ויהי כי באנו אל המלון ונפתחה את אמתחתינו

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
שלום

וַֽיְהִ֞י כִּי־בָ֣אנוּ אֶל־הַמָּל֗וֹן וַֽנִּפְתְּחָה֙ אֶת־אַמְתְּחֹתֵ֔ינוּ וְהִנֵּ֤ה כֶֽסֶף־אִישׁ֙ בְּפִ֣י אַמְתַּחְתּ֔וֹ כַּסְפֵּ֖נוּ בְּמִשְׁקָל֑וֹ וַנָּ֥שֶׁב אֹת֖וֹ בְּיָדֵֽנוּ׃
(בראשית מג כא)

Translation: But when we arrived at the night encampment and opened our bags, there was each one’s money in the mouth of his bag, our money in full. So we have brought it back with us.

Why isn't the translation, "But when we arrived at the night encampment we opened our bags..."?

Lambdin gives the following examples:

ויהי בבקר וישלח And in the morning he sent...
ויהי אחרי הדברים האלה וישמע קול And after these things he heard a voice...
והיה כאשר ראה אתם ויקרא And when he saw them he cried out...
והיה כי תשמעו את הדברים האלה וזכרתם And whenever you hear these words you shall remember...
והיה בבקר ויצאתם And in the morning you shall go forth...

אני מודה לכם מאוד
 

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  • Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    The structure of "when" does not really change the meaning. You can put it wherever you want.

    The real translation is: "And it happened when we came to the night encampment; and we opened our bags; and there was the money of each man in the mouth of his bag, our money according to its weight; and we returned it in our hands."

    To make it more idiomatic in English, you can adjust the "where" clause however it makes sense semantically. It doesn't technically change the meaning, it just changes the framing slightly.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks. Actually, in the paragraph from Lambdin that I cited, §110, he refers to the structure as the temporal clause; I prefer the term “circumstantial” because not all such structures do indeed express primarily temporality, though that is the case with this example.

    The typical structure is:

    the aspect marker (wayhī or wᵊhāyāh),

    followed by the subordinate circumstantial clause (what I call the “embedded” clause because it is by definition situated between two other clauses in this typical structure),

    followed by the main clause, which, in the typical structure, is a waw-retentive form of the same type as the aspect marker form.

    This simple structure is unambiguous, but, if another waw-retentive form follows (total of four clauses), there is no feature allowing the reader to determine whether the first or the second of the waw-retentive forms is functioning to predicate the main clause, i.e., whether the first of the waw-retentive forms is expressing a continuation of the circumstance or is expressing the point of the structure and functioning, rhetorically, as the main clause. That determination may only be made on the basic of logic, though truly ambiguous cases are rare.

    בראשית מג כא does not, however, show the ambiguous structure which I have just described, for the fourth clause is introduced by hinnē. Whosever translation you are citing took this as an indication that the preceding waw-retentive clause belonged in fact to the expression of the circumstances, i.e., that the point of the structure was not that they opened their sacks, but that, when they did open their sacks, they found their money there. It’s a judgment call, not one based on any rule that I could state, but, on second thought, I would certainly agree with the rhetorical analysis.

    This analysis is based on the observation that the main clause, in the simple three-clause structure, need not be waw-retentive, but may take any of the forms that Lambdin calls “disjunctive,” i.e., consist of waw (though even the waw may be omitted) and something other than a verb, subject, object, some form of adverbial, or a presentative particle such as here. Thus there is no basis for dismissing the clause as functioning as the main clause simply because it is introduced by wᵊhinnē.

    Once again we are up against the problem of the proper “translation” of waw, here as it affects our analysis of clause sequences.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I think you are mistaken. A clause starting with והנה can function just the same as one starting with a vav-consecutive.
     
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