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

Rolf Furuli 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 
particular understanding.

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 
{perfective verbs).

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?

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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