Ed Cook has a very nice discussion of tense in biblical Hebrew poetry that is worth your while. I certainly think he is onto something noting that the waw is optional in poetry and in these cases a sequential form can appear with or without a waw. Ed mentions that he will discuss (time permitting) in a future post the so-called prophetic perfect tense and I eagerly await this discussion. As an appetizer to this I am wondering what those of you who speak in tongues think of the perfects in Exodus 15:14-16 which the NIV and NET translate as straight-up futures “”will hear…will grip…will be terrified…” seemingly interpreting them as “prophetic perfects,”1 the ESV translates them as a mix of perfects and presents (why the inconsistency?) while the TANAKH renders them all as presents. Possibly Ed will weigh in on this topic in his hopefully forthcoming remarks on the “prophetic” perfect….
- The NET Bible gives the note: “This verb is a prophetic perfect, assuming that the text means what it said and this song was sung at the Sea. So all these countries were yet to hear of the victory.” [back]