This article, taking as its starting point the notion that the Biblical Hebrew <i>wayyiqá¹Ål</i> construction includes a short prefixed verbal form originating in the Proto-Semitic perfective conjugation <i>yaqá¹ul</i>, deals with a problem raised by this notionânamely, with those instances in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible, where <i>wayyiqá¹Ål</i> constructions include long prefixed verbal forms which appear on morphological grounds to belong to the Proto-Northwest Semitic imperfective conjugation <i>yaqá¹ulu</i>. The article argues for the solution of this problem on the following lines. In 1 sg. and pl., <i>wayyiqá¹Ål</i>- like constructions with long prefixed verbal forms (belonging to the Proto-Northwest Semitic conjugation <i>yaqá¹ulu</i>), as well as similar constructions with cohortatives (belonging to the Proto-Northwest Semitic conjugation <i>yaqá¹ula</i>), are to be understood as resulting from an analogical development, brought about by the use of different prefixed verbal forms in the modal system. In 2 m. sg., 3 m. sg., and 3 f sg., the apparently long prefixed verbal forms in <i>wayyiqá¹Ål</i> constructions result probably from corruption of the biblical text by late Second Temple period scribes or from its misvocalization by the Masoretes; it is thus justifiable to suppose that the original text employed <i>wayyiqá¹Ål</i> constructions with short prefixed verbal forms. Finally, those few <i>wayyiqá¹Ål</i> constructions in 2 m. pl. and 3 m. pl., which include prefixed verbal forms appearing morphologically as long (i.e., with the ending -<i>Å«n</i> rather than -<i>Å«</i>), are to be attributed to the attempts of the authors of biblical books to produce archaic-looking verbal forms without due regard for the original morphological restriction on the use of the ending -<i>Å«n</i> only with verbal forms belonging to the imperfective conjugation <i>yaqá¹ulu</i>.
Hebrew Studies – National Association of Professors of Hebrew
Published: Oct 5, 2011