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
Copyright 2014 Mark Amunrud. All rights reserved.