Syntax of verbal sequences in Biblical Hebrew
December 1, 2017
THE USE OF TENSES IN CLASSICAL BIBLICAL HEBREW
- A VEXED QUESTION
Verbal syntax is undoubtedly a major issue in the study of the grammar of Biblical Hebrew (BH). This aspect of BH has long been considered an enigma and, as a result, many potential explanations have been proposed. In recent years, new and more sophisticated theories based on modern linguistic models have also been elaborated (for detailed presentations, see McFall 1982; Cook 2012: 77–175, 273–75).
After briefly presenting the most important approaches to this issue (§ 1.2), I will put forward my own theory (§ 2). I will then present supporting data, first regarding past/anterior sequences (§ 3) and then for non-past/non-anterior sequences (§ 4). In the corollaries, I will briefly examine the imperative (§ 5.1) and phasal aspects (§ 5.2), then describe the doubling of sequences (§ 5.3). I will subsequently discuss the usage of this same syntax across the different literary genres (§ 6.1), the necessity of other kinds of analysis (§ 6.2) and the problem of diachrony (§ 6.3). I will conclude with a few final considerations (§ 7).
- DIFFERENT APPROACHES
In scholarly research there have been at least seven approaches to the verbal system:
- The traditional view held that qatal indicates a past tense and yiqtol a future tense. A prefixed waw has the power to “convert,” so to speak, these two tenses. Japhet ha-Levi (10th century C.E.) called this prefix “waw of future,” העתידי וו. Dunash ben Labrat (also from the 10th century) referred to it as “waw oblique,” עוטפת וו. David Kimchi (12th century) called it “waw of service,” השרות וו; and Elias Levita (15th century) termed it “waw conversive” הפוך וו (McFall 1982: 3, 8, 10, 176). Modern theories have tried to offer more nuanced definitions in order to open the way to new approaches, coining expres- sions such as “waw inductive” (Gell 1821: 76), “waw consec-
* I would like to thank Prof. Steven E. Fassberg for his helpful comments on an earlier version of this study, as well as Elena Hogan for helping me refine the English of this paper.
2 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
utive” (Böttcher 1868: 192–93; Ewald 1891: 244; Driver 1892: 71; GKC § 49), “waw relative” (Hitzig 1833: 27)—a definition recently revised by Waltke and O’Connor (1990: 477)—, or “waw inversive” (Joüon and Muraoka § 117).
Following the aspectual approach, qatal and yiqtol are not seen as tenses, but as aspects: perfect and imperfect, i.e., “finished” vs. “incomplete” (Ewald 1891: 3) or “completed” vs. “incipient” (Driver 1892: 1–6); “constative” vs. “cursive” (Brockelmann 1956: 39–45); “perfective” vs. “non-perfective” (Waltke and O’Connor 1990: 474–78).
According to the historical-comparative approach, the several meanings of qatal and yiqtol can be explained as evolu- tions of different older verbal forms. Bauer distinguished between nominal (from a West Semitic qatálta) that expresses past tense, and waw-nominal (from a Proto Semitic qataltá) that expresses future; as well as between a long yiqtol (from *yaqtulu), which expresses present-future, a short yiqtol (from *yaqtul) that expresses jussive mood, an “Affekt” yiqtol (from *yaqtula), ex- pressing intention, and a waw-yiqtol (from *yaqtul), which has kept the original protosemitic preterite meaning. In other words, both in the case of weqatal as well as in the case of way- yiqtol, the waw does not change the value of the verb; on the contrary, this value is retained (Bauer and Leander 1922: 273– 76). Some authors affirm that the yiqtol with a preterite meaning can be found even without waw (Held 1962: 282). This histor- ical-comparative approach can also be combined with the above-outlined aspectual approach (Meyer 1972: 39–57). In the past few years, most scholars have accepted the distinction between short yiqtol (*yaqtul) and long yiqtol (*yaqtulu; see espe- cially Rainey 2003).
The sequential approach: In this approach, the tense value of a verbal form is not absolute but is determined by the nature of the preceding expression, and it agrees in meaning with the introductory dominant verb. There are four kinds of sequences introduced by “past,” “future,” “present” and “imperative” (Gell 1821: 8–12; Lambdin 1971: 107–9, 118–19, 162–65, 279–82; Jenni 1981: 106–7 and for weqatal also Driver 1892: 118, 125–29, 143–46). A combination of this approach with the aspectual approach is offered by Waltke and O’Connor (1990: 525, 554).
The modal approach: According to Joosten (2012: 25–27) qatal expresses realis and represents an action that has taken place before the reference time; wayyiqtol expresses realis and denotes events contemporaneous with a point of reference anterior to the enunciation; the participle expresses contemporaneity with the enunciation; finally, yiqtol and weqatal are two nonindicative forms that express irrealis (future-modal). According to Ḥatav (1997: 29), on the grounds of a discourse-representation-structure analysis, it is necessary to combine sequentiality (wayyiqtol and wqatal) with modality (wqatal and yiqtol), progression (qotel) and perfect (qatal).
The discourse-pragmatic approach asserts that ver- bal forms do not express fixed times or aspects but possess
2 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
utive” (Böttcher 1868: 192–93; Ewald 1891: 244; Driver 1892: 71; GKC § 49), “waw relative” (Hitzig 1833: 27)—a definition recently revised by Waltke and O’Connor (1990: 477)—, or “waw inversive” (Joüon and Muraoka § 117).
2) Following the aspectual approach, qatal and yiqtol are not seen as tenses, but as aspects: perfect and imperfect, i.e., “finished” vs. “incomplete” (Ewald 1891: 3) or “completed” vs. “incipient” (Driver 1892: 1–6); “constative” vs. “cursive” (Brockelmann 1956: 39–45); “perfective” vs. “non-perfective” (Waltke and O’Connor 1990: 474–78).
3) According to the historical-comparative approach, the several meanings of qatal and yiqtol can be explained as evolu- tions of different older verbal forms. Bauer distinguished between nominal (from a West Semitic qatálta) that expresses past tense, and waw-nominal (from a Proto Semitic qataltá) that expresses future; as well as between a long yiqtol (from *yaqtulu), which expresses present-future, a short yiqtol (from *yaqtul) that expresses jussive mood, an “Affekt” yiqtol (from *yaqtula), ex- pressing intention, and a waw-yiqtol (from *yaqtul), which has kept the original protosemitic preterite meaning. In other words, both in the case of weqatal as well as in the case of way- yiqtol, the waw does not change the value of the verb; on the contrary, this value is retained (Bauer and Leander 1922: 273– 76). Some authors affirm that the yiqtol with a preterite meaning can be found even without waw (Held 1962: 282). This histor- ical-comparative approach can also be combined with the above-outlined aspectual approach (Meyer 1972: 39–57). In the past few years, most scholars have accepted the distinction between short yiqtol (*yaqtul) and long yiqtol (*yaqtulu; see espe- cially Rainey 2003).
4) The sequential approach: In this approach, the tense value of a verbal form is not absolute but is determined by the nature of the preceding expression, and it agrees in meaning with the introductory dominant verb. There are four kinds of sequences introduced by “past,” “future,” “present” and “imperative” (Gell 1821: 8–12; Lambdin 1971: 107–9, 118–19, 162–65, 279–82; Jenni 1981: 106–7 and for weqatal also Driver 1892: 118, 125–29, 143–46). A combination of this approach with the aspectual approach is offered by Waltke and O’Connor (1990: 525, 554).
5) The modal approach: According to Joosten (2012: 25–27) qatal expresses realis and represents an action that has taken place before the reference time; wayyiqtol expresses realis and denotes events contemporaneous with a point of reference anterior to the enunciation; the participle expresses contemporaneity with the enunciation; finally, yiqtol and weqatal are two nonindicative forms that express irrealis (future-modal). According to Ḥatav (1997: 29), on the grounds of a discourse-representation-structure analysis, it is necessary to combine sequentiality (wayyiqtol and wqatal) with modality (wqatal and yiqtol), progression (qotel) and perfect (qatal).
6) The discourse-pragmatic approach asserts that ver- bal forms do not express fixed times or aspects but possess
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 3
functions according to the context (narrative or direct speech), the level of communication (foreground or back- ground) and the axis of time (past, present, future). In par- ticular, Niccacci (1991: 15–29; 2006) distinguishes the fol- lowing verbal forms and grammatical constructions: qatal, x- qatal, weqatal, indicative yiqtol, jussive yiqtol, x-yiqtol, weyiqtol, narrative wayyiqtol, continuative wayyiqtol, imperative, x- imperative, non-verbal sentence. In narrative contexts, the form in the foreground is the narrative wayyitol, while in direct speech—in order to express future—the foreground forms are yiqtol and weqatal.
7) The grammaticalization approach views the verbal forms not as fixed elements, but as “grams,” i.e., verbal grammatical constructions that reflect any portion of the prototypical grammaticalization path. Grams acquire and combine values that belong to several semantic domains such as taxis, aspect, tense and mood. For Cook, qatal and wayyiqtol are products of the resultative path: qatal in BH is categorized as perfect-perfective aspect (irrealis qatal and weqatal also derive from qatal), wayyiqtol is categorized as a past tense (in narrative), yiqtol is the product of the progres- sive path and is categorized in BH as an imperfective-irrealis aspect (Cook 2012: 249, 268–71). According to Andrason, qatal, yiqtol, weqatal and wayyiqtol are four different grams: BH yiqtol derives from a split functional movement (i.e., as the imperfective and modal ability paths, which jointly derive from a single lexically transparent and cognitively plausible input), a reduplicated participle as reconstructed for the Proto-Semitic *yaqattal (Andrason 2010). Wayyiqtol (from
*yaqtul) represents a resultative diachrony at an advanced moment of its development; its consecutive force depends on the incorporation of a coordinative-consecutive lexeme (*wa < *pa; Andrason 2011a: 44–46). Weqatal as well as qatal historically derive from the same construction (the Proto- Semitic verbal resultative adjective *qatal). The two formations, however, underwent distinct developments corresponding to different functional paths and therefore must be treated as two distinct phenomena (Andrason 2011b: 46). Weqatal represents a modal contamination which a Proto-Northwest Semitic consecutive and contingent input periphrasis (composed of the contingent coordinative-consecutive lexeme *wa and a resulting verbal adjective *qatal[a]) originally experienced in conditional apodoses (Andrason 2011c).
Finally, it can be observed that it is not possible to make a clear distinction between the different approaches. In particular, while scholars who proposed the sequential approach did not completely reject the traditional view that the waw has some “power,” even those scholars who defend the last three approaches admit the existence of some intro- ductory verbal categories or continuative forms, as in the sequential approach (see for instance Joosten 2012: 44–45; Cook 2012: 294).
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- A NEW APPROACH
What I propose in this article is a partially new approach: I will offer a simple descriptive model of the BH verbal system and I will try to prove that in one phase of BH the prominent func- tions of the verbal forms depended on a combination of se- quences and taxis.
- THE NEED FOR A NEW APPROACH
Given the breadth of interpretation offered by previous approaches is it really necessary to propose a new one? I maintain that it is, for the following three reasons:
This approach allows us to explain some sentences that up to now have remained obscure, especially in poetic texts;
it can help explain more precisely some sentences that we understand now in a generic way only;
it can help us better understand the evolution of BH.
- AN EMPIRICAL DATA COLLECTION
This study is not based on panchronic methodology, diachronic analysis, or comparative linguistics. It only represents the first step toward a more complete analysis, i.e., it offers an empirical data collection based on synchronic analysis.
In this article I present a list of examples, providing either my own translation, that of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) or, more frequently, that of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). I pay special attention to instances that are considered marginal—or even incorrect—according to other approaches.
- ONLY ONE PH ASE
There is no doubt that BH is composed of different functional languages (Zatelli 2004). The aim of the present study is not to offer a solution that is valid for all kinds of BH, but to propose an explanation for the syntax of one phase in the language’s development. This syntax was the dominant one, though not the only one, in Standard BH (compare § 6.3), both in prose and in poetry. I will therefore not be dealing with Archaic BH or Late BH, as they lie outside the scope of this contribution.
- SUFFIX CONJUGATION AND PREFIX CONJUGATION
As we have seen, most scholars distinguish the following verbal and nominal forms in BH: long yiqtol, short yiqtol, wayyiqtol, qatal, weqatal, qotel, imperative. In this study it is not possible to examine the entire verbal system and for reasons of space I will omit the discussion of qotel.
The distinction between long yiqtol (ֶהשׂﬠֲ ַי ), short yiqtol (שַׂﬠַי ) and wayyiqtol (שַׂﬠיַּ ַו ) corresponds to the morphological aspect of the verb and it is fully acceptable from a historical point of view (Joosten 2012: 13–15, among others). The same could perhaps be hypothesized for the distinction between qatal and weqatal (see for instance Andersen 2000: 39–42).
Nevertheless, it is necessary to distinguish between the morphological and historical aspects of the verbal forms and their syntactical use.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 5
In Standard BH, one finds different verbal forms in the same sentence that have the same syntactical value, especially in poetry: yiqtol can be found alongside wayyiqtol (3.4.1: Gen 37:7; Isa 63:3; 3.4.3: 1 Sam 1:10–11; 1 Kgs 1:1; 2 Sam 2:28; 3.4.3:
Deut 4:41; 2:12; 3.4.4: Ps 8:6–7; 24:2; 44:3.10; 66:6; 69:22;
74:14b; 78:13–15.20.42–50.64; 80:6–7; 81:7–8; 105:40; 114:3;
Jer 2:14–15), wayyiqtol occurs after yiqtol (4.3.3: Ps 42:6) and qatal can be found where one would expect weqatal (4.4.1: Gen 17:15–16; Lev 26:44; 4.4.2 Ps 11:2; 4.4.3: Ps 73:18; 110:6;
132:17; Isa 11:8; 19:7; 51:1; 4.4.3: Ps 110:6; 132:17; 5.1: Ps
For this reason I hypothesize that at one point in the develop- ment of BH, long and short yiqtol and wayyiqtol were used in an analogous way—presumably due to their similarity—and the same was true for qatal and weqatal. I identify the first unit (long and short yiqtol + wayyiqtol) as Prefix Conjugation (PC; see Fig- ure 1) and the second (qatal and weqatal) as Suffix Conjugation (SC; see Figure 2).
Obviously, this could seem to be an over-simplification. More complex approaches have been proposed for this issue. For instance, according to Qimron (1998: 31–43), the use of long and short עתיד is influenced by the position of the verb in the clause. According to Torres Fernández (2013: 219–20), some long wayyiqtol forms represent dialectal variants. Bloch (2007; 2010) postulates that these kinds of problems can be solved on either linguistic or text-critical grounds (the influence of modal forms, dialectal variants, scribal errors and so on). But the most radical and intriguing approach is Van de Sande’s theory of the “inexistence” of the wayyiqtol and of the weqatalti as converted, inverted or consecutive forms (Van de Sande 2008: 203–38).
All these approaches are possible and well argued, but for the purpose of this synchronical analysis it will be sufficient to adopt our simple theory. It will only be necessary to multiply our examples in order to show that any combination of forms (short and long yiqtol in first or second position, wayyiqtol, weyiqtol) in any order is accounted for.
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- THE SEQUENCES
I will begin outlining my theory by identifying the sequences of verbal forms in Standard BH. It is possible to identify two kinds of sequences involving SC or PC. The first includes the following patterns:
SC + SC . . . ; SC + waw + SC . . .
SC + PC . . . ; SC + waw + PC
x + waw + PC . . .
SC + PC + SC . . . ; SC + waw + PC + waw + SC . . .
x + waw + PC + waw + SC . . .
In this table, “x” indicates any element: a secondary clause (with conjugated or not conjugated verbs), an indication of time, a non-verbal form (NV) or even any previous narrative or discourse.
I do not consider waw + PC (i.e., wayyiqtol) as a possible beginning of a sequence in this phase of BH. Nevertheless, the waw is necessary to connect “x” to PC.
The second kind includes the following patterns:
PC + PC + . . . ; PC + waw + PC . . .
PC + SC; PC + waw + SC . . .
x + waw + SC . . .
PC + SC + PC . . . ; PC + waw + SC + waw + PC . . .
x + waw + SC + waw + PC . . .
Likewise, I do not consider waw + SC (i.e., weqatal) as a possible beginning of a sequence in this phase of BH. Nevertheless, the waw is necessary to connect “x” to SC.
At this point we must ask ourselves: What is the differ- ence between the two kinds of sequences and, what is the dif- ference between sequences of the same kind?
- TWO KINDS OF SEQUENCES
If we do not analyze the single verbal forms independently, but rather take sequences as units, it is possible to make a distinc- tion between the two kinds of sequences. Omitting for the moment the hypothetical construction, we can state that the first group of sequences denotes: past perfect (anterior past,
3.4.3 Exod 12:35), simple past (3.1.3: Gen 1:1), present perfect (anterior present, 3.1.1: Josh 7:11), present (5.2.1: Ps 65:10) and future perfect (anterior future, 3.4.4: Isa 4:4). The second denotes: present (4.1.3: Ps 121:1), future (4.1.1: 1 Sam 18:11) and future in the past (posterior past, including prospective, 4.1.2: 2 Kgs 13:14).
This short list is not an innovation and roughly cor- responds to the taxonomies of meaning for qatal and yiqtol in many grammar books (Cook 2012: 78–79). In particular, it
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 7
should be remembered that the categories of anteriority and posteriority have been applied to the Hebrew verbal system for a long time (see for instance Joüon 1923: 509); while the cate- gory of prospective was introduced in this field more recently by Joosten (1999: 17–18; 2012: 281–83). I consider the category of “anteriority” to be distinct from the category of “tense” as it is defined by Bybee, Perkins and Pagliuca (1994: 54).
What is clear in these sequences is that if the first verbal form has any value, the following verbal forms have the same value. For instance, if SC has a past perfect value, the following verbal forms (whether SC or PC) will have a past perfect value, while if SC has a future perfect value the following verbal forms (whether SC or PC) will have a future perfect value.
The difficulty is that this remains true even when the sequences do not start with an introductory dominant verb. For instance, if a sequence starts with “x + waw + PC,” PC assumes its temporal value from “x” (or from the context), and the fol- lowing verbal forms (whether SC or PC) will have the same value as the first PC.
To try to pinpoint a rule, we can state that the first group of sequences expresses absolute past and anterior, so that we can define them as “past/anterior sequences”; while the second group expresses absolute future, posterior, and present, so that we can define them as “non-past/non-anterior sequences” (compare Rogland 2003: 11).
These temporal values seem to represent the prominent meaning of the sequences, but, as we will see, the opposition between the two groups can be used in some contexts to dis- tinguish between different phasal aspects (§ 5.2).
Lastly, when heading a sequence, both SC and PC can be translated into English with a present tense. However, in the case of the former, this applies only under certain circum- stances: namely, with stative verbs (3.1.1: Josh 14:6); in performative utterances (see the discussions in Rogland 2003: 115–26; Andrason 2011d); and, lastly, to denote some phasal aspects (§ 5.2).
At this point it is opportune to explain the difference between the sequences in each of the two groups. In other words, we must understand why the author does not employ only two sequences: SC + SC . . . and PC + PC . . . In order to do so, it is necessary to introduce a new category: taxis. This term is defined by Maslov in the following way:
Taxis is a category which defines the “action” denoted by the predicate in terms of its relations with another “ac- tion,” named or implied in the given utterance, that is, the chronological relations between them (simultaneity, prec- edence or sequence) (Maslov 1988: 64).
I will adopt this category in order to explain BH syntax. This approach is not completely new; in particular, Michel (followed by Wagner 1997: 291) based his theory on a concept very close to taxis. Building on the results of previous studies (Köhler,
8 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
Nyberg and Brockelmann), Michel concluded: “Das perfectum drückt eine unabhängige Handlung aus . . . ; das imperfectum bezeichnet eine abhängige Handlung” (1960: 256). Unfortu- nately, Michel combined this clear distinction with a philo- sophical approach and the result was a complex and rather un- clear theory.
“Independency” and “Dependency” are logical categories. However, they also include chronological relations. Michel explained: “If a perfectum follows syndetically or asyndetically on an imperfectum or a participle, it does not advance” (Eng- lish translation: Waltke and O’Connor 1990: 471). Put differ- ently: the perfect is simultaneous or contemporaneous with the previous verbal form.
It should be noted that Michel tried to offer a definition of verbal forms which was valid for both past and future sequences. In other words, he based his theory on “fixed taxis.” In this article I instead present a theory based on “relative taxis,” where the functions of the verbal forms are not abso- lute, but relative to the sequences in which they are used.
Finally, it should be noted that the category of “taxis” has recently been applied to Hebrew grammar by Andrason (2011a; 2011b; 2011d) in order to define the evolution of grams. Kuryłowicz (1973: 115–16) also explains the syntax of Semitic languages according to this category, but in his opinion qatal expresses anteriority and yiqtol simultaneity. Ḥatav (1997: 175– 88; 2004: 514.518) employs the terms “anteriority” and “sim- ultaneity” to define qatal, and “sequentiality” to define wayyiqtol (w + ay + yiqtol), weyiqtol (w + yiqtol) and weqatal (w + qatal).
- SEQUENCES AND TAXIS
I combine the concept of taxis with that of sequences and examine sequences involving SC and PC in prose and poetry, but I do not follow the sequential approach in several respects:
1) I do not assign to the introductory verb the role of determining the function of the following verbal forms.
2) I consider not only the first and second place in a sequence, but also those which follow, so that I analyze not only SC + PC sequences, but also SC + PC + SC sequences.
3) In these sequences, I do not distinguish between way- yiqtol, short yiqtol (*yaqtul) and long yiqtol (*yaqtulu) or between qatálti and qataltí. I seek to show that in this phase of BH (in poetry especially) the function of a verbal form depended on the position in the sequence and not on any morphological or phonetic element.
4) I do not distinguish between the main level of com- munication (foreground) and the secondary level of communi- cation (background). The verbal forms SC and PC can be used on both levels.
5) I consider the taxis not only as a “chronological” rela- tion, but also as a “logical” one.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 9
In light of the above, I attempt to demonstrate that:
1) SC and PC have different functions in a past/anterior
sequence and in a non-past/non-anterior sequence.
2) In a past/anterior sequence, SC denotes a co-ordinate element, whereas PC denotes a sub-ordinate (usually succes- sive) element.
3) In a non-past/non-anterior sequence, PC denotes a co- ordinate element while SC denotes a sub-ordinate (usually suc- cessive) element.
11. ***CO-ORDINATION AND SUB-ORDINATION***
As these remarks indicate, the present theory is based on a dis- tinction between two categories: co-ordination and subordi- nation. Co-ordination is intended here as a verbal form which does not advance the time or the logic of narration/discourse. Sub-ordination denotes for its part a verbal form which advances the time or the logic of narration or discourse.
The writer uses co-ordination (syndetically or asyndeti- cally) in the following instances:
Beginning: to initiate a new sequence.
Epexegesis: to repeat the same action/state using dif- ferent words.
Parenthetical remark: to add some particularity to the previous action/state/event.
Parallelism: to describe an action/state/event which is contemporary to/parallel with/opposite to the first.
Negation: to negate an action/state/event which is contemporary to/parallel with/opposite to the first.
Lists: to present a series of parallel actions/states/ events.
End: to stop the chain of events.
Generic parallelism: to describe an action paral- lel/opposite to a previous section.
Rhetoric: to underline an element in a chain.
All these usages are clearly connected one to the other. Often they indicate a description or a circumstance, but it should be stressed that this is not their only use. In a past/anterior sequence, SC is more often used in the main level of communi- cation (foreground) than in the second level of communication (background), that is to say, it often has a narrative character, although it expresses contemporaneity.
It is clear that if the usage of SC indicates that time does not go forward, the writer needs another conjugation in order to describe a non-parallel action. This is what PC does. I assign to PC (with or without waw) in past/anterior sequences what Waltke and O’Connor assign exclusively to wayyiqtol:
Relative waw with a prefix form represents a situation that is usually successive and always subordinate to a preceding statement. The succession may be either absolute or sub-
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jective, and often the distinction between them is blurred. Temporal sequence depends on objective fact outside the control of the speaker; logical sequence, by contrast, sub- jectively exists in the way a speaker sees the relationship between situations. Sometimes with wayyqtl a situation is represented as a logical entailment from (a) preceding one(s) or a logical contrast with it/them or as a sum- marizing statement of it/them. (Waltke and O’Connor 1990: 547; compare Joüon 1923: 91).
As stated, I do not consider such a sub-ordination to depend on the waw: in a past/anterior sequence we can also apply this category to yiqtol without waw. It is obvious that there is no limit to the number of following actions and therefore there is no limit in the usage of PC.
The usage of SC and PC in a non-past/non-anterior sequence is simply the flipping of the usage of SC and PC in a past/ anterior sequence: in non-past/non-anterior sequences the coordi- nation value is expressed by PC and the sub-ordination value by SC. Nevertheless, here we must distinguish between epistemic PC and deontic PC (Warren 2002: 150), which corresponds to the traditional distinction between indicative yiqtol and volitive yiqtol. In the present study we can only examine the first type of PC.
As we shall see, in both cases word order within the sen- tence is irrelevant.
- THE MEANINGS OF SC AND PC
As we have seen, SC and PC have different meanings depend- ing on the context.
In the first group of sequences, when SC appears in the first position it has a temporal value (past/anterior); when it appears in following positions it has a taxis value (co-ordination). In the second group, SC does not appear in the first position and always has a taxis value (sub-ordination).
The same can be said for PC: in the first group, PC does not appear in the first position and always has a taxis value (sub- ordination). In the second group of sequences, when PC appears in the first position it has a temporal value (non-past/non-ante- rior); when it appears in following positions it has a taxis value (co-ordination).
- THE VERBAL FUNCTIONS IN A PAST/ANTERIOR
SC AS FIRST VERB
SC as the First Verb in Main Sentence in Direct Speech
We can start our explanation by examining the syntax of direct speech where the situation is quite clear: when SC is the first verbal form in a sequence it represents the first action, state or event.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 11
This first verbal form can indicate the first action/event if it is a fientive verb, or a state if it is a stative verb. It may or may not be the first word in the sentence: in this phase of BH, word order inside a sentence does not affect the function of a verbal form. Therefore we can assign the same function in the sequence to this conjugation whether or not it comes as a first word inside the sentence.
Josh 7:11 (verb-subject)
Israel has sinned (NRSV). Josh 14:6 (subject-verb)
You too know.
חָ ָטא ִי ְשׂרָ ֵאל
ַאתָּה ָידַ ְﬠ ָתּ
SC is used in the first position of a sequence even when it does not represent the predicate in the sentence:
Josh 7:20 (subject as predicate)
It is true; I am the one who sinned (NRSV).
אָ ְמ ָנה אָ ֹנ ִכי
It should be noted that BH does not allow simple past, present perfect and past perfect to be distinguished; consequently, SC is used also for an antefact. See for instance:
1 Sam 2:30
. . . �יתְבּ יתִּ ַמרְ ָא רוֹאָמ
I had promised that your family . . . (NRSV).
Furthermore, BH does not allow a distinction between realis and irrealis, see Cook (2012: 202; compare Joosten 2012: 208–
12), who quotes Gen 26:10:
ָﬠם אֶת־אִ ְשׁ ֶ�תּ ה
טﬠַ ְמ כּ
ָת ישִׂ ﬠ
What is this you have done to us? One of the people
might easily have lain with your wife (NRSV).
SC as First Verb in a Secondary Clause
In secondary clauses as well, when SC is the first verbal form in a chain, it represents the first action/state/event.
1 Sam 17:28 (x-qatal)
כּי ל ַמ ַﬠן ְראוֹת ה ִמּ ְל ָח ָמה ָירָ ְד ָתּ
For you have come down just to see the battle (NRSV). 1 Sam 26:21 (verb-subject)
ֲא ֶשׁר ָי ְקרָה ַנפְ ִשׁי בְּ ֵﬠי ֶני�
Because my life was precious in your sight (NRSV).
SC can be used to describe an antefact:
Gen 20:18 (infinitive-qatal)
12 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
א ִבי ֶמ ֶל�
ֶר ֶחם כּל־
ַצר ְיה ָוה ﬠ
For the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the house of Abimelech (NRSV).
See also Gen 26:15; Josh 24:32.
SC as the First Verb in a Main Sentence in Narration
Here we can examine the function of SC in the main sentences in narration. We must start from a problematic verse: Gen 1:1.
In ancient times the first word יתשִׁ רֵאבּ was considered a noun
in the absolute state employed in an adverbial locution of time,
and the following verb רָאבּ was taken as representing the first
action of the narrative. This interpretation underlies all the ancient versions, for instance the LXX: ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεός. In recent times, a different opinion has gained currency among scholars: the first word is seen as a noun in the con- struct state (in the beginning of) and introducing a subordinate clause: in the beginning when God created (Niccacci 1991: 30–31; this opinion was already held by Rashi). According to this view,
the verb רָאבּ does not indicate the first action of the narrative,
but background information.
I do not consider the possibility that יתשִׁ רֵאis a construct state as a definitive argument against the ancient interpretation. The word ַאחַר , for instance, comes in a construct state (Joüon and Muraoka § 103) whether it is employed as a conjunction (after the time when) or as an adverb (after that). Compare:
After he had slain Gedaliah (NRSV). Gen 18:5a
ְגּדַ ְל ָיה את־
ְבּ ֶכם ל
ֶל ֶחם ְו ַס ֲﬠדוּ פת־
ו ֶא ְק ָחה
Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh your- selves, and after that you may pass on (NRSV).
In the same way, in Gen 1:1 יתשִׁ רֵאבּ
could be an adverbial
If we accept this hypothesis, we can conclude that there is no difference between direct speech and narration syntax: in both cases when SC is placed in the first position of the sequence it indicates the first action/state/event.
SC can also introduce a new section in the main narrative:
Josh 9:3 (subject-verb)
. . . וְּמע שׁ
The inhabitants of Gibeon heard . . .
ויֹ ְשׁבֵי ִגבְעוֹן
See also 1 Kgs 14:1. This kind of sentence is in the foreground and always incorporates the most important elements of the sequence.
2 Kgs 15:19 (verb-subject)
ﬠל־ ָה ָארֶץ
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 13
King Pul of Assyria came against the land (NRSV).
See also Josh 10:33 (introduced by אז).
1 Sam 28:3 (antefact)
Now Samuel had died (NRSV).
SC as the First Verb in a Main Sentence in Poetry
Likewise, in poetry, when SC is the first verbal form in a chain, it represents the first action/state/event.
Ps 11:1 (x-qatal)
In the LORD I take refuge (NRSV). Ps 39:2 (qatal)
I said . . . .
Ps 40:2 (infinitive-qatal)
. . . יתִּ ַמרְ א
I waited patiently for the LORD (NRSV).
ק ִוּיִית ְיהוָה
- OTHER CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE OF A SEQUENCE
A new sequence can be introduced not only by SC but by any other element (see examples in GKC § 111), in particular by the macrosyntactic signal ויהי, by NV, or by a secondary clause.
In this phase of BH, if the author employs ויהי, he/she wishes to stress that the new sequence is related (temporally or logically) to a previous event (compare the use of PC, § 3.4). Sometimes such a relationship is explicit:
. . . השֶׁ מ
After the death of Moses . . . (NRSV).
ֲח ֵרי מוֹת א
In the usage of ויהי there is no difference between narration and direct speech:
כּן ה ָיה
ַתר־ ָלנוּ פּ
רשֶׁ ֲא כּ
As he interpreted to us, so it turned out (NRSV).
- SC AFTER ANOTHER SC
If SC follows another SC, it expresses co-ordination.
14 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
SC + SC in a Main Sentence in Direct Speech
Gen 37:33 (infinitive-verb-subject, qatal without waw)
טָרֹף טֹרַף יוֹסֵף
א ָכ ָלְתהוּ
ח ָיּה ָר ָﬠה
A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces (NRSV).
Isa 41:4 (weqatal)
מִי־פָ ַﬠל ְו ָﬠָשׂה
Who has performed and done this? (NRSV).
See also Josh 4:7 (x-qatal without waw); 2 Sam 24:17 (waw-x-
qatal); 2 Kgs 19:21 and Isa 34:2 (qatal without waw).
1 Sam 30:14
ָדה ְו ַﬠל־ ֶנ ֶגב ליהוּ
ֵר ִתי ְו ַﬠל־ ֲא ֶשׁר ה ְכּ
פַּ ְשׁטנוּ ֶנ ֶגב
ואֶת־ ִצ ְק ַלג
We had made a raid on the Negeb of the Cherethites and on that which belongs to Judah and on the Negeb of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag down (NRSV).
Gen 20:5 (subject-verb)
ִחי הוּא א
ְו ִהיא־ ַגם־ ִהוא הוא
ַמר־לִי א אָ
הל ֹא הוּא
Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister?’ And she herself said, ‘He is my brother’ (NRSV)
See also Gen 41:13; Judg 1:7; 1 Sam 18:8; 2 Sam 17:15.
See for instance 2 Sam 18:29.
Gen 27:37 (waw-x-qatal)
ָב ִדים ְו ָד ָגן ל ֲﬠ
ל� ְו ֶאת־כּל־א ָחיו ָנתִַיתּ לוֹ
שַׂ ְמ ִתּיו ס ַמ ְכִיתּו
ְגּ ִביר ֵהן ותִירֹשׁ
I have already made him your lord, and I have given him all his brothers as servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him (NRSV).
See also Josh 7:11 (וגם-verb); 1 Sam 12:3.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 15
SC + SC in a Secondary Clause
כִּי־ ִה ְקָשׁה ְיה ָוה אֱ� ֶהי� אֶת־רוּחוֹ ְואִ ֵמּץ אֶת־ ְל ָבבוֹ
For the LORD your God had hardened his spirit and
made his heart defiant (NRSV).
See also in poetry Ps 102:4 (x-qatal)
2 Sam 7:1
ָכּל־א ְי ָביו׃ מ
ָסּ ִביב מ
ֵביתוֹ ַויה ָוה בּ
�ֶל מֶּ ה
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him (NRSV).
1 Kgs 3:11
שָׁ ַא ְלָתּ ֶאת־הַ ָדּ ָבר הַ ֶזּה ְול ֹא־שָׁ ַא ְלתּ . . . ְול ֹא־
. . .תְּלָ ַא ָשְׁו . . . תָּ ְל ַא ָשׁ
Because you have asked this, and have not asked . . . and
have not asked . . . and have asked . . . (NRSV).
Qatal and not-qatal are equivalent.
SC + SC in a Main Sentence in Narration
1 Kgs 11:1–2 (subject-verb; x-qatal)
דָּ ַבק בּהֶם
ַהב נָ ִשׁים ָנ ְכ ִרוֹיּת ַרוֹבּת . . . אָ
ו ַה ֶמּ ֶל� שְׁ�מה
שְׁ�מה ל ַא ֲה ָבה׃
King Solomon loved many foreign women . . . Solomon
clung to these in love (NRSV).
1 Kgs 15:1–2
ִב ָיּם אֲ
ְנ ָבט בּן־
ֶל� ָי ָר ְב ָﬠם ל ֶמּ
ֵרה שְׂ ﬠ
וּ ִב ְשׁ ַנת
Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem (NRSV).
Gen 19:23–24 (subject-verb)
בָּא צֹ ֲﬠרָה׃
ָה ָא ֶרץ ְולוֹט ﬠל־
השֶּׁ ֶמשׁ ָיצָא
16 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
The sun rose on the earth and at that moment Lot came to Zoar.
- Sam 4:11 (subject-verb)
ְפ ִני וּ ִפי ְנחָס׃ חָ
ֵני־ ֵﬠ ִלי ב
ואֲרוֹן אֱ� ִהים ִנ ְלָקח וּ ְשׁ ֵני
The ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died (NRSV).
A few verses later, in 1 Sam 4:17, we see the same syntax in direct speech.
See also Gen 18:20; Josh 11:13; Judg 3:24; 1 Sam 9:17.
- Kgs 3:3
ִי ְשׂ ָראֵל דָּ ֵבק אֶת־
ֶשׁר־ ֶה ֱח ִטיא א
ַחטּ ֹאות ָירָ ְב ָﬠם בּ
לֹא־סָר מִ ֶמּ ָנּה׃
Nevertheless he clung to the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit; he did not de- part from it (NRSV).
SC + SC in Poetry
Ps 85:3–4 (qatal without waw)
ַס ְפָתּ ָכל־ﬠֶבְ ָר ֶת� א
כּ ִסּיָת ָכל־חַ ָטּאתָם
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Selah. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger (NRSV).
Ps 9:6 (qatal without waw)
גּ ַﬠרְ ָתּ גוֹיִם א ַבּדְ ָתּרָ ָשׁע
You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked (NRSV).
Compare, for instance, Ps 102:18.
Ps 74:13–15 (x-qatal and qatal)
ﬠל־הַ ָמּ ִים׃
ָﬠ ְ�זּ ָים ִנים בְ ַתנִּי
פוֹ ַררְ ָתּ ָרא ֵשׁי אתָּה ִשׁ ַבּרְ ָתּ
ל ִצ ִיּים׃
ֲא ָכל מ
וּנֶּנ תְּ תּ
ְו ָי ָתן ל
אתָּה ִרצְַּצָתּ ָרא ֵשׁי
מ ְﬠ ָין ָו ָנחַל
אתָּה הוֹ ַבְ ָתּשׁ ַנ ֲהרוֹת אי ָתן׃
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 17
You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. You cut openings for springs and torrents; you dried up ever-flowing streams (NRSV).
This array of SC is correctly interrupted by one occurrence of PC (see § 5.3). See also Jer 2:8.
- PC IN THE SECOND POSITION
It is clear that if the usage of SC indicates that time does not go forward, the writer needs another conjugation in order to describe a non-parallel action. As I have salready mentioned, this is what PC does.
. . . + PC in Direct Speech
מאד ַו ִיּ ְגדָּל
ֲאדֹ ִני את־
The LORD has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy (NRSV).
Gen 37:7 (waw-x-yiqtol and wayyiqtol)
ֻס ֶבּי ָנה תְ
ָמּ ִתי ְו ַגם־ ִנ ָצּ ָבה ְו ִה ֵנּה א ֻל
ו ִה ֵנּה
ַותִּ ְשַׁ ֲתּח ֶויןָ ַל ֲא ֻל ָמּתִי׃
Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf (NRSV).
Isa 63:3 (we-yiqtol)
ִתּי ְו ֶא ְדרְ ֵכם א
ִדּי וּ ֵמ ַﬠ ִמּים ל ַב
וּפּ ָרה ָדּ ַר ְכ ִתּי
ְג ָא ְל ִתּי א
ְבּ ָג ַדי ְו ָכל־ ַמ ְלוּבּ ַשׁי ﬠל־
ָמתִי וְ ֵיז ִנ ְצ ָחם בּ ֲח
ו ֶארְ ְמ ֵסם
I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and tram- pled them in my wrath; their juice spattered on my gar- ments, and stained all my robes (NRSV).
. . . + PC in a Secondary Clause
1 Sam 15:24
את־ ָה ָﬠם ָו ֶאְ ַשׁמע
כּי ָי ֵרא ִתי
Because I feared the people and obeyed their voice (NRSV).
. . . + PC in Narration
1 Sam 1:10–11 (wayyiqtol and waw-infinitive-yiqtol)
ְב ֶכּה׃ ַותִּדֹּר ֶנדֶר תִ
ְיה ָוה וּ ָבכֹה ﬠל־
ללֵּ פַּת ְִתַּו . . .
She prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. She made
this vow (NRSV).
18 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
I consider הכֶּ ְב תִ a punctual action. The insertion of the infini- tive shows that the author considered yiqtol equivalent to way- yiqtol. See also 1 Kgs 3:4.
Deut 4:41 (long yiqtol without waw, with אז)
ַי ְבדִּיל אָז
. . .
. . . then Moses set apart three cities (NRSV).
See also Josh 8:30; 19:50; 22:1; 2 Sam 12:31; 1 Kgs 3:4; 8:1; 2
PC is also used in negative sentences when the writer wishes to stress that the following verbal form is successive:
- Kgs 1:1 (yiqtol)
ְבּ ָג ִדים ְול ֹא ִיחַם לוֹ׃ בּ
ִמים ַו ְי ַכ ֻסּהוּ בּ ָיּ
ו ַה ֶמּ ֶל� ָדּ ִוד ָז ֵקן בּא
King David was old and advanced in years; and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm (NRSV).
- Sam 2:28 (yiqtol)
ֲח ֵרי א
ָה ָﬠם ְול ֹא־ ִירְ ְדּפוּ עוֹד כּל־
וְּמד ﬠַ יַּ ַו ָפר וֹשּׁבּ
ו ִיּ ְת ַקע יוֹ ָאב
ִי ְשׂרָ ֵאל
Joab sounded the trumpet and all the people stopped; they no longer pursued Israel (NRSV).
See also 1 Sam 1:7.
In some instances, the logical subordination of PC is clear even when there is no succession:
ָשּׁ ַחר׃ ה
ַבוֹדּ ַו ֵיּאָ ֵבק ל
קֹבﬠֲ ַי ֵתרוָּ יִּ ַו . . .
בּ ַכף־ ְירֵכוֹ
ל ֹא ָיכֹל לוֹ ַו ִגּיַּע כּי
Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket (NRSV).
In this example no succession is involved: the action of wrest- ling was not over when the man struck Jacob, but it is clear that רְאיַּ ַו and ַעגּיִּ ַו are sub-ordinate to ֵבק אָיֵּ ַו . See also Gen 37:34–35.
It is very rare that PC is not the continuation of a single verbal form. However, it can be considered the continuation of the previous narrative: see, e.g., 1 Sam 15:1. This is the explanation for many of the so-called “initial wayyiqtol.”
When SC represents an antefact, the following PC can indicate an action/state/event that continues the antefact, or an action/state/event that occurs later (GKC § 111n-x).
ִמּצְ ַר ִים כְּ ֵלי־כֶ ֶסף מ
מ ֶשׁה ַו ִיְּ ֲשׁאלוּ
ְד ַבר כּ
וּ ְב ֵני־ ִי ְשׂרָ ֵאל
וּ ְכ ֵלי ָז ָהב וּ ְשׂ ָמ�ת׃
The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing (NRSV).
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 19
See also Josh 2:6.
משֶׁה ַויֹּרִ ֵשׁם׃
ְר ָפ ִאים ַו ַכּיֵּם ה
ֶיּ ֶתר מ
הוּא ִנשְׁ ַאר
He alone was left of the survivors of the Rephaim and
later Moses defeated them and driven them out. Deut 2:12 (subject-verb, yiqtol)
ִנים וּבְ ֵני לפָ
וּ ְבשֵׂ ִﬠיר ָישְׁבוּ
Moreover, the Horim had formerly inhabited Seir, but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them (NRSV).
. . . + PC in Poetry
Ps 8:6–7 (x + PC; wayyiqtol, waw-x-yiqtol and yiqtol)
תּ ַﬠ ְטּרֵהוּ׃ ַתּ ְמִישׁ ֵלהוּ
ִהים ְו ָכבוֹד ְו ָה ָדר מ ֱא�
ו ְתּ ַח ְסּרֵהוּ
ְבּ ַמ ֲﬠ ֵשׂי ָידֶי�
Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands (NRSV).
Ps 24:2 (waw-x-yiqtol)
כּי־הוּא ﬠל־ ַי ִמּים ְי ָס ָדהּ ְו ַﬠל־ ְנ ָהרוֹת ְיכוֹנְ ֶנ ָה
For he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers (NRSV).
Ps 44:3 (wayyiqtol, yiqtol, wayyiqtol)
לאֻ ִמּים ַו ְתַּ ְלּשׁ ֵחם׃
אתָּה ָי ְד� וֹגּ ִים הוֹ ַר ְתּשָׁ ַותִּ ָטּ ֵﬠם
You with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free (NRSV).
Ps 44:10 (negative; yiqtol)
אף־ ָז ַנ ְח ָתּ ַותַּ ְכ ִלי ֵמנוּ ְולֹא־תֵ ֵצא בּ ִצ ְבאוֹתינוּ
Yet you have rejected us and abased us, and have not
gone out with our armies (NRSV). Ps 66:6 (x-yiqtol)
ָנּ ָהר ַי ַﬠְברוּ בּ
ַי ָבּ ָשׁה ל
ה ַפ� ָים
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot (NRSV).
Ps 69:21–22 (wayyiqtol and waw-x-yiqtol)
לָנוּד וָ ַא ִין וְ ַל ְמ ַנ ֲח ִמים וְל ֹא
לבִּי ָו ָאנוָּשׁה ָו ֲאַ ֶוּקה
ִתי ר ֹאשׁ ְו ִל ְצ ָמ ִאי ַי ְשׁקוּני בּ ָברוּ
מ ָצאתי׃ ַו ִתּיְּנוּ
Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (NRSV).
20 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
Ps 74:14 (yiqtol)
ל ִצ ִיּים׃
ֲא ָכל מ
ְו ָיתָן ל
אתָּה ִר ַצּ ְצתָּ ָרא ֵשׁי
You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness (NRSV).
Ps 78:13–15 (wayyiqtol and yiqtol)
בַּ ִמּדְ ָבּר
עקַּ ַב ְי . . . ֵנד ־וֹמכּ
ַקע ָים ַו ַיּ ֲﬠ ִבירֵם ַו ַיּ ֶצּב־ ַמ ִים בּ
He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. . . . He split rocks open in the wilderness (NRSV).
Ps 78:20 (wayyiqtol and waw-x-yiqtol)
הֵן הִ ָכּה־צוּר ַו ָיּזוּבוּ מ ִים וּנ ָח ִלים ִישְׁטֹפוּ
Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
and torrents overflowed (NRSV). Ps 78:42–50 (wayyiqtol and yiqtol)
ִמ ְצ ַר ִים בּ
ֶשׁר־ ָשׂם א
ִנּי־ ָצר׃ מ
ֶשׁר־ ָפּ ָדם א
ָידוֹ יוֹם את־
ל ֹא־ ָז ְכרוּ
ֶהם ְו ֹנ ְז ֵלי ֶהם א ֵרי
ָדם ְי ל
בּ ְשׂ ֵדה־צֹ ַﬠן׃ ַו ַיּהֲ ֹפ�
אתוֹתיו וּמוֹ ְפ ָתיו
ַויּ ֹא ְכ ֵלם וּ ְצ ַפרְ ֵדּ ַ� ַותַּ ְשׁ ִחיֵתם׃ ﬠרֹב
בּל־ ִישְׁ ָתּיוּן׃ ְישַׁ ַלּח
בַּבָּ ָרד ַגּפְ ָנם
ַא ְרבֶּה׃ ַיהֲרֹג ל
ָח ִסיל ְיבוּלם ִוי ִגי ָﬠם ל
ְר ָשׁ ִפים׃ ל
ָרם וּ ִמ ְק ֵני ֶהם בּ ִﬠי
ָבּ ָרד ל
ֲח ָנ ַמל׃ ַו ַיּסְ ֵגּר בּ
ו ִשׁ ְקמוֹתם
מ ְל ֲא ֵכי
ְשׁ ַל ַחת מ
ָרה ָו ַז ַﬠם ְו ָצ ָרה ﬠ ְב
רָ ִﬠים׃ ְיפַ ֵלּס ָנ ִתיב ל ַאוֹפּ
They did not keep in mind his power, or the day when he redeemed them from the foe; when he displayed his signs in Egypt, and his miracles in the fields of Zoan. He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams. He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave their crops to the caterpillar, and the fruit of their labor to the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycamores with frost. He gave over their cattle to the hail, and their flocks to thunderbolts. He let loose on them his fierce anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels. He made a path for his an- ger (NRSV).
Ps 78:64 (negative; yiqtol)
תִ ְב ֶכּי ָנה׃
ֶרב ָנ ָפלוּ ְו ַא ְל ְמ ֹנ ָתיו ל ֹא בּ ֶח
כֹּ ֲה ָניו
Their priests fell by the sword, and after this their widows
made no lamentation.
Ps 80:6–7 (wayyiqtol, yiqtol and waw-x-yiqtol)
ְד ָמעוֹת בּ
ֶחם ִדּ ְמ ָﬠה ַו ַתְּשׁקמוֹ ל
ה ֱא ַכ ְל ָתּם
א ְי ֵבינוּ ִי ְל ֲﬠגוּ־לָמוֹ׃
ְשׁ ֵכ ֵנינוּ ְו ל
You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You made us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laughed among themselves.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 21
Ps 81:7–8 (yiqtol, wayyiqtol, yiqtol)
ֲﬠבֹרְ ָנה׃ ַבּ ָצּרָה תּ
ֵסּ ֶבל מ
ה ִסירוֹ ִתי
מ ִרי ָבה
א ְבָ ְחנ�
ֵס ֶתררַ ַﬠם בּ
ֶﬠ ְנ� אֶ
ו ֲאַ ְחלּ ֶצ ָךּ
I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I res- cued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah (NRSV).
Ps 105:40 (wayyiqtol and waw-x-yiqtol)
שׁ ַמ ִים ַישְׂ ִבּי ֵﬠם׃
ָלו ְו ֶל ֶחם שׂ
שָׁ ַאל ַו ָיּבֵא
He asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance (NRSV).
Ps 114:3 (wayyiqtol and yiqtol)
ַיּרְ ֵדּן יִסֹּב ה
ה ָיּם ָר ָאה וַ ָיּ ֹנס
The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back (NRSV). Jer 2:14–15 (x-yiqtol)
ִית הוּא בּ
ְי ִליד אם־
ה ֶﬠ ֶבד ִי ְשׂ ָר ֵאל
ישְׁ ֲאגוּ כ ִפרִים
Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant? Why then has he become plunder? The lions have roared against him (NRSV).
See also Ps 78:58 (yiqtol); 80:6–7 (yiqtol); Isa 41:5 (weyiqtol, yiqtol
Isa 4:4 (future perfect, waw-x-yiqtol)
ִצוֹיּן ְואֶת־ ְדּ ֵמי ְירוּ ָשׁ ַל� בּנוֹת־
אִם ָר ַחץ אֲדֹ ָני אֵת צֹאַת
ִמ ִקּרְ ָהּבּ
Once the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jeru- salem from its midst.
See also Isa 6:11 (compare GKC §§ 106o, 107l).
- COMING BACK TO SC
If the writer needs a co-ordinate verbal form after PC, he/she comes back to SC.
. . . PC + SC in Direct Speech
Gen 41:11(x-qatal without waw)
ִפ ְתרוֹן כּ
ִני ָוהוּא א
ַל ְי ָלה בּ
ו ַנּ ַח ְל ָמה
חָ ָל ְמנוּ׃
We dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own meaning (NRSV).
22 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
Deut 6:22–23 (waw-x-qatal)
בּ ִמ ְצרַ ִים . . . ְואוֹתנוּ הוִֹציא
. . . תת
ו ִיּ ֵתּן ְיה ָוה אוֹ
The LORD displayed before signs . . . against Egypt. He
brought us out from there (NRSV). 1 Kgs 12:29
ְואֶת־ ָהאֶ ָחד ָנתַן בּ ֵבית־אֵל
ו ָיּ ֶשׂם אֶת־הָאֶ ָחד
He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan (NRSV).
Here, there are two perfectly symmetrical actions in the fore- ground. See also 1 Kgs 3:20.
1 Sam 22:10 (with waw)
ְפּ ִל ְשׁ ִתּי ָנתַן ה
ֶרב ָגּ ְל ָית ח
בּיהָוה וְ ֵצידָה ָנתַן לוֹ וְ ֵאת
ַו ִיּ ְשׁ ַאל־לוֹ
He inquired of the LORD for him, [and] gave him provi- sions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine (NRSV).
See also Deut 3:8–13 (without waw).
1 Sam 19:5 (verb as first word; without waw)
ָכל־ ִי ְשׂ ָר ֵאלרָ ִאי ָת ַו ִשׂתְּ ָמח ל
ָלה וְֹגד הﬠָ וּשׁתּ
ו ַיּ ַשׂﬠ ְיה ָוה
And the LORD brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced (NRSV).
. . . PC + SC in Narration
Josh 11:12 (verb-subject, without waw)
ה ֱחרִים אוֹתם
ִפי־ ֶח ֶרב ל
םכֵּ יַּ ו
He struck them with the edge of the sword, he utterly
See also 1 Sam 14:35.
את־ ָה ֲﬠ ָג�ת ְו ֶאת־ ַה ָבּ ָקר ַו ִיּ ֵתּן אוֹ ָתם
ַחקּיִּ ַו . . .
ְב ֵני ֵגרְוֹשׁן ל
ָבּ ָקר ָנתַן ה
ְר ַבּ ַﬠת א
ה ֲﬠ ָג�ת ְו ֵאת
ה ְל ִו ִיּם׃ את
ָבּ ָקר ָנתַן ה
ה ֲﬠ ָג�ת ְו ֵאת
ְר ַבּע א
ָד ָתם׃ ְו ֵאת ﬠבֹ
ﬠבֹ ָד ָתם
מ ָר ִרי
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 23
So Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them to the Levites: two wagons and four oxen he gave to the Gershonites, according to their service; and four wagons and eight oxen he gave to the Merarites, according to their service (NRSV).
See also Josh 6:15; 6:23; 1 Sam 6:12.
. . . ןבּ
ְבּ ִכי ָרה ה
ֲא ִבי ֶהן׃ ַו ֵתּ ֶלד מ
ֶריןָ ֲה תַּ ַו . . .
ו ַה ְצּ ִﬠי ָרה ַגם־ ִהוא ָי ְלדָה בֵּן
Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son . . . the younger also bore a son (NRSV).
These sorts of sequences are very frequent: see for instance Gen 4:3–4; 18:33; 25:5–6; 27:5–6; 35:18; 40:21–22; 41:51–52;
41:54; Josh 4:12; 6:25; 10:13. In all these occurrences the paral- lelism is between two symmetrical actions in the foreground (in this respect I agree with Cook 2012: 297). There is no differ- ence in the aspect, in the tense, or in the function of these ver- bal forms.
1 Sam 3:18 (with waw)
ַה ְדּ ָב ִרים וְלֹא את־כּל־
ו ַיּ ֶגּד־לוֹ
So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him (NRSV).
Josh 11:11 (without waw)
ֲח ֵרם ל ֹא נוֹתר ה
ִפי־ ֶח ֶרב ל
הּבָּ ר־שֶׁ א
ַה ֶנּ ֶפשׁ את־כּל־
And they put to the sword all who were in it, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed (NRSV).
See also Josh 13:14.
Josh 15:2–3 (with waw)
ֶנה ֶנ ְג ָבּה׃ הפּ
ַה ָשׁלֹּן מן־
ֶמּ ַלח ה
ְק ֵצה ָים מ
ֶהם ְגּבוּל ֶנ ֶגב ל
ו ְי ִהי
מִ ֶנּ ֶגב
צִ ָנה ְוﬠָ ָלה
ְק ַר ִבּים ְו ָﬠַבר ﬠ
ַמﬠֲ ֵלה ל
ֶנּ ֶגב אל־מ
הקַּ ְרקָ ָﬠה׃
א ָדּרָה ְו ָנַסב
ְצרוֹן ְוﬠָ ָלה חֶ
בּרְ ֵנ ַ� ְו ָﬠַבר
ל ָק ֵדשׁ
And their south boundary ran from the end of the Dead Sea, from the bay that faces southward; it went out southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, passed along to Zin, and went up south of Kadesh-barnea, along by Hez- ron, up to Addar, and made a turn to Karka.
24 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
End of the Chain of Events
Gen 41:57 (subject-verb)
ְצ ַר ְימָה מִ
ו ָכל־ ָה ָא ֶרץ
All the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain (NRSV).
Gen 45:15 (verb-subject)
ֵליהֶם ְו ַא ֲחרֵי ﬠ
ָכל־ ֶאחָיו ַו ֵיּבְ ְךּ ל
ו ְי ַנשֵּׁק
And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him (NRSV).
See also Exod 12,50; Josh 6:14; with waw: Josh 11:11; 11:23; 14:15; 24:33; Judg 1:8. Usually, the new sequence that follows begins with ויהי.
את־יְהוֹ ֻשׁ ַ�
ִדּגַּל יְה ָוה ההוּא
On that day the LORD exalted Joshua (NRSV).
In this case, SC is not parallel to another single verbal form, but rather to the entire previous chain. See also Josh 4:19; 11:12.
The writer wishes to underline an element in a chain.
הֵ ִקים ְיהוֹ ֻ�שַׁ
Those twelve stones Joshua set up.
. . . PC + SC in Poetry
ָב ִנים א
ב ִי ְשׂרָ ֵאל׃
ֲﬠקֹב ְו ַגם־ ַאף ב ַי
ו ִיּ ְת ַﬠ ָבּר ְו ֵאשׁ ִנ ְשּׂ ָקה
He was full of rage; a fire was kindled against Jacob, his anger mounted against Israel (NRSV).
See also Ps 78:24.31.57 (without waw).66.
THE VERBAL FUNCTIONS IN A NON-PAST/NON- ANTERIOR SEQUENCE
- PC AS THE FIRST VERB
When PC falls in the first position it indicates the first non- past/non-anterior action/state/event. It may or may not be the first word in the sentence.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 25
PC as the First Verb in Direct Speech
1 Sam 18:11
I will pin David to the wall (NRSV). 1 Sam 17:32 (subject-verb)
ָד ִוד וּבַ ִקּיר בְ
Your servant will go (NRSV).
PC as First Verb in a Secondary Clause
ﬠ ְבדְּ� ֵילֵ�
Also in secondary clauses when PC is the first verbal form in a chain, it represents the first non-past/non-anterior action.
1 Sam 31:4
פּן־יָבוֹאוּ הָ ֲﬠ ֵר ִלים הָ ֵא ֶלּה . . .
So that these uncircumcised may not come . . . (NRSV).
In a past context, PC represents a “future in the past” action:
2 Kgs 13:14
ֲאשֶׁר יָמוּת וֹבּ
[. . . the illness] of which he was to die (NRSV).
PC as the First Verb in a Main Sentence in Poetry
In poetry, when PC is the first verbal form in a chain it repre- sents the first non-past/non-anterior action.
Ps 121:1 (yiqtol)
I lift up my eyes to the hills (NRSV).
ַני אֶל־ ֶה ָהרִים ﬠי
- OTHER CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE OF A
As a past/anterior sequence can begin in any given way, and not only with SC, a non-past/non-anterior can also begin in any given way. For instance:
1 Sam 9:8 (non-verbal sentence)
. . . ֶסף כּ
ָי ִדי ֶר ַבע ב
ה ֵנּה ִנ ְמ ָצא
Here, I have with me a quarter shekel of silver . . . (NRSV).
1 Sam 17:25 (we-haya)
. . . וּנּכֶּ ַי ר־שֶׁ א
The man who kills him . . . (NRSV).
- PC AFTER ANOTHER PC
ו ָה ָיה
If PC comes after another PC it expresses co-ordination.
26 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
PC + PC in Main Sentence in Direct Speech
בִּבְכֹרוֹ יְיַ ְסּ ֶד ָנּה וּבִ ְצ ִﬠירוֹ ַיצִּיב דְּ ָל ֶתי ָה׃
At the cost of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest he shall set up its gates! (NRSV).
Both sentences clearly describe the same curse.
1 Kgs 11:11–12
׃�דֶּ ְב ﬠַ ל
מ ָﬠ ֶלי� וּנ ַת ִתּיה
ַמּ ְמ ָל ָכה את־ה
ְקרָ ֶﬠ ָנּה׃ א
ַמ ַﬠן ָדּ ִוד ל
הנָּ שֶׂ ﬠֱ א
בּ ָי ֶמי� ל ֹא
I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son (NRSV).
ָﬠל׃ ְו ַﬠל־ מ
ָשּׁ ַמ ִים ה
ֶרץ יִ ְהיֶה מוֹ ָשׁ ֶב� וּ ִמ ַטּל ה ָא
ְשׁ ַמ ֵנּי מ
חרְ ְ�בּ תִ ְח ֶיה
See, away from the fatness of the earth shall your home be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live (NRSV).
See also Josh 18:5b; 2 Sam 7:14.
1 Sam 8:11–17
ל ְפ ֵני
ְר ַכּ ְבוֹתּ וּ ְב ָפ ָר ָשׁיו ְו ָרצוּ בּ ֶמ
אֶת־ ְבּ ֵני ֶכם ִיקָּח ְו ָשׂם לוֹ
. . .וֹתְּב כַּ ֶמרְ
ו ֶאת־ ְבּנוֹתי ֶכם ִיקָּח . . .
ִבים ִיקָּח ְו ָנתַן הוֹטּ
ְשׂדוֹ ֵתיכֶם ְו ֶאת־כַּ ְר ֵמיכֶם ְו ֵזי ֵתיכֶם ו ֶאת־
ַל ֲﬠ ָבדָיו׃
ל ָס ִרי ָסיו ְו ַל ֲﬠ ָב ָדיו׃
ִל ְמ ַלא ְכוֹתּ׃
ֵﬠיכֶם ְוכַ ְר ֵמי ֶכם ַי ְשׂﬠֹר ְו ָנ ַתן ְבדֵי ֶכם . . . ִיקָּח ְו ָשׂﬠָה ְו ַז ְר ְו ֶאת־ ַﬠ
ֹא ְנכֶם ַי ְשׂﬠֹר צ
ל ֲﬠ ָב ִדים׃
He will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; . . . He will take your daughters . . . He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his cour- tiers. He will take your male and female slave . . . and put
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 27
them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves (NRSV).
The series of PC is correctly interrupted four times by SC (see § 4.4).
PC + PC in a Secondary Clause
Josh 1:8 (with אז)
אֶת־ ְדּ ָר ֶכ� ְואָז
For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful (NRSV).
See also 2 Sam 16:18.
לֹא ִישְׁ ַכּב עד־י ֹאַכל ט ֶרף ְו ַדם־ ֲחלָלִים ִישְׁ ֶתּה׃
It does not lie down till it devours the prey, and drinks
the blood of the slain (RSV).
Ps 72:12–14 (yiqtol, short yiqtol, waw-x-yiqtol, x-yiqtol and we- yiqtol)
ֵוּ ַ� ְו ָﬠ ִני ְו ֵאין־עֹ ֵזר לוֹ מ ַשׁ
יָ ֹחס ﬠל־ ַדּל ְו ֶא ְביוֹן
ו ַנפְוֹשׁת אבְיוֹ ִנים יוֹ ִשׁי�׃
מִ�וֹתּ וּמֵ ָחמָס ִי ְגַאל ַנ ְפשָׁם
ו ֵיי ַקר ָדּ ָמם בּ ֵﬠי ָניו׃
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppres- sion and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.
PC + PC in a Main Sentence in Poetry
Ps 42:6 (yiqtol and wayyiqtol)
מַה־ ִתּ ְוֹתּשֲׁחִיח ַנ ְפשִׁי ַותֶּ ֱה ִמי ﬠָ ָלי
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and are you dis- quieted within me? (NRSV).
See also Ps 9:9 and 29:8 (x-yiqtol and yiqtol without waw).
Ps 22:8 (subject-verb, yiqtol)
28 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
ָשׂפָה ָי ִניעוּ רֹאשׁ׃ בְ
לִי ַי ְפִיטרוּ
כּל־רֹאַי ַי ְל ִﬠגוּ
All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads (NRSV).
See also Ps 29:9 (yiqtol and wayyiqtol); 102:27 (x-yiqtol and yiqtol).
See Isa 40:31.
See Ps 18:26–30 (x-yiqtol); Isa 41:19 (yiqtol).
- SC IN THE SECOND POSITION
SC in the second position expresses sub-ordination.
. . . + SC in Direct Speech
Gen 17:15–16 (weqatal and waw-x-qatal)
יכּ ָרי שׂ
ְשׁ ָמהּ את־
ְ�תּ ל ֹא־ ִת ְק ָרא א ְשׁ
א ָתהּ ְו ַגם ָנתִַיתּ
וּ ֵברַ ְכ ִתּי
As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her (NRSV).
Lev 26:44 (negative)
א ְי ֵבי ֶהם ל ֹא־מְ ַאְ ִסתּים ְולֹא־
ֶא ֶרץ בּ
ו ַאף־ ַגּם־ז ֹאת
ג ַﬠ ְלִיתּם ל ַכ�תָם
Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, or abhor them so as to destroy them utterly (NRSV).
In these two occurrences of PC the writer underlines the fact that the two verbal forms are successive even though negative.
1 Sam 20:18 (not weqataltí)
ָמ ָחר חֹדשׁ ְו ִנ ְפ ֕קַ ְדָתּ
Tomorrow is the new moon; you will be missed (NRSV).
See also 1 Sam 2:16.
4.4.2 . . . + SC in a Secondary Clause
. . . שֶׁמ ֶשַּׁה את־
ַמ ְי ָמה ְורָ ִאי ָת ה ָשּׁ
וּ ֶפן־ ִתּ ָשּׂא
And lest you lift up your eyes towards the heavens and see
the sun . . . Eccl 2:24
יּשׁ ֹאכל ְו ָשׁ ָתה
ָא ָדם בּ
There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 29
In this example there can be no doubt that both PC and SC are in the foreground, and that there is no difference in the aspect of the action.
Ps 11:2 (without waw)
וּננוֹכּ תשֶׁ ק
ָשׁ ִﬠים ִי ְד ְרכוּן ה ְר
הנֵּ ה יכּ
For look, the wicked bend the bow, they fit their arrow to the string.
See also Ps 73:27.
4.4.3. . . . + SC in Poetry
Ps 110:6 (qatal without waw)
ֶא ֶרץ ַר ָבּה׃ ﬠל־
מַחץ ר ֹאשׁ
ֵלא ְג ִווֹיּת מָ
He will execute judgment among the nations; he will fill them with corpses; he will shatter heads over the wide earth (NRSV).
Ps 132:17 (qatal without waw)
ל ְמ ִשׁי ִחי׃
ﬠרַ ְכ ִתּי ֵנר
ָד ִוד ל
שׁם א ְצ ִמי ַ�
There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David; I will prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
Ps 73:18 (qatal without waw)
ַפּ ְלָתּם ה
א� בּ ֲח ָלקוֹת
Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall
to ruin (NRSV).
Isa 11:8 (waw-x-qatal)
ְפעוֹ ִני ָגּמוּל ָידוֹ צ
ֶתן ְו ַﬠל פּ
ֵנק וֹי עשַׁ ﬠֲ שִׁ ו
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den (NRSV).
Isa 19:7 (qatal without waw)
ֹוְכל מ ְזרַע יְאוֹר ִייבַשׁ ִנדַּף
And all that is sown by the Nile will dry up, be driven away (NRSV).
Isa 51:11 (qatal without waw)
שָׂוֹשׂן ְושִׂ ְמ ָחה ַי ִשּׂיגוּן ָנסוּ יָגוֹן ַו ֲא ָנחָה׃
They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing
shall flee away (NRSV).
4.5. . . . SC + PC
If the writer needs a co-ordinate element after SC, he/she comes back to PC.
30 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
. . . SC + PC in Direct Speech
1 Kgs 1:35
ﬠל־כּ ְס ִאי ְוהוּא ִימְ��
ו ָי ַשׁב
He shall sit on my throne and shall be king in my place
In 1 Kgs 1:13 the verbal forms are in reverse order (see also 1 Kgs 1:17.30). See also Lev 26:42 (reference to the same cov- enant).
ִלי־ ֵאשׁ וּ ַמוֹצּת צ
ַלּ ְי ָלה בּ
ַה ָבּ ָשׂר את־
ו ָא ְכלוּ
י ֹא ְכ ֻלהוּ׃
They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (NRSV).
ְכ ִתּי . . . ְו ֶאת־ ְבּרִי ִתי בּ ַר
�יתִּ ﬠְ ַמ שׁ
ִי ְשׁ ָמ ֵﬠאל ִי ְצחָק וּ ְל ֶאת־
As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I bless him . . . , but my covenant I will establish with Isaac.
God will do such and such with Ishmael, but, at the same time, he will establish his covenant with Isaac.
תִֶּןתּ־ ִלי ְו ָשׁתִיתִי
ֶסף כֶּ בּ
ִבּ ֵר ִני ְו ָא ַכ ְל ִתּי וּ ַמ ִים תּ ְשׁ
ֶסף כֶּ בּ
You shall sell me food for money, so that I may eat, and
supply me water for money, so that I may drink (NRSV).
The second action follows the first, but the third is parallel to the first. For this reason the writer comes back to PC. The last action follows the third and must be a SC.
End of the Chain of Events
בְּכֹל ִנ ְפ ְל
ִמ ְצרַ ִים את־
ָידִי ְו ִה ֵכּיתִי את־
ו ָשׁ ַל ְח ִתּי
ִקרְוֹבּ ְו ַא ֲח ֵרי־כן ְישַׁ ַלּח בּ
So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go. (NRSV).
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 31
In order to Underline an Element in a Chain
ָﬠ ָשׂר ְנ ִשׂי ִאם שׁ ֵנים־
אתוֹ ְו ִה ְר ֵבּי ִתי
ו ִה ְפ ֵרי ִתי
יוֹליד וּ ְנ ַת ִתּיו לגוֹי ָגּדוֹל׃
I will make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; even he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
Compare also Gen 17:6, 16.
. . . SC + PC in Poetry
. . . ְו ָה ִגי ִתי בְ ָכל־פָּ ֳﬠ ֶל� וּבַ ֲﬠ ִלילוֹ ֶתי� אִישׂ ָחה׃
. . . I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds (NRSV).
Joel 2:20 (short yiqtol)
. . . וָֹנת ֲח צ
ְאוֹשׁ ְו ַת ַﬠל ב
Its stench and foul smell will rise up . . . (NRSV).
ֶר� וּ ְמ ִס� ַתי ְירֻמוּן׃ ל ָדּ
ָה ַרי כל־
ו ַשׂ ְמ ִתּי
And I will turn all my mountains into a road, and my highways shall be raised up (NRSV).
See also Isa 49:22.
End of the Chain of Events
ְקשֵׁי ַנ ְפשָׁם וּבְ ַיד ְנבוּכַ ְד ֶראצַּר מ ַב
וּ ְנתַתִּים בְּ ַיד
ֵמי־ ֶקדֶם ְנאֻם־ ְיה ָוה כּי
וּבְ ַיד־ ֲﬠבָ ָדיו ְו ַא ֲח ֵרי־כן
I will hand them over to those who seek their life, to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, says the LORD (NRSV).
- THE IMPERATIVE
Most scholars have recognized sequences headed by impera- tives. My theory asserts that in these sequences the imperative does not possess any special function, while SC keeps its sub- ordinate function exactly as when it comes after PC (for a dif- ferent opinion on precative qatal, see Andrason 2013). Below are a few examples demonstrating that the waw is not relevant:
32 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
Ps 22:22 (waw-x-qatal)
ﬠ ִני ָתנִי׃
ֵיה וּ ִמ ַקּ ְר ֵני ֵר ִמים א ְר
הוֹ ִשׁי ֵﬠ ִני
Save me from the mouth of the lion! And from the horns of the wild oxen rescue me!
Ps 71:3 (qatal without waw)
ִוּיָת ְלהוֹ ִשׁיﬠ ִני צ
Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, always order
to save me.
See also Ps 4:2; Isa 43:9.
- PH ASAL ASPECTS
As I have stated above, the opposition between the two groups of sequences can be used in some contexts to distinguish between different phasal or quantificational aspects (for the dif- ferent kinds of aspects compare Dick 1987: 63; Bhat 1999: 53–
54; Cook 2012: 25–26).
It is a common view that yiqtol is used in BH to express repeated action. Such a function is usually associated with an aspect (imperfective, cursive, frequentative, habitual, iterative, etc.) or with a mood (Ḥatav 1997: 145–46; Voitila 2001: 197 n. 90; Joosten 2002: 62). This is not completely correct, however: PC expresses repeated action only in a past context, while the examples usually offered of its use in a non-past context (see for instance GKC § 107g; Joosten 2002: 63) can be understood as expressing general present or future. Instead, a repeated action is expressed in a non-past context by SC.
In order to express habitual or iterative aspects (for a more detailed discussion on the difference between the two, see Dahl 1985: 97), as well as the durative aspect, BH uses the second group of sequences in a past context and the first group in a non-past context.
To complicate matters, this implies full homonymy between this use and that which we examined in the first part of our inquiry:
In a past context the second group of sequences can denote relative tense (future in the past) or aspect (habit- ual/iterative or durative).
In a non-past context the first group of sequences can denote anteriority or aspect (habitual/iterative or durative).
Finally, the relationship between aspects and sequences in a past context has been recognized by several authors (see for instance Lambdin 1971: 108; Waltke and O’Connor 1990: 527– 29). However, it must be added that—as always with sequences—the introductory dominant verb can be omitted.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 33
Habitual and Iterative in the Past and Non-Past
Gen 2:6 (past, PC + SC)
ְפּ ֵני־ ָה ֲא ָד ָמה׃ את־כּל־
ֶרץ ְו ִהְשׁקה מן־הָאָ
ואֵד ַיﬠֲ ֶלה
But a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground (NRSV).
Ps 122:4 (non-past, SC)
To it the tribes go up (NRSV).
2 Sam 15:1–2 (past, x + waw + SC)
ָב ִטים שְׁ
ָכּ ָבה ְוסֻסִים ַו ֲח ִמשִּׁים מרְ
וֹל שַׂﬠיַּ ו
ﬠַל־ ַיד ֶדּרֶ�
ְבשָׁלוֹם ְו ָﬠַמד א
ו ִהְ ִכּשׁים
After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run ahead of him. Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the road into the gate (NRSV).
In the previous example the introductory dominant verb is omitted.
Ps 33:10 (non-past, SC + SC: qatal without waw)
ְח ְשׁבוֹת מ
ַצת־וֹגּ ִים ﬠֲ
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples (NRSV).
Ps 33:13–14 (non-past, SC + SC: qatal without waw)
אֶת־ ָכּל־ ְבּ ֵני
הִ ִבּיט ְיהוָהרָ ָאה
מִ ָשּׁמַ ִים
The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all human- kind (NRSV).
Ps 65:10 (non-past, SC + PC + PC: qatal, wayyiqtol and
הנָּ רֶשְׁ ﬠְ תּ
ה ָארֶץ ַו ְשׁתֹּ ְקֶ ָקהרַ ַבּת
פּ ַקדְ ָתּ
You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it (NRSV).
Ps 99:7 (past, PC + SC: yiqtol and qatal without waw)
ְוחֹק ָנתַן־ ָלמוֹ׃ ﬠדֹתָיו
ֵלי ֶהם אֲ
ﬠָ ָנן ְידַ ֵבּר
He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them (NRSV).
For further examples in the non-past, see also: Jer 8:7; Ps 88:10.14; 119:10–14; Job 6:17–20. For others in the past, see Joosten (2012: 285–87).
Durative in the Past and Non-Past
With some verbs, the equivalent function is not habitual or iterative, but durative: “Les états et les activités représentent des usages ‘duratifs’, tandis que les procès d’accomplissement,
34 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
d’achèvement et de semelfactif entrent dans le type ‘fréquenta- tif’ ” (Voitila 2001: 206 n. 105; compare Joosten 2012: 286).
2 Sam 4:2 (past, PC)
ﬠל־ ִבּ ְנ ָימִן׃
גּם־ ְבּ ֵארוֹת
For Beeroth was considered to belong to Benjamin (see Joosten 2012: 286).
Gen 31:15 (non-past, SC)
הֲלוֹא ָנ ְכ ִרוֹיּת ֶנ ְחַ ְשׁבנוּ לוֹ
Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? (NRSV). 1 Sam 9:9 (past, PC)
הַוֹיּם ִי ָקּרֵא
For the one who is now called a prophet was formerly
called a seer (NRSV). Isa 48:2 (non-past, SC)
כּי־מֵ ִﬠיר הקֹּדֶשׁ ִנ ְקרָאוּ
For they call themselves after the holy city (NRSV).
See also Jer 15:18.
- THE DOUBLING OF SEQUENCES
In this phase, BH had the ability to double a sequence. We have already seen two instances with SC and PC:
ﬠל־ ַה ָמּ ִים׃
ִנּי ִנים ת
שִׁ ַבּ ְר ָתּ ָראשֵׁי
ל ִצ ִיּים׃
ֲא ָכל מ
ְו ָיתָן ל
אתָּה ִר ַצּ ְצתָּ ָרא ֵשׁי
מ ְﬠ ָין ָו ָנחַל
Both וּנֶּנ ְתִּתּ and ָתּﬠְ בקַ continue the verbal form תָּ ַצְצִּר . Put dif-
ferently, the sequence is doubled. We can describe this process in a simple way, see Figure 3.
The same process occurs three times in 1 Sam 8:11–17 (§ 4.3.1):
ֶאת־ ְבּ ֵני ֶכם ִיקָּח ְושָׂם . . . ְורָצוּ . . .
ְו ֶאת־ ְבּנוֹתי ֶכם ִי ָקּח . . .
ְו ֶאת־ ְשׂדוֹתי ֶכם . . . ִיקָּח ְו ָנַןת . . .
ְו ַזרְ ֵﬠי ֶכם . . . ַיﬠְשֹׂר ְו ָנַןת . . .
The scheme is quite simple, see Figure 4.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 35
It is more difficult to observe such a process if the verbal forms are the same (SC and SC or PC and PC), see Figure 5.
A possible example, however, is provided by Exod 17:1–4:
ַמסְ ֵﬠיהֶם ל
ִי ְשׂ ָר ֵאל מִמִּ ְד ַבּר־סִין בּ ֵני־
ֲﬠ ַדת כּל־
תּת הָ ָﬠם׃
יה ָוה ַו ַיּ ֲחנוּ בִּ ְרפִי ִדים ְו ֵאין
ְו ִנ ְשׁ ֶתּה ַויּ ֹאמר מ ִים
ֶשׁה ַויּ ֹאמרוּ ﬠם־מ
.1 ַו ָיּרֶב
את־ ְיה ָוה׃
ְתּ ַנוּסּן מה־
ִדי מָּ ﬠ
ְתּ ִריבוּן מה־
ָמּה ֶזּה ל
ַויּ ֹא ֶמר מ ֶשׁה
ַמּ ִים ַו ָיּ ֶלן ל
םﬠָ ה םשׁ
.2 ַו ִיּ ְצָמא
ָצּ ָמא׃ בּ
ְו ֶאת־ ָבּ ַני ְו ֶאת־מ ְק ַני א ִתי
ָה ִמית ל
ה ֱﬠ ִלי ָתנוּ מִמִּ ְצ ַר ִים
ֶזּה עוֹד ה
א ֱﬠ ֶשׂה מה
ְיה ָוה אל־
ַו ִיּ ְצ ַﬠק
ְסקָ ֻל ִני׃ וּ
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink. “Moses said to them,” Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?”
(But) the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and live- stock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me” (NRSV).
(I would omit the conjunction “but” from the translation of NRSV.)
If the writer had used SC to begin the second sequence, he would have lost the link with the starting point of the narra- tive. He could therefore only use PC.
The Redaktionsgeschichte can explain why we find a discus- sion between Moses and the people twice. I explain how this is possible: In BH, the writer can double a sequence.
36 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
Some other possible examples of this phenomenon include Gen 37:5–6; 42:18–26; Deut 31:22–30.
- THE SAME SYNTAX IN EVERY CONTEXT
When I started my research I believed, as many scholars did, that Hebrew syntax was different in narration, direct speech and poetry. The result of this research was thus unexpected: one finds the same sequences and the same taxis across these literary contexts.
It is usually held that a difference exists between narration and direct speech for the following reasons:
The first sentence of the Bible is interpreted as in the beginning when God created. Hence, the first verbal form of the narrative would be a wayyiqtol (ֹאמֶר יַּו ).
Twelve books in the Bible begin with PC.
The use of SC at the beginning of a sequence in narra- tion is considered background information.
There are several examples of wayyiqtol in narration which become qatal in direct speech (Niccacci 1986: 27–30), for
instance Gen 40:2 (narration) ִריסיו ס
פּ ְרעֹה ﬠל
ו ִיּ ְקצֹף
becomes (direct speech): ָדיו ָב ﬠֲ ַל־ﬠ ַצף ק
in Gen 41:10.
Instead, based on the results of my research I can state the following:
The first sentence can be understood in a traditional way: “In the beginning God created,” the first verbal form of the narrative is a qatal (§ 3.1.3).
In most instances, these twelve books represent (or at least they seek to represent) the continuation of a previous book. Hence, PC is not the first verbal form in the narrative chain. However, there are some occurrences of PC as a real absolute beginning, which I explain as a different syntax (§ 6.3).
Qatal in the beginning of a sequence usually expresses the most important information in the sequence. Hence, it should be considered a foreground form.
The wayyiqtols in the above mentioned examples depend on the fact that the actions follow another one and are thus not the first ones in the sequence, while the qatals in direct speech represent the first actions of the sequence.
In other words, there are no strong arguments in favour of two different syntaxes. On the contrary, one finds the same syntactical rules in narration and in direct speech, as is clear in the next example:
א ָתּה ָזקַ ְנ ָתּה
ִמים ַויּ ֹא ֶמר ְיה ָוה בּ ָיּ
ויהוֹ ֻ�שַׁ ָז ֵקן
ב ָיּמִים ְוהָ ָא ֶרץ ִנ ְשׁ ֲא ָרה הַ ְר ֵבּה־מְאד ל ִר ְשׁ ָהּתּ׃
Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land still remains to be possessed.” (NRSV).
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 37
The two couples of SC indicate the same fact that was still true when the LORD spoke. The first is a stative qatal and the second a fientive qatal without waw. The direct speech repeats exactly the same verbal forms and the same word order (sub- ject-verb-verb). The couples of SC are in the foreground; otherwise in the direct speech there would be no foreground action.
- OTHER KINDS OF ANALYSIS
In this short study, I have examined the functions of SC and PC only in simple sequences. In order to correctly understand a text, one should also consider other elements such as word semantics, rhetoric, Redaktionsgeschichte, and so on.
For instance, the idiomatic expression “to eat and to drink” (which we have encountered twice in the examples quoted above) should be considered as a hendiadys: “to have a meal.” From a syntactical point of view it is composed of two different successive verbs, but it expresses only one concept (Cohen 2010–2011: 20–21). The same can be said for “to an- swer and to say,” “to speak and to say,” and so on (for a detailed list see Joosten 2012: 167–68). It is useful to recall Waltke and O’Connor’s explanation in this regard:
Another syntactic approach is based on the use of two Hebrew verbs in sequence, corresponding to a verb + ad- verb construction in other languages . . . Examples of such usage are furnished by verbs such שוב and יסף, which are often rendered with adverbs such as “again, further, con- tinually,” etc. This syntactic approach to what European languages take as an adverbial function is properly a matter for the Hebrew lexicon; once the pattern is appreciated as an integral part of Hebrew, it requires little grammatical notice (Waltke and O’Connor 1990:656).
In poetry, SC and PC are not only used in sequences, but also in more elaborated constructions such as chiasms. These con- structions are able to express more complex meanings such as, for instance, merismus (Watson 2007:205). This is a matter of rhetoric.
- TOWARD A DIACHRONIC ANALYSIS
In this study I have only presented a synchronic analysis. Many questions have yet to be answered, issues which require a dia- chronic analysis.
For the moment, in lieu of this type of analysis, I wish to stress one final point: I do not suppose that the “taxis syntax” was the only verbal syntax of Standard BH.
The existence of two syntaxes in Standard BH can be detected in the following examples:
38 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
ְק ֶהי ָנה תּ
ְכלוּ בֹ ֶסר ְו ִשׁ ֵנּי אָ
The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth were set on edge.
אבוֹת י ֹא ְכלוּ בֹסֶר ְו ִשׁ ֵנּי הַ ָבּ ִנים תּ ְקהֶי ָנה
The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.
Jeremy employs the standard pattern SC + PC (without waw), whereas Ezekiel uses two PCs in order to express two con- secutive actions.
ְצ ֵרי־ ָיד ק
ויֹ ְשׁ ֵביהן
Their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and
confounded (NRSV). 2 Kgs 19:26
וּשׁבֹיֵּ וַ וּתּח
ְצ ֵרי־ ָיד ק
ויֹ ְשׁ ֵביהן
Their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and
Isaiah keeps the standard pattern in order to indicate the same state with two verbal forms: SC + SC. 2 Kings employs way- yiqtol as an equivalent to qatal.
2 Kgs 20:12
בְּר ֹא ַד� בַּ ְל ֲא ָדן בֶּן־בַּ ְל ֲא ָדן שׁ ַלח
חָ ָלה חִ ְז ִק ָיּהוּ כּי
ִח ְז ִק ָיּהוּ כּי אל־
ס ָפ ִרים וּ ִמ ְנ ָחה
At that time King Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Heze- kiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick (NRSV).
ָפ ִרים ס
ֶל�־ ָבּ ֶבל מ
ַבּ ְל ֲא ָדן בּן־
ְל ֲא ָדן בּ
ח ָלה ַו ֶיּ ֱח ָזק׃
אל־חִ ְז ִק ָיּהוּ ַו ִיְּ ַשׁמע כּי
וּ ִמ ְנחָה
At that time King Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Heze- kiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recov- ered. (NRSV).
In a few instances, the two syntaxes appear side by side:
אֵ ֶלי� ָז ֲﬠקוּ ְו ִנְ ָמלטוּ
בּטְחוּ ַותְּ ַפ ְלּ ֵטמוֹ׃
They trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved (NRSV).
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 39
In the first sentence we see the standard pattern: SC + PC, but in the second we find two SCs used to express two consecutive actions.
Obviously, one could affirm that these examples are simple variants due to the carelessness of copyists. This would open the much broader question as to how much we can rely on the Masoretic text—an issue that clearly cannot be addressed in more detail in this article.
- ARE WAYYIQTOL, SHORT YIQTOL AND LONG YIQTOL EQUIVALENT? ARE QATAL AND WEQATAL EQUIVALENT?
In chapter 2.4, I hypothesized that at one point in the development of BH—possibly due to their similarity—long and short yiqtol as well as wayyiqtol were used in an analogous way, and the same was true of qatal and weqatal.
At the same time, however, I have refrained from affirm- ing whether or not they are actually equivalent as far as their semantics are concerned.
If they are not semantically equivalent, the two equiv- alences only concern the categories of coordination and subor- dination and the present inquiry can be considered complete.
If they are semantically equivalent, however, this means that the differences between short and long yiqtol and wayyiqtol and between qatal and weqatal are only phonetic and that the waw in the wayyiqtol and in the weqatal is nothing more than a conjunction (an idea already put forth by Lee 1827: 361).
In order to better explore this extremely important issue, further investigation dealing with the theories of Qimron, Torres Fernández, Bloch, Van de Sande and others would be necessary, an examination which lies beyond the scope of this study.
- FINAL CONSIDERATIONS
This study presented a collection of empirical data, which appears to illustrate how, in one phase of the Hebrew language, syntax was based on a combination of sequences and taxis. This syntax was identical in narrative, direct speech and poetic contexts. SC and PC had different functions in a past/anterior sequence and in a non-past/non-anterior sequence. In a past/ante- rior sequence, SC denoted a co-ordinate element, whereas PC denoted a sub-ordinate element. In a non-past/non-anterior sequence, PC denoted a co-ordinate element while SC denoted a sub-ordinate element. Hence, wayyiqtol was not equivalent to qatal and weqatal was not equivalent to yiqtol. The historical dif- ferences between short and long yiqtol and wayyiqtol and between qatal and weqatal were lost in this phase.
However, many questions remain unanswered: When did this system begin? When did it end? Where exactly do we find it?
Even the list of syntactical constructions is not complete. In particular, due to lack of space, I did not examine the following instances:
40 JOURNAL OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
Sequences introduced by a particle such as הנה.
Sequences introduced by an infinitive.
All the same, what has been made clear by this analysis is that BH possessed a refined and sophisticated verbal system through which it was possible to express more than just a few nuances of meaning.
SEQUENCES OF VERBAL FORMS AND TAXIS 41
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