Mark Lightman wrote:In English you can say:
In the old days, politicians took open bribes. Or:
In the old days, politicians would take open bribes.
I think the later is just slightly more conditional, less actualized, more hypothetical. You could go further and say
If this were the old days, politicians would take open bribes.
I don't see any difference of conditionality in meaning in English between the 1st 2.
The 2nd one seems to be a tad more continuous. Both are definite, not conditional.
The 3rd one is a logical extension of either of the first 2 and is conditional, of course, because of the "if", and is a different sentence because it is applying the previous statements to today.
Mark Lightman wrote:I still think the yiqtol here is in fact modal. The author is imagining a situation in which the rain had not yet come down from the firmament.
"If God had not yet caused it to rain, a mist would have to go up."
This is overstating it of course. The force is much more subtle. Nor do I mean to suggest that the author (Moses, according to me) did not view the situation as a historical reality, but he and the readers were never there before rain from heaven existed, so the situation in their minds appears with a dash of conditionality or hypotheticality or modality or whatever you want to call it.
I can't see that the meaning here is in any way modal.
There is no reason that a mist would have to go up. Maybe "used to go up". Would that be modal?
The way I read vv5-6, the mist or fountain is going up and watering all the face of the earth simultaneous with there being no herb or shrub of the field. So the mist going up is not a solution to the problem in v5.
Mark Lightman wrote:I have another question. The way English works, you cannot say If this were the old days, politicians took open bribes. You have to use some form of a modal verbal. (If this were the old days, politicians would be taking open bribes) In Hebrew, could you use a perfect here? That is, does a qatal ever occur in an apodosis of condition?
Usually a waw-consecutive follows an if condition, but here are a few examples of qatal in the consequent clause of a conditional:
Genesis 21:7 And she said, Who would have said
to Abraham, Sarah will suckle children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.
תֹּ֗אמֶר מִ֤י מִלֵּל֙ לְאַבְרָהָ֔ם
Numbers 22:29 And Balaam said to the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in my hand, for now would I kill
thee! כִּ֥י עַתָּ֖ה הֲרַגְתִּֽיךְ
Judges 8:19 And he said, They were my brethren, the sons of my mother. As Jehovah liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you
. ל֚וּ הַחֲיִתֶ֣ם אוֹתָ֔ם לֹ֥א הָרַ֖גְתִּי אֶתְכֶֽם׃
Judges 13:23 But his wife said to him, If Jehovah were pleased to kill us, he would not have received
a burnt-offering and an oblation at our hands, neither would he have shewed
us all these things, nor would he at this time have told
us such things as these. וַתֹּ֧אמֶר ל֣וֹ אִשְׁתּ֗וֹ לוּ֩ חָפֵ֙ץ יְהוָ֤ה לַהֲמִיתֵ֙נוּ֙ לֹֽא־לָקַ֤ח מִיָּדֵ֙נוּ֙ עֹלָ֣ה וּמִנְחָ֔ה וְלֹ֥א הֶרְאָ֖נוּ אֶת־כָּל־אֵ֑לֶּה וְכָעֵ֕ת לֹ֥א הִשְׁמִיעָ֖נוּ כָּזֹֽאת