Edition 1.

20 September 2011

PCpret_sim in Prophetic Poetry

by David Steinberg


Home page http://www.houseofdavid.ca/

To print use PDF file here

Return to Table of Contents

See Tenses or Aspects in Biblical Hebrew

The following table is the result of a rapid scan of some prophetic texts. It seems that prophetic BH poetry, in its use of the preterite lies between BH prose and psalmic poetry (see See Observations on Some Aspects of the Use of Tenses in Psalms).

Use of the PCpret_sim[1] in the prophetic literature is rare and generally occurs only where the past meaning is clear from context.


Chapt./Vs. of Hebrew Text

Comments and Time Reference

(Reconstructed JEH Style Spelling; */EBHP/+[2] ; n.b. EBHP PCpret and PCjus were identical.)

English Translation(s)[3]

Masoretic Text[4]

A) Preterite and Jussive Distinguished from PCimp  in */EBHP/  by the Placement of Stress

Is 41:2


יתן - ˈyittin (:yitˈtin PCimp)

ירד - ˈyard (?) (:yaˈroːd (?) PCimp)

Nb. (1) time established as past by preceeding הֵעִיר

(2) stress in יקראהו yiqraˈʾihu

not distinctive

Who has roused a victor from the east, summoned him to his service? He delivered up nations before him and subdued kings
making them like dust with his sword... . (my translation)

מִי הֵעִיר מִמִּזְרָח צֶדֶק יִקְרָאֵהוּ לְרַגְלֹו יִתֵּן לְפָנָיו גֹּויִם וּמְלָכִים יַרְדְּ יִתֵּן כֶּעָפָר חַרְבֹּו כְּקַשׁ נִדָּף קַשְׁתֹּו

Is 42:6


ואחזק - wˈʾaziq
(:wʾaˈziːq PCimp)


Nb. (1) time established as past by preceeding קְרָאתִיךָ; (2) stress in ואצרך -

wʾiṣṣuˈraka(ː) and ואתנך - wʾittiˈnaka(ː) not distinctive; (3) possibly the 3 verbs should be repointed as PCpretWC waʾˈʾaziq;


I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,

אֲנִי יְהוָה קְרָאתִיךָ בְצֶדֶק וְאַחְזֵק בְּיָדֶךָ וְאֶצָּרְךָ וְאֶתֶּנְךָ לִבְרִית עָם לְאֹור גֹּויִם

Is 43:9


יגד - ˈyaggd (:yagˈgịːd PCimp)

Nb. (1) time established as past by preceeding נִקְבְּצוּ;

(2) stress in ישמענו -

yašmiːˈcūnū not distinctive.

All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled.
Who among them has declared this
Foretold to us things that have happened?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, "It is true."

כָּל־הַגֹּויִם נִקְבְּצוּ יַחְדָּו וְיֵאָסְפוּ לְאֻמִּים מִי בָהֶם יַגִּיד זֹאת וְרִאשֹׁנֹות יַשְׁמִיעֻנוּ יִתְּנוּ עֵדֵיהֶם וְיִצְדָּקוּ וְיִשְׁמְעוּ וְיֹאמְרוּ אֱמֶת

Is 57:17


ואקצף - wˈʾiqṣup (:wʾiqˈṣup PCimp)

Nb. (1) time established as past by other verbs in verse;

(2) stress in ואכהו -

wʾakˈkihu(ː) not distinctive; (3) possibly the 2 verbs should be repointed as PCpretWC waʾˈʾiqṣup;


Because of their wicked covetousness I was angry; I struck them, I hid and was angry; but they kept turning back to their own ways.

בַּעֲוֹן בִּצְעֹו קָצַפְתִּי וְאַכֵּהוּ הַסְתֵּר וְאֶקְצֹף וַיֵּלֶךְ שֹׁובָב בְּדֶרֶךְ לִבֹּו

Is 63:5


ואבט - wˈʾabbi

(:wʾabˈbiː PCimp)

 ואשתמם- wʾˈtōmim (:wʾištōˈmim PCimp)


Nb. (1) time established as past by other verbs in verse; (2) possibly the verbs should be repointed as PCpretWC 

waʾˈʾabbiṭ; waʾʾˈtōmim

I looked, but there was no helper; I stared, but there was no one to sustain me; so my own arm brought me victory, and my wrath sustained me.

וְאַבִּיט וְאֵין עֹזֵר וְאֶשְׁתֹּומֵם וְאֵין סֹומֵךְ וַתֹּושַׁע לִי זְרֹעִי וַחֲמָתִי הִיא סְמָכָתְנִי

Is 63:6


ואבס - wˈʾabus (:wʾaˈbuːs PCimp)

 ואורד- wˈʾawrid

(:wʾawˈriːd PCimp)


Nb. (1) time established as past by context; (2) possibly ואשכרם - wʾšakˈkrim should be repointed as PCpretWC waʾʾšakˈkrim

I trampled down peoples in my anger, I crushed them in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

וְאָבוּס עַמִּים בְּאַפִּי וַאֲשַׁכְּרֵם בַּחֲמָתִי וְאֹורִיד לָאָרֶץ נִצְחָם

Is 66:7


תחיל - tail (:taˈḫiːl PCimp)

Nb. time established as past by preceeding בְּטֶרֶם

Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son.

בְּטֶרֶם תָּחִיל יָלָדָה בְּטֶרֶם יָבֹוא חֵבֶל לָהּ וְהִמְלִיטָה זָכָר

Hosea 13:11


אתן - ˈʾittn (:ʾitˈtn PCimp)

ואקח - wˈʾiqqaḥ (:wʾiqˈqa PCimp)

Nb. (1) time established as past by context; (2) possible ואקח should be repointed as PCpretWC waʾˈʾiqqaḥ

I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath.

אֶתֶּן־לְךָ מֶלֶךְ בְּאַפִּי וְאֶקַּח בְּעֶבְרָתִי

B) Preterite, PCjus and PCimp Identical  in */EBHP/

Is 40:13


יודיענו - yawdiːˈcannu(ː). Identical form in PCjus and PCimp. Nb. time established as past by preceeding תִכֵּן

Who has directed the spirit of the LORD, or as his counselor has instructed him?

מִי־תִכֵּן אֶת־רוּחַ יְהוָה וְאִישׁ עֲצָתֹו יֹודִיעֶנּוּ

Is 40:14


יודיענו - yawdiːˈcannu(ː)

nb. time established as past by preceeding וַיְבִינֵהוּ וַיְלַמְּדֵהוּ

Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

אֶת־מִי נֹועָץ וַיְבִינֵהוּ וַיְלַמְּדֵהוּ בְּאֹרַח מִשְׁפָּט וַיְלַמְּדֵהוּ דַעַת וְדֶרֶךְ תְּבוּנֹות יֹודִיעֶנּוּ

Is 40:19


ירקענו - yraqqˈcannu(ː)

nb. time established as past by preceeding נָסַךְ

The idol?-- A workman has cast it, and a goldsmith overlaid it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. (my translation)

הַפֶּסֶל נָסַךְ חָרָשׁ וְצֹרֵף בַּזָּהָב יְרַקְּעֶנּוּ וּרְתֻקֹות כֶּסֶף צֹורֵף

Is 40:21


תשמעו - tišˈmacū

nb. past time established as past by context

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

הֲלֹוא תֵדְעוּ הֲלֹוא תִשְׁמָעוּ הֲלֹוא הֻגַּד מֵרֹאשׁ לָכֶם הֲלֹוא הֲבִינֹתֶם מֹוסְדֹות הָאָרֶץ

Is 43:28


ואתנה - wʾitˈtna(ː)


Nb. (1) time established as past by preceeding וַאֲחַלֵּל;
(2) possibly the verb should be repointed as PCpretWC


Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary, I delivered Jacob to utter destruction, and Israel to reviling.

וַאֲחַלֵּל שָׂרֵי קֹדֶשׁ וְאֶתְּנָה לַחֵרֶם יַעֲקֹב וְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְגִדּוּפִים

Is 51:2


תחוללכם - tōlilạˈkim

וארבהו - ʾarˈbihu(ː)

nb. time established as past by other verbs in verse.

Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many.

הַבִּיטוּ אֶל־אַבְרָהָם אֲבִיכֶם וְאֶל־שָׂרָה תְּחֹולֶלְכֶם כִּי־אֶחָד קְרָאתִיו וַאֲבָרְכֵהוּ וְאַרְבֵּהוּ

Is 61:10


יעטני - yġaˈan

nb. time established as past by preceeding הלבישני

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

שֹׂושׂ אָשִׂישׂ בַּיהוָה תָּגֵל נַפְשִׁי בֵּאלֹהַי כִּי הִלְבִּישַׁנִי בִּגְדֵי־יֶשַׁע מְעִיל צְדָקָה יְעָטָנִי כֶּחָתָן יְכַהֵן פְּאֵר וְכַכַּלָּה תַּעְדֶּה כֵלֶיהָ

Is 63:3


ואדרכם - wʾidˈrkim

 וארמסם- wʾirˈmụsim

יז  - wˈyizz

nb. (1) time established as past by preceeding דָּרַכְתִּי;

(2) Possibly the verbs should be repointed as PCpretWC -  waʾʾidˈrụkim; waʾʾirˈmụsim; wayˈyizz.

"I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their juice spattered on my garments, and stained all my robes.

פּוּרָה דָּרַכְתִּי לְבַדִּי וּמֵעַמִּים אֵין־אִישׁ אִתִּי וְאֶדְרְכֵם בְּאַפִּי וְאֶרְמְסֵם בַּחֲמָתִי וְיֵז נִצְחָם עַל־בְּגָדַי וְכָל־מַלְבּוּשַׁי אֶגְאָלְתִּי

Jer 2:15


ישאגו - yiˈšgū


Nb. time established as past by following verbs.

The lions have roared against him, they have roared loudly. They have made his land a waste; his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.

עָלָיו יִשְׁאֲגוּ כְפִרִים נָתְנוּ קֹולָם וַיָּשִׁיתוּ אַרְצֹו לְשַׁמָּה עָרָיו [נִצְּתָה כ] (נִצְּתוּ ק) מִבְּלִי יֹשֵׁב

Ob 1:7


ישימו - yaˈśiːmū


Nb. (1) time established as (probably) past by preceeding SC verbs; (2) possibly ישימו

should be understood as PCimp_prfut (="will set an ambush").

All your allies have deceived you, they have driven you to the border; your confederates have prevailed against you; those who ate your bread have set a trap for you-- there is no understanding of it.

עַד־הַגְּבוּל שִׁלְּחוּךָ כֹּל אַנְשֵׁי בְרִיתֶךָ הִשִּׁיאוּךָ יָכְלוּ לְךָ אַנְשֵׁי שְׁלֹמֶךָ לַחְמְךָ יָשִׂימוּ מָזֹור תַּחְתֶּיךָ אֵין תְּבוּנָה בֹּו




[1] IN EBHP and LBHP THE JUSSIVE (PCjus), COHORTATIVE (PCcoh), IMPERFECT (PCimp) AND PRETERITE (PCpret_sim/PCpretWC) are, in some forms, distinguished by the placement of syllabic stress when not carrying object suffixes. See -
-  http://www.adath-shalom.ca/history_of_hebrew3a.htm#indic_jus AND
-  http://www.adath-shalom.ca/history_of_hebrew3a.htm#Prefix_Conjugation

[2] See Phones and Phonemes - http://www.houseofdavid.ca/anc_heb_6.htm#phone_phonym.

[3] For convenience, I have used NASB or NRSV as the basis of my translation modifying the wording and layout as appropriate.

[4] From The Westminster Leningrad Codex - http://www.tanach.us/.