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Questions about Interpreting the Masoretic Accents in Zechariah 8:3

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  • Danger
    Dear Colleagues, I would appreciate any comments or critiques on how to interpret the waw-perfect forms in Zechariah 8:3. Specifically, I am attempting to
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 20, 2013
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      Dear Colleagues,

      I would appreciate any comments or critiques on how to interpret the waw-perfect forms in Zechariah 8:3.

      Specifically, I am attempting to glean as much information as possible from the Masoretic accents.

      (I know that several participants on the forum eschew the Masoretic tradition. Your position is dutifully and respectfully noted in advance. Since I am specifically assessing Masoretic accents and other features here, I'm not really asking for feedback on whether the Masorah is worthy of study. That may be a question in the future, but not now.)

      Also, please note that I did post this question on b-hebrew@..., but have not received a response that addresses my questions specifically.

      Here are my questions:

      Zechariah 8:3 (BHS)

      כֹּ֚×" אָמַ֣ר יְ×"וָÖ"×" שַׁ֚×`ְתִּי אֶל־צִיֹּÖ"ון וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י ×`ְּתֹ֣וךְ יְרֽוּשָׁלָÖ`ִם וְנִקְרְאָ֤×" יְרוּשָׁלִַ֨ם֙ עִ֣יר־×"ָֽאֱמֶÖ"ת וְ×"ַר־יְ×"וָ֥×" צְ×`ָאֹ֖ות ×"ַ֥ר ×"ַקֹּֽ×"ֶשׁ׃ ס

      Description of the accents in Zechariah 8:3

      1. וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י has a á¹­ifḥāË' on the last syllable, which according to Van der Merwe, et al. is a disjunctive accent that either 1.) “[i]ndicates either the main pause in short verses or [2.) indicates] the final pause before a sillûq or Ë'atnāḥ.”[1] In Zechariah 8:3, the second option seems more likely, since ×`ְּתֹ֣וךְ יְרֽוּשָׁלָÖ`ִם presents a natural break in the verse before the next clause (which begins with וְנִקְרְאָ֤×").

      1a. Since the accent falls on the last syllable in וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י, it seems that, according to Waltke and O’Connor (citing David Kimchi), the verb should be interpreted as future: “[W]aw-relative in first-person singular and second-person masculine singular throws the accent forward to the final syllable as much as possible [as we see with וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י in Zechariah 8:3] …, whereas waw-copulative does not [throw the accent forward].”[2]

      1b. Thus, if the waw in וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י were copulative, we would expect the accent to be marked on the second syllable (the first syllable following וְ), as noted by the tifha beneath shin, as follows: וְשָׁ֖כַנְתּיִ.
      Is my reasoning correct here? I have not worked with the Masoretic accents before. I am attempting to determine whether the accents allow any specificity to be assigned to the waw:

      Should the waw be taken as merely coordinating שׁכנתי with the qatal/suffix/perfect form שַׁ×`תּיִ, yielding the idea of “I have returned and I have tabernacle” or even an ingressive: “I have returned and I have begun to tabernacle…”?

      Alternatively, the waw could be taken as directive: “I have returned, so that I [now] tabernacle…”

      NOTE: I am aware that many grammarians take the weqatal verb form as coordinate or synonymous with yiqtol, perhaps as part of a paradigm with the aspectual pairs qatal/wayyiqtol and yiqtol/weqatal. My investigation here involves an examination of the possibility that the verbs in Zechariah 8:3 are “tense-prominent” rather than “aspect-prominent.” So, for the sake of argument, I would like to know whether we can determine with certainty how traditional or tense-oriented/tense-prominent grammars would interpret the waw-perfect forms in Zechariah 8:3.

      This leads to the next question, regarding the second waw-prefixed perfect in Zechariah 8:3, in which the according to traditional grammar, it is possible to view the waw

      2. וְנִקְרְאָ֤×" in Zechariah 8:3 exhibits a mehuppāk on the last syllable, which Van der Merwe, et al. list (with mûnaḥ and mêrekāË') among the “main conjunctive accents.”[3] I take this to mean that וְנִקְרְאָ֤×" has the same nuance (i.e., tense, aspect, mood) of the preceding verb וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י.

      Is this correct (that וְנִקְרְאָ֤×" has the same nuance as the preceding verb וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י)?

      What then (referring back to part one of my question) is the correct tense in which to understand וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י?

      2a. The only other instance in the Hebrew Bible of וְנִקְרְאָ×" occurs in Esther 2:14b,[4] which (speaking of Esther) reads:
      לֹא־תָ×`֥וֹא עוֹ×"֙ אֶל־×"ַמֶּÖ"לֶךְ
      כִּ֣י אִם־חָפֵ֥ץ ×`ָּ֛×"Ö¼ ×"ַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וְנִקְרְאָ֥×" ×`ְשֵֽׁם׃

      ‏וְנִקְרְאָ×"‎ here should (or at least COULD) be taken as a past tense, as in Zechariah 8:3. The verse should probably be translated: "She WOULD NOT RETURN (impf, modal) unless the king was pleased/had been pleased (pf) with her and she was called/summoned (pf) by name." There is no necessity to translate the perfect verb forms here as if they expressed imperfect: "used to," etc. In fact, that does not seem to be appropriate here. It seems that she went, came back, and did not go again until summoned. Syntactically, then, וְנִקְרְאָ֥×" coordinates to the nuance of the perfect form חָפֵ֥ץ.

      In short, my question is this: how should the weqatal/waw perfect forms be interpreted in Zechariah 8:3?

      Is there a syntactic reason (within the Masoretic notation or elsewhere) that would require them to be future, or do they coordinate with the nuance of שַׁ×`תִּי at the beginning of Zechariah 8:3?

      Thanks in advance for any help.

      Sincerely,

      Chris Lovelace


      REFERENCES CITED IN THIS POST:

      [1] Christo Van der Merwe, Jackie Naudé, Jan Kroeze et al., A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar, electronic ed. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 45.

      [2] Michael O'Connor and Bruce K. Waltke, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 520.

      [3] Christo Van der Merwe, Jackie Naudé, Jan Kroeze et al., A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar, electronic ed. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 45.

      [4] According to the Masorah Gedolah, the form וְנִקְרְאָ֥×" occurs only in Zechariah 8:3 and Esther 2:14. See Gérard. E. Weil, Massorah Gedolah: Manuscrit B. 19a De Léningrad, entry 3161 וְנִקְרְאָ×" (Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 2001), 349.
    • C L
      PS - Just in case the Hebrew text did not come through, here is a PDF with the questions regarding Zech. 8:3. Thanks again for your feedback. Sincerely, Chris
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 21, 2013
      PS - Just in case the Hebrew text did not come through, here is a PDF with the questions regarding Zech. 8:3.

      Thanks again for your feedback.

      Sincerely,

      Chris Lovelace
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