed" would. This, however, is not "adding" to the text but
> merely bringing out what is already there.
> A Becker
That's where we disagree. While it is usual in narrative that what is
related later happened later, that is not always the case—sometimes
that which is related later happened earlier but was not mentioned
until later, at the point at which it becomes important to the story

In English, we usually indicate the prior action through verbal
tenses. Prior action may be referenced by the context, but that is not

In Biblical Hebrew, which lacked the verbal tenses to indicate the
fact that the action was prior to the point of reference in the
narration, depends usually on the context to indicate the sequence of
action. In this case, the context of chapter one indicates that the
forming of the animals occurred prior to the creation of mankind, but
in chapter two their forming was not mentioned until where their
existence became important to the story line.

The waw here as in most narration, merely indicates a continuation of
the narration. In *English* we sometimes use "then" to indicate a
continuation of action, but when it is utilized to reference prior
action, the priority of that action is indicated by verbal tense and
usually other markers as well. That is different from Biblical Hebrew.
Here "then" is a mistranslation. It is an addition not conveyed by the
Hebrew text.

Karl W. Randolph.

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