Because it Had Rained:

A Study of Genesis 2:5-7
With Implications for Genesis 2:4-25 and Genesis 1:1-2:3
Part 1 of 2

by Dr. Mark D. Futato

Professor of Old Testament and Academic Dean
Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL

Reprinted with Permission from the Westminster Theological Journal

In 1958 the Westminster Theological Journa published "Because It Had Not Rained," an exegetical study of Gen 2:5 by Meredith G. Kline. 1 The article demonstrated that according to Gen 2:5 ordinary providence was God's mode of operation during the days of creation. Since God's mode of operation was ordinary providence, and since, for example, light (Day 1) without luminaries (Day 4) is not ordinary providence, the arrangement of the six days of creation in Genesis 1 must be topical not chronological. The current article is complementary to Kline's. 2

Why does Gen 2:5 bother to tell us that certain kinds of vegetation were absent "for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth?" This question has intrigued and perplexed me for some time. Is the absence of rain mere geographical decoration or quasi-irrelevant data that sets the stage for the really important material that follows? Or is this information that is foundational to the narrative and its theology? The answer to this question has played a major role in my interpretation of Gen 1:1-2:25.

In this article I intend to examine the logic, structure, and semantics of Gen 2:5-7, and to draw out several integrated conclusions: 1) It rained at the time of creation according to Gen 2:5-7. So we should discard the idea that the Bible teaches that it did not rain until the flood of Noah's day. 2) The structure of Gen 2:5-7 provides the key to understanding the structure of the whole of Gen 2:4-25, which turns out to be topical not chronological. 3) The structure and topical arrangement of Gen 2:4-25 in turn supports the argument that the arrangement of Gen 1:1-2:3 is also topical not chronological. 3 4) These structural considerations lead to new insights into the polemical theology of Genesis 1-2. Genesis 1-2, serves among other purposes, as a polemic against Canaanite Baalism. In sum, Gen 2:4-25 and Gen 1:1-2:3 are topical accounts that polemicize against Baalism, because it had rained. 4

The Argument of Gen 2:5-7

Many of the details of Gen 2:5-7 have been studied and correctly interpreted, but in my estimation an interpretation that fits all of the parts into a coherent whole has not yet been set forth. When the parts are interpreted in the immediate and broader literary contexts, as well as the geographical context of the Ancient Near East and the theological context of Canaanite religion, puzzles are solved and a coherent picture emerges. Verses 5-7 articulate a twofold problem, a twofold reason for the problem, and a twofold solution to the problem. 5

Verse 5a articulates the twofold problem: "/No sah. -hassa-deh had yet appeared in the land, and no e-seb-hassa-deh had yet sprung up." Some commentators make no attempt to specify the kinds of plants these two phrases have in view, but take them as general references to vegetation. 6 Claus Westermann, on the other hand, has provided some specificity: sah. describes mainly but not exclusively shrubs or the wild shrubs of the steppe (Gen 21:15; Job 30:4, 7), and e-seb-hassa-deh plants that serve for food or domestic plants. 7

But even greater specificity is attainable. The phrase, sah. -hassa-deh, refers to the wild vegetation that grows spontaneously after the onset of the rainy season, and e-seb-hassa-deh refers to cultivated grains. At the end of the dry season and after five months of drought the hills of Israel are as dry as dust, and the vegetation is brown. The farmer's field is as hard as iron, so plowing and planting are impossible. Then come the rains, resulting in the hills of the steppe being clothed with verdure (Job 38:25-27). The rains also soften the soil and allow the farmer to plow and plant (see Ps 65:9-10). It is in this geographical context that we must understand sah. -hassa-deh and e-seb-hassa-deh.8

The word, sah. , occurs only four times (Gen 2:5, 21:15; Job 30:4, 7). From the three texts outside Gen 2:5 it is clear that sah. refers to desert vegetation, i.e., to uncultivated vegetation that grows spontaneously as a result of fall rains. In Gen 21:15, for example, Hagar placed her young son under "one of the bushes (sah.)" in the desert of Beersheba. The two occurrences in Job 30:4 and 7 are similar,

3Haggard from want and hunger, they roamed the parched land in desolate wastelands at night. 4In the brush (sah.) they gathered salt herbs, and their food was the root of the broom tree. 5They were banished from their fellow men, shouted at as if they were thieves. 6They were forced to live in the dry stream beds, among the rocks and in holes in the ground. 7They brayed among the bushes (sah. ) and huddled in the undergrowth.
The "parched land" and "desolate wastelands" of v3 make clear that sah. refers to uncultivated vegetation of the desert or steppe. So Westermann was being too cautious when he said "sah. describes mainly but not exclusively shrubs or the wild shrubs of the steppe." There is no evidence to suggest that sah. refers to anything other than "wild shrubs of the steppe." 9

On the other hand, e-seb-hassa-deh occurs in texts like Exod 9:22, 25 which have cultivated grain in view,

22Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt—on men and animals and on everything growing in the fields (e-seb-hassa-deh) of Egypt." 25Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both men and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields ( e-seb-hassa -deh) and stripped every tree.
Verses 31-32 provide specificity for the more general e-seb-hassa-deh,
31The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. 32The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.
Here e-seb-hassa-deh clearly refers to cultivated grains like flax, barley, wheat, and spelt. Similarly, and closer in context to Gen 2:5, cultivated grains (e-seb-hassa-deh) are in view in Gen 3:18 where the farmer will eat the grain that is the result of his arduous labor. 10

This proposed contrast in Gen 2:5 between wild vegetation and cultivated grain finds immediate confirmation in v5b. Verse 5b articulates the twofold reason for the twofold problem with impeccable logic: "because the Lord God had not sent rain on the land, and there was no man to cultivate the ground." There was no vegetation that springs up spontaneously as a result of the rains, because there was no rain. And there was no cultivated grain, because there was no cultivator. So that the reader will not miss the twofold reason corresponding to the twofold problem, the Hebrew text focuses the reader's attention on the twofold reason, the absence of rain and the absence of anyone to cultivate the fields, by placing himt.r ("sent rain") and a - da-m ("man") in the clause-initial position in their respective clauses. A coherent picture is emerging: there was no wild vegetation because there was no rain, and there was no cultivated grain because there was no cultivator. By this point the author has created an expectation in the mind of the reader: the twofold problem with its twofold reason will be given a twofold solution. Yet, here is where virtually all interpretations fail for lack of coherence.

Verses 6-7 provide the twofold solution: "So [God] caused rain clouds to rise up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground, and the LORD God formed the man." Verse 7 says, "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Here lies the solution to the second prong of the twofold problem and reason. The logic is cogent and the picture is coherent: "no cultivated grain had sprung up...for there was no one to cultivate the land...and the LORD God formed the man." That is all rather straight forward and uncontested. The crux is the meaning of the word e-d in v6.

Scholars have proposed numerous meanings for e-d, 11 but "stream" seems to have won the day. 12 "Stream" can not possibly be correct for two reasons: 1) The text does not say that the problem was a lack of water in general, a problem which could be solved by water from any one of a variety of sources, for instance, a stream. The problem was a lack of rain in particular, because in the ancient Syro-Palestine Levant rain was the sine qua non of vegetation, especially wild vegetation. 2) "Stream" makes nonsense out of such a well-constructed and tightly argued text. If "stream" is understood, the sense is something like "no wild vegetation had appeared in the land...for the LORD God had not sent rain...but a stream was arising to water the whole surface of the land." If a stream was present to water the whole surface of the land, then there was ample water for the appearance of wild vegetation, and the reason clause ("for the LORD God had not sent rain") is completely irrelevant and illogical. 13

Though Gen 2:5-7 primarily connects rain with wild vegetation, in reality rain is also the prerequisite for cultivated grain in the life of the ancient Hebrew farmer (see Deut 11:8-17). Since rain is the prerequisite for e-seb-hassa-deh as well as for sah. -hassa-deh, and since Adam will eventually eat e-seb-hassa-deh according to Gen 3:18, Adam must have experienced rain. Once again, if "for the LORD God had not sent rain" is to make any logical sense, rain must have fallen in Adam's experience. 14

So v6 is begging to be interpreted as a reference to rain. The expectation is for something like, "no wild vegetation had appeared in the land...for the LORD God had not sent rain...so God sent rain." On this point Mitchell Dahood was right. Stimulated by the association of the obscure Eblaite NI.DU with rain (ga-m; Hebrew geem) and the association of Hebrew e-d with rain (mt.r), Dahood proposed reading NI.DU as Semitic -du and understanding both the Eblaite -du and the Hebrew e-d as "rain cloud." 15 Whether or not Dahood is correct in his interpretation of the Eblaite evidence, 16 he is correct in taking Hebrew e-d as "rain cloud," as can be demonstrated from the literary and climatic contexts in which e-d occurs in the MT itself. 17

The only other recognized occurrence of Hebrew e-d is Job 36:27, 18 which the NIV translates, He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams (e-d). The NIV translates e-d here with "streams" in keeping with its rendering in Gen 2:6. A footnote, however, offers an alternative: "distill from the mist ( e-d) as rain." The alternative in the footnote is certainly closer to the true sense. It correctly recognizes the sense "from" for the preposition le, 19 but "mist" ("water in the form of articles floating or falling in the atmosphere at or near the surface of the earth and approaching the form of rain") cannot be the sense of e-d here, since mist does not "distill as rain (ma-t.a -r)," especially as "abundant rain" (see v28).

The ancients knew as well as we that rain distills/drops from clouds, as Eccl 1:3 makes clear, If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Dahood, translates Job 36:27, When he draws up drops from the sea, they distill as rain (ma-t.a -r) from his rain cloud ( e-d).20 Such a rendering not only makes sense in the narrow confines of the verse and Syro-Palestinian meteorology, but note how well it fits the context,

27When he draws up drops from the sea, they distill as rain from his rain cloud. (Dahood) 28The clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. (NIV)
Note how a hinge is formed by v27b ("rain cloud") and v28a ("clouds"). This hinge connects the beginning of the cycle (evaporation in v27a) with the end of the cycle (abundant rain on the land in v28b). Clearly, the text does not have in view is distilling as rain or drops of water distilling to streams, but abundant rain falling from rain clouds. Given that e-d has the sense "rain cloud" in Job 36:27, where it is collocated with rain (mt.r), it is certainly plausible that e-d has the same sense in Gen 2:6, where it is likewise collocated with rain (mt.r; Gen 2:5). The plausibility of this conclusion is confirmed by the fact that Dahood was not the first to understand e-d in the sense of "rain cloud;" the ancient Targums consistently render e-d with Aramaic nn ("cloud")! 21

An immediate objection arises, however, if we translate Gen 2:6, "A rain cloud came up (qal of lh ) from the land," since rain clouds do not literally come up from the land. So, for example, David Tsumura has said, On the other hand, e-d is described as "coming up" (ya aleh) from the earth (eres.), either from the surface of the earth or from underground. Thus, e-d, the water from below, is clearly distinguished from rain water, the water from above, in Gen 2:5-6. 22

But consider a text like Ps 135:7, He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth ( eres. ); he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. The verb translated "makes rise" in v7a is the hiphil of lh, and the word for rain in v7b is ma-t.a -r. Ps 135:7 thus provides a close parallel for Gen 2:5-6, showing that clouds do rise from the land, at least in terms of how things appear to an observer standing on the land. Clouds appear on the horizon, whether the horizon is a plain or a mountain, and thus give the appearance of rising from the land. The seventh time Elijah's servant looked out over the Mediterranean he said a "cloud as small as a man's hand is rising ( lh) from the sea" (1 Kgs 18:44), not literally rising from the sea, of course, but rising in terms of appearance, since the cloud was rising in relation to the sea that formed the western horizon. Compare also Jer 10:13//51:16, When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise (hiphil of lh) from the ends of the earth (eres. ). He sends lightning with the rain (ma-t.a -r) and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

In light of these texts, I am also inclined to agree with Dahood23 when he takes ya aleh in Gen 2:6 (used in the context of mt.r and eres.) as a hiphil with God as the subject for the following reasons: 1) Ps 135:7 and Jer 10:13 use the hiphil of lh + "clouds" as the direct object with God as subject in the context of ma-t.a -r and eres., and thus the legitimacy of collocating the hiphil of lh + "clouds" is established, 2) God is the subject of the preceding himt.r (Gen 2:5) and the following wayys.er ("formed;" v7), so continuity of the subject would result, 24 and most significantly 3) God would be the explicit solver of both the problem of no rain and the problem of no cultivator—God caused the rain clouds to rise and God formed the cultivator.

A second objection to taking e-d as a reference to rain (cloud) would be that Gen 2:10 says a "river" watered the garden not rain. In fact, the repetition of the hiphil of qh in v6 and v10 is part of an argument for taking e-d as a reference to the river of v10. 25 The repetition, however, can be explained as a means of connecting the source ("rain clouds;" v6) with the result ("river;" v10). But even if e-d is defined by the "river," the presence of rain simply becomes an unargued presupposition of the text. This is so because the ancients were as well aware as we are that precipitation is the source of river water (see, for example, Matt 7:25, 27).

Moreover, the word for "river" in our text, na-ha-r, is typically used for perennial rivers like the Euphrates. Since such rivers are fed by rain (and melting snow in the surrounding mountains), the presence of a na-ha-r would be proof of the presence of rain rather than an objection to it. The burden of proof rests squarely on the shoulders of any who would wish to argue that something other than a precipitation-fed river is in view in the use of the word na-ha-r in Gen 2:10, since the word is never used for anything other than a precipitation-fed river in the Hebrew Bible. But ultimately the resultant illogical text (as discussed above) when e-d is taken as "stream" outweighs all other considerations and precludes understanding e -d as a reference to a river or stream.

Meredith Kline has adopted Dahood's interpretation of e-d as "rain cloud" and has further suggested taking the imperfect of lh in an inceptive sense, 26 "he began to make rain clouds27 arise." Grammatically the inceptive sense is possible, 28 and contextually the inceptive sense is required, for if there had been rain clouds previously, there would have been rain and the reason clause ("for the LORD God had not sent rain") would be irrelevant and illogical.

As with the second prong of the twofold problem and reason so also with the first prong, a coherent picture emerges: "no wild vegetation had appeared in the land...for the LORD God had not sent rain...so29 he began to make rain clouds arise from the land and water the whole surface of the ground."

SummaryProblem: Reason: Solution:

1) No wild vegetation; 1) No rain; 1) God sent rain 2) No cultivated grain; 2) No cultivator; 2) God formed a cultivator

Notes

1.Meredith G. Kline, "Because It Had Not Rained," WTJ 20 (1958) 146-57.

2.My article is also complementary to the more recent article, Meredith G. Kline, "Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony," Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith 48 (1996) 2-15. These two articles often arrive at the same conclusions from different lines of argumentation, and each contributes details left undiscussed or undeveloped in the other.

3.There may be some chronological sequence in these chapters, but such chronology is "accidental," i.e., the author's primary intention is to narrate the material topically.

4.Some might object that there is a methodological problem from the beginning: letting a latter text (Gen 2:5-7) control the interpretation of an earlier text (Gen 1:1-2:3). 1) I could have written this paper in the exact opposite order, examining the structure of Gen 1:1-2:3, drawing out the implications for the parallel structure in Gen 2:4-25, and then using this material to answer the question regarding "no rain" in Gen 2:5. My starting with Gen 2:5-7 reflects the point at which I entered the interpretive process some time ago. 2) All Scripture is to be used to interpret all Scripture. We often know more about the beginning of a story once we have gotten to the end. An excellent example of this is found in Numbers 19, which describes the water of purification ritual. Verses 1-6 describe the burning of the heifer; vv7-10 describe the removal of the ashes to a purified place outside the camp; vv11-13 describe the use of the waters of purification for those who have come in contact with a dead body. At this point the reader is bewildered as to the relationship between the ashes and the water, since the text makes no connection between the two. In vv14-19 it becomes clear, however, that in the ritual some of the ashes are put in a jar to which water is added, then this water is sprinkled on the unclean people and/or objects to bring about the ritual cleansing. It is only in the light of the latter material (vv14-19) that the earlier material (vv11-13) is comprehensible. The question is not, "Ought one to begin in Genesis 1 or Genesis 2?" The question is, "What is the interpretation that does most justice to both texts?"

5.The NIV, NLT, and NAB treat vv5-7 as part of the same literary unit, and they begin a new paragraph at v8; so too Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17 (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990) 150-60. From a text linguistics point of view the use of the waw+subject+predicate construction at the beginning of v5 marks this material as background information; see Alviero Niccacci, The Syntax of the Verb in Classical Hebrew Prose (JSOTSup, 86; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990) 35-41. There is not unanimity as to where the background information ends and the main action begins. Some scholars take the waw-relative in v7 as the marker for the first main action; see Niccacci, Syntax, 39; Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1-15 (Waco, TX: Word, 1987); and C. John Collins, "Exegetical-theological Notes for Christian Faith in an Age of Science," unpublished (1997) 10 n50, who follows Niccacci and Wenham. But this is not necessary, since the waw-relative can be used to represent sequence within backgrounded material; see, e.g., Gen 47:13-14; Judg 11:1-3; 1 Sam 5:1. That v7 belongs with vv5-6 will become clear as the argument unfolds. For now, note the chiastic arrangement of the clause types that ties v6 (the reason) to v7 (the solution): verbal (k lo - himt.r elo -hm) + nominal (wea - da-m ayin) + nominal (we e-d ya aleh) + verbal (wayys.er).

6.E.g., Ronald F. Youngblood, The Book of Genesis (Baker: Grand Rapids, 1991) 34.

7.Claus Westermann, Genesis 1-11 (Augsburg: Minneapolis, 1984) 199. See also Hamilton, Genesis, 154.

8.The account in Gen 2:4-5 is being narrated from the perspective of one living in the Syro-Palestinian Levant, as is clear from v8 where we are told that the garden was planted "in Eden, in the east." "In the east" presumes a fixed reference point somewhere in the west. Since the garden was located somewhere in Mesopotamia, the western reference point is the Syro-Palestinian Levant in general and the land of Canaan in particular, the land in which the audience for whom the story was originally written was about to live. In a complementary fashion,Theodore Hiebert, The Yahwist's Landscape: Nature and Religion in Early Israel (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) 36, makes the following point: "One key detail is the reference, in the epic's opening sentence, to rainfall as essential for the growth of vegetationYet when the beginning of the Yahwist's epic is compared to the beginnings of origin narratives from other cultures, this mention of rain stands out as a distinctive characteristic of J's narrative. In the great river valley civilizations of the ancient Near East, Egypt and Mesopotamia, where agriculture was dependent on the inundation of lowlands by flooding rivers and on irrigation systems related to them, narratives focus on these phenomena rather than on the rainfall that is the ultimate source of the rising rivers. A creation text from Ur, in just such a series of introductory clauses describing not yet existent realities as those that begin the Yahwist's epic, focuses on the key phenomena of irrigation agriculture: In those days no canals were opened, No dredging was done at dikes and ditches on dike tops. The seeder plough and ploughing had not yet been instituted for the knocked under and downed people. No (one of) all the countries was planting in furrows. By contrast, J's reference to rain alone reflects the rain-based, dryland farming characteristic of the highlands on the shores of the Mediterranean where biblical Israel came into being." Hiebert's point is well taken, apart from his views on Pentateuchal sources.

9.Hiebert, Landscape, 37, is thus correct when he says that sah. -hassa-deh "is used for vegetation that grows in semiarid and arid regions, the low bushes and dwarf shrubs characteristic of areas that lack enough rain to support intensive agriculture." But his explicit connection with pasturage of sheep and goats has no support in the context.

10.See Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1994) 169. The New Living Translation translates e-seb-hassa-deh in Gen 2:5 as "grain," as does Hiebert, Landscape, 37; but contra Hiebert, the contrast between sah. -hassa-deh and e-seb-hassa-deh is not between animal husbandry and agriculture, but between vegetation that requires rain only and that which requires a farmer in addition to rain.

11.See Westermann, Genesis, 200-201, for an overview.

12.See Nahum M. Sarna, Genesis (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989) 17; Youngblood, Genesis, 35; Westermann, Genesis, 201; John J. Scullion, Genesis: A Commentary for Students, Teachers, and Preachers (The Liturgical Press: Collegeville, MN, 1992) 44.

13.Kline, "Space," 12, says, "Gen 2:6 tells of the provision of a supply of water, the absence of which had previously delayed the appearance of vegetation....Verse 6 must then be relating a new development, not something concurrent with the situation described in verse 5. For otherwise verse 6 would be affirming the presence of the supply of water necessary for the survival of vegetation at the very time when verse 5b says the absence of vegetation was due to the lack of such a water supply."

14.It is beyond the scope of this paper to examine other biblical accounts of creation that testify to the presence of rain from the beginning, but see, for example, Ps 104:13 and Prov 3:19-20, and Mark D. Futato, "Sense Relations in the Rain' Domain of the Old Testament," Essays in Honor of Aloysius Fitzgerald (ed. Mark S. Smith; Washington, D.C.: The Catholic Biblical Association, forthcoming) and idem "Dew," The New International Dictionary of Theology and Exegesis (ed. Willem G. VanGemeren; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming).

15.Mitchell Dahood, "Eblaite I-Du and Hebrew Ed, Rain-Cloud'," CBQ 43 (1981) 534-38.

16.See David Toshio Tsumura, The Earth and the Waters in Genesis 1 and (JSOTSup, 83; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1989) 95-97 for a recent criticism of Dahood's proposed Semitic etymology. The only criticism offered by Tsumura that has any bearing on my argumentation is his third point, "[Dahood's] translation, So he made a rain cloud come up' is not syntactically acceptable" (p96); but the consecutive nature of this clause is not an essential part of the argument, and see my footnote 29, which counters Tsumura's assertion regarding its acceptability.

17.The biblical evidence can stand on its own and does not need support from comparative Semitics.

18.Dahood, "Rain Cloud," 537-38, also reinterprets the personal name mat.re-d (Gen 36:39; 1 Chr 1:50) as "Rain of the Cloud," with an elided aleph. He cites several theophoric names with a "rain" component. There is also the simple Hebrew name geem (Neh 2:19).

19.See John E. Hartley, The Book of Job (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) 475, and Marvin H. Pope, Job (AB, 15; Garden City, NY: Double Day, 1965) 273.

20.Dahood, "Rain Cloud," 536.

21Tsumura, Earth, 94. For Onkelos, see Alexander Sperber, ed. The Bible in Aramaic, Based on Old Manuscripts and Printed Texts (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992) 1.2; for Pseudo-Jonathan, see E.G. Clarke, ed. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan of the Pentateuch: Text and Concordance (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1984) 2; for Neophiti I, see Alejandro Diez Macho, ed. Neophyti I: Targum Palestinense Ms de la Biblioteca Vaticana (Madrid: Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cientficas, 1968) 1.8. Pseudo-Jonathan says, "But a cloud of glory came down from beneath the throne of glory, and was filled with water from the ocean, went up again from the earth, and sent rain down and watered the whole surface of the ground;" periphrastic elements are italicized in Michael Maher, trans. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis (The Aramaic Bible, 1A; Collegville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1992) 1A.22.

22Tsumura, Earth, 93.

23Dahood, "Rain Cloud," 536.

24While continuity of the subject is not required (see 2:21 and Collins, "Exegetical-theological Notes," 13 n79), such continuity is a consideration along with the other two factors.

25See Cassuto, Genesis, 104.

26Kline, "Space," 12.

27I am taking the singular as a collective.

28Bruce K. Waltke, and M. O'Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1990) 31.2c.

29For the use of waw+non-predicate+predicate in a consecutive clause, see GKC 166a; while most of the examples are of volitives, Prov 30:3b is not, weda at qedo -m e-da ("so I do [not] know the Holy One"), waw+ direct object+imperfect. The consecutive nature of the clause is not essential to the argument; the clause could (with less likelihood) be adversative; for an adversative clause introduced with waw following a negative clause see GKC 163a and Paul Joon and T. Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Subsidia Biblica 14; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1991) 172a.