[b-hebrew] Psa 1,1f

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Sun Mar 11 01:15:00 EST 2012

A few issues here:

Firstly, Wayyiqtol is not not the only way for referring to the past. Qatal can also be used. However, I would argue that even calling these conjugations as past referring is a misunderstanding of the grammar.

Karl argued that Hebrew is not marked for aspect, but then defined this as an axis of completed/uncompleted action. That, however, is not so much 'aspect' as it is 'Aktionsart'.

Todd did raise the issue of clause initial verbs, which is an important consideration. A negated verb can never be clause initial, because the negation must precede it. So there is a pragmatic consideration here. But even if we had three positive assertions being made in Ps 1.1, we would not get wayyqitol verbs, because they would each produce narrative momentum. This is not what the verse is trying to do, though. The use of Qatal verbs in this clause is for the statement of simple fact: a man who has not walked… stood… or sat… This is just what the Qatal does: state an action as a simple fact.

The use of Yiqtol in 1.2 is simply to indicate the generality of the righteous man's practice. These are actions that occur many times, and are indicative of the past, as well as implying intention for the future.

Director of Postgraduate Studies,
Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
Sydney, Australia

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