[b-hebrew] questions, reliable evidence, 'stand' and 'said'

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sun Jul 12 11:13:41 EDT 2009

Dear Bryant,

As I already have said several times, in most instances where a verb 
occurs we cannot see the relationship between event time and 
reference time. Therefore, we cannot pinpoint the aspect on the basis 
of the context, and we have to interpret the text in the light of the 
use of similar forms in other texts. In stative situations it is even 
more difficult to see the force of the verb than in fientive ones, 
because any part of a state is similar to any other part, or to the 
state as a whole. Therefore, it is little to make visible. When 
QATALs are used with past reference  for states, the entrance into 
the state is often the focus.

My interpretation and translation of the verses are:

2 Chronicles 20:20:

"and when they set out (INFIN CON.) Jehoshaphat took (his) stand 
(QATAL) /=entered the state of standing/ and began to speak 

The interpretation is based on the infinitive, which indicates that 
what follows occurred in the short time when the people were about to 
leave their camp.
Because I connect aspect with the verb form, I say that  the QATAL 
form is always perfective, and the WAYYIQTOL is always imperfective.

2 Samuel 20:1, 12,

(11)  "and one of Joab's young men stood (QATAL1) over him and kept 
saying (WAYYIQTOL): "Whoever favors (QATAL2) Joab, and whoever 
belongs to David, let him follow Joab!"
(12) Amasa lay wallowing (PARTICIPLE) in his blood in the middle of 
the road. When the man saw (WAYYIQTOL) that all the people stood 
still (QATAL2), he moved (WAYYIQTOL) Amasa from the road to the 
field. And he cast (WAYYIQTOL) a garment over him, when he saw 
(QATAL3) that everyone coming (PARTICIPLE) up to him stood still 
(13) After Amasa had been removed (QATAL5), each man passed by 
(QATAL6) following Joab...

In these verses the QATAL is used in different ways. I take 1, 3, 4, 
and 6 in the normal perfective sense - a view as if from some 
distance with no details made visible; 2 has present reference, and 5 
has pre-past reference.

2 Kings 2:7

"And there were fifty men of the sons of the prophets that went 
(QATAL) and kept standing (WAYYIQTOL)  at a distance. And both of 
them /Elijah and Elisha/ had stood (QATAL) by the Jordan."

I take the first QATAL in the normal sense described above, and the 
second as having pre-past reference. I take the WAYYIQTOL as making 
visible a part of the state of standing before the end was reached.

These interpretations are based on the relationship of each verb to 
its context and in light of the definition of each verb form. But in 
none of the cases does the context explicitly make the relationship 
between event time and reference time visible.

When discussing perfective and imperfective verbs, there is one 
factor that is extremely important to keep in mind: When we look at a 
verb clause, and the context explicitly shows that the action was 
finished at reference time, the end of the action (that it is 
completed) need not be caused by the verb form, but it can be caused 
by the context!  For example, we have the Hithpolel participle 
translated by "lay wallowing". There is no doubt that this action was 
completed when the report was made, but this is something that we 
construe from the context and not from the verb form.
And similarly with the participle "coming (up)". The action signalled 
by this participle had to be completed in order for the people to 
stand still. But this is not shown by the participle but by the 
context. On this basis we can say that the argument "WAYYIQTOL 
portrays past completed events, and therefore it must be perfective 
(or must have past tense)" is fallacious, because we cannot at the 
outset know whether it is the context or the verb form that signals 

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>Dear Rolf,
>You did not answer the following question about which is perfective 
>and which is
>imperfective in the following texts:
>2Chr 20:20 uve-tset-am `amad Yhoshafat vayyomer . . .
>and while they were going out (to the wilderness) Yoshafat
>took a stand and said . . .
>2 Samuel 20:11 and 12 is a similar use of `amad, and Rolf will
>be happy that these are a 'suffix-TAM' verb.
>2 Ki 2:7 fifty prophets halxu vayya`amdu went and stood from
>afar and the two of them `amdu stood/stopped at the Jordan.
>How is "amad used as perfective and/or imperfective in the above texts in
>Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Rolf Furuli" <furuli at online.no>
>To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2009 1:04 AM
>Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] questions, reliable evidence, 'stand' and 'said'
>>  Dear Randall,
>>  For the record: I would like to emphasize that it is not my
>>  responsibility that this thread has stopped but yours. Participants
>>  in a discussion can define basic concepts differently, but a basic
>>  requirement for a meaningful discussion is that all parts give their
>>  definitions. You have not wanted to give your definition of the
>>  imperfective aspect and you have not wanted to answer my questions
>>  regarding your definition of the perfective aspect that I found to be
>>  unclear. Last year we had a similar situation on b-greek, when you
>>  also did not want to give your definition and the thread stopped. I
>>  do not understand your reasons, but it is of course your right to
>>  keep your definitions for yourself. If you change your mind, the
>>  thread can continue.
>>  Best regards,
>>  Rolf Furuli
>>  University of Oslo
>>  >Thank you for your response, and there are many interesting
>>  >texts worthy of discussion, and even some questionable
>>  >English translations, but it doesn't not deal with
>  > >the original question and spins away.
>>  >
>>  >>>So, both in
>>  >both the state expressed by the participle and by
>>  >the WAYYIQTOL R intersects E after the beginning
>>  >and before the end. So how can this WAYYIQTOL be
>>  >perfective?>>
>>  >
>>  >You, not me, claimed that this Gen 41 cannot be
>>  >perfective. So you need to explain how it is different from
>>  >perfective `amad examples that look similar.
>>  >See the original post in this thread.
>>  >
>>  >How can, e.g., 2Chr 20:20, 2 Samuel 20:11, and 12,
>>  >2 Ki 2:7 be perfective, but Gen 41 cannot be perfective?
>>  >
>>  >Then we can deal with vayyomer.
>>  >
>>  >braxot
>>  Randall
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>3:19 PM

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