1 Samuel 2:6: Time and Wayyiqtol in Hannah’s Song

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Ethan C. Jones1
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  • 1 Department of Biblical Studies, New Orleans Baptist Theological SeminaryNew Orleans, LAUSA
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This article challenges the ideas that we should either re-read the form or appeal to a present tense rendering of וַיָּעַל in 1 Sam 2:6. Instead, I argue that the prospect of gnomic semantics due to the surrounding participles is leveraged to highlight a past time wayyiqtol “he raised up.” This past time makes sense of the context both within the poem itself (1 Sam 2) and the preceding narrative (1 Sam 1). What is more, a past tense meaning of וַיָּעַל is corroborated by recent robust linguistic research of the form. Reading the wayyiqtol as past makes reference to a specific, historical action done to Hannah. This reference to the past tightens the cohesion of and provides further coherence for Hannah’s narrative (1 Sam 1) and her song (1 Sam 2).

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