Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- giving orders

Before I leave gerundives, and go on to another subject, I want to review commands and tie it in with the duplicate conditional.  I’ll refer back to this in a couple of months so go through it carefully.
We have the imperative for something to be carried out in the near term. If it is issued by somebody who has the authority, to somebody reliable, it will be carried out. Otherwise it either doesn’t happen or its effects are negated.
We have the 2nd person perfect and imperfect commandments for building the tabernacle and establishing Jewish cultural practice.
We have 3rd person imperfect and perfect commandments for rituals.  The  imperfect aspect verbs are used in the generalized envelope about the kind of ritual; the perfect aspect verbs are used for the details of the ritual that have to be completed, otherwise the ritual is unacceptable in Jewish law.   This is particularly true for the various sacrifices; if the perfect aspect verbs are not carried out, the sacrifice is not hurtsah (a word I will explain in a few lessons) and that is a bad thing. This structure may be a klal u-prat u-klal structure like the one I talked about a few weeks ago, but it  might not have a final generalization to round it off.
We have the nun-sofit verbs which can let the person off under certain circumstances, like ignorance, mistake, distraction, or forgetting.
There’s one more, it’s very rare, so there’s no wonder if you didn’t pick up on it. I have found three examples; Deuteronomy 1:16 will show you where I’m going.
וָאֲצַוֶּה אֶת־שֹׁפְטֵיכֶם בָּעֵת הַהִוא לֵאמֹר שָׁמֹעַ בֵּין־אֲחֵיכֶם וּשְׁפַטְתֶּם צֶדֶק בֵּין־אִישׁ וּבֵין־אָחִיו וּבֵין גֵּרוֹ
It’s easy to translate shamoa as “to listen”, but the previous word lemor goes with an exact quote, not an indirect quote.
Why can’t you use an imperative? Because that is for immediate action, and the judges are supposed to operate throughout the future of the Israelites.
Why can’t you use a 2nd person commandment? It’s not a general commandment to the  Israelites, just to their  judges.  It’s not about a ritual, so it can’t use a 3rd person verb.
We don’t want a nun-sofit because if the judges get up to bad behavior, we don’t want to let them off. That would bring down the whole culture: it has done so more than once throughout history, and by this time the Israelites had a lot of history under their belts.
There’s nothing left, so once again, we turn to the aspectless gerundive.
This may explain why it is used in the duplicate conditional, which is a sort of command. The imperfect half of the phrase carries the necessary connotations, but is not a command. You need something to carry the command connotation and after all the alternatives have been eliminated, you’re left with the aspectless gerundive.
So why do we have a duplicate unconditional that also uses the aspectless gerundive? Beats me.  I’ve been considering a reboot of all these lessons.  Maybe I’ll find that parallel by the time I’m done here……..  Which I'm not yet.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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