Take Them, and Come? – The Interpretation of the Syntax of 1 Samuel 20:21


  • Nolke Tasma


Biblical Hebrew, Old Testament, 1 Samuel 20:21, Infinitive Absolute, Conditional, Lengthened Imperative


This paper addresses the varying interpretations of 1 Samuel 20:21 – a verse central to the narrative concerning the farewell between David and Jonathan in the Hebrew Bible. Two syntactical problems will be discussed in the light of different translations of the verse, taking the varying scholarly opinions into account and placing the verse into its literary and linguistic context: namely the function of the prepositive infinitive absolute introducing a conditional clause: ˀim ˀāmōr ˀōmar; and the use of the combination of an energic with a lengthened imperative: qāḥennū wā-ḇōˀāh. After a careful evaluation of the evidence, the paper provides a translation which offers a satisfactory explanation for all the issues raised.