Thijs Booij, «A Circumstantial Clause in Psalm 99,4», Vol. 94 (2013) 100-106
In Psalm 99,4 the first stich is a circumstantial clause expressing causality relative to the clause following it. Verse 4 means to say that YHWH's royal power is exercised in establishing justice, as is shown by his acts in Israel. A syntax identical with that of the first line in Ps 99,4 can be found in Gen 50,20; Ezek 2,4a; Hab 1,10; Ps 40,18a.
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104 TH. BOOIJ
Joseph says, â€œDo not be afraid! Am I in the place of God?â€ He goes on to
say: hbjl hbvx ~yhla h[r yl[ ~tbvx ~taw â€œEven though you in-
tended to do harm to me, God intended it for goodâ€ (v. 20). Josh 22,24-
25: â€œWhat have you to do with YHWH, the God of Israel? â€“ hwhy-!tn lwbgw
hwhyb qlx ~kl-!ya [â€¦] ~kynybw wnnyb â€“ As YHWH has made the Jordan
a boundary between us and you [â€¦], you have no portion in YHWHâ€. Ezek
18,19: â€œWhy should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?â€ An-
swer: hyxy hyx [â€¦] hf[ hqdcw jpvm !bhw â€œBecause the son has done
what is lawful and right [â€¦], he shall surely liveâ€. That introductory w is not
simply a conjunction can also be seen in Job 1,13-14: wynbw ~wyh yhyw
ab $almw [â€¦] ~ylka wytnbw â€œIt happened one day, when his sons and
daughters were eating and drinking wine [â€¦], that a messenger cameâ€. Ezek
2,4: [â€¦] xlwv yna [â€¦] ~ynp yvq ~ynbhw â€œAs the sons are impudent and
stubborn, I am sending you to themâ€. Apparently the â€œsonsâ€, as sons of Is-
rael and the â€œfathersâ€, had already been blamed for rebellion in v. 3; there-
fore, and on account of the repeated â€œI am sending youâ€, the first clause in
v. 4a may be considered to be logically subordinate to the second 21. Sim-
ilarly Hab 1,10: qxfy rcbm-lkl awh [â€¦] slqty ~yklmb awhw â€œAs he
scoffs at kings and makes sport of rulers, he laughs at every fortressâ€. Ps
40,18: yl bvxy ynda !wybaw yn[ ynaw â€œAs I am poor and needy, may the
Lord take thought for meâ€.
Statements in which w plus pronoun, a form of rma and a quotation are
followed by a clause opening with $a or !ka are a special category. Isa
14,13-15:drwt lwav-la $a [â€¦] trma htaw â€œYou said indeed in your
heart, â€˜I will ascend to heaven [â€¦]â€™. But you are brought down to Sheolâ€.
Isa 49,4: [â€¦] yjpvm !ka [â€¦] ytrma ynaw [â€¦] â€œI said indeed, â€˜I have
laboured in vain [â€¦]â€™. Yet surely my cause is with YHWHâ€ 22. Ps 31,23: ynaw
[â€¦] t[mv !ka [â€¦] ytrma â€œI said indeed in my alarm, â€˜I am driven far
from your sightâ€™. Yet you heard my supplicationsâ€. In this construction
the circumstantial clause seems to have relative independence.
In some texts, as may have been noted, the main clause 23 is introduced
by waw apodosis (1 Kgs 14,17; 2 Kgs 2,11; Job 1,14). This is often the
case when a clause is preceded by a circumstantial clause expressing time
There could be a similar case in Gen 41,56 (cf. v. 55a). Texts like 1 Kgs
13,20 and 2 Kgs 8,21b suggest that a circumstantial clause can be logically
subordinate to a clause with consec. imperfect following it. It is hard to decide
whether this also applies to clauses with introductory w and finite verb.
The situation in Isa 14,13-15; Ps 31,23; 82,6-7 conveys the impression
that, contrary to what translations suggest, the quotation only includes v. 4a.
â€œMainâ€ in a logical rather than a grammatical sense.
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