Grammar of Genesis 7:11b-12

The evidence for three events is further established by the syntax opening the second sentence. The second sentence in Hebrew begins with a waw consecutive and an imperfect verb in contrast with the perfect verbs (past tense) in the previous sentence. Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar describes the significance of this syntax (Kautzsch, 1909).

      The imperfect with waw consecutive serves to express actions, events,
      or states which are to be regarded as the temporal or logical sequel
      of actions, events, or states mentioned immediately before.

In other words, the grammar specifies that the rain was the logical sequel to the two events in the previous sentence. That is, two events, fountains and windows, caused the third event, incessant rain. Considering the grammar, these verses could be translated as:

      On that day all fountains of great deep burst open and the windows of
      the heavens were opened. These caused rain for forty days and nights.

The cause/result relationship between the three events is further established by the verb structure when the events were terminated in Genesis 8:2.

      The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed,
      the rain from the heavens was restrained, (ESV)

The first two events are attached to the same verb, and the third event has its own verb. If the windows and rain were the same event, then simply saying that the windows were closed would be sufficient to indicate that the rain stopped. Furthermore, the windows were completely stopped, but the rain was only restrained. The windows of heaven being opened and the incessant rain are not the same event.

This sentence fits perfectly with two events causing the third event. The fountains and windows were completely closed and stopped. Then, when these two events ended there was nothing to replenish the torrential rain, and it was restrained to normal levels. The verb structure supports three events, not two.

This page is in development 2/11/2014

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