It seems weird that you can see my comments but not see what I was commenting about! The sentence (I don't remember exactly) said something lke, in your suggested translation, They (or somebody) said that "he had come". He had come was there for "ba". Instead of interpreting it as past perfect, i.e. They said that he had..., i saw it as "They said that he WOULD COME, since 1) "ba" could be present, and 2) if I understand correctly, in Hebrew the tense of reported speech doesn't change (i.e. "he said he would come"=English, but "he said he WILL come"= Hebrew.
Other commenters only see the original sentence and the primary translation.
If you believe there is an error you can use the report function, then moderators could also see other suggestions, and your answer.
You are right that בא can actually be used as many different times, present, past or future, simple, perfect and progressive.
Must be confusing, but there's language for you
Thanks for the clarification . I've sometimes doubted whether I should be reporting or discussing. While I must seem like a pain in the ass because i have so many comments/reports, I'm realy quite fond of the program and have learned a lot. Typical language does happen in short bursts (like your sentences), so even though sometimes your sentences are a bit fanciful, I get a lot of benefit from it. With my separate studying of grammar and some vocabulary, i'm getting to where I feel confident in being able to express my thoughts in Hebrew (even if not correctly), but my listening, beyond your examples, pretty much sucks for extended bits of language!!! Thanks for all your hard work.
Tense doesn't change in reported speech in Hebrew, that's correct. If בא here is past, it would be "the people knew that he had come", if I get the English mechanism right. And if בא here is present, wouldn't it be: "the people know that he was coming"? Or, "the people knew that he came"? And "the people knew that he would come" would translate to the future tense, "he will come", האנשים ידעו שהוא יבוא. Please correct me if I'm wrong, reported speech in English confuses me.