Old Testament Parsing Guide. Revised and Updated

By S. Beal Todd, William A. Banks, and Colin Smith
Nashville : Broadman & Holman (2000). viii + 689 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Grisanti
13.1 (Spring 2002) : 142-144

 This Hebrew reference tool is an updated version of a two-volume edition published by Moody Press (vol. 1 in 1986 and vol. 2 in 1990). The purpose of the present work is to provide a verse-by-verse parsing aid for every verb in the OT.

This volume lists every verb form in order of occurrence in the OT according to chapter and verse. Verbs that occur twice in a verse are parsed twice. This tool is based on the Hebrew text in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

Each verb has a potential of ten categories of information provided by a given entry. The example below serves as a sample entry (the third verb in 1 Sam 10:3):

ChVs Form Stem Tnse PGN Root Sfx BDB KB Meaning 10:3 …{!7I/A { qal wcp 3cp !7/ 2ms 592 619 find

  • ChVs- refers to the chapter and verse of the verb under discussion
  • Form- provides the consonants and vowels of the verb form (without any accentuation). If a Ketiv-Qere variant occurs in the marginal notations, both forms are parsed. The Ketiv form is immediately preceded by a “k” and the Qere form has a “q” right in front of it.
  • Stem- presents the verb stem (e.g., Qal, Niphal, Piel, etc.)
  • Tnse- without intending to comment on the ongoing discussion concerning the Hebrew verbal system (whether it is tense-oriented, aspectual, or some combination of the two), this column designates the verb form as a perfect, imperfect, imperative, infinitive construct, infinitive absolute, or participle. In addition to these major designations, this volume also makes use of four other verbal labels: waw consecutive + imperfect (wci), waw consecutive + perfect (wcp), jussive (jus), and cohortative (coh).
  • PGN- provides the person, gender, and number of the verb form
  • Root- gives the tri-consonantal Hebrew root for the verb form
  • Sfx- if appropriate, this column delineates the person, gender, and number of the noun suffix
  • BDB- provides the page number in BDB where its discussion of this verb begins.
  • KB- provides the page number in Koehler and Baumgartner’s, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT), where its discussion of this verb begins.
  • Meaning- this final column provides a basic gloss/meaning for the verbal root (the most common meaning for that verbal root in the stem indicated).

This volume has five features that the earlier edition did not possess. First of all, it provides the page number where a given verb finds treatment in Koehler and Baumgartner’s Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (since the fifth volume of this work was not available at the time this parsing guide went to print, page numbers where Aramaic words find treatment in HALOT will be included in a future revision of the present work). Second, it provides the vowel pointing for each verbal form. Third, it includes a number of corrections that came to the attention of its editors since the publication of the original edition. Fourth, being in one volume rather than two allows the Hebrew student to take fewer trips back to the bookshelf. Finally, as a paperback edition it is more affordable than the hardback two-volume edition published by Moody Press.

This parsing guide will provide great assistance to the pastor seeking to find the parsing of a specific verb in the midst of his exegesis of an OT passage. The book is clearly laid out and easy to use. Its primary disadvantage is that its major competitor, John Owens’ Analytical Key to the Old Testament (Baker) provides some grammatical information for all verbal and non-verbal items in each verse in the Hebrew OT.