[b-hebrew] questions, reliable evidence, 'stand' and 'said'
furuli at online.no
Sun Jul 12 12:37:19 EDT 2009
I continue my previous post.
In order to show what I have claimed and what I have not claimed, I
bring a quote from my previous post dealing with Genesis 41:1-7:
"The point I am trying to stress is that because BH is a dead
language and there are no informants, in many cases, probably in
most, we cannot on the basis of the context know whether a part of an
event or state, or the whole event or state is made visible. We must
therefore look at those situations that are transparent and where
this can clearly be seen. The situations where the relationship
between E and R cannot be seen must be interpreted in the light of
the situations where that can be seen."
Of the situations where the relationship between E and R cannot be
explicitly seen, there are situations where the context suggest a
The passages from Samuel and Kings that I previously discussed occur
in narrative contexts, where the style often is rather terse. In Gen
41 a dream is described; Pharao is shown something that should
impress him and teach him something, and for this purpose a narrative
style is neither needed nor desirable.
When we consider the the force of the verbs, we can first look at two
similar roots, HLM and (MD. In v. 1 both words are expressed as
participles. There is no doubt that the dreaming and the standing
were terminated in the past (related to the deictic center). But I
suppose that no one would say that the participle has an intrinsic
end and in effect is perfective- that the events were terminated can
only be construed on the basis of the context. And what is made
visible by the participles are simply the "standing" and "dreaming"
events and no end.
The dream is now in progress: Seven cows were coming up from the
Nile-and this is expressed by a participle. The event is terminated,
but what is made visible by the participle is only the event itself
and not its end. What did the cows do? They were grazing. Regardless
of how we take the WAYYIQTOL of R(H, there is no doubt that the seven
cows ate grass for some time. This conclusion is necessary, because
we now see seven other cows coming after them - also expressed by a
participle. The last seven cows stood (WAYYIQTOL of (MD) beside the
other seven cows. Then the seven ugly cows ate (or, were eating the
fat cows), and this is expressed by a WAYYIQTOL.
So, the question is why the WAYYIQTOLs are used parallel with the
participles. For example, is the focus of the standing of Pharao in
v. 1 expressed by a participle different from the focus of the
standing of the cows expressed by a WAYYIQTOL? And similarly with the
dreaming. Is the focus of Pharaoh's dreaming in v 1 expressed by a
participle different from the focus in v. 5 expressed by a WAYYIQTOL?
Why should they be? The whole scene is vivid, Pharao sees different
actions develop before his eyes, and the participles strike the
keynote. They portray developing actions, just like a film, and then
it is strange if we in the middle of the film see several snapshots
I would therefore give the following vivid translation:
(1) At the end of two full years, Pharao was dreaming, and he was
standing by the Nile.
(2) And look! Seven cows, beautiful in appearance and fat, were
ascending out of the Nile. And they were grazing in the reed grass.
3) And look! Seven other cows, ugly in appearance and thin, were
ascending out of the Nile after them. And they were standing beside
those on the riverbank.
4) Then the cows that were ugly in appearance and thin began to eat
the seven cows that were beautiful in appearance and fat.
There is nothing in the context that explicitly shows the
relationship between E and R in the verbs- my interpretation is based
on genre, style, and parallels.
If anyone wants to argue in connection with the points above, please
include comments on the YIQTOLs and WAYYIQTOLs of (MD in Ezekiel
1:21, 10:17-19 and the YIQTOLs and WEYIQTOLs in Nehemiah 3:14, 15.
(See a previous post from me in this thread). Is there any aspectual
difference between these forms?
University of Oslo
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