My question regards the parsing of verbs on the Biblehub website's interlinear Hebrew Bible. What do the ConjPerf/ConjImperf/ConsecImperf labels mean?
The letter ו (vav) prefixed to a verb functions in two ways:
- as the וי"ו ההיפוך (vav ha-hippukh), or “conversive vav,”1 it changes the “aspect” of the verb from imperfect to perfect, or vice-versa, depending on the form of the verb to which the vav is prefixed.
- the word הִפּוּךְ (hippukh) means “reversal, opposite, inversion.” Hence, the vav ha-hippukh reverses the aspect of the verb. הִפּוּךְ is related to the verb הָפַךְ (hafakh), “to turn.”
- as the וי"ו החיבור (vav ha-chibbur), or “conjunctive vav,” it functions simply as a conjunction, connecting clauses together, while retaining the original aspect of the verb.
- the word חִבּוּר (chibbur) means “conjunction, connection, joining.” Hence, the vav ha-chibbur joins clauses together. חִבּוּר is related to the verb חָבַר (chavar), “to join.”
וַיִּקְרָא (vayyikra) is a verb conjugated in binyan Paʿal (also known as binyan Qal or Kal), imperfect aspect. However, the vav prefixed to it is a vav ha-hippukh, thus changing the meaning of the verb from “and he calls” to “and he called,” as though the verb were conjugated in the perfect aspect.
Notice how וְקָרָא (vekara) can mean both “and he called” (perfect tense) and “and he calls/will call” (imperfect tense). The diacritics and spelling are identical. Pratico and Van Pelt discuss this and more on the vav consecutive and conjunctive in general.2 You will need to study a biblical Hebrew grammar to understand this topic more in-depth.
1 It seems that website calls the conversive vav by the term consecutive vav.
2 Pratico and Van Pelt, Ch. 17, p. 195–208
Pratico, Gary D.; Van Pelt, Miles V. Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.