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Further Biblical Hebrew

Further Biblical Hebrew

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Sections

  • PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
  • NIPHAL
  • Spot the Niphal
  • The relation between verbs lamed-’aleph and verbs lamed-hey
  • Uses of Niphal
  • Views of medieval scholars on use of Niphal
  • PIEL
  • Spot the Piel
  • Uses of Piel
  • Views of medieval scholars on use of Piel
  • Polel, Polal, Hithpolel
  • HIPHIL
  • Try to recognise Hiphil verbs
  • Uses of Hiphil
  • c): Stems which express action in some particular direction
  • Views of medieval scholars on use of Hiphil
  • HITHPAEL
  • Spot the Hithpael
  • Uses of Hithpael
  • Views of medieval scholars on use of Hithpael
  • THE THEORY OF THE QAL PASSIVE
  • I: Supposed perfects of Pual
  • II: Apparent Hophal imperfects
  • III: Apparent Pual participle forms without preformative mem
  • IV: Views of medieval scholars on the Qal Passive
  • Glossary of rabbinic Hebrew grammatical terminology
  • Brief biographical sketches of medieval scholars
  • PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
  • INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE
  • PART THREE: SYNTAX
  • FINAL OR PURPOSE CLAUSES
  • ANTITHESIS IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
  • CAUSAL AND EXPLICATIVE CLAUSES
  • QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
  • PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
  • USE OF PERFECT/QATAL
  • USE OF IMPERFECT/YIQTOL
  • VIEWS OF MEDIEVAL SCHOLARS ON USE OF PERFECT AND IMPERFECT
  • THE USE OF PARTICIPLES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
  • THE FORM AND USE OF THE JUSSIVE IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
  • PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE
  • Introductory remarks
  • A SUMMARY OUTLINE OF THE GRAMMATICAL FEATURES OF ‘ELEVATED STYLE’
  • RARE FORMS OF PRONOMINAL SUFFIXES OF THE VERB AND NOUN
  • ḤIREQ COMPAGINIS
  • PARAGOGIC NUN
  • Exodus 15:1
  • Exodus 15:2
  • Exodus 15:4
  • Exodus 15:5
  • Exodus 15:6
  • Exodus 15:7
  • Exodus 15:8
  • Exodus 15:9
  • Exodus 15:10
  • Exodus 15:11
  • Exodus 15:12
  • Exodus 15:13
  • Exodus 15:14
  • Exodus 15:15
  • Exodus 15:16
  • Exodus 15:17
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY
  • INDEX

Further Biblical Hebrew

Gorgias Handbooks
11
The Gorgias Handbooks series provides students and scholars with
necessary tools.
Further Biblical Hebrew
Explanations and Exercises
Fiona Blumfield
9
34
2009
Gorgias Press LLC, 180 Centennial Ave., Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA
www.gorgiaspress.com
Copyright © by Gorgias Press LLC 2009
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright
Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise without the
prior written permission of Gorgias Press LLC.
Printed in the United States of America
2009 ܚ
9
ISBN 978-1-59333-948-7 ISSN 1935-6838
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication
Data
Blumfield, Fiona Eve.
Further biblical Hebrew : explanations and
exercises / Fiona Blumfield. -- 1st Gorgias
Press ed.
p. cm. -- (Gorgias handbooks ; v. 11)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Hebrew language--Textbooks for foreign
speakers--English. 2. Hebrew
language--Grammar--Textbooks. 3. Hebrew
language--Grammar--Problems, exercises, etc. 4.
Bible O.T.--Language, style. I. Title.
PJ4567.3.B58 2009
492.4'82421--dc22
2009031615
v
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of contents..................................................................................................... v
Foreword ................................................................................................................. ix
Acknowledgments .................................................................................................. xi
Abbreviations ........................................................................................................xiii
Part One: The Verb in Biblical Hebrew............................................................15
Niphal .............................................................................................................15
Spot the Niphal.............................................................................................15
The relation between verbs lamed-’aleph and verbs lamed-hey ...........33
The relation between verbs ע " ו and ע " ע ................................................41
Uses of Niphal ..............................................................................................43
Views of medieval scholars on use of Niphal..........................................52
Piel ..................................................................................................................68
Spot the Piel ..................................................................................................68
Uses of Piel ....................................................................................................77
Views of medieval scholars on use of Piel ...............................................85
Polel, Polal, Hithpolel ..................................................................................92
Hiphil............................................................................................................101
Try to recognise Hiphil verbs...................................................................101
Uses of Hiphil .............................................................................................109
a): Hiphil stems which express the obtaining or receiving of a
concrete or abstract quality. ................................................................111
b): Stems which express in Hiphil the entering into a certain
condition and being in that condition. ..............................................112
c): Stems which express action in some particular direction. .............113
Views of medieval scholars on use of Hiphil.........................................115
Hithpael........................................................................................................126
Spot the Hithpael........................................................................................126
Uses of Hithpael .........................................................................................131
Exercise: identify the Hithpael verbs in the following biblical
verses; discuss their form and use. (see explanatory notes at the
end). ........................................................................................................135
Views of medieval scholars on use of Hithpael.....................................138
the theory of the qal passive .....................................................................148
I: Supposed perfects of Pual...................................................................149
II: Apparent Hophal imperfects..............................................................152
III: Apparent Pual participle forms without preformative mem. ........154
vi FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
IV: Views of medieval scholars on the Qal Passive...............................155
Glossary of rabbinic Hebrew grammatical terminology ......................157
Brief biographical sketches of medieval scholars..................................158
Part Two: The Infinitives in Biblical Hebrew................................................163
Infinitive Absolute......................................................................................163
Infinitive Construct ....................................................................................188
Exercise: identify the Infinitive Construct forms in the following
biblical verses; discuss their form and use. .......................................189
View of Medieval Scholars on the Form and Use of Infinitive
Absolute and Infinitive Construct .....................................................206
Part Three: Syntax ...............................................................................................221
final or purpose clauses .............................................................................221
The biblical origins of rabbinic Hebrew words for expressing
purpose...................................................................................................231
Exercise: translate the following English sentences into fully
pointed biblical Hebrew. .....................................................................235
Antithesis in Biblical Hebrew...................................................................237
Study the following biblical verses and analyse the various methods
used to express antithesis and/or contrast; explanatory notes
are provided with each verse. .............................................................237
Exercise: translate the following English sentences into fully
pointed biblical Hebrew. .....................................................................246
causal and explicative clauses....................................................................248
Exercise: study the following biblical verses and discuss/analyse
the various methods of formulating causal and explicative
clauses in biblical Hebrew. See explanatory notes at the end of
the exercise. ...........................................................................................248
Exercise: translate the following English sentences into fully
pointed biblical Hebrew. .....................................................................257
Questions and answers in biblical hebrew..............................................259
Exercise: spot the ‘hey interrogative’ in the following biblical verses
and deduce the rules for the pointing of the ‘hey interrogative’;
explanatory notes are found at the end.............................................259
Study the following biblical verses and discuss the formation of
interrogative sentences in biblical Hebrew.......................................264
Study the following biblical verses and consider how answers to
questions are formulated in biblical Hebrew. ..................................268
Exercise: translate the following English interrogative sentences
into fully pointed biblical Hebrew; suggested translations will be
found at the end....................................................................................273
TABLE OF CONTENTS vii
Part Four: Use of Tenses in Biblical Hebrew.................................................275
Use Of Perfect/Qatal ................................................................................276
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, discuss/analyse uses of
the Perfect/Qatal..................................................................................276
Use of Imperfect/Yiqtol ...........................................................................284
Exercise: in the following biblical verses discuss/analyse use of
Imperfect/Yiqtol ..................................................................................284
Views of medieval scholars on use of perfect and imperfect..............296
the use of participles in biblical hebrew..................................................310
Exercise: identify the participle forms in the following biblical
verses and discuss their use and function.; explanatory notes are
added. .....................................................................................................310
The form and use of the jussive in biblical hebrew..............................314
Exercise: identify the Jussive in the following biblical verses and
analyse/discuss its function; explanatory notes are added.............314
Part Five: Poetic Hebrew/Elevated Style........................................................319
Introductory remarks.................................................................................319
A summary outline of the grammatical features of ‘elevated style’. ...320
Energic Nun and Unassimilated Engergic Nun (See GK 58 i, k, l;
WHG pp 130-131) ...............................................................................322
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, identify the verbal
suffixes with Energic Nun, both contracted and uncontracted.;
explanatory notes are found at the end.............................................323
Rare forms of pronominal suffixes of the verb and noun...................325
Exercise; in the following biblical verses, identify the rare forms
וֹמ , ָ וֹמ , ֵ וֹמ of the pronominal suffixes of the verb (with the
perf. imperf. and imperat.); explanatory notes are added. .............326
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, identify the rare forms
וֹמ , ָ וֹמ , ֵ וֹמ of the pronominal suffixes with the noun..................329
Explanatory notes are added. ...................................................................329
Ḥireq compaginis........................................................................................331
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, spot the Ḥireq
Compaginis in nouns, adjectives and participles. note also the
instances where a preposition is inserted between the cstr. state
and its genitive; explanatory notes are added...................................332
Paragogic nun..............................................................................................336
Exercise: study the occurrence of Paragogic Nun in the following
biblical verses, noting its occurrence with and without the
pause, in both prose and poetic texts; explanatory notes are
added. .....................................................................................................336
A grammatical overview of the song of the sea ....................................339
viii FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
(exodus 15:1-18) .........................................................................................339
Exodus 15:1.................................................................................................339
Exodus 15:2.................................................................................................342
Exodus 15:4.................................................................................................344
Exodus 15:5.................................................................................................345
Exodus 15:6.................................................................................................346
Exodus 15:7.................................................................................................347
Exodus 15:8.................................................................................................348
Exodus 15:9.................................................................................................348
Exodus 15:10...............................................................................................349
Exodus 15:11...............................................................................................349
Exodus 15:12...............................................................................................349
Exodus 15:13...............................................................................................350
Exodus 15:14...............................................................................................351
Exodus 15:15...............................................................................................352
Exodus 15:16...............................................................................................353
Exodus 15:17...............................................................................................354
Bibliography .........................................................................................................357
Index......................................................................................................................361
 
ix
FOREWORD
This book arose from the requirement to deliver lectures in Biblical Hebrew
Grammar to second and third year College students who had already com-
pleted a first year course in Biblical Hebrew Grammar using one of the ba-
sic textbooks which are available (e.g. Kelley, Pratico/Van Pelt, Weingreen
etc. see Bibliography). This book aims to help students make the transition
from the basic grammar books to the comprehensive reference grammar
books (Gesenius-Kautzsch, Jouon/Muraoka etc, see Bibliography) and to
the Biblical Hebrew lexicons (BDB etc) and thereby facilitate a more ad-
vanced analysis of Biblical texts; there are many issues of Biblical interpreta-
tion for which a deeper understanding of Biblical Hebrew grammar is re-
quired than is possible to gain from the study of only a basic grammar
book.
Constant reference is made in this book not only to recent works of
Grammar, but also to the grammatical comments of the medieval Jewish
exegetes, for the grammatical insights of these medieval scholars and the
modern grammarians often differ from each other only in terminology
rather than in substance.
Accordingly, this book features numerous examples of actual Biblical
verses, with no artificial Biblical Hebrew, and the grammatical explanations
are fully referenced to the modern grammar books, with the aim of
encouraging students to consult the reference grammar books and lexicons
for themselves. The comments of the medieval exegetes are presented in
the original Rabbinic Hebrew, but full translations and explanations are
provided.
Extensive “exercise” sections are presented based on biblical verses,
but the “answers/explanations” are always presented, either together with
the exercise, or at the end of the section; this enables students to use the
book for self-study.
x FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
It is to be noted that this book is not offered in any manner as a com-
prehensive grammar book, but rather as a tool to facilitate a more advanced
analysis of Biblical Hebrew and to include material not completely covered
in the basic grammar books, such as: uses of verbal patterns and infinitive
forms, issues of syntax and features of ‘elevated style’, incorporating a small
study of the “Song of the Sea” (Exodus 15) from a grammatical perspective.
Since a central feature of this book are the numerous citations of
biblical verses to illustrate points of grammar, English translations to the
verses have in all cases been provided, with a view to enabling the student
better to grasp the points of grammar under discussion. Accordingly, the
priority has been the plain and literal meaning of the verse, so far as is
possible, often at the expense of more idiomatic English. Constant
reference has been made to the Bible translations cited below, but no one
published translation has been exclusively relied upn.
The published Bible translations consulted were:
The Jerusalem Bible. The English text revised and edited by Harold
Fisch. Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd. 2000.
The Jewish Study Bible. ed. Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler. Jewish
Publication Society Tanakh translation. OUP. 2004.
The Keter Crown Bible. Introduction by Raphael Jospe. Horev
Publishing House. 2004. Sole Distributors, Feldheim Publishers.
Fiona Blumfield
July 2008

xi
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I owe considerable gratitude to the following individuals:
Rabbi Dr Irving Jacobs, emeritus Principal of Jews’ College, London
University, who taught me Midrash and Medieval Jewish Exegesis, and who
first asked me to deliver lectures in Advanced Biblical Hebrew Grammar,
which ultimately became the basis for this book.
Professor Geoffrey Khan, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Cambridge
University, who supervised my PhD thesis and who was always willing to
give his learned advice on matters relating to this book.
Chris Dillon, Faculty Information Support Officer for Arts and
Humanities and Laws, University College London, without whose expertise
and help so willingly given, the publication of this book would not have
been possible.
Katie Stott Ph.D. Production & Acquisitions Editor, Gorgias Press,
whose skills and devotion to the task were phenomenal.
Dr Ada Rapoport-Albert, Head of Dept. of Hebrew and Jewish
Studies, University College London, who gave me the valued opportunity to
continue lecturing in Advanced Biblical Hebrew Grammar at UCL after the
degree programmes at Jews’ College/London School of Jewish Studies were
discontinued.
My long-enduring husband, Manny, and my daughters Penina and
Shoshana, who happily tolerated the many hours I devoted to this project.
This book is dedicated to the fond memory of my very dear father,
Azriel Yoffey, son of Rabbi Israel Jacob Yoffey of Manchester, England,
who first taught me the Hebrew alphabet and who so greatly encouraged
me in Hebrew Studies over the years; to him belongs much of the credit for
all my achievements.
May he rest in peace.
xiii
ABBREVIATIONS
adj. adjective
adv. adverb
apoc. apocopated (shortened)
BCE Before Christian Era
c.pl. common plural
c.sg. common singular
cstr. construct (state)
Chron Chronicles
Deut Deuteronomy
def. art. definite article
Exod Exodus
fem. feminine
f.pl. feminine plural
f.sg. feminine singular
Gen Genesis
hapax hapaxlegomenon (a form attested only once in the Hebrew
Bible)
hey int. hey interrogative
imperat. imperative
imperf. imperfect
inf. abs. infinitive absolute
inf. cstr. infinitive construct
Lev Leviticus
lit. literally
masc. masculine
m.pl. masculine plural
xiv FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
m.sg. masculine singular
n.f. noun feminine
n.m. noun masculine
Numb Numbers
part. participle
perf. perfect
Pesh. Peshitta (Syriac translation of the Hebrew Bible, perhaps c. 1
st

cent. BCE)
pl. plural
prep. preposition
Ps Psalms
Sam Samuel
LXX Septuagint
sf. Suffix
vav conj. vav conjunctive
vav consec. vav consecutive
Vulg Vulgate (Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible made by the
Church father Jerome c. 400 ce.)

15
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
(Morphology and Uses of Biblical Hebrew Verbal Patterns)
NIPHAL
Spot the Niphal
Study the following biblical verses.
PARSE and TRANSLATE all the NIPHAL verbs.
The student will find that the Niphal verbs occur in a logical order,
progressing from the regular through the various types of irregular
formations. The student may consult the verb tables in any reliable Biblical
Hebrew grammar book.
Explanatory notes are found at the end of the section.
The subsequent two sections, “the relation of verbs ל " א to verbs ל " ה ”
and “the relation of verbs ע " ע to verbs ע " ו ” are of relevance to the
analysis of a few verbs in this section.
1 Exodus 22:9
ִ כּ י - ל ֶ א שׁי ִ א ן ֵ תִּ י - וֹא רוֹמ ֲ ח וּה ֵ ע ֵ ר - וֹא רוֹשׁ - ה ֶ שׂ , ל ָ כ ְ ו - ה ָ מ ֵ ה ְ בּ - רֹ מ ְ שׁ ִ ל ;
וֹא ת ֵ מוּ - וֹא ר ַ בּ ְ שִׁ נ - ָ בּ ְ שִׁ נ ה , ה ֶ אֹר ןי ֵ א
If a man gives his fellow a donkey, an ox, a sheep or any beast to guard, and
it dies or is injured or taken captive, with no witness.
16 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
2 Leviticus 25:23
ץ ֶ ר ָ֗ א ָ ה ְ ו א ֤ ֹל ֙ ר ֵ כ ָ מּ ִ ת ת ֔ ֻ ת ִ מ ְ צ ִ ל י ֖ ִ ל־י ִ כּ ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה םי ֧ ִ ר ֵ ג־י ֽ ִ כּ םי ֛ ִ ב ָ שׁוֹת ְ ו ֖ ֶ תּ ַ א ם
׃י ֽ ִ ד ָ מּ ִ ע
The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine, for you are
strangers and sojourners with me.
3 Genesis 42:19
םי֣ ִ נ ֵ כּ־ם ִ א ם ֔ ֶ תּ ַ א ם֣ ֶ כי ִ ח ֲ א ד ָ֔ ח ֶ א ר ֖ ֵ ס ָ אֵ י תי ֣ ֵ ב ְ בּ ם֑ ֶ כ ְ ר ַ מ ְ שׁ ִ מ ֙ ם ֶ תּ ַ א ְ ו וּ ֣ כ ְ ל
וּאי ִ֔ ב ָ ה ר ֶ ב ֖ ֶ שׁ ןוֹ ֥ ב ֲ ע ַ ר ֵ תּ ָ בּ ׃םֽ ֶ כי
If you are honest, let one of your brothers be imprisoned in the house of
your confinement and you go and bring grain for the hunger of your
households.
4 II Kings 18:10
ָ ה ֗ ֻ ד ְ כּ ְ לִ יּ ֽ ַ ו ֙ ה ֵ צ ְ ק ִ מ שׁ ֣ ל ָ שׁ םי ֔ ִ נ ָ שׁ שׁ ֖ ֵ שׁ־ת ַ נ ְ שׁ ִ בּ ה֑ ָ יּ ִ ק ְ ז ִ ח ְ ל אי ֣ ִ ה ְ שׁ ע ַ שׁ ֗ ֵ תּ־ת ַ נ
ַ ע ֙ ֵ שׁוֹה ְ ל ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מ ִ י ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שׂ ה ֖ ָ ד ְ כּ ְ לִ נ ׃ןוֹ ֽ ר ְ מֹשׁ
They captured it after three years; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the
ninth year of Hosea, king of Israel, Samaria was captured.
5 Jeremiah 7:10
֞ ֶ תא ָ בוּ ם ם ֣ ֶ תּ ְ ד ַ מ ֲ ע ַ ו י ֗ ַ נ ָ פ ְ ל תִ י ֤ ַ בּ ַ בּ ֙ ה ֶ זּ ַ ה ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ֣ ִ מ ְ שׁ־א ָ ר ְ קִ נ וי ֔ ָ ל ָ ע ם ֖ ֶ תּ ְ ר ַ מ ֲ א ַ ו
וּנ ְ ל֑ ַ צּ ִ נ ן ַ ע ֣ ַ מ ְ ל תוֹ ֔ שׂ ֲ ע ת ֥ ֵ א תוֹ ֖ ב ֵ עוֹתּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ ה ֶ לּ ֽ ֵ א ָ ה ׃
And will you come and stand before Me in this Temple, upon which My
Name is called, and say, ‘we have been saved’, in order that you may do all
these abominations?
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 17
6 Genesis 6:6,7
ם ֶ ח֣ ָ נּ ִ יּ ַ ו ה ָ֔ והְ י ה ֥ ָ שׂ ָ ע־י ֽ ִ כּ ם ֖ ָ ד ָ א ָ ֽ ה־ת ֶ א ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ בּ ב֖ ֵ צּ ַ ע ְ תִ יּ ַ ו ׃וֹ ֽ בּ ִ ל־ל ֶ א 7 ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
ה ָ֗ והְ י ה ֶ֨ ח ְ מ ֶ א ם ֤ ָ ד ָ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א ֙ י ִ תא ֙ ָ ר ָ בּ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ל ַ ע ֵ מ י֣ ֵ נ ְ פּ ה ֔ ָ מ ָ ד ֲ א ָ ֽ ה ָ א ֵ ֽ מ ֙ ם ָ ד
ה ֔ ָ מ ֵ ה ְ בּ־ד ַ ע שׂ ֶ מ ֖ ֶ ר־ד ַ ע ףוֹ ֣ ע־ד ַ ע ְ ו םִ י ֑ ָ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה י ֥ ִ כּ י ִ תּ ְ מ ֖ ַ ח ִ נ י ֥ ִ כּ ׃ם ֽ ִ תי ִ שׂ ֲ ע
The Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved
in His heart; and the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created
from upon the face of the earth, from man to beast to creeping things and
the birds of the air, for I regret that I made them.’
7 Isaiah 40:4
םי ֖ ִ ס ָ כ ְ ר ָ ה ְ ו רוֹ ֔ שׁי ִ מ ְ ל ֙ בֹק ָ ע ֽ ֶ ה ה֤ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו וּל֑ ָ פּ ְ שִׁ י ה֖ ָ ע ְ ב ִ ג ְ ו ר ֥ ַ ה־ל ָ כ ְ ו א ֔ ֵ שׂ ָ נּ ִ י ֙ אי ֶ גּ־ל ָ כּ
׃ה ֽ ָ ע ְ ק ִ ב ְ ל
Every valley will be raised and every mountain and hill will be made low,
the uneven shall be a level and the rough places a plain.
8 Genesis 12:7
א ֤ ָ רֵ יּ ַ ו ֙ ה ָ והְ י ם ֔ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ל ֶ א ר ֶ מא ֕ ֹיּ ַ ו ְַ ל ז ֔ ך ֲ ע ְ ר ן ֖ ֵ תּ ֶ א ץ ֶ ר ֣ ָ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א תא֑ ֹזּ ַ ה ן ֶ ב֤ ִ יּ ַ ו ֙ ם ָ שׁ
׀ ַ ח ֵ֔ בּ ְ ז ִ מ ֖ ָ והי ַ ל ה ה ֥ ֶ א ְ ר ִ נּ ַ ה ׃וי ֽ ָ ל ֵ א
The Lord appeared to Abraham and said, ‘I will give this land to your seed’,
and he built there an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him.
9 Jeremiah 32:15
דוֹ ֣ ע וּ ֥ נ ָ קִּ י םי ֛ ִ תּ ָ ב תוֹ ֥ ד ָ שׂ ְ ו םי ֖ ִ מ ָ ר ְ כוּ ֶ ר ֥ ָ א ָ בּ ץ ׃תאֹ ֽ זּ ַ ה
Houses and fields and vineyards will be bought again in this land.
18 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
10 Genesis 41:32
ל ֨ ַ ע ְ ו תוֹ ֧ נ ָ שּׁ ִ ה . םוֹ ֛ ל ֲ ח ַ ה ה ֖ ֹע ְ ר ַ פּ־ל ֶ א םִ י ֑ ָ מ ֲ ע ַ פּ ןוֹ ֤ כ ָ נ־י ֽ ִ כּ ֙ ר ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה ם ֣ ִ ע ֵ מ
םי ִ֔ הל ֱ א ָ ה ר ֥ ֵ ה ַ מ ְ מוּ םי ֖ ִ הל ֱ א ָ ה ׃וֹ ֽ תֹשׂ ֲ ע ַ ל
As for the repetition of the dream to Pharoah twice, it is because the thing
is determined by G-d and G-d is hurrying to perform it.
11 II Samuel 1:6
ֶ מא ֜ ֹיּ ַ ו ר ר ַ ע֣ ַ נּ ַ ה די֣ ִ גּ ַ מּ ַ ה וֹ ֗ ל א ֤ ֹר ְ קִ נ ְ קִ נ ֙ י ִ תי ֙ ֵ ר ר ֣ ַ ה ְ בּ ַ ע ֔ ֹבּ ְ ל ִ גּ ַ ה ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו לוּ ֖ א ָ שׁ
ן ֣ ָ ע ְ שִׁ נ וֹ ֑ תי ִ נ ֲ ח־ל ַ ע ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ב ֶ כ ֛ ֶ ר ָ ה י ֥ ֵ ל ֲ ע ַ בוּ םי ֖ ִ שׁ ָ ר ָ פּ ַ ה ׃וּה ֽ ֻ ק ִ בּ ְ ד ִ ה
The young man who was reporting to him said, ‘I happened to be on
Mount Gilboa and Saul was leaning on his spear, and the chariots and the
horsemen were pursuing him.’
12 Numbers 23:4
ר ֥ ָ קִּ יּ ַ ו םי ֖ ִ הל ֱ א ל ֶ א ם֑ ָ ע ְ ל ִ בּ־ ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו וי ֗ ָ ל ֵ א ת֤ ַ ע ְ ב ִ שׁ־ת ֶ א ֙ תֹח ְ בּ ְ ז ִ מּ ֽ ַ ה י ִ תּ ְ כ ֔ ַ ר ָ ע
ל ַ ע ֛ ַ א ָ ו ר ֥ ָ פּ לִ י ֖ ַ א ָ ו ׃ ַ ח ֽ ֵ בּ ְ ז ִ מּ ַ בּ
G-d met Balaam and He said to him, ‘I have arranged the seven altars and I
have offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.’
13 Psalm 109:14
ָ זּ ִ י ר֤ ֵ כ ן ֣ ֹו ֲ ע וי ָ תֹב ֭ ֲ א ה֑ ָ והְ י־ל ֶ א תא ֥ ַ טּ ַ ח ְ ו וֹ ֗ מּ ִ֝ א ׃ח ֽ ָ מּ ִ תּ־ל ַ א
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered by the Lord and let not the
sin of his mother be blotted out.

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 19
14 Jeremiah 6:8
֙ י ִ ר ְ ס ָ וּ ִ ה ִ ם ֔ ַ ל ָ שׁוּ ֣ רְ י ע ֥ ַ ק ֵ תּ־ן ֶ פּ ֖ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ י ך ֑ ֵ מּ ִ מ ך֣ ֵ מי ִ שׂ ֲ א־ן ֶ פּ ְ שׁ ה ֔ ָ מ ָ מ ץ ֶ ר ֖ ֶ א אוֹ ֥ ל
׃ה ָ ב ֽ ָ שׁוֹנ
Be chastened, O Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from you, lest I make
you a desolation, a land not inhabited.
15 I Kings 12:6
ץ ֞ ַ ע ָ וּ ִ יּ ַ ו ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מּ ַ ה ם ֗ ָ ע ְ ב ַ ח ְ ר ֙ םי ִ נ ֵ ק ְ זּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וּ ֣ י ָ ה־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א םי ֗ ִ ד ְ מֹע ֙ י ֵ נ ְ פּ־ת ֶ א ה ֣ ֹ מל ְ שׁ
וי ִ֔ ב ָ א וֹ ֥ תֹי ְ ה ֽ ִ בּ י ֖ ַ ח ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל ךי ֵ֚ א ם ֣ ֶ תּ ַ א םי ֔ ִ צ ָ עוֹ ֽ נ בי ֥ ִ שׁ ָ ה ְ ל ה֖ ֶ זּ ַ ה־ם ָ ע ֽ ָ ה־ת ֶ א
׃ר ֽ ָ ב ָ דּ
And King Rehoboam took counsel with the Elders who had stood before
his father while he was alive, saying, ‘how do you advise that I answer this
people?’
16 Psalm 130:4
֥ ך ְ מּ ִ ע־י ֽ ִ כּ ה ֑ ָ חי ִ ל ְ סּ ַ ה ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ֝ ְ ל ׃א ֽ ֵ ר ָ וּ ִ תּ
For with You is forgiveness, so that You may be feared.
17 I Kings 19:10
ר ֤ ֵ ת ָ וּ ִ אָ ֽ ו ֙ י ִ נ ֲ א י ֔ ִ דּ ַ ב ְ ל וּ ֥ שׁ ְ ק ַ בְ י ַ ו י ֖ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ־ת ֶ א ׃הּ ֽ ָ תּ ְ ח ַ ק ְ ל
I alone have remained and they seek to take my life.
18 Deuteronomy 7:25
י ֥ ֵ לי ִ ס ְ פּ . ם ֖ ֶ הי ֵ הל ֱ א ןוּ ֣ פ ְ ר ְ שׂ ִ תּ שׁ ֑ ֵ א ָ בּ ֩ דֹ מ ְ ח ַ ת־א ֽ ֹל ף ֶ ס ֨ ֶ כּ ב ֤ ָ ה ָ ז ְ ו ֙ ם ֶ הי ֵ ל ֲ ע
֣ ָ תּ ְ ח ַ ק ָ ל ְ ו ך ֔ ָ ל ן ֶ֚ פּ שׁ ֣ ֵ ק ָ וּ ִ תּ וֹ ֔ בּ י ֧ ִ כּ ת֛ ַ ב ֲ עוֹת ה֥ ָ והְ י ךי ֖ ֶ הל ֱ א ׃אוּ ֽ ה
20 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
You shall burn the statues of their gods in fire, you shall not desire the
silver or gold upon them and take it for yourself, lest you be ensnared by it,
for it is an abomination to the Lord your G-d.333
19 I Kings 2:46
ְ י ַ ו ו ֣ ַ צ ך ֶ ל ֗ ֶ מּ ַ ה ֙ וּה ֙ ָ י ָ נ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ע ֔ ָ דָ יוֹ ֣ הְ י־ן ֶ בּ א ֕ ֵ צֵ יּ ַ ו ִ יּ ַ ו וֹ ֖ בּ־ע ַ גּ ְ פ ת ֑ ֹ מָ יּ ַ ו ה ֥ ָ כ ָ ל ְ מ ַ מּ ַ ה ְ ו
ה ָ נוֹ ֖ כ ָ נ ְ בּ ׃ה ֽ ֹ מל ְ שׁ־דַ י
And the king commanded Benaiah son of Jehoiada and he went out and
struck him and he died; and the kingdom was established in the hand of
Solomon.
20 I Kings 2:12
ה ֕ ֹ מל ְ שׁוּ ב ֕ ַ שָׁ י ִ כּ־ל ַ ע א ֖ ֵ סּ ד֣ ִ ו ָ דּ וי ֑ ִ ב ָ א ן ֥ ֹכּ ִ תּ ַ ו וֹ ֖ ת ֻ כ ְ ל ַ מ ׃ד ֽ ֹ א ְ מ
And Solomon sat on the throne of David his father and his kingdom was
firmly established.
21 Amos 4:12
ןוֹ ֥ כּ ִ ה ךי ֖ ֶ הל ֱ א־תא ַ ר ְ ק ִ ל ׃ל ֽ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י
Prepare to meet your G-d, O Israel.
22 Exodus 15:15
ז ֤ ָ א ֙ וּל ֲ ה ְ ב ִ נ י ֣ ֵ פוּלּ ַ א םוֹ ֔ ד ֱ א י֣ ֵ לי ֵ א ב ָ֔ אוֹמ וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י ד ַ ע ֑ ָ ר וּג ֕ ֹ מ ָ נ ל ֖ ֹכּ י ֥ ֵ ב ְ שֹׁי
׃ן ַ עֽ ָ נ ְ כ
Then the chiefs of Edom were terrified, as for the leaders of Moab,
trembling seized them, all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 21
23 Psalm 17:5
ך ֣ ֹ מ ָ תּ י ַ ר ֻ שׁ ֭ ֲ א ךי ֑ ֶ תוֹל ְ גּ ְ ע ַ מ ְ בּ וּטוֹ ֥ מ ָ נ־ל ַ בּ ׃י ֽ ָ מ ָ ע ְ פ
My steps have held firmly to your tracks, my feet have not slipped.
24 Psalm 15:5
וֹ ֤ פּ ְ ס ַ כּ ן ֣ ַ ת ָ נ־אֹל ֮ ך ֶ שׁ ֶ נ ְ בּ ד ַ ח ֥ ֹשׁ ְ ו י ֗ ִ ק ָ נ־ל ַ ע א ֥ ֹל ח ֥ ָ ק ֫ ָ ל ה ֶ לּ ֑ ֵ א־ה ֵ שׂ ֽ ֹע א ֖ ֹל טוֹ ֣ מִּ י
םֽ ָ לוֹע ְ ל ׃
He does not give his money on interest and he does not take a bribe against
the innocent; he that does these things shall never be shaken.
25 Psalm 38:9
י ִ תוֹ ֣ גוּפ ְ נ י ִ תי֣ ֵ כּ ְ ד ִ נ ְ ו ד ֑ ֹ א ְ מ־ד ַ ע י ִ תּ ְ ג ַ֗ א ֝ ָ שׁ ת ֥ ַ מ ֲ ה ַ נּ ֽ ִ מ ׃י ֽ ִ בּ ִ ל
I am benumbed and crushed greatly, I roar from the groaning of my heart.
26 Joel 4:12
֙ וּרוֹ ֙ עֵ י וּ ֣ ל ֲ עַ י ְ ו ם֔ ִ יוֹגּ ַ ה ק ֶ מ֖ ֵ ע־ל ֶ א ט֑ ָ פ ָ שׁוֹ ֽ הְ י י ֣ ִ כּ ם ֗ ָ שׁ ב ֛ ֵ שׁ ֵ א ט ֥ ֹ פּ ְ שׁ ִ ל
ם֖ ִ יוֹגּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א ׃בי ֽ ִ ב ָ סּ ִ מ
Let the nations rouse themselves and go up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
for there I will sit to judge all the nations from round about.
27 Genesis 17:26
֙ ם ֶ צ ֙ ֶ ע ְ בּ םוֹ ֣ יּ ַ ה ה ֔ ֶ זּ ַ ה לוֹ ֖ מּ ִ נ ם ֑ ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א לא֖ ֵ ע ָ מ ְ שִׁ י ְ ו ׃וֹ ֽ נ ְ בּ
On this very day, Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised.

22 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
28 Amos 9:9
ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה־י ֽ ִ כּ ֙ י ִ כֹ נ ֽ ָ א ְ מ ה ֶ֔ וּ ַ צ י ִ תוֹ ֥ עִ נ ֲ ה ַ ו ם֖ ִ יוֹגּ ַ ה־ל ֽ ָ כ ְ ב תי ֣ ֵ בּ־ת ֶ א ל ֑ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ
ַ עוֹ ֙ נּ ִ י ה ֔ ָ ר ָ ב ְ כּ ַ בּ לוֹ ֥ פִּ י־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו רוֹ ֖ ר ְ צ ׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א
For I am about to command and I will toss the House of Israel among all
the nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve, and no pebble falls to the ground.
29 Ezekiel 20:43
ם ֗ ָ שׁ־ם ֶ תּ ְ ר ַ כ ְ זוּ ֙ ם ֶ כי ֵ כ ְ ר ַ דּ־ת ֶ א ֙ ת ֵ א ְ ו ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ תוֹ ֣ לי ִ ל ֲ ע־ל ָ כּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ֖ ֶ תא ֵ מ ְ טִ נ ם֑ ָ בּ
֙ ם ֶ תֹט ֽ ֹק ְ נוּ ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ נ ְ פ ִ בּ ם֖ ֶ כי ֵ תוֹע ָ ר־ל ָ כ ְ בּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ׃ם ֽ ֶ תי ִ שׂ ֲ ע
And you will remember there all your ways and all your deeds with which
you have been defiled, and you shall feel a loathing at yourselves for all your
evils which you have done.
30 Numbers 34:4
ב ֣ ַ ס ָ נ ְ ו ֩ ם ֶ כ ָ ל לוּ ֨ ב ְ גּ ַ ה ב ֶ ג ֜ ֶ נּ ִ מ ה֤ ֵ ל ֲ ע ַ מ ְ ל ֙ םי ִ בּ ַ ר ְ ק ַ ע
And your border shall turn southward of the ascent of Akrabbim.
31 Genesis 19:4
֮ ם ֶ ר ֶ ט ֒ וּב ָ כּ ְ שִׁ י י ֨ ֵ שְׁ נ ַ א ְ ו רי ֜ ִ ע ָ ה י ֤ ֵ שׁ ְ נ ַ א ֙ םֹד ְ ס וּבּ ֣ ַ סָ נ תִ י ַ֔ בּ ַ ה־ל ַ ע
They had not yet lain down when the men of the city, the men of Sodom
surrounded the house.
32 Psalm 97:5
וּסּ ַ מָ֭ נ ג ֗ ַ נוֹדּ ַ כּ םי ֗ ִ ר ָ ה
The mountains melted like wax.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 23
33 II Samuel 6:22
י ִ ת ֤ ל ַ ק ְ נוּ ֙ דוֹע תא ֔ ֹזּ ִ מ י ִ תי ֥ ִ י ָ ה ְ ו ל ֖ ָ פ ָ שׁ י֑ ָ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ ֙ תוֹה ָ מ ֲ א ֽ ָ ה־ם ִ ע ְ ו ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ְ תּ ְ ר ֔ ַ מ ָ א
ם ֖ ָ מּ ִ ע ׃ה ָ דֽ ֵ ב ָ כּ ִ א
And I will be yet more lightly esteemed than this, and I will be lowly in my
own eyes, and with the maidservants of whom you spoke, with them I will
be honoured.
34 Hosea 2:1
הָ י ָ הֽ ְ ו ר֤ ַ פּ ְ ס ִ מ ֙ ל ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־יֽ ֵ נ ְ בּ לוֹ ֣ ח ְ כּ ַ ה ם ֔ ָ יּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ד ֖ ַ מִּ י־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו א ֣ ֹל ר֑ ֵ פ ָ סִּ י
And the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea
which may not be measured and may not be counted.
35 Amos 5:24
ל֥ ַ גּ ִ י ְ ו םִ י ֖ ַ מּ ַ כּ ט֑ ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ה ֖ ָ ק ָ ד ְ צוּ ְ כּ ל ַ ח֥ ַ נ ן ֽ ָ תי ֵ א ..
But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing
torrent.
36 Malachi 3:9
֙ ה ָ ר ֵ א ְ מּ ַ בּ ַ א ם ֣ ֶ תּ םי ֔ ִ ר ָ אֽ ֵ נ י ֖ ִ תֹ א ְ ו ם ֣ ֶ תּ ַ א םי ֑ ִ ע ְ בֹק יוֹ ֖ גּ ַ ה ׃וֹ ֽ לּ ֻ כּ
With the curse you are cursed and Me you are robbing, the whole nation.
37 Psalm 18:27
׃ל ֽ ָ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ תּ שׁ ֵ֗ קּ ֝ ִ ע־ם ִ ע ְ ו ר ֑ ָ ר ָ בּ ְ ת ִ תּ ר ֥ ָ ב ָ נ־ם ִ ע
With the pure You show Yourself pure and with the twisted You deal
tortuously.
24 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
38 Leviticus 26:39
. . םי ֣ ִ ר ָ א ְ שִׁ נּ ַ ה ְ ו ם ֗ ֶ כ ָ בּ ֙ וּקּ ֙ ַ מִּ י ם ֔ ָ נֹו ֲ ע ַ ֽ בּ ת ֖ ֹצ ְ ר ַ א ְ בּ ם֑ ֶ כי ֵ בְ יֹ א ף ֛ ַ א ְ ו . ת ֥ ֹ נֹו ֲ ע ַ בּ
ם ֖ ָ תֹב ֲ א ם ֥ ָ תּ ִ א ׃וּקּ ֽ ָ מִּ י
And those who are left among you will rot away in their iniquity in the lands
of your enemies and even in the iniquities of their fathers with them they
will rot away.
39 Isaiah 50:5
י֤ ָ נֹד ֲ א ֙ ה ִ והְ י י ֣ ִ ל־ח ֽ ַ ת ָ פּ ן ֶ ז ֔ ֹ א י ֖ ִ כֹ נ ָ א ְ ו א ֣ ֹל י ִ תי ֑ ִ ר ָ מ רוֹ ֖ ח ָ א א ֥ ֹל ׃י ִ תֹֽ גוּסְ נ
The Lord G-d has opened for me an ear and I did not rebel, I did not turn
back.
40 Psalm 78:57
וּג ֣ ֹסִּ יּ ַ ו וּדְ גּ ְ בִ יּ ֽ ַ ו ם ֑ ָ תוֹב ֲ א ַ כּ וּ ֗ כ ְ פּ ְ ה ֶ֝ נ ְ כּ ת ֶ שׁ ֣ ֶ ק ׃הֽ ָ יּ ִ מ ְ ר
They turned back and acted treacherously, they changed like a deceitful
bow.
41 Micah 2:6
ֽ ֹל ןוּ ֑ פי ִ טַּ י וּפ ֖ ִ טּ ַ תּ־ל ַ א ׃תוֹ ֽ מּ ִ ל ְ כּ ג ֖ ַ סִּ י א ֥ ֹל ה ֶ לּ ֵ֔ א ָ ל וּפ ֣ ִ טַּ י־א
‘Do not preach’, they preach; they shall not preach to these; reproaches do
not depart.
Explanatory notes for spot the Niphal
1 Exodus 22:9
ר ַ בּ ְ שִׁ נ Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. lit. “he/it was broken”; root רבשׁ
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 25
The participle would have qamets under the beth: ר ָ בּ ְ שִׁ נ
ה ָ בּ ְ שִׁ נ Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. lit. “he/it was taken captive”; root הבשׁ.
The participle would have segol under the beth: ְ שִׁ נ ֶ בּ ה according to the
rules of verbs ל " ה .
2 Leviticus 25:23 (Jubilee Year)
ֵ כ ָ מּ ִ ת ר Niphal imperf. 3 f.sg. “it/she will be sold”; root רכמ.
ָ צ ת ַ מ = put an end to, exterminate > תוּתי ִ מ ְ צ n.f. = completion, finality
only in phrase, תוּתי ִ מ ְ צּ ַ ל, תוּתי ִ מ ְ צ ִ ל = “in perpetuity”
3 Genesis 42:19 (Joseph to his brothers)
ר ֵ ס ָ אֵ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. “he will be bound/imprisoned”; root רסא.
Note compensatory lengthening of ḥireq to tsere under prefix yod due to
absence of dagesh in the ’aleph (first root letter), according to rules of verbs
pe-guttural in Niphal.
4 II Kings 18:10
ה ָ ד ְ כּ ְ לִ נ Niphal perf. 3 f.sg. “she/it was captured”; root דכל.
5 Jeremiah 7:10
ָ ר ְ קִ נ א Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. “it has been called”
Note that in verbs ל " א the Niphal perf. and part. m.sg. have the same
form.
וּנ ְ ל ַ צּ ִ נ Niphal perf. 1 c.pl. “we have been saved”. Root לצנ.
26 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Note the assimilation of the nun (first root letter) into the tsadi
(second root letter) according to the rules of verbs פ " נ .
6 Genesis 6:6,7
ם ֶ ח ָ נּ ִ יּ ַ ו Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. “and he repented.”
י ִ תּ ְ מ ַ ח ִ נ Niphal perf. 1 c.sg. “I repented, regretted.”
Be careful not to confuse Niphal perfect and Piel perfect of the root םחנ.
Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. is ם ַ ח ִ נ (contracted from ם ַ ח ְ נ ִ נ) (Amos 7:3 + 4 t)
> pausal: ם ָ ח ִ נ
Niphal perf. 1 c.sg. is י ִ תּ ְ מ ַ ח ִ נ (contracted from ְ מ ַ ח ְ נ ִ נ י ִ תּ ).
The Piel perf. 3 m.sg. is also ם ַ ח ִ נ (no contraction having taken place; no-
tice the ‘virtual doubling’ of the middle root letter in the Piel, since it is a
guttural).
7 Isaiah 40:4
ִ י א ֵ שׂ ָ נּ Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. “it will be lifted up”; root אשׂנ.
בֹק ָ ע adj. steep, hilly; םי ִ ס ָ כ ְ ר rough places.
8 Genesis 12:7
א ָ רֵ יּ ַ ו Niphal apocopated imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. “and he
appeared”
root האר The long form of the Niphal imperf. is ֵ י ה ֶ א ָ ר
ה ֶ א ְ ר ִ נּ ַ ה Niphal participle m.sg. + definite article; האר.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 27
9 Jeremiah 32:15
וּנ ָ קִּ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.pl. “they will be bought,” root הנק.
10 Genesis 41:32
תוֹנ ָ שּׁ ִ ה Niphal infinitive construct; “being repeated”; root הנשׁ.
ןוֹכ ָ נ Niphal participle m.sg. “established, determined,” root ןוכ.
11 II Samuel 1:6 (The Amalekite to David on the death of Saul and
Jonathan at Mount Gilboa).
אֹר ְ קִ נ Niphal infinitive absolute; ארק.
י ִ תי ֵ ר ְ קִ נ Niphal perf. 1 c.sg.; רק ה . “I happened to be.”
On the relation between verbs ל " א and verbs ל " ה , see below.
See also GK 75 nn-rr.
12 Numbers 23:4
ר ָ קִּ יּ ַ ו Niphal apocopated imperf. 3 m.sg. “and he met,” root הרק.
The longer form would be ה ֶ ר ָ קִּ י.
See GK 49d: “When a shortening of the imperfect form is possible—it
takes effect, as a rule—after waw consec. e.g. in Hiphil ל ֵ ט ְ קַ יּ ַ ו (53n). The
tendency to retract the tone from the final syllable is even stronger after
waw consec. than in the jussive,—.”
e.g. םוּקָ י, jussive םֹקָ י, with waw consec. ם ָ קָ יּ ַ ו and he arose.”
13 Psalm 109:14
ר ֵ כ ָ זּ ִ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. “it will be remembered,” root רכז.
28 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ח ָ מּ ִ תּ Niphal imperf. 3 f.sg. apocop. from ָ מּ ִ תּ ה ֶ ח “it/she will be wiped
out” root החמ.
14 Jeremiah 6:8
י ִ ר ְ ס ָ וּ ִ ה Niphal imperative f.sg. “let yourself be chastened,” root רסי.
ה ָ ב ָ שׁוֹנ Niphal participle f.sg. “inhabited,” root בשׁי.
עקי = be dislocated, alienated > Qal imperf. 3 f.sg. ע ַ ק ֵ תּ. (See Gen 32:26)
15 I Kings 12:6
ַ ע ָ וּ ִ יּ ַ ו ץ Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. “and he took counsel,” root
ץעי
םי ִ צ ָ עוֹנ Niphal part. m.pl. “consult together, exchange counsel”; root ץעי
16 Psalm 130:4
א ֵ ר ָ וּ ִ תּ Niphal imperf. 2 m.sg. “you will be feared”; root ארי.
17 I Kings 19:10
ר ֵ ת ָ וּ ִ א ָ ו Niphal imperf. 1 c.sg. “and I have remained,” root רתי.
18 Deuteronomy 7:25
שׁ ֵ ק ָ וּ ִ תּ Niphal imperf. 2 m.sg. “you will be ensnared,” root שׁקי.
19 I Kings 2:46
ה ָ נוֹכ ָ נ Niphal perf. 3 f.sg. “it was established,” root ןוכ.


PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 29
20 I Kings 2:12
ן ֥ ֹכּ ִ תּ ַ ו Niphal imperf. 3 f.sg. + vav consec. “and it was established,” root
ןוכ.
21 Amos 4:12
ןוֹכּ ִ ה Niphal imperative m.sg. “prepare,” root ןוכ.
22 Exodus 15:15
וּל ֲ ה ְ ב ִ נ Niphal perf. 3 m.pl. “they were terrified,” root להב.
ָ נ וּג ֕ ֹ מ Niphal perf. 3 pl. “they melted away,” root גומ.
וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י “(trembling) has taken hold of them.” root זחא; Qal imperf. +
sf. For rare forms of the pronominal suffixes of the verb, see GK 58g and
Part Five of this book. For use of imperf. in the sphere of pasttime, “to
express actions etc which continued throughout a longer or shorter period,”
see GK 107b.
23 Psalm 17:5
וּטוֹמ ָ נ Niphal perf. 3 pl. “(they) tottered, slipped,” root טומ.
ך ֣ ֹ מ ָ תּ Note use of Infinitive Absolute instead of inflected form.
24 Psalm 15:5
טוֹמִּ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. “he will (not) be shaken,” root טומ.
25 Psalm 38:9
י ִ תוֹ ֣ גוּפ ְ נ Niphal perf. 1 c.sg. “I am benumbed,” root גופ.
י ִ תי ֵ כּ ְ דִ נ Niphal perf. 1 c.sg. “I am crushed,” root הכד.
30 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
26 Joel 4:12
וּרוֹעֵ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.pl. “let them rouse themselves,” root רוע.
27 Genesis 17:26
לוֹמּ ִ נ Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. “he was circumcised,” root לומ. See GK
72ee: “In common with verbs ע " ע verbs ע " ו sometimes have in Niphal
and Hiphil the quasi-Aramaic formation, by which, instead of the long
vowel under the preformative, they take a short vowel with Dagesh forte in
the following consonant; this variety is frequently found even along with
the ordinary form, e.g. תי ִ סּ ִ ה to incite, imperfect תי ִ סַּ י (also תי ִ ס ֵ ה,
תי ִ סָ י);—sometimes with a difference of meaning, as ַ חי ִ נ ֵ ה to cause to rest,
but ַ חי ִ נּ ִ ה (imperfect ַ חי ִ נּ ַ י)—to set down.”
28 Amos 9:9
ַ עוֹנּ ִ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. “it is tossed about, sieved,” root עונ.
Note the Hiphil of the same root עונ: ַ ו י ִ תוֹע ִ נ ֲ ה “I will toss about, shake.”
רוֹר ְ צ n.m. pebble
29 Ezekiel 20:43
ם ֶ תא ֵ מ ְ טִ נ Niphal perf. 2 m.pl. “you have defiled yourselves,” root
אמט.
֙ ם ֶ תֹט ֽ ֹק ְ נוּ Niphal perf. 2 m.pl. + vav consec. “and you shall feel a
loathing at yourselves,” root טוק = “feel a loathing.” See Psalm 95:10 for
Qal of this root: רוֹ ֗ ד ְ בּ טוּ ֤ ק ָ֘ א ׀ ה ֨ ָ נ ָ שׁ םי ֤ ִ ע ָ֘ בּ ְ ר ַ א “for forty years I felt a
loathing at the generation.”
30 Numbers 34:4
ב ַ ס ָ נ ְ ו Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. “and it will turn,” root בבס.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 31
31 Genesis 19:4
וּבּ ַ סָ נ Niphal perf. 3 pl. “they surrounded,” root בבס .
32 Psalm 97:5
וּסּ ַ מ ָ נ Niphal perf. 3 pl. “they melted,” root ססמ.
ג ַ נוֹדּ n.m. wax
33 II Samuel 6:22 (David dancing before the Ark as it was brought into
Jerusalem)
ִ ת ֤ ל ַ ק ְ נוּ י Niphal perf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. “and I will be lightly
esteemed,” ללק. ה ָ ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ִ א Niphal imperf. cohortative 1 c.sg. pausal; “I will
be honoured,” דבכ
34 Hosea 2:1
ד ַ מִּ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. “it will be measured,” דדמ.
ר ֵ פ ָ סִּ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. “it will be counted,” רפס.
35 Amos 5:24
ל ַ גּ ִ י ְ ו Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav conjunct. “let it roll.” root ללג.
ן ָ תי ֵ א adj. = “perennial, ever-flowing, permanent.” (BDB p 450, ןתי).
36 Malachi 3:9 (rebuking the people for not bringing the tithes and heave
offerings)
םי ִ ר ָ א ֵ נ Niphal participle m.pl. “cursed,” root ררא. (compare Niphal
participle of בבס > םי ִ בּ ַ סְ נ).

32 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
37 Psalm 18:27
ר ָ ב ָ נ Niphal participle m.sg. “the pure,” root ר ַ ר ָ בּ = “purify, select.”
> Niphal: “purify oneself,” Hithpael: “show oneself pure.”
שׁ ֵ קּ ִ ע adj. twisted, perverted; ל ַ ת ָ פּ twist.
38 Leviticus 26:39
םי ִ ר ָ א ְ שׁ ִ נּ ַ ה Niphal part. m.pl. “those remaining,” ראשׁ.
וּקּ ַ מִּ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.pl. “they will rot,” קקמ. (וּקּ ָ מִּ י
pausal).
39 Isaiah 50:5
י ִ תֹֽ גוּסְ נ Niphal perf. 1 c.sg. “I turned myself back,” root גוס.
40 Psalm 78:57
וּג ֣ ֹסִּ יּ ַ ו Niphal imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav consec. “and they turned
back,” root גוס.
ְ ה ֶ נ וּכ ְ פּ Niphal perf. 3 pl. “they changed,” root ךפה.
הָ יּ ִ מ ְ ר n.f. deceit, treachery
41 Micah 2:6
ג ַ סִּ י See below for discussion of this form in “The relation between verbs
ע " ע and verbs ע " ו .”
ף ַ טָ נ = “drop, drip” > Hiphil: 1): “drip”; e.g. Amos 9:13:
וּפי ֤ ִ טּ ִ ה ְ ו ֙ םי ִ ר ָ ה ֽ ֶ ה סי ִ֔ ס ָ ע
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 33
“and the mountains shall drip sweet wine”
2): “preach” e.g. Amos 7:16:
א ֤ ֹל ֙ א ֵ ב ָ נּ ִ ת ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ל ַ ע א ֥ ֹל ְ ו ףי ֖ ִ טּ ַ ת תי ֥ ֵ בּ־ל ַ ע ׃ק ֽ ָ ח ְ שִׂ י
“Do not prophesy against Israel and do not preach against the House of
Isaac.”
The relation between verbs lamed-’aleph and verbs lamed-hey
“The close relation existing between verbs ל " א and ל " ה is shown in
Hebrew by the fact that the verbs of one class often borrow forms from the
other.” (GK 75 nn).
“The ל " א and ל " ה verbs are intimately related, and they frequently
interchange, or borrow forms from one another.” (Radak. Mikhlol. ed.
Chomsky. p 155).
Examples:
I: ה ָ פ ָ ר = sink, relax; ָ ר א ָ פ = heal.
Study the following biblical verses and note the interchange of form and
meaning between these two verbal roots.
a) Hosea 14:5
ם ֔ ָ ת ָ בוּ ֣ שׁ ְ מ ֙ א ָ פּ ְ ר ֶ א “I will heal their backsliding.”.
֙ א ָ פּ ְ ר ֶ א is Qal imperf. 1 c.sg. א ָ פ ָ ר
b) Jeremiah 3:22
ם֑ ֶ כי ֵ ת ֽ ֹבוּשׁ ְ מ ה ֖ ָ פּ ְ ר ֶ א “I will heal your backslidings.”
34 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Note that ה ֖ ָ פּ ְ ר ֶ א is formed from the ל " ה root, ה ָ פ ָ ר, but has kept the
ל " א vowels, and the meaning is according to the ל " א verb, א ָ פ ָ ר. Qal
imperf. .from the ל " ה root, ה ָ פ ָ ר, would be: ה ֶ פּ ְ ר ֶ א.
c) Numbers 12:13
ק֣ ַ ע ְ צִ יּ ַ ו ה ֔ ֶ שֹׁמ ה֖ ָ והְ י־ל ֶ א ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל ל ֵ֕ א א֛ ָ נ א ֥ ָ פ ְ ר א֖ ָ נ ׃הּֽ ָ ל
“Moses cried out to the Lord saying, ‘O Lord, please heal her’.”
א ֥ ָ פ ְ ר is Qal imperative m.sg. א ָ פ ָ ר = “heal”.
d) Psalm 60:4
ה ָ תּ ְ שׁ֣ ַ ע ְ ר ִ ה ץ ֶ ר ֣ ֶ א הּ ֑ ָ תּ ְ מ ַ צ ְ פּ ה ֖ ָ פ ְ ר ָ הי ֣ ֶ ר ָ ב ְ שׁ ה ָ ט ֽ ָ מ־י ִ כ ׃
“You have caused the land to quake, You have split it open; heal its
breaches, for it totters.”
ה ֖ ָ פ ְ ר is formed from the ל " ה root, ה ָ פ ָ ר, but has the meaning of the ל " א
root, א ָ פ ָ ר, and has kept the ל " א vowels. The vowels of the Qal imperative
m.sg. of the ל " ה root would be: ה ֵ פ ְ ר.
e) Jeremiah 6:14
וּ ֞ א ְ פּ ַ רְ י ֽ ַ ו ר ֶ ב ֤ ֶ שׁ־ת ֶ א ֙ י ִ מּ ַ ע ה ֔ ָ לּ ַ ק ְ נ־ל ַ ע ר ֖ ֹ מא ֵ ל םוֹ ֣ ל ָ שׁ ׀ םוֹ ֑ ל ָ שׁ ןי ֖ ֵ א ְ ו םוֹ ֽ ל ָ שׁ ׃
“They healed the breach of My people lightly saying, ‘peace, peace’, but
there is no peace.”
וּ ֞ א ְ פּ ַ רְ י ֽ ַ ו is Piel imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav consec. root: א ָ פ ָ ר.
f) Jeremiah 8:11
֣ ל ָ שׁ ר ֖ ֹ מא ֵ ל ה ֔ ָ לּ ַ ק ְ נ־ל ַ ע ֙ י ִ מּ ַ ע־ת ַ בּ ר ֶ ב ֤ ֶ שׁ־ת ֶ א וּ ֞ פּ ַ רְ י ַ ו ׃םוֹ ֽ ל ָ שׁ ןי ֖ ֵ א ְ ו םוֹ ֑ ל ָ שׁ ׀ םוֹ
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 35
“They healed the breach of the daughter of My people lightly saying, ‘peace,
peace’, but there is no peace.”
וּ ֞ פּ ַ רְ י ַ ו has the meaning of the ל " א root, “heal” (see e), but the form is
entirely of a ל " ה character, with no ’aleph.
g) Jeremiah 38:4
וּ ֨ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו םי ֜ ִ ר ָ שּׂ ַ ה ך ֶ ל ֗ ֶ מּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ת ַ מוּ ֣ י ֮ א ָ נ שׁי ֣ ִ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א ֒ ה ֶ זּ ַ ה ן ֡ ֵ כּ־ל ַ ע־י ֽ ִ כּ
א ֡ ֵ פּ ַ ר ְ מ־אוּ ֽ ה ֩ י ֵ דְ י־ת ֶ א י ֨ ֵ שׁ ְ נ ַ א ה ֜ ָ מ ָ ח ְ ל ִ מּ ַ ה םי ֣ ִ ר ָ א ְ שׁ ִ נּ ֽ ַ ה ׀ רי ֣ ִ ע ָ בּ תא ֗ ֹזּ ַ ה
“And the officers said to the king, ‘let this man be put to death now,
because he is disheartening (lit. weakening the hands of) the soldiers who
remain in this city’”.
א ֡ ֵ פּ ַ ר ְ מ (Piel part. m.sg.) is formed from the ל " א root, א ָ פ ָ ר, but in the
context of this verse has the meaning of the Piel of the ל " ה root, ה ָ פ ָ ר,
i.e. “let drop, weaken, enfeeble, dishearten”. The form of the Piel participle
of the ל " ה root would be ה ֶ פּ ַ ר ְ מ, but the form א ֡ ֵ פּ ַ ר ְ מ in this verse
entirely follows the analogy of the ל " א verbs. (The Piel א ֡ ֵ פּ ַ ר ְ מ would =
“heal”).
h) Ecclesiastes 10:4
ַ חוּ ֤ ר־ם ִ א ֙ ל ֵ שׁוֹמּ ַ ה ה֣ ֶ ל ֲ ע ַ תּ ךי ֔ ֶ ל ָ ע ֖ ך ְ מוֹק ְ מ ח֑ ַ נּ ַ תּ־ל ַ א י ֣ ִ כּ א ֔ ֵ פּ ְ ר ַ מ ַ חי ֖ ִ נּ ַ י
םי ֥ ִ א ָ ט ֲ ח םי ֽ ִ לוֹד ְ גּ
“If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, do not leave your place, for a
healing (?) allays (?) great offences.”
ַ חוּנ > Hiphil A: ַ חי ִ נ ֵ ה = cause to rest;
Hiphil B: ַ חי ִ נּ ִ ה = lay, set down; let remain, leave; let alone.
36 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Ibn Ezra’s comment on Ecclesiastes 10:4
וֹכ ָ נ רתויו ה ֵ פּ ְ ר ַ ה וּנּ ֶ מּ ִ מּ ֶ שׁ ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ֵ מ ל ַ עוֹפּ אפרמ תויה ן - הּ ָ ל
) מ " כ ד ב " ז (
לאהו " ה םוקמב ף " לאכ א " ף ) ד חל והימרי (
א ֡ ֵ פּ ַ ר ְ מ־אוּ ֽ ה ֩ י ֵ דְ י־ת ֶ א י ֨ ֵ שׁ ְ נ ַ א ה ֜ ָ מ ָ ח ְ ל ִ מּ ַ ה
Translation of Ibn Ezra’s comment
It is more correct to understand (the noun) א ֔ ֵ פּ ְ ר ַ מ as a Piel participle of the
same root as ה ֵ פּ ְ ר ַ ה in II Kings 4:27, “leave her alone”. The ’aleph in
אפרמ is in place of hey, as in א ֡ ֵ פּ ַ ר ְ מ in Jeremiah 38:4, “He is weakening
the hands of the soldiers.”
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
א ֵ פּ ְ ר ַ מappears to be a masculine noun = “healing, cure.” However, this
understanding makes little sense in the context of this verse. Accordingly,
Ibn Ezra suggests that אפרמ should be taken as a Piel participle from the
ל " ה root, הפר, i.e. ה ֶ פּ ַ ר ְ מ = “let drop, weaken etc,” as in Jeremiah 38:4
(see above, g), where א ֡ ֵ פּ ַ ר ְ מ has the meaning of ה ֶ פּ ַ ר ְ מ.
II: ה ָ ל ָ כּ = be complete, at an end, finished etc (BDB p 477)
א ָ ל ָ כּ = shut up, restrain, withhold (BDB p 476)
Compare the following two biblical verses:
a) Genesis 8:2
֙ וּר ְ כ ֽ ָ סִּ יּ ַ ו ת ֣ ֹ נ ְ י ְ ע ַ מ ְ תּ םוֹ ֔ ה ת ֖ ֹבּ ֻ ר ֲ אַ ֽ ו םִ י ֑ ָ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה א֥ ֵ ל ָ כִּ יּ ַ ו ם ֶ שׁ֖ ֶ גּ ַ ה םִ י ֽ ָ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ׃
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 37
“And the springs of the deep and the sluices of the heavens were shut up
and the rain was withheld from the heavens.”
א֥ ֵ ל ָ כִּ יּ ַ ו Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. root א ָ ל ָ כּ
b) Genesis 23:6
ך ְ מּ ִ מ ה֥ ֶ ל ְ כִ י־א ֽ ֹל וֹ ֛ ר ְ ב ִ ק־ת ֶ א וּנּ ֔ ֶ מּ ִ מ שׁי ֣ ִ א
“No man of us shall withhold/keep back from you his burial place.”
ה֥ ֶ ל ְ כִ י has the form of the Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. of the ל " ה root, הלכ, but it
has the meaning of the ל " א root, א ָ ל ָ כּ. The ל " א Qal imperf. would be
א ָ ל ְ כִ י.
III: א ָ ר ָ ק (II) = encounter, befall (BDB p 896) (not to be confused with א ָ ר ָ ק (I) =
call, proclaim, read); ה ָ ר ָ ק = encounter, meet, befall.
Compare the verbal forms from these roots in the following biblical verses:
a) Exodus 3:18
ה ָ֞ והְ י י ֤ ֵ הל ֱ א ֙ םי ִ יּ ִ ר ְ ב ִ ע ֽ ָ ה ה ֣ ָ ר ְ קִ נ וּני ֔ ֵ ל ָ ע
“The Lord G-d of the Hebrews has met with us.”
ה ֣ ָ ר ְ קִ נ is Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. root ה ָ ר ָ ק.
b) Exodus 5:3
וּני֑ ֵ ל ָ ע א ֣ ָ ר ְ קִ נ םי ֖ ִ ר ְ ב ִ ע ָ ה י ֥ ֵ הל ֱ א “The Lord of the Hebrews has met with
us.”
א ֣ ָ ר ְ קִ נ is Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. root א ָ ר ָ ק (II).
In this form, the vowels of verbs ל " א and ל " ה do not differ.
38 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
c) Numbers 23:4
ם֑ ָ ע ְ ל ִ בּ־ל ֶ א םי ֖ ִ הל ֱ א ר ֥ ָ קִּ יּ ַ ו
“G-d encountered Balaam”.ר ֥ ָ קִּ יּ ַ ו is Niphal apocopated imperf. 3 m.sg. +
vav consec. root ה ָ ר ָ ק.
d) II Samuel 18:9
֙ א ֵ ר ָ קִּ יּ ַ ו םוֹ ֔ ל ָ שׁ ְ ב ַ א י֖ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל י ֣ ֵ ד ְ ב ַ ע ד֑ ִ ו ָ ד
“And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David.”
֙ א ֵ ר ָ קִּ יּ ַ ו is Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. א ָ ר ָ ק
(II) with same meaning as ה ָ ר ָ ק
Further examples and exercise
In the following biblical verses, identify ל " א verbs which are of a ל " ה
character. Explanatory notes are found at the end of the section.
a) I Samuel 6:10
וּ ֤ שׂ ֲ עַ יּ ַ ו ֙ םי ִ שָׁ נ ֲ א ָ ה ן ֔ ֵ כּ וּ ֗ ח ְ קִ יּ ַ ו י ֤ ֵ תּ ְ שׁ ֙ תוֹר ָ פ תוֹ ֔ ל ָ ע ְ ס ַ אַ יּ ַ ו םוּ ֖ ר ה֑ ָ ל ָ ג ֲ ע ָ בּ
ם ֖ ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ְ ו וּ ֥ ל ָ כּ ׃תִ י ֽ ָ בּ ַ ב
“And the men did so and they took two nursing cows and tied them to the
wagon, and shut up their calves in the house.”
b) I Samuel 10:6
ה ֤ ָ ח ְ ל ָ צ ְ ו ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ ל ָ ע ׀ ַ חוּ ֣ ר ה ָ֔ והְ י ָ תי ֖ ִ בּ ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו ם ֑ ָ מּ ִ ע ֶ נ ְ ו ֖ ָ תּ ְ כ ַ פּ ְ ה שׁי ֥ ִ א ְ ל ר ֽ ֵ ח ַ א ׃
“The spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with
them, and you will be turned into another man.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 39
c) Jeremiah 26:9
. ׀ ַ עוּדּ ַ מ ָ תי ֵ֨ בּ ִ נ ה ָ֜ והְ י־ם ֵ שׁ ְ ב ר ֗ ֹ מא ֵ ל ֙ וֹל ִ שׁ ְ כּ ֙ הֶ י ְ הֽ ִ י תִ י ֣ ַ בּ ַ ה ַ ה ה ֔ ֶ זּ ְ ו . רי ֥ ִ ע ָ ה
. תא֛ ֹזּ ַ ה ב ֖ ַ ר ֱ ח ֶ תּ ןי ֣ ֵ א ֵ מ ב ֑ ֵ שׁוֹי
“Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying that this
Temple will be like Shiloh, and this city shall be destroyed, without an
inhabitant?”
d) Ruth 2:9
ת ֗ ִ מ ָ צ ְ ו ֙ ְ תּ ְ כ ַ ל ָ ה ְ ו ֶ א םי ֔ ִ ל ֵ כּ ַ ה־ל “If you become thirsty, go to the jugs.”
e) Lamentations 4:1
֙ ה ָ כי ֵ א ם֣ ַ עוּי ב ָ֔ ה ָ ז א֖ ֶ נ ְ שִׁ י ם ֶ ת֣ ֶ כּ ַ ה בוֹ ֑ טּ ַ ה
“How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed!”
f) Esther 1:5
תאוֹ ֣ ל ְ מ ִ בוּ ָ יּ ַ ה םי ֣ ִ מ ה ֶ לּ ֵ֗ א ָ ה ה ֣ ָ שׂ ָ ע ך ֶ ל ֡ ֶ מּ ַ ה ם֣ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כ ְ ל ֩ םי ִ א ְ צ ְ מ ִ נּ ַ ה . ן ַ שׁוּשׁ ְ בּ
ה ֜ ָ רי ִ בּ ַ ה לוֹד֧ ָ גּ ִ מ ְ ל ן ֛ ָ ט ָ ק־ד ַ ע ְ ו ה ֖ ֶ תּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ת֣ ַ ע ְ ב ִ שׁ םי ֑ ִ מָ י
“And when these days were completed, the king made a seven-day banquet
for all the people present in Shushan the capital, from great to small!”
Explanatory notes for ל " א and ל " ה Verbs.
a) I Samuel 6:10
וּל ָ כּ Qal perf. 3 pl. ה ָ ל ָ כּ. However, ה ָ ל ָ כּ ( ל " ה ) = “be complete, at an end”
whereas א ָ ל ָ כּ ( ל " א ) = “shut up, restrain, withhold”
(Qal perf. 3 pl. of א ָ ל ָ כּ would be ָ כּ וּא ְ ל )
40 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
b) I Samuel 10:6
ָ תי ֖ ִ בּ ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו Hithpael perf. 2 m.sg. הבנ.
However, the meaning is of the ל " א verb אבנ, and one would expect
the Hithpael perf. to be ָ תא ֵ בּ ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה “you have prophesied.”
c) Jeremiah 26:9
ָ תי ֵ֨ בּ ִ נ is Piel perf. 2 m.sg. One would expect ָ תא ֵ בּ ִ נ “you have
prophesied.”
d) Ruth 2:9
ת ֗ ִ מ ָ צ ְ ו has the meaning of the ל " א stative verb א ֵ מ ָ צ = “be thirsty”,
and one would expect תא ָ מ ָ צ ְ ו (like תא ָ צ ָ מ). Instead, it follows the
analogy of verbs ל " ה like תי ִ ל ָ גּ “you have uncovered”.
e) Lamentations 4:1
א ֶ נ ְ שִׁ י “it is changed” is Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. written with ’aleph as third
root letter, but with the vowels and meaning of the ל " ה verb ה ָ נ ָ שׁ =
“change”.
If it were a true ל " א verb, it would be written א ָ נ ְ שִׁ י with qamets
under the nun.
f) Esther 1:5
תאוֹ ֣ ל ְ מ ִ בוּ (see GK 74h) has the meaning of the Qal inf. cstr. of the
stative ל " א verb, א ֵ ל ָ מ = “be full” and one would expect אֹל ְ מ ִ בוּ.
Instead, it follows the analogy of inf. cstr. of verbs ל " ה , like תוֹל ְ גּ
(ה ָ ל ָ גּ).
֩ םי ִ א ְ צ ְ מ ִ נּ ַ ה Niphal participle m.pl. א ָ צ ָ מ “who are found”.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 41
According to the rules of verbs ל " א , we would expect םי ִ א ָ צ ְ מ ִ נּ ַ ה
(qamets under tsadi). If, however, the verb were ל " ה , we would have
םי ִ צ ְ מ ִ נ with elision of hey. The sheva under the tsadi plus the reten-
tion of the ’aleph gives us a hybrid formation.
The relation between verbs ע " ו and ע " ע
See GK 72dd: “The verbs ע " ו are primarily related to the verbs ע " ע ,
which were also originally biliteral, so that it is especially necessary in ana-
lyzing them to pay attention to the differences between the inflexion of the
two classes. Several forms are exactly the same in both, e.g. imperfect Qal
and Hiphil with waw consecutive,—. Owing to this close relation, verbs
ע " ו sometimes have forms which follow the analogy of verbs ע " ע —.”
This resemblance of verbs ע " ו to verbs ע " ע is due partially at least to
biliteral roots having been expanded to triliterals in both groups. That is to
say, many triliteral stems in these groups of verbs really point to a biliteral
base. These root syllables are easily distinguished when the stem has a
feeble consonant ( ע " ו ) or the same consonant in second and third place
( ע " ע ). For example, ךכד , הכד , אכד , ךוד all mean “beat, beat in
pieces” and thus, the two stronger letters ךד constitute the monosyllabic
root. Hence, verbs ע " ע were expanded to triliterals by doubling the second
radical, and verbs ע " ו were expanded by lengthening the medial vowel.
In the following biblical verses, analyse the verbs ע " ו which follow the
analogy of verbs ע " ע and the verbs ע " ע which follow the analogy of verbs
ע " ו .
1 Micah 2:6
וּפ ֖ ִ טּ ַ תּ־ל ַ א ןוּ ֑ פי ִ טַּ י וּפ ֣ ִ טַּ י־א ֽ ֹל ה ֶ לּ ֵ֔ א ָ ל א ֥ ֹל ג ֖ ַ סִּ י ׃תוֹ ֽ מּ ִ ל ְ כּ
42 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“‘Do not preach’, they preach; they shall not preach to these; reproaches do
not depart.”
ג ֖ ַ סִּ י Apparently, Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. גגס.
However, the root גגס is otherwise unattested and according to meaning,
the root letters are גוּס = “move away, backslide” (Niphal imperf. גוֹסִּ י)
e.g. Psalm 78:57: ִ יּ ַ ו וּג ֣ ֹסּ וּדְ גּ ְ בִ יּ ֽ ַ ו ם ֑ ָ תוֹב ֲ א ַ כּ
“they drew back and betrayed like their fathers.”
Note also: ף ַ טָ נ = drop, drip > Hiphil: = drip (Amos 9:13); preach (Amos
7:16).
2 Isaiah 24:3
קוֹ ֧ בּ ִ ה קוֹ ֛ בּ ִ תּ ץ ֶ ר ֖ ָ א ָ ה זוֹ ֣ בּ ִ ה ְ ו ֑ בּ ִ תּ זוֹ י ֣ ִ כּ ה ָ֔ והְ י ר֖ ֶ בּ ִ דּ ר ֥ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ׃הֽ ֶ זּ ַ ה
“The land will become utterly emptied and utterly despoiled, for the Lord
has spoken this word.”
קוֹ ֧ בּ ִ ה ׀ קוֹ ֛ בּ ִ תּ Apparently Niphal inf. abs. + Niphal imperf. 3 f.sg.
קוּבּ. However, the root קוּבּ is not attested for any verbal form, though
the noun forms in Nahum 2:11 clearly derive from the ע " ו root: ה ֥ ָ ק וּבּ
ה ֑ ָ ק ָ לּ ֻ ב ְ מוּ ה ֖ ָ ק וּב ְ מוּ “emptiness and void and waste”. The ע " ע root קקבּ is
much better attested (BDB p 132) e.g. Nahum 2:3: םי ֔ ִ ק ְ ק ֽ ֹבּ ֙ םוּק ָ ק ְ ב י ֤ ִ כּ “for
the emptiers have emptied them”.e.g. Isaiah 24:1: ץ ֶ ר ֖ ָ א ָ ה ק ֥ ֵ ק וֹבּ ה֛ ָ והְ י ה֧ ֵ נּ ִ ה
“Behold the Lord is emptying the land.”
זוֹ ֣ בּ ִ ה ְ ו ׀ זוֹ ֑ בּ ִ תּ Apparently Niphal inf. abs. + Niphal imperf. 3 f.sg. זוּבּ.
However, the root זוּבּ means “despise” which does not fit this context.
Clearly, the intended meaning is that of the ע " ע root,ז ַ ז ָ בּ = “spoil,
plunder” (BDB p 102).
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 43
Uses of Niphal
The following summary of the uses of the Niphal conjugation is based on
the analyses of modern grammarians. (see Bibliography).
i: Reflexive of Qal
ר ַ מ ְ שִׁ נ take heed to oneself
e.g. Exodus 23:21
֧ ָ שּׁ ִ ה וֹ ֖ לֹק ְ בּ ע ֥ ַ מ ְ שׁוּ וי֛ ָ נ ָ פּ ִ מ ר ֶ מ
“Pay heed to him and listen to his voice”
ץ ַ ח ְ לִ נ thrust oneself (against)
e.g. Numbers 22:25
א ֶ ר ֨ ֵ תּ ַ ו ןוֹ ֜ ת ָ א ָ ה ך ֣ ַ א ְ ל ַ מ־ת ֶ א ה ָ֗ והְ י ֙ ץ ֵ ח ָ לּ ִ תּ ַ ו רי ֔ ִ קּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א
“The ass saw the angel of the Lord and pressed herself against the wall”
ר ַ תּ ְ סִ נ hide oneself
e.g. I Kings 17:3
תי ֔ ִ ר ְ כּ ל ַ ח֣ ַ נ ְ בּ ֙ ָ תּ ְ ר ַ תּ ְ ס ִ נ ְ ו ה ָ מ ְ ד ֑ ֵ ק ֖ ך ְ לּ ָ תי֥ ִ נ ָ פוּ ה ֔ ֶ זּ ִ מ ך֣ ֵ ל
“Go from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith”
(compare passive/resultative use in Genesis 4:14:
ֵ ה ֩ ן ָ תּ ְ שׁ ֨ ַ ר ֵ גּ י ֜ ִ תֹ א םוֹ ֗ יּ ַ ה ֙ ל ַ ע ֵ מ י֣ ֵ נ ְ פּ ה ֔ ָ מ ָ ד ֲ א ָ ֽ ה ךי֖ ֶ נ ָ פּ ִ מוּ ר ֑ ֵ ת ָ סּ ֶ א
“Behold You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground and
from Your face I shall be hidden”)
44 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ל ַ א ְ ג ִ נ redeem oneself
e.g. Leviticus 25:49
וא - וֹ ֞ דֹדֹ וֹא֤ ןֶ ב - ֹדּ ֙ וֹד וּנּ ֔ ֶ לאְָגִי ר ֵ אְּ שִׁ מ־וֹ ֽ א ֧ וֹרָ שְׂ בּ ֛ וֹתְּ חַ פְּ שִׁ מִּ מ ֖ וּנּ ֶ לאְָגִי ֑ הָגי ִּ שִׂ ה־וֹ ֽ א ֥
וֹדָי ֖ ׃לָֽ אְגִנְ ו
“or his uncle or his uncle’s son shall redeem him, or anyone of his own
flesh of his family shall redeem him; or, if he prospers,he may redeem
himself”
(compare passive use in Leviticus 25:54:
וֹ ֽ מּ ִ ע וי֥ ָ נ ָ בוּ אוּ ֖ ה ל ֵ֔ בֹיּ ַ ה ת֣ ַ נ ְ שׁ ִ בּ ֙ א ָ צָ י ְ ו ה ֶ לּ ֑ ֵ א ְ בּ ל ֖ ֵ א ָ גּ ִ י א ֥ ֹל־ם ִ א ְ ו ׃
“If he will not be redeemed in any of those ways, he and his children with
him shall go free in the Jublilee year”)
Within the “reflexive” category, Niphal is used to express emotions which
react upon the mind.
e.g. Isaiah 1:24
יוֹ ֚ ה ם ֣ ֵ ח ָ נּ ֶ א י ֔ ַ ר ָ צּ ִ מ ה ֖ ָ מ ְ קָ נּ ִ א ְ ו ׃י ֽ ָ בְ יוֹא ֵ מ
“Ah, I will relieve Myself of My adversaries and avenge Myself of My
enemies”
e.g. Lamentations 1:8:
אי ֥ ִ ה־ם ַ גּ ה ֖ ָ ח ְ נ ֶ א ֶ נ ב ָ שׁ ֥ ָ תּ ַ ו רוֹ ֽ ח ָ א ׃
“She also sighs (bemoans herself) and turns backwards”
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 45
Also within the “reflexive” category is the Tolerative Niphal, that is, the use
of Niphal to express actions which the subject allows to happen to himself,
or, to have an effect upon himself.
e.g. Isaiah 65:1
י ִ נ ֑ ֻ שׁ ְ ק ִ ב א ֣ ֹל ְ ל י ִ תא֖ ֵ צ ְ מ ִ נ וּל ָ֔ א ָ שׁ אוֹ ֣ ל ְ ל ֙ י ִ תּ ְ שׁ ֙ ַ ר ְ דִ נ
“I let Myself be inquired of to those who did not ask. I let Myself be found
to those who did not seek Me”
A passive rendering of such Niphals is possible:
e.g. Ecclesiastes 12:12
ר ֑ ֵ ה ָ זּ ִ ה י֣ ִ נ ְ בּ
“Be warned, my son” or: “Allow/suffer yourself to be warned, my son”
ii: Reciprocal or mutual action
וּר ְ בּ ְ דִ נ they spoke to one another
e.g. Malachi 3:16:
ז ֧ ָ א וּ ֛ ר ְ בּ ְ דִ נ י ֥ ֵ א ְ רִ י ה֖ ָ והְ י שׁי ֣ ִ א וּה֑ ֵ ע ֵ ר־ת ֶ א
“Then those that fear the Lord spoke to one another
ט ַ פּ ְ שִׁ נ go to law with one another
e.g. I Samuel 12:7
ה ֗ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו וּ ֛ ב ְ צַּ י ְ ת ֽ ִ ה ה ֥ ָ ט ְ פ ָ שּׁ ִ א ְ ו ם֖ ֶ כ ְ תּ ִ א י֣ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ה֑ ָ והְ י ת ֵ֚ א תוֹ ֣ ק ְ ד ִ צ־ל ָ כּ ה ָ֔ והְ י
46 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“Now stand still that I may plead with you (enter into controversy) before
the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord”
(the passive use of ט ַ פ ָ שׁ is restricted to Psalms e.g. 37:33; 109:7)
ץ ַ עוֹנ consult each other, take counsel of
e.g. I Kings 12:6
ץ ֞ ַ ע ָ וּ ִ יּ ַ ו ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מּ ַ ה ם ֗ ָ ע ְ ב ַ ח ְ ר ֙ םי ִ נ ֵ ק ְ זּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וּ ֣ י ָ ה־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א םי ֗ ִ ד ְ מֹע ֙ י ֵ נ ְ פּ־ת ֶ א ה ֣ ֹ מל ְ שׁ
וי ִ֔ ב ָ א
“King Rehoboam took counsel with the elders who had served his father
Solomon”
ד ַ עוֹנ meet each other
e.g. Exodus 25:22
םי ִ֔ ב ֻ ר ְ כּ ַ ה י֣ ֵ נ ְ שׁ ֙ ןי ֵ בּ ִ מ ת ֶ ר ֗ ֹ פּ ַ כּ ַ ה ל֣ ַ ע ֵ מ ֜ ך ְ תּ ִ א י ֨ ִ תּ ְ ר ַ בּ ִ ד ְ ו ֒ ם ָ שׁ ֮ ך ְ ל י ֣ ִ תּ ְ ד ַ עוֹנ ְ ו
“There I will meet with you and I will speak with you from above the
mercy-seat from between the two cherubim”
ם ַ ח ְ לִ נ fight with one another
e.g. Isaiah 19:2
ה ֽ ָ כ ָ ל ְ מ ַ מ ְ בּ ה֖ ָ כ ָ ל ְ מ ַ מ רי ֔ ִ ע ְ בּ רי ֣ ִ ע וּה֑ ֵ ע ֵ ר ְ בּ שׁי ֣ ִ א ְ ו וי ֖ ִ ח ָ א ְ בּ־שׁי ִ א וּ ֥ מ ֲ ח ְ ל ִ נ ְ ו ׃
“They shall war with each other, every man against his fellow, city with city
and kingdom with kingdom”
ח ַ כוֹנ reason together
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 47
e.g. Isaiah 1:18
א֛ ָ נ־וּכ ְ ל ה ֖ ָ ח ְ כֽ ָ וּ ִ נ ְ ו ר ֣ ַ מאֹי ה֑ ָ והְ י וּ ֨ י ְ הֽ ִ י־ם ִ א ם֤ ֶ כי ֵ א ָ ט ֲ ח ָ שּׁ ַ כּ ֙ םי ִ נ ג ֶ ל ֣ ֶ שּׁ ַ כּ וני ִ֔ בּ ְ לַ י
׃וּ ֽ י ְ הִ י ר ֶ מ֥ ֶ צּ ַ כּ ע֖ ָ לוֹתּ ַ כ וּמי ֥ ִ דּ ְ אַ י־ם ִ א
“‘Come now and let us reason together’, says the Lord. ‘If your sins are like
crimson they will become white as snow; if they are red like the scarlet-
worm they will become like wool.’”
iii: Passive of Qal
ר ַ תּ ְ סִ נ be hidden
e.g. Genesis 4:14
see above reflexive use of ר ַ תּ ְ סִ נ compared with passive use.
ל ַ א ְ ג ִ נ be redeemed
e.g. Leviticus 25:54
see above – reflexive use of ל ַ א ְ ג ִ נ compared with passive use.
ד ַ לוֹנ be born
e.g. Ecclesiastes 7:1
בוֹ ֥ ט ם ֖ ֵ שׁ ן ֶ מ ֣ ֶ שּׁ ִ מ בוֹ ֑ ט םוֹ ֣ י ְ ו ת ֶ ו ֔ ָ מּ ַ ה םוֹ ֖ יּ ִ מ ׃וֹ ֽ ד ְ ל ָ וּ ִ ה
“A good name is better than fragrant oil and the day of death than the day
of birth (being born)”
ר ַ בּ ְ קִ נ be buried

48 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
e.g. Deuteronomy 10:6
ם ֣ ָ שׁ ת ֤ ֵ מ ֙ ןֹר ֲ ה ַ א ר֣ ֵ ב ָ קִּ יּ ַ ו ם ֔ ָ שׁ
“Aaron died there and was buried there”
ר ַ בּ ְ שִׁ נ be broken
e.g. Jonah 1:4
ה ֔ ָ יּ ִ נ ֳ א ֣ ָ ה ְ ו ה ֖ ָ ב ְ שּׁ ִ ח ׃ר ֽ ֵ ב ָ שּׁ ִ ה ְ ל
“and the ship was in danger of breaking up (being broken)”
iv: Passive of Piel and Hiphil
In cases where Qal is intransitive in meaning, or is not used, Niphal also
appears as the passive of Piel and Hiphil.
e.g. Genesis 34:19
ל ֖ ֹכּ ִ מ ד ָ֔ בּ ְ כ ִ נ אוּ ֣ ה ְ ו ב ֑ ֹק ֲ עַ י־ת ֽ ַ ב ְ בּ ץ֖ ֵ פ ָ ח י ֥ ִ כּ ר ָ֔ ב ָ דּ ַ ה תוֹ ֣ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ֙ ר ַ ע ֙ ַ נּ ַ ה ר ֤ ַ ח ֵ א־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו
תי ֥ ֵ בּ ׃וי ֽ ִ ב ָ א
“And the youth did not delay in doing the thing, for he wanted Jacob’s
daughter; he was the most respected in his father’s house.”
The Niphal participle, ד ָ֔ בּ ְ כ ִ נ “honoured, respected”, is the passive of the
Piel (ד ֵ בּ ִ כּ = “honour”), rather than the Qal (ד ֵ ב ָ כּ = “be heavy, be in
honour”).
For Piel of דבכ, see Exodus 20:12: ד ֥ ֵ בּ ַ כּ ך ֑ ֶ מּ ִ א־ת ֶ א ְ ו ךי ֖ ִ ב ָ א־ת ֶ א
“Honour your father and your mother”.

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 49
e.g. Exodus 9:15
ד ֖ ֵ ח ָ כּ ִ תּ ַ ו ר ֶ ב ֑ ָ דּ ַ בּ ֖ ך ְ מּ ַ ע־ת ֽ ֶ א ְ ו ֛ ך ְ תוֹא ך ֥ ַ א ָ ו י ֔ ִ דָ י־ת ֶ א י ִ תּ ְ ח֣ ַ ל ָ שׁ ֙ ה ָ תּ ַ ע י ֤ ִ כּ
׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א ָ ה־ן ִ מ
“For now I could have stretched forth My hand and smitten you and your
people with pestilence and you would have been effaced from the earth”.
The Niphal imperf. + vav consec. ד ֖ ֵ ח ָ כּ ִ תּ ַ ו is the passive of the Hiphil,
די ִ ח ְ כ ִ ה = “destroy”. ד ַ ח ָ כּ is never found in Qal, but only in Niphal, Piel
and Hiphil. For the Hiphil, see Exodus 23:23: ׃וי ֽ ִ תּ ְ ד ַ ח ְ כ ִ ה ְ ו "and I will
destroy him.”
v: Causative/reflexive
See Waltke/O’Connor p 390: “The causative-reflexive scheme in Hebrew is
usually Hithpael, but in some cases the Niphal is used. In these verbs the
subject causes the action to happen to himself—.”
e.g. Ruth 3:3
י ֣ ִ ע ְ ד ָ וּ ִ תּ־ל ַ א שׁי ִ֔ א ָ ל ד ֥ ַ ע וֹ ֖ תל ַ כּ ל ֥ ֹכ ֱ א ֶ ל ׃תוֹ ֽ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ְ ו
“But do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating
and drinking” (י ֣ ִ ע ְ ד ָ וּ ִ תּ is Niphal imperf. 2 f.sg. עדי)
e.g. Exodus 6:3
א ֗ ָ ר ֵ א ָ ו ם ֛ ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ל ֶ א ק ֥ ָ ח ְ צִ י־ל ֶ א ב ֖ ֹק ֲ עַ י־ל ֽ ֶ א ְ ו ל ֣ ֵ א ְ בּ י ֑ ָ דּ ַ שׁ י ֣ ִ מ ְ שׁוּ ה ָ֔ והְ י א ֥ ֹל
י ִ תּ ְ ע ֖ ַ דוֹנ ֽ ֶ ה ָ ל ם :
“I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make
Myself known to them by My name ” (י ִ תּ ְ ע ֖ ַ דוֹנ is Niphal perf. 1 c.sg. עדי)
50 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
vi: Denominatives
See Davidson’s Introductory Hebrew Grammar, Continuum, 1993, p 145:
“The usual development in Hebrew is from verb to noun; when the process
works in the reverse direction, the verb is known as a ‘denominative’ (‘from
the noun [Latin nomen]’) verb”.
Denominatives are rare in Niphal. See the list in Waltke/O’Connor p 391.
e.g. Job 11:12
׃דֽ ֵ ל ָ וּ ִ י ם ֥ ָ ד ָ א א ֶ ר ֗ ֶ פּ רִ י ֥ ַ ע ְ ו ב֑ ֵ ב ָ לִּ י בוּבָ֭ נ שׁי ֣ ִ א ְ ו
“A hollow man will get understanding, when a wild ass is born a man” (i.e.
the sinners will have a change of heart).
ב֑ ֵ ב ָ לִּ י is a HAPAXLEGOMENON (occurs only once in the Bible)
derived from the masculine noun ב ָ ב ֵ ל = “heart”.
Note on passive/reflexive distinction
Note the work of P A Siebesma: “The Function of Niphal in Biblical He-
brew”. Studia Semitica Neerlandica. Van Gorcum. 1991.
He suggests that if one assumes that Biblical Hebrew lacked the distinction
passive/reflexive, it would account for the fact that various nuances occur
in ONE verb root. See the above examples: ר ַ תּ ְ סִ נ = “hide oneself; be
hidden”; ל ַ א ְ ג ִ נ = “redeem oneself; be redeemed”; which occur both as
reflexive of Qal and as passive of Qal
(sections I and III).
Another example of both passive and reflexive nuances occurring in one
verb root is in the root ףסא, which occurs in a passive sense in Numbers
11:22, but in a reflexive sense in Numbers 11:30.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 51
ָ ל א֣ ָ צ ָ מוּ ם ֖ ֶ ה ָ ל ט ֥ ֵ ח ָ שִּׁ י ר ֛ ָ ק ָ בוּ ןא ֧ ֹצ ֲ ה ֑ ֶ ה ף ֥ ֵ ס ָ אֵ י ם֛ ָ יּ ַ ה י ֥ ֵ ג ְ דּ־ל ָ כּ־ת ֽ ֶ א ם ֣ ִ א ם
ם ֽ ֶ ה ָ ל א ֥ ָ צ ָ מוּ ם ֖ ֶ ה ָ ל ׃
“Could enough flocks and herds be slaughtered to suffice them? Or could
all the fish of the sea be gathered for them to suffice them?”
(ף ֥ ֵ ס ָ אֵ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. passive use)
Numbers 11:30
ף ֥ ֵ ס ָ אֵ יּ ַ ו ה ֖ ֶ שֹׁמ ה֑ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה־ל ֶ א אוּ ֖ ה י֥ ֵ נ ְ ק ִ ז ְ ו ׃ל ֽ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י
“And Moses withdrew into the camp together with the elders of Israel”.
(ף ֥ ֵ ס ָ אֵ יּ ַ ו Niphal imperf. + vav consec. reflexive use.)
Siebesma also states: “It is sometimes difficult to determine whether one
should translate a Niphal reflexively, passively or reciprocally; to a major
extent it depends on semantic and theological interpretation.”
e.g. Genesis 7:11
םוֹ ֖ י ר ֥ ָ שׂ ָ ע־ה ֽ ָ ע ְ ב ִ שׁ ְ בּ י ֔ ִ נ ֵ שּׁ ַ ה ֙ שׁ ֶ ד ֨ ֹ ח ַ בּ ַ ח ֔ ֹנ־י ֵ יּ ַ ח ְ ל ֙ ה ָ נ ָ שׁ תוֹ ֤ א ֵ מ־שׁ ֵ שׁ ת ֨ ַ נ ְ שׁ ִ בּ
ת ֥ ֹבּ ֻ ר ֲ א ַ ו ה ָ֔ בּ ַ ר םוֹ ֣ ה ְ תּ ֙ תֹ נ ְ י ְ ע ַ מ־לֽ ָ כּ ֙ וּע ְ ק ְ ב ִ נ ה ֗ ֶ זּ ַ ה םֹו ַ בּ שׁ ֶ ד ֑ ֹח ַ ל םִ י ֖ ַ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה
׃וּח ֽ ָ תּ ְ פ ִ נ
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the
seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great
deep burst apart, and the floodgates of the sky broke open.”
֙ וּע ְ ק ְ ב ִ נ Niphal perf. 3 pl. עקב.
וּח ֽ ָ תּ ְ פ ִ נ Niphal perf. 3 pl. חתפ, pausal.
52 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
These two Niphal verbs could be understood in either a passive or reflexive
way, depending on whether G-d opens doors (i.e. “they were opened”) or
whether they open by themselves (i.e. “they opened”).
Waltke/O’Connor (p 383) suggest that these two Niphals are examples of
the middle (which may be distinguished from the passive in that it is non-
agent oriented, whereas the passive is agent oriented): “and all the springs
of the great abyss burst open”.
See Lambdin p 176 for explanation of the middle:
“Unlike the incomplete passive construction, middle verbs are active in
form, but the meaning is, in a sense, reversed: the object of the verb has
become the subject of the middle verb. Niphal verbs in Hebrew often cor-
respond to middle verbs in English:
ח ַ תּ ְ פ ִ נ ר ַ ע ַ שּׁ ַ ה “The gate opened”
ר ַ בּ ְ שִׁ נ י ִ ל ְ כּ ַ ה “The vessel broke”
ם ָ ע ָ ה ץ ַ בּ ְ קִ נ “The people gathered””
Views of medieval scholars on use of Niphal
This section presents the views of medieval scholars on the uses of the Ni-
phal conjugation. Their comments are presented in the original rabbinic
Hebrew, together with translation and explanation. A glossary of some of
the Hebrew grammatical terms used by these scholars is found at the end of
the section, as well as brief biographical sketches of these scholars. Students
should study the biblical verses and compare the views of the medieval
scholars with the views in modern grammar books.


PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 53
1 Genesis 24:65 (Rebekah about to meet Isaac)
ר ֶ מא ֣ ֹתּ ַ ו ד ֶ ב ֗ ֶ ע ָ ה־ל ֶ א שׁי ֤ ִ א ָ ה־י ֽ ִ מ ֙ ה ֶ ז ָ לּ ַ ה ך֤ ֵ לֹה ַ ה ֙ ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ בּ וּנ ֔ ֵ תא ָ ר ְ ק ִ ל ר ֶ מא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו
ד ֶ ב֖ ֶ ע ָ ה אוּ ֣ ה י֑ ִ נֹד ֲ א ח ֥ ַ קּ ִ תּ ַ ו ףי ֖ ִ ע ָ צּ ַ ה ׃ס ֽ ָ כּ ְ ת ִ תּ ַ ו
She said to the servant, ‘Who is this man walking in the field towards us?
The servant said, ‘He is my master,’ and she took the veil and covered
herself.
Comment of Rashi on ס ֽ ָ כּ ְ ת ִ תּ ַ ו
ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ְ ת ִ תּ ַ ו , ומכ : ר ֵ ב ָ קּ ִ תּ ַ ו ר ֵ ב ָ שּׁ ִ תּ ַ ו :
Translation of Rashi
“And she covered herself.” This is Hithpael, like: “and she was buried”
(Gen 35:8),“and (it) was broken” (I Sam 4:18).
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi points out that the verb ס ֽ ָ כּ ְ ת ִ תּ ַ ו (apocopated Hithpael, pausal, 3 f.sg.
+ vav consec. ה ָ ס ָ כּ) has a reflexive meaning. Note that ס ֽ ָ כּ ְ ת ִ תּ ַ ו is Hith-
pael, yet Rashi compares two verbs which we term Niphal. It is also note-
worthy that ס ֽ ָ כּ ְ ת ִ תּ ַ ו is best understood as reflexive, whereas ר ֵ ב ָ קּ ִ תּ ַ ו
ר ֵ ב ָ שּׁ ִ תּ ַ ו are passive in context. Rashi’s comparison seems to be due to the
fact that in Biblical Hebrew, both the Niphal and the Hithpael can be used
either in a reflexive or in a passive sense, although the passive use of Hith-
pael is rare in Biblical Hebrew.
2 Genesis 25:21
ה ָ֔ והְ י ֙ וֹל ר ֶ ת֤ ָ עֵ יּ ַ ו או ֑ ִ ה ה ֖ ָ ר ָ ק ֲ ע י ֥ ִ כּ וֹ ֔ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א ח ַ כ ֣ ֹ נ ְ ל ֙ ה ָ והי ַ ֽ ל ק ֤ ָ ח ְ צִ י ר ֨ ַ תּ ְ עֶ יּ ַ ו
׃וֹ ֽ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א ה ֥ ָ ק ְ ב ִ ר ר ַ ה ֖ ַ תּ ַ ו
54 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Isaac entreated the Lord on behalf of his wife, for she was barren, and the
Lord allowed Himself to be entreated, and Rebekah, his wife, conceived.
Comment of Rashi on ר ֨ ַ תּ ְ עֶ יּ ַ ו and ר ֶ ת֤ ָ עֵ יּ ַ ו
ר ֨ ַ תּ ְ עֶ יּ ַ ו : ה ָ בּ ְ ר ִ ה רי ִ צ ְ פ ִ ה ְ ו ה ָ לּ ִ פ ְ ת ִ בּ . ר ֶ ת֤ ָ עֵ יּ ַ ו ֙ וֹל : ר ֵ צּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ נ סֵ יּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ נ ְ ו ה ָ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ נ ְ ו
וֹל :
Translation of Rashi
He prayed much and urgently. He let Himself be urged, conciliated and
influenced by him.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi points to the use of the Niphal ר ֶ ת֤ ָ עֵ יּ ַ ו (“He let Himself be en-
treated”) as the tolerative/reflexive of the Qal ר ֨ ַ תּ ְ עֶ יּ ַ ו (“He entreated”).
Note that Rashi uses the Nithpael, the rabbinic equivalent of the Hithpael,
to explain the Biblical Hebrew Niphal, ר ֶ ת֤ ָ עֵ יּ ַ ו i.e. ר ֵ צּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ נ סֵ יּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ נ ְ ו
ה ָ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ נ ְ ו.
3 Exodus 15:24
וּנ ֧ לִ יּ ַ ו ם֛ ָ ע ָ ה ה ֥ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ַ ע ר ֖ ֹ מא ֵ לּ ׃ה ֽ ֶ תּ ְ שׁ ִ נּ־ה ַ מ
The people complained to Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’
Comment of Rashi on וּנ ֧ לִ יּ ַ ו
ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ל ַ ע ְ פ ִ נ אוּה , ן ֵ כ ְ ו םוּגּ ְ ר ַ תּ ַ ה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל לעפנ אוה , וּמ ָ ע ָ ר ְ ת ִ א ְ ו , ןכו ךרד
ןושל ה ָ נוּל ְ תּ ב ֵ ס ָ ה ְ ל ִ דּ ַ ה רוּבּ ל ֶ א ם ָ ד ָ א ָ ה – ן ֵ נוֹל ְ ת ִ מ , ם ֵ עוֹר ְ ת ִ מ , אלו
ר ַ מ ָ א ן ֵ נוֹל , ם ֵ עוֹר , ןכו ר ַ מאֹי ז ֵ עוֹלּ ַ ה פמוקד " נשיל " ט שׂ " י ז ַ ע ַ ל ְ ב , ב ֵ ס ֵ מ
רוּבּ ִ דּ ַ ה וי ָ ל ֵ א וֹר ְ מ ָ א ְ בּ שׂ " י .
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 55
Translation of Rashi
This is a Niphal form, and similarly the Targum is a Niphal form:
וּמ ָ ע ָ ר ְ ת ִ א ְ ו (The Ithpael form in Aramaic corresponds to the Hebrew Ni-
phal). And such is the way of expressing “murmuring” (root ןוּל), to refer
back the action of murmuring to the subject; thus one says ן ֵ נוֹל ְ ת ִ מ and
ם ֵ עוֹר ְ ת ִ מ (reflexive forms) and one does not say ן ֵ נוֹל and ם ֵ עוֹר. And in
Old French it is “decomplaisant se;” it refers back the action of murmuring
to the subject, by saying “se.”(“himself”).
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that וּנ ֧ לִ יּ ַ ו (ןוּל) is a Niphal used in the reflexive sense, be-
cause “murmuring, complaining” is a reflexive thought process. Modern
grammarians also suggest that the Niphal is frequently used to express emo-
tions which react upon the mind; e.g. ח ַ נ ֱ א ֶ נ = “sigh, bemoan oneself”.
(GK 51c).
ןוּל = “murmur”. Only in: Exodus 15, 16, 17; Numbers 14, 16, 17; Joshua
9:18. Only Niphal and Hiphil.
4 Exodus 19:13
ע ֨ ַ גּ ִ ת־אֹל וֹ ֜ בּ ד֗ ָ י לוֹ ֤ ק ָ ס־י ֽ ִ כּ ִ י ֙ ל ֵ ק ָ סּ ה ֣ ֹרָ י־וֹא ה ֔ ֶ רָ יּ ִ י ה ֥ ָ מ ֵ ה ְ בּ־ם ִ א שׁי ֖ ִ א־ם ִ א א ֣ ֹל
ה֑ ֶ י ְ חִ י ֙ ךֹשׁ ְ מ ִ בּ ל ֵ֔ בֹיּ ַ ה ה ָ מּ ֖ ֵ ה וּ ֥ ל ֲ עַ י ׃ר ֽ ָ ה ָ ב
Let no hand touch it, for he shall certainly be stoned or thrown down;
whether beast or man, he shall not live; when the ram’s horn sounds, they
shall go up the mountain.
Comment of Rashi on ה ֔ ֶ רָ יּ ִ י
ך ַ ל ְ שֻׁ י ה ָ טּ ַ מ ְ ל ץ ֶ ר ָ א ָ ל וֹמ ְ כּ : ה ָ רָ י םָ יּ ַ בּ
56 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Translation of Rashi
He shall be thrown down to the ground, like: “He has thrown into the sea”
(Exodus 15:4).
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi points to the passive meaning of the Niphal imperf. ה ֔ ֶ רָ יּ ִ י (root ה ָ רָ י)
by rendering it with the Hophal imperf. ך ַ ל ְ שֻׁ י “he shall be thrown, cast”.
Rashi also points to the meaning of ה ָ רָ י in this context by comparing ה ָ רָ י
in Exodus 15:4. (see BDB p 434: ה ָ רָ י = “throw, shoot”).
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ה ֔ ֶ רָ יּ ִ י
ת ַ לּ ִ מוּ ה ֶ רָ יּ ִ י ה ָ נוּשׁ ְ מ ָ הי ֶ תוֹע ֵ ר ֵ מ י ִ כּ ט ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ילעב ויה " ד ֵ לּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל ף וב " ו
די ִ ת ָ ע ֶ בּ ן ַ י ְ נ ִ בּ ל ַ ע ְ פ ִ נ ומכ ) תישארב אמ אל ( ע ֤ ַ ד ָ וּ ִ י־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו ֙ ע ָ ב ָ שּׂ ַ ה ) הימרי
אל חי ( ֙ י ִ נ ֙ ַ תּ ְ ר ַ סִּ י ר ֵ֔ ס ָ וּ ִ אֽ ָ ו . י ַ לוּא וּשׂ ָ ע ךכ אֹלּ ֶ שׁ ב ֵ ר ָ ע ְ ת ִ ת ם ִ ע ת ַ ר ְ ז ִ גּ ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל
א ֵ ר ָ וּ ִ תּ ) םילהת לק ד ( י ִ כּ לאה " ף ההו " א םי ִ ח ָ נ ףוֹסב הלמה ןיא
שׁ ֵ ר ְ פ ֶ ה ֵ ני ֵ בּ ם ֶ הי א ָ ט ְ ב ִ מּ ַ בּ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The word ה ֶ רָ יּ ִ י behaves differently from other pe-yod verbs, for the rule of
pe-yod verbs is that the yod (first root letter) changes to vav in the Niphal
imperf. like ע ֤ ַ ד ָ וּ ִ י (Gen 41:31) and ר ֵ֔ ס ָ וּ ִ אֽ ָ ו (Jerem. 31:18). Perhaps ה ֶ רָ יּ ִ י
(retains the yod) so that it is not confused with א ֵ ר ָ וּ ִ תּ (Psalm 130:4) “You
shall be feared,” root letters א ֵ רָ י, because both ’aleph and hey are quiescent
at the end of the word. There is no difference between them in pronuncia-
tion.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 57
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra points to the fact that the pe-yod verb ה ָ רָ י has retained the yod in
the Niphal imperf. (ה ֶ רָ יּ ִ י) instead of converting the yod to vav as in ע ֤ ַ ד ָ וּ ִ י
etc. Ibn Ezra suggests that this is to avoid confusion between the roots ה ָ רָ י
(throw, shoot) and א ֵ רָ י (fear) since neither hey nor ’aleph are sounded at
the end of a word.
5 Numbers 9:17
י ֞ ִ פ ְ לוּ ת ֤ ל ָ ע ֵ ה ֽ ֶ ה ֙ ן ָ נ ָ ע ל֣ ַ ע ֵ מ ל ֶ ה ֔ ֹ א ָ ה ן ֔ ֵ כ־י ֵ ר ֲ ח ֣ ַ א ְ ו וּ ֖ ע ְ סִ י י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ ל ֑ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י םוֹ ֗ ק ְ מ ִ בוּ
ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ם ָ שׁ־ן ָ כּ ְ שִׁ י ן ֔ ָ נ ָ ע ֽ ֶ ה ם ֥ ָ שׁ וּ ֖ נ ֲ חַ י י֥ ֵ נ ְ בּ ׃ל ֽ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י
When the cloud raised itself from above the Tent, then the children of
Israel would travel, and at the place where the cloud settled, there the
children of Israel would camp.
Comment of Rashi on ת ֤ ל ָ ע ֵ ה ֙ ן ָ נ ָ ע ֽ ֶ ה
וֹמוּגּ ְ ר ַ ת ְ כּ תוּק ָ לּ ַ תּ ְ ס ִ א , ןכו ) ר ַ בּ ְ ד ִ מ ְ בּ ט אכ ( ה֧ ָ ל ֲ ע ַ נ ְ ו ן ֛ ָ נ ָ ע ֽ ֶ ה אלו ן ֵ כ ָ תִּ י
בותכל י ִ פ ְ לוּ תוֹל ֲ ע ן ָ נ ָ ע ֶ ה , ה ָ ל ָ ע ְ ו ן ָ נ ָ ע ֶ ה , אש ןי הז ןושל קוּלּ ִ ס אלא
ַ חוּמּ ִ צ הָ יּ ִ ל ֲ ע ַ ו , ומכ ) : מ " א חי דמ ( ב֛ ָ ע־ה ֵ נּ ִ ה ה֥ ָ נּ ַ ט ְ ק שׁי ֖ ִ א־ף ַ כ ְ כּ ה֣ ָ לֹע
ם֑ ָ יּ ִ מ
Translation of Rashi
Understand this as the Targum does: the departure (the raising itself), like:
Numbers 9:21: “and the cloud raised itself”. It would not have been correct
to write תוֹל ֲ ע/ה ָ ל ָ ע (i.e. Qal) because this (the Qal) would not have ex-
pressed ‘departure’ (raising oneself) but ‘springing forth’ and ‘rising’, like: I
Kings 18:44: “Behold a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising (ה֣ ָ לֹע) from
the sea.”
58 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi comments on the Niphal inf. cstr. תוֹל ָ ע ֵ ה (root ה ָ ל ָ ע = “go up”),
pointing out that this must be understood in a reflexive sense, “raising it-
self”, just like the Niphal perf. in Numbers 9:21 (ה ָ ל ֲ ע ַ נ ְ ו), because the re-
flexive indicates ‘departure’ and since the Cloud represents the Divine Pres-
ence, the departure of the Cloud is a reflexive rather than a passive action.
The Qal form of the verb ה ָ ל ָ ע would indicate merely the ‘rising’ of an in-
animate object, like the raincloud in I Kings 18:44. Note, however, that
BDB (p 749) understands תוֹל ָ ע ֵ ה (9:17) and ה ָ ל ֲ עַ נ (9:21) in a passive
sense: “be taken up”, while understanding the Niphal imperative וּל ָ ע ֵ ה in
Numbers 16:24 as reflexive: “withdraw (raise yourselves) from the vicinity
of Korah’s dwelling”; ח ַ ר ֖ ֹק־ן ַ כּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ְ ל בי ִ֔ ב ָ סּ ִ מ ֙ וּל ָ ע ֽ ֵ ה
6 Numbers 17:10
וּמּ ֗ ֹר ֵ ה ֙ ךוֹתּ ִ מ ה֣ ָ ד ֵ ע ָ ה תא ֔ ֹזּ ַ ה ה֥ ֶ לּ ַ כ ֲ א ַ ו ם ֖ ָ תֹ א עַ ג ֑ ָ ר ְ כּ וּ ֖ ל ְ פִּ יּ ֽ ַ ו ׃ם ֽ ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ פּ־ל ַ ע
‘Get yourselves up from the midst of this congregation that I may destroy
them in a moment’, and they fell on their faces.
Comment of Rashbam on וּמּ ֗ ֹר ֵ ה
ומכ ) הימרי ד ד ( וּלֹ מּ ִ ה ײ ַ ל ל ָ ב ֲ א ליבשב ירה " ש ךפה ֶ נ קריחה י ֵ אל
ומכ ך ַ ר ֵ בּ ך ַ ר ֵ בּ ל ַ קשׁ ִ מ שגד . הלעמלו ) זט אכ ( רמוא וּל ְ ד ָ בּ ִ ה , ןאכו
רמוא וּמֹּר ֵ ה , ע ַ מ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ֶ שׁ ל ֵ ד ָ בּ ִ ה ְ ל רתוי יפל ר ָ ב ְ כּ ֶ שׁ א ָ צָ י ף ֶ צ ֶ קּ ַ ה .
Translation of Rashbam
וּמּ ֗ ֹר ֵ ה is like וּלֹ מּ ִ ה (Jeremiah 4:4) but because of the resh (rejects dagesh)
the ḥireq (under the hey) became tsere. This may be compared to (the Piel
form which usually has ḥireq, tsere/pataḥ + dagesh in middle root letter)
ך ַ ר ֵ בּ where the ḥireq has been lengthened to tsere (under the bet). In
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 59
Numbers 16:21, it states וּל ְ ד ָ בּ ִ ה (‘separate yourselves’) but here (it states)
ֵ ה וּמֹּר , meaning, ‘separate urgently’ because the anger has already gone
forth.
Explanation of Rashbam
Rashbam compares וּמֹּר ֵ ה to וּלֹ מּ ִ ה. The difficulty here is that וּלֹ מּ ִ ה is
Niphal imperative from the ע " ו root, לוּמ (“circumcise”) (analogous to
וּנוֹכּ ִ ה from ןוּכּ), with dagesh in the first root letter, but וּמֹּר ֵ ה has dagesh
in the third root letter (mem) and seems to be derived from a ע " ע root,
םֹ מ ָ ר (see BDB p 942) = “be exalted”. The regular Niphal imperative plural
from a ע " ע root is on the pattern of וּבּ ַ סּ ִ ה, and וּמֹּר ֵ ה may be explained
as following this pattern, with lengthening of ḥireq to tsere under hey to
compensate for lack of dagesh in the resh.
7 Numbers 22:25
א ֶ ר ֨ ֵ תּ ַ ו ןוֹ ֜ ת ָ א ָ ה ך ֣ ַ א ְ ל ַ מ־ת ֶ א ה ָ֗ והְ י ֙ ץ ֵ ח ָ לּ ִ תּ ַ ו רי ֔ ִ קּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ץ ֛ ַ ח ְ ל ִ תּ ַ ו ל ֶ ג ֥ ֶ ר־ת ֶ א
ם֖ ָ ע ְ ל ִ בּ רי ֑ ִ קּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ֶ ס֖ ֹיּ ַ ו ף ׃הּ ֽ ָ תֹכּ ַ ה ְ ל
The ass saw the angel of the Lord and pressed itself against the wall, and
pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, and he struck it again.
Comment of Rashi on ֙ ץ ֵ ח ָ לּ ִ תּ ַ ו
ץ ֵ ח ָ לּ ִ תּ ַ ו אי ִ ה הּ ָ מ ְ צ ַ ע , ץ ַ ח ְ ל ִ תּ ַ ו תא םי ִ ר ֵ ח ֲ א – תא לגר םעלב .
Translation of Rashi
(The Niphal form here denotes that) she pressed herself. (The Qal form
denotes that) she pressed something else – viz. Balaam’s foot.

60 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ֙ ץ ֵ ח ָ לּ ִ תּ ַ ו
ֲ ח ָ ל אי ִ ה הּ ָ מ ְ צ ַ ע ה ָ צ
Translation of Ibn Ezra
She pressed herself.
Explanation of Rashi and Ibn Ezra
Rashi and Ibn Ezra point out that the verb ץ ַ ח ָ ל = “squeeze, press” is used
in the Qal and the Niphal in this verse, and that the Niphal here is the re-
flexive of the Qal. That is, ץ ַ ח ְ ל ִ תּ ַ ו = “and she pressed” (Qal imperf. + vav
consec.); ץ ֵ ח ָ לּ ִ תּ ַ ו = “and she pressed herself” (Niphal imperf. + vav con-
sec.).
8 I Samuel 20:6
ד ֥ ֹק ָ פּ־ם ִ א י ִ נ ֖ ֵ ד ְ ק ְ פִ י ךי ֑ ִ ב ָ א ֗ ָ תּ ְ ר ַ מ ָ א ְ ו ֩ לֹ א ְ שִׁ נ ל ַ֨ א ְ שִׁ נ י ִ נּ ֤ ֶ מּ ִ מ ֙ ד ִ ו ָ ד ֙ ץוּר ָ ל
ם ֶ ח֣ ֶ ל־תי ֽ ֵ בּ וֹ ֔ רי ִ ע י ֣ ִ כּ ח ַ ב֧ ֶ ז םי ֛ ִ מָ יּ ַ ה ם ֖ ָ שׁ ׃ה ֽ ָ ח ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מּ ַ ה־ל ָ כ ְ ל
If your father misses me, you shall say: ‘David asked leave of me to run to
Bethlehem his town, since there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’
Comment of Rashi on ֩ לֹ א ְ שִׁ נ ל ַ֨ א ְ שִׁ נ י ִ נּ ֤ ֶ מּ ִ מ
י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ ל ַ א ָ שׁ תוּשׁ ְ ר
Translation of Rashi
He asked permission from me.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi comments on the use of the Niphal perf. 3 m.sg. ל ַ א ְ שִׁ נ which is
preceded by Niphal inf. abs. לֹ א ְ שִׁ נ. He states that the Niphal here has the
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 61
sense of “he asked (something) (for himself)”, i.e. he asked permission.
Compare GK 51e: “It (Niphal) has also, like Hithpael and the Greek middle,
the meaning of the active, with the addition of to oneself, for oneself, e.g. ל ַ א ְ שִׁ נ
to ask (something) for oneself.” This usage occurs in the OT three times: I
Sam 20:6, 28; Nehemiah 13:6.
9 I Kings 12:28
ץ֣ ַ ע ָ וּ ִ יּ ַ ו ך ֶ ל ֔ ֶ מּ ַ ה שׂ ַ ע ֕ ַ יּ ַ ו י֖ ֵ נ ְ שׁ י֣ ֵ ל ְ ג ֶ ע ב ֑ ָ ה ָ ז
The king took counsel and he made two golden calves.
Comment of Radak on ץ֣ ַ ע ָ וּ ִ יּ ַ ו
ל ַ א ָ שׁ ה ָ צ ֵ ע ך ַ אי ֵ ה ה ֶ שׂ ֲ עַ י ה ָ מי ִ כּ ְ ס ִ ה ְ ו וֹת ָ צ ֲ ע ם ִ ע םי ִ צ ֲ עוֹיּ ַ ה וֹתוֹא ה ֶ שׂ ֲ עַ יּ ֶ שׁ
י ֵ נ ְ שׁ םי ִ ל ָ ג ֲ ע .
Translation of Radak
He asked advice how he should make (them) and he came to an agreement
with his advisers, that he should make two calves.
Explanation of Radak
Radak comments on the Niphal ץ ַ ע ָ וּ ִ יּ ַ ו (ץ ַ עָ י; imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav con-
sec.), explaining that it is a reciprocal Niphal, expressing mutual action.
10 Isaiah 65:1
י ִ נ ֑ ֻ שׁ ְ ק ִ ב א ֣ ֹל ְ ל י ִ תא֖ ֵ צ ְ מ ִ נ וּל ָ֔ א ָ שׁ אוֹ ֣ ל ְ ל ֙ י ִ תּ ְ שׁ ֙ ַ ר ְ דִ נ
I let Myself be inquired of, to those who did not ask, I let Myself be found,
to those who did not seek Me.
62 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ֙ י ִ תּ ְ שׁ ֙ ַ ר ְ דִ נ and י ִ תא֖ ֵ צ ְ מ ִ נ
הנה ת ַ בוּשׁ ְ תּ םשה , יכ םכיתובא י ִ נוּסי ִ ע ְ כ ִ ה ינאו י ִ תּ ְ שׁ ַ ר ְ דִ נ , ם ַ ע ַ טּ ַ ה
י ִ תא ֵ צ ְ מ ִ ה י ִ מ ְ צ ַ ע ה ָ ר ָ צּ ַ בּ ם ַ ע ְ ל אֹל וּל ֲ א ָ שׁ א ֵ צ ָ מּ ֶ א ֶ שׁ ם ֶ ה ָ ל .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
This is G-d’s answer, for your fathers angered Me, but I let Myself be
inquired of, and the meaning is, I caused Myself to be found in the distress
(of) a people who did not ask that I should be found for them.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra points out that the Niphal perfect forms (י ִ תא ֵ צ ְ מ ִ נ and י ִ תּ ְ שׁ ַ ר ְ דִ נ)
are Tolerative Niphals, expressing an action which the subject allows to
happen to himself. (compare GK 51c).
11 Jeremiah 6:8
ְ פ ַ נ ע ֥ ַ ק ֵ תּ־ן ֶ פּ ִ ם ֔ ַ ל ָ שׁוּ ֣ רְ י ֙ י ִ ר ְ ס ָ וּ ִ ה אוֹ ֥ ל ץ ֶ ר ֖ ֶ א ה ֔ ָ מ ָ מ ְ שׁ ך֣ ֵ מי ִ שׂ ֲ א־ן ֶ פּ ך ֑ ֵ מּ ִ מ י ֖ ִ שׁ
׃ה ָ ב ֽ ָ שׁוֹנ
Allow yourself to be chastened, O Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from
you, lest I make you a desolation, a land not inhabited.
Comment of Rashi on י ִ ר ְ ס ָ וּ ִ ה
ָ סוּמ י ִ ל ְ בּ ַ ק ר
Translation of Rashi
Accept chastening.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 63
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi comments on י ִ ר ְ ס ָ וּ ִ ה, Niphal imperative f. sg. root ר ַ סָ י = “disci-
pline, chasten, admonish”. His comment suggests that he sees י ִ ר ְ ס ָ וּ ִ ה as a
Tolerative Niphal, “let yourself be chastened, corrected” (see GK 51c).
Note also ע ַ ק ֵ תּ (Qal imperf. 3 f.sg. עקי = “be dislocated, alienated”).
Compare Gen 32:36. And note the other Niphal, ה ָ ב ָ שׁוֹנ (part. f.sg. בשׁי
“inhabited”).
12 Ezekiel 14:3
ם ֗ ָ ד ָ א־ן ֶ בּ םי ֤ ִ שָׁ נ ֲ א ָ ה ֙ ה ֶ לּ ֙ ֵ א ָ ה וּ ֤ ל ֱ ע ֶ ה ֙ ם ֶ הי ֵ לוּ ֽ לּ ִ ג ם ָ֔ בּ ִ ל־ל ַ ע לוֹ ֣ שׁ ְ כ ִ מוּ ם ֔ ָ נֹו ֲ ע
וּ ֖ נ ְ ת ָ נ ח ַ כ ֣ ֹ נ ם ֑ ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ פּ שׁ ֥ ֹר ָ דּ ִ א ַ ה שׁ ֖ ֵ ר ָ דּ ִ א ׃ם ֽ ֶ ה ָ ל
Son of man, these men have brought up their idols upon their heart, and
have placed the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their faces; shall I
indeed let Myself be inquired of/consulted by them?
Comment of Radak on ם ֽ ֶ ה ָ ל שׁ ֖ ֵ ר ָ דּ ִ א שׁ ֥ ֹר ָ דּ ִ א ַ ה
פלאה " ן קריחב , ןושארה רוֹק ָ מ ם ָ לוֹחב לאהו " ף םוֹק ְ מ ִ בּ ה " א יכ
ד ֵ ב ָ כּ לע ןושלה אֹר ְ ק ִ ל י ֵ נ ְ שׁ יהה " ן ד ָ ח ֶ א ְ כּ אוהו ם ָ לוֹחב ל ֶ ק ֶ שׁ ְ בּ ןוֹת ָ נּ ִ ה
ן ֵ ת ָ נּ ִ תּ רמאו י ִ כו שׁ ֵ ר ָ דּ ִ א ם ֶ ה ָ ל , ר ַ ח ַ א ְ ל ם ָ בּ ִ לּ ֶ שׁ לא ם ֶ הי ֵ לוּלּ ִ גּ אל שׁ ֵ ר ָ דּ ִ א
לוּבּ ִ ק ְ ו ה ָ שׁי ִ ר ְ דּ ַ ה איה ת ֵ ת ָ ל ֵ א ְ שׁ ם ָ ת ָ ל .
Translation of Radak
The ’alephs (in שׁ ֖ ֵ ר ָ דּ ִ א שׁ ֥ ֹר ָ דּ ִ א ַ ה) have ḥireq; the first word שֹׁר ָ דּ ִ א is inf.
abs. (Niphal) with ḥolem, but the ’aleph is in place of hey, because it is dif-
ficult to pronounce two heys consecutively (i.e. שֹׁר ָ דּ ִ ה ַ ה), but the ḥolem (is
regular) on the pattern of ןֹ ת ָ נּ ִ ה (Niphal inf. abs. Jeremiah 38:3). The
(prophet) says: ‘Shall I let Myself be inquired of by them? Since their heart
64 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
is to their idols, I will not let Myself be inquired of. Accepting their inquiry
is to give in to their request.’
Explanation of Radak
Radak first comments on the form of the Niphal inf. abs. שֹׁר ָ דּ ִ א. The
’aleph is in place of the usual hey for ease of pronunciation. ןֹ ת ָ נּ ִ ה (Jerem.
38:3) is a regular Niphal inf. abs. formation. Radak then explains that the
Niphal imperf. (שׁ ֵ ר ָ דּ ִ א) preceded by inf. abs. may be understood as
Tolerative Niphal. G-d’s question indicates clearly that He has a choice
whether or not to allow the people to inquire of Him, since they do not
deserve the privilege of consulting Him.
13 Amos 9:9
ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה־י ֽ ִ כּ ֙ י ִ כֹ נ ֽ ָ א ה ֶ֔ וּ ַ צ ְ מ י ִ תוֹ ֥ עִ נ ֲ ה ַ ו ם֖ ִ יוֹגּ ַ ה־ל ֽ ָ כ ְ ב תי ֣ ֵ בּ־ת ֶ א ל ֑ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ
ַ עוֹ ֙ נּ ִ י ה ֔ ָ ר ָ ב ְ כּ ַ בּ לוֹ ֥ פִּ י־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו רוֹ ֖ ר ְ צ ׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א
For I will command and I will shake the House of Israel among all the
nations as (grain) is shaken in a sieve, and no pebble will fall to the ground.
Comment of Rashi on ׀ ַ עוֹ ֙ נּ ִ י
וי ָ ל ֵ א ֵ מ ע ָ נּ ַ ה ר ָ ב ָ דּ אוּה ֶ שׁ ַ עוּנ ָ י תוֹר ְ ק ִ ל ן ֵ כ ָ תִּ י אֹל ְ ו ר ֵ ח ַ א י ֵ דְ י לע .
Translation of Rashi
ַ עוֹנּ ִ י (Niphal imperf. ַ עוּנ) means “be shaken, tossed” by another and it is
not possible to read ַ עוּנ ָ י (Qal imperf.), which (expresses the idea of)
“shaking, trembling etc” on its own.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 65
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that the Qal imperf. of ַ עוּנ would mean “he quivers, trem-
bles, totters” etc. whereas in Amos 9:9 is found the Niphal imperf. ַ עוֹנּ ִ י =
“be tossed about” (of corn in a sieve). Hence, this is the passive use of the
Niphal.
Note that in the same verse, occurs the Hiphil of ַ עוּנ in its causative sense,
ִ תוֹ ֥ עִ נ ֲ ה ַ ו י “and I will shake” (cause to tremble, quiver).
Note also: ה ָ ר ָ ב ְ כּ n.f. = sieve; רוֹר ְ צ n.m. = pebble.
14 Micah 6:6
֙ ה ָ מּ ַ בּ ם֣ ֵ דּ ַ ק ֲ א ה ָ֔ והְ י ף֖ ַ כּ ִ א י ֣ ֵ הלא ֵ ל םוֹ ֑ ר ָ מ וּנּ ֣ ֶ מ ְ דּ ַ ק ֲ א ַ ה תוֹ ֔ לוֹע ְ ב םי ֖ ִ ל ָ ג ֲ ע ַ בּ י֥ ֵ נ ְ בּ
׃הֽ ָ נ ָ שׁ
With what shall I come before the Lord, and with what shall I bow myself
to G-d on High? Shall I come before Him with burnt-offerings, with calves
a year old?
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ף֖ ַ כּ ִ א
ַ ה י ֵ ל ֳ ע ָ פּ ִ מ ף ַ כּ ִ א ת ַ לּ ִ מוּ ה ָ ח ְ נ ִ מ אי ִ ב ֵ מּ ַ ה ג ַ ה ְ נ ִ מ ְ כ ה ֶ ו ֲ ח ַ תּ ְ שׁ ֶ א ך ֶ ר ֶ ד ְ כּ ל ֶ פ ֶ כּ
וינודאל .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The word ף ַ כּ ִ א is a double-‘ayin verb (ף ַ פ ָ כּ) with the meaning of “bow
myself”, as is the custom of one who brings a gift to his master.
Comment of Radak on ף ַ כּ ִ א
ל ַ ע ְ פ ִ נ ן ַ י ְ נ ִ בּ ִ מ אוהו ףוּפ ָ כּ וֹשׁ ְ ר ָ שׁ
66 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Translation of Radak
Its root is ף ַ פ ָ כּ and it is Niphal.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra and Radak
They have informed us that ף ַ כּ ִ א is Niphal imperf. 1 c.sg. ףפכּ = “bend,
bend down, be bent, bowed”.
Note the well-known uses of ףפכּ in Psalm 145:14 and Isaiah 58:5.
Psalm 145:14
וֹזְ֝ ו םי ֑ ִ ל ְ פֹ נּ ַ ה־ל ָ כ ְ ל ה ָ והְ֭ י ך֣ ֵ מוֹס ׃םי ֽ ִ פוּפ ְ כּ ַ ה־ל ָ כ ְ ל ף ֵ֗ ק
The Lord supports all the fallen ones, and straightens all the bowed.
םי ֽ ִ פוּפ ְ כּ is Qal passive participle m.pl.
Isaiah 58:5
ה ֗ ֶ ז ָ כ ֲ ה ֙ הֶ י ְ הֽ ִ י םוֹ ֣ צ וּה ֔ ֵ ר ָ ח ְ ב ֶ א םוֹ ֛ י תוֹ ֥ נּ ַ ע ם ֖ ָ ד ָ א וֹ ֑ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ף ֨ ֹכ ָ ל ֲ ה ן ֜ ֹ מ ְ ג ַ א ְ כּ וֹ ֗ שׁאֹר
ק ֤ ַ שׂ ְ ו ֙ ר ֶ פ ֙ ֵ א ָ ו ַ עי ֔ ִ צַּ י ֙ ה ֶ ז ָ ל ֲ ה םוֹ ֔ צ־א ָ ר ְ ק ִ תּ םוֹ ֥ י ְ ו ןוֹ ֖ צ ָ ר ׃הֽ ָ והי ַ ל
Is such the Fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul; is it
to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a Fast and an acceptable day to the Lord?
ף ֨ ֹכ ָ ל ֲ ה is Qal inf. cstr. + hey interrogative.
15 Lamentations 1:4
י ֨ ֵ כ ְ ר ַ דּ ןוֹ ֜ יּ ִ צ תוֹ ֗ ל ֵ ב ֲ א ֙ י ִ ל ְ בּ ִ מ י ֣ ֵ א ָ בּ ד ֔ ֵ עוֹמ ֙ ָ הי ֙ ֶ ר ָ ע ְ שׁ־ל ָ כּ ןי ֔ ִ מ ֵ מוֹ ֽ שׁ ָ הי֖ ֶ נ ֲ הֹכּ
םי ֑ ִ ח ָ נ ֱ א ֶ נ ָ הי ֥ ֶ תלוּת ְ בּ תוֹ ֖ גוּנ אי ֥ ִ ה ְ ו ׃הּֽ ָ ל־ר ַ מ
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 67
The roads of Zion are mourning for lack of those coming for the festival;
all her gates are desolate, her priests are sighing; her maidens are grieving,
and she is embittered.
Comment of Rashi on תוֹ ֖ גוּנ
מיגה א ָ לּ ֶ א ה ָ בי ֵ תּ ַ בּ שׁ ֶ רוֹשׁ ןיאו ןוֹג ָ י ןוֹשׁ ְ ל " הּ ָ דּ ַ ב ְ ל ל
Translation of Rashi
תוֹ ֖ גוּנ is connected with the noun ןוֹג ָ י (= “grief, sorrow”), but the only
root letter (visible) in the word is the gimmel.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi is commenting on תוֹ ֖ גוּנ which we know to be Niphal participle f.pl.
from the root הגי = “suffer”. The masc. noun ןוֹג ָ י = “grief, sorrow” is also
derived from this root. Rashi comments that the only root letter in the
word תוֹ ֖ גוּנ is gimmel. He seems not to understand fully the function of the
weak letters.
It is worth remembering, however, that Rashi (1040-1105 CE) hailed from
medieval Christian France, and for his lexicographical studies he relied on
the dictionary of Menaḥem ibn Saruq (910-970 CE) which was the first
complete dictionary in Hebrew. For the Jews of Christian France had no
access to Arabic and to all the philological research which had been written
in Arabic by the Jews of medieval Spain. Despite the great merits of
Menaḥem’s dictionary (known as Maḥberet Menaḥem), it pre-dated the dis-
covery of the basic triconsonantal nature of the verbal stem, a discovery
attributed to Judah b. Ḥayyūj (950-1000 CE) who wrote in Arabic. It was
only through the work of Abraham ibn Ezra (1092-1167), who consistently
wrote in Hebrew, that all the Jewish philological research written in Arabic,
68 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
became available to the Jews of Christian Europe. (see Sarna N M, 1964;
Hirschfield, Hartwig 1926).
PIEL
Spot the Piel
Study the following biblical verses.
Parse and translate all the Piel verbs.
The student may consult the verb tables in any reliable Biblical Hebrew
grammar book. Explanatory notes are found at the end of the section.
1 II Samuel 4:8
שׁא ֣ ֹר־הֽ ֵ נּ ִ ה ת ֶ שׁ ֗ ֹבּ־שׁי ֽ ִ א ֙ לוּא ָ שׁ־ן ֶ בּ ֔ ך ְ בִ י ֽ ֹ א ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א שׁ ֖ ֵ קּ ִ בּ ך ֑ ֶ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ־ת ֶ א
Here is the head of Ish-boshet, son of your enemy Saul, who sought your
life.
2 Numbers 6:11 (atonement by sacrifice for the involuntary defilement
of the Nazirite by contact with a dead body)
ה ֣ ָ שׂ ָ ע ְ ו ן ֵ֗ הֹכּ ַ ה ד ֤ ָ ח ֶ א ֙ תא ָ טּ ַ ח ְ ל ד ֣ ָ ח ֶ א ְ ו ה ֔ ָ לֹע ְ ל ר֣ ֶ פּ ִ כ ְ ו וי ֔ ָ ל ָ ע ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֵ מ א ֖ ָ ט ָ ח
שׁ ֶ פ֑ ָ נּ ַ ה־ל ַ ע שׁ ֥ ַ דּ ִ ק ְ ו וֹ ֖ שׁאֹר־ת ֶ א םוֹ ֥ יּ ַ בּ ׃אוּ ֽ ה ַ ה
The priest shall make one for a sin-offering and one for a burnt-offering
and he shall atone for him from that which he sinned over the (dead) soul
and he shall sanctify his head on that day.
3 Genesis 12:4
ך ֶ ל֣ ֵ יּ ַ ו ם ֗ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ר֤ ֶ בּ ִ דּ ֙ וי ָ ל ֵ א ה ָ֔ והְ י
Abram went as the Lord spoke to him.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 69
4 Genesis 21:1
ה֛ ָ והיַ ֽ ו ד ֥ ַ ק ָ פּ ה ֖ ָ ר ָ שׂ־ת ֶ א ֲ א ַ כּ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ר ֑ ָ מ ָ א ַ ו ַ יּ שׂ ַ ע ה֛ ָ והְ י ה ֖ ָ ר ָ שׂ ְ ל ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ׃ר ֽ ֵ בּ ִ דּ
The Lord remembered Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as
He had spoken.
5 Amos 2:14
ד֤ ַ ב ָ א ְ ו ֙ סוֹנ ָ מ ל ָ֔ קּ ִ מ ק֖ ָ ז ָ ח ְ ו ץ֣ ֵ מּ ַ אְ י־אֹל וֹ ֑ חֹכּ רוֹ ֖ בּ ִ ג ְ ו ט֥ ֵ לּ ַ מְ י־אֹל ֽ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ׃וֹ
Escape will perish from the swift and the strong will not muster his
strength and the mighty man will not deliver his life.
6 Psalm 116:4
׃י ֽ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ה ֥ ָ ט ְ לּ ַ מ ה ָ֗ והְ֝ י ה֥ ָ נּ ָ א
Please, O Lord, save my soul!
7 Genesis 2:3
וֹ ֣ י־ת ֶ א ֙ םי ִ הל ֱ א ך ֶ ר ֤ ָ בְ י ַ ו וֹ ֑ תֹ א שׁ ֖ ֵ דּ ַ קְ י ַ ו י ֔ ִ עי ִ ב ְ שּׁ ַ ה ם
G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.
8 Exodus 10:3 (Moses and Aaron to Pharoah in the name of G-d)
י ֣ ַ ת ָ מ־ד ַ ע ָ תּ ְ נ ַ֔ א ֵ מ ת ֖ ֹ נ ָ ע ֵ ל י֑ ָ נ ָ פּ ִ מ ח֥ ַ לּ ַ שׁ י ֖ ִ מּ ַ ע ׃י ִ נ ֽ ֻ ד ְ ב ַ עֽ ַ י ְ ו
Until when will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go
that they may serve Me.
9 I Kings 3:3
׃רי ֽ ִ ט ְ ק ַ מוּ ַ ח֖ ֵ בּ ַ ז ְ מ אוּ ֥ ה תוֹ ֔ מ ָ בּ ַ בּ ק ַ֚ ר
70 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Only on the high places did he (Solomon) offer sacrifices and offer incense.
10 Exodus 35:3
וּ ֣ ר ֲ ע ַ ב ְ ת־אֹל שׁ ֵ֔ א ל ֖ ֹכ ְ בּ ם֑ ֶ כי ֵ ת ֽ ֹב ְ שֹׁמ םוֹ ֖ י ְ בּ ׃ת ֽ ָ בּ ַ שּׁ ַ ה
You shall not kindle fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.
11 Isaiah 66:13
שׁי ִ֕ א ְ כּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א וֹ ֖ מּ ִ א וּנּ ֑ ֶ מ ֲ ח ַ נ ְ תּ ן ֤ ֵ כּ ֙ י ִ כֹ נ ֽ ָ א ם ֔ ֶ כ ְ מ ֶ ח֣ ַ נ ֲ א ִ ם֖ ַ ל ָ שׁוּ ֽ רי ִ בוּ ׃וּמ ֽ ָ ח ֻ נ ְ תּ
Like a man whose mother consoles him, so will I console you, and in
Jerusalem you will be consoled.
12 Leviticus 13:44
א ֧ ֵ מּ ַ ט וּנּ ֛ ֶ א ְ מּ ַ טְ י ן ֖ ֵ הֹכּ ַ ה
The priest shall surely declare him impure.
13 Esther 3:1
ר ֣ ַ ח ַ א ׀ םי ֣ ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ ַ ה ה ֶ לּ ֵ֗ א ָ ה ֩ ל ַ דִּ גּ ך ֶ ל ֨ ֶ מּ ַ ה ֵ ו ְ שׁ ַ ח ֲ א שׁוֹ ֜ ר ן ֧ ָ מ ָ ה־ת ֶ א א ָ ת ֛ ָ ד ְ מּ ַ ה־ן ֽ ֶ בּ
י ֖ ִ ג ָ ג ֲ א ָ ה וּה ֑ ֵ א ְ שּׂ ַ נ ְ י ֽ ַ ו
After these things, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, son of Hammedata
the Agagite and exalted him.
14 Exodus 3:22
ה ֨ ָ ל ֲ א ָ שׁ ְ ו ה ֤ ָ שּׁ ִ א ֙ הּ ָ תּ ְ נ ֶ כ ְ שּׁ ִ מ ת ֣ ַ ר ָ גּ ִ מוּ הּ ֔ ָ תי ֵ בּ ף ֶ ס֛ ֶ כ־י ֵ ל ְ כּ י ֥ ֵ ל ְ כוּ ָ ז ב ֖ ָ ה ת ֑ ל ָ מ ְ שׂוּ
ם ֗ ֶ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ ְ ו ֙ ם ֶ כי ֵ נ ְ בּ־ל ַ ע ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ ת ֣ ֹ נ ְ בּ־ל ַ ע ְ ו ם ֖ ֶ תּ ְ ל ַ צּ ִ נ ְ ו ׃םִ י ֽ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ־ת ֶ א
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 71
Every woman shall borrow from her neighbour and from the woman living
in her house silver vessels and golden vessels and garments, and you shall
put them on your sons and daughters and you shall strip off (despoil) the
Egyptians.
15 Malachi 3:1
י֤ ִ נ ְ נ ִ ה ַ ח ֵ לֹשׁ י ֔ ִ כ ָ א ְ ל ַ מ ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ ד־ה ָ נּ ִ פוּ י֑ ָ נ ָ פ ְ ל
Behold I will send My messenger and he will clear a path before Me.
16 Exodus 24:15
ל ַ ע֥ ַ יּ ַ ו ה ֖ ֶ שֹׁמ ר ֑ ָ ה ָ ה־ל ֶ א ֥ ַ כְ י ַ ו ס ן ֖ ָ נ ָ ע ֶ ה ר ֽ ָ ה ָ ה־ת ֶ א ׃
Moses ascended the mountain and the cloud covered the mountain.
17 Genesis 24:19
ל֖ ַ כ ְ תּ ַ ו וֹ ֑ תֹק ְ שׁ ַ ה ְ ל ר ֶ מא ֗ ֹתּ ַ ו ם֤ ַ גּ ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ לּ ַ מ ְ ג ִ ל ב ָ֔ א ְ שׁ ֶ א ד ֥ ַ ע וּ ֖ לּ ִ כּ־ם ִ א ׃ת ֽ ֹ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל
She finished giving him to drink and she said, “also for your camels I will
draw until they finish drinking”.
18 Genesis 42:25
ו ֣ ַ צְ י ַ ו ף ֵ֗ סוֹי וּ ֣ א ְ ל ַ מְ י ַ ו ֮ ם ֶ הי ֵ ל ְ כּ־ת ֶ א ֒ר ָ בּ
Joseph commanded and they filled their vessels with grain.
19 Psalm 33:18-20
ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה ןי ֣ ֵ ע ה ָ והְ֭ י וי ֑ ָ א ֵ רְ י־ל ֶ א םי ֥ ִ ל ֲ חַ י ְ מֽ ַ ל ְ ס ַ ח ְ ל ׃וֹ ֽ דּ לי ֣ ִ צּ ַ ה ְ ל ת ֶ ו ֣ ָ מּ ִ מ ם ֑ ָ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ
ם ֗ ָ תוֹיּ ַ ח ְ ל֝ וּ ב ֽ ָ ע ָ ר ָ בּ ׃ וּנ ֵ שׁ ְ פַ֭ נ ה ֣ ָ ת ְ כּ ִ ח ה֑ ָ והי ֽ ַ ל וּנ ֖ ֵ ר ְ ז ֶ ע וּנ֣ ֵ נּ ִ ג ָ מוּ ׃אוּ ֽ ה
72 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Behold the eye of the Lord is to those who fear Him, to those who await
His kindness; to rescue their soul from death, and to preserve them alive in
famine; our soul awaits the Lord, He is our help and our shield.
20 Psalm 118:18
ר ֣ ֹסַּ י י ִ נּ ֣ ַ ר ְ סִּ י הּ֑ ָ יּ ת ֶ ו ֗ ָ מּ ַ לְ֝ ו א ֣ ֹל י ִ נֽ ָ נ ָ ת ְ נ ׃
G-d has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death.
Explanatory notes for spot the Piel
1 II Samuel 4:8
שׁ ֵ קּ ִ בּ Piel perf. 3 m.sg. שׁקב. “He sought”. Regular formation. Ḥireq
in first syllable and tsere in second syllable. Strong dagesh in middle root
letter.
2 Numbers 6:11
ר ֶ פּ ִ כ ְ ו Piel perf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. רפכ. “and he will atone”.Note
the segol rather than tsere in the second syllable. See JM 52c: “In three
verbs we find the vowel ֶ ר ֶ בּ ִ דּ he spoke, ר ֶ פּ ִ כּ he expiated, ס ֶ בּ ִ כ ְ ו and he
will wash (11 times, but twice ס ֵ בּ ִ כ ְ ו!). These anomalies are difficult to ex-
plain. In pause one finds ר ֵ בּ ִ דּ and ס ֵ בּ ִ כּ.”
שׁ ַ דּ ִ ק ְ ו Piel perf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec.. שׁדק. “and he will sanctify”.
Note the pataḥ rather than tsere in the second syllable. See JM 52c:“Perfect
3rd pers. m. sg. Although ֵ is secondary, ל ֵ טּ ִ ק is the proper form of Piel
and also its pausal form. One very often finds the form ל ַ טּ ִ ק, the pataḥ of
which is not the primitive a, but an attenuation of tsere. The form ל ַ טּ ִ ק, a
lighter form, is used mostly with the conjunctive accent and when ל ַ טּ ִ ק -
loses the stress (before maqqef), and only rarely with a disjunctive accent.
Thus with a conjunctive accent we find ך ַ ר ֵ בּ always; with a weak disjunc-
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 73
tive accent we find ך ַ ר ֵ בּ twice and ך ֵ ר ֵ בּ twice; the pausal form (which does
not occur) would have been ך ֵ ר ֵ בּ.”
3 Genesis 12:4
ר ֶ בּ ִ דּ Piel perf. 3 m.sg. רבד. “he spoke”. See note above on 2.
4 Genesis 21:1
׃ר ֽ ֵ בּ ִ דּ Piel perf. 3 m.sg. רבד. “he spoke”. Pausal form; see note
above on 2.
5 Amos 2:14
ץ ֵ מּ ַ אְ י Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. ץמא. “He will make firm, strengthen”.
ט ֵ לּ ַ מְ י Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. טלמ. “He will rescue, deliver”.
These are regular formations.
6 Psalm 116:4
ה ָ ט ְ לּ ַ מ Piel emphatic imperative m.sg. טלמ. “Save, deliver!”
7 Genesis 2:3
ך ֶ ר ֤ ָ בְ י ַ ו Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. ךרב. “and he blessed”.
Note compensatory lengthening of pataḥ to qamets under the vet due to
absence of dagesh in resh (middle root letter). Note also the reduction of
tsere to segol under the resh due to retraction of accent from final syllable
to penultimate syllable after vav consec.
שׁ ֵ דּ ַ קְ י ַ ו Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. שׁדק. “and he sanctified”.
74 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
8 Exodus 10:3
ָ תּ ְ נ ַ א ֵ מ Piel perf. 2 m.sg. ןאמ. “You refuse”. Note compensatory
lengthening of ḥireq to tsere under the mem due to absence of dagesh
in the ’aleph (a guttural).
ח ַ לּ ַ שׁ Piel imperative m.sg. חלשׁ. “Send away, let go”.
Note that the guttural (ḥet) requires the vowel pataḥ before it. Compare the
regular Piel imperative m.sg. formation, e.g. ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ. (tsere in second syllable).
9 I Kings 3:3
ַ ח ֵ בּ ַ ז ְ מ Piel participle m.sg. חבז. “Sacrificing”.
Note that the guttural (ḥet) takes a furtive pataḥ after the full accented
vowel.
10 Exodus 35:3
־אֹל ( ו ֣ ר ֲ ע ַ ב ְ ת ) Piel imperf. 2 m.pl. רעב. “You shall (not) kindle”.
Note the “virtual doubling” of the ‘ayin (middle root letter), since the
guttural does not admit dagesh, but there is no compensatory length-
ening of the preceding vowel. Note also the composite sheva (ḥateph-
pataḥ) under the ‘ayin, since gutturals usually take composite sheva in-
stead of the simple vocal sheva.
11 Isaiah 66:13
וּנּ ֶ מ ֲ ח ַ נ ְ תּ Piel imperf. 3 f.sg. + suffix 3 m.sg. with energic nun; םחנ. “She
comforts him”. Note “virtual doubling” of middle root letter (the guttural
ḥet).
(for Energic Nun, see: WHG pp 130-131: GK 58i-l).
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 75
ם ֶ כ ְ מ ֶ ח ַ נ ֲ א Piel imperf. 1 c.sg. + suffix 2 m.pl. םחנ. “I will comfort
you”.
12 Leviticus 13:44
א ֵ מּ ַ ט Piel inf. abs. אמט. Lamed-’aleph verb.
וּנּ ֶ א ְ מּ ַ טְ י Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.sg. (energic nun). “He shall declare
him impure”. Note that in this form the lamed-’aleph verb is patterned after
the corresponding form of the strong verb.
13 Esther 3:1
ל ַ דִּ גּ Piel perf. 3 m.sg. “He made great”. Note pataḥ as second vowel.
וּה ֵ א ְ שַּׂ נ ְ י ַ ו Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. “and he exalted
him” (lit. lifted him up). אשׂנ, lamed-’aleph verb. Note that in this form the
lamed-’aleph verb is patterned after the corresponding form of the strong
verb.
14 Exodus 3:22
ם ֶ תּ ְ ל ַ צּ ִ נ ְ ו Piel perf. 2 m.pl. + vav consec. לצנ. “and you shall despoil”.
Note that in this form the pe-nun verb is patterned after the corresponding
form of the strong verb. (e.g. ם ֶ תּ ְ ר ַ בּ ִ שׁ ְ ו. Deut. 12:3). However, note that in
theory, ם ֶ תּ ְ ל ַ צּ ִ נ could be Niphal perf. 2 m.pl. of לצנ, with assimilation of
the first root letter (nun) into the tsadi (ם ֶ תּ ְ ל ַ צ ְ נ ִ נ > ם ֶ תּ ְ ל ַ צּ ִ נ) with the
passive meaning, “and you shall be delivered, rescued”. Compare וּנ ְ ל ַ צ ְ נ ִ נ >
וּנ ְ ל ַ צּ ִ נ in Jeremiah 7:10 (Spot the Niphal no 5).
15 Malachi 3:1
ה ָ נּ ִ פוּ Piel perf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. “and he will make clear, empty”.
הנפ. Lamed-hey verb. All perfects of lamed-hey verbs without afforma-
tives end in הָ.
76 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
16 Exodus 24:15
ס ַ כְ י ַ ו Piel imperf. apocopated 3 m.sg. + vav consec. הסכ. Lamed-
hey,“and he/it covered”. Long form of imperf. would be ה ֶ סּ ַ כְ י. All
imperfects of lamed-hey verbs without afformatives end in ה ֶ ◌. Imperfects
of lamed-hey verbs with hey as their final consonant often appear in apoco-
pated (shortened) form after vav consec.
17 Genesis 24:19
ְ תּ ַ ו ל ַ כ Piel imperf. 3 f.sg. apocopated + vav consec. הלכ. “and she
finished”. ה ָ ל ָ כּ (Qal) = “be complete, at an end, finished” > in Piel =
“complete, bring to an end, finish”. The long form of Piel imperf. would be
ה ֶ לּ ַ כ ְ תּ (see 16 above).וּלּ ִ כּ Piel perf. 3 c.pl. הלכ. “They (shall have)
finished”. Note use of Biblical Hebrew “perfect” for the English “future
perfect”.
18 Genesis 42:25
ו ַ צְ י ַ ו Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. apocopated + vav consec. הוצ. The longer form
would be ה ֶ וּ ַ צְ י See e.g. Gen. 18:19. Note that the middle root letter is
consonantal vav (see below, section on Polel etc.). Compare ו ַ קְ י ַ ו (root
הוק),see Isaiah 5:2.
וּא ְ ל ַ מְ י ַ ו Piel imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav consec. א ֵ ל ָ מ. “and they filled”. Note
absence of dagesh in lamed (middle root letter). See GK 20 l-m for “The
loss of the dagesh forte”—“Very frequently in certain consonants with
sheva mobile, since the absence of a strong vowel causes the strengthening
to be less noticeable”.
19 Psalm 33:18-20
םי ִ ל ֲ חַ י ְ מ ַ ל Piel participle m.pl. לחי. Pe-yod and ‘ayin guttural. Note the
composite sheva under the ḥet (middle root letter) instead of simple vocal
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 77
sheva. Otherwise, this form is patterned after the form of a regular Piel par-
ticiple.
ם ֗ ָ תוֹיּ ַ ח ְ ל֝ וּ Piel inf. cstr. + suffix 3 m.pl. + lamed prep. היח. ‘ayin-yod
and lamed-hey. “to preserve them alive, let them live”. Note that all inf.
cstr. forms of lamed-hey verbs drop the final hey together with the preced-
ing vowel and replace them with תֹו.
ה ָ ת ְ כּ ִ ח Piel perf. 3 f.sg. הכח. “it/she awaits”. Pe-guttural and lamed-hey.
The perf. 3 f.sg. in all stems of verbs lamed-hey is formed by substituting
the old feminine ת for the final ה of the verb root and adding הָ the 3
f.sg.afformative.
20 Psalm 118:18
רֹסַּ י Piel inf. abs. רסי.
י ִ נ ַ ר ְ סִּ י Piel perf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 1 c.sg. רסי. “He has chastened me”. Pe-
yod verb.
Uses of Piel
The following summary of the uses of Piel is based on the analyses of
modern grammarians. (see Bibliography).
I: Intensive of Qal
The Piel adds such ideas as: often, much, for a long time, to the simple idea
of the verb. It is a strengthening and repetition of the action.
ר ַ ב ָ שׁ = “he broke”; ר ֵ בּ ִ שׁ = “he broke in pieces”.
e.g. II Kings 18:4
אוּ ֣ ה רי ֣ ִ ס ֵ ה תוֹ ֗ מ ָ בּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ֙ ר ַ בּ ִ שׁ ְ ו ת ֔ ֹב ֵ צּ ַ מּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ת ֖ ַ ר ָ כ ְ ו ה ֑ ָ ר ֵ שׁ ֲ א ֽ ָ ה־ת ֶ א
78 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“He removed the high places, shattered the pillars and cut down the
asherah trees”.
(see GK 52a: “In the second syllable, a has been retained in the majority of
cases, so that the conjugation should more correctly be called Pi al—.”) See
also above, Explanatory Notes for Spot the Piel, no 2.
ר ַ פ ָ ס = “he counted”; ר ֵ פּ ִ ס = “he recounted, related”.
e.g. Exodus 10:2
ן ַ ע ֡ ַ מ ְ לוּ ֩ ר ֵ פּ ַ ס ְ תּ י ֨ ֵ נ ְ ז ָ א ְ בּ ֜ ך ְ נ ִ ב ֗ ך ְ נ ִ בּ־ן ֶ בוּ ת ֣ ֵ א ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ י ִ תּ ְ ל֙ ַ לּ ַ ע ְ ת ִ ה םִ י ֔ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ְ בּ
“And in order that you may recount to your son and your grandson how I
mocked Egypt”.
ק ַ ח ָ צ = “he laughed”; ק ֵ ח ִ צ = “he laughted repeatedly,
jested”.
e.g. Genesis 21:9
א ֶ ר ֨ ֵ תּ ַ ו ה ֜ ָ ר ָ שׂ ר֧ ָ ג ָ ה־ן ֶ בּ־ת ֽ ֶ א תי ֛ ִ ר ְ צ ִ מּ ַ ה ה ֥ ָ ד ְ לָ י־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ֖ ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ְ ל ׃ק ֽ ֵ ח ַ צ ְ מ
“Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian whom she had borne to
Abraham mocking”.
ל ַ א ָ שׁ = “he asked”; ל ֵ א ִ שׁ = “he begged” (only twice in
Piel)
e.g. Psalm 109:10
ַ עוֹ ֤ נ ְ ו וּעוּ ֣ נ ָ י וי֣ ָ נ ָ ב וּל ֑ ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו וּ ֗ שׁ ְ ר ָ דְ֝ ו ׃ם ֽ ֶ הי ֵ תוֹב ְ ר ָ ח ֵ מ
“May his children constantly wander and beg, and may they seek from their
ruins”.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 79
Jouon/Muraoka (52d) do not list an intensive category, but rather a plural-
izing category, suggesting that some Piel verbs involve either multiple sub-
jects or objects. e.g. I Kings 11:15: םי ֑ ִ ל ָ ל ֲ ח ַ ה־ת ֶ א ר֖ ֵ בּ ַ ק ְ ל = “to bury the
slain”. Jouon/Muraoka further suggest that such Piels may have to do with
the frequency of an action. e.g. ק ֵ ח ִ צ = “laugh repeatedly”; ל ֵ א ִ שׁ =
“beg”(i.e. ask repeatedly). Lambdin (Lesson 40, 148) suggests that many so-
called intensive Piels seem to be stylistic variants of the Qal.
Jouon/Muraoka (52d) conclude as follows: “—the question how the func-
tion of Piel in relation to other conjugations, notably Qal, should be defined
still remainsone of the major challenges facing Hebrew and Semitic linguis-
tics”.
II: Factitive/causative
“Factitive” denotes the generation of a state or quality. A root which occurs
in the Qal as an intransitive or stative verb may have a transitive, active or
factitive meaning in the Piel.
ל ַ דָ גּ (Qal) = “he grew up, became great”
ל ַ דִּ גּ (Piel) = “he made great, magnified”
e.g. Esther 3:1:
ר ֣ ַ ח ַ א םי ֣ ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ ַ ה ה ֶ לּ ֵ֗ א ָ ה ֩ ל ַ דּ ִ גּ ך ֶ ל ֨ ֶ מּ ַ ה שׁוֹ ֜ ר ֵ ו ְ שׁ ַ ח ֲ א ן ֧ ָ מ ָ ה־ת ֶ א
“After these things, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman”
ד ַ מ ָ ל (Qal) = “he learned”
ד ַ מּ ִ ל (Piel) = “he taught”
The latter example is designated “causative” by Lambdin on the basis that
the Qal is transitive.
80 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
e.g. Ecclesiastes 12:9:
ר ֕ ֵ תֹי ְ ו ה֥ ָ י ָ ה ֶ שׁ ת ֶ ל ֖ ֶ הֹק ם֑ ָ כ ָ ח דוֹ ֗ ע ֙ ַ דּ־ד ַ מּ ִ ל ֙ ת ַ ע ם ֔ ָ ע ָ ה־ת ֶ א ן ֣ ֵ זּ ִ א ְ ו ר ֵ֔ קּ ִ ח ְ ו ן ֖ ֵ קּ ִ תּ
םי ֥ ִ ל ָ שׁ ְ מ ׃ה ֽ ֵ בּ ְ ר ַ ה
“And besides being wise, Kohelet also taught the people knowledge and he
tested and he sought out and he arranged many proverbs”.
(Note four Piel perfect forms in this verse: ן ֖ ֵ קּ ִ תּ ר ֵ֔ קּ ִ ח ְ ו ן ֣ ֵ זּ ִ א ְ ו ד ַ מּ ִ ל)
III: Declarative/estimative
ה ָ קִּ נ = “he declared innocent”
ר ַ ה ִ ט = “he declared clean”
א ֵ מּ ִ ט = “he declared unclean”
e.g. Exodus 34:7
ר֥ ֵ צֹ נ ֙ ד ֶ ס ֙ ֶ ח םי ֔ ִ פ ָ ל ֲ א ָ ל א ֥ ֵ שֹׂנ ן ֛ ֹו ָ ע ע ַ שׁ֖ ֶ פ ָ ו ַ ח ְ ו ה ֑ ָ א ָ טּ ֙ ה ֵ קּ ַ נ ְ ו א ֣ ֹל ה ֶ֔ קּ ַ נ ְ י
“Preserving kindness for thousands of generations, bearer of iniquity,
rebellion and sin, who absolves (declares innocent) but not entirely”.
e.g. Leviticus 14:48
ר ֤ ַ ה ִ ט ְ ו ֙ ן ֵ הֹכּ ַ ה תִ י ַ֔ בּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א י ֥ ִ כּ א֖ ָ פּ ְ ר ִ נ ׃ע ַ ג ֽ ָ נּ ַ ה
“The priest shall declare the house pure, for the plague has been healed”.
e.g. Leviticus 13:8
֙ ה ָ א ָ ר ְ ו ן ֵ֔ הֹכּ ַ ה ה֛ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ה ֥ ָ ת ְ שׂ ָ פּ ת ַ ח֖ ַ פּ ְ ס ִ מּ ַ ה רוֹ ֑ ע ָ בּ וֹ ֥ א ְ מּ ִ ט ְ ו ן ֖ ֵ הֹכּ ַ ה ת ַ ע ֥ ַ ר ָ צ ׃או ֽ ִ ה
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 81
“The priest shall look, and indeed, the scab has spread on the skin. The
priest shall declare it impure; it is tzara’at”.
IV: Denominatives
“Denominatives” are verbs derived from nouns. (GK 38b). Denominatives
“are frequently formed in this conjugation, and generally express a being
occupied with the object expressed by the noun, either to form or to make
use of it”. (GK 52h).
See JM 52d: “The following examples are denominative in the sense that
there lies behind each of them a related, and assuredly more primitive,
noun: ר ֶ בּ ִ דּ to speak (ר ָ ב ָ דּ); ן ֵ ה ִ כּ to act as priest (ן ֵ הֹכּ); ם ֵ לּ ִ א to bind
sheaves (ה ָ מּ ֻ ל ֲ א).”
Further examples are:
ן ֵ נּ ִ ק = make a nest (ן ֵ ק = nest)
ר ַ פּ ִ ע = throw dust (ר ָ פ ָ ע = dust)
ן ֵ נּ ִ ע = gather clouds (ן ָ נ ָ ע = cloud)
e.g. Psalm 104:17
ם ָ֭ שׁ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א םי ֣ ִ ר ֳ פּ ִ צ וּנ֑ ֵ נּ ַ קְ י ה ֗ ָ די ִ ס ֲ֝ ח םי ֥ ִ שׁוֹר ְ בּ ׃הּ ֽ ָ תי ֵ בּ
“For there the birds nest; as for the stork, the fir-trees are her house.”
V: Privative Piels
The denominative Piel may express the taking away or injuring of the object
denoted by the noun and this is termed a Privative Piel.
שׁ ֵ ר ֵ שׁ (from שׁ ֶ רֹשׁ) = root out, extirpate
ב ֵ נּ ִ ז (from ב ָ נ ָ ז) = rout the rear (of an army) (lit. injure the tail)
82 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ֵ שּׁ ִ דּ ן (from ן ֶ שׁ ֶ דּ) = remove the ashes
א ֵ טּ ִ ח (from א ְ ט ֵ ח) = free from sin
e.g. Psalm 52:7
֙ ך ְ שׁ ֶ ר ֽ ֵ שׁ ְ ו ץ ֶ ר ֖ ֶ א ֵ מ םי֣ ִ יּ ַ ח
“And He will uproot you from the land of life”.
The root לקס occurs in both Qal and Piel in the sense of “stone, pelt with
stones”(see below, II Samuel 16:6), and occurs also in Piel in the privative
sense of “remove stones, clear away stones” (see below, Isaiah 5:2). Gesen-
ius (GK 52h) suggests that this is an example of a denominative although
the noun from which it is derived is no longer found.
II Samuel 16:6
ל ֤ ֵ קּ ַ סְ י ַ ו ֙ םי ִ נ ָ ב ֲ א ֽ ָ בּ ד ִ֔ ו ָ דּ־ת ֶ א י ֖ ֵ ד ְ ב ַ ע־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א ְ ו ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מּ ַ ה ד֑ ִ ו ָ דּ
“He pelted David and all of King David’s servants with stones”.
Isaiah 5:2
ק ֔ ֵ רֹשׂ ֙ וּה ֙ ֵ ע ָ טִּ יּ ַ ו וּה ֗ ֵ ל ְ קּ ַ סְ י ֽ ַ ו וּה ֣ ֵ ק ְ זּ ַ עְ י ֽ ַ ו
“He fenced it around, and cleared it of stones; he planted it with choice
shoots”.
Exercise: identify the Piel verbs in the following biblical verses;
discuss their form and use. (see explanatory notes at the end).
1 Genesis 24:56 (Eliezer to Laban, seeking a wife for Isaac).
ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו ֙ ם ֶ ה ֵ ל ֲ א וּ ֣ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ תּ־ל ַ א י ֔ ִ תֹ א ה֖ ָ והיַ ֽ ו ַ חי ֣ ִ ל ְ צ ִ ה י ֑ ִ כּ ְ ר ַ דּ י ִ נוּ ֕ ח ְ לּ ַ שׁ ה֖ ָ כ ְ ל ֵ א ְ ו
׃י ֽ ִ נֹדאַ ֽ ל
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 83
He said to them, ‘do not detain me, as the Lord has made my journey a
success; send me away and I will go to my master’.
2 Genesis 34:19
ר ֤ ַ ח ֵ א־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו ֙ ַ נּ ַ ה ֙ ר ַ ע תוֹ ֣ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ר ָ֔ ב ָ דּ ַ ה י ֥ ִ כּ ץ֖ ֵ פ ָ ח ב ֑ ֹק ֲ עַ י־ת ֽ ַ ב ְ בּ אוּ ֣ ה ְ ו ד ָ֔ בּ ְ כ ִ נ ל ֖ ֹכּ ִ מ
תי ֥ ֵ בּ ׃וי ֽ ִ ב ָ א
The youth did not delay carrying out the thing, because he desired Jacob’s
daughter, and he was the most important among his father’s entire
household.
3 Numbers 33:4
םִ י ֣ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מוּ םי ֗ ִ ר ְ בּ ַ ק ְ מ ֩ ת ֵ א ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה֧ ָ כּ ִ ה ה֛ ָ והְ י ם ֖ ֶ ה ָ בּ רוֹ ֑ כ ְ בּ־ל ָ כּ
The Egyptians were burying every firstborn, whom the Lord had killed
among them.
4 II Samuel 16:13 (Shimei ben Gera, from a family of the House of Saul,
curses David, who had left Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion).
ך ֶ ל֧ ֵ יּ ַ ו ד֛ ִ ו ָ דּ וי ֖ ָ שָׁ נ ֲ א ַ ו ך ֶ ר ֑ ָ דּ ַ בּ י ֡ ִ ע ְ מ ִ שׁ ְ ו ֩ ך ֵ לֹה ע ַ ל ֨ ֵ צ ְ בּ ר ָ֜ ה ָ ה וֹ ֗ ת ָ מּ ֻ ע ְ ל ֙ ךוֹל ָ ה ל ֔ ֵ לּ ַ קְ י ַ ו
ל ֤ ֵ קּ ַ סְ י ַ ו ֙ םי ִ נ ָ ב ֲ א ֽ ָ בּ וֹ ֔ ת ָ מּ ֻ ע ְ ל ר ֖ ַ פּ ִ ע ְ ו ׃ר ֽ ָ פ ָ ע ֶ בּ
David and his men continued on the way, with Shimei walking along the
side of the mountain opposite him; he cursed and flung stones towards him
and threw dirt as he went along.
5 I Kings 20:11 (Ahab’s answer to Ben-Hadad, King of Aram, who was
besieging Samaria and threatening Israel).
֤ ַ יּ ַ ו ן ַ ע ֙ ל ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ך ֶ ל ֽ ֶ מ ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו וּ ֔ ר ְ בּ ַ דּ ל֥ ֵ לּ ַ ה ְ תִ י־ל ַ א ר֖ ֵ גֹח ׃ ַ ח ֽ ֵ תּ ַ פ ְ מ ִ כּ
84 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
The King of Israel replied, ‘Speak, let he who girds on (his sword) not boast
like he who takes it off’.
6 Job 33:32 (Elihu speaking to Job, hoping to show that Job is right).
ןי ֥ ִ לּ ִ מ־שֵׁ י־ם ִ א י ִ נ ֑ ֵ בי ִ שׁ ֲ ה ר ֵ֗ בּ ַ֝ דּ י ִ תּ ְ צ ֥ ַ פ ָ ח־י ֽ ִ כּ ׃ ָ ךּ ֽ ֶ ק ְ דּ ַ צ
If there are words, answer me: speak, for I wish to vindicate you.
Explanatory notes (for: identify the Piel verbs)
1 Genesis 24:56
וּר ֲ ח ַ א ְ תּ Piel imperf. 2 m.pl. factitive/causative. רחא. “Do not hinder me,
cause me delay”. Contrast the “intensive” use of this root in Gen. 34:19
(below).
י ִ נוּח ְ לּ ַ שׁ Piel imperat. m.pl. + sf. 1 c.sg. “Intensive” of Qal ח ַ ל ָ שׁ=“he
sent”, (Gen. 31:4; 42:4 etc). Piel has force of: “send off, away, dismiss; let
go, set free”, e.g. Gen. 30:25; 31:27; 32:27; Exod. 4:23; 5:1 etc.
2 Genesis 34:19
ר ַ ח ֵ א Piel perf. 3 m.sg. רחא. Intensive of Qal. Used only once in Qal;
see Gen. 32:5: ה ָ תּ ֽ ָ ע־ד ַ ע ר ֖ ַ ח ֵ א ָ ו “and I delayed/tarried until now”. ר ֖ ַ ח ֵ א ָ ו is
contracted from ר ַ ח ֱ א ֶ א ָ ו Qal imperf. + vav consec.
3 Numbers 33:4
םי ִ ר ְ בּ ַ ק ְ מ Piel participle m.pl. רבק. Perhaps “intensive” of Qal ר ַ ב ָ ק
= “he buried”, but note the “pluralizing” category suggested by
Jouon/Muraoka (52d), whereby some Piel verbs involve either multiple
subjects or objects.

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 85
4 II Samuel 16:13
ל ֵ לּ ַ קְ י ַ ו Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. Factitive use of the root ל ַ ל ָ ק
= “be light, trivial”. Hence, in Piel = “make light of, treat as unimportant”
> “curse” (Lambdin 148).
ל ֵ קּ ַ סְ י ַ ו Denominative. See: Uses of Piel, IV, V.
ר ַ פּ ִ ע ְ ו Piel perf. 3 m.sg. + vav conjunctive. Denominative.
Derived from ר ָ פ ָ ע = “dust”.
5 I Kings 20:11
ַ ח ֵ תּ ַ פ ְ מ Piel participle m.sg. חתפ. Qal ח ַ ת ָ פּ = “he opened”. The Piel is
“intensive”: “free, loosen”. See also Gen. 24:32.
וּר ְ בּ ַ דּ Piel imperat. m.pl. רבד. Piel ר ֶ בּ ִ דּ is denominative, derived from
ר ָ ב ָ דּ n.m. = “word”. Note, however, several instances of רבד = “speak” in
Qal: Gen. 16:13; Exod. 6:29; Numb. 27:7; 32:27; 36:5; Deut. 5:1.
6 Job 33:32
ָ ךּ ֶ ק ְ דּ ַ צ Piel inf. cstr. + sf. 2 m.sg. קדצ. Declarative or Estimative Piel.
“Declare righteous”.
Views of medieval scholars on use of Piel
This section presents the views of medieval scholars on the uses of the Piel
conjugation. Their comments are presented in the original rabbinic Hebrew,
together with translation and explanation. A glossary of some of the He-
brew grammatical terms used by these scholars is found at the end of the
section, as well as brief biographical sketches of these scholars. Students
should study the biblical verses and compare the views of the medieval
scholars with the views in modern grammar books.
86 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
1 Genesis 8:8
ח֥ ַ לּ ַ שְׁ י ַ ו ה֖ ָ נוֹיּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וֹ ֑ תּ ִ א ֵ מ ֙ תוֹא ְ ר ִ ל וּלּ ֣ ַ ק  ֲ ה םִ י ֔ ַ מּ ַ ה ל ֖ ַ ע ֵ מ י֥ ֵ נ ְ פּ ׃ה ֽ ָ מ ָ ד ֲ א ָ ֽ ה
He sent forth the dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from the
face of the ground.
Comment of Rashi on ח֥ ַ לּ ַ שְׁ י ַ ו
ְ שׁ ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ה ֶ ז ןי ֵ א ַ חוּלּ ִ שׁ ןושל א ָ לּ ֶ א תוּחי ִ ל
Translation of Rashi
This does not mean (merely) ‘sending on an errand’ but ‘sending away’
‘letting go’.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that ח֥ ַ לּ ַ שְׁ י ַ ו (Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec.) is an ‘inten-
sive’ Piel, i.e. it expresses the idea, not just of ‘send’ (as in the Qal), but of
‘send away’, that is, complete dismissal.
2 Genesis 9:14
ה֕ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו י ֥ ִ נ ְ נ ַ ֽ ע ְ בּ ן ֖ ָ נ ָ ע ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה־ל ַ ע ה ֥ ָ ת ֲ א ְ ר ִ נ ְ ו ת ֶ שׁ ֖ ֶ קּ ַ ה ׃ן ֽ ָ נ ָ ע ֶ בּ
And it will be that when I gather a cloud over the earth, the rainbow will be
seen in the cloud.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on י ֥ ִ נ ְ נ ַ ֽ ע ְ בּ ן ֖ ָ נ ָ ע
ונה ל ַ ק " ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ֵ מ אוּה ֶ שׁ רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ שׁ ֵ ג ָ דּ ִ ה ְ ל יוּא ָ ר היהו ןושׁא ִ רה ן
וֹמ ְ כּ ִ ע י ֣ ִ ר ְ בּ ַ ד ְ בּ ך ֔ ָ מּ ) תומש טי ט (
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 87
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The first nun (in י ֥ ִ נ ְ נ ַ ֽ ע ְ בּ) is without dagesh, but it ought to have dagesh be-
cause it is of the heavy conjugation (Piel), like: ְ בּ ַ ד ְ בּ י ֣ ִ ר ך ֔ ָ מּ ִ ע “when I speak
with you” (Exod. 19:9).
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra comments on י ֥ ִ נ ְ נ ַ ֽ ע ְ בּ (lit. “in my gathering a cloud”) which is a
Piel infinitive construct form with suffix 1 c.sg., root ןנע, and in that sense
is analogous to י ֣ ִ ר ְ בּ ַ ד ְ בּ (lit. “in my speaking”) (Exod. 19:9) which is also
Piel inf. cstr. + sf. 1 c.sg.(root רבד). Piel normally has strong dagesh in the
middle root letter, as in י ֣ ִ ר ְ בּ ַ ד ְ בּ. Ibn Ezra notices the absence of this dagesh
in the nun of י ֥ ִ נ ְ נ ַ ֽ ע ְ בּ. Ibn Ezra’s comment should be compared with GK
52d: “The dagesh forte—characteristic of the whole of Piel and Pual, is of-
ten omitted when the middle radical has sheva under it. The vocal character
of the sheva under the littera dagessenda is sometimes in such cases ex-
pressly emphasized by its taking the form of a ḥaṭeph,—.”
See also GK 201: pp 73-74: “Omission of the strengthening, or at least the
loss of Dagesh Forte occurs:
a) almost always at the end of a word
b) very frequently in certain consonants with sheva mobile, since the
absence of a strong vowel causes the strengthening to be less noticeable
c) in the gutturals
Note also that the verb י ִ נ ֲ נ ַ ע ְ בּ is a denominative, derived from the noun
ן ָ נ ָ ע = “cloud”.
3 Genesis 21:9
א ֶ ר ֨ ֵ תּ ַ ו ה ֜ ָ ר ָ שׂ ר֧ ָ ג ָ ה־ן ֶ בּ־ת ֽ ֶ א תי ֛ ִ ר ְ צ ִ מּ ַ ה ה ֥ ָ ד ְ לָ י־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ א ְ ל ם ֖ ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ׃ק ֽ ֵ ח ַ צ ְ מ
88 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to
Abraham, mocking.
Comment of Rashi on ק ֽ ֵ ח ַ צ ְ מ
ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ה ָ דוֹב ֲ ע ה ָ ר ָ ז , ומכ ר ַ מ ֱ א ֶ נּ ֶ שׁ : וּמ ֖ ֻ ק  ָ יּ ַ ו ק ֽ ֵ ח ַ צ ְ ל ) תומש בל ז .(
ד " א . ןושל יוּלּ ִ גּ תוֹי ָ ר ֲ ע , ומכ ְ ד א ָ מי ֵ ת : ק ֶ ח ֥ ַ צ ְ ל י ֽ ִ בּ ) תישארב טל זי .(
ד " א . ןושל ה ָ חי ִ צ ְ ר , ומכ : וּמוּ ֤ קָ י ֙ א ָ נ םי ֔ ִ ר ָ ע ְ נּ ַ ה וּ ֖ ק ֲ ח ַ שׂי ֽ ִ ו וּני֑ ֵ נ ָ פ ְ ל ) ש " ב ב
די .( הָ י ָ ה ֶ שׁ בי ִ ר ֵ מ םע קחצי לע ה ָ שׁוּריה — .
Translation of Rashi
ק ֵ ח ַ צ ְ מ “mocking” means: worshipping idols, as it is said (in reference to
the Golden Calf, Exod. 32:6): “They rose up to make merry”. Another
explanation is that it refers to immoral conduct, as it says (in reference to
Potiphar’s wife, Gen. 39:17): “to mock at me”. Another explanation is that
it refers to murder, as (in the war between the House of Saul and the House
of David, II Sam. 2:14): “Let the young men arise and make sport before
us”. Ishmael was quarrelling with Isaac about the inheritance.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi is commenting on ק ֵ ח ַ צ ְ מ (Piel participle m.sg.). He shows how the
meaning of the Piel here is not the simple Qal meaning of ק ַ ח ָ צ = “he
laughed”, as in: Gen. 17:17; 18:13 etc. Rather, it is an intensification of the
Qal, denoting: idolatrous behaviour or immoral behaviour or even murder-
ous intentions.
4 Deuteronomy 24:5
ח ֥ ַ קִּ י־י ֽ ִ כּ ֙ שׁי ִ א ה ֣ ָ שּׁ ִ א ה ֔ ָ שׁ ָ ד ֲ ח א ֤ ֹל ֙ א ֵ צֵ י א ָ֔ ב ָ צּ ַ בּ ר ֥ ֹב ֲ עַ י־אֹל ְ ו וי ֖ ָ ל ָ ע ר ֑ ָ ב ָ דּ־ל ָ כ ְ ל
י ֞ ִ קָ נ ה֤ ֶ י ְ הִ י ֙ וֹתי ֵ ב ְ ל ה֣ ָ נ ָ שׁ ת ָ֔ ח ֶ א ח ֖ ַ מּ ִ שׂ ְ ו וֹ ֥ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א־ת ֶ א ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ׃ח ֽ ָ ק ָ ל
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 89
If a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the army, and he shall not
be assigned any task. He shall be free for his home one year and make the
wife whom he took happy.
Comment of Rashi on ח ֖ ַ מּ ִ שׂ ְ ו
ח ַ מּ ַ שְׂ י תא ותשא , גּ ְ ר ַ ת ְ ו וֹמוּ י ֵ דּ ְ חַ י ְ ו תָ י הּ ַ ת ְ תּ ִ א , ם ֵ גּ ְ ר ַ ת ְ מּ ַ ה ְ ו י ֵ דּ ְ חֶ י ְ ו ם ִ ע
הּ ַ ת ְ תּ ִ א , ה ֶ עוֹט אוה , ןיאש הז םוּגּ ְ ר ַ ת לש ח ַ מּ ִ שׂ ְ ו אלא לש ח ַ מ ָ שׂ ְ ו .
Translation of Rashi
ח ַ מּ ִ שׂ ְ ו means “he shall gladden his wife” and its correct Targum rendering
is הּ ַ ת ְ תּ ִ א תָ י י ֵ דּ ְ חַ י ְ ו. The one who renders הּ ַ ת ְ תּ ִ א ם ִ ע י ֵ דּ ְ חֶ י ְ ו “he shall
rejoice with his wife” is in error, for this is not the (Aramaic) rendering of
ח ַ מּ ִ שׂ ְ ו (Piel) but of ח ַ מ ָ שׂ ְ ו (Qal).
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi has explained the causative meaning of ח ַ מּ ִ שׂ ְ ו (Piel perf. 3 m.sg. +
vav consec.“and he shall make happy”). Rashi refers to two different ren-
derings in the Aramaic Targum. The correct rendering uses the Aramaic
Aphel conjugation, which has a causative meaning: הּ ַ ת ְ תּ ִ א תָ י י ֵ דּ ְ חַ י ְ ו “he
shall make his wife happy” and the תָ י, equivalent to Biblical Hebrew ת ֵ א,
indicates the definite direct object. The incorrect rendering uses the Ara-
maic equivalent of the Qal to render ח ַ מּ ִ שׂ ְ ו and takes ת ֵ א in the sense of
“with”, הּ ַ ת ְ תּ ִ א ם ִ ע י ֵ דּ ְ חֶ י ְ ו “he shall be happy with his wife”.
5 Deuteronomy 25:18
ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֜ ך ְ ר ֽ ָ ק ך ֶ ר ֗ ֶ דּ ַ בּ ב֤ ֵ נּ ַ ז ְ י ַ ו ֙ ך ְ בּ י ֣ ִ ל ָ שׁ ֱ ח ֶ נּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ ם ךי ֔ ֶ ר ַ ח ֽ ַ א ה ֖ ָ תּ ַ א ְ ו ף ֣ ֵ י ָ ע ַ ע֑ ֵ ג ָ י ְ ו
How he encountered you on the way and cut off your rear, all those who
lagged behind you; and you were tired and weary.
90 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ב֤ ֵ נּ ַ ז ְ י ַ ו
ך ְ ב ָ נ ְ ז ת ַ ר ָ כּ , ִ ל ָ שׁ ֱ ח ֶ נּ ַ ה םהו ךי ֶ ר ֲ ח ַ א םי , ת ֶ כ ֶ ל ָ ל ַ חֹכּ ם ָ בּ היה אֹלּ ֶ שׁ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
He cut off your tail, that is, those who were shattered behind you, who had
no strength to go.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
By stating ָ כּ ך ְ ב ָ נ ְ ז ת ַ ר “he has cut off your tail”, Ibn Ezra is pointing out
that ב ֵ נּ ַ ז ְ י ַ ו (Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec.) is a denominative/privative
Piel, derived from the noun ב ָ נ ָ ז = “tail”. The denominative Piel may ex-
press the taking away or injuring of the object denoted by the noun and this
is termed a privative Piel. Hence, the Piel verb ב ֵ נּ ִ ז literally means “injure
the tail” and by extension “rout the rear (of an army)”.
6 Isaiah 5:2
ק ֔ ֵ רֹשׂ ֙ וּה ֙ ֵ ע ָ טִּ יּ ַ ו וּה ֗ ֵ ל ְ קּ ַ סְ י ֽ ַ ו וּה ֣ ֵ ק ְ זּ ַ עְ י ֽ ַ ו
He fenced it around, and cleared it of stones; he planted it with choice
shoots.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on וּה ֗ ֵ ל ְ קּ ַ סְ י ֽ ַ ו
ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ֵ מ , ִ נ ָ ב ֲ א ָ ה רי ִ ס ֵ ה וֹמע ַ טו םי . ל ַ קּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ֵ מ הָ י ָ ה ם ִ או , זא
םינבאה ר ֵ בּ ַ ח ְ ל היהי , ן ֵ כו : ֙ ך ְ שׁ ֶ ר ֽ ֵ שׁ ְ ו ץ ֶ ר ֖ ֶ א ֵ מ םי֣ ִ יּ ַ ח ) םילהת בנ ז (
Translation of Ibn Ezra
From the heavy conjugation (Piel), and it means “he removed the stones”.
If it was in the Qal, it would mean “heap up stones” and similarly, Psalm
52:7: “He will uproot you from the land of life”.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 91
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra explains that וּה ֗ ֵ ל ְ קּ ַ סְ י ֽ ַ ו (Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.sg. + vav
consec.) “and he cleared it of stones”, is a privative Piel. Ibn Ezra compares
֙ ך ְ שׁ ֶ ר ֽ ֵ שׁ ְ ו (Psalm 52:7) “and he will uproot you”, because this is also a priva-
tive Piel, derived from the noun שׁ ֶ רֹשׁ = “root”; hence, the Piel verb =
“uproot”. (Note the suggestion in GK 52h that ל ֵ קּ ִ ס is an example of a
denominative although the noun from which it is derived is no longer
found).
7 Psalm 109:10
ַ עוֹ ֤ נ ְ ו וּעוּ ֣ נ ָ י וי֣ ָ נ ָ ב וּל ֑ ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו וּ ֗ שׁ ְ ר ָ דְ֝ ו ׃ם ֽ ֶ הי ֵ תוֹב ְ ר ָ ח ֵ מ
May his children constantly wander and beg, and may they seek from their
ruins.
ַ עוּנ = “quiver, tremble, totter”; ה ָ בּ ְ ר ָ ח n.f. = “waste, desolation, ruin” >
pl. תוֹב ָ ר ֳ ח.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on וּל ֑ ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו
ל ֵ ב ָ אבּ ול ֲ א ָ שי לא ָ ש ומכ ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ל ַ עוֹפּ ) ש " ב כ חי ( ול ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו ומכ ושׁר ָ ד ְ ו
ם ֶ ח ֶ ל ושׁ ְ קּבְ י ֶ שׁ
Translation of Ibn Ezra
וּל ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו is a Piel, like וּ ֛ ל ֲ א ָ שְׁ י in II Sam. 20:18. וּשׁ ְ ר ָ ד ְ ו (“and let them seek”)
has the same meaning as וּל ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו , “let them seek bread”.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra clarifies that וּל ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו is a Piel verb. It is in fact Piel perf. 3 pl. +
vav consec., pausal; the non-pausal form is וּל ֲ א ִ שׁ. Ibn Ezra points to the
92 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
only other occurrence in the Old Testament of the Piel of ל ַ א ָ שׁ = “ask”, in
II Sam. 20:18, where it is preceded by the Qal infinitive absolute לוֹא ָ שׁ. In
II Sam. 20:18 וּ ֛ ל ֲ א ָ שְׁ י ל ֧ ֹ א ָ שׁ may be translated as “they shall surely ask” in
the sense of “inquire carefully, ask counsel”. In Psalm 109:10, however, the
Piel of ל ַ א ָ שׁ means “ask repeatedly, beg”. Note also that לאשׁ is an ‘ayin-
guttural root and that the Piel imperf. וּ ֛ ל ֲ א ָ שְׁ י shows compensatory
lengthening of pataḥ to qamets under the shin to compensate for lack of
strong dagesh in the middle root letter. However, in Psalm 109:10, the form
וּל ֵ א ִ שׁ ְ ו shows virtual doubling of the ’aleph, since the ḥireq under the shin
has not been lengthened to tsere (as in ן ֵ א ֵ מ = “he refused”).
8 Psalm 104:17
ם ָ֭ שׁ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א םי ֣ ִ ר ֳ פּ ִ צ וּנ֑ ֵ נּ ַ קְ י ה ֗ ָ די ִ ס ֲ֝ ח םי ֥ ִ שׁוֹר ְ בּ ׃הּ ֽ ָ תי ֵ בּ
For there the birds nest; as for the stork, the fir-trees are her house.
Comment of Rashi on וּנ֑ ֵ נּ ַ קְ י
רוֹפּ ִ צ ן ַ ק ןוֹשׁל .
Translation of Rashi
The verb is connected with the noun, a bird’s nest.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi points out that the verb וּנ֑ ֵ נּ ַ קְ י (Piel imperf. 3 m.pl. pausal) is derived
from the root ן ַ ק = “nest”. Hence, ן ֵ נּ ִ ק (“make a nest, nest”) is a
denominative Piel.
Polel, Polal, Hithpolel
It is rare to find examples in Biblical Hebrew of ‘ayin vav verbs in Piel, Pual
or Hithpael, because these conjugations are formed by doubling the middle
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 93
root letter (or by lengthening the preceding vowel); since, however, the me-
dial vav has no status as a consonant, it cannot be doubled. Consequently,
‘ayin vav verbs repeat the third root letter, resulting in the following forms:
POLEL POLAL HITHPOLEL
e.g. from the root םוּק, we derive the forms:
ם ֵ מוֹק (Polel instead of Piel)
ם ַ מוֹק (Polal instead of Pual)
ם ֵ מוֹק ְ ת ִ ה (Hithpolel instead of Hithpael)
Typical Polel verbs are:
ם ֵ מוֹק = “raise up”; ת ֵ תוֹמ = “slay, kill”; ם ֵ מוֹר = “raise”; ן ֵ נוֹכּ =
“establish”;
ב ֵ בוֹשׁ = “bring back, restore”; ר ֵ רוֹע = “arouse”.
In late Biblical Hebrew, however, a few Piel formations from ‘ayin vav
verbs can be found. See GK 72m: “The formation of the conjugations Piel,
Pual and Hithpael is, strictly speaking, excluded by the nature of the verbs
ע " ו . It is only in the latest books that we begin to find a few secondary
formations, probably borrowed from Aramaic, on the analogy of verbs ע " ו
with consonantal vav—e.g. the Piel ד ֵ וּ ִ ע to surround, only in י ִ נ ֻ ד ְ וּ ִ ע Ps.
119:61; and with change of ו to י, םַ יּ ִ ק Esther 9:31, וּמְ יּ ִ ק Esther 9:27 etc.—
Exercise:
In the following biblical verses, identify and parse verbs with a con-
sonantal vav for their second radical (see GK 72gg).
(See explanatory notes at end of section)
94 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
1 Examples in Qal
a) Numbers 20:3
ב ֶ ר ֥ ָ יּ ַ ו ם֖ ָ ע ָ ה ה ֑ ֶ שֹׁמ־ם ִ ע וּ ֣ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו ר ֔ ֹ מא ֵ ל וּ ֥ ל ְ ו וּנ ְ ע֛ ַ ו ָ ג ע֥ ַ ו ְ ג ִ בּ וּני ֖ ֵ ח ַ א י֥ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל
׃הֽ ָ והְ י
The people quarreled with Moses and said, ‘If only we had perished in the
perishing of our brothers before the Lord”.
b) I Samuel 16:23
ה֗ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו תוֹ ֤ י ְ ה ֽ ִ בּ ֙ םי ִ הל ֱ א־ ַ חוּ ֽ ר לוּ ֔ א ָ שׁ־ל ֶ א ח ֥ ַ ק ָ ל ְ ו ד֛ ִ ו ָ דּ רוֹ ֖ נּ ִ כּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ן ֣ ֵ גּ ִ נ ְ ו וֹ ֑ דָ י ְ בּ
֤ ַ ו ָ ר ְ ו ח ֙ לוּא ָ שׁ ְ ל בוֹ ֣ ט ְ ו וֹ ֔ ל ה ָ ר ֥ ָ ס ְ ו וי ֖ ָ ל ָ ע ֵ מ ַ חוּ ֥ ר ׃ה ֽ ָ ע ָ ר ָ ה
And whenever the spirit of G-d was on Saul, David took the harp and
played with his hand, and there was relief for Saul and he would feel better,
and the spirit of evil would depart from him.
c) Isaiah 29:22
ן ֗ ֵ כ ָ ל ר ֤ ַ מ ָ א־ה ֽ ֹכּ ֙ ה ָ והְ י תי ֣ ֵ בּ־ל ֶ א ב ֔ ֹק ֲ עֽ ַ י ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה ֖ ָ ד ָ פּ ם ֑ ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ת ֶ א ה ֤ ָ תּ ַ ע־א ֽ ֹל
֙ שׁוֹבֵ י ב ֔ ֹק ֲ עֽ ַ י א ֥ ֹל ְ ו ה ֖ ָ תּ ַ ע וי֥ ָ נ ָ פּ ׃וּרֽ ָ ו ֱ חֶ י
Therefore, thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, to the House of
Jacob: Jacob will not be ashamed now, and his face will not pale.
d) Isaiah 42:11
וּ ֤ א ְ שִׂ י ֙ ר ָ בּ ְ ד ִ מ וי ֔ ָ ר ָ ע ְ ו םי ֖ ִ ר ֵ צ ֲ ח ב ֣ ֵ שׁ ֵ תּ ר ֑ ָ ד ֵ ק ֙ וּנּ ֨ ֹרָ י י ֵ ב ְ שׁ֣ ֹי ע ַ ל ֶ֔ ס שׁא ֥ ֹר ֵ מ םי ֖ ִ ר ָ ה
׃וּחֽ ָ ו ְ צִ י
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 95
The desert and its cities will raise (their voices in song); (so too will) the
open cities where Kedar dwells; those who live on rocks will sing out; they
will cry from mountain peaks.
Explanatory notes to examples in Qal:
a) Numbers 20:3
וּנ ְ ע ַ ו ָ גּ Qal perf. 1 c pl ע ַ ו ָ גּ = expire, perish; > Qal inf. cstr. ע ַ ו ְ גּ
וּני ֖ ֵ ח ַ א ע֥ ַ ו ְ ג ִ בּ = lit. “in the perishing of our brothers”. i.e. when our
brothers perished.
b) I Samuel 16:23
ח ַ ו ָ ר ְ ו Qal perf. 3 m.sg. + vav conjunctive; ח ַ ו ָ ר = be wide.
c) Isaiah 29:22
ר ַ ו ָ ח = be white. Qal imperf. ר ַ ו ֱ חֶ י > pl. pausal: וּרֽ ָ ו ֱ חֶ י
d) Isaiah 42:11
ח ַ ו ָ צ = cry aloud. Qal imperf. 3 pl. pausal > וּחֽ ָ ו ְ צִ י
ר ֵ צ ָ ח n.m. settlement, village. always in pl. םי ִ ר ֵ צ ֲ ח (BDB p 347)
2 Examples in Piel
a) Genesis 49:33
ְ י ַ ו ף ֶ ס ֥ ָ אֵ יּ ַ ו ע֖ ַ ו ְ ג ִ יּ ַ ו ה ֑ ָ טּ ִ מּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א וי ֖ ָ ל ְ ג ַ ר ף ֥ ֹס ֱ אֶ יּ ַ ו וי ֔ ָ נ ָ בּ־ת ֶ א ת ֣ ֹוּ ַ צ ְ ל ֙ בֹק ֲ עַ י ל֤ ַ כ
׃וי ֽ ָ מּ ַ ע־ל ֶ א
Jacob finished instructing his sons and he gathered his feet to the bed and
he expired and was gathered to his people.
96 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
b) Isaiah 5:4
םי ֖ ִ ב ָ נ ֲ ע תוֹ ֥ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל י ִ תי֛ ֵ וּ ִ ק ַ עוּ ֧ דּ ַ מ וֹ ֑ בּ י ִ תי ֖ ִ שׂ ָ ע א ֥ ֹל ְ ו י ֔ ִ מ ְ ר ַ כ ְ ל ֙ דוֹע תוֹ ֥ שׂ ֲ ע ַ לּ־ה ַ מ
ַ ו ַ יּ שׂ ַ ע םי ֽ ִ שׁ ֻ א ְ בּ :
What more could I have done to my vineyard that I have not done to it?
Why did I hope to produce fine grapes but it brought forth stinking ones?
c) Psalm 71:4
׃ץ ֵ מוֹח ְ ו ל֣ ֵ וּ ַ ע ְ מ ף֖ ַ כּ ִ מ ע ֑ ָ שׁ ָ ר ד֣ ַ יּ ִ מ י ִ נ ֵ ט ְ לּ ַ֭ פּ י ַ֗ הלֽ ֱ א
My G-d, deliver me from the hand of the wicked one, from the palm of the
unjust and ruthless.
d) Psalm 119:61
ֽ ָ כ ָ שׁ א ֣ ֹל ֗ ך ְ ת ָ רוֹ ֽ תּ י ִ נ֑ ֻ ד ְ וּ ִ ע םי ֣ ִ ע ָ שׁ ְ ר י֣ ֵ ל ְ ב ֶ ח ׃י ִ תּ ְ ח
The bands of the wicked have surrounded me, I have not forgotten Your
law.
e) Psalm 146:9
ה֤ ָ והְ י ר ֤ ֵ מ ֘ ֹשׁ םי ֗ ִ ר ֵ גּ־ת ֶ א םוֹ ֣ תָ י ה֣ ָ נ ָ מ ְ ל ַ א ְ ו ד֑ ֵ דוֹעְ י ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ ד ְ ו םי ֣ ִ ע ָ שׁ ְ ר תֽ ֵ וּ ַ עְ י ׃
The Lord protects strangers. He relieves orphan and widow, but He makes
crooked the way of the wicked.
Explanatory notes to examples in Piel:
a) Genesis 49:33
תֹוּ ַ צ ְ ל Piel inf. cstr. + lamed; הוצ. “to charge”.

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 97
b) Isaiah 5:4
י ִ תי ֵ וּ ִ ק Piel perf. 1 c.sg. הוק. “I hoped”.
c) Psalm 71:4
ל ֵ וּ ַ ע ְ מ Piel part. m.sg. לוע. “acting wickedly”.
d) Psalm 119:61
י ִ נ ֻ ד ְ וּ ִ ע Piel perf. 3 c.pl. + sf. 1 sg. דוע. “They have surrounded me”.
Note that the Polel of the same root דוּע occurs in Psalm 146:9 (see below),
but with a different meaning (“restore, relieve”).
e) Psalm 146:9
ת ֵ וּ ַ עְ י Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. ת ַ ו ָ ע. “bend, make crooked”.
Exercise:
In the following biblical verses, identify and parse Polel formations.
(see explanatory notes at end of section).
a) Exodus 15:17
וֹמ ֵ֗ א ִ ב ְ תּ ֙ וֹמ ֙ ֵ ע ָ טּ ִ ת ְ ו ר ֣ ַ ה ְ בּ ֔ ך ְ תֽ ָ ל ֲ ח ַ נ ןוֹ ֧ כ ָ מ ֛ ך ְ תּ ְ ב ִ שׁ ְ ל ָ תּ ְ ל֖ ַ ע ָ פּ ה֑ ָ והְ י שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ
י֖ ָ נֹד ֲ א וּ ֥ נ ְ נוֹכּ ׃ךי ֽ ֶ דָ י
You shall bring them and You shall plant them in the mountain of Your
inheritance, a fixed place for Your dwelling, which You have made O Lord,
a sanctuary, Lord, which Your hands have established.


98 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
b) II Samuel 1:9,10
ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו י ֗ ַ ל ֵ א א֤ ָ נ־ד ָ מ ֲ ע ֙ י ַ ל ָ ע י ִ נ ֔ ֵ ת ְ ת ֣ ֹ מוּ י ֥ ִ כּ י ִ נ֖ ַ ז ָ ח ֲ א ץ ֑ ָ ב ָ שּׁ ַ ה דוֹ ֥ ע־ל ָ כ־י ֽ ִ כּ י ֖ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ
׃י ֽ ִ בּ ד ֤ ֹ מ ֱ ע ֶ א ָ ו ֙ וי ָ ל ָ ע וּה ֔ ֵ ת ְ ת ֣ ֹ מ ֲ א ַ ו י ֣ ִ כּ ְ ע ֔ ַ דָ י י ִ תּ י ֛ ִ כּ א ֥ ֹל ה֖ ֶ י ְ חֽ ִ י י ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א וֹ ֑ ל ְ פ ִ נ
And he said to me, ‘Stand over me and put me to death, for cramp has
seized me, while my soul is still within me’. So I stood over him and put
him to death, for I knew that he would not live after his falling.
c) Isaiah 44:26
֙ םי ִ ק ֵ מ ר֣ ַ ב ְ דּ וֹ ֔ דּ ְ ב ַ ע ת ֥ ַ צ ֲ ע ַ ו וי ֖ ָ כ ָ א ְ ל ַ מ םי ֑ ִ ל ְ שַׁ י ר ֨ ֵ מֹ א ָ ה ִ ם ֜ ַ ל ָ שׁוּרי ִ ל ב ֗ ָ שׁוּתּ
י ֤ ֵ ר ָ ע ְ לוּ ֙ ה ָ דוּהְ י ה ָ ני ֔ ֶ נ ָ בּ ִ תּ ָ הי ֖ ֶ תוֹב ְ ר ָ ח ְ ו ׃ם ֽ ֵ מוֹק ֲ א
Who confirms the word of His servant and fulfils the counsel of His
messengers; Who says of Jerusalem, ‘it shall be settled’ and of the citie of
Judah, ‘they shall be rebuilt and I will raise up its ruins’.
d) Psalm 23:3
׃וֹ ֽ מ ְ שׁ ן ַ ע ֣ ַ מ ְ ל ק ֶ ד ֗ ֶ צ־י ֵ ל ְ גּ ְ ע ַ מ ְ ב י ִ נ ֥ ֵ ח ְ נֽ ַ י ב֑ ֵ בוֹשְׁ י י ֥ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ
He restores my soul; He leads me on paths of righteousness for the sake of
His Name.
e) Psalm 30:2
ֽ ִ ל י ֣ ַ בְ יֹ א ָ תּ ְ ח ֖ ַ מּ ִ שׂ־אֹל ְ ו י ִ נ ֑ ָ תי ִ לּ ִ ד י ֣ ִ כּ ה ָ והְ֭ י ֣ ך ְ מ ִ מוֹר ֲ א י :
I will extol You O Lord for You have drawn me up and have not let my
foes rejoice over me.
f) Psalm 146:9
ה֤ ָ והְ י ר ֤ ֵ מ ֘ ֹשׁ ת ֶ א םי ֗ ִ ר ֵ גּ־ םוֹ ֣ תָ י ה֣ ָ נ ָ מ ְ ל ַ א ְ ו ד֑ ֵ דוֹעְ י ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ ד ְ ו םי ֣ ִ ע ָ שׁ ְ ר ׃תֽ ֵ וּ ַ עְ י
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 99
The Lord protects strangers, He relieves orphan and widow, but He makes
crooked the way of the wicked.
g) Psalm 147:6
׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א־י ֵ ד ֲ ע םי ֣ ִ ע ָ שׁ ְ ר לי ֖ ִ פּ ְ שׁ ַ מ ה֑ ָ והְ י םי ֣ ִ ו ָ נ ֲ ע ד֣ ֵ דוֹע ְ מ
The Lord restores the humble, He brings the wicked low to the ground.
h) Song of Songs 2:7
י ִ תּ ְ ע ַ֨ בּ ְ שׁ ִ ה ם ֜ ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א תוֹ ֤ נ ְ בּ ִ֙ ם֙ ַ ל ָ שׁוּרְ י תוֹ ֔ א ָ ב ְ צ ִ בּ וֹ ֖ א תוֹ ֣ לְ י ַ א ְ בּ ה֑ ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה
וּרי ֧ ִ ע ָ תּ־ם ִ א ׀ וּ ֛ ר ְ רוֹ ֽ ע ְ תּ־ם ִ אֽ ְ ו ה ֖ ָ ב ֲ ה ַ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א ד ֥ ַ ע ׃ץ ֽ ָ פּ ְ ח ֶ תּ ֶ שׁ
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of
the field, that you will not waken nor arouse love until it pleases.
Explanatory notes to verses with Polel:
a) Exodus 15:17
וּ ֥ נ ְ נוֹכּ Polel perf. 3 pl. ןוּכּ “(they) have established”.
Note the Dagesh Forte Dirimens in שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ; “when a consonant with sheva
is strengthened—to make the sheva more audible”. (GK 20h).
Note that שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ is not in construct state here (qamets under dalet, not
pataḥ).
b) II Samuel 1:9,10 (The Amalekite telling David how he killed Saul)
י ִ נ ֔ ֵ ת ְ ת ֣ ֹ מוּ Polel imperat. m.sg. + sf. 1 sg. תוּמ. “put me to death”.
וּה ֔ ֵ ת ְ ת ֣ ֹ מ ֲ א ַ ו Polel imperf. 1 sg. + sf. 3 m.sg. + vav conjunctive. תוּמ.
(although the meaning seems to be as if it were vav consec. “and I put him
100 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
to death”, i.e. vav + qamets, וּה ֵ ת ְ תֹ מ ֲ א ָ ו corresponding to דֹ מ ֱ ע ֶ א ָ ו earlier in
the verse).
c) Isaiah 44:26
ם ֽ ֵ מוֹק ֲ א Polel imperf. 1 sg. םוּק; “I will raise up”.
d) Psalm 23:3
ב֑ ֵ בוֹשְׁ י Polel imperf. 3 m.sg. בוּשׁ; “he restores, refreshes”.
e) Psalm 30:2
֣ ך ְ מ ִ מוֹר ֲ א Polel imperf. 1 sg. + sf. 2 m.sg. םוּר; “I will extol, exalt you”.
ה ָ ל ָ דּ “draw water” > Piel (only here): “You have drawn me up”.
f) Psalm 146:9
ד֑ ֵ דוֹעְ י; “he will restore, relieve”.דוּע Polel imperf. 3 m.sg.
Contrast Piel of this root in Psalm 119:61 (see above).
and see BDB p 728: דוּע= “return, go about, repeat, do again” ).
> Piel: = “surround”; Polel: = “restore, relieve”.
g) Psalm 147:6
ד֣ ֵ דוֹע ְ מ Polel participle m.sg. דוּע.
h) Song of Songs 2:7
ְ תּ וּ ֛ ר ְ רוֹ ֽ ע Polel imperf. 2 m.pl. רוּע; “you will rouse, incite”.
ה ָ לָ יּ ַ א n.f. hind, doe > pl. תוֹלָ יּ ַ א > cstr. תוֹלְ י ַ א
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 101
HIPHIL
Try to recognise Hiphil verbs
Study the following biblical verses.
PARSE and TRANSLATE all the HIPHIL verbs.
The student may consult the verb tables in any reliable Biblical Hebrew
grammar book. Explanatory notes are found at the end of the section.
1 Exodus 14:10
ה ֖ ֹע ְ ר ַ פוּ בי ֑ ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה ֩ וּא ְ שִׂ יּ ַ ו ל ֵ֨ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־יֽ ֵ נ ְ ב ם ֶ֜ הי ֵ ני ֵ ע־ת ֶ א ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו םִ י ֣ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ׀ ַ ע֣ ֵ סֹ נ
ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ם ֶ֗ הי ֙ וּא ְ רי ֽ ִ יּ ַ ו ד ֔ ֹ א ְ מ
And Pharoah drew near and the children of Israel lifted up their eyes and
behold the Egyptians were marching after them and they were very afraid.
2 Leviticus 8:13
ב ֨ ֵ ר ְ קַ יּ ַ ו ה ֜ ֶ שֹׁמ י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ן ֗ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א ם ֤ ֵ שׁ ִ בּ ְ לַ יּ ַ ו ֹ נ ֳ תּ ֻ כּ ֙ ת ַ ו ַ יּ ר ֤ ֹ גּ ְ ח ֙ ם ָ תֹ א ט ֔ ֵ נ ְ ב ַ א
שׁ ֥ ֹב ֲ חַ יּ ַ ו ם ֖ ֶ ה ָ ל תוֹ ֑ ע ָ בּ ְ ג ִ מ
And Moses brought near Aaron’s sons and he clothed them (with) tunics
and he girded them with girdles and he bound turbans on them.
3 Isaiah 6:7
ע֣ ַ גּ ַ יּ ַ ו י ֔ ִ פּ־ל ַ ע ר ֶ מא ֕ ֹיּ ַ ו ה֛ ֵ נּ ִ ה ע֥ ַ ג ָ נ ה֖ ֶ ז ךי ֑ ֶ ת ָ פ ְ שׂ־ל ַ ע ר ֣ ָ ס ְ ו ך ֔ ֶ נֹו ֲ ע ֖ ך ְ תא ָ טּ ַ ח ְ ו
׃ר ֽ ָ פּ ֻ כ ְ תּ
And he caused (it) (the burning coal) to touch my mouth and he said,
‘behold this has touched your lips, and your iniquity will depart and your sin
will be atoned for’.
102 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
4 Genesis 24:18 (Rebekkah to Eliezer, Abraham’s servant)
ר ֶ מא ֖ ֹתּ ַ ו ה ֣ ֵ ת ְ שׁ י֑ ִ נֹד ֲ א ר ֵ֗ ה ַ מ ְ תּ ַ ו ד ֶ ר ֧ ֹ תּ ַ ו הּ ֛ ָ דּ ַ כּ הּ ֖ ָ דָ י־ל ַ ע ׃וּה ֽ ֵ ק ְ שׁ ַ תּ ַ ו
And she said, ‘drink my Lord’ and she hastened and let down her pitcher on
her hand and she gave him to drink.
5 Exodus 1:20
ב ֶ טי֥ ֵ יּ ַ ו םי ֖ ִ הל ֱ א ת ֑ ֹד ְ לַּ י ְ מֽ ַ ל ב ֶ ר ֧ ִ יּ ַ ו ם֛ ָ ע ָ ה וּ ֖ מ ְ צ ַ עֽ ַ יּ ַ ו ׃ד ֽ ֹ א ְ מ
And G-d dealt well with the midwives and the people multiplied and grew
very mighty.
6 Leviticus 26:9
י ִ תי֣ ִ נ ָ פוּ ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ ל ֲ א י ֣ ִ תי ֵ ר ְ פ ִ ה ְ ו ם ֔ ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א י ֖ ִ תי ֵ בּ ְ ר ִ ה ְ ו ם֑ ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א ַ ו י ֥ ִ תֹ מי ִ ק ֲ ה י ֖ ִ תי ִ ר ְ בּ־ת ֶ א
׃םֽ ֶ כ ְ תּ ִ א
And I will turn to you and I will make you fruitful and multiply you and
establish My covenant with you.
7 Lamentations 2:5
ה֨ ָ י ָ ה י֤ ָ נֹד ֲ א ֙ בֵ יוֹא ְ כּ ע֣ ַ לּ ִ בּ ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ֙ ע ַ לּ ִ בּ ֔ ֶ תוֹנ ְ מ ְ ר ַ א־ל ָ כּ ָ הי ת ֖ ֵ ח ִ שׁ וי ֑ ָ ר ָ צ ְ ב ִ מ
֙ ב ֶ ר ֙ ֶ יּ ַ ו ה ֔ ָ דוּהְ י־ת ַ ב ְ בּ ה֖ ָ יּ ִ נ ֲ א ַ תּ ֲ א ַ ו הָ יּ ִ נ
The Lord was like an enemy, He has swallowed up Israel, He has swallowed
up all her palaces, He has destroyed his strongholds, and He has increased
in the daughter of Judah, mourning and moaning.


PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 103
8 Deuteronomy 9:14
ף ֶ ר ֤ ֶ ה ֙ י ִ נּ ֙ ֶ מּ ִ מ ם ֔ ֵ די ִ מ ְ שׁ ַ א ְ ו ה ֣ ֶ ח ְ מ ֶ א ְ ו ם ֔ ָ מ ְ שׁ־ת ֶ א ת ַ ח ֖ ַ תּ ִ מ םִ י ֑ ָ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה ֙ ה ֶ שׂ ֱ ע ֽ ֶ א ְ ו
֔ ך ְ תוֹ ֽ א םוּ ֥ צ ָ ע־יוֹג ְ ל ב ֖ ָ ר ָ ו ׃וּנּ ֽ ֶ מּ ִ מ
Let me alone that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under
Heaven and I will make you a nation mightier and more numerous than it.
9 Hosea 2:14
י ֗ ִ תֹ מּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו ֙ הּ ָ נ ְ פ ַ גּ הּ ֔ ָ ת ָ נ ֣ ֵ א ְ תוּ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה ֗ ָ ר ְ מ ָ א ה֥ ָ נ ְ ת ֶ א ֙ ה ָ מּ ֙ ֵ ה י ֔ ִ ל ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א וּנ ְ תֽ ָ נ י ֖ ִ ל־
י ֑ ָ ב ֲ ה ֽ ַ א ְ מ םי ֣ ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ ְ ו ר ַ ע֔ ַ י ְ ל ם ַ ת֖ ָ ל ָ כ ֲ א ַ ו ת֥ ַ יּ ַ ח ׃ה ֽ ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה
And I shall devastate her vines and her fig trees of which she said, ‘they are
my hire, which my lovers have given me’, and I shall make them into a
forest, and the beasts of the field will eat them.
10 Deuteronomy 2:31
ה ֵ֗ א ְ ר ֙ י ִ ת ֨ ל ִ ח ֽ ַ ה ת ֣ ֵ תּ ךי ֔ ֶ נ ָ פ ְ ל ֶ א ן ֖ ֹחי ִ ס־ת וֹ ֑ צ ְ ר ַ א־ת ֶ א ְ ו ל ֣ ֵ ח ָ ה שׁ ֔ ָ ר ת ֶ שׁ ֖ ֶ ר ָ ל
׃וֹ ֽ צ ְ ר ַ א־ת ֶ א
See, I have begun (to) give before you Sihon and his land; begin (to) take
possession, in order to inherit his land.
11 Numbers 30:16 (concerning vows)
ר ֥ ֵ פ ָ ה־ם ִ א ְ ו ר֛ ֵ פָ י ם ֖ ָ תֹ א י ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ֑ ע ְ מ ָ שׁ וֹ א ֖ ָ שׂ ָ נ ְ ו ׃הּֽ ָ נֹו ֲ ע־ת ֶ א
And if he will surely annul them after he has heard (them), then he shall
bear her iniquity.

104 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
12 Deuteronomy 26:6
וּע ֧ ֵ רָ יּ ַ ו וּנ ֛ ָ תֹ א םי ֖ ִ ר ְ צ ִ מּ ַ ה וּנוּ ֑ נּ ַ עְ י ַ ו וּ ֥ נ ְ תִּ יּ ַ ו וּני ֖ ֵ ל ָ ע ה ֥ ָ דֹב ֲ ע ׃ה ֽ ָ שׁ ָ ק
And the Egyptians maltreated us and afflicted us, and put hard labour on
us.
13 Deuteronomy 28:52 (vv 15-68: The Warnings)
ר ֨ ַ צ ֵ ה ְ ו ֜ ך ְ ל ךי ֗ ֶ ר ָ ע ְ שׁ־ל ָ כ ְ בּ ד֣ ַ ע ת ֶ ד ֤ ֶ ר ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ תֹ מֹח תוֹ ֣ הֹב ְ גּ ַ ה תוֹ ֔ ר ֻ צ ְ בּ ַ ה ְ ו
And He will cause you distress in all your gates until your high and fortified
walls come down.
14 Lamentations 3:2
י ֥ ִ תוֹא ג ֛ ַ ה ָ נ ך֖ ַ לֹיּ ַ ו ך ֶ שׁ ֥ ֹח ׃רוֹ ֽ א־אֹל ְ ו
Me, He has led and brought into darkness and not light.
15 Lamentations 3:5
׃ה ֽ ָ א ָ ל ְ תוּ שׁא ֥ ֹר ף ֖ ַ קַּ יּ ַ ו י ֛ ַ ל ָ ע ה֥ ָ נ ָ בּ
He has built against me and surrounded (me) with venom and hardship.
16 Lamentations 1:5
וּ ֨ י ָ ה ָ הי ֤ ֶ ר ָ צ ֙ שׁאֹר ְ ל ָ הי ֣ ֶ בְ יֹ א וּ ֔ ל ָ שׁ ה֥ ָ והְ י־י ֽ ִ כּ הּ֖ ָ גוֹה ל֣ ַ ע ָ הי ֑ ֶ ע ָ שׁ ְ פּ־בֹר ָ הי֛ ֶ ל ָ לוֹע
וּ ֥ כ ְ ל ָ ה י ֖ ִ ב ְ שׁ ׃ר ֽ ָ צ־י ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל
Her adversaries have become chief, her enemies are at ease, for the Lord
has caused her sorrow for her many sins, her children have gone into
captivity before the enemy.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 105
17 Hosea 2:13
֙ י ִ תּ ַ בּ ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו הּ ֔ ָ שׂוֹשׂ ְ מ־ל ָ כּ הּ֖ ָ גּ ַ ח הּ ֣ ָ שׁ ְ ד ָ ח הּ ֑ ָ תּ ַ בּ ַ שׁ ְ ו ל ֖ ֹכ ְ ו ֽ ָ ד ֲ עוֹמ ׃הּ
I will put an end to all her joy, her feast days, her new moons and her
Sabbaths, and all her appointed times.
18 Genesis 41:54
ף ֑ ֵ סוֹי ר ֣ ַ מ ָ א ר ֖ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ אוֹ ֔ ב ָ ל ֙ ב ָ ע ָ ר ָ ה י֤ ֵ נ ְ שׁ ע ַ ב ֣ ֶ שׁ ה ָ ני ֜ ֶ לּ ִ ח ְ תּ ַ ו
And the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said.
Explanatory notes for try to recognise Hiphil verbs
1 Exodus 14:10
בי ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה Hiphil perf. 3 m.sg. ברק. “He came near, made an
approach”.
Note the apparent intransitive sense of Hiphil here (see Use of Hiphil,
below).
2 Leviticus 8:13
ְ קַ יּ ַ ו ב ֵ ר Hiphil imperf. apoc. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. ברק.
“And he caused to come near”. See WHG p 114 b: “It is to be noted very
carefully that the Hiphil is the only part of the regular verb which has a
shortened form of the Imperfect, thus: ַ י ךי ִ ל ְ מ (Imperf.) is shortened to
ך ֵ ל ְ מַ י (Jussive); לי ִ דּ ְ ג ַ י to ל ֵ דּ ְ ג ַ י, and that the Waw Consecutive takes the
shortened form of the Imperfect when there is one, so that, e.g. ‘and he
made great’ is ל ֵ דּ ְ ג ַ יּ ַ ו (and not לי ִ דּ ְ ג ַ יּ ַ ו).”Hence, in our verse, Leviticus 8:13,
it is written ב ֵ ר ְ קַ יּ ַ ו and not בי ִ ר ְ קַ יּ ַ ו.
ם ֵ שׁ ִ בּ ְ לַ יּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.pl. + vav consec.
106 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“and he clothed them”. (lit. caused them to wear). Note that ם ֵ שׁ ִ בּ ְ לַ יּ ַ ו
is the equivalent of ְ לַ יּ ַ ו ם ָ תֹ א שׁ ֵ בּ .
ת ֶ נֹ תּ ֻ כּ n.f. = tunic > pl. תֹ נ ֳ תּ ֻ כּ
טֵ נ ְ ב ַ א n.m. = girdle; תוֹע ָ בּ ְ ג ִ מ n.f.pl. = head-gear, turban
3 Isaiah 6:7
עַ גּ ַ יּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. apoc. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. ע ַ ג ָ נ = “he touched”.
“and he caused to touch”. Longer form of Hiphil imperf. is ַ עי ִ גּ ַ י.
4 Genesis 24:18
ד ֶ רֹ תּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. apoc. 3 f.sg. + vav consec. ד ַ רָ י = “he came, went
down, descended”. “And she caused to come down, brought down, let
down”. The longer form of the Hiphil imperf. is די ִ רוֹי / די ִ רוֹתּ .
5 Exodus 1:20
ב ֶ טי ֵ יּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. apoc. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. בטי. “And he did
good to, dealt well with”. The longer form of the Hiphil imperf. is בי ִ טי ֵ י
which is a true pe-yod verb, as opposed to pe-yod verbs which were originally
pe-vav; see JM 75.
And see JM 76 a-d: “The verbs with primitive י as the first radical number
only seven—. The primitive י is maintained in all the forms.”
(they are: ןמי ללי ץקי בטי רשׁי קני שׁבי )
6 Leviticus 26:9
ְ פ ִ ה ְ ו י ִ תי ֵ ר Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. ה ָ ר ָ פּ = “bear fruit, be
fruitful”; > “and I will make (you) fruitful”.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 107
י ִ תי ֵ בּ ְ ר ִ ה ְ ו Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. ה ָ ב ָ ר = “be, become
much, many, great”; “and I will multiply, increase.”
י ִ תֹ מי ִ ק ֲ ה ַ ו Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. םוּק = “arise”; “and I will
cause to arise, establish”.
7 ב ֶ רֶ יּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. apoc. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. ה ָ ב ָ ר. “and he
made much, increased”. Longer form of Hiphil imperf. ה ֶ בּ ְ רַ י. This
pattern of shortened Hiphil imperfect is typical of lamed-hey verbs;
e.g. ן ֶ פֶ יּ ַ ו (Judges 15:4), ה ָ נ ָ פּ = “turn”;
ל ֶ ג ֶ יּ ַ ו (II Kings 17:6), ה ָ ל ָ גּ = “go into exile”
Note: ה ָ נ ָ א = mourn > הָ יּ ִ נ ֲ א n.f. = “mourning”; הָ יּ ִ נ ֲ א ַ תּ n.f. =
“mourning”.
ר ַ צ ָ בּ cut off, make inaccessible > ר ָ צ ְ ב ִ מ n.m. = “fortification, fortress,
stronghold”.
8 Deuteronomy 9:14
ף ֶ ר ֶ ה Hiphil imperative m.sg. shortened form; ה ָ פ ָ ר “let drop, let
alone”.
Longer form: ה ֵ פּ ְ ר ַ ה (II Kings 4:27); “leave (me) alone”.
ם ֵ די ִ מ ְ שׁ ַ א ְ ו Hiphil imperf. 1 c.sg. + sf. 3 m.pl. + vav conjunctive;
ד ַ מ ָ שׁ.“that I may annihilate them”.
9 Hosea 2:14
י ִ תֹ מּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. ם ֵ מ ָ שׁ = “be desolated”;
“and I shall devastate”.

108 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
10 Deuteronomy 2:31
ַ ה י ִ תל ִ ח Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. ל ַ ל ָ ח. “I have begun”.
ל ֵ ח ָ ה Hiphil imperative m.sg. ל ַ ל ָ ח; “begin”. (compare ב ַ ב ָ ס
ב ֵ ס ָ ה / י ִ בּ ֵ ס ָ ה ).
שׁ ָ ר is a pausal form of שׁ ֵ ר (Qal imperat. m.sg. שׁ ַ רָ י) “take possession of”.
11 Numbers 30:16 (concerning vows)
ר ֵ פָ י ר ֵ פ ָ ה Hiphil inf. abs. + Hiphil imperf. 3 m.sg. ררפ.
“he will surely break, make ineffectual, annul”.
12 Deuteronomy 26:6
וּע ֵ רָ יּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav consec. עער. “and they did hurt,
evil”.
13 Deuteronomy 28:52
ר ַ צ ֵ ה ְ ו Hiphil perf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. ר ַ ר ָ צ (I) = “bind, tie up, be
restricted, narrow”. “and he will make narrow (for you), cause distress”.
Note also: ת ֶ ד ֶ ר ד ַ ע lit. “until the coming down of”, ד ַ ע + inf. cstr. Qal,
דרי.
14 Lamentations 3:2
ך ַ לֹיּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. apoc. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. ך ַ ל ָ ה. “and he has led,
brought”. Longer form of Hiphil imperf. ךי ִ לוֹי.
15 Lamentations 3:5
ף ַ קַּ יּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. apoc. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. ף ַ קָ נ (II) = “go
around”. “and he has surrounded”. Longer form of Hiphil imperf. ףי ִ קַּ י.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 109
Note also: שׁאֹר n.m. / שׁוֹר n.m. = venom (poisonous herb);
ה ָ א ָ ל = be weary > ה ָ א ָ ל ְ תּ n.f. = weariness, hardship
16 Lamentations 1:5
הּ ָ גוֹה Hiphil perf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 f.sg. ה ָ ג ָ י = “suffer” (not in Qal); “he
has caused her grief, sorrow”. Note also: ה ָ ל ָ שׁ / ו ֵ ל ָ שׁ = “be quiet, at ease”.
17 Hosea 2:13
י ִ תּ ַ בּ ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. ת ַ ב ָ שׁ. “and I will cause to
cease”. Note that the final root letter, tav, has assimilated into the tav of the
suffix; י ִ תּ ְ ת ַ בּ ְ שׁ ִ ה > י ִ תּ ַ בּ ְ שׁ ִ ה.
18 Genesis 41:54
ה ָ ני ֶ לּ ִ ח ְ תּ ַ ו Hiphil imperf. 3 f.pl. + vav consec. ללח. “and (they)
began”.
Uses of Hiphil
The following summary of the uses of Hiphil is based on the analyses of
modern grammarians (see Bibliography).
I: Causative of Qal
ד ַ ק ָ פּ oversee > די ִ ק ְ פ ִ ה make overseer, entrust to
שׁ ַ ד ָ ק be holy > ְ ק ִ ה שׁי ִ דּ sanctify
e.g. II Kings 25:23:
֩ וּע ְ מ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו י ֨ ֵ ר ָ שׂ־ל ָ כ םי ֜ ִ לָ י ֲ ח ַ ה ה ָ מּ֣ ֵ ה םי ֗ ִ שׁ ָ נ ֲ א ָ ה ְ ו די ֤ ִ ק ְ פ ִ ה־י ֽ ִ כּ ֙ ל ֶ ב ָ בּ־ך ֶ ל ֽ ֶ מ
וּה֔ ָ י ְ ל ַ ד ְ גּ־ת ֶ א
110 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“All the officers of the army, they and their men, heard that the king of
Babylon had appointed Gedaliah”.
Verbs which are intransitive in Qal, simply become transitive in Hiphil.
א ָ צָ י he went out; אי ִ צוֹה he took out.
If the Qal already has a transitive meaning, e.g. ה ָ א ָ ר = “he saw”, ל ַ כ ָ א =
“he ate”, then the Hiphil takes two accusatives:
e.g. Exodus 16:32:
ן ַ ע ֣ ַ מ ְ ל וּ ֣ א ְ רִ י ם ֶ ח ֗ ֶ לּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ִ תּ ְ ל֤ ַ כ ֱ א ֶ ה ֙ ם ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א ר ָ֔ בּ ְ ד ִ מּ ַ בּ
“So that they may see the food that I fed you (caused you to eat) in the
desert”.
e.g. Exodus 33:18:
י ִ נ ֥ ֵ א ְ ר ַ ה א֖ ָ נ ך ֽ ֶ דֹב ְ כּ־ת ֶ א ׃
“Please show me (cause me to see) Your glory”.
II: Declarative/estimative
קי ִ דּ ְ צ ִ ה declare one to be קי ִ דּ ַ צ, in the right; acquit
ַ עי ִ שׁ ְ ר ִ ה declare one to be ע ָ שׁ ָ ר, in the wrong; condemn
ל ַ ק ֵ ה consider someone insignificant, despise.
(ל ַ ל ָ ק = be slight, swift, trifling)
e.g. Deuteronomy 25:1:
֙ וּקי ֙ ִ דּ ְ צ ִ ה ְ ו קי ֔ ִ דּ ַ צּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וּעי ֖ ִ שׁ ְ ר ִ ה ְ ו ׃ע ֽ ָ שׁ ָ ר ָ ה־ת ֶ א
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 111
“They will declare the innocent in the right and declare the guilty in the
wrong”
III: Inwardly transitive/intensive
The Hiphil is very frequently used of actions or states which we express by
an intransitive verb.
קי ִ ז ֱ ח ֶ ה “he was strong” ןי ִ מ ֱ א ֶ ה “he trusted”
“But we must not say that the Hiphil is intransitive or that it stands for the
Qal: the transitive idea is genuinely present to Semitic feeling; e.g. קי ִ ז ֱ ח ֶ ה to
develop strength, שׁי ִ ר ֱ ח ֶ ה to keep silence” (Davidson, 1932)
e.g. Genesis 34:5: ׃ם ֽ ָ אֹבּ־ד ַ ע ב ֖ ֹק ֲ עַ י שׁ ֥ ִ ר ֱ ח ֶ ה ְ ו
“Jacob remained silent until they came”.
Gesenius (GK 53d, p 145) distinguishes the following categories:
a): Hiphil stems which express the obtaining or receiving of a concrete or
abstract quality.
ךי ִ ר ֲ א ַ ה ְ ל to be long (acquire length)
ַ חי ִ ל ְ צ ַ ה ְ ל to have success
םי ִ ד ֲ א ַ ה ְ ל to become red (Isaiah 1:18)
e.g. I Kings 8:8: ֙ שׁ ֶ ד ֨ ֹקּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ םי ֤ ִ דּ ַ בּ ַ ה י ֨ ֵ שׁא ָ ר ֩ וּא ָ רֵ יּ ַ ו ֒ םי ִ דּ ַ בּ ַ ה ֮ וּכ ִ ר ֲ אַ יַּ ֽ ו
“The poles projected (were long) so that the ends of the poles were visible
from the sanctuary”.
e.g. Genesis 39:2: ַ חי ֑ ִ ל ְ צ ַ מ שׁי ֣ ִ א י ֖ ִ הְ י ַ ו ף ֵ֔ סוֹי־ת ֶ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י י ֤ ִ הְ י ַ ו
“The Lord was with Joseph and he became a successful man”.
112 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
(The root חלצ in the Hiphil is also found with a transitive meaning.
e.g. Genesis 24:21).
b): Stems which express in Hiphil the entering into a certain condition
and being in that condition.
ְ ק ַ ה ְ ל תוֹשׁ to become hard, difficult
שׁי ִ בוֹה ְ ל to become dry
e.g. Genesis 35:17
ה֥ ֶ ז־ם ַ ג־י ֽ ִ כּ י ִ֔ א ְ רי ֣ ִ תּ־ל ַ א ֙ ת ֶ ד֙ ֶ לַּ י ְ מ ַ ה הּ֤ ָ ל ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹתּ ַ ו הּ ֑ ָ תּ ְ ד ִ ל ְ בּ הּ ֖ ָ תֹשׁ ְ ק ַ ה ְ ב י ֥ ִ הְ י ַ ו
׃ן ֽ ֵ בּ ך֖ ָ ל
“While she was labouring (הּ ֖ ָ תֹשׁ ְ ק ַ ה ְ ב; השׁק; Hiphil inf. cstr. + sf.) in her
delivery, the midwife said to her, ‘Do not fear, for this one, too, is a son for
you.’”
e.g. Joel 1:10:
׃ר ֽ ָ ה ְ צִ י ל֥ ַ ל ְ מ ֻ א שׁוֹ ֖ רי ִ תּ שׁי ֥ ִ בוֹה ן ֔ ָ ג ָ דּ ד֣ ַ דּ ֻ שׁ י ִ֚ כּ
“For the grain has been robbed, the wine dried up, and the oil devastated”.
The Hiphil forms of some verbs of motion are a variety of this class:
בי ִ ר ְ ק ַ ה ְ ל to come near; קי ִ ח ְ ר ַ ה ְ ל to withdraw far off
(also used as causatives)
e.g. Exodus 14:10:
בי ֑ ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה ה ֖ ֹע ְ ר ַ פוּ
“And Pharoah drew near”
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 113
e.g. Leviticus 1:13:
֙ לֹכּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ן ֤ ֵ הֹכּ ַ ה בי ֨ ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה ְ ו
“The priest shall offer everything”
c): Stems which express action in some particular direction.
בי ִ טי ֵ ה ְ ל to act well, to do good
תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ ה ְ ל to act corruptly
e.g. Isaiah 1:4:
יוֹ ֣ ה ֣ גּ יוֹ א ֵ֗ טֹח ם ַ֚ ע ד ֶ ב֣ ֶ כּ ן ֔ ֹו ָ ע ע ַ ר ֣ ֶ ז םי ֔ ִ ע ֵ ר ְ מ םי ֖ ִ נ ָ בּ םי ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ
“Woe! They are a sinful nation, a people heavy with iniquity, seed of
evildoers, corrupt children”.
The root תחשׁ is also found in Hiphil with a causative sense. e.g. Genesis
19:13: ֽ ִ כּ ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה םוֹ ֖ ק ָ מּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וּנ ְ ח ֔ ַ נ ֲ א םי ֣ ִ ת ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ־י “For we are destroying this
place”.
d): Denominatives
(See GK 53g: he regards these Hiphils as causative since they “express the
bringing out, the producing of a thing”).
שׁי ִ ר ְ שׁ ִ ה grow roots (Job 5:3); ןי ִ מי ֵ ה go to the right;
לי ִ א ְ מ ְ שׂ ִ ה go to the left
e.g. Genesis 13:9:
א ֤ ֹל ֲ ה ֙ ץ ֶ ר ֙ ָ א ָ ה־ל ָ כ ךי ֔ ֶ נ ָ פ ְ ל ד ֶ ר ֥ ָ פּ ִ ה א֖ ָ נ י ֑ ָ ל ָ ע ֵ מ לא ֣ ֹמ ְ שּׂ ַ ה־ם ִ א ה ָ נ ֔ ִ מי ֵ א ְ ו
ןי ֖ ִ מָ יּ ַ ה־ם ִ א ְ ו ׃ה ָ לי ֽ ִ א ְ מ ְ שׂ ַ א ְ ו
114 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left,
then I will go to the right and if to the right, I will go to the left”.
(לאֹמ ְ שׂ n.m. = the left; ןי ִ מָ י n.f. = right hand)
e.g. Jeremiah 4:31:
ִ כּ ְ ב ַ מ ְ כּ ֙ ה ָ ר ָ צ י ִ תּ ְ ע ֗ ַ מ ָ שׁ ה ֜ ָ לוֹח ְ כּ לוֹ ֨ ק ֩ י ִ כּ ה ֔ ָ רי
“For I have heard an outcry like that of a woman in labour, in pain like a
woman giving birth for the first time”.
(ה ָ רי ִ כּ ְ ב ַ מ Hiphil participle f.sg. רכב. רוֹכ ְ בּ n.m. first-born).
Exercise
Study the following extract from the Book of Numbers (17:6-15) and
answer the following questions:
1 Parse and translate all the Niphal verbs.
2 Parse and translate all the Hiphil verbs.
6 וּנ ֜ לִ יּ ַ ו ת ֤ ַ ד ֲ ע־ל ָ כּ ֙ ל ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־יֽ ֵ נ ְ בּ ת ֔ ָ ר ֳ ח ָ מּ ֽ ִ מ ה ֥ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ַ ע ן ֖ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א־ל ֽ ַ ע ְ ו ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל
֥ ֶ תּ ַ א ם ם ֖ ֶ תּ ִ מ ֲ ה ם ֥ ַ ע־ת ֶ א ׃הֽ ָ והְ י 7 י ִ֗ הְ י ַ ו ל ֤ ֵ ה ָ קּ ִ ה ְ בּ ֙ ה ָ ד ֵ ע ֽ ָ ה ה ֣ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ַ ע
ן ֔ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א־ל ֽ ַ ע ְ ו ֙ וּנ ְ פִ יּ ַ ו ל ֶ ה ֣ ֹ א־ל ֶ א ד ֔ ֵ עוֹמ ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו וּה ֖ ָ סּ ִ כ ן ֑ ָ נ ָ ע ֶ ה א ֖ ָ רֵ יּ ַ ו דוֹ ֥ ב ְ כּ ׃הֽ ָ והְ י
8 א ֤ ֹבָ יּ ַ ו ֙ ה ֶ שֹׁמ ן ֔ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א ְ ו י֖ ֵ נ ְ פּ־ל ֶ א ל ֶ ה ֥ ֹ א ׃דֽ ֵ עוֹמ פ
9 ר ֥ ֵ בּ ַ דְ י ַ ו ה֖ ָ והְ י ה ֥ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ׃ר ֽ ֹ מא ֵ לּ 10 וּמּ ֗ ֹר ֵ ה ֙ ךוֹתּ ִ מ ה֣ ָ ד ֵ ע ָ ה תא ֔ ֹזּ ַ ה
ה֥ ֶ לּ ַ כ ֲ א ַ ו ם ֖ ָ תֹ א עַ ג ֑ ָ ר ְ כּ וּ ֖ ל ְ פִּ יּ ֽ ַ ו ׃ם ֽ ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ פּ־ל ַ ע 11 ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו ה ֜ ֶ שֹׁמ ן ֗ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א־ל ֽ ֶ א ח ֣ ַ ק
ה ָ תּ ְ ח ַ מּ ֠ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ָ הי ֨ ֶ ל ָ ע־ן ֶ ת ְ ו שׁ ֵ֜ א ל֤ ַ ע ֵ מ ׀ ַ ח ֙ ֵ בּ ְ ז ִ מּ ַ ה םי ֣ ִ שׂ ְ ו ת ֶ ר ֔ ֹט ְ ק ך֧ ֵ לוֹה ְ ו
ה ֛ ָ ר ֵ ה ְ מ ה ֖ ָ ד ֵ ע ָ ה־ל ֶ א ר֣ ֵ פּ ַ כ ְ ו ם ֑ ֶ הי ֵ ל ֲ ע א ֥ ָ צָ י־י ֽ ִ כּ ף ֶ צ ֛ ֶ קּ ַ ה י֥ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ לּ ִ מ ה֖ ָ והְ י ל ֥ ֵ ח ֵ ה
׃ף ֶ ג ֽ ָ נּ ַ ה 12 ח ֨ ַ קִּ יּ ַ ו ן ֜ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ׀ ר֣ ֶ בּ ִ דּ ה ֗ ֶ שֹׁמ ֙ ץ ָ ר ֙ ָ יּ ַ ו ךוֹ ֣ תּ־ל ֶ א ל ָ֔ ה ָ קּ ַ ה ה֛ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 115
ל ֥ ֵ ח ֵ ה ף ֶ ג ֖ ֶ נּ ַ ה ם֑ ָ ע ָ בּ ֙ ן ֵ תִּ יּ ַ ו ת ֶ ר ֔ ֹט ְ קּ ַ ה־ת ֽ ֶ א ֖ ֵ פּ ַ כְ י ַ ו ר ׃ם ֽ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ַ ע 13 ד ֥ ֹ מ ֲ עַ יּ ַ ו
םי ֖ ִ ת ֵ מּ ַ ה־ןי ֽ ֵ בּ ןי ֣ ֵ בוּ םי֑ ִ יּ ַ ח ַ ֽ ה ר֖ ַ צ ָ ע ֵ תּ ַ ו ׃ה ֽ ָ פ ֵ גּ ַ מּ ַ ה 14 וּ ֗ י ְ הִ יּ ַ ו ֙ םי ִ ת ֵ מּ ַ ה ה ֔ ָ פ ֵ גּ ַ מּ ַ בּ
ה ֥ ָ ע ָ בּ ְ ר ַ א ר ֛ ָ שׂ ָ ע ף ֶ ל ֖ ֶ א ע֣ ַ ב ְ שׁוּ תוֹ ֑ א ֵ מ ד ֥ ַ ב ְ לּ ִ מ םי ֖ ִ ת ֵ מּ ַ ה ׃ח ַ ר ֽ ֹק־ר ַ ב ְ דּ־ל ַ ע
15 ב ָ שׁ֤ ָ יּ ַ ו ֙ ןֹר ֲ ה ַ א ה ֔ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ־ל ֶ א ח ַ ת֖ ֶ פּ ל ֶ ה ֣ ֹ א ד֑ ֵ עוֹמ ה ֖ ָ פ ֵ גּ ַ מּ ַ ה ְ ו ׃ה ָ ר ֽ ָ צ ֱ עֶ נ פ
Key to exercise
Niphal verbs:
וּנ ֜ לִ יּ ַ ו ןוּל; imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav consec. “and they murmured”.
ל ֤ ֵ ה ָ קּ ִ ה ְ בּ להק; inf. cstr. + prep. בּ “in (its) being gathered”.
֖ ָ רֵ יּ ַ ו א האר; apoc. imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec. “and (it) appeared”.
וּמּ ֗ ֹר ֵ ה םֹ מ ָ ר; imperat. m.pl. “be lifted up”.
ר֖ ַ צ ָ ע ֵ תּ ַ ו רצע; imperf. 3 f.sg. + vav consec. “and it was restrained”.
ה ָ ר ֽ ָ צ ֱ עֶ נ רצע; perf. 3 f.sg. pausal; “it was restrained”.
Hiphil verbs:
ם ֖ ֶ תּ ִ מ ֲ ה תוּמ; perf. 2 m.pl. “you have killed”.
ך֧ ֵ לוֹה ְ ו ךלה; imperat. m.sg. “take” (lit. “cause to go”).
ל ֥ ֵ ח ֵ ה ללח; perf. 3 m.sg. “it has begun”.
Views of medieval scholars on use of Hiphil
This section presents the views of medieval scholars on the uses of the Hi-
phil conjugation. Their comments are presented in the original rabbinic
Hebrew, together with translation and explanation. A glossary of some of
the Hebrew grammatical terms used by these scholars is found at the end of
the section, as well as brief biographical sketches of these scholars. Students
116 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
should study the biblical verses and compare the views of the medieval
scholars with the views in modern grammar books.
1 Genesis 12:11
י ִ֕ הְ י ַ ו ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ בי ֖ ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה אוֹ ֣ ב ָ ל ה ָ מְ י ֑ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ ֙ ר ֶ מא ֙ ֹיּ ַ ו י ֣ ַ ר ָ שׂ־ל ֶ א וֹ ֔ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א א֣ ָ נ־ה ֵ נּ ִ ה
י ִ תּ ְ ע ֔ ַ דָ י י ֛ ִ כּ ה ֥ ָ שּׁ ִ א ה ֖ ֶ א ְ ר ַ מ־ת ַ פְ י ׃ ְ תּ ֽ ָ א
“And it was that when he came near to entering Egypt, he said to Sarai, his
wife, ‘Behold now, I know that you are a beautiful woman’”.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on בי ֖ ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה
וּה ֵ נ ֲ ח ַ מ וא אוה םי ִ ל ָ ע ְ פּ ַ ה ֵ מ םי ִ ד ְ מוֹע ָ ה יכ ואצמי םילעפ וּא ְ צֵ יּ ֶ שׁ
וּד ְ מ ַ עַ י ְ ו
Translation of Ibn Ezra
He brought near. i.e. his camp, or (translating as ‘he came near’) it is one of
the intransitive verbs, for some verbs are both transitive and intransitive.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra suggests that the Hiphil perf. 3 m.sg. form בי ֖ ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה could have
either a transitive or an intransitive sense in this verse. If it has a transitive
sense, then the reader must ‘supply’ the direct object, and we understand
the verse as if it said, וּה ֵ נ ֲ ח ַ מ בי ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה “he brought near his camp”, even
though the word וּה ֵ נ ֲ ח ַ מ is not actually written in the biblical text. Alterna-
tively, says Ibn Ezra, בי ֖ ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה in this verse could have an intransitive sense
and mean “he drew near”. Note Ibn Ezra’s terms for “transitive verb”
(א ֵ צוֹי ל ַ עוֹפּ) and “intransitive verb” (ד ֵ מוֹע ל ַ עוֹפּ). (compare GK 53d, p
145, on “inwardly transitive” or “intensive” Hiphils).

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 117
2 Genesis 12:8
ק ֨ ֵ תּ ְ עַ יּ ַ ו ם ֜ ָ שּׁ ִ מ ה ָ ר ָ֗ ה ָ ה ם ֶ ד ֛ ֶ קּ ִ מ ל ֖ ֵ א־תי ֽ ֵ ב ְ ל ט֣ ֵ יּ ַ ו ה ֑ ל ֳ ה ָ א ל ֤ ֵ א־תי ֽ ֵ בּ ָ יּ ִ מ ֙ ם י ֣ ַ ע ָ ה ְ ו
ם ֶ ד ֶ֔ קּ ִ מ ם ֤ ָ שׁ־ן ֶ בֽ ִ יּ ַ ו ַ ח ֙ ֵ בּ ְ ז ִ מ ה ָ֔ והי ַ ֽ ל א ֖ ָ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו ם ֥ ֵ שׁ ְ בּ ׃הֽ ָ והְ י
“He moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel and pitched his tent;
Bethel was to the west and the Ai to the east. He built there an altar to the
Lord and He called in the name of the Lord”.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ק ֨ ֵ תּ ְ עַ יּ ַ ו
ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ֵ מ ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ף ָ סוֹנּ ַ ה אוהו ל ַ עוֹפּ א ֵ צֹי יכ ) בויא חי ד ( רוּ ֗ צ־ק ַ תּ ְ עֶ י ְ ו
וֹ ֽ מֹק ְ מּ ִ מ וֹל ֳ ה ָ א לוּע ָ פּ ַ ה ְ ו ד ֵ מוֹע :
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The word ק ֨ ֵ תּ ְ עַ יּ ַ ו (Hiphil apoc. imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav consec.) (ק ֵ ת ָ ע =
move, proceed, advance) is Hiphil and transitive because the Qal imperf.
form ק ַ תּ ְ עֶ י ְ ו in Job 18:4 is intransitive (“shall the rock be removed out of
its place”) and the direct object of ק ֨ ֵ תּ ְ עַ יּ ַ ו is “his tent”, even though this
word is not actually written in the biblical verse.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra explains that the Hiphil form ק ֨ ֵ תּ ְ עַ יּ ַ ו is transitive and that the
implied direct object is “his tent”. Hence, the verse should be translated:
“He removed his tent from there to the mountain east of Bethel—.”
However, the word “his tent” (וֹל ֳ ה ָ א) is not actually written in the biblical
text. Ibn Ezra bases his opinion on the occurrence of the root קתע in the
Qal in Job 18:4, where it has an intransitive meaning. Note Ibn Ezra’s term
for the Hiphil: ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה וֹנּ ַ ה ף ָ ס (lit. “the additional heavy/intensive
conjugation”). His term for the Piel is “the heavy conjugation”, ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה
ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה. Note also Ibn Ezra’s terminology for “direct object” – לוּע ָ פּ ַ ה.
118 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
3 Genesis 37:23:
י ִ֕ הְ יַ ֽ ו א ֥ ָ בּ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ ֽ כּ ף ֖ ֵ סוֹי וי ֑ ָ ח ֶ א־ל ֶ א וּטי ֤ ִ שׁ ְ פַ יּ ַ ו ֙ ף ֵ סוֹי־ת ֶ א וֹ ֔ תּ ְ נ ָ תּ ֻ כּ־ת ֶ א
ת ֶ נ ֥ ֹ ת ְ כּ־ת ֶ א םי ֖ ִ סּ ַ פּ ַ ה ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ׃וי ֽ ָ ל ָ ע
“And it was when Joseph came to his brothers that they stripped Joseph of
his tunic, the striped tunic that was on him”.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on וּטי ֤ ִ שׁ ְ פַ יּ ַ ו
ל ַ עוֹפּ א ֵ צוֹי י ֵ נ ְ שׁ ִ ל םי ִ לוּע ְ פּ וּר ְ מ ָ א ֶ שׁ וֹל וּטי ִ שׁ ְ פַ יּ ֶ שׁ הּ ָ תוֹא וֹמ ְ צ ַ ע ְ בּ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
“And they stripped”. A transitive verb which takes two direct objects, for
they told him to take it off by himself.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra explains that the Hiphil verb וּטי ֤ ִ שׁ ְ פַ יּ ַ ו (imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav
consec. טשׁפ) takes two direct objects in this verse, i.e. “Joseph” and “his
tunic” (both marked by ת ֶ א - ). This is due to the fact that the verb ט ַ שׁ ָ פּ in
the Qal is already transitive; see:
Leviticus 6:4
: םי ֑ ִ ר ֵ ח ֲ א םי ֣ ִ ד ָ ג ְ בּ שׁ ֖ ַ ב ָ ל ְ ו וי ֔ ָ דָ ג ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ֙ ט ַ שׁ ָ פוּ
“He shall take off his clothes and put on other clothes”.
4 Genesis 42:6
ֵ֗ סוֹי ְ ו ף אוּ ֤ ה טי ֣ ִ לּ ַ שּׁ ַ ה ץ ֶ ר ָ֔ א ָ ה־ל ַ ע אוּ ֥ ה רי ֖ ִ בּ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ַ ה ם֣ ַ ע־ל ָ כ ְ ל ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 119
“Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the grain-seller for all the peo-
ple of the land”.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on רי ֖ ִ בּ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ַ ה
ת ַ ר ְ ז ִ גּ ִ מ ר ֶ ב ֶ שׁ ע ַ ט ְ ו וֹמ ר ֵ כוֹמ אוהו ל ַ עוֹפּ א ֵ צוֹי י ֵ נ ְ שׁ ִ ל םי ִ לוּע ְ פּ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The word רי ֖ ִ בּ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ַ ה (Hiphil participle, m.sg. + definite article) is from the
root רבשׁ and means “sell”. It is a transitive verb, taking two direct objects
(accusatives).
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra connects רי ֖ ִ בּ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ַ ה with the noun ר ֶ ב ֶ שׁ = “corn, grain” (see Gen
42:1, 43:2 etc) and the denominative verb ר ַ ב ָ שׁ which, in the Qal, means
“buy grain” (BDB p 991). ר ַ ב ָ שׁ in the Qal is transitive; see Gen 43:2:
׃ל ֶ כ ֽ ֹ א־ט ַ ע ְ מ וּנ ֥ ָ ל־וּר ְ ב ִ שׁ = “buy us a little food”, and accordingly, Ibn Ezra
concludes that in the Hiphil, this verb takes two accusatives. This is seen
clearly in Deuteronomy 2:28: ֙ י ִ נ ֙ ֵ ר ִ בּ ְ שׁ ַ תּ ף ֶ ס֤ ֶ כּ ַ בּ ל ֶ כ ֣ ֹ א “you shall sell me food
for money”, where the suffix on the Hiphil imperfect (י ִ נ ֙ ֵ ר ִ בּ ְ שׁ ַ תּ) constitutes
one direct object, and the noun ל ֶ כ ֣ ֹ א (“food”) is the second direct object.
In Gen 42:6, the reader must “assume” a second direct object to be inher-
ent in the Hiphil participle, רי ֖ ִ בּ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ַ ה. i.e. “Joseph was the one selling
( ַ מּ ַ ה רי ֖ ִ בּ ְ שׁ ) grain (ר ֶ ב ֶ שׁ) to all the people of the land”. However, the noun
“grain” is not actually written in the biblical text.
5 Exodus 16:7
ר ֶ ק ֗ ֹבוּ ֙ ם ֶ תי ִ א ְ רוּ דוֹ ֣ ב ְ כּ־ת ֶ א ה ָ֔ והְ י וֹ ֥ ע ְ מ ָ שׁ ְ בּ ם֖ ֶ כי ֵ תֹ נּ ֻ ל ְ תּ־ת ֶ א ה֑ ָ והְ י־ל ַ ע
וּנ ְ ח֣ ַ נ ְ ו ה ֔ ָ מ י ֥ ִ כּ לּ ַ ת וּנוֹ ] וּני ֖ ִ לּ ַ ת [ ׃וּני ֽ ֵ ל ָ ע
120 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, as He hears your
complaints against the Lord. Who are we that you cause others to complain
about us?”
Comment of Rashi on וּנוֹלּ ַ ת ] וּני ֖ ִ לּ ַ ת [
ְ ר ַ תּ ֶ שׁ וּמי ִ ע וּני ֵ ל ָ ע תא לכה , תא םכינב םכישנו םכיתונבו ב ֶ ר ֵ עו ב ַ ר .
ל ַ עו י ִ ח ְ ר ָ כּ ינא קוּק ָ ז שׁ ֵ ר ָ פ ְ ל וּני ִ לּ ַ ת ןושלב וּלי ִ ע ְ פ ַ תּ , י ֵ נ ְ פּ ִ מ וֹתוּשׁ ְ ג ַ דּ
וֹתי ָ י ִ ר ְ קוּ .
Translation of Rashi
That you make everyone murmur against us, your sons and your wives and
your daughters and the mixed multitude. I am forced to explain וּני ִ לּ ַ ת in
the sense of “you make people do something” (i.e. Hiphil) because of the
lamed having a dagesh and because of the Keri (with yod, whereas the Ketiv has
vav – ונולת, which could be read as וּנוֹלּ ִ תּ, as a Niphal imperfect).
Explanation of Rashi
One might have translated the verse as “and what are we that you should
complain against us”, but that meaning would presuppose the Ketiv, ונולת,
which could be read as a Niphal imperf. וּנוֹלּ ִ תּ “you complain”. However,
Rashi feels compelled to follow the Keri, which can only be read as a Hiphil
וּני ִ לּ ַ תּ, which must then have a causative sense, and this makes it necessary
to supply the direct object, which Rashi does – “your sons and your wives
and your daughters and the mixed multitude”.
For the root ןוּל (II), see BDB p 534. ןוּל (I) means “lodge, pass the night”,
but ןוּל (II) means “murmur” and occurs only in Niphal and Hiphil in:
Exodus 15, 16, 17; Numbers 14, 16, 17 and Joshua 9:18.

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 121
6 Numbers 17:20
ה֗ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו ָ ה שׁי ֛ ִ א ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א וֹ ֖ בּ־ר ַ ח ְ ב ֶ א וּה ֣ ֵ טּ ַ מ ח ֑ ָ ר ְ פִ י י ֣ ִ תֹכּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו י ֗ ַ ל ָ ע ֽ ֵ מ ֙ תוֹנּ ֻ ל ְ תּ־ת ֶ א
י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ר ֛ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ֥ ֵ ה ם֖ ִ ני ִ לּ ַ מ ׃םֽ ֶ כי ֵ ל ֲ ע
“The man whom I will choose – his staff shall blossom. I will rid Myself of
the complaints of the children of Israel, which they complain against you”.
Ibn Ezra’s comments on י ֣ ִ תֹכּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו (Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. ךכשׁ)
י ֵ ל ֳ ע ָ פּ ִ מ ל ֶ פ ֶ כּ ַ ה , וֹמ ְ כּ ) לאקזחי בכ וט ( י ִ תֹ מּ ִ ת ֲ ה ַ ו ך ֵ ת ָ א ְ מ ֻ ט ך ֵ מּ ִ מ :
ת ַ ר ְ ז ִ גּ ִ מ ) רתסא ז י ( ת ַ מ ֲ ח ַ ו ך ֶ ל ֶ מּ ַ ה ה ָ כ ָ כ ָ שׁ : ַ טו ם ַ ע י ֣ ִ תֹכּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו , ךרדכ ינב
םדא אוצמל החונמ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
This is a geminate verb (double ‘ayin), like י ִ תֹ מּ ִ ת ֲ ה ַ ו (םמת Hiphil) in
Ezekiel 22:15: “and I will consume your filth out of you”, from the same
root as ה ָ כ ָ כ ָ שׁ in Esther 7:10: “and the anger of the king abated”. The
meaning of י ֣ ִ תֹכּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו “and I will cause to abate, decrease; allay” is
anthropomorphic, “to find rest”.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra points out that the root of י ֣ ִ תֹכּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו is geminate, ךכשׁ, like the
root of י ִ תֹ מּ ִ ת ֲ ה ַ ו , םמת. He also explains the meaning by referring to
Esther 7:10, where the Qal root, ךכשׁ, means “abate, decrease”. Accord-
ingly, the Hiphil perf. + vav consec. י ֣ ִ תֹכּ ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ו has a causative meaning, “I
will cause to abate”. Hence, G-d is stating that He will “rid Himself” of the
complaints of the Israelites, which Ibn Ezra suggests is an anthropomor-
phic statement, for G-d does not need to “rid Himself” in a literal sense.

122 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
7 Deuteronomy 4:31
י ֣ ִ כּ ל ֤ ֵ א ֙ םוּח ַ ר ה֣ ָ והְ י ךי ֶ֔ הל ֱ א א ֥ ֹל ֖ ך ְ פּ ְ רַ י א ֣ ֹל ְ ו ך ֑ ֶ תי ִ ח ְ שַׁ י א ֤ ֹל ְ ו ֙ ח ַ כּ ְ שִׁ י
תי ֣ ִ ר ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ךי ֔ ֶ תֹב ֲ א ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ע֖ ַ בּ ְ שִׁ נ ׃ם ֽ ֶ ה ָ ל
“For the Lord your G-d is a merciful G-d; He will not forsake you, nor ruin
you, nor forget the covenant of your forefathers that He swore to them”.
Comment of Rashi on א ֥ ֹל ֖ ך ְ פּ ְ רַ י
קי ִ ז ֲ ח ַ ה ְ לּ ִ מ ך ְ בּ וי ָ דָ י ְ בּ , ןושלו א ֥ ֹל ֖ ך ְ פּ ְ רַ י אֹל לי ִ ע ְ פַ י אוה , אל ן ֵ תִּ י ך ְ ל
ןויפר .
Translation of Rashi
֖ ך ְ פּ ְ רַ י א ֥ ֹל (means) He will not let loose of you from keeping hold of you in
His hands. ֖ ך ְ פּ ְ רַ י is a Hiphil (i.e. with a causative meaning); He will not give
you any looseness.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that ֖ ך ְ פּ ְ רַ י is a Hiphil verb with a causative meaning. ה ָ פ ָ ר
(Qal) = “sink, relax”; in the Hiphil, the meaning is “let drop, abandon, for-
sake”. ֖ ך ְ פּ ְ רַ י is Hiphil imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 2 m.sg. equivalent to: ה ֶ פּ ְ רַ י
ך ְ תֹ א.
Note that there is another Hiphil verb in this verse: ך ֑ ֶ תי ִ ח ְ שַׁ י א ֣ ֹל ְ ו (root
תחשׁ; Hiphil imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 2 m.sg.). It is possible that א ֣ ֹל ְ ו
ך ֑ ֶ תי ִ ח ְ שַׁ י is another example of a causative Hiphil, although the root תחשׁ
does not occur in the Qal. BDB suggests a theoretical meaning of “go to
ruin” for ת ַ ח ָ שׁ. Hence, ך ֑ ֶ תי ִ ח ְ שַׁ י א ֣ ֹל ְ ו = “and He will not cause you to go
to ruin, destroy you”.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 123
But see Isaiah 1:4 below for the inwardly transitive meaning of ת ַ ח ָ שׁ in the
Hiphil (“act corruptly”). See also Deut. 4:25.
Note also that Lambdin (157) suggests a permissive use of Hiphil. “This is
closely related to the causative meaning and can be decided only from con-
text.” e.g. Genesis 48:11: ׃ך ֽ ֶ ע ְ ר ַ ז־ת ֶ א ם֥ ַ גּ םי ֖ ִ הל ֱ א י ֛ ִ תֹ א ה ֥ ָ א ְ ר ֶ ה ה ֨ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו “and
behold G-d has allowed me to see your children also” (Jacob to Joseph). It
is possible that a permissive meaning could be perceived in the Hiphil verbs
in Deut. 4:31.
8 Deuteronomy 15:6
ה֤ ָ והְ י־י ֽ ִ כּ ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ הל ֱ א ֔ ך ְ כ ַ ר ֽ ֵ בּ ר ֖ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ך֑ ָ ל־ר ֶ בּ ִ דּ ֞ ָ תּ ְ ט ַ ב ֲ ע ַ ֽ ה ְ ו ם֣ ִ יוֹגּ םי ִ֗ בּ ַ ר ֙ ה ָ תּ ַ א ְ ו
א ֣ ֹל ט ֔ ֹב ֲ ע ַ ת ֙ ָ תּ ְ ל ַ שׁ ֽ ָ מוּ ם֣ ִ יוֹג ְ בּ םי ִ֔ בּ ַ ר ֖ ך ְ בוּ א ֥ ֹל ׃וּל ֽ ֹשׁ ְ מִ י
“For the Lord your G-d blessed you as He had spoken to you; you shall
lend to many nations, but you will not borrow, and you shall rule over many
nations, but they will not rule over you”.
Comment of Rashi on ֞ ָ תּ ְ ט ַ ב ֲ ע ַ ֽ ה ְ ו
לכ ןושל ה ָ א ָ ו ְ ל ַ ה ל ֵ פוֹנּ ֶ שׁ ְ כּ לע ה ֶ ו ְ ל ַ מּ ַ ה לפונ ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בּ לי ִ ע ְ פ ַ מ , וֹג ְ כּ ן
ָ תי ִ ו ְ ל ִ ה ְ ו , ָ תּ ְ ט ַ ב ֲ ע ַ ה ְ ו םאו היה רמוא ָ תּ ְ ט ַ ב ָ ע ְ ו היה ל ֵ פוֹנ לע ה ֶ ול ַ ה ומכ
ָ תי ִ ו ָ ל ְ ו
Translation of Rashi
In the case of every term that denotes transacting a loan, when it refers to
the lender, the Hiphil form is used (i.e. cause someone to give a pledge, i.e.
lend), e.g. ָ תי ִ ו ְ ל ִ ה ְ ו(הול; Hiphil); ָ תּ ְ ט ַ ב ֲ ע ַ ה ְ ו (טבע; Hiphil), but if it stated
ָ תּ ְ ט ַ ב ָ ע ְ ו (in the Qal), it would apply to the borrower (i.e. give a pledge), e.g.
ָ תי ִ ו ָ ל ְ ו (הול; Qal).
124 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi simply explains that the roots טבע and הול are both used in the Qal
to mean “borrow” and in the Hiphil to mean “lend”.
טבע is in fact a denominative verb derived from the masc. sg. noun טֹב ֲ ע
= “pledge”. Thus, the Qal form means “give a pledge, borrow”, while the
Hiphil form means “cause to give a pledge, lend”.
9 Isaiah 1:4
יוֹ ֣ ה יוֹ ֣ גּ א ֵ֗ טֹח ם ַ֚ ע ד ֶ ב֣ ֶ כּ ן ֔ ֹו ָ ע ע ַ ר ֣ ֶ ז םי ֔ ִ ע ֵ ר ְ מ םי ֖ ִ נ ָ בּ םי ֑ ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ וּ ֣ ב ְ ז ָ ע
ה ָ֗ והְ י־ת ֶ א וּ ֛ צ ֲ אֽ ִ נ שׁוֹ ֥ ד ְ ק־ת ֶ א ל ֖ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י וּר֥ ֹז ָ נ ׃רוֹ ֽ ח ָ א
“Woe sinful nation, a people weighed down by iniquity, seed of evildoers,
corrupt children; they have forsaken the Lord, spurned the Holy One of
Israel, turned their back to Him”.
Ibn Ezra’s comment on םי ֑ ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ
ַ דּ וֹא ם ָ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ם ָ כּ ְ ר
Translation of Ibn Ezra
Themselves or their way.
Radak’s comment on םי ֑ ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ
ם ֶ הי ֵ כ ְ ר ַ דּ םי ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ םי ִ נ ָ בּ
Translation of Radak
Children corrupting their ways.

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 125
Explanation of Ibn Ezra and Radak
Both Ibn Ezra and Radak have supplied a direct object to the Hiphil masc.
pl. participle form, םי ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ. It is possible to take םי ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ as an
inwardly transitive/intensive Hiphil (GK 53f) and translate as “children
acting corruptly”.The Hiphil participle םי ֔ ִ ע ֵ ר ְ מ (עער) in the same verse can
also be taken as an inwardly transitive/intensive Hiphil, “a seed of
evildoers”. However, Ibn Ezra and Radak are both suggesting that
םי ִ תי ִ ח ְ שׁ ַ מ should be understood in a causative sense and therefore they
supply direct objects; “children who corrupt themselves” or “children who
corrupt their way(s)”. See Genesis 19:13 for another example of the
transitive use of תחשׁ in the Hiphil and see II Chronicles 26:16 for an
example of the inwardly transitive use of תחשׁ in the Hiphil.
10 Isaiah 1:18
א֛ ָ נ־וּכ ְ ל ה ֖ ָ ח ְ כֽ ָ וּ ִ נ ְ ו ר ֣ ַ מאֹי ה֑ ָ והְ י וּ ֨ י ְ הֽ ִ י־ם ִ א ם֤ ֶ כי ֵ א ָ ט ֲ ח ֙ םי ִ נ ָ שּׁ ַ כּ ג ֶ ל ֣ ֶ שּׁ ַ כּ וּני ִ֔ בּ ְ לַ י
וּמי ֥ ִ דּ ְ אַ י־ם ִ א ע֖ ָ לוֹתּ ַ כ ר ֶ מ֥ ֶ צּ ַ כּ ׃וּ ֽ י ְ הִ י
“Come now, let us debate together, says the Lord. If your sins are like
scarlet they will become as white as snow. If they become as red as the
scarlet worm, they will become as white as wool.”
Comment of Isaiah of Trani on וּני ִ֔ בּ ְ לַ י and וּמי ֥ ִ דּ ְ אַ י
עא " פ ן ֵ ה ֶ שׁ םי ִ ד ֵ ב ְ כּ , ן ָ ני ֵ א ןי ִ א ְ צוֹי םי ִ ר ֵ ח ֲ א ָ בּ , ומכ ) מ " א ח ח ( וּכי ִ ר ֲ אַ יּ ַ ו
י ִ דּ ַ בּ ַ ה ם ) תומש די י ( הֹע ְ ר ַ פוּ בי ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה .
Translation of Isaiah of Trani
Even though these verbs are Hiphil, they are not transitive, like: I Kings 8:8:
“the poles were long” and Exodus 14:10: “Pharoah drew near”.
126 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Explanation of Isaiah of Trani
Isaiah of Trani points out that the Hiphil imperfects וּני ִ֔ בּ ְ לַ י (root ןבל) and
וּמי ֥ ִ דּ ְ אַ י (root םדא) are not transitive, just like the Hiphils in I Kings 8:8
(וּכי ִ ר ֲ אַ יּ ַ ו) and Exodus 14:10 (בי ִ ר ְ ק ִ ה). Isaiah of Trani has in fact pointed
out the phenomenon of inwardly transitive or intensive Hiphils – see GK
53d, p 145.
HITHPAEL
Spot the Hithpael
Study the following biblical verses. PARSE and TRANSLATE all the
HITHPAEL verbs. The student may consult the verb tables in any reliable
Biblical Hebrew grammar book. Explanatory notes are found at the end of
the section.
1 II Kings 11:3
י ֤ ִ הְ י ַ ו ֙ הּ ָ תּ ִ א תי ֣ ֵ בּ ה ָ֔ והְ י א֖ ֵ בּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ מ שׁ ֣ ֵ שׁ םי֑ ִ נ ָ שׁ ה֖ ָ י ְ ל ַ ת ֲ ע ַ ו ת ֶ כ֥ ֶ לֹ מ ׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א ָ ה־ל ַ ע
And he was with her hidden in the house of the Lord for six years, while
Athaliah reigned over the land.
2 Deuteronomy 3:23
ן ֖ ַ נּ ַ ח ְ ת ֶ א ָ ו ה֑ ָ והְ י־ל ֶ א ת ֥ ֵ ע ָ בּ ַ ה או ֖ ִ ה ר ֽ ֹ מא ֵ ל ׃
And I beseeched the Lord at that time, saying.
3 Psalm 18:24
י ֣ ִ ה ֱ א ָ ו םי ֣ ִ מ ָ ת וֹ ֑ מּ ִ ע ר ֗ ֵ מּ ַ תּ ְ שׁ ֶ אָ֝ ו ׃י ֽ ִ נֹו ֲ ע ֵ מ
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 127
And I was innocent with him and I kept myself from my iniquity.
4 Micah 6:2
ְ ו וֹ ֔ מּ ַ ע־ם ִ ע ֙ ה ָ והי ֽ ַ ל בי ֤ ִ ר י ֣ ִ כּ ׃ח ֽ ָ כּ ַ ו ְ תִ י ל ֖ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ם ִ ע
For the Lord has a controversy with His people and He will contend with
Israel.
5 Genesis 44:16
ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ־ה ַ מוּ ר֖ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ נּ־ה ַ מ י ֔ ִ נֹדאֽ ַ ל ֙ ר ַ מאֹנּ־ה ַ מ ה ֗ ָ דוּהְ י ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And Judah said, ‘What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? How
shall we justify ourselves?’
6 Leviticus 21:1
ר ֥ ֹ מ ֱ א םי֖ ִ נ ֲ הֹכּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ ן ֑ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א ֣ ָ תּ ְ ר ַ מ ָ א ְ ו ם ֶ֔ ה ֵ ל ֲ א שׁ ֶ פ֥ ֶ נ ְ ל א ֖ ָ מּ ַ טִּ י־א ֽ ֹל ׃וי ֽ ָ מּ ַ ע ְ בּ
Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and you shall say to them, ‘none
shall defile himself for a (dead) soul among his people’.
7 Job 5:4
׃לי ֽ ִ צּ ַ מ ןי ֣ ֵ א ְ ו ר ַ ע ֗ ַ שּׁ ַ֝ ב וּ ֥ א ְ כּ ַ דּ ֽ ִ י ְ ו ע ַ שׁ֑ ֶ יּ ִ מ וי֣ ָ נ ָ ב וּ ֣ ק ֲ ח ְ רִ י
Let his children be far from safety and let them be crushed in the gate, with
none to deliver.
8 Numbers 7:89
֨ ֹב ְ בוּ א ה ֜ ֶ שֹׁמ ל ֶ ה ֣ ֹ א־ל ֶ א ֮ ד ֵ עוֹמ ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל ֒וֹתּ ִ א ע ֨ ַ מ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו לוֹ ֜ קּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ
וי ֗ ָ ל ֵ א ל֤ ַ ע ֵ מ ֙ ת ֶ ר ֨ ֹ פּ ַ כּ ַ ה ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ֣ ֹר ֲ א־ל ַ ע ת ֔ ֻ ד ֵ ע ָ ה ןי ֖ ֵ בּ ִ מ י֣ ֵ נ ְ שׁ םי ֑ ִ ב ֻ ר ְ כּ ַ ה ר֖ ֵ בּ ַ דְ י ַ ו
׃וי ֽ ָ ל ֵ א
128 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And when Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he
heard the Voice speaking to him from above the covering that was on the
Ark of Testimony, from between the two Cherubim and it spoke to him.
9 Leviticus 14:8
֩ ס ֶ בּ ִ כ ְ ו ר ֵ֨ ה ַ טּ ִ מּ ַ ה וי ָ֜ דָ ג ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ח֣ ַ לּ ִ ג ְ ו וֹ ֗ ר ָ ע ְ שׂ־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א ץ ֤ ַ ח ָ ר ְ ו ֙ םִ י ֙ ַ מּ ַ בּ ר ֵ֔ ה ָ ט ְ ו
And he that is to be purified shall wash his clothes and shave off all his hair
and bathe in water and he shall be clean.
10 Jeremiah 23:13
י ֥ ֵ אי ִ ב ְ נ ִ בוּ ןוֹ ֖ ר ְ מֹשׁ י ִ תי ֣ ִ א ָ ר ה֑ ָ ל ְ פ ִ ת וּ ֣ א ְ בּ ַ נּ ִ ה ל ַ ע ַ֔ בּ ַ ב וּ ֥ ע ְ תַ יּ ַ ו י ֖ ִ מּ ַ ע־ת ֶ א
ֽ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ת ֶ א ׃ל
And among the prophets of Samaria I have seen folly; they prophesied by
Baal and caused my people Israel to err.
11 Genesis 9:21
׃ה ֽ ל ֳ ה ָ א ךוֹ ֥ ת ְ בּ ל֖ ַ גּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו ר֑ ָ כּ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו ן ִ י ֖ ַ יּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ְ תּ ְ שׁ֥ ֵ יּ ַ ו
And he drank from the wine and became drunken, and he was uncovered in
the midst of his tent.
12 II Samuel 13:5
ל ֑ ָ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו ֖ ך ְ ב ָ כּ ְ שׁ ִ מ־ל ַ ע ב ֥ ַ כ ְ שׁ ב ֔ ָ ד ָ נוֹ ֣ הְ י ֙ וֹל ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
And Jonadab said to him, ‘lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick’.


PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 129
Explanatory notes to spot the Hithpael
1 II Kings 11:3
ִ מ א֖ ֵ בּ ַ ח ְ ת Hithpael participle m.sg. אבח; “hiding oneself, hidden”.
2 Deuteronomy 3:23
ן ֖ ַ נּ ַ ח ְ ת ֶ א ָ ו Hithpael imperf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. ןנח; “and I sought favour,
implored”. See GK 54k: “As in Piel, so in Hithpael, the perfect very fre-
quently (in stems ending in נ ק מ פ) has retained the original Patah in the
final syllable—; with ְ ו consecutive; so also in the imperfect and imperative,
e.g. ם ַ כּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ תּ Ec. 7:16;—.”
3 Psalm 18:24
ר ֗ ֵ מּ ַ תּ ְ שׁ ֶ אָ֝ ו Hithpael imperf. 1 c.sg. + vav consec. רמשׁ; “and I kept
myself”. Note metathesis of ת of Hithpael preformative with first root let-
ter שׁ (a sibilant). See WHG p 120; Kelley p 111.
4 Micah 6:2
ח ֽ ָ כּ ַ ו ְ תִ י Hithpael imperf. 3rd m.sg. pausal. חכי; “he will argue”.
Regarding verbs פ " י see GK 69 i: “The original waw is retained as a firm
consonant—in the Hithpael of some verbs, e.g. ע ַ דּ ַ ו ְ ת ִ ה from ע ַ דָ י, ח ַ כּ ַ ו ְ ת ִ ה
from ח ַ כָ י, ה ָ דּ ַ ו ְ ת ִ ה from ה ָ דָ י—.”
בי ִ ר n.m. strife, dispute
5 Genesis 44:16 (Judah’s appeal for Benjamin after the discovery of the
goblet in his sack).
ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ Hithpael imperf. 1 c.pl. pausal, ק ֵ ד ָ צ; “(how) shall we justify
ourselves?” Note the metathesis of the 1st root letter (צ) with the ת of the
Hithpael preformative, and note also that ת has been changed to the em-
phatic ט. (GK 54 b). i.e. ק ֵ דּ ַ צ ְ ת ִ נ < ִ נ ק ֵ דּ ַ תּ ְ צ < ק ֵ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נ .
130 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
6 Leviticus 21:1 (rules for priests)
א ֖ ָ מּ ַ טִּ י Hithpael imperf. 3 m.sg. א ֵ מ ָ ט = “be, become unclean.” Hith-
pael: “defile oneself”. Note that the ת of the Hithpael preformative has
assimilated into the 1st root letter because it is a dental (ט). (WHG p 120).
i.e. א ָ מּ ַ ט ְ תִ י < א ָ מּ ַ טִּ י
7 Job 5:4 (the fate of the children of the foolish)
וּ ֥ א ְ כּ ַ דּ ֽ ִ י ְ ו Hithpael imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav conjunctive. א ָ כ ָ דּ = “crush”(not
in Qal) > Hithpael: “let themselves be crushed”. Note the assimilation of
the ת of the Hithpael preformative to the 1st root letter which is a dental
(ד). i.e. וּא ְ כּ ַ דּ ְ תִ י < וּא ְ כּ ַ דִּ י
8 Numbers 7:89
ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ Hithpael participle m.sg. רבד; “speaking”. Note the assimilation
of the ת of the Hithpael preformative to the 1st root letter which is a dental
(ד). i.e. ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ ְ ת ִ מ < ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ .
9 Leviticus 14:8 (purification of a leper)
ר ֵ֨ ה ַ טּ ִ מּ ַ ה Hithpael participle m.sg. ר ֵ ה ָ ט = “be clean, pure >Hithpael:
“purify oneself” > + definite article: ר ֵ֨ ה ַ טּ ִ מּ ַ ה = “the candidate for
purification” (BDB p 372). Note assimilation of the ת of the Hithpael
preformative to the 1st root letter which is a dental (ט).
10 Jeremiah 23:13
וּ ֣ א ְ בּ ַ נּ ִ ה Hithpael perf. 3 c.pl. א ָ ב ָ נ; “they prophesied”. Note assimilation
of the ת of the Hithpael preformative to the 1st root letter (נ). i.e.
ְ בּ ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה וּא < וּא ְ בּ ַ נ ִ ה . See GK 54 c: “The assimilation of the ת occurs also
with נ and כ, e.g. א ֵ בּ ַ נּ ִ ה to prophesy, as well as א ֵ בּ ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה—.”

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 131
11 Genesis 9:21 (Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk)
ל֖ ַ גּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו Hithpael imperf. 3 m.sg. apoc. + vav consec. ה ָ ל ָ גּ = “uncover,
remove” > (here): “and he was uncovered”. Longer form of Hithpael im-
perf. would be ה ֶ לּ ַ גּ ְ תִ י.
12 II Samuel 13:5 (Jonadab’s advice to Amnon, David’s eldest son, who
was sick with love for his half-sister, Tamar)
ל ֑ ָ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו Hithpael imperative m.sg. shortened form, pausal. ה ָ ל ָ ח = “be
weak, sick” > (here): “make (yourself) sick”. Longer form of imperative
m.sg. would be ה ֵ לּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה.
Uses of Hithpael
The following summary of the uses of Hithpael is based on the analyses of
modern grammarians. (see Bibliography).
I: Reflexive of Piel
שׁ ֵ דּ ַ ק ְ ת ִ ה he sanctified himself
ר ֵ זּ ַ א ְ ת ִ ה he girded himself
א ֵ בּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה he hid himself
e.g. Exodus 19:12: ם֧ ַ ג ְ ו םי֛ ִ נ ֲ הֹכּ ַ ה םי ֥ ִ שׁ ָ גּ ִ נּ ַ ה ה֖ ָ והְ י־ל ֶ א וּשׁ ֑ ָ דּ ַ ק ְ תִ י
“Even the priests who approach the Lord must sanctify themselves”.
II: A more intensive meaning
implying that one shows himself as, gives himself out as, imagines
himself as, performing the action of the simple verb.
ם ֵ קַּ נ ְ ת ִ ה he showed himself revengeful (Niphal: take revenge)
ר ֵ שּׁ ַ ע ְ ת ִ ה he gave himself out to be rich, feigned himself as rich
132 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ל ֵ דַּ גּ ְ ת ִ ה he made himself great, he acted proudly
ם ֵ כּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה he showed himself wise, crafty
ה ָ לּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה he pretended to be ill
ר ֵ ר ָ תּ ְ שׂ ִ ה he made himself a prince
א ֵ בּ ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה he acted in an excited manner like a prophet, he raved
e.g. Numbers 16:13:
ט ֗ ַ ע ְ מ ַ ה י ֤ ִ כּ ֙ וּנ ֙ ָ תי ִ ל ֱ ע ֽ ֶ ה ץ ֶ ר ֶ֨ א ֵ מ ת֤ ַ ב ָ ז ֙ ב ָ ל ָ ח שׁ ַ֔ ב ְ דוּ וּנ ֖ ֵ תי ִ מ ֲ ה ַ ל ֑ ָ בּ ְ ד ִ מּ ַ בּ ר
ר ֥ ֵ ר ָ תּ ְ שׂ ִ ת־י ֽ ִ כּ וּני ֖ ֵ ל ָ ע ׃ר ֽ ֵ ר ָ תּ ְ שׂ ִ ה־ם ַ גּ
“Is it too little that you brought us up from a land flowing with milk and
honey to have us die in the desert, that you would make yourself ruler over
us?”
e.g. I Samuel 18:10:
י ֣ ִ הְ י ַ ו ת ֗ ָ ר ֳ ח ָ מּ ֽ ִ מ ֣ ַ ל ְ צ ִ תּ ַ ו ח ַ חוּר םי ִ֨ הל ֱ א ׀ ה֤ ָ ע ָ ר ׀ ֙ לוּא ָ שׁ־ל ֶ א א֣ ֵ בּ ַ נ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו
תִ י ַ֔ בּ ַ ה־ךוֹת ְ ב
“On the following day a spirit of melancholy from G-d came upon Saul,
and he raved in the house.”
III: Reciprocal action
See Waltke/O’Connor p 431: “When two or more subjects act in
relationship to each other according to the notion expressed by the verbal
root, the action is reciprocal. Although the Hithpael is used to designate
such action, it is rare.”
ה ָ א ָ ר ְ ת ִ ה look upon one another
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 133
ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ ה converse
ֵ שֹׁבּ ְ ת ִ ה שׁ feel shame before each other
e.g. Genesis 42:1:
א ְ ר ֣ ַ יּ ַ ו ב ֔ ֹק ֲ עַ י י ֥ ִ כּ ר ֶ ב ֖ ֶ שׁ־שֶׁ י םִ י ֑ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ ְ בּ ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו ֙ בֹק ֲ עַ י וי ֔ ָ נ ָ ב ְ ל ה ָ מּ֖ ָ ל ׃וּ ֽ א ָ ר ְ ת ִ תּ
“And Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt and Jacob said to his sons:
‘Why do you look upon one another?’”
e.g. Numbers 7:89:
א ֨ ֹב ְ בוּ ה ֜ ֶ שֹׁמ ל ֶ ה ֣ ֹ א־ל ֶ א ֮ ד ֵ עוֹמ ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל ֒וֹתּ ִ א ע ֨ ַ מ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו לוֹ ֜ קּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ
֗ ָ ל ֵ א וי ל֤ ַ ע ֵ מ ֙ ת ֶ ר ֨ ֹ פּ ַ כּ ַ ה
“When Moses would enter the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he
would hear the Voice speaking to him from above the cover.”
(but compare Rashi’s view on ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ; see below, Views of Medieval Schol-
ars on Use of Hithpael, no 6).
e.g. Genesis 2:25:
וּ ֤ י ְ הֽ ִ יּ ַ ו ֙ ם ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ שׁ םי ֔ ִ מּוּר ֲ ע ם ֖ ָ ד ָ א ָ ֽ ה וֹ ֑ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א ְ ו א ֖ ֹל ְ ו ֹבּ ְ תִ י ׃וּשׁ ֽ ָ שׁ
“They were both naked, the man and his wife, yet they felt no shame before
each other.”
IV: Action upon or for oneself
(in one’s own special interest, doing something for oneself, for one’s own
benefit, to one’s own detriment) (called by Lambdin, ‘Indirect Reflexive’)

134 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
a): with accusative of object
ק ֵ ר ָ פּ ְ ת ִ ה tear off from oneself (Exodus 32:3)
ל ֵ צּ ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה strip from oneself (Exodus 33:6)
ט ֵ שּׁ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ ה strip from oneself (I Samuel 18:4)
ח ַ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ ה loosen from oneself (Isaiah 52:2)
דֵ יּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ ה take (something) as one’s provision (Joshua 9:12)
e.g. I Samuel 18:4:
וי ֔ ָ ל ָ ע ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ לי ִ ע ְ מּ ַ ה־ת ֽ ֶ א ן ֗ ָ ת ָ נוֹהְ י ט ֣ ֵ שּׁ ַ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו
“and Jonathan took off (lit. stripped from himself) the robe he was
wearing.”
b): without accusative
ך ֵ לּ ַ ה ְ ת ִ ה walk about for oneself (Lambdin cites hlk as the only example of
the iterative use of the Hithpael)
ל ֵ לּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ ה pray for oneself
e.g. Job 1:7:
ר ֶ מא֧ ֹיּ ַ ו ה֛ ָ והְ י ן ֖ ָ ט ָ שּׂ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ן ִ י ֣ ַ א ֵ מ א ֑ ֹב ָ תּ ן ַ ע ֨ ַ יּ ַ ו ן ֤ ָ ט ָ שּׂ ַ ה ֙ ה ָ והְ י־ת ֶ א ר ֔ ַ מאֹיּ ַ ו
טוּ ֣ שּׁ ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ָ֔ א ָ בּ ך֖ ֵ לּ ַ ה ְ ת ִ ה ֽ ֵ מוּ ׃הּ ֽ ָ בּ
“And the Lord asked the Satan, ‘From where have you come?’ The Satan
answered the Lord, ‘From wandering and walking about the earth.’”


PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 135
V: Seldom passive (tends to be found in later biblical literature)
e.g. Proverbs 31:30:
ר ֶ ק ֣ ֶ שׁ ן ֵ ח ַ֭ ה ל ֶ ב ֣ ֶ ה ְ ו י ִ פ֑ ֹיּ ַ ה ה ֥ ָ שּׁ ִ א ה ָ֗ והְ֝ י־ת ַ א ְ רִ י אי ֣ ִ ה ׃לֽ ָ לּ ַ ה ְ ת ִ ת
“Grace is false, and beauty vain; a woman who fears the Lord, she should
be praised.”
e.g. Ecclesiastes 8:10:
רי ֖ ִ ע ָ ב וּ ֥ ח ְ כּ ַ תּ ְ שֽׁ ִ י ְ ו
“and they are forgotten in the city.”
Exercise: identify the Hithpael verbs in the following biblical verses;
discuss their form and use. (see explanatory notes at the end).
1 Genesis 44:16
ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו ה ֗ ָ דוּהְ י ֙ ר ַ מאֹנּ־ה ַ מ י ֔ ִ נֹדאֽ ַ ל ר֖ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ נּ־ה ַ מ ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ־ה ַ מוּ
“And Judah said, ‘What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak
and how shall we justify ourselves?’”
2 Exodus 33:6
ם֖ ָ י ְ ד ֶ ע־ת ֶ א ל ֛ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־יֽ ֵ נ ְ ב וּ ֧ ל ְ צּ ַ נ ְ תֽ ִ יּ ַ ו ׃ב ֽ ֵ רוֹח ר ֥ ַ ה ֵ מ
“The children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from
Mount Horeb.”
3 Numbers 16:13
ט ֗ ַ ע ְ מ ַ ה י ֤ ִ כּ ֙ וּנ ֙ ָ תי ִ ל ֱ ע ֽ ֶ ה ץ ֶ ר ֶ֨ א ֵ מ ת֤ ַ ב ָ ז ֙ ב ָ ל ָ ח שׁ ַ֔ ב ְ דוּ וּנ ֖ ֵ תי ִ מ ֲ ה ַ ל ר֑ ָ בּ ְ ד ִ מּ ַ בּ
ר ֥ ֵ ר ָ תּ ְ שׂ ִ ת־י ֽ ִ כּ וּני ֖ ֵ ל ָ ע ר ֽ ֵ ר ָ תּ ְ שׂ ִ ה־ם ַ גּ ׃
136 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“Is it too little that you brought us up from a land flowing with milk
and honey to have us die in the desert, that you should act the prince
over us?”
4 Joshua 9:12
ה֣ ֶ ז ֑ ֶ כי ֵ ל ֲ א ת ֶ כ֣ ֶ ל ָ ל וּנ ֖ ֵ תא ֵ צ םוֹ ֥ י ְ בּ וּני ֔ ֵ תּ֣ ָ בּ ִ מ ֙ וֹתֹ א וּנ ְ ד ֤ ַ יּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ ה ם ָ֞ ח וּנ ֗ ֵ מ ְ ח ַ ל ם
“This is our bread we provided hot for ourselves from our houses on the
day we went out to go to you.”
5 Isaiah 52:2
וּח ְ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ ה ִ ם֑ ָ ל ָ שׁוּ ֽ רְ י י ֖ ִ ב ְ שּׁ י ִ מוּ ֥ ק ר֛ ָ פ ָ ע ֵ מ י ֧ ִ ר ֲ עַ נ ְ ת ִ ה ] ֙ י ִ ח ְ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ֽ ִ ה [ י ֣ ֵ ר ְ סוֹמ
ת ַ בּ ה֖ ָ יּ ִ ב ְ שׁ ך ֔ ֵ רא ָ וּ ַ צ ׃ןוֹ ֽ יּ ִ צ־
“Shake yourself from the dust, arise and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose from
yourself the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”
6 Proverbs 31:30
׃לֽ ָ לּ ַ ה ְ ת ִ ת אי ֣ ִ ה ה ָ֗ והְ֝ י־ת ַ א ְ רִ י ה ֥ ָ שּׁ ִ א י ִ פ֑ ֹיּ ַ ה ל ֶ ב ֣ ֶ ה ְ ו ן ֵ ח ַ֭ ה ר ֶ ק ֣ ֶ שׁ
“Grace is false and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she
shall be praised.”
Explanatory notes (for: identify the Hithpael verbs)
1 Genesis 44:16
ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ See “Spot the Hithpael” (above, no 5) for form (imperf. 1 c.pl.
pausal,
ק ֵ ד ָ צ; metathesis of צ with ת of Hithpael prefix). See “Views of Medieval
Exegetes” (below, no 2) for Rashi’s comment. The Hithpael is here the re-
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 137
flexive of the Piel and for the Piel use of this root, see: Job 32:2: וֹ ֥ ק ְ דּ ַ צ־ל ֽ ַ ע
׃םי ֽ ִ הל ֱ א ֵ מ וֹ ֗ שׁ ְ פַ֝ נ “because he justified himself rather than G-d”, where
וֹ ֥ ק ְ דּ ַ צ is Piel infinitive construct + sf. 3 m.sg. followed by the definite direct
object וֹ ֗ שׁ ְ פַ֝ נ.
2 Exodus 33:6
The root לצנ occurs in the Piel in the sense of “strip off, spoil” (e.g. Exod.
3:22; 12:36). The Hithpael occurs only here (וּ ֧ ל ְ צּ ַ נ ְ תֽ ִ יּ ַ ו; imperf. 3 m.pl. + vav
consec.) as the reflexive of the Piel: “they stripped from themselves”
(Lambdin’s Indirect Reflexive) and taking a direct object (ם֖ ָ י ְ ד ֶ ע = “their
ornaments”). One should compare Exod. 32:3 and Rashi’s comment there
(see Views of Medieval Scholars on Hithpael, no 4 below).
ה ָ ד ָ ע (I) = ornament, deck oneself > י ִ ד ֲ ע n.m. (coll.) = “ornaments”
> ךְ י ְ ד ֶ ע/וֹי ְ ד ֶ ע etc.
3 Numbers 16:13
(ר ַ ר ָ שׂ) denom. from ר ַ שׂ n.m. = “chief, ruler, prince” > Hithpael imperf. 2
m.sg. ר ֥ ֵ ר ָ תּ ְ שׂ ִ ת followed by infinitive absolute Hithpael, ר ֽ ֵ ר ָ תּ ְ שׂ ִ ה. Note
metathesis of the sibilant שׂ with the ת of the Hithpael preformative. Note
also compensatory lengthening (qamets under tav) due to absence of dagesh
in resh (middle root letter). More intensive use of Hithpael > “that you
should act the prince over us.”
4 Joshua 9:12
וּנ ְ ד ֤ ַ יּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ ה denom. Hithpael perf. 1 c.pl. דוצ from the masc. noun דִ י ַ צ =
“provision, food”. Note the metathesis of the צ (1st root letter) with the ת
of the Hithpael preformative, which has become an emphatic ט. This type
of Hithpael expresses action upon or for oneself, called Indirect Reflexive
by Lambdin. “We supplied ourselves with provisions”. The words in this
138 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
verse are uttered by the Gibeonites, who pretended to be poor travellers
from afar, so that they would be permitted to make a covenant with Joshua,
since the Israelites had been forbidden to make agreements with their
neighbours.
5 Isaiah 52:2
ר ַ עָ נ = “shake” occurs also in Piel in the sense of “shake out, off”; e.g.
Exod. 14:27: ׃םֽ ָ יּ ַ ה ךוֹ ֥ ת ְ בּ םִ י ֖ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ־ת ֶ א ה֛ ָ והְ י ר֧ ֵ עַ נ ְ י ַ ו “and the Lord shook
off the Egyptians into the sea”. The Hithpael occurs only here in Isaiah
52:2 ( ִ ה י ֧ ִ ר ֲ עַ נ ְ ת ) as imperative f.sg. in the reflexive sense of “shake yourself”.
ִ ח ְ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ֽ ִ ה ֙ י is the only occurrence in the Hithpael of the root חתפ =
“open”. The Piel of חתפ has the sense of “loosen, free” (see I Kings
20:11) and the Hithpael here is the (indirect) reflexive of the Piel – “loosen
from yourself”. The Keri ( ֙ י ִ ח ְ תּ ַ פּ ְ ת ֽ ִ ה) is imperative f.sg. and see GK 54 f:
“It (Hithpael) more often indicates an action less directly affecting the sub-
ject, and describes it as performed with regard to or for oneself, in one’s
own special interest. Hithpael in such cases readily takes an accusative,—.”
Here, the ‘accusative’ (i.e. the direct object) is ך ֔ ֵ רא ָ וּ ַ צ י ֣ ֵ ר ְ סוֹמ“the bands of
your neck”. The noun ר ֵ סוֹמ (= ר ֵ סאֹמ) n.m. = “band, bond” (pl.
תוֹר ֵ סוֹמ) is derived from the root ר ַ ס ָ א = “bind, imprison”.
6 Proverbs 31:30
The root ללה occurs in Piel with the meaning of “praise” and in Hithpael
sometimes has the reflexive meaning of “glory, boast” (i.e. praise oneself);
e.g. I Kings 20:11; Psalm 34:3. Here only, in Prov. 31:30, the Hithpael
occurs in a passive sense: לֽ ָ לּ ַ ה ְ ת ִ ת = “she shall be praised” (imperf. 3 fem.
sg. pausal).
Views of medieval scholars on use of Hithpael
This section presents the views of medieval scholars on the uses of the
Hithpael conjugation. Their comments are presented in the original rabbinic
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 139
Hebrew, together with translation and explanation. A glossary of some of
the Hebrew grammatical terms used by these scholars is found at the end of
the section, as well as brief biographical sketches of these scholars. Students
should study the biblical verses and compare the views of the medieval
scholars with the views in modern grammar books.
1 Genesis 42:1
׃וּ ֽ א ָ ר ְ ת ִ תּ ה ָ מּ֖ ָ ל וי ֔ ָ נ ָ ב ְ ל ֙ בֹק ֲ עַ י ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו םִ י ֑ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ ְ בּ ר ֶ ב ֖ ֶ שׁ־שֶׁ י י ֥ ִ כּ ב ֔ ֹק ֲ עַ י א ְ ר ֣ ַ יּ ַ ו
Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt so Jacob said to his sons, ‘Why do
you look at one another?’
Comment of Ibn Ezra on וּ ֽ א ָ ר ְ ת ִ תּ
וּאר ְ ת ִ תּ ל ַ א שֵׁ יּ ֶ שׁ ם ֶ כ ָ ל ןוֹה וא ל ַ א וּיה ִ תּ םי ִ בי ִ ר ְ מ הז םע הז ומכ ) מ " ב
די ח ( ׃םי ֽ ִ נ ָ פ ה ֥ ֶ א ָ ר ְ ת ִ נ ה֖ ָ כ ְ ל
Translation of Ibn Ezra
Do not show yourselves (pretend) as having wealth; or, do not quarrel with
one another, like: (II Kings 14:8): ‘Come, let us look one another in the
face’. (The King of Judah, Amaziah, challenged the King of Israel, Jehoash).
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra gives two alternative ways to understand the Hithpael imperf. 2
m.pl. וּ ֽ א ָ ר ְ ת ִ תּ (ה ָ א ָ ר). It could be an “intensive” Hithpael, implying that
one shows himself as, gives himself out as, imagines himself as, performing
the action of the simple verb. That is, Jacob’s message to his sons was that
they should not imagine that they had the material means to delay any
longer from going down to Egypt to obtain grain. Alternatively, וּ ֽ א ָ ר ְ ת ִ תּ
could be a Hithpael implying reciprocal action, that is, “look upon one an-
other”; Ibn Ezra suggests that this second alternative implies “quarrel with
140 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
one another”, as the same expression is used when the King of Judah,
Amaziah, unwisely challenged the King of Israel, Jehoash.
2 Genesis 44:16
ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ־ה ַ מוּ ר֖ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ נּ־ה ַ מ י ֔ ִ נֹדאֽ ַ ל ֙ ר ַ מאֹנּ־ה ַ מ ה ֗ ָ דוּהְ י ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And Judah said, ‘What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak and
how shall we justify ourselves? (clear ourselves)’
Comment of Rashi on ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ
ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ק ֶ ד ֶ צ , ן ֵ כו ל ָ כּ ה ָ בי ֵ תּ ת ַ לּ ִ ח ְ תּ ֶ שׁ הּ ָ דוֹסְ י ִ דּ ַ צ " י איהו ה ָ א ָ ב ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל
ןוֹשׁ ָ ל ְ בּ ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ְ ת ִ מ וא ִ נ ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ְ ת , ן ֵ תוֹנ י ֵ ט " ת םוקמב י ָ תּ " ו הּ ָ ני ֵ א ְ ו הּ ָ נ ְ תוֹנ
ינפל תוֹא הנושאר לש דוֹסְ י ה ָ בי ֵ תּ ַ ה א ָ לּ ֶ א ע ַ צ ְ מ ֶ א ְ ב תויתוא ר ָ קּ ִ ע ָ ה ,
ןוֹגכּ ק ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נ ת ַ ר ְ ז ִ גּ ִ מ קדצ , ע ַ בּ ַ ט ְ צִ יּ ַ ו ת ַ ר ְ ז ִ גּ ִ מ עבצ .
Translation of Rashi
ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ is derived from the root קדצ. Every root whose first letter is צ
when used in the Hithpael or Nithpael, takes ט instead of ת (in the prefix);
however, it is not placed before the first root letter, but after the first root
letter (and before the second root letter), e.g. ק ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נ from the root קדצ;
ע ַ בּ ַ ט ְ צִ יּ ַ ו (“let him be wet”) (Daniel 4:12) from the root עבצ.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains the Hithpael formation ק ֑ ָ דּ ַ ט ְ צ ִ נּ (imperf. 1 c.pl. pausal). The
expected prefix for Hithpael imperf. 1 pl. would be ת ִ נ, but since the first
root letter is צ (a sibilant), the ת has become ט and has changed places
with the צ. (See WHG p 120 for rules of Hithpael when the first root letter
is a sibilant or dental. See also GK 54 b,c,d).

PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 141
3 Exodus 1:10 (words of Pharoah about the children of Israel)
וֹ ֑ ל ה ֖ ָ מ ְ כּ ַ ח ְ תֽ ִ נ ה ָ ב ֥ ָ ה
Come, let us deal wisely with him.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ה ֖ ָ מ ְ כּ ַ ח ְ תֽ ִ נ
ה ֶ בּ ְ רִ י אֹלּ ֶ שׁ ה ָ מ ְ כ ָ ח ך ֶ ר ֶ דּ שׁ ֵ קּ ַ ב ְ נ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
Let us seek a way of wisdom, that he should not multiply.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra comments on ה ֖ ָ מ ְ כּ ַ ח ְ תֽ ִ נ, imperf. cohortative 1st c.pl. םכח
“bewise”. Ibn Ezra’s words suggest that he saw ה ֖ ָ מ ְ כּ ַ ח ְ תֽ ִ נ as an “intensive”
Hithpael, implying that Pharoah wants to “show himself, give himself out
as wise” in his dealings with the Israelites.
4 Exodus 32:3
׃ןֹ ֽ ר ֲ ה ַ א־ל ֽ ֶ א וּאי ֖ ִ בָ יּ ַ ו ם ֑ ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ ז ָ א ְ בּ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֖ ָ ה ָ זּ ַ ה י ֥ ֵ מ ְ ז ִ נ־ת ֶ א ם ֔ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כּ ֙ וּק ְ ר ֽ ָ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו
All the people broke off from themselves the golden earrings which were in
their ears, and brought them to Aaron.
Comment of Rashi on ֙ וּק ְ ר ֽ ָ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו
ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ת ַ קי ִ ר ְ פּ א ָ שּׂ ַ מ , םוּל ָ טְ נּ ֶ שׁ ְ כּ ם ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ ז ָ א ֵ מ וּא ְ צ ְ מ ִ נ ם ֵ ה םי ִ ק ָ רֹ פ ְ מ
ם ֶ הי ֵ מ ְ ז ִ נּ ִ מ , — ת ֶ א י ֵ מ ְ ז ִ נ . וֹמ ְ כּ י ֵ מ ְ ז ִ נּ ִ מ . וֹמ ְ כּ י ִ תא ֵ צ ְ כּ ת ֶ א רי ִ ע ָ ה ) תומש
ט טכ ( ן ִ מ רי ִ ע ָ ה .
142 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Translation of Rashi
“And they unloaded themselves”. קרפ denotes unloading a burden. When
they took them (the rings) from their ears, they became “unloaded” from
their rings—. ת ֶ א (indicates definite direct object) is the equivalent to ן ִ מ
(from). Like Exodus 9:29 where ת ֶ א has the force of ן ִ מ in ת ֶ א י ִ תא ֵ צ ְ כּ
רי ִ ע ָ ה “when I departed (from) the city”.
Explanation of Rashi
The Hithpael imperf. + vav consec. ֙ וּק ְ ר ֽ ָ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו is here followed by ת ֶ א
which normally indicates a definite direct object. One would not expect a
Hithpael (reflexive) to be followed by a definite direct object. Consequently,
Rashi explains that ֙ וּק ְ ר ֽ ָ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו really is reflexive, in the sense that by remov-
ing the rings from their ears, the people “unloaded themselves” from the
rings. This interpretation causes Rashi to assert that the particle ת ֶ א here
has the force of the preposition ן ִ מ “from”. i.e. “the people unloaded
themselves from the golden rings”. Rashi compares Exodus 9:29 where ת ֶ א
again has the force of ן ִ מ. Contrast Rashi’s view with the statement in GK
54 f : “It (Hithpael) more often indicates an action less directly affecting the
subject, and describes it as performed with regard to or for oneself, in one’s
own special interest. Hithpael in such cases readily takes an accusa-
tive.”Hence, according to Rashi, the translation of ם ֔ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כּ ֙ וּק ְ ר ֽ ָ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו
ִ נ־ת ֶ א ב ֖ ָ ה ָ זּ ַ ה י ֥ ֵ מ ְ ז is: “All the people unloaded themselves from the rings”
whereas, according to GK, the translation is: “All the people unloaded from
themselves the rings”.
5 Leviticus 18:24
וּ ֣ א ְ מ ְ טִ נ ֙ ה ֶ לּ ֙ ֵ א־ל ָ כ ְ ב י ֤ ִ כּ ה ֶ לּ ֑ ֵ א־ל ָ כ ְ בּ וּ ֖ א ְ מּ ַ טּ ֽ ִ תּ־ל ַ א ַ ח֖ ֵ לּ ַ שׁ ְ מ י ֥ ִ נ ֲ א־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם֔ ִ יוֹגּ ַ ה
׃םֽ ֶ כי ֵ נ ְ פּ ִ מ
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 143
Do not defile yourselves in any of these, for in all these, the nations, which
I am sending away from before you, defiled themselves.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on וּ ֖ א ְ מּ ַ טּ ֽ ִ תּ
וּשׁ ְ ג ַ דּ יטּ ַ ה ת " ית ע ַ לּ ַ בּ ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל ת " ונ אלו ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ְ ת ִ ה ו " ל ָ ע ְ פ ִ נ ן ַ י ְ נ ִ בּ ן , ד ֵ ע ָ ה ְ ו
מ ַ ה תוּשׁ ְ ג ַ דּ " ט ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מּ ַ כּ ם .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The dagesh in the ט is due to the assimilation of the ת of the Hithpael, and
is not due to the assimilation of the נ of Niphal. The proof is the dagesh in
the מ according to the rule (of Hithpael; dagesh in middle root letter).
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
The Hithpael verb וּ ֖ א ְ מּ ַ טּ ֽ ִ תּ is derived from the root א ֵ מ ָ ט = “be impure”.
Since the first root letter is a dental (ט), the ת of the Hithpael prefix is
assimilated into the ט as indicated by the strong dagesh. Ibn Ezra explains
this and also points out that one cannot mistake the strong dagesh in the ט
as due to the assimilation of the נ of the Niphal, since dagesh in middle
root letter (as in the מ of וּ ֖ א ְ מּ ַ טּ ֽ ִ תּ) is characteristic of Hithpael, but not of
Niphal. One may add that the Niphal imperf. of א ֵ מ ָ ט would also have
qamets under the ט (not pataḥ), i.e. וּא ְ מ ָ טּ ִ תּ. Ibn Ezra’s point is well worth
making because both the Niphal and the Hithpael may have a reflexive
sense and may mean “defile oneself” (BDB p 379).
6 Numbers 7:89
֣ ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ לוֹ ֜ קּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ע ֨ ַ מ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו ֒וֹתּ ִ א ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל ֮ ד ֵ עוֹמ ל ֶ ה ֣ ֹ א־ל ֶ א ה ֜ ֶ שֹׁמ א ֨ ֹב ְ בוּ ר
ִ מ ת ֔ ֻ ד ֵ ע ָ ה ן ֣ ֹר ֲ א־ל ַ ע ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ת ֶ ר ֨ ֹ פּ ַ כּ ַ ה ל֤ ַ ע ֵ מ וי ֗ ָ ל ֵ א ֖ ֵ בּ ר֖ ֵ בּ ַ דְ י ַ ו םי ֑ ִ ב ֻ ר ְ כּ ַ ה י֣ ֵ נ ְ שׁ ןי
׃וי ֽ ָ ל ֵ א
144 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And when Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he
heard the Voice speaking to him from above the covering that was on the
Ark of Testimony, from between the two Cherubim and it spoke to him.
Comment of Rashi on ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ
ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ ְ ת ִ מ וֹמ ְ כּ , ן ֵ כּ ר ַ מוֹל ה ָ ל ְ ע ַ מ ל ֶ שׁ וֹדוֹב ְ כּ , וֹמ ְ צ ַ ע ןי ֵ ב ְ ל וֹני ֵ בּ ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ מ
וי ָ ל ֵ א ֵ מ ַ ע ֵ מוֹשׁ ה ֶ שֹׁמוּ :
Translation of Rashi
ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ is the same as ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ ְ ת ִ מ “uttering itself”. It is out of reverence for
the Most High that Scripture speaks thus: (the Voice) was speaking to itself
and Moses heard it of his own accord.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that ר ֵ בּ ַ דּ ִ מ is a Hithpael participle m.sg. with the assimila-
tion of the ת of Hithpael into the ד, respresented by the strong dagesh.
Rashi explains that the Reflexive (Hithpael) is used here out of reverence
for the Divine, because it would not have been respectful to have used the
Piel, ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ מ, implying that G-d spoke directly to Moses as it were. Rather,
the Voice spoke to Itself and Moses could not help hearing it.
7 I Samuel 18:4
ד֑ ִ ו ָ ד ְ ל וּה֖ ֵ נ ְ תִּ יּ ֽ ַ ו וי ֔ ָ ל ָ ע ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ לי ִ ע ְ מּ ַ ה־ת ֽ ֶ א ן ֗ ָ ת ָ נוֹהְ י ט ֣ ֵ שּׁ ַ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to
David.


PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 145
Comment of Radak on ַ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו ט ֣ ֵ שּׁ
ומכ לי ִ ע ְ מּ ַ ה ן ִ מ שׁוּרי ֵ פּ ) ד דמ תישארב ( א ֣ ֹל ֮ רי ִ ע ָ ה־ת ֶ א וּ ֣ א ְ צֽ ָ י ם ֠ ֵ ה
֒ וּקי ִ ח ְ ר ִ ה ןוֹצ ָ ר ְ בּ יכ לעפתה ןושלב ר ַ מ ָ א ְ ו א ֵ צוֹי ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ְ ת ִ ה ן ַ י ְ נ ִ בּ ןיא יכ
וֹל ם ָ נ ָ ת ְ נוּ וי ָ ד ָ ג ְ בּ ט ֵ שּׁ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ ה ה ָ בּ ַ ר ה ָ ב ֲ ה ַ א ְ בוּ לוֹדָ גּ .
Translation of Radak
ט ֣ ֵ שּׁ ַ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו means “he stripped himself from (ת ֶ א) the robe”, like Genesis
44:4: “They went out from (ת ֶ א) the city”. For Hithpael cannot be
transitive. He used Hithpael because (Jonathan) took off his clothes with
great goodwill and great love and gave them to him (i.e. to David).
Explanation of Radak
Radak states that Hithpael cannot be transitive (א ֵ צוֹי) and therefore cannot
have a direct object. Accordingly, the Hithpael imperf. + vav consec.
ט ֣ ֵ שּׁ ַ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו , cannot take a direct object and therefore the particle ת ֶ א here
must be understood in the sense of ן ִ מ (“from”) – i.e. “Jonathan stripped
himself from the robe—.” Radak compares ת ֶ א in Genesis 44:4, which also
has the sense of ן ִ מ. Radak then explains why the Hithpael is used rather
than the Qal, since the Qal ט ַ שׁ ָ פּ is used in a transitive sense to mean
“strip” – see I Samuel 19:24: י ֗ ָ ד ָ ג ְ בּ אוּ ֜ ה־ם ַ גּ ט ֨ ַ שׁ ְ פִ יּ ַ ו ו “He also took off his
clothes”. The Hithpael is used here, says Radak, because Jonathan acted
with great love and great good will. Contrast Radak’s approach here with
GK 54 f (see above, no 4), where it is suggested that this kind of Hithpael
(called Indirect Reflexive by Lambdin, see Uses of Hithpael IV) can indeed
take an accusative of object; then we could render, “and Jonathan stripped
from himself the robe which was on him”.
8 II Samuel 13:2
וֹ ֔ תֹח ֲ א ר ֣ ָ מ ָ תּ ֙ רוּב ֲ ע ֽ ַ בּ תוֹ ֗ לּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל ןוֹ ֜ נ ְ מ ַ א ְ ל ר ֶ צ ֨ ֵ יּ ַ ו
146 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Amnon was distressed enough to make himself sick for the sake of Tamar
his sister.
Comment of Radak on תוֹ ֗ לּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל
וֹק ְ שׁ ֶ ח בוֹר ֵ מ ה ֶ לוֹח ה ֶ א ְ ר ִ נ הָ י ָ ה ֶ שׁ ד ַ ע הּ ָ ב
Translation of Radak
Until he seemed ill, from his great desire for her.
Explanation of Radak
Radak explains that תוֹ ֗ לּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל (Hithpael inf. cstr. + lamed; הלח) ex-
presses a more intensive meaning, implying that Amnon was not actually ill,
but seemed ill, even pretended to be ill. (Amnon, David’s eldest son, was
sick with love for his half-sister, Tamar).
9 II Samuel 13:5
֙ וֹל ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו ל ֑ ָ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו ֖ ך ְ ב ָ כּ ְ שׁ ִ מ־ל ַ ע ב ֥ ַ כ ְ שׁ ב ֔ ָ ד ָ נוֹ ֣ הְ י
Jehonadab said to him, ‘Lie on your bed and pretend to be ill.’
Comment of Radak on ל ֑ ָ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו
ה ֶ לוֹח ך ְ מ ְ צ ַ ע ה ֵ א ְ ר ַ ה
Translation of Radak
Show yourself to be ill.
Explanation of Radak
ל ֑ ָ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו is the apocopated imperative (pausal) Hithpael, הלח (shortened
from ה ֵ לּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה). Radak again explains that it implies pretence of illness. Je-
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 147
honadab advised Amnon to pretend to be ill in order that he could seduce
Tamar.
10 Isaiah 1:16
׃ ַ ע ֽ ֵ ר ָ ה וּ ֖ ל ְ ד ִ ח י֑ ָ ני ֵ ע ד ֶ ג ֣ ֶ נּ ִ מ ם֖ ֶ כי ֵ ל ְ ל ַ ע ַ מ ַ ע ֥ ֹר וּרי ֛ ִ ס ָ ה וּ ֔ כּ ַ זּ ִ ה ֙ וּצ ֲ ח ַ ר
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, remove the evil of your deeds
from before My eyes, cease to do evil.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on וּ ֔ כּ ַ זּ ִ ה
יתה ע ַ לּוּבוּ ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ְ ת ִ ה ן ַ י ְ נ ִ בּ ִ מ " יזה תוּשׁ ְ ג ַ דב ו " ומכ ן : ר ֵ ה ַ טּ ִ מּ ַ ל ח ַ ק ָ ל ְ ו
) ֝ ד די ארקיו (
Translation of Ibn Ezra
This is a Hithpael and the ת of the Hithpael prefix has been assimilated
into the ז, like: Leviticus 14:4: where the ת of the Hithpael prefix is
assimilated into the ט of רהט.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra clarifies that וּ ֔ כּ ַ זּ ִ ה is a Hithpael imperative m.pl. root הכז (be
clean, pure) with assimilation of ת into the ז. i.e. וּ ֔ כּ ַ זּ ִ ה instead of וּכּ ַ ז ְ ת ִ ה,
just like ר ֵ ה ַ טּ ִ מּ ַ ל (Levit. 14:4) instead of ר ֵ ה ַ ט ְ ת ִ מּ ַ ל (“unto him who purifies
himself”). Compare GK 54 d: “Metathesis would likewise be expected—
when ת and ז come together, as well as a change of ת to ד. Instead of this,
in the only instance of the kind, (וּ ֔ כּ ַ זּ ִ ה), the ת is assimilated to the ז –
unless indeed וּכּ ַ ז ִ ה imperative Niphal of ךכז is intended.”
Note, however, the comment of SHADAL (Samuel David Luzzatto, 1800-
1865, Italian scholar): ךכז שׁ ֶ רוֹשּׁ ִ מ ל ַ ע ְ פ ִ נ הָ י ָ ה ם ִ א ְ ו , הלעמל וֹמע ַ ט היה
148 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
– “If it was Niphal from ךכז, the accent on וּ ֔ כּ ַ זּ ִ ה would not be on the
ultimate but on the penultimate syllable.”
11 Proverbs 13:7
׃ב ֽ ָ ר ןוֹ ֣ ה ְ ו שׁ ֗ ֵ שׁוֹר ְ ת ֝ ִ מ ל ֑ ֹכּ ןי ֣ ֵ א ְ ו ר ֵ שּׁ ַ ע ְ ת ִ֭ מ שׁ֣ ֵ י
There is one who pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; (there is another)
who pretends to be poor, but yet has great riches.
Comment of Rashi on ר ֵ שּׁ ַ ע ְ ת ִ֭ מ
רי ִ שׁ ָ ע וֹמ ְ צ ַ ע ה ֶ א ְ ר ַ מ
Translation of Rashi
He shows himself to be rich.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi comments on the Hithpael participle m.sg. ר ֵ שּׁ ַ ע ְ ת ִ֭ מ, root רשׁע,
which does not have the simple reflexive meaning of “make oneself rich”
but the more intensive meaning of “pretend to be rich”, “give oneself out
as rich”. One may note the other participle in this verse, שׁ ֗ ֵ שׁוֹר ְ ת ֝ ִ מ, a
Hithpolel (root, שׁוּר / שׁי ִ ר ), which also has this more intensive meaning,
“pretend to be poor”.
THE THEORY OF THE QAL PASSIVE
According to this theory, a number of supposed perfects of Pual are in fact
passives of Qal and a number of supposed imperfects of Hophal are in fact
imperfects of the passive of Qal. Moreover, there are some examples of
supposed participles of Pual without the preformative mem which could be
participles of former passives of Qal. In this section, examples of these
three categories will be discussed, based on the analyses found in modern
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 149
grammar books. (GK 52e; 52s; 53u; JM 58a-d; IBHS 22.6). At the end of
the section there will also be discussion of the opinions of some medieval
scholars.
I: Supposed perfects of Pual
With regard to some verbal forms which are apparently Pual perfect forms,
see GK 52e: “According to the convincing suggestion of Bottcher—many
supposed perfects of Pual are in reality passives of Qal. He reckons as such
all those perfects, of which the Piel (which ought to express the corre-
sponding active) is either not found at all, or only (as in the case of ד ֵ לִּ י)
with a different meaning, and which form their imperfect from another
conjugation, generally Niphal.”
In the following biblical verses, identify the verbal forms which could
be construed as Qal Passives and explain why.
1 Isaiah 32:14
ם ֔ ָ לוֹע־ד ַ ע ֙ תוֹר ָ ע ְ מ ד֤ ַ ע ְ ב ה֨ ָ י ָ ה ן ַ ח ַ֜ ב ָ ו ל ֶ פ ֣ ֹע ב֑ ָ זּ ֻ ע רי ֖ ִ ע ןוֹ ֥ מ ֲ ה שׁ ָ֔ טֻּ נ ןוֹ ֣ מ ְ ר ַ א־י ֽ ִ כּ
׃םי ֽ ִ ר ָ ד ֲ ע ה ֥ ֵ ע ְ ר ִ מ םי ֖ ִ א ָ ר ְ פּ שׂוֹ ֥ שׂ ְ מ
For the palace has been abandoned, the city’s multitude forsaken; the
mound and tower have become dens forever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture
of flocks.
שׁ ָ֔ טֻּ נ appears to be Pual perf. 3 m.sg. pausal. (the pataḥ characteristic
of Pual perf. 3 m.sg. has been lengthened to qamets under the influence of
the accentuation). שׁ ַ טָ נ = “leave, forsake”. However, this root does not
occur in Piel, and the ‘Pual’ occurs only here.
ב֑ ָ זּ ֻ ע appears to be Pual perf. 3 m.sg. pausal. (the pataḥ characteristic
of Pual perf. 3 m.sg. has been lengthened to qamets under the influence of
the ’Athnaḥ). However, this root ( ב ַ ז ָ ע = “leave, forsake”) does not occur
150 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
in Piel. The ‘Pual’ occurs only here and in Jeremiah 49:25 (3 f.sg. ה ָ ב ְ זּ ֻ ע).
The Niphal imperf is found four times (Lev 26:43; Isa 7:16; 18:6; Job 18:4).
2 Jeremiah 29:22
֙ ה ָ והְ י ֤ ך ְ מ ֽ ִ שְׂ י ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל ל֖ ֶ ב ָ ב ְ בּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה ֔ ָ דוּהְ י תוּ ֣ ל ָ גּ ֙ לֹכ ְ ל ה ֔ ָ ל ָ ל ְ ק ֙ ם ֶ ה ֵ מ ח ֤ ַ קּ ֻ ל ְ ו
ל֖ ֶ ב ָ בּ־ך ֶ ל ֽ ֶ מ ם֥ ָ ל ָ ק־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ָ֔ ח ֶ א ְ כוּ וּה֣ ָ יּ ִ ק ְ ד ִ צ ְ כּ ׃שׁ ֽ ֵ א ָ בּ
And there will be derived (lit. taken) from them a curse by all the exile of
Judah that is in Babylon, saying: ‘May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and
like Ahab whom the king of Babylon roasted in fire. (ה ָ ל ָ ק = “roast”).
ח ֤ ַ קּ ֻ ל ְ ו appears to be Pual perf. 3 m.sg. (+ vav consec.) from ח ַ ק ָ ל = “he
took”. However, the Piel of ח ַ ק ָ ל is not attested and the meaning of ח ֤ ַ קּ ֻ ל ְ ו
is the passive of the Qal (“was taken”).
3 Genesis 2:23
֙ תאֹז ְ ל א ֣ ֵ ר ָ קִּ י ה ֔ ָ שּׁ ִ א י ֥ ִ כּ שׁי ֖ ִ א ֵ מ ׃תאֹ ֽ זּ־ה ָ ח ֳ קֽ ֻ ל
She shall be called Woman, because she was taken from Man.
ה ָ ח ֳ קֽ ֻ ל appears to be Pual perf. 3 f.sg. ח ַ ק ָ ל, but the Piel of ח ַ ק ָ ל does
not occur (see above, no 2). For absence of dagesh in middle root letter (ק)
and ḥaṭeph-qamets under the ק, see GK 52d: “The Dagesh Forte, which—
is characteristic of the whole of Piel and Pual, is often omitted—when the
middle radical has sheva under it—. The vocal character of the sheva under
the litera dagessanda is sometimes in such cases—expressly emphasized by
its taking the form of a ḥaṭeph, as in ה ָ ח ֳ קֽ ֻ ל Gn 2:23, with ֳ owing to the
influence of the preceding u,—.”see also GK 10h.
Ibn Ezra, however, considers ה ָ ח ֳ קֽ ֻ ל to be a Pual formation, as is evident
from his comment on this verse, where he states that it is ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ֵ מ
which is his terminology for Piel and Pual. (lit. “the heavy conjugation”).
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 151
וק שׁ ַ גּ ְ דִ נ אֹלו " ף ָ ח ֳ קֽ ֻ ל ה דבכה ןינבהמ אוהו ןושלה לע ל ֵ ק ָ ה ְ ל תאז
א ָ צ ְ מ ִ נ אֹל ם ִ א ְ ו .
“The koph of ה ָ ח ֳ קֽ ֻ ל lacks the strong dagesh in order to facilitate pronun-
ciation. The form is Pual, even though the Piel is not found.”
4 Genesis 4:26
ת ֤ ֵ שׁ ְ לוּ ֙ אוּה־ם ַ גּ ן ֵ֔ בּ־ד ַ לֻּ י א ֥ ָ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו וֹ ֖ מ ְ שׁ־ת ֶ א שׁוֹ ֑ נ ֱ א
And to Shet, to him also, there was born a son and he called his name
Enosh.
ד ַ לֻּ י appears to be Pual perf. 3 m.sg. However, the meaning (“there was
born”) is passive of the Qal (ד ַ לָ י = bear, bring forth, beget) and although
the Piel of ד ַ לָ י is attested, it has the meaning of “cause, help to bring forth,
assist, tend as midwife”. (the Piel participle f.sg. ת ֶ ד ֶ לַּ י ְ מ = “midwife”; see
Gen 35:17 etc).
5 Ezekiel 15:34
ה֑ ָ נּוּז א ֣ ֹל ךִ י ֖ ַ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו ךִ י ֔ ַ תוּנ ְ ז ַ ת ְ בּ ֙ םי ִ שָׁ נּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ך ֶ פ ֤ ֵ ה ך ָ֨ ב־י ִ הְ י ַ ו
And the contrary is in you from (other) women, in your fornications, but
fornication was not done (in going) after you.
ה֑ ָ נּוּז is apparently Pual perf. 3 m.sg. ה ָ נ ָ ז = “commit fornication, be a
harlot”, but the root ה ָ נ ָ ז is unattested in the Hebrew Bible in Piel and
occurs only here in ‘Pual’.
6 Job 33:21
י ִ פ ְ שׁוּ ] וּ ֥ פּ ֻ שׁ ְ ו [ ׃וּ ֽ א ֻ ר א ֣ ֹל וי ֗ ָ תוֹמ ְ צ ֝ ַ ע
152 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
His bones are laid bare, are not seen. (Ketib: י ִ פ ְ שׁוּ = “and bareness”)
(ה ָ פ ָ שׁ = sweep bare).
וּ ֽ א ֻ ר could be Pual perf. 3 c.pl. ה ָ א ָ ר, but this root is unattested in Piel in
the Hebrew Bible and this apparent ‘Pual’ is a Hapax, suggesting that it is
Qal passive.
II: Apparent Hophal imperfects
With regard to some verbal forms which are apparently Hophal imperfects,
see GK 53u: “According to Bottcher—and Barth (see above 52e) a number
of supposed imperfects Hophal are, in fact, imperfects of the passive of
Qal. As in the case of the perfects passive of Qal (see above, 52e) the ques-
tion is again of verbs of which neither the corresponding causative (i.e. here
the Hiphil), nor the tense of the same conjugation (i.e. here the perfect Ho-
phal) is found; —.”
In the following biblical verses, identify the verbal forms which could
be construed as Qal Passives and explain why.
1 Genesis 18:4
ֲ ח ַ ר ְ ו םִ י ֔ ַ מ־ט ַ ע ְ מ א֣ ָ נ־ח ֽ ַ קֻּ י ם֑ ֶ כי ֵ ל ְ ג ַ ר וּ ֖ צ
Let a little water be taken and wash your feet.
ח ֽ ַ קֻּ י appears to be Hophal imperf. 3 m.sg. ח ַ ק ָ ל = “he took”.
However, the corresponding Hiphil is not attested (i.e. ַ חי ִ ק ְ ל ִ ה/ ַ חי ִ קּ ִ ה), nor
the perfect of the ‘Hophal’. See GK 53u: “In point of fact it would be very
strange, especially in the case of ן ַ תֻּ י and ח ֽ ַ קֻּ י that of these frequently used
verbs, amongst all the forms of Hiphil and Hophal, only the imperfect Ho-
phal should have been preserved.” Waltke/O’Connor (22.6b) point out
(note 29) that the root lqh shows an apparent Pual eight times and an ap-
parent Hophal six times.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 153
2 Leviticus 11:38
׃םֽ ֶ כ ָ ל אוּ ֖ ה א ֥ ֵ מ ָ ט וי ֑ ָ ל ָ ע ם ֖ ָ ת ָ ל ְ ב ִ נּ ִ מ ל ֥ ַ פ ָ נ ְ ו ע ַ ר ֔ ֶ ז־ל ַ ע ֙ םִ י ֙ ַ מ־ן ַ תֻּ י י ֤ ִ כ ְ ו
But if any water be put upon the seed and any part of the carcass fall on it,
it shall be unclean.
ן ַ תֻּ י appears to be Hophal imperf. 3 m.sg. ן ַ ת ָ נ = “he gave”, but the
corresponding Hiphil is not attested (i.e. ןי ִ תּ ְ נ ִ ה/ןי ִ תּ ִ ה) and the ‘Hophal’
perfect does not occur. Moerover, the meaning is the passive of the Qal:
“he will be given/put”. The Niphal imperf. of ן ַ ת ָ נ is well attested. Note,
however, Ibn Ezra’s comment on Levit. 11:38, where he indicates that both
ן ַ תֻּ י and ח ַ קֻּ י are Hophals.
ַ תּוּי ת ַ לּ ִ מוּ וֹמ ְ כּ ן ) : ד חי תישארב ( םִ י ֔ ַ מ־ט ַ ע ְ מ א֣ ָ נ־ח ֽ ַ קֻּ י ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ֵ מ
ף ָ סוֹנּ ַ ה .
“The word ן ַ תֻּ י is like ח ֽ ַ קֻּ י (Gen 18:4) from the intensive/heavy
conjugation.”
3 Genesis 4:24
׃ה ֽ ָ ע ְ ב ִ שׁ ְ ו םי ֥ ִ ע ְ ב ִ שׁ ך ֶ מ֖ ֶ ל ְ ו ן ִ י ֑ ָ ק־ם ַ קֻּ י םִ י ֖ ַ ת ָ ע ְ ב ִ שׁ י ֥ ִ כּ
If Cain will be avenged sevenfold, then Lemech (will be avenged) seventy-
seven times.
ם ַ קֻּ י appears to be Hophal imperf. 3 m.sg. ם ַ קָ נ = “avenge, take
vengeance”.
However, neither the Hiphil nor the Hophal perfect are attested. (see also:
Gen 4:15; Ex 21:21).
154 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
III: Apparent Pual participle forms without preformative mem.
With regard to these apparent Pual participle forms, see GK 52s: “A few
examples occur of the participle Pual without the preformative ( ְ מ), e.g.
ל ָ כּ ֻ א (Ex 3:2); ד ָ לּוּי (for ד ָ לֻּ י ְ מ) Ju 13:8; ח ָ קּ ֻ ל 2 K 2:10; ה ָ ר ֲ עֹס Isa 54:11.
These participles are distinguished from the perfect (as in Niphal) by the a
of the final syllable.—Notice, however, Barth’s suggestion—that, as the
active of forms like ל ָ כּ ֻ א only occurs in Qal, they are perfect participles of
former passives of Qal.”
See also: JM 58b: “Corresponding to the perfect passive Qal ל ַ טּ ֻ ק there is a
participle ל ָ טּ ֻ ק, just as there is a participle ל ָ ט ְ קִ נ corresponding to the
perfect ל ַ ט ְ קִ נ. Thus one has ל ָ כּ ֻ א eaten, consumed, Ex. 3.2, corresponding
to the perfect ל ַ כּ ֻ א; ד ָ לוּי (for ד ָ לֻּ י) born, Jdg. 13.8 corresponding to the
perfect ד ַ לֻּ י; ח ָ קּ ֻ ל taken 2 Kg 2.10 corresponding to the perfect ח ַ קּ ֻ ל.”
In the following biblical verses, identify the verbal forms which could
be construed as Qal Passives and explain why.
1 II Kings 2:10 (Elijah to Elisha)
׃הֽ ֶ י ְ הִ י א ֥ ֹל ן ִ י ֖ ַ א־ם ִ א ְ ו ן ֔ ֵ כ ֣ ך ְ ל־י ֽ ִ הְ י ֙ ך ָ תּ ִ א ֽ ֵ מ ח ֤ ָ קּ ֻ ל י ֜ ִ תֹ א ה ֶ֨ א ְ ר ִ תּ־ם ִ א
If you will see me taken from you, it will be so for you, but if not, it shall
not be so.”
ח ֤ ָ קּ ֻ ל is a strange verbal form because it appears to have the form of a
Pual perf. 3 m.sg. However, the qamets under the ק is hard to explain since
the word does not carry a pausal accent. Furthermore, syntactically, a parti-
ciple form is required. Consequently, ח ֤ ָ קּ ֻ ל here is either a Qal passive par-
ticiple or it is equivalent to ח ָ קּ ֻ ל ְ מ, that is, Pual participle m.sg.
2 Exodus 3:2
׃ל ֽ ָ כּ ֻ א וּנּ֥ ֶ ני ֵ א ה֖ ֶ נ ְ סּ ַ ה ְ ו שׁ ֵ֔ א ָ בּ ר֣ ֵ עֹבּ ֙ ה ֶ נ ְ סּ ַ ה ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 155
And, behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
ל ֽ ָ כּ ֻ א appears to be Pual perf. 3 m.sg. pausal (the non-pausal form would be
ל ַ כּ ֻ א with patah in the second syllable). However, the verbal form
ל ֽ ָ כּ ֻ א here is preceded by ןי ֵ א as a negative and not by אֹל, indicating a
participle form. Furthermore, ל ֽ ָ כּ ֻ א possesses the passive force of the Qal,
ל ַ כ ָ א, which does not occur in the Piel in the Hebrew Bible. Consequently,
the form ל ֽ ָ כּ ֻ א here must be taken as Qal passive participle, although there
is a view (see GK 52s) that it is a shortened form of ל ָ כּ ֻ א ְ מ (Pual partici-
ple). The qamets in the last syllable is characteristic of all passive participles
(ל ָ ט ְ קִ נ/ל ָ טּ ֻ ק ְ מ/ל ָ ט ְ ק ָ מ) and compare ח ָ קּ ֻ ל above (1).
3 Judges 13:8 (words of Manoah to G-d)
׃דֽ ָ לּוּיּ ַ ה ר ַ ע֥ ַ נּ ַ ל ה ֖ ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ נּ־ה ֽ ַ מ
What shall we do to the child that will be born?
דֽ ָ לּוּיּ ַ ה could be a shortened form of ד ָ לֻּ יּ ְ מ ַ ה (Pual part. m.sg. + def. art.
ד ַ לָ י) but is likely to be Qal passive participle, since the Piel of ד ַ לָ י occurs
only with the meaning of “cause to bring forth, tend as midwife”, while the
Qal ד ַ לָ י = “bear, bring forth”. The definite article prefix makes it even less
likely that the form is a Pual perfect.
IV: Views of medieval scholars on the Qal Passive
See David Kimḥi’s Hebrew Grammar (Mikhlol) systematically presented
and critically annotated by William Chomsky. Published by Bloch Publish-
ing Company New York 1952. 24 k: Rem. 4, pp 88-89 and Chomsky’s edi-
torial note 146, p 103.
Radak points out the occurrence of some verbs in the Pual even though
there are no corresponding Piel forms. Radak then suggests that one may
create Piel forms on the basis of these Puals, as for example: ָ תּ ְ ע ַ בּ ִ ט םי ִ ד ֵ ז ְ ו
156 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“you have drowned the arrogant”and ע ַ בּ ִ ט תֹ מֹה ְ ת ִ בּ “he drowned (them)
in the deep”, (phrases found in Jewish synagogue liturgy, the former in the
prayer before the morning Amidah/Standing Prayer and the latter in the
prayer before the Evening Amidah/Standing Prayer) on the basis of Exo-
dus 15:4: וּע ְ בּ ֻ ט “they were sunk” (Pual perf.). Radak names Samuel ha-
Nagid (993-1055/6 CE, a prominent medieval Spanish Jewish scholar) who
regarded these ‘Pual’ forms as passives of the Qal. Chomsky gives a fasci-
nating editorial note (146) on this section of Radak, quoting Ibn Ezra’s
grammar treatise, “Moznaim” where Samuel ha-Nagid is quoted by Ibn
Ezra (Moz. 33a) with regard to ח ַ קֻּ י and ַ תֻּ י ן . These latter forms appear to
be imperfect Hophal, passive of Hiphil, and were regarded as such by Ibn
Janaḥ (c. 985 – 1040 CE) (a prominent medieval Spanish Jewish scholar
who wrote a grammar and a dictionary). However, Samuel ha-Nagid re-
garded ח ַ קֻּ י and ן ַ תֻּ י as Qal Passives, since the corresponding Hiphils are
not attested and in meaning they are passive of the Qal. i.e. ח ַ ק ָ ל = “he
took” > ח ַ קֻּ י = “he will be taken”; ן ַ ת ָ נ = “he gave” > ן ַ תֻּ י = “he will be
given”. Consequently, a serious controversy resulted between the Nagid and
Ibn Janaḥ, which is recorded by Ibn Barun (a medieval grammarian and
lexicographer) in Kitāb al-Muwazana, ed. Kokowzoff, p 12. Ibn Ezra, him-
self, however, disagreed with the Nagid and refers these forms to the
“heavy” conjugations (Piel and Hiphil). Chomsky concludes his note (146)
as follows: “This theory of the existence of a passive Kal in Hebrew was
revived and systematically elaborated in modern times, independently of the
older Hebrew grammarians, by Boettcher and particularly by Barth—.”
In conclusion, we may quote Jouon/Muraoka 58d, who explain why the
Qal Passive disappeared. “The passive Qal, some vestiges of which still re-
main, as we have seen, disappeared little by little from the linguistic con-
sciousness of Hebrew for the phonetic reasons indicated and also because
Nifal, having gradually assumed the passive meaning, had made it well-nigh
redundant.”
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 157
Glossary of rabbinic Hebrew grammatical terminology
תוֹיּ ִ תוֹא ר ָ קּ ִ ע ָ ה the root letters
ה ָ ר ְ ז ִ גּ n.f. > cstr. ת ַ ר ְ ז ִ גּ - root (lit. cutting, shape)
ד " א > ר ֵ ח ַ א ר ָ ב ָ דּ another interpretation
ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה (used by Ibn Ezra) the heavy conjugation/Piel
וֹנּ ַ ה ד ֵ ב ָ כּ ַ ה ן ָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ַ ה ף ָ ס (used by Ibn Ezra) the additional heavy conjuga-
tion/Hiphil
ם ַ ע ַ טּ ַ ה the meaning
וֹמ ְ ע ַ ט its meaning
ם ַ ע ַ ט “accent” (see Shadal on Isaiah 1:16)
ז ֵ עוֹלּ ַ ה strange, foreign language (in Rashi refers to Old French) (see
Psalm 114:1: ז ֵ עוֹל ם ַ ע ֵ מ)
ז ַ ע ַ ל foreign language (Old French in Rashi)
דוֹסְ י n.m. root > ַ ה דוֹסְ י ה ָ בי ֵ תּ = the root of the word (Rashi)
א ָ מי ֵ ת ְ ד וֹמ ְ כּ as it says
ן ֵ כ ָ תִּ י אֹל it is not possible/not likely
רוֹק ָ מ infinitive absolute (used by Radak)
ל ָ ק ְ שׁ ִ מ (morphological) pattern
ל ֶ ק ֶ שׁ (morphological) pattern (i.e. word pattern, formation)
ל ַ עוֹפּ verb
158 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ל ַ עוֹפּ א ֵ צוֹי transitive verb
ד ֵ מוֹע ל ַ עוֹפּ intransitive verb
וּד ְ מ ַ עַ י ְ ו וּא ְ צֵ יּ ֶ שׁ םי ִ ל ָ ע ְ פּ verbs that are both transitive and intransitive
לוּע ָ פּ direct object
י ל ַ עוֹפּ םי ִ לוּע ְ פּ י ֵ נ ְ שׁ ִ ל א ֵ צוֹ a transitive verb which takes two direct
objects
ל ַ עוֹפּ ד ֵ ב ָ כּ Piel
י ֵ ל ֳ ע ָ פּ ל ֶ פ ֶ כּ ַ ה double ‘ayin verbs (lit. verbs of doubling)
ה ָ בי ֵ תּ n.f. word
םוּגּ ְ ר ַ תּ lit. = “translation”, i.e. the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew
Bible.
Brief biographical sketches of medieval scholars
(in chronological order)
Menaḥem ibn Saruq (910 – 970 CE)
He wrote the first complete dictionary in Hebrew, called ם ֵ ח ַ נ ְ מ ת ֶ ר ֶ בּ ְ ח ַ מ,
and since it was written in Hebrew, it was very popular among the Jews of
Christian Europe who had no access to Arabic, unlike the Jews of the Span-
ish school, who were flourishing in the tolerant Islamic civilisation of Spain
at that time.
Judah ibn Ḥayyūj (950 – 1000 CE)
Native of Fas, who wrote in Arabic and who virtually discovered the basic
triconsonantal nature of the verbal stem. He was quoted twenty-three times
by Ibn Ezra in his commentaries.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 159
Jonah ibn Janaḥ (’Abu’l Walid ibn Merwan) (c. 985 – c. 1040)
Born in Cordova. He wrote a grammar and a dictionary, preserved both in
the Arabic original and in the Hebrew translation by Judah b. Tibbon. He
was often quoted by Ibn Ezra.
Samuel ha-Nagid (993 – 1055/6)
Vizier of Granada (medieval Muslim Spain). Notable for his high status
among both the Arabs and Jews of his time. Mainly a poet and halakhist.
Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Yishaki) (1040 – 1105)
Born in Troyes, France. It is crucial to remember that despite all the pro-
gress made by the end of the eleventh century in Hebrew grammar and
lexicography, the results were accessible only to those who knew Arabic,
thereby excluding the Jews of Christian Spain, France, Germany and Italy.
Hence, Rashi relied on ם ֵ ח ַ נ ְ מ ת ֶ ר ֶ בּ ְ ח ַ מ (see above), quoting it by name
more than one hundred and fifty times. However, despite its merit,
ת ֶ ר ֶ בּ ְ ח ַ מ ם ֵ ח ַ נ ְ מ posited uni, bi, tri, quadre, quinque consonantal radicals,
and as a result, Rashi’s grasp of the triconsonantal nature of the verbal stem
was incomplete. Nevertheless, in complete independence of the Spanish
school, Rashi founded a new school of exegesis in Northern France, which
endeavoured to arrive at a literal interpretation of the Bible, the peshaṭ, and
which used the old Midrashic exegesis selectively.
Joseph Kara (1050 – 1125 CE)
A colleague or student of Rashi in the peshaṭ school of N France. He wrote
commentaries on most of the books of the Bible, of which some have sur-
vived. Even more than Rashi, he moved away from reliance on midrashic
sources in his exegesis and applied the principles of contextual exegesis.
Rashbam (Rabbi Samuel ben Meir) (c. 1080-85 – c. 1174)
Commentator on Bible and Talmud. Born in Ramerupt in Northern France.
Studied under his grandfather, Rashi, in Troyes. He also wrote a grammati-
160 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
cal work, Sefer Daikut. His biblical commentaries (only his commentary on
the Pentateuch has come down almost in its entirety) are characterized by
devotion to the peshaṭ (literal meaning of the text).
Abraham ibn Ezra (1092 – 1167 CE)
Ibn Ezra left Spain in 1140 CE and for the rest of his life wandered over
Italy, Provence, Northern France and England. He excelled both as a bibli-
cal exegete and as a poet, but especially as a grammarian. His use of He-
brew meant that through his agency, all the Jewish philological research,
written in Arabic, became available to the Jews of Christian Europe. He
personally translated the most important works of Hayyuj (see above). He
also wrote several books on grammar:
םִ י ַ נ ְ זאֹמ , ת ַ פ ְ שׂ ר ֶ תֶ י , דוֹסְ י קוּדּ ְ ק ִ דּ ַ ה , תוֹח ַ צ , ה ָ פ ָ שׂ ה ָ רוּר ְ בּ .
Ibn Barun (c. 1100)
Hebrew grammarian and lexicographer. In his Kitāb al-Muwazana bayn al-
lugha al-‘Ibraniyya wa-al-‘Arabiyya (“The Book of Comparison between the
Hebrew and Arabic Language”) he developed the comparative linguistic
studies begun by Ibn Quraysh and others.
Rabbi David Kimḥi (Radak)
Born in Narbonne in 1160 CE. He wrote a two-part work called the Mik-
hlol, a combination of a Hebrew Grammar and a Dictionary. The Dictionary
was later issued separately as םי ִ שׁ ָ רוֹשּׁ ַ ה ר ֶ פ ֵ ס (“Book of Roots”). Radak
wrote Hebrew commentaries on many parts of the Bible, generally adhering
to the plain meaning (peshaṭ) and referring to a wide range of sources, in-
cluding Rashi, Ibn Ezra and his own father, Joseph Kimḥi.
PART ONE: THE VERB IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 161
Naḥmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Naḥman/Ramban) (1194 – 1270)
Born in Gerona, Spain, he was a halakhist and a biblical commentator, as
well as a physician, inheriting the scholarship of both N France and
Provence.
Isaiah ben Mali di Trani (the Elder, born c. 1200 CE?)
An outstanding Italian scholar.
Isaiah ben Elijah di Trani (the Younger, c. 1235 – 1300 CE)
Grandson of Isaiah ben Mali di Trani the Elder. There is some confusion
concerning some biblical commentaries which have been ascribed to di
Trani the Elder which perhaps should be ascribed to di Trani the Younger.
Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal) (1800 – 1865)
Italian scholar. Appointed Professor of the rabbinical college of Padua in
1829. He wrote Hebrew commentaries on many parts of the Hebrew Bible.
163
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL
HEBREW
INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE
In this section, the student is asked:
{i} to identify the Infinitive Absolute forms in the fifty biblical verses
reproduced here,
{ii} to discuss their form and use.
Explanatory notes are supplied at the end of the list of verses.
The selection of verses is designed to illustrate the various forms of
Infinitive Absolute in the different conjugations and also to illustrate the
various functions of Infinitive Absolute, which may briefly be summarized
as follows:
{i} a strengthening complement to finite verbs from the same root, placed
either before or after the finite verb. (Jouon/Muraoka describe this function
as “accusative of internal object either before or after the verb”, 123d).
{ii} an adverbial complement to finite verbs from a different root.
{iii} a substitute for any form of a finite verb:
{a}: without significant force when an inflected form has already been
used, i.e. in connected narrative or discourse.
{b}: with more force on its own without a preceding finite form, e.g.
in injunctions, in proverbial sayings, in descriptions or where the
action is to be vividly expressed.
164 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
{iv} as an English gerund (a verbal noun – part verb, part noun – that
functions as a noun in a clause). This is a rare use of the Infinitive
Absolute however.
The explanatory notes further clarify these usages.
The student should consult the reference grammar books in the
bibliography for further study.
Exercise: identify the Infinitive Absolute forms in the following
biblical verses. Discuss their form and use.
I: A strengthening complement to finite verbs from the same root,
placed either before or after the verb. (1-23).
1 Genesis 2:17
ץ ֗ ֵ ע ֵ מוּ ֙ ת ַ ע ֙ ַ דּ ַ ה בוֹ ֣ ט ע ֔ ָ ר ָ ו א ֥ ֹל ל֖ ַ כאֹת וּנּ ֑ ֶ מּ ִ מ י ֗ ִ כּ םוֹ ֛ י ְ בּ ֥ ך ְ ל ָ כ ֲ א וּנּ ֖ ֶ מּ ִ מ תוֹ ֥ מ
׃תוּ ֽ מ ָ תּ
But from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat from it,
for on the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.
2 I Samuel 9:6
א֤ ָ נ־ה ֵ נּ ִ ה ֙ םי ִ הל ֱ א־שׁי ִ א רי ֣ ִ ע ָ בּ תא ֔ ֹזּ ַ ה שׁי ֣ ִ א ָ ה ְ ו ד ָ֔ בּ ְ כ ִ נ ל ֥ ֹכּ ר֖ ֵ בּ ַ דְ י־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א אוֹ ֣ בּ
אוֹ ֑ בָ י
Behold, now, there is in this city a man of G-d, and the man is honourable;
all that he says will surely come about.
3 Exodus 21:28
וֹ ֥ שׁ ח ֨ ַ גּ ִ י־י ֽ ִ כ ְ ו א ֤ ֹל ְ ו רוֹ ֗ שּׁ ַ ה ל ֵ֜ ק ָ סִּ י לוֹ ֨ ק ָ ס ת ֑ ֵ מ ָ ו ה ֖ ָ שּׁ ִ א־ת ֶ א וֹ ֥ א שׁי ֛ ִ א־ת ֶ א ר
׃י ֽ ִ ק ָ נ רוֹ ֖ שּׁ ַ ה ל ַ ע ֥ ַ בוּ וֹ ֔ ר ָ שׂ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ֙ ל ֵ כ ָ אֵ י
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 165
If an ox gores a man or a woman and they die, the ox shall surely be stoned
and its flesh shall not be eaten, and the owner of the ox shall be free.
4 Jeremiah 32:4
ד֣ ַ י ְ בּ ֙ ן ֵ ת ָ נּ ִ י ן ֤ ֹ ת ָ נּ ִ ה י ֣ ִ כּ םי ֑ ִ דּ ְ שׂ ַ כּ ַ ה ד֣ ַ יּ ִ מ ט֖ ֵ ל ָ מִּ י א ֥ ֹל ה ֔ ָ דוּהְ י ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מ ֙ וּה ֙ ָ יּ ִ ק ְ ד ִ צ ְ ו
ל ֶ֔ ב ָ בּ־ך ֶ ל ֽ ֶ מ
And Zedekiah King of Judah shall not escape from the hand of the
Chaldeans, but he shall surely be delivered into the hand of the King of
Babylon.
5 Deuteronomy 7:26
ב ֥ ֵ ע ַ ת ְ ו וּנּ֛ ֶ צ ְ קּ ַ שׁ ְ תּ ץ ֧ ֵ קּ ַ שׁ וּה ֑ ֹ מ ָ כּ ם ֶ ר ֖ ֵ ח ָ תי ֥ ִ י ָ ה ְ ו ך ֔ ֶ תי ֵ בּ־ל ֶ א ֙ ה ָ ב ֵ עוֹ ֽ ת אי ֤ ִ ב ָ ת־אֹל ְ ו
׃אוּ ֽ ה ם ֶ ר ֥ ֵ ח־י ִ כּ וּנּ ֖ ֶ ב ֲ ע ַ ת ֽ ְ תּ
And you shall not bring an abomination into your house and become a
devoted thing like it, (but) you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly
abhor it, for it is a devoted thing.
6 Exodus 22:3
םִ י ֖ ַ נ ְ שׁ םי֑ ִ יּ ַ ח ה ֖ ֶ שׂ־ד ַ ע רוֹ ֛ מ ֲ ח־ד ַ ע רוֹ ֧ שּׁ ִ מ ה ָ֗ ב ֵ נ ְ גּ ַ ה וֹ ֜ דָ י ְ ב א ֨ ֵ צ ָ מּ ִ ת ֩ א ֵ צ ָ מּ ִ ה־ם ֽ ִ א
ֽ ֵ לּ ַ שְׁ י ׃ם
If the thing stolen shall indeed be found in his hand, whether ox or ass or
sheep, alive, he shall restore double.
7 Exodus 22:11
׃וי ֽ ָ ל ָ ע ְ ב ִ ל ם֖ ֵ לּ ַ שְׁ י וֹ ֑ מּ ִ ע ֵ מ ב֖ ֵ נ ָ גּ ִ י ב ֥ ֹ נ ָ גּ־ם ִ א ְ ו
166 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
But if it shall indeed be stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its
owner.
8 Genesis 37:8
וּפ ֤ ִ סוֹיּ ַ ו וּנ ֑ ָ בּ ל ֖ ֹשׁ ְ מ ִ תּ לוֹ ֥ שׁ ָ מ־ם ִ א וּני ֔ ֵ ל ָ ע ֙ ךל ְ מ ִ תּ ך ֤ ל ָ מ ֲ ה וי ָ֔ ח ֶ א ֙ וֹל וּר ְ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
וי ֽ ָ ר ָ ב ְ דּ־ל ַ ע ְ ו וי ֖ ָ תֹ מל ֲ ח־ל ַ ע וֹ ֔ תֹ א א ֣ ֹנ ְ שׂ ֙ דוֹע ׃
And his brothers said to him, ‘will you indeed reign over us or will you
indeed have dominion over us?’ And they hated him more for his dreams
and for his words.
9 Numbers 22:37
ה ָ מּ֥ ָ ל ך ֔ ָ ל־אֹר ְ ק ִ ל ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ ל ֵ א י ִ תּ ְ ח֤ ַ ל ָ שׁ ַ ח ֨ ל ָ שׁ ֩ אֹל ֲ ה ם ֗ ָ ע ְ ל ִ בּ־ל ֶ א ק ֜ ָ ל ָ בּ ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
ֽ ֶ ד ְ בּ ַ כּ ל֖ ַ כוּא א ֥ ֹל ם ֔ ָ נ ְ מ ֻ א ֽ ַ ה י ֑ ָ ל ֵ א ָ תּ ְ כ֖ ַ ל ָ ה־אֹל ׃ך
And Balak said to Balaam, ‘did I not indeed send to you to call you? Why
did you not come to me? Am I not indeed able to honour you?’
10 Numbers 23:11
ה֖ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ךי ֔ ִ תּ ְ ח ַ ק ְ ל ֙ י ַ בְ יֹ א ב ֤ ֹק ָ ל י ֑ ִ ל ָ תי ֖ ִ שׂ ָ ע ה ֥ ֶ מ ם ֔ ָ ע ְ ל ִ בּ־ל ֶ א ֙ ק ָ ל ָ בּ ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
ָ תּ ְ כ ֥ ַ ר ֵ בּ ׃ך ֽ ֵ ר ָ ב
And Balak said to Balaam, ‘what have you done to me? I took you to curse
my enemies and behold you have surely blessed (them)’.
11 II Kings 5:11
ָ ר ָ ק ְ ו ֙ ד ַ מ ָ ע ְ ו אוֹ ֗ צָ י א֣ ֵ צֵ י י֣ ַ ל ֵ א י ִ תּ ְ ר ֜ ַ מ ָ א ה ֨ ֵ נּ ִ ה ֩ ר ֶ מאֹיּ ַ ו ך֑ ַ לֵ יּ ַ ו ן ֖ ָ מ ֲ עַ נ ף ֥ ֹצ ְ קִ יּ ַ ו ֙ א
׃ע ֽ ָ רֹצ ְ מּ ַ ה ף ֥ ַ ס ָ א ְ ו םוֹ ֖ ק ָ מּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א וֹ ֛ דָ י ףי ֥ ִ נ ֵ ה ְ ו וי ָ֔ הל ֱ א ה֣ ָ והְ י־ם ֵ שׁ ְ בּ
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 167
And Na‘aman was angry and he went away, and he said, ‘behold I thought,
he will surely come out to me, and he will stand and call on the name of the
Lord his G-d, and he will wave his hand over the place and he will heal the
leper’.
12 Genesis 31:15
׃וּנ ֽ ֵ פּ ְ ס ַ כּ־ת ֶ א לוֹ ֖ כ ָ א־ם ַ גּ ל ַ כא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו וּנ ֑ ָ ר ָ כ ְ מ י ֣ ִ כּ וֹ ֖ ל וּנ ְ ב ֥ ַ שׁ ְ ח ֶ נ תוֹ ֛ יּ ִ ר ְ כ ָ נ אוֹ ֧ ל ֲ ה
Are we not accounted as foreigners to him, for he has sold us and has
indeed consumed our money.
13 Numbers 11:32
֙ וּפ ְ ס ַ אֽ ַ יּ ַ ו ת ֗ ָ ר ֳ ח ָ מּ ֽ ַ ה םוֹ ֣ י ל ֣ ֹכ ְ ו ה ָ לְ י ֜ ַ לּ ַ ה־ל ָ כ ְ ו אוּ ֨ ה ַ ה ֩ םוֹיּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ ם ֡ ָ ע ָ ה ם ָ ק ֣ ָ יּ ַ ו
ַ חוֹ ֔ ט ָ שׁ ֙ ם ֶ ה ָ ל וּ ֤ ח ְ ט ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו םי ֑ ִ ר ָ מ ֳ ח ה ֣ ָ ר ָ שׂ ֲ ע ף ֖ ַ ס ָ א טי ֕ ִ ע ְ מ ַ מּ ַ ה ו ֔ ָ ל ְ שּׂ ַ ה־ת ֶ א
׃הֽ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה תוֹ ֖ בי ִ ב ְ ס
And the people arose all that day and all the night and all the next day, and
they gathered the quails; he that gathered least gathered (a quantity of) ten
homer, and they kept spreading for themselves round the camp.
14 Genesis 8:7
צָ י א֤ ֵ צֵ יּ ַ ו ב ֑ ֵ רֹע ָ ֽ ה־ת ֶ א ח֖ ַ לּ ַ שְׁ י ַ ו ׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א ָ ה ל ֥ ַ ע ֵ מ םִ י ֖ ַ מּ ַ ה ת ֶ שׁ ֥ ֹבְ י־ד ַ ע בוֹ ֔ שׁ ָ ו ֙ אוֹ
And he sent forth the raven and it went out and back continually until the
waters were dried up from upon the earth.
15 II Kings 2:11
ְ ו ֙ שׁ ֵ א־ב ֶ כ ֽ ֶ ר ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ר ֵ֔ בּ ַ ד ְ ו ֙ ךוֹל ָ ה םי ֤ ִ כ ְ לֹ ה ה ָ מּ֣ ֵ ה י ִ֗ הְ י ַ ו ןי ֣ ֵ בּ וּד ֖ ִ ר ְ פַ יּ ַ ו שׁ ֵ֔ א י ֵ סוּ ֣ ס
׃םִ י ֽ ָ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה ה ֖ ָ ר ָ ע ְ ס ֽ ַ בּ וּה ֔ ָ יּ ִ ל֣ ֵ א ֙ ל ַ ע ֙ ַ יּ ַ ו ם ֑ ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ שׁ
168 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
They were walking along, talking as they went, and behold, there was a
chariot of fire and horses of fire, and they separated between the two of
them, and Elijah went up in the storm-wind to the Heavens.
16 Genesis 8:3
םי ֥ ִ שּׁ ִ מ ֲ ח ה ֕ ֵ צ ְ ק ִ מ םִ י ֔ ַ מּ ַ ה וּ ֣ ר ְ ס ְ חַ יּ ַ ו בוֹ ֑ שׁ ָ ו ךוֹ ֣ ל ָ ה ץ ֶ ר ֖ ָ א ָ ה ל ֥ ַ ע ֵ מ םִ י ֛ ַ מּ ַ ה וּב ֧ ֻ שָׁ יּ ַ ו
׃םוֹ ֽ י ת ֖ ַ א ְ מוּ
And the waters receded from upon the earth continually, and the waters
diminished at the end of one hundred and fifty days.
17 Genesis 12:9
׃ה ָ בּ ְ ג ֽ ֶ נּ ַ ה ַ עוֹ ֖ ס ָ נ ְ ו ךוֹ ֥ ל ָ ה ם ֔ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ע ֣ ַ סִּ יּ ַ ו
And Abram journeyed continually toward the South.
18 Genesis 26:13
׃ד ֽ ֹ א ְ מ ל ֖ ַ ד ָ ג־י ֽ ִ כּ ד ֥ ַ ע ל ֔ ֵ ד ָ ג ְ ו ֙ ךוֹל ָ ה ך ֶ ל֤ ֵ יּ ַ ו שׁי ֑ ִ א ָ ה ל ֖ ַ דְּ ג ִ יּ ַ ו
And the man became great and he continued becoming greater, until he was
very great.
19 Jeremiah 41:6
֙ י ִ הְ י ֽ ַ ו ה֑ ֶ כֹבוּ ך ֖ ל ָ ה ך֥ ֵ לֹה ה ֔ ָ פּ ְ צ ִ מּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ֙ ם ָ תא ָ ר ְ ק ִ ל ה֤ ָ י ְ נ ַ ת ְ נ־ן ֶ בּ לא ֨ ֵ ע ָ מ ְ שִׁ י א ֵ צֵ יּ ַ֠ ו
ם ֶ֔ הי ֵ ל ֲ א ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו ם ֔ ָ תֹ א שׁ ֣ ֹג ְ פ ִ כּ ׃ם ֽ ָ ק י ִ ח ֲ א־ן ֶ ב וּה֥ ָ י ְ ל ַ ד ְ גּ־ל ֶ א וּא ֖ ֹבּ
And Ishmael the son of Netanya went out from Mitspah to meet them,
weeping continually as he went, and it was, when he met them, that he said
to them, ‘Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam’.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 169
20 Isaiah 30:19
ם֛ ַ ע־י ִ כּ ןוֹ ֥ יּ ִ צ ְ בּ ב ֖ ֵ שֵׁ י ִ ם֑ ָ ל ָ שׁוּ ֽ רי ִ בּ וֹ ֣ כ ָ בּ ה ֗ ֶ כּ ְ ב ִ ת־א ֽ ֹל ןוֹ ֤ נ ָ ח ֙ ךְ נ ְ חָ י לוֹ ֣ ק ְ ל ך ֶ֔ ק ֲ ע ַ ז
וֹ ֖ ת ָ ע ְ מ ָ שׁ ְ כּ ׃ך ֽ ָ נ ָ ע
For, O people that dwells in Zion, in Jerusalem, you shall weep no more;
He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry, when He hears it,
He will answer you.
21 Amos 9:8
י֣ ֵ נ ְ פּ ל֖ ַ ע ֵ מ הּ ֔ ָ תֹ א י ֣ ִ תּ ְ ד ַ מ ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו ה ָ֔ א ָ טּ ַ ח ֽ ַ ה ֙ ה ָ כ ָ ל ְ מ ַ מּ ַ בּ ה ִ֗ והְ י י֣ ָ נֹד ֲ א י֣ ֵ ני ֵ ע ה ֞ ֵ נּ ִ ה
׃הֽ ָ והְ י־ם ֻ א ְ נ ב ֖ ֹק ֲ עַ י תי ֥ ֵ בּ־ת ֶ א די ֛ ִ מ ְ שׁ ַ א די ֥ ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה א ֣ ֹל י ֠ ִ כּ ס ֶ פ ֶ֗ א ה ֑ ָ מ ָ ד ֲ א ָ ה
Behold, the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom, and I shall
destroy it from upon the face of the earth, except that I will not utterly
destroy the House of Jacob, says the Lord.
22 Numbers 11:15
֔ ֹר ָ ה ֙ א ָ נ י ִ נ֤ ֵ ג ְ ר ָ ה י ֗ ִ לּ ה ֶ שׂ ֣ ֹע־ ְ תּ ַ א ה ָ כ֣ ָ כּ־ם ִ א ְ ו ךי֑ ֶ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ ן ֖ ֵ ח י ִ תא ֥ ָ צ ָ מ־ם ִ א ג
׃י ֽ ִ ת ָ ע ָ ר ְ בּ ה ֖ ֶ א ְ ר ֶ א־ל ַ א ְ ו
And if thus You are doing to me, please kill me, if I have found favour in
Your eyes, and let me not see my evil.
23 Genesis 46:4
־ם ַ ג ֣ ך ְ ל ַ ע ֽ ַ א י ֖ ִ כֹ נ ָ א ְ ו ה ָ מְ י ֔ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ֙ ך ְ מּ ִ ע ד ֤ ֵ ר ֵ א י ֗ ִ כֹ נ ָ א וֹ ֖ דָ י תי ֥ ִ שָׁ י ף ֵ֕ סוֹי ְ ו ה ֑ ל ָ ע
׃ךיֽ ֶ ני ֵ ע־ל ַ ע


170 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
I will go down with you to Egypt and I will also surely bring you up, and
Joseph will place his hand on your eyes.
II: An adverbial complement to finite verbs from a different root
(24-26).
24 I Samuel 3:12
ל ֖ ֵ ח ָ ה וֹ ֑ תי ֵ בּ־ל ֶ א י ִ תּ ְ ר ֖ ַ בּ ִ דּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א־ל ָ כּ ת ֛ ֵ א י ֔ ִ ל ֵ ע־ל ֶ א םי ֣ ִ ק ָ א ֙ אוּה ַ ה םוֹ ֤ יּ ַ בּ
׃הֽ ֵ לּ ַ כ ְ ו
On that day I will fulfill for Eli all that I have said concerning his house,
from beginning to end.
25 I Samuel 26:21
ְ בּ בוּ ֣ שׁ י ִ תא ָ֜ ט ָ ח לוּ ֨ א ָ שׁ ֩ ר ֶ מאֹיּ ַ ו ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ֠ ַ תּ דוֹ ֔ ע ֙ ך ְ ל ע ֤ ַ ר ָ א־א ֽ ֹל י ֠ ִ כּ ד ִ֗ ו ָ ד־י ֽ ִ נ
׃ד ֽ ֹ א ְ מ ה ֥ ֵ בּ ְ ר ַ ה ה֖ ֶ גּ ְ שׁ ֶ א ָ ו י ִ תּ ְ ל֛ ַ כּ ְ ס ִ ה ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה םוֹ ֣ יּ ַ ה ךי֖ ֶ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ י ֛ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ה ֥ ָ ר ְ קָ י
And Saul said, ‘I have sinned, return, my son, David, for I will no longer
harm you, because my life was precious in your sight this day; behold, I
have acted foolishly and have erred greatly’.
26 Exodus 32:8
֙ וֹל־וּו ֲ ח ֽ ַ תּ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו ה֑ ָ כ ֵ סּ ַ מ ל ֶ ג ֖ ֵ ע ם ֶ֔ ה ָ ל וּ ֣ שׂ ָ ע ם ֔ ִ תי ִ וּ ִ צ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ך ֶ ר ֙ ֶ דּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ר ֵ֗ ה ַ מ וּר ֣ ָ ס
ֱ א ה ֶ לּ ֤ ֵ א וּ ֔ ר ְ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו וֹ ֔ ל־וּח ְ בּ ְ ז ִ יּ ַ ו ׃םִ י ֽ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א ֵ מ ךוּ ֖ ל ֱ ע ֶ ֽ ה ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ הל
They have turned aside quickly from the way which I commanded them,
they have made for themselves a molten calf and they have bowed down to
it and sacrificed to it and they said: ‘these are your gods, O Israel, who
brought you up from the land of Egypt’.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 171
III: Infinitive Absolute as a substitute for any form of a finite verb
(27-44).
27 Judges 7:19
ת ֶ ר ֣ ֹ מ ְ שׁ ַ א ָ ה שׁא ֚ ֹר ה ֗ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה ה֣ ֵ צ ְ ק ִ בּ וֹ ֜ תּ ִ א־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א שׁי ִ֨ א־ה ָ א ֵ מוּ ןוֹע ְ דִ֠ ג א ֣ ֹבָ יּ ַ ו
֔ ָ נוֹכי ֽ ִ תּ ַ ה ץוֹ ֥ פ ָ נ ְ ו תוֹ ֔ ר ָ פוֹ ֣ שּׁ ַ בּ ֙ וּע ְ ק ְ תִ יּ ֽ ַ ו םי ֑ ִ ר ְ מ ֽ ֹשּׁ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וּמי ֖ ִ ק ֵ ה ם ֥ ֵ ק ָ ה ך ֛ ַ א ה
׃ם ֽ ָ דָ י ְ בּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א םי ֖ ִ דּ ַ כּ ַ ה
So Gideon and the hundred men with him came to the edge of the camp, at
the beginning of the middle watch, (when) they had just stationed the
sentinels, and they blew the trumpets and shattered the pitchers which were
in their hand(s).
28 Exodus 8:11
ם ֑ ֶ ה ֵ ל ֲ א ע ֖ ַ מ ָ שׁ א ֥ ֹל ְ ו וֹ ֔ בּ ִ ל־ת ֶ א ֙ ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו ה ָ֔ ח ָ ו ְ ר ֽ ָ ה ֙ ה ָ תְ י ֽ ָ ה י ֤ ִ כּ ה ֗ ֹע ְ ר ַ פּ א ְ ר ֣ ַ יּ ַ ו
׃הֽ ָ והְ י ר ֥ ֶ בּ ִ דּ ר ֖ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ
And Pharoah saw that there was respite and he hardened his heart, and he
did not listen to them, as the Lord had spoken.
29 Genesis 41:43
ןוֹ ֣ ת ָ נ ְ ו ך ֑ ֵ ר ְ ב ַ א וי֖ ָ נ ָ פ ְ ל וּ ֥ א ְ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו וֹ ֔ ל־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ה ֶ נ ְ שׁ ִ מּ ַ ה ת ֶ ב֤ ֶ כּ ְ ר ִ מ ְ בּ וֹ ֗ תֹ א ב֣ ֵ כּ ְ רַ יּ ַ ו
׃םִ י ֽ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א־ל ָ כּ ל֖ ַ ע וֹ ֔ תֹ א
And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had and they
called out before him Avrekh and they placed him over the whole land of
Egypt.


172 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
30 Zechariah 3:4
ָ ע ֵ מ םי ֖ ִ אֹצּ ַ ה םי ֥ ִ דָ ג ְ בּ ַ ה וּרי ֛ ִ ס ָ ה ר ֔ ֹ מא ֵ ל ֙ וי ָ נ ָ פ ְ ל םי ֣ ִ ד ְ מֹע ָ ה־ל ֶ א ר ֶ מא ֗ ֹיּ ַ ו ן ַ ע֣ ַ יּ ַ ו וי ֑ ָ ל
׃תוֹ ֽ צ ָ ל ֲ ח ַ מ ֖ ך ְ תֹ א שׁ ֥ ֵ בּ ְ ל ַ ה ְ ו ך ֔ ֶ נֹו ֲ ע ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ ל ָ ע ֵ מ י ִ תּ ְ ר֤ ַ ב ֱ ע ֶ ה ה ֵ֨ א ְ ר וי ֗ ָ ל ֵ א ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And he answered and he spoke to those who stood before him, saying,
‘remove the filthy garments from upon him’, and he said to him, ‘see, I
have caused your iniquity to pass from upon you and I will clothe you with
robes’.
31 Ecclesiastes 9:11
םי ֣ ִ רוֹבּ ִ גּ ַ ל א ֧ ֹל ְ ו ץוֹ ֜ ר ֵ מּ ַ ה םי ֨ ִ לּ ַ קּ ַ ל ֩ אֹל י ֣ ִ כּ שׁ ֶ מ ֗ ֶ שּׁ ַ ה־ת ַ ח ֽ ַ ת ה ֣ ֹ א ָ ר ְ ו י ִ תּ ְ ב ֜ ַ שׁ
ם ֨ ַ ג ְ ו ֙ ם ֶ ח֙ ֶ ל םי ֥ ִ מ ָ כ ֲ ח ַ ל א ֣ ֹל ם ַ גְ֠ ו ה ֗ ָ מ ָ ח ְ ל ִ מּ ַ ה א ֥ ֹל ם֛ ַ ג ְ ו ר ֶ שׁ ֔ ֹע ֙ םי ִ נֹב ְ נּ ַ ל א ֤ ֹל
׃םֽ ָ לּ ֻ כּ־ת ֶ א ה ֥ ֶ ר ְ קִ י עַ ג ֖ ֶ פ ָ ו ת ֥ ֵ ע־י ִ כּ ן ֑ ֵ ח םי ֖ ִ ע ְ דֹיּ ַ ל
I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the
battle to the strong, nor even is bread to the wise, nor wealth to men of
understanding nor favour to men of skill, but time and chance happens to
them all.
32 Jeremiah 14:5
׃א ֶ שׁ ֽ ֶ דּ ה֖ ָ י ָ ה־א ֽ ֹל י ֥ ִ כּ בוֹ ֑ ז ָ ע ְ ו ה ֖ ָ ד ְ לָ י ה ֔ ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ בּ ֙ ת ֶ ל ֙ ֶ יּ ַ א־ם ַ ג י ֤ ִ כּ
Even the hind in the field gives birth and (then) abandons (its young),
because there is no grass.
33 Jeremiah 32:44
ן ֜ ִ מָ י ְ נ ִ בּ ץ ֶ ר ֶ֨ א ְ בּ ֒ םי ִ ד ֵ ע ד֣ ֵ ע ָ ה ְ ו ֮ םוֹת ָ ח ְ ו ר ֶ פ ֥ ֵ סּ ַ בּ בוֹ ֨ ת ָ כ ְ ו וּ ֗ נ ְ קִ י ף ֶ ס֣ ֶ כּ ַ בּ תוֹ ֞ ד ָ שׂ
ָ ע ְ בוּ ה֖ ָ ל ֵ פ ְ שּׁ ַ ה י ֥ ֵ ר ָ ע ְ בוּ ר ָ֔ ה ָ ה י ֣ ֵ ר ָ ע ְ בוּ ֙ ה ָ דוּהְ י י ֤ ֵ ר ָ ע ְ בוּ ִ ם ֗ ַ ל ָ שׁוּרְ י י ֣ ֵ בי ִ ב ְ ס ִ בוּ י ֣ ֵ ר
ם ֖ ָ תוּב ְ שׁ־ת ֶ א בי ֥ ִ שׁ ָ א־י ֽ ִ כּ ב ֶ ג ֑ ֶ נּ ַ ה
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 173
They will buy fields with money and they will write (it) in the book and they
will seal (it) and they will call witnesses in the land of Benjamin and in the
surroundings of Jerusalem and in the cities of Judah and in the cities of the
mountain and in the cities of the Lowland and in the cities of the South, for
I will return their captivity.
34 Esther 8:8
וּ ֖ מ ְ ת ִ ח ְ ו ך ֶ ל ֔ ֶ מּ ַ ה ם ֣ ֵ שׁ ְ בּ ֙ ם ֶ כי ֵ ני ֽ ֵ ע ְ בּ בוֹ ֤ טּ ַ כּ םי ִ֜ דוּהְ יּ ַ ה־ל ַ ע וּ ֨ ב ְ ת ִ כּ ם ֶ תּ ַ אְ֠ ו
ְ בּ ת ַ ע ֥ ַ בּ ַ ט ְ בּ םוֹ ֛ תּ ְ ח ַ נ ְ ו ך ֶ ל ֗ ֶ מּ ַ ה־ם ֵ שׁ ְ בּ ב ֣ ָ תּ ְ כ ִ נ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֞ ָ ת ְ כ־י ֽ ִ כּ ך ֶ ל ֑ ֶ מּ ַ ה ת ַ ע֣ ַ בּ ַ ט
׃בי ֽ ִ שׁ ָ ה ְ ל ןי ֥ ֵ א ך ֶ ל ֖ ֶ מּ ַ ה
And you write about the Jews as is good in your eyes in the name of the
King, and seal (it) with the ring of the King, for a writing which is written
in the name of the King and sealed with the ring of the King, one cannot
revoke.
35 Exodus 20:8
וֹ ֽ שׁ ְ דּ ַ ק ְ ל ת ֖ ָ בּ ַ שּׁ ַ ה םוֹ ֥ י־ת ֶ א ֩ רוֹ ֛ כ ָ ז
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
36 Deuteronomy 5:12
רוֹ ֛ מ ָ שׁ ְ דּ ַ ק ְ ל ת ֖ ָ בּ ַ שּׁ ַ ה ֩ םוֹ ֥ י־ת ֶ א וֹ ֑ שׁ
Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it.
37 Jeremiah 2:2
ד ֶ ס ֣ ֶ ח ֙ ך ָ ל י ִ תּ ְ ר֤ ַ כ ָ ז ה ָ֔ והְ י ר ֣ ַ מ ָ א ה ֚ ֹכּ ר ֗ ֹ מא ֵ ל ִ ם ֜ ַ ל ָ שׁוּרְ י ֙ י ֵ נ ְ ז ָ א ְ ב ֩ ָ תא ָ ר ֽ ָ ק ְ ו ך ֡ ל ָ ה
ץ ֶ ר ֖ ֶ א ְ בּ ר ָ֔ בּ ְ ד ִ מּ ַ בּ ֙ י ַ ר ֲ ח ַ א ך ֤ ֵ תּ ְ כ ֶ ל ךִ י ֑ ָ תלוּל ְ כּ ת ֖ ַ ב ֲ ה ַ א ךִ י ֔ ַ רוּעְ נ ׃ה ֽ ָ עוּר ְ ז א ֥ ֹל
174 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Go and call in the ears of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, I
remember for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your nuptials,
when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown’.
38 Deuteronomy 31:26
ַ ח ֗ ֹק ָ ל ה֖ ָ והְ י־תי ִ ר ְ בּ ןוֹ ֥ ר ֲ א ד֛ ַ צּ ִ מ וֹ ֔ תֹ א ם ֣ ֶ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ ְ ו ה ֔ ֶ זּ ַ ה ֙ ה ָ רוֹתּ ַ ה ר ֶ פ ֤ ֵ ס ת ֣ ֵ א
׃ד ֽ ֵ ע ְ ל ֖ ך ְ בּ ם ֥ ָ שׁ־הָ י ֽ ָ ה ְ ו ם֑ ֶ כי ֵ הל ֱ א
Take this book of the Law and you shall place it beside the Ark of the
Covenant of the Lord your G-d, and it shall be there as a witness against
you.
39 Deuteronomy 1:16
ם ֣ ֶ תּ ְ ט ַ פ ְ שׁוּ ֙ ם ֶ כי ֵ ח ֲ א־ןי ֵ בּ ַ ע ֤ ֹ מ ָ שׁ ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל או ֖ ִ ה ַ ה ת ֥ ֵ ע ָ בּ ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ ט ְ פ ֣ ֹשׁ־ת ֶ א ֙ ה ֶ וּ ַ צ ֲ א ָ ו
ק ֶ ד ֔ ֶ צ
And I commanded your judges at that time saying, ‘hear (the claims)
between your brothers and you shall judge justly’.
40 Hosea 4:2
׃וּעֽ ָ ג ָ נ םי ֖ ִ מ ָ ד ְ בּ םי ֥ ִ מ ָ ד ְ ו וּצ ֕ ָ ר ָ פּ ף ֑ ֹ א ָ נ ְ ו ב ֖ ֹ נ ָ ג ְ ו ַ ח ֥ ֹצ ָ ר ְ ו שׁ ֵ֔ ח ַ כ ְ ו ה ֣ ל ָ א
There is swearing and lying and killing and stealing and committing
adultery; they break all bounds and blood touches blood.
41 Jeremiah 7:9
םי ֥ ִ הל ֱ א י ֛ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ך ֗ ל ָ ה ְ ו ל ַ ע֑ ָ בּ ַ ל ר ֣ ֵ טּ ַ ק ְ ו ר ֶ ק ֖ ֶ שּׁ ַ ל ַ ע ֥ ֵ ב ָ שּׁ ִ ה ְ ו ף ֗ ֹ א ָ נ ֽ ְ ו ַ ח ֨ ֹצ ָ ר ב ֤ ֹ נ ָ ג ֲ ה
׃ם ֽ ֶ תּ ְ ע ַ דְ י־א ֽ ֹל ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א םי ֖ ִ ר ֵ ח ֲ א
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 175
Will you steal, murder and commit adultery and swear falsely and burn in-
cense to Baal, and will you go after other gods which you do not know?
42 Jeremiah 3:1
בוּ ֤ שָׁ י ֲ ה ר ֵ֗ ח ַ א־שׁי ִ א ְ ל ה ֣ ָ תְ י ָ ה ְ ו וֹ ֜ תּ ִ א ֵ מ ה ֨ ָ כ ְ ל ָ ה ְ ו ֩ וֹתּ ְ שׁ ִ א־ת ֶ א שׁי ֣ ִ א ח֣ ַ לּ ַ שְׁ י ן ֣ ֵ ה
םי ִ֔ בּ ַ ר םי ֣ ִ ע ֵ ר ֙ תי ִ נ ָ ז ְ תּ ַ֗ א ְ ו אי ֑ ִ ה ַ ה ץ ֶ ר ֣ ָ א ָ ה ף ֖ ַ נ ֱ ח ֶ תּ ףוֹ ֥ נ ָ ח אוֹ ֛ ל ֲ ה דוֹ ֔ ע ֙ ָ הי ֙ ֶ ל ֵ א
֥ שׁ ְ ו י ֖ ַ ל ֵ א בוֹ
If a man sends away his wife and she goes from him and becomes another
man’s, can he return to her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted?
And you have played the harlot with many lovers, and will you return to
me?
43 Numbers 15:35
֤ ֹיּ ַ ו ֙ םי ִ נ ָ ב ֲ א ֽ ָ ב וֹ ֤ תֹ א םוֹ ֨ ג ָ ר שׁי ֑ ִ א ָ ה ת ֖ ַ מוּי תוֹ ֥ מ ה ֔ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י ר ֶ מא
׃הֽ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּֽ ַ ל ץוּ ֖ ח ִ מ ה ֔ ָ ד ֵ ע ֣ ָ ה־ל ָ כּ
And the Lord said to Moses, the man shall surely be put to death; all the
congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.
44 Deuteronomy 15:2
וּה֑ ֵ ע ֵ ר ְ בּ ה ֖ ֶ שַּׁ י ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א וֹ ֔ דָ י ה ֣ ֵ שּׁ ַ מ ֙ ל ַ ע ֙ ַ בּ־ל ָ כּ טוֹ ֗ מ ָ שׁ ֒ ה ָ טּ ִ מ ְ שּׁ ַ ה ר֣ ַ ב ְ דּ ֮ ה ֶ ז ְ ו
׃הֽ ָ והי ֽ ַ ל ה ֖ ָ טּ ִ מ ְ שׁ א ֥ ָ ר ָ ק־י ֽ ִ כּ וי ִ֔ ח ָ א־ת ֶ א ְ ו ֙ וּה ֙ ֵ ע ֵ ר־ת ֶ א שׂ ֤ ֹגּ ִ י־א ֽ ֹל
And this is the manner of the release; every creditor (lit. every possessor of
a loan of his hand) who lends to his neighbour, he shall not exact (it of) his
neighbour and his brother, for he has proclaimed a release to the Lord.
176 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
IV: Use of Infinitive Absolute as an English gerund (a verbal noun –
part verb, part noun – that functions as a noun in a clause) (45-
50).
45 Proverbs 28:21
׃ר ֶ בֽ ָ גּ־ע ַ שׁ ְ פִ י ם ֶ ח ֗ ֶ ל־ת ַ פּ־ל ַ ע ְ ו בוֹ ֑ ט־אֹל םי ֥ ִ נ ָ פּ־ר ֵ כּ ֽ ַ ה
Showing partiality (in judgment) is not good; for a morsel of bread, a man
will sin.
46 Isaiah 1:17
וּבי ֖ ִ ר םוֹ ֔ תָ י וּ ֣ ט ְ פ ִ שׁ ץוֹ ֑ מ ָ ח וּ ֣ ר ְ שּׁ ַ א ט ֖ ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ וּ ֥ שׁ ְ ר ִ דּ ב ֛ ֵ טי ֵ ה וּ ֥ ד ְ מ ִ ל ׃הֽ ָ נ ָ מ ְ ל ַ א
Learn to do well, seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the orphan, plead
for the widow.
47 Isaiah 42:24
ה ֶ סוֹשׁ ְ מ ִ ל ן ֨ ַ ת ָ נ־י ֽ ִ מ ] ה ֧ ָ סּ ִ שׁ ְ מ ִ ל [ וּ֚ז ה֑ ָ והְ י אוֹ ֣ ל ֲ ה םי ֖ ִ ז ְ זֹב ְ ל ל ֥ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ְ ו ב ֛ ֹק ֲ עַ י
֤ ב ָ א־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו וֹ ֔ ל וּנא ֣ ָ ט ָ ח ׃וֹ ֽ ת ָ רוֹת ְ בּ וּ ֖ ע ְ מ ָ שׁ א ֥ ֹל ְ ו ךוֹ ֔ ל ָ ה ֙ וי ָ כ ָ ר ְ ד ִ ב וּ
Who gave Jacob for a spoil and Israel to robbers? Was it not the Lord,
against Whom we have sinned, and they were not willing to walk in His
ways and they did not listen to His Law.
48 Isaiah 22:13
ה֣ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ג ֤ ֹר ָ ה ה ָ֗ ח ְ מ ִ שׂ ְ ו ןוֹ ֣ שׂ ָ שׂ ן ִ י ֑ ָ י תוֹ ֣ ת ָ שׁ ְ ו ר ֖ ָ שׂ ָ בּ ל ֥ ֹכ ָ א ןא ֔ ֹצ ט ֣ ֹח ָ שׁ ְ ו ֙ ר ָ ק ָ בּ
׃תוּ ֽ מ ָ נ ר ֖ ָ ח ָ מ י ֥ ִ כּ וֹ ֔ ת ָ שׁ ְ ו לוֹ ֣ כ ָ א
And behold there is joy and gladness, slaying cattle and killing sheep, eating
meat and drinking wine; let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 177
49 I Samuel 1:9
֙ ב ֵ שֹׁי ן ֵ֗ הֹכּ ַ ה י ֣ ִ ל ֵ ע ְ ו ה ֑ ֹ ת ָ שׁ י ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו ה ֖ ל ִ שׁ ְ ב ה֥ ָ ל ְ כ ָ א י ֛ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ה ֔ ָ נּ ַ ח ם ָ ק ֣ ָ תּ ַ ו
׃הֽ ָ והְ י ל֥ ַ כי ֵ ה ת֖ ַ זוּז ְ מ־ל ַ ע א ֵ֔ סּ ִ כּ ַ ה־ל ַ ע
And Hannah arose after eating in Shiloh and after drinking, and Eli the
priest was sitting on the chair by the doorpost of the Temple of the Lord.
50 II Kings 13:17
ר ֶ מא ֗ ֹיּ ַ ו רוֹ ֔ יּ ַ ו ֙ ה ֵ רְ י ע ֤ ָ שׁי ִ ל ֱ א ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו ח ֑ ָ תּ ְ פִ יּ ַ ו ה ָ מ ְ ד ֖ ֵ ק ןוֹ ֛ לּ ַ ח ַ ה ח ֧ ַ ת ְ פּ ר ֶ מא ֗ ֹיּ ַ ו
ִ כּ ִ ה ְ ו ם ֔ ָ ר ֲ א ֽ ַ ב ה֣ ָ עוּשׁ ְ תּ ץ ֣ ֵ ח ְ ו ֙ ה ָ והי ֽ ַ ל ה֤ ָ עוּשׁ ְ תּ־ץ ֵ ח ק֖ ֵ פ ֲ א ַ בּ ם ֛ ָ ר ֲ א־ת ֶ א ֧ ָ תי
׃הֽ ֵ לּ ַ כּ־ד ַ ע
And he said, ‘open the window eastward’ and he opened (it); and Elisha
said, ‘shoot’ and he shot; and he said, ‘an arrow of deliverance for the Lord
and an arrow of deliverance from Aram; and you shall strike Aram
completely in Aphek’.
Explanatory notes to identify infinitive absolute forms
1 תוּ ֽ מ ָ תּ תוֹ ֥ מ Qal; תוּמ; inf. abs. followed by Qal imperf. 2 m.sg. The
inf. abs. serves as strengthening or emphasizing complement before
the verb. Here it strengthens the certainty of the threat. “You shall
surely die”.
2 אוֹ ֑ בָ י אוֹ ֣ בּ Qal; אוב; inf. abs. followed by Qal imperf. 3 m.sg.
emphasizes certainty of fulfillment. Saul’s servant is speaking to Saul
when Saul despaired of finding the lost asses belonging to his father,
Kish. “(it) will surely come about”.
3 ל ֵ֜ ק ָ סִּ י לוֹ ֨ ק ָ ס Qal; לקס; note that although the stem of the inf. abs.
is oftenest of the same stem as the finite verb, nevertheless the inf.
abs. Qal expresses the idea of the verb in general and may be joined
178 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
with any other stem. Here, inf. abs. Qal gives emphasis to the injunc-
tion conveyed by the Niphal imperf. ל ֵ ק ָ סִּ י “the ox shall surely be
stoned”. ח ַ ג ָ נ = “gore”. Note also the use of ת ֶ א - in this verse. For
ה ֖ ָ שּׁ ִ א־ת ֶ א וֹ ֥ א שׁי ֛ ִ א־ת ֶ א see GK 117d: “On the other hand ת ֵ א
occurs very seldom in prose before a noun actually or apparently
undetermined. In Ex. 21:28—perhaps the ־ת ֶ א is used in order to
avoid the combination שׁי ִ א רוֹשׁ—.” For וֹ ֔ ר ָ שׂ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ֙ ל ֵ כ ָ אֵ י א ֤ ֹל ְ ו see
GK 121b: “—The passive, however, is also used impersonally (in the
3rd sing. masc.), —more frequently with the object of the active
construction still subordinated in the accusative, e.g. Gen. 27:42: ד֣ ַ גּ ֻ יּ ַ ו
ו ֖ ָ שׂ ֵ ע י ֥ ֵ ר ְ ב ִ דּ־ת ֶ א ה ָ֔ ק ְ ב ִ ר ְ ל “and there were told (i.e. one told) to
Rebekah the words of Esau”.
4 ֙ ן ֵ ת ָ נּ ִ י ן ֤ ֹ ת ָ נּ ִ ה י ֣ ִ כּ Niphal; ןתנ; The inf. abs. before the finite verb
(Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. ן ֵ ת ָ נּ ִ י) emphasizes the antithesis introduced by
י ֣ ִ כּ after the preceding negative clause. “He will not escape BUT he will
surely be delivered”. Note that both inf. abs. and finite verb are of the
same stem.
5 ץ ֧ ֵ קּ ַ שׁ וּנּ֛ ֶ צ ְ קּ ַ שׁ ְ תּ Piel; ץקשׁ = “detest”
וּנּ ֖ ֶ ב ֲ ע ַ ת ֽ ְ תּ ב ֥ ֵ ע ַ ת ְ ו Piel; בעת = “abhor”
Here, both inf. abs. forms (each before a finite verb of the same stem) em-
phasize the antithesis following the preceding negative clause, although
there is no introductory antithetical particle as in no 4 above. “And you
shall not bring—BUT (implied) you shall utterly detest it and you shall ut-
terly abhor it”.
6 ִ ה א ֨ ֵ צ ָ מּ ִ ת ֩ א ֵ צ ָ מּ Niphal; אצמ; here, the inf. abs. before the finite
verb gives emphasis to the supposition. Both the inf. abs. and the fi-
nite form are Niphal. “If —shall indeed be found”.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 179
7 ָ גּ־ם ִ א ְ ו ב ֥ ֹ נ ב֖ ֵ נ ָ גּ ִ י Qal; בנג; but the finite verb is Niphal (ב֖ ֵ נ ָ גּ ִ י). The
inf. abs. before the finite verb emphasizes the supposition. “But if it
shall indeed be stolen”.
8 וּני ֔ ֵ ל ָ ע ֙ ךל ְ מ ִ תּ ך ֤ ל ָ מ ֲ ה Qal; ךלמ; the inf. abs. before the finite verb
strengthens the question.
לוֹ ֥ שׁ ָ מ־ם ִ א ל ֖ ֹשׁ ְ מ ִ תּ וּנ ֑ ָ בּ Qal; לשׁמ; the inf. abs. before the finite verb
strengthens the question.
Note the method for asking an alternative question: ם ִ א— ֲ ה
9 י ִ תּ ְ ח֤ ַ ל ָ שׁ ַ ח ֨ ל ָ שׁ ֩ אֹל ֲ ה Qal; חלשׁ; The inf. abs. before the finite
verb strengthens the question. “Did I not indeed send—?”
10 ך ֽ ֵ ר ָ ב ָ תּ ְ כ ֥ ַ ר ֵ בּ Piel; ךרב; note compensatory lengthening of vowel
under beth due to absence of strong dagesh in resh. Note place of inf.
abs. after the finite verb, here with the same function of emphasis as
when before the finite verb.
11 אוֹ ֗ צָ י א֣ ֵ צֵ י Qal; אצי; note inf. abs. after finite verb. “He will surely
come out”. ףוּנ = “move to and fro, wave” > Hiphil: “wave (hand)”.
Na‘aman, Aramean army captain, seeks a cure for his leprosy from El-
isha.
12 ל ַ כא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו לוֹ ֖ כ ָ א־ם ַ גּ Qal; לכא; note inf. abs. after finite verb,
strengthened with ם ַ גּ. “He has indeed consumed”. Words of Leah and
Rachel about Laban their father.
13 ַ חוֹ ֔ ט ָ שׁ ֙ ם ֶ ה ָ ל וּ ֤ ח ְ ט ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו Qal; חטשׁ; note furtive pataḥ due to lamed-
guttural verb. The inf. abs. after the verb often seems to suggest an in-
definitely prolonged state of the action, and therefore to express con-
tinuance, prevalence. “They kept spreading them out”. ו ָ ל ְ שׂ n.f. =
“quail”; ר ֶ מֹח n.m. = “homer” (a dry measure) > pl. םי ִ ר ָ מ ֳ ח.
180 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
14 בוֹ ֔ שׁ ָ ו ֙ אוֹצָ י א֤ ֵ צֵ יּ ַ ו Qal אצי; Qal בוּשׁ. Note that the nuance of
continuity becomes clearer when an inf. abs. of another verb (here,
בוּשׁ) is added. “It went out and back continually”. See also JM 123m:
“The postpositive inf. abs. followed by a second inf. abs. expresses the
simultaneousness or quasi-simultaneousness of a second action—Gn
8:7 ‘and he went out just to come back again (soon)’;—.” Note also
infinitive construct Qal from שׁבי – ת ֶ שׁבְ י.
15 םי ֤ ִ כ ְ לֹה ֙ ךוֹל ָ ה ר ֵ֔ בּ ַ ד ְ ו Qal; ךלה; Piel: רבד. This is another
example of a second inf. abs. after the finite verb conveying the idea of
continuity “Walking along talking as they went”.
16 וּב ֧ ֻ שָׁ יּ ַ ו — וֹ ֣ ל ָ ה בוֹ ֑ שׁ ָ ו ך Qal ךלה; Qal בוּשׁ. “The waters returned
continually”. Note the use of inf. abs. of ךלה together with the inf.
abs. of the verb בוּשׁ, following the finite verb וּב ֧ ֻ שָׁ יּ ַ ו. This expresses
the idea of long continuance.
17 ע ֣ ַ סִּ יּ ַ ו — ךוֹ ֥ ל ָ ה ַ עוֹ ֖ ס ָ נ ְ ו Qal; ךלה; Qal עסנ. This example may be
compared with the one above (no 16), namely, the use of the inf. abs.
of the verb ךלה together with the inf. abs. of the verb עסנ, following
the finite verb ע ֣ ַ סִּ יּ ַ ו, to express the idea of long continuance. “He
journeyed continually”.
18 ל ֔ ֵ ד ָ ג ְ ו ֙ ךוֹל ָ ה ך ֶ ל֤ ֵ יּ ַ ו “and he (Isaac) grew more and more”. Qal; ךלה.
Note the use of the Qal finite form of the verb ךלה (ך ֶ ל֤ ֵ יּ ַ ו), followed
by the inf. abs. Qal of the same stem ( ֙ ךוֹל ָ ה), followed by the mascu-
line participle form, ל ֵ דָ ג (or adj. see BDB p 152), all following the fi-
nite verb ל ַ דּ ְ ג ִ יּ ַ ו (cognate with ל ֵ דָ ג). The effect is again to express the
idea of long continuance.
19 ה֑ ֶ כֹבוּ ך ֖ ל ָ ה ך֥ ֵ לֹה “crying continually as he went”. ךלה; Note the
Qal active participle ך֥ ֵ לֹה, followed by the Qal inf. abs. ך ֖ ל ָ ה, followed
by the Qal active participle of a different verb, ה֑ ֶ כֹבוּ. Ishmael son of
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 181
Nethaniah (royal descent) was responsible for the murder of Gedaliah,
governor of Judah, installed by Babylon.
20 ה ֗ ֶ כּ ְ ב ִ ת־א ֽ ֹל וֹ ֣ כ ָ בּ Qal; הכב. Note that inf. abs. precedes the
negative.“You shall indeed not weep”. ק ַ ע ָ ז = “cry, cry out” > inf.
cstr. + sf. ך ֶ ק ֲ ע ַ ז (pausal). Also, וֹנ ָ ח ן ; Qal inf. abs. before ךְ נ ְ חָ י Qal
imperf. + sf. ןנח; “he will surely be gracious to you”. Also, וֹת ָ ע ְ מ ָ שׁ ְ כּ;
see GK 45c for “other forms of the inf. cstr. Qal of the strong verb”;
and see BDB p 1033 for usual form of Qal inf. cstr. + sf. from עמשׁ>
וֹע ְ מ ָ שׁ. וֹת ָ ע ְ מ ָ שׁ ְ כּ “when he hears it” is a unique form (GK 45d).
21 די ֛ ִ מ ְ שׁ ַ א די ֥ ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה א ֣ ֹל Hiphil; דמשׁ (extra yod in inf. abs.).
Negative precedes inf. abs. in this instance of a denial being given to
previous words. “Except that I will not utterly destroy”.
22 ג ֔ ֹר ָ ה ֙ א ָ נ י ִ נ֤ ֵ ג ְ ר ָ ה Qal; גרה; note position of inf. abs. after the
imperative. “Please kill me”. Moses pleading with G-d when the
people were lusting for the fleshpots of Egypt.
23 ֣ ך ְ ל ַ ע ֽ ַ א ה ֑ ל ָ ע־ם ַ ג Qal; הלע; Qal inf. abs. after Hiphil finite verb.
Since inf. abs. Qal expresses the idea of the verb in general, it may be
joined with any other stem. “And I will also surely bring you up”.
Compare the frequent תוֹמ ת ַ מוּי e.g. Exodus 21:12 (inf. abs. Qal +
Hophal finite verb).
24 הֽ ֵ לּ ַ כ ְ ו ל ֖ ֵ ח ָ ה Hiphil; ללח; Piel הלכ; “from beginning to end”. The
inf abs. is used to describe adverbially the manner, degree etc. of the
action expressed by a previous non-cognate verb.
25 ה ֥ ֵ בּ ְ ר ַ ה ד ֽ ֹ א ְ מ Hiphil; ה ָ ב ָ ר; “very much”. Some inf. abs. forms
(chiefly Hiphil) have become in effect straightforward adverbs. Com-
pare Genesis 21:16: ת ֶ שׁ ֶ֔ ק י֣ ֵ ו ֲ ח ַ ט ְ מ ִ כּ ֙ ק ֵ ח ְ ר ַ ה “at a distance, a bowshot
away”. ( ֙ ק ֵ ח ְ ר ַ ה is Hiphil inf. abs. קחר).
182 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
לכס > Hiphil: י ִ תּ ְ ל ַ כּ ְ ס ִ ה = “I have acted foolishly”. ה ָ ג ָ שׁ = “go astray,
err”.
26 ר ֵ֗ ה ַ מ Piel; רהמ; “quickly”. adverbial use. ך ַ סָ נ = “pour out” >
ה ָ כ ֵ סּ ַ מ n.f. = “libation; molten metal, image” > ל ֶ ג ֵ ע ה ָ כ ֵ סּ ַ מ =
“molten calf”.
27 ע ְ ק ְ תִ יּ ֽ ַ ו ֙ וּ תוֹ ֔ ר ָ פוֹ ֣ שּׁ ַ בּ ץוֹ ֥ פ ָ נ ְ ו םי ֖ ִ דּ ַ כּ ַ ה “They blew the trumpets and
shattered the pitchers”. ץוֹ ֥ פ ָ נ ְ ו is Qal inf. abs. with vav conjunctive,
ץפנ. The inf. abs. is used instead of an inflected form without signifi-
cant force when an inflected form has already been used – ֙ וּע ְ ק ְ תִ יּ ֽ ַ ו in
this example, Qal imperf. + vav consec. (a vayiqtol form), i.e. in con-
nected narrative or discourse. This infinitive may follow any inflected
form, and unlike the complementary infinitive, is introduced by “and”.
Note also in this verse, וּמי ֖ ִ ק ֵ ה ם ֥ ֵ ק ָ ה ך ֛ ַ א, where ם ֥ ֵ ק  ָ ה is inf. abs. Hiphil,
םוק, before finite verb וּמי ֖ ִ ק ֵ ה, Hiphil perf. 3 c.pl. םוק. For use of ך ֛ ַ א
here see BDB p 36: as an adverb of time; “only just, scarcely”.
28 ֙ ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו וֹ ֔ בּ ִ ל־ת ֶ א Hiphil; דבכ; “and he hardened his heart”. The
Hiphil inf. abs. + vav follows the inflected form, א ְ רַ יּ ַ ו (Qal apocop.
imperf. + vav consec. vayiqtol form). ח ַ ו ָ ר = “be wide, spacious” >
ה ָ ח ָ ו ְ ר n.f. respite, relief.
Note the work of A. Rubinstein (“A Finite Verb continued by an Infinitive
Absolute in Biblical Hebrew”. Vetus Testamentum 2. 1952, pp 362-7). He
points to an apparent “redundancy of function” of the inf. abs. here, since
in the Hebrew Pentateuch of the Samaritans, we find the inflected form,
ד ֵ בּ ְ כַ יּ ַ ו. He suggests that the use of this construction (vav inf. abs.) may be
due to scribes or copyists, who resorted to it when they could not be certain
of the form of a finite verb. Such uncertainty might arise if the manuscript
before him was indistinct in places, or if the copyist had before him diver-
gent readings, or possibly the copyist was writing a passage from memory.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 183
Another illustration brought by Rubinstein of this apparent “redundancy of
function” is the reading in: Isaiah 37:19: ן ֥ ֹ ת ָ נ ְ ו ם ֖ ֶ הי ֵ הל ֱ א־ת ֶ א שׁ ֑ ֵ א ָ בּ where
the inf. abs. + vav, ן ֥ ֹ ת ָ נ ְ ו follows the inflected form in 37:18: י ֥ ֵ כ ְ ל ַ מ וּבי ֜ ִ ר ֱ ח ֶ ה
תוֹ ֖ צ ָ ר ֲ א ָ ה־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א רוּ ֛ שּׁ ַ א. This text is paralleled in II Kings 19:17,18,
where the finite form ָ נ ְ ו וּנ ְ ת (vav + Qal perf.) follows ובי ֜ ִ ר ֱ ח ֶ ה and the
Isaiah Scroll has ונתיו. Rubinstein suggests that the inf.abs. reading in
Isaiah 37:19 may have been a scribe’s way of dealing with divergent read-
ings.
Rubinstein’s view is disputed by E. Hammershaimb, ‘On the so-called In-
finitivus Absolutus in Hebrew’. Printed in Hebrew and Semitic Studies Pre-
sented to G R Driver, 1963, OUP, pp 85-94. He points out how rare is this
usage in the Hebrew Bible (between 45-58 instances according to whether
textual errors are taken into consideration or not) and suggests that this use
of inf. abs. in Hebrew reflects a usage which was common in Canaanite and
Phoenician, stating: “According to the old principle of always preferring the
more complicated reading, I consider the infinitive to be the original form,
and the fact that this old construction gradually fell into desuetude must
then have influenced later transmissions of the text.” (note 1, p 91).
29 ב֣ ֵ כּ ְ רַ יּ ַ ו וֹ ֔ ל־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ה ֶ נ ְ שׁ ִ מּ ַ ה ת ֶ ב֤ ֶ כּ ְ ר ִ מ ְ בּ וֹ ֗ תֹ א
וּ ֥ א ְ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו ך ֑ ֵ ר ְ ב ַ א וי֖ ָ נ ָ פ ְ ל
ןוֹ ֣ ת ָ נ ְ ו ׃םִ י ֽ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א־ל ָ כּ ל֖ ַ ע וֹ ֔ תֹ א
The Qal inf. abs. + vav, ןוֹת ָ נ ְ ו, follows the inflected forms, ב֣ ֵ כּ ְ רַ יּ ַ ו (“and he
caused to ride”) and וּ ֥ א ְ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו (“and they called”), connected by vav. The use
of ןוֹת ָ נ ְ ו leaves open the question of whether the subject is again Pharoah
(as in ב֣ ֵ כּ ְ רַ יּ ַ ו) or is impersonal (as in וּא ְ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו ). The copyist may have been
unwilling to commit himself.
184 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ך ֵ ר ְ ב ַ א many Egyptian derivations proposed. e.g. “prostrate yourself”, or,
e.g. (Assyrian), “grand vizier”.
ה ָ ב ָ כּ ְ ר ֶ מ n.f. chariot; ה ֶ נ ְ שׁ ִ מ n.m. double, copy, second.
30 תוֹ ֽ צ ָ ל ֲ ח ַ מ ֖ ך ְ תֹ א שׁ ֥ ֵ בּ ְ ל ַ ה ְ ו “And I will clothe you with robes”. שׁ ֥ ֵ בּ ְ ל ַ ה ְ ו
is Hiphil inf. abs. שׁבל. Here, the Hiphil inf. abs. follows the Hiphil
perf. י ִ תּ ְ ר ַ ב ֱ ע ֶ ה. The use of inf. abs. leaves open the question of
whether the angel or those standing before him clothe Joshua. “In-
deed, so neutral a form is the inf. abs. that in the case of Zechariah 3:4
it may have even the force of a passive, i.e. ‘and thou shalt be
clothed’.”(Rubinstein, p 366).
ץ ַ ל ָ ח = “draw off, out” > ה ָ צ ָ ל ֲ ח ַ מ n.f. = “robe of state” (taken off in
ordinary life).
אוצ > יאֹצ adj. filthy > pl. םיאֹצ
Historical setting: the Jews who had returned from Babylon had started to
restore the Temple, but work was halted due to the hostility of their
neighbours. Haggai and Zechariah urged the people to carry on the
rebuilding. In ch 3 (th 4th Vision), Joshua, the High Priest, is accused by the
Satan and acquitted.
v 3: “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the
angel.”
v 4: “—take the filthy garments from off him—and I will clothe you with
robes.”
31 י ִ תּ ְ ב ֜ ַ שׁ ה ֣ ֹ א ָ ר ְ ו Qal; האר; “I returned and I saw”. Qal inf. abs.
following finite verb י ִ תּ ְ ב ֜ ַ שׁ (qatal form, Qal perf. בושׁ). Compare use
of finite forms in: Ecclesiastes 4:1: ֶ א ְ ר ֶ א ָ ו י ֗ ִ נ ֲ א י ֽ ִ תּ ְ ב ֣ ַ שׁ ְ ו ֙ ה and
Ecclesiastes 4:7: ה ֥ ֶ א ְ ר ֶ א ָ ו י֛ ִ נ ֲ א י ִ תּ ְ ב ֧ ַ שׁ ְ ו
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 185
ע ַ ג ֶ פּ n.m. occurrence, chance;
ןי ִ בּ Niphal part. pl. םי ִ נֹב ְ נ “intelligent, discerning, with understanding”.
32 בוֹ ֑ ז ָ ע ְ ו ה ֖ ָ ד ְ לָ י Qal inf. abs. בזע + vav, following a qatal form, “gives
birth and abandons”. ה ָ לָ יּ ַ א n.f. = hind, doe (here > ת ֶ לֶ יּ ַ א).
33 תוֹד ָ שׂ ף ֶ ס ֶ כּ ַ בּ וּנ ְ קִ י
םוֹת ָ ח ְ ו ר ֶ פ ֵ סּ ַ בּ בוֹת ָ כ ְ ו
םי ִ ד ֵ ע ד ֵ ע ָ ה ְ ו Qal בתכ; Qal םתח; Hiphil דוע.
Three vav + inf. abs. forms following a Yiqtol form, וּנ ְ קִ י.
34 ב ֣ ָ תּ ְ כ ִ נ — םוֹ ֛ תּ ְ ח ַ נ ְ ו Vav + inf. abs. Niphal, םתח, following a Niphal
participle m.sg. בתכ.
35 רוֹכ ָ ז Qal; רכז; inf. abs. for imperative. See GK 113bb: the full
form occurs in Deut. 6:17: ןוּר ְ מ ְ שׁ ִ תּ רוֹמ ָ שׁ and in Deut. 7:18: רֹכ ָ ז
רֹכּ ְ ז ִ תּ. i.e. it is an elliptical form.
36 רוֹמ ָ שׁ Qal; רמשׁ; inf. abs. for imperative.
37 ךל ָ ה Qal; ךלה; inf. abs. for imperative.
38 ַ חֹק ָ ל Qal; חקל; inf. abs. for imperative. Moses commanding the
Levites to put the Book of the Law by the side of the Ark of the
Covenant.
39 ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ Qal; עמשׁ; inf. abs. for imperative.
40 ף ֑ ֹ א ָ נ ְ ו ב ֖ ֹ נ ָ ג ְ ו ַ ח ֥ ֹצ ָ ר ְ ו שׁ ֵ֔ ח ַ כ ְ ו ה ֣ ל ָ א
ה ֣ ל ָ א Qal הלא; שׁ ֵ֔ ח ַ כ ְ ו Piel שחכ; ַ ח ֥ ֹצ ָ ר ְ ו Qal חצר; ָ ג ְ ו ב ֖ ֹ נ Qal בנג; ף ֑ ֹ א ָ נ ְ ו
Qal ףאנ. A series of inf. abs. forms used in place of inflected forms for
186 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
vivid description of prevailing conduct. ץ ַ ר ָ פּ = “break through, break over
(limits).”
41 ַ ע ֥ ֵ ב ָ שּׁ ִ ה ְ ו ף ֗ ֹ א ָ נ ֽ ְ ו ַ ח ֨ ֹצ ָ ר ב ֤ ֹ נ ָ ג ֲ ה ך ֗ ל ָ ה ְ ו ל ַ ע֑ ָ בּ ַ ל ר ֣ ֵ טּ ַ ק ְ ו ר ֶ ק ֖ ֶ שּׁ ַ ל
A series of inf. abs. forms used in place of inflected forms in indignant
question about prevailing conduct.
ב ֤ ֹ נ ָ ג ֲ ה Qal, בנג; ַ ח ֨ ֹצ ָ ר Qal, חצר; ף ֗ ֹ א ָ נ ֽ ְ ו Qal, ףאנ; ַ ע ֥ ֵ ב ָ שּׁ ִ ה ְ ו Niphal,
שׁ עב ; ר ֣ ֵ טּ ַ ק ְ ו Piel, רטק; ך ֗ ל ָ ה ְ ו Qal, ךלה.
42 י ֖ ַ ל ֵ א בוֹ ֥ שׁ ְ ו “and will you return to me?”. Inf. abs. Qal, בושׁ, used
in place of inflected form in indignant question about prevailing con-
duct. Note also ף ַ נ ֱ ח ֶ תּ ףוֹנ ָ ח “be greatly polluted”, Qal inf. abs. pre-
ceding finite verb for emphasis, ף ֵ נ ָ ח = “be polluted, profane”. ן ֵ ה =
“lo! Behold! if.”
43 םוֹ ֨ ג ָ ר וֹ ֤ תֹ א “They shall stone him”. Use of inf. abs. Qal, םגר,
instead of finite verb, with SUBJECT expressed ( ל ָ כּ - ה ָ ד ֵ ע ָ ה ).
Punishment for man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath.
44 וֹ ֔ דָ י ה ֣ ֵ שּׁ ַ מ ֙ ל ַ ע ֙ ַ בּ־ל ָ כּ טוֹ ֗ מ ָ שׁ “Every possessor of a loan of his hand
shall let drop/fall”. Use of Qal inf. abs. טמשׁ, instead of finite verb,
with SUBJECT expressed. ט ַ מ ָ שׁ = let drop > ה ָ טּ ִ מ ְ שׁ n.f. = a letting
drop (of exactions), a remitting (every 7th year is ה ָ טּ ִ מ ְ שׁ ת ַ נ ְ שׁ). ה ָ שָׁ נ
= lend, become a creditor >Hiphil: lend > ה ֶ שּׁ ַ מ n.m. = loan. שׂ ַ ג ָ נ =
oppress.
45 ר ֵ כּ ַ ה - Hiphil; רכנ; subject in a nominal clause.
lit. “regard for faces (partiality) is not good”.
46 ב ֛ ֵ טי ֵ ה Hiphil; בטי; direct object of a transitive verb.
בי ִ ר (Qal) = strive, contend;
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 187
ץוֹמ ָ ח וּר ְ שּׁ ַ א = “set right the ruthless” or: “relieve the oppressed”.see
BDB p 330: (ץמח) = “be ruthless”; only Qal part. ץ ֵ מוֹח ְ ו (Psalm 71:4);
ץוֹמ ָ ח n.m. = “the ruthless” (only here); Vrss. give passive, perh. ץוּמ ָ ח =
“oppressed”.
47 ֔ ל ָ ה ךוֹ Qal; ךלה; object complement of an intransitive verb.
ה ָ סּ ִ שׁ ְ מ n.f. “booty, plunder”.
48 גֹר ָ ה ) ר ָ ק ָ בּ ( Qal; גרה; taking a direct object.
טֹח ָ שׁ ) ןאֹצ ( Qal; טחשׁ; taking a direct object.
לֹכ ָ א ) ר ָ שׂ ָ בּ ( Qal; לכא; taking a direct object.
תוֹת ָ שׁ ) ן ִ י ָ י ( Qal; התשׁ; taking a direct object.
לוֹכ ָ א וֹת ָ שׁ ְ ו “let us eat and drink” (use of inf. abs. in place of finite verb)
compare: תוֹת ָ שׁ and וֹת ָ שׁ as variant forms of Qal inf. abs. from התשׁ
49 ה ֑ ֹ ת ָ שׁ י ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו Qal; התשׁ; following a preposition (not common).
“after drinking”.
50 הֽ ֵ לּ ַ כּ־ד ַ ע Piel; הלכ; following a preposition. JM 123c: suggest
that הֽ ֵ לּ ַ כּ has become an adverb here, “until completion” = “com-
pletely”. ה ָ רָ י > Qal imperative m.sg. ה ֵ רְ י = “shoot”; > Hiphil
imperf. shortened after vav consec. יּ ַ ו רוֹ = “and he shot”. (The
prophet Elisha and King Joash of Israel).
INFINITIVE CONSTRUCT
In this section, the student is asked:
{i} to identify the Infinitive Construct forms in the forty-six biblical verses
reproduced here.
188 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
{ii} to discuss their form and use.
Explanatory notes are supplied at the end of the list of verses.
The selection of verses is designed to illustrate the various forms of
Infinitive Construct in the different conjugations and also to illustrate the
various functions of Infinitive Construct.
The Infinitive Construct is a verbal noun, which does not of itself express
tense, nor does it take the Definite Article. It does admit both prepositions
and suffixes. The main functions of the Infinitive Construct may briefly be
summarized as follows:
{i} In its nominal function it may be used as the subject or object of a
sentence, or in the genitive.
{ii} With prepositions, it may form temporal clauses, causal clauses
and even expresses negative result and concession.
{iii} The Infinitive Construct with lamed prefix or the Infinitive Construct
introduced by ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל or רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ may express Purpose.
{iv} The Infinitive Construct with lamed prefix may have a gerundive
function, with the sense of “is to be, must be, ought to be”.
{v} The Infinitive Construct with lamed prefix may be used in a gerundial
sense, “to explain the circumstances or nature of a preceding action”.
(Davidson, Syntax p 127 f).
The functions of Infinitive Construct are further clarified in the explanatory
notes to the biblical verses. The student should consult the reference
grammar books in the bibliography for further study.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 189
Exercise: identify the Infinitive Construct forms in the following
biblical verses; discuss their form and use.
I: Nominal function of Infinitive Construct (1-7)
1 Genesis 2:18
׃וֹ ֽ דּ ְ ג ֶ נ ְ כּ ר ֶ ז ֖ ֵ ע וֹ ֥ לּ־הּ ֶ שׂ ֱ ע ֶ ֽ א וֹ ֑ דּ ַ ב ְ ל ם ֖ ָ ד ָ א ֽ ָ ה תוֹ ֥ י ֱ ה בוֹ ֛ ט־אֹל
It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make for him a helpmate
corresponding to him.
2 I Samuel 15:22
בוֹ ֔ ט ח ַ ב֣ ֶ זּ ִ מ ַ ע ֨ ֹ מ ְ שׁ ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה
Behold, listening is better than sacrifice.
3 Genesis 2:17
תוֹ ֥ מ וּנּ ֖ ֶ מּ ִ מ ֥ ך ְ ל ָ כ ֲ א םוֹ ֛ י ְ בּ י ֗ ִ כּ וּנּ ֑ ֶ מּ ִ מ ל֖ ַ כאֹת א ֥ ֹל ע ֔ ָ ר ָ ו בוֹ ֣ ט ֙ ת ַ ע ֙ ַ דּ ַ ה ץ ֗ ֵ ע ֵ מוּ
׃תוּ ֽ מ ָ תּ
And from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat
from it, for on the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.
4 Hosea 2:5
֙ ָ ה ֙ ִ תּ ַ שׁ ְ ו ר ָ֗ בּ ְ ד ִ מּ ַ כ ָ הי ֣ ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ ְ ו הּ ֑ ָ ד ְ לֽ ָ וּ ִ ה םוֹ ֖ י ְ כּ ָ הי ֔ ִ תּ ְ ג ַ צּ ִ֨ ה ְ ו ה ֔ ָ מּ ֻ ר ֲ ע ה ָ נּ ֣ ֶ טי ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ א־ן ֶ פּ
׃א ֽ ָ מ ָ צּ ַ בּ ָ הי ֖ ִ תּ ִ מ ֲ ה ַ ו ה ֔ ָ יּ ִ צ ץ ֶ ר ֣ ֶ א ְ כּ
Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make
her as the wilderness and set her like a land of drought and slay her with
thirst.
190 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
5 I Kings 3:7
ע ֖ ַ ד ֵ א א ֥ ֹל ן ֔ ֹט ָ ק ר ַ ע֣ ַ נ ֙ י ִ כֹ נ ֽ ָ א ְ ו י ֑ ִ ב ָ א ד֣ ִ ו ָ דּ ת ַ ח ֖ ַ תּ ֔ ך ְ דּ ְ ב ַ ע־ת ֽ ֶ א ָ תּ ְ כ֣ ַ ל ְ מ ִ ה ֙ ה ָ תּ ַ א
׃א ֽ ֹב ָ ו תא֥ ֵ צ
You have made Your servant king instead of David my father, even though
I am a young lad, I do not know how to go out or come in.
6 Isaiah 1:14
׃א ֽ ֹשְׂ נ י ִ תי ֖ ֵ א ְ לִ נ ח ַ ר ֑ ֹט ָ ל י ֖ ַ ל ָ ע וּ ֥ י ָ ה י ֔ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ה ֣ ָ א ְ נ ָ שׂ ֙ ם ֶ כי ֵ ד ֲ עוֹמוּ ם֤ ֶ כי ֵ שׁ ְ ד ָ ח
Your New Moons and your appointed seasons, My soul hates, they have
become a burden on Me, I am weary of bearing (them).
7 Genesis 37:5
׃וֹ ֽ תֹ א א ֥ ֹנ ְ שׂ דוֹ ֖ ע וּפ ֥ ִ סוֹיּ ַ ו וי ֑ ָ ח ֶ א ְ ל ד֖ ֵ גּ ַ יּ ַ ו םוֹ ֔ ל ֲ ח ֙ ף ֵ סוֹי ם ֤ ל ֲ חַ יּ ַ ו
And Joseph dreamed a dream and he told (it) to his brothers and they hated
him still more.
II: Infinitive Construct with prepositions to form temporal clauses,
causal clauses etc (8-22)
8 Genesis 24:30
י ֣ ִ הְ י ַ ו ת ֣ ֹ א ְ ר ִ כּ ם ֶ ז ֗ ֶ נּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ֮ םי ִ ד ִ מ ְ צּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ֽ ְ ו י ֣ ֵ דְ י־ל ַ ע ֒וֹתֹח ֲ א וֹ ֗ ע ְ מ ָ שׁ ְ כוּ
י ֵ֞ ר ְ ב ִ דּ־ת ֶ א ְ ב ִ ר ה ֤ ָ ק ֙ וֹתֹח ֲ א ר ֔ ֹ מא ֵ ל ר ֥ ֶ בּ ִ ד־ה ֽ ֹכּ י ֖ ַ ל ֵ א שׁי ֑ ִ א ָ ה ֙ אֹבָ יּ ַ ו שׁי ִ֔ א ָ ה־ל ֶ א
ה֛ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ד ֥ ֵ מֹע םי ֖ ִ לּ ַ מ ְ גּ ַ ה־ל ַ ע ׃ן ִ י ֽ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ַ ע
And it was when he saw the ring and the bracelets on the hands of his sis-
ter, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister saying, ‘Thus the
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 191
man spoke to me’, that he came to the man and behold he was standing by
the camels at the well.
9 Genesis 4:8
׃וּהֽ ֵ ג ְ ר ַ הַ יּ ַ ו וי ֖ ִ ח ָ א ל ֶ ב ֥ ֶ ה־ל ֶ א ן ִ י ֛ ַ ק ם ָ ק ֥ ָ יּ ַ ו ה ֔ ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ בּ ם ֣ ָ תוֹי ְ ה ִ בּ ֙ י ִ הְ יַ ֽ ו
And it was, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his
brother and killed him.
10 I Kings 6:7
י ֣ ִ ל ְ כּ־ל ָ כּ ֙ ן ֶ ז ְ ר ַ גּ ַ ה ְ ו תוֹ ֤ ב ָ קּ ַ מוּ ה֑ ָ נ ְ ב ִ נ ע ֖ ָ סּ ַ מ ה ֥ ָ מ ֵ ל ְ שׁ־ן ֶ ב ֽ ֶ א וֹ ֔ תֹ נ ֣ ָ בּ ִ ה ְ בּ ֙ תִ י ֙ ַ בּ ַ ה ְ ו
׃וֹ ֽ תֹ נ ָ בּ ִ ה ְ בּ תִ י ֖ ַ בּ ַ בּ ע ֥ ַ מ ְ שׁ ִ נ־א ֽ ֹל ל ֔ ֶ ז ְ ר ַ ב
And the House, when it was being built, was built of stone perfect (at the)
quarrying, and no hammer nor axe nor any iron tool were heard in the
House, while it was being built.
11 Genesis 45:1
׃וי ֽ ָ ח ֶ א־ל ֶ א ף ֖ ֵ סוֹי ע ֥ ַ דּ ַ ו ְ ת ִ ה ְ בּ וֹ ֔ תּ ִ א ֙ שׁי ִ א ד ַ מ֤ ָ ע־אֹל ְ ו
And no man stood with him when Joseph made himself known to his
brothers.
12 Genesis 13:14
ה ֵ֔ א ְ רוּ ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ ני ֵ ע א֤ ָ נ א ֣ ָ שׂ וֹ ֔ מּ ִ ע ֵ ֽ מ טוֹ ֣ ל־ד ֶ ר ֽ ָ פּ ִ ה ֙ י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ם ֗ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ל ֶ א ר ֣ ַ מ ָ א ה ָ֞ והיַ ֽ ו
׃ה ָ מּֽ ָ י ָ ו ה ָ מ ְ ד ֥ ֵ ק ָ ו ה ָ בּ ְ ג ֖ ֶ נ ָ ו ה ָ נ ֥ ֹ פ ָ צ ם ֑ ָ שׁ ה ֣ ָ תּ ַ א־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א םוֹ ֖ ק ָ מּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ
And the Lord said to Abram after Lot was separated from him, ‘Lift up
your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward
and eastward and westward’.
192 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
13 Genesis 13:10
ִ ל ה ֑ ֶ ק ְ שׁ ַ מ הּ֖ ָ לּ ֻ כ י ֥ ִ כּ ן ֔ ֵ דּ ְ רַ יּ ַ ה ר֣ ַ כּ ִ כּ־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א ֙ א ְ רַ יּ ַ ו וי ֗ ָ ני ֵ ע־ת ֶ א טוֹ ֣ ל־א ָ שִּׂ יּ ַ ו י֣ ֵ נ ְ פ
ה ֔ ָ רֹ מ ֲ ע־ת ֶ א ְ ו ֙ םֹד ְ ס־ת ֶ א ה ָ֗ והְ י ת ֣ ֵ ח ַ שׁ
And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw the whole Jordan Valley, that it was well-
irrigated, before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
14 Genesis 27:44,45
ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ד ֥ ַ ע םי ֑ ִ ד ָ ח ֲ א םי ֣ ִ מָ י וֹ ֖ מּ ִ ע ֥ ָ תּ ְ ב ַ שָׁ י ְ ו ׃ךי ֽ ִ ח ָ א ת ֥ ַ מ ֲ ח בוּ ֖ שׁ ָ תּ־ בוּ ֨ שׁ־ד ַ ע
֗ ך ְ מּ ִ מ ךי ִ֜ ח ָ א־ף ַ א
And you shall dwell with him a few days (years) until your brother’s wrath
subsides, until the subsidence of your brother’s anger from you.
15 II Kings 4:8
ה ָ מּ ֖ ָ שׁ ר ֥ ֻ סָ י וֹ ֔ ר ְ ב ָ ע י ֣ ֵ דּ ִ מ ֙ י ִ הְ י ֽ ַ ו ׃ם ֶ חֽ ָ ל־ל ָ כ ֱ א ֶ ל
And it was, whenever he passed by, he would turn aside there to eat bread.
16 Exodus 4:10
ך ְ ר ֶ בּ ַ דּ ז ֥ ָ א ֵ מ ם֛ ַ גּ ם ֔ ֹשׁ ְ ל ִ שּׁ ִ מ ם֣ ַ גּ ֙ לוֹמ ְ תּ ִ מ ם֤ ַ גּ י ִ כ ֗ ֹנ ָ א םי ֜ ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ שׁי ִ֨ א ֩ אֹל
׃י ִ כֹֽ נ ָ א ןוֹ ֖ שׁ ָ ל ד ֥ ַ ב ְ כוּ ה֛ ֶ פּ־ד ַ ב ְ כ י ֧ ִ כּ ך֑ ֶ דּ ְ ב ַ ע־ל ֶ א
I am not a man of words, neither yesterday nor the day before, nor since
you spoke to your servant, for I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue.
17 Jeremiah 7:13
ה֑ ָ והְ י־ם ֻ א ְ נ ה ֶ לּ ֖ ֵ א ָ ה םי ֥ ִ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ֽ מּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א ם֛ ֶ כ ְ תוֹשׂ ֲ ע ן ַ ע֧ ַ י ה ֗ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו ר ֵ֨ בּ ַ ד ֲ א ָ ו
ם ֔ ֶ תּ ְ ע ַ מ ְ שׁ א ֣ ֹל ְ ו ֙ ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ו ם֤ ֵ כּ ְ שׁ ַ ה ם ֜ ֶ כי ֵ ל ֲ א
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 193
And now, because you have done all these deeds, says the Lord, and I have
spoken to you, speaking early and often, but you did not listen.
18 Isaiah 30:12
וֹ ֣ ד ְ ק ֙ ר ַ מ ָ א ה ֤ ֹכּ ן ֗ ֵ כ ָ ל ק ֶ שׁ ֣ ֹע ְ בּ ֙ וּח ְ ט ְ ב ִ תּֽ ַ ו ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה ר֣ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ בּ ם֖ ֶ כ ְ ס ָ א ֽ ָ מ ן ַ ע֥ ַ י ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י שׁ
׃וי ֽ ָ ל ָ ע וּ ֖ נ ֲ ע ָ שּׁ ֽ ִ תּ ַ ו זוֹ ֔ ל ָ נ ְ ו
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, ‘because you despise this word
and trust in oppression and crookedness and lean on it’.
19 Exodus 17:7
ם ֤ ָ תֹסַּ נ ל ֨ ַ ע ְ ו ל ֵ֗ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ ׀ בי ֣ ִ ר־ל ַ ע ה ֑ ָ בי ִ ר ְ מוּ ה ֖ ָ סּ ַ מ םוֹ ֔ ק ָ מּ ַ ה ם ֣ ֵ שׁ ֙ א ָ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו
֙ ה ָ והְ י־ת ֶ א
And he called the name of the place Massah and Merivah (lit. Trial and
Dispute) because of the dispute of the children of Israel and because of
their testing of the Lord.
20 Jeremiah 2:35
ך ֖ ֵ ר ְ מ ָ א־ל ַ ע ך ֔ ָ תוֹא ט֣ ָ פּ ְ שִׁ נ ֙ י ִ נ ְ נ ִ ה י ִ נּ ֑ ֶ מּ ִ מ וֹ ֖ פּ ַ א ב ֥ ָ שׁ ך ֛ ַ א י ִ תי ֵ֔ קִּ נ י ֣ ִ כּ ֙ י ִ ר ְ מא ֽ ֹתּ ַ ו
׃י ִ תא ֽ ָ ט ָ ח א ֥ ֹל
And you said, ‘because I am innocent, surely His anger has returned from
me;’ behold I will enter into judgment with you, because you said, ‘I have
not sinned’.
21 Genesis 27:1
ת ֑ ֹ א ְ ר ֵ מ וי֖ ָ ני ֵ ע ָןי ֥ ֶ ה ְ כ ִ תּ ַ ו ק ָ֔ ח ְ צִ י ן ֣ ֵ ק ָ ז־י ֽ ִ כּ ֙ י ִ הְ י ַ ו
194 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And it was when Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not
see.
22 Job 10:7
׃לי ֽ ִ צּ ַ מ ֣ ך ְ דָ יּ ִ מ ןי ֖ ֵ א ְ ו ע ֑ ָ שׁ ְ ר ֶ א א ֣ ֹל־י ִ כּ ך ְ תּ ְ ע ַ֭ דּ־ל ֽ ַ ע
Although You know that I shall not be found guilty and there is none to
deliver from Your hand.
III: Infinitive Construct with lamed (or without) to express purpose
(23-24)
23 Genesis 11:5
׃ם ֽ ָ ד ָ א ָ ה י֥ ֵ נ ְ בּ וּ ֖ נ ָ בּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ֑ ָ דְּ ג ִ מּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ְ ו רי ֖ ִ ע ָ ה־ת ֶ א ת ֥ ֹ א ְ ר ִ ל ה ָ֔ והְ י ד ֶ ר ֣ ֵ יּ ַ ו
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children
of men had built.
24 Exodus 9:16
וּ ֖ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ךי ֔ ִ תּ ְ ד ַ מ ֱ ע ֶ ה ֙ תאֹז רוּ ֥ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ם ֗ ָ לוּא ְ ו ר ֥ ֵ פּ ַ ס ן ַ ע ֛ ַ מ ְ לוּ י ֑ ִ חֹכּ־ת ֶ א ֣ ך ְ תֹ א ְ ר ַ ה ר
׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א ָ ה־ל ָ כ ְ בּ י ֖ ִ מ ְ שׁ
But indeed on account of this have I caused you to stand firm, for the sake
of showing you My strength and in order to recount My Name in all the
land.
IV: Gerundive use of Infinitive Construct + lamed (25-31)
25 Genesis 15:12
ה ֥ ָ כ ֵ שׁ ֲ ח ה ֛ ָ מי ֵ א ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ם ֑ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ל ַ ע ה֣ ָ ל ְ פ ָ נ ה ֖ ָ מ ֵ דּ ְ ר ַ ת ְ ו אוֹ ֔ ב ָ ל ֙ שׁ ֶ מ ֙ ֶ שּׁ ַ ה י ֤ ִ הְ י ַ ו
׃וי ֽ ָ ל ָ ע ת ֶ ל ֥ ֶ פֹ נ ה֖ ָ לֹדְ ג
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 195
And the sun was about to set and a deep slumber fell on Abram and
behold, a terror, great darkness, was falling on him.
26 Joshua 2:5
וּ ֖ כ ְ ל ָ ה ה ָ נ ֥ ָ א י ִ תּ ְ ע ֔ ַ דָ י א ֣ ֹל וּא ֔ ָ צָ י םי ֣ ִ שׁ ָ נ ֲ א ָ ה ְ ו ֙ ך ֶ שׁ ֨ ֹח ַ בּ רוֹ ֗ גּ ְ ס ִ ל ר ַ ע ֜ ַ שּׁ ַ ה י ִ֨ הְ י ַ ו
םי ֑ ִ שָׁ נ ֲ א ָ ֽ ה
And the gate was about to close at dark and the men went out; I do not
know where the men went.
27 II Kings 4:13
֒ תאֹזּ ַ ה ה֣ ָ ד ָ ר ֲ ח ַ ה־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א ֮ וּני ֵ ל ֵ א ְ תּ ְ ד ֣ ַ ר ָ ח ה֣ ֵ נּ ִ ה ֮ ָ הי ֶ ל ֵ א א֣ ָ נ־ר ָ מ ֱ א וֹ ֗ ל ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
א֑ ָ ב ָ צּ ַ ה ר ֣ ַ שׂ־ל ֶ א וֹ ֖ א ך ֶ ל ֔ ֶ מּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ֙ ך ָ ל־ר ֶ בּ ַ ד ְ ל שׁ֤ ֵ י ֲ ה ך ֔ ָ ל תוֹ ֣ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ה ֶ֚ מ
Say now to her, ‘Behold you have taken all this anxious care for us, what is
to be done for you? Should one speak for you to the king or to the captain
of the host?’
28 II Kings 13:19
ה֑ ֵ לּ ַ כּ־ד ַ ע ם ֖ ָ ר ֲ א־ת ֶ א ָ תי ֥ ִ כּ ִ ה ז ֛ ָ א םי ֔ ִ מ ָ ע ְ פּ ֙ שׁ ֵ שׁ־וֹא שׁ ֤ ֵ מ ָ ח תוֹ ֨ כּ ַ ה ְ ל ֙ ר ֶ מא ֙ ֹיּ ַ ו
ֶ א ה֥ ֶ כּ ַ תּ םי ֖ ִ מ ָ ע ְ פּ שׁ ֥ ל ָ שׁ ה ֕ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו ׃ם ֽ ָ ר ֲ א־ת
And he said, ‘you should have smitten five or six times; then you would
have smitten Aram until annihilation; whereas now you will smite Aram
only three times.’
29 Isaiah 5:4
ַ מ וֹ ֑ בּ י ִ תי ֖ ִ שׂ ָ ע א ֥ ֹל ְ ו י ֔ ִ מ ְ ר ַ כ ְ ל ֙ דוֹע תוֹ ֥ שׂ ֲ ע ַ לּ־ה ַ מ םי ֖ ִ ב ָ נ ֲ ע תוֹ ֥ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל י ִ תי֛ ֵ וּ ִ ק ַ עוּ ֧ דּ
׃םי ֽ ִ שׁ ֻ א ְ בּ שׂ ַ ע֥ ַ יּ ַ ו
196 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
What more should I have done to my vineyard which I did not do to it?
Why did I hope to produce (fine) grapes, but it produced stinking grapes?
30 Amos 6:10
א ֥ ֹל י ֛ ִ כּ ס ָ֔ ה ר ֣ ַ מ ָ א ְ ו ׃הֽ ָ והְ י ם ֥ ֵ שׁ ְ בּ רי ֖ ִ כּ ְ ז ַ ה ְ ל
And he will say, ‘Hush! for one must not mention the name of the Lord’.
31 Esther 4:2
שׁוּ ֥ ב ְ ל ִ בּ ך ֶ ל ֖ ֶ מּ ַ ה ר ַ ע ֥ ַ שׁ־ל ֶ א אוֹ ֛ ב ָ ל ןי ֥ ֵ א י ֣ ִ כּ ך ֶ ל ֑ ֶ מּ ַ ה־ר ַ ע ֽ ַ שׁ י֣ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ד֖ ַ ע אוֹ ֕ בָ יּ ַ ו
׃ק ֽ ָ שׂ
And he came up to the front of the king’s gate, for none might enter the
king’s gate with clothing of sackcloth.
V: Gerundial use of Infinitive Construct + lamed (32-38)
32 I Kings 5:23
׃י ֽ ִ תי ֵ בּ ם ֶ ח֥ ֶ ל ת ֖ ֵ ת ָ ל י ֔ ִ צ ְ פ ֶ ח־ת ֶ א ה ֣ ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ ֙ ה ָ תּ ַ א ְ ו
And you will accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.
33 Genesis 37:15
ר ֖ ֹ מא ֵ ל שׁי ֛ ִ א ָ ה וּה֧ ֵ ל ָ א ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו ה֑ ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ בּ ה֖ ֶ עֹ ת ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו שׁי ִ֔ א וּה ֣ ֵ א ָ צ ְ מִ יּ ַ ו
׃שׁ ֽ ֵ קּ ַ ב ְ תּ־ה ַ מ
And a man found him and behold he was wandering in the field, and the
man asked him saying, ‘what are you looking for?’


PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 197
34 I Samuel 12:17
ם֖ ֶ כ ָ ל לוֹ ֥ א ְ שׁ ִ ל ה ָ֔ והְ י י֣ ֵ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ ֙ ם ֶ תי ִ שׂ ֲ ע ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ה ָ בּ ַ ר ם֤ ֶ כ ְ ת ַ ע ָ ר־י ֽ ִ כּ וּ ֗ א ְ רוּ וּ ֣ ע ְ דוּ
׃ך ֶ ל ֽ ֶ מ
Know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the
eyes of the Lord, in requesting a king for yourselves.
35 I Samuel 14:33
ם֑ ָ דּ ַ ה־ל ַ ע ל ֣ ֹכ ֱ א ֶ ל ה֖ ָ והי ֽ ַ ל םיא ֥ ִ טֹח ם֛ ָ ע ָ ה ה֥ ֵ נּ ִ ה ר ֔ ֹ מא ֵ ל ֙ לוּא ָ שׁ ְ ל וּדי֤ ִ גּ ַ יּ ַ ו
And they told Saul saying, ‘behold the people are sinning to the Lord in
eating with the blood’.
36 Genesis 3:22
ָ ד ָ א ֽ ָ ה ן ֤ ֵ ה ע ֑ ָ ר ָ ו בוֹ ֣ ט ת ַ ע ֖ ַ ד ָ ל וּנּ ֔ ֶ מּ ִ מ ד ֣ ַ ח ַ א ְ כּ ֙ הָ י ָ ה ֙ ם
Behold the man has become like one of us, in knowing good and evil.
37 Genesis 18:25
ה ָ ל ֨ ִ ל ָ ח ֜ ך ְ לּ ת ֣ ֹשׂ ֲ ע ֵ מ ׀ ר֣ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ כּ ה ֗ ֶ זּ ַ ה תי ֤ ִ מ ָ ה ְ ל ֙ קי ִ דּ ַ צ ע ֔ ָ שׁ ָ ר־ם ִ ע
Far be it from you (lit. a profanation to you) to do this thing, to slay the
righteous with the wicked.
38 Genesis 29:26
׃ה ֽ ָ רי ִ כ ְ בּ ַ ה י֥ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ה ֖ ָ רי ִ ע ְ צּ ַ ה ת ֥ ֵ ת ָ ל וּנ ֑ ֵ מוֹק ְ מ ִ בּ ן ֖ ֵ כ ה ֥ ֶ שׂ ָ עֵ י־אֹל ן ָ֔ ב ָ ל ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And Laban said, ‘it is not done thus in our place, to give the younger before
the elder’.
198 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
VI: Negative Infinitive Construct: use of י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל (39-44)
39 Genesis 4:15
ם ֶ שׂ ֨ ָ יּ ַ ו ה֤ ָ והְ י ֙ ן ִ י ֙ ַ ק ְ ל תוֹ ֔ א י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל וֹ ֖ תֹ א־תוֹכּ ַ ה וֹ ֽ א ְ צֹ מ־ל ָ כּ ׃
And he placed a sign on Cain in order that anyone finding him should not
smite him.
40 Genesis 38:9
׃וי ֽ ִ ח ָ א ְ ל ע ַ ר ֖ ֶ ז־ן ָ ת ְ נ י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ה ָ צ ְ ר ַ֔ א ת ֣ ֵ ח ִ שׁ ְ ו ֙ וי ִ ח ָ א ת ֶ שׁ ֤ ֵ א־ל ֶ א א ָ֨ בּ־ם ִ א ה֞ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו
And it was, whenever he came to the wife of his brother, he would destroy
(his seed) on the ground, in order not to give seed to his brother.
41 Genesis 19:21
ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א רי ֖ ִ ע ָ ה־ת ֶ א י ֥ ִ כּ ְ פ ָ ה י ֛ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה ר֣ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ל ם֖ ַ גּ ךי ֔ ֶ נ ָ פ י ִ תא ֣ ָ שָׂ נ ֙ ה ֵ נּ ִ ה
׃ ָ תּ ְ ר ֽ ַ בּ ִ דּ
Behold I have given you favour (lit. lifted up your face) also for this thing,
in my not overturning the city of which you spoke.
42 Deuteronomy 8:11
֙ וי ָ תֹו ְ צ ִ מ ר ֤ ֹ מ ְ שׁ י ֨ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ךי ֑ ֶ הל ֱ א ה֣ ָ והְ י־ת ֶ א ח֖ ַ כּ ְ שׁ ִ תּ־ן ֶ פּ ֔ ך ְ ל ר ֶ מ ֣ ָ שּׁ ִ ה
וי ֔ ָ תֹקּ ֻ ח ְ ו וי ֣ ָ ט ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מוּ
Take care lest you forget the Lord your G-d in not keeping His
commandments and His judgments and His statutes.
43 Genesis 3:11
ֲ א ץ ֗ ֵ ע ָ ה־ן ִ מ ֲ ה ׃ ָ תּ ְ ל ֽ ָ כ ָ א וּנּ ֖ ֶ מּ ִ מ־ל ָ כ ֲ א י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ךי ֛ ִ תי ִ וּ ִ צ ר ֧ ֶ שׁ
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 199
Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?
44 Ruth 2:9
ך֑ ֵ ע ְ ג ָ נ י ֣ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל םי ֖ ִ ר ָ עְ נּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א י ִ תי ֛ ִ וּ ִ צ אוֹ ֥ ל ֲ ה
Have I not commanded the young men not to harm you?
VII: Infinitive Construct + lamed as object of governing verb (45-46).
45 Genesis 37:35
ה ָ ל ֑ ֹ א ְ שׁ ל֖ ֵ ב ָ א י֛ ִ נ ְ בּ־ל ֶ א ד ֧ ֵ ר ֵ א־י ֽ ִ כּ ר ֶ מא ֕ ֹיּ ַ ו ם ֵ֔ ח ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל ֙ ן ֵ א ָ מְ י ַ ו
And he refused to be comforted and he said, ‘for I will go down to my son
in mourning to Sheol’.
46 Genesis 38:26
י֑ ִ נ ְ ב ה֣ ָ ל ֵ שׁ ְ ל ָ הי ֖ ִ תּ ַ ת ְ נ־אֹל ן ֥ ֵ כּ־ל ַ ע־י ֽ ִ כּ י ִ נּ ֔ ֶ מּ ִ מ ה ֣ ָ ק  ְ ד ֽ ָ צ ֙ ר ֶ מא ֙ ֹיּ ַ ו ה ֗ ָ דוּהְ י ר֣ ֵ כַּ יּ ַ ו
׃הּ ֽ ָ תּ ְ ע ַ ד ְ ל דוֹ ֖ ע ף ֥ ַ סָ י־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו
And Judah recognized (them) and he said, ‘she is more righteous than me,
because I did not give her to Shelah my son’ and he did not continue to
know her.
Explanatory notes to identify infinitive construct forms
1 תוֹי ֱ ה Qal; הָ י ָ ה; subject of sentence (nominative); “(man’s) being—”.
2 ַ עֹ מ ְ שׁ Qal; עמשׁ; subject of sentence (nominative); “listening”.Saul
had been commanded to destroy Amalek and all that he had, but he
spared Agag and the best of the livestock. Hence, Samuel’s rebuke.
3 ך ְ ל ָ כ ֲ א Qal; לכא + sf. 2 m.sg. “your eating”. Genitive function;
“the day of your eating”.
200 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
4 הּ ָ ד ְ ל ָ וּ ִ ה Niphal; דלי + sf. 3 f.sg. “her being born”. Genitive func-
tion;“as the day of her being born”. הָ יּ ִ צ n.f. = “dryness, drought”;
גצי > Hiphil:“set, place”; תי ִ שׁ > Qal perf. 1 c.sg. י ִ תּ ַ שׁ “I have put,
set” (note assimilation of tav, third root letter, into tav of suffix).
5 אֹב ָ ו תא ֵ צ Qal; אצי; Qal; אוב; “going out and coming in”. Both
these inf. cstr. forms are functioning as objects (accusative) of the verb
ע ַ ד ֵ א אֹל “I do not know”. Note qamets under vav conjunctive before
tone syllable. Note also the nominal circumstantial clause introduced
by vav, followed by subject and then predicate. “Even though I was a
young lad, not knowing how to go out and come in”. (The dream of
Solomon at Gibeon. He asks G-d for understanding and ability to
judge the people. G-d grants his prayer and also gives him wealth and
glory).
6 אשְׂ נ Qal; אשׂנ; object of verb י ִ תי ֵ א ְ לִ נ; “I am weary of bearing”;
7 אֹנ ְ שׂ Qal; אנשׂ; object of verb וּפ ִ סוֹיּ ַ ו; “they continued hating
him”.
8 תֹ א ְ ר ִ כּ Qal; האר + prep. כ; lit. “as the seeing”.
וֹע ְ מ ָ שׁ ְ כוּ Qal; עמשׁ + prep. כ + sf. 3 m.sg. lit. “as his hearing”.
The two inf. cstr. forms express time; “when (he) saw—and when he
heard”.
Rebekah’s brother, Laban, approaches Abraham’s servant.
9 ם ָ תוֹי ְ ה ִ בּ Qal; היה + sf. 3 m.pl. + prep בּ; lit. “in their being”, i.e.
“when they were”; inf. cstr. + prep בּ expressing time.
10 וֹתֹ נ ָ בּ ִ ה ְ בּ Niphal; הנב + sf. 3 m.sg. + prep בּ; inf. cstr. + prep בּ
expressing time; lit. “in its being built”; i.e. “when it was built—”.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 201
ָ סּ ַ מ ע n.m. = “quarry, quarrying” > ע ָ סּ ַ מ ה ָ מ ֵ ל ְ שׁ ן ֶ ב ֶ א “stone perfect
(at the) quarrying”, i.e. “when it was quarried”; ב ַ קָ נ = “pierce” >
ת ֶ ב ֶ קּ ַ מ n.f. = “hammer” > pl. תוֹב ָ קּ ַ מ; ן ֶ ז ְ ר ַ גּ n.m. = “axe”. Neither
hammer nor axe was used in the building of the Temple. The stones
were fitted together with one of the marvels of Creation, the
SHAMIR, a kind of worm which could cleave the stones. (Hertz p
338).
11 ע ַ דּ ַ ו ְ ת ִ ה ְ בּ Hithpael; עדי + prep בּ; lit. “in (Joseph’s) making himself
known”, i.e. “when Joseph made himself known”; inf. cstr. + prep ex-
pressing time.
12 ד ֶ ר ָ פּ ִ ה י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א - טוֹל Niphal; דרפ following the prep י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א. Note
segol under resh, shortened from tsere, due to maqqef. (Words joined
by maqqef lose their primary accent unless they are the final word in
the unit and may undergo vowel changes due to the loss of accent).
Lit. “after the separating of Lot from him”; i.e. “after Lot separated
from him”. the prep י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א + inf. cstr. Expressing time.
13 י ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ת ֵ ח ַ שׁ ה ' Piel; תחשׁ following prep י ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל; lit. “before the
Lord’s destroying Sodom & Gomorrah”; i.e. “before the Lord de-
stroyed Sodom & Gomorrah”; inf. cstr. + prep expressing time.
14 בוּשׁ Qal; בוּשׁ following the prep ד ַ ע = “until”; lit. “until the
returning of your brother’s anger from you”, i.e. “until your brother’s
anger returns—”; inf. cstr. + prep to express time. Note that in the
previous verse, the temporal clause is expressed by ד ַ ע ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א + the
finite verb, בוּשׁ ָ תּ. Rebekkah advising Jacob to flee Esau’s wrath and
take refuge with her brother Laban.
15 י ֵ דּ ִ מ וֹר ְ ב ָ ע Qal; רבע + sf. 3 m.sg. following the prep י ֵ דּ ִ מ; lit. “as
often as his passing”. (י ֵ דּ ִ מ is made up of the prep ן ִ מ and the con-
struct form of י ַ דּ = “sufficiency, enough” > “out of the sufficiency
202 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
of”). Inf. cstr. + prep expressing time, i.e. “whenever he passed by, he
used to—”. The Shunamite lady’s hospitality to Elisha the Prophet.
16 ך ְ ר ֶ בּ ַ דּ ז ָ א ֵ מ Piel; רבד + sf 2 m.sg. following prep ז ָ א ֵ מ; lit. “since
your speaking”; inf. cstr. + prep expressing time, i.e. “since you
spoke”. Moses pleading lack of rhetorical ability.
17 ן ַ עַ י ם ֶ כ ְ תוֹשׂ ֲ ע Qal; השׂע; following prep ן ַ עַ י; lit. “because of your
doing”; inf. cstr. + prep expressing cause, i.e. “because you did—”.
18 ם ֶ כ ְ ס ָ א ָ מ ן ַ עַ י Qal; סאמ + sf. 2 m.pl. following prep ן ַ עַ י; lit.
“because of your rejecting”; inf. cstr. + prep expressing cause. זוּל >
Niphal part. זוֹלָ נ = “crooked” > “crookedness”. “This word” refers
to the prophetic warning against alliance with Egypt.
19 ל ַ ע ְ ו ם ָ תוֹסַּ נ Piel; הסנ + sf. 3 m.pl. following prep ל ַ ע; lit. “upon
their trying”; inf. cstr. + prep ל ַ ע expressing cause, i.e. “because they
tried—”.
20 ל ַ ע - ך ֵ ר ְ מ ָ א Qal; רמא + sf. 2 f.sg. following prep ל ַ ע; lit. “upon
your saying”; inf. cstr. + prep expressing cause, i.e. “because you
said—”.
21 תוֹא ְ ר ֵ מ Qal; האר + prep ֵ מ; lit. “from seeing”; inf. cstr. + prep
מ to express negative result, i.e. “so that he could not see”.
22 ל ַ ע - ך ְ תּ ְ ע ַ דּ Qal; עדי + sf. 2 m.sg. following prep ל ַ ע; inf. cstr. +
prep to express concession; lit. “upon your knowing”, i.e. “although
you know—”.
23 תֹ א ְ ר ִ ל Qal; האר + lamed prefix, expressing purpose; “in order to
see”.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 203
24 ך ְ תֹ א ְ ר ַ ה רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ Hiphil; האר + sf. 2 m.sg. following prep רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ
expressing purpose; lit. “for the sake of showing you”; i.e. “in order to
show you”. ר ֵ פּ ַ ס ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ לוּ Piel; רפס following prep ַ מ ְ ל ן ַ ע expressing
purpose; “in order to recount”.
25 אוֹב ָ ל שׁ ֶ מ ֶ שּׁ ַ ה י ִ הְ י ַ ו Qal; אוב + lamed prefix; “and the sun was about
to set”; gerundive use of inf. cstr; sense of: “is to be, must be, ought to
be”.
26 רוֹגּ ְ ס ִ ל ר ַ ע ַ שּׁ ַ ה י ִ הְ י ַ ו Qal; רגס + lamed prefix; gerundive use of
inf. cstr. “and the gate was about to be shut, had to be shut”.
27 ך ָ ל תוֹשׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ה ֶ מ Qal; השׂע + lamed prefix; “what is to be done for
you?” Gerundive use of inf. cstr. but with omission of preceding
הָ י ָ ה / י ִ הְ י ַ ו .
ר ֶ בּ ַ ד ְ ל שֵׁ י ֲ ה - ך ָ ל Piel; רבד + lamed prefix; “should one speak for you to
the king?” Gerundive use of inf. cstr.
28 תוֹכּ ַ ה ְ ל Hiphil; הכנ + lamed prefix; gerundive use of inf. cstr. but
with omission of היה; “(it was) to smite/you should have smitten”.
Elisha’s last illness; Joash, King of Israel, went to visit him; Elisha told
Joash to smite the arrows on the ground; Joash smote them three
times only; Elisha reproved him.
29 ה ַ מ - דוֹע תוֹשׂ ֲ ע ַ לּ Qal; השׂע + lamed prefix; gerundive use of inf.
cstr. but without היה; “what should I have done?” םי ִ שׁ ֻ א ְ בּ n.m.pl.
“stinking things, wild grapes” ( ָ בּ שׁ ַ א = “have a bad smell, stink”).
30 רי ִ כּ ְ ז ַ ה ְ ל אֹל Hiphil; רכז + lamed prefix, preceded by אֹל; negative
of gerundive use of inf. cstr. “one must not mention”. ס ַ ה (pausal:
ס ָ ה) = “hush! keep silence” (prob. onomatopoeic).
204 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
31 אוֹב ָ ל ןי ֵ א Qal; אוב + prefix lamed, preceded by ןי ֵ א; negative of
gerundive use of inf. cstr. “for none might enter”.
32 ת ֵ ת ָ ל Qal; ןתנ + prefix lamed; gerundial use of inf. cstr. plus
lamed, “to state motives, attendant circumstances, or otherwise
to define more exactly” (GK 114); “to explain the circumstances or
nature of a preceding action” (Davidson, Syntax, p 127 f). “This ge-
rundial use is very common” (Davidson, Syntax, p 127). Hiram of Tyre
has agreed to supply timber for the Temple and comes to a mutual
agreement with Solomon.
33 רֹ מא ֵ ל Qal; רמא + prefix lamed; gerundial use of inf. cstr. “The
man asked him, saying—”. A man found Joseph looking for his broth-
ers, who were tending the flock in Shechem.
34 לוֹא ְ שׁ ִ ל Qal; לאשׁ + prefix lamed; gerundial use of inf. cstr. “in your
asking for a king”.
35 לֹכ ֱ א ֶ ל Qal; לכא + prefix lamed; gerundial use of inf. cstr. “The
people are sinning in eating with the blood.”
36 ת ַ ע ַ ד ָ ל Qal; עדי + prefix lamed; gerundial use of inf. cstr. “Behold
like one of us, in knowing good and evil”.
37 תֹשׂ ֲ ע ֵ מ Qal; שׂע ה + prep מ; lit. “from doing”; inf. cstr. + prep to
express negative result, i.e. “so that you will not do”.
תי ִ מ ָ ה ְ ל Hiphil; תומ + prefix lamed; gerundial use of inf. cstr. “in
slaying/to slay the righteous with the wicked”.
38 ת ֵ ת ָ ל Qal; ןתנ + prefix lamed; gerundial use of inf. cstr. “to give
the younger before the elder”.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 205
39 תוֹכּ ַ ה י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל - וֹתֹ א Hiphil; הכנ; the particle י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל negatives
infinitives expressing purpose, as here; “in order that (anyone finding
him) should not smite him”.
40 ן ָ ת ְ נ י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל - ע ַ ר ֶ ז Qal; ןתנ; note short qamets before maqqef,
shortened from ḥolem. The particle י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל negatives the inf. cstr.
Expressing purpose here; “in order not to give seed to his brother”.
Judah and Batshua had three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah; Judah took a
wife for Er, Tamar, but Er died, so Judah ordered Onan to perform
levirate duty, but Onan was unwilling.
41 י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל י ִ כּ ְ פ ָ ה Qal; ךפה + sf. 1 c.sg. The particle י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל is
frequently used to negative an inf. cstr. form in its gerundial or
explicative sense, as here;“in not overturning the city—”. The angel
agreed to spare Zoar, a small town whither Lot had fled from Sodom.
42 י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל רֹ מ ְ שׁ Qal; רמשׁ; י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + inf. cstr. in its gerundial sense; “in
not keeping”.
43 י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ל ָ כ ֲ א - וּנּ ֶ מּ ִ מ Qal; לכא; י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + inf. cstr. negative
purpose; “I commanded you not to eat from it”.
44 י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ך ֵ ע ְ ג ָ נ י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + inf. cstr. Qal, עגנ = “touch”, + sf.
2 f.sg.“in order not to harm you”; negative purpose.
45 ם ֵ ח ַ נ ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל Hithpael; םחנ + prefix lamed; inf. cstr. + lamed as
object of governing verb; “he refused to be comforted”.
46 הּ ָ תּ ְ ע ַ ד ְ ל Qal; עדי + sf. 3 f.sg. + prefix lamed; inf. cstr. + lamed as
object of governing verb; “he did not continue to know her”. Tamar
had become pregnant by acting as a harlot because Judah had not
given her as wife to his 3rd son, Shelah. Judah then ceased relations
with her.
206 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
VIEW OF MEDIEVAL SCHOLARS ON THE FORM AND USE OF
INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE AND INFINITIVE CONSTRUCT
The comments of the medieval scholars are presented in the original rab-
binic Hebrew, together with translation and explanation. Students should
study the biblical verses and compare the views of the medieval scholars
with the views in modern grammar books.
Note the following grammatical terms used by Rashi and Ibn Ezra for in-
finitive forms: Rashi’s terms for ‘infinitive absolute’ are: לוֹע ָ פּ and הֶו וֹה.
The term הֶ ו וֹה is often employed by Rashi to a form in the perfect or im-
perfect, an infinitive absolute or participle, when Rashi deems such forms
to have the force of a frequentative or customary action, or long continu-
ance. The terms לוֹע ָ פּ and הֶו וֹה are often interchangeable. However, Rashi
has no special term for the ‘infinitive construct’, labeling the Qal inf. cstr.
לוֹע ְ פ ִ ל and the Niphal inf. cstr. ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ִ ה ְ ל (see below, Rashi’s comment on
Genesis 34:15). Ibn Ezra’s term for the ‘infinitive construct’ is ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ
ךוּמ ָ סּ ַ ה and his term for the ‘infinitive absolute’ is וֹני ֵ א ֶ שׁ ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ
ךוּמ ָ ס or ת ָ ר ְ כוּמּ ַ ה ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ.
1 Exodus 8:11
וֹ ֔ בּ ִ ל־ת ֶ א ֙ ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו ה ָ֔ ח ָ ו ְ ר ֽ ָ ה ֙ ה ָ תְ י ֽ ָ ה י ֤ ִ כּ ה ֗ ֹע ְ ר ַ פּ א ְ ר ֣ ַ יּ ַ ו
And Pharoah saw that there was respite and he hardened his heart.
Comment of Rashi on ֙ ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו
ןוֹשׁ ְ ל לוֹע ָ פּ אוה , ומכ ) : תישארב בי ט :( ע ֣ ַ סִּ יּ ַ ו ם ֔ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ךוֹ ֥ ל ָ ה ַ עוֹ ֖ ס ָ נ ְ ו
׃ה ָ בּ ְ ג ֽ ֶ נּ ַ ה ןכו ) םיכלמ ב ג דכ :( ] ־וּכַּ יּ ַ ו [ הּ ָ֔ ב תוֹ ֖ כּ ַ ה ְ ו ׃ב ֽ ָ אוֹמ־ת ֶ א
) לאומש א כ ב גי ( ׃
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 207
ה ָ מָּ֚ ל ם ֣ ֶ תּ ְ ר ַ שׁ ְ ק י ֔ ַ ל ָ ע ה ֖ ָ תּ ַ א י ֑ ָ שִׁ י־ן ֶ בוּ ֙ ך ְ תּ ִ ת ְ בּ וֹ ֜ ל ם ֶ ח֣ ֶ ל ב ֶ ר ֶ֗ ח ְ ו לוֹ ֥ א ָ שׁ ְ ו ֙ וֹל
םי ִ֔ הלא ֽ ֵ בּ
) םיכלמ א כ זל :( וּה֥ ֵ כַּ יּ ַ ו שׁי ֖ ִ א ָ ה ה֥ ֵ כּ ַ ה ַ ע ֽ ֹצ ָ פוּ
Translation of Rashi’s comments
֙ ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו This is an expression of ‘continuity’ like: Genesis 12:9: and
Abraham journeyed continually towards the South; II Kings 3:24: and they
smote Moab with great force; I Samuel 22:13: why have you conspired
against me, you and the son of Jesse, by your giving him bread and a sword
and you consulted G-d for him; (words of King Saul to Abimelech, priest
of Nob, whom he rebuked for sheltering David); I Kings 20:37: and the
man smote him, smiting and wounding (him).
Explanation of Rashi’s comments
Rashi brings examples of inf. abs. from four different biblical verses. It is
noteworthy that most of Rashi’s examples do not illustrate the use of inf.
abs. instead of an inflected form, as is the case with ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו ד ֵ בּ . In three of
Rashi’s examples (Gen 12:9: ךוֹל ָ ה ַ עוֹס ָ נ ְ ו ); ( II Kings 3:24: תוֹכּ ַ ה ְ ו); (I
Kings 20:37: ַ עֹצ ָ פוּ ה ֵ כּ ַ ה), the inf. abs. forms are used after the finite verb
for emphasis. We have seen that the inf. abs. after the finite verb empha-
sizes the nuance of continuity, and it seems to be this aspect of the func-
tion of inf. abs. that Rashi is keen to highlight here; “Pharoah continued
hardening his heart”. Only in one of Rashi’s examples does it seem possible
that the inf. abs. is used in place of the finite verb, that is in I Samuel 22:13
(וֹל לוֹא ָ שׁ ְ ו).
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו
ַ תּ ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ ר ָ ב ָ ע ל ַ עוֹפּ ת ַ ח .
208 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Translation of Ibn Ezra’s comments
The infinitive is used instead of the finite verb. (note that Ibn Ezra does not
offer any explanation for the phenomenon).
2 Exodus 20:8
ֶ א ֩ רוֹ ֛ כ ָ ז וֹ ֽ שׁ ְ דּ ַ ק ְ ל ת ֖ ָ בּ ַ שּׁ ַ ה םוֹ ֥ י־ת
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Comment of Rashi on ֩ רוֹ ֛ כ ָ ז
ןושל לוֹע ָ פּ אוה , ומכ ) : היעשי בכ גי :( לוֹ ֣ כ ָ א וֹ ֔ ת ָ שׁ ְ ו י ֥ ִ כּ ר ֖ ָ ח ָ מ ׃תוּ ֽ מ ָ נ
) לאומש ב ג זט :( ך ֶ ל ֨ ֵ יּ ַ ו הּ ֜ ָ תּ ִ א הּ ֗ ָ שׁי ִ א ךוֹ ֧ ל ָ ה ֛ ֹכ ָ בוּ ה
ןכו וֹנוֹרת ִ פ , וּנ ְ תּ ב ֵ ל רוֹכּ ְ ז ִ ל די ִ מ ָ תּ תא םוי ת ָ בּ ַ שּׁ ַ ה ם ִ א ֶ שׁ ן ֵ מּ ַ דּ ְ ז ִ נ ך ְ ל
ץ ֶ פ ֵ ח ה ֶ פָ י , א ֵ ה ְ תּ וֹני ִ מ ְ ז ַ מ ת ָ בּ ַ שׁ ְ ל .
Translation of Rashi on Exodus 20:
רוֹכ ָ ז is an expression of continuity, like: Isaiah 22:13: “let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we shall die”; II Samuel 3:16: “and her husband went with
her, weeping as he went”. This is the explanation; pay attention to remem-
ber continually the Sabbath day, that if something nice comes your way, set
it aside for the Sabbath.
Explanation of Rashi on Exodus 20:8
Rashi compares רוֹכ ָ ז with two examples. In Rashi’s first example, (Isaiah
22:13), the two inf. abs. forms, וֹ ֔ ת ָ שׁ ְ ו לוֹ ֣ כ ָ א are used in place of finite
verbs, “let us eat and drink”. In Rashi’s second example (II Samuel 3:16),
the inf. abs. forms, ה ֛ ֹכ ָ בוּ ךוֹ ֧ ל ָ ה coming after the finite verb, ך ֶ ל ֨ ֵ יּ ַ ו,
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 209
emphasize the nuance of continuity, “her husband went with her, weeping
as he went”. (Phalti went with Michal, younger daughter of King Saul, who
had been won by David for slaughter of Philistines. After David’s flight,
Saul gave Michal to Phalti, but David insisted on the return of Michal when
Abner wanted to make a treaty with him). It is noteworthy that the function
of רוֹכ ָ ז in Exodus 20:8 is not the same as the function of the inf. abs.
forms in either of the examples brought by Rashi, since רוֹכ ָ ז comes in
place of the imperative form, but it seems that it is the nuance of continuity
that Rashi wishes to illustrate.
3 I Samuel 1:9
ה ֑ ֹ ת ָ שׁ י ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו ה ֖ ל ִ שׁ ְ ב ה֥ ָ ל ְ כ ָ א י ֛ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ה ֔ ָ נּ ַ ח ם ָ ק ֣ ָ תּ ַ ו
And Hannah arose after eating in Shiloh and after drinking.
Comment of Rashi on י ֛ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ה֥ ָ ל ְ כ ָ א
ה קי ִ פּ ַ מ אל " לאהו א " הלישב לוֹכ ָ א י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ומכ איהו ץמק ףטח ף
הֹ ת ָ שׁ י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ או . ה ָ ב ֵ ק ְ נ ִ ל ןי ֵ בּ ר ָ כ ָ ז ְ ל ןי ֵ בּ ל ֵ פוֹנ ןוֹשׁ ָ לּ ַ הו . ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ א ירחא ןושל
ןושל ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ אל ומכ לוֹע ָ פּ לוֹע ְ פ ִ ל .
Translation of Rashi
The word ְ כ ָ א ה ָ ל does not have mappiq hey (mappiq is a dot that can be
inserted in a final hey to enable it to retain its consonantal value, instead of
functioning merely as a vowel letter) and the ’aleph has ḥatef-qamets and it
(the word ָ ל ְ כ ָ א ה ) is like לוֹכ ָ א .i.e. י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א לוֹכ ָ א הלישב ירחאו הֹ ת ָ שׁ
(thereby corresponding with הֹ ת ָ שׁ). Hence, ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ א is a לוֹע ָ פּ form (inf.
abs.), whereas ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ א ְ ל (with lamed) is לוֹע ְ פ ִ ל – inf. cstr. form (see Genesis
1:29, 30; 6:21 etc.).
210 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi discounts the idea that ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ א could mean “her eating”, i.e. noun +
suffix, since the suffix of 3 f.sg. has mappiq hey and this is not present in
our word. Equally, he discounts the idea that ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ א could be Qal perf. 3
f.sg. “she had eaten”, because then the ’aleph would have long qamets, not
ḥatef qamets. He concludes that ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ א is like לוֹכ ָ א, the Qal inf. abs. form,
corresponding with הֹ ת ָ שׁ, also Qal inf. abs. The inf. cstr. form has lamed
attached, ה ָ ל ְ כ ָ א ְ ל, as in Genesis 1:29, 30 etc. We see here clearly that
Rashi’s terminology for inf. abs. is לוֹע ָ פּ and for inf. cstr. is לוֹע ְ פ ִ ל (i.e. no
special term). Rashi does not comment on the abnormal ה ֑ ֹ ת ָ שׁ י ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו, but
it is worth noting the comments of Gesenius and Jouon/Muraoka: see GK
113e, note 3: “ה ֑ ֹ ת ָ שׁ י ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו is impossible Hebrew and as the LXX shows,
a late addition.” And see: JM 123c: “It is equally abnormal for an inf. abs. to
be governed by a preposition. However, there is I Sm 1.9 ה ֑ ֹ ת ָ שׁ ֣ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו
Comment of Radak on י ֛ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א ה֥ ָ ל ְ כ ָ א
ה ת ֶ פ ֶ סוֹת ְ בּ רוֹק ָ מ " א . הה ןיאו " הֹ ת ָ שׁ ןכו קי ִ פּ ַ מ הנניא יכ ה ָ ב ֵ ק ְ נ ִ ל א
שׁוּרי ֵ פו רוֹק ָ מ ירחא וּל ְ כ ָ א ֶ שׁ וּת ָ שׁ ְ ו .
Translation of Radak
The word ה֥ ָ ל ְ כ ָ א is inf. abs. (רוֹק ָ מ) with an extra hey. The hey is not for a
feminine, since it has no mappiq and likewise הֹ ת ָ שׁ is inf. abs. The mean-
ing is “after they had eaten and drunk”.
Explanation of Radak
Radak’s comment brings out the fact that these forms, inf. abs. according to
his opinion, serve here in place of finite verbs.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 211
4 Isaiah 6:10
֙ ן ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה ם֣ ָ ע ָ ה־ב ֵ ל ה ֔ ֶ זּ ַ ה וי֥ ָ נ ְ ז ָ א ְ ו ד֖ ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה וי֣ ָ ני ֵ ע ְ ו ע ֑ ַ שׁ ָ ה ה ֶ֨ א ְ רִ י־ן ֶ פּ וי ֜ ָ ני ֵ ע ְ ב
וי֣ ָ נ ְ ז ָ א ְ בוּ ע ֗ ָ מ ְ שִׁ י וֹ ֥ ב ָ ב ְ לוּ ןי ֛ ִ בָ י ב ֖ ָ שׁ ָ ו א ָ פ ֥ ָ ר ְ ו ׃וֹ ֽ ל
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and besmear
their eyes, lest one will see with one’s eyes and hear with one’s ears, and
one’s heart will understand and will return and be healed.
(ע ַ ע ָ שׁ = “be smeared over, blinded” > Hiphil imperative m.sg. ע ֑ ַ שׁ ָ ה =
“besmear”)
Comment of Rashi on ֙ ן ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה and ד֖ ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה
ומכ ) : אי ח תומש :( ת ֶ א ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ו - וֹבּ ִ ל . לוֹע ָ פּ ןושל ךוֹל ָ ה ןושל . ם ָ בּ ִ ל
ַ עוֹמ ְ שּׁ ִ מ ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ הו ךוֹל ָ ה םיכלוה וינזאו ן ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה ְ ו ךוֹל ָ ה ך ֵ לוֹה .
Translation of Rashi
Like Exodus 8:11: “and (he) hardened his heart”, an expression of
continuity. Their heart continually becomes fatter and his ears are becoming
heavier and heavier so that they do not hear.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi takes ן ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה (also ד ֵ בּ ְ כ ַ ה and ע ַ שׁ ָ ה) as inf. abs. forms, labeling them
לוֹע ָ פּ ןושל ךוֹל ָ ה ןושל. They could have been taken as Hiphil imperative
m.sg. since they have the same form as inf. abs. Hiphil, but such a view
gives rise to the problem that the prophet would hardly be asked to fatten
the people’s hearts, harden their ears and smear their eyes. Hence, Rashi
avoids this problem by taking these forms as inf. abs., an expression of a
continuous action.
212 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Comment of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 6:10
ן ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה – ומכ ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ ן ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה ת ַ לּ ִ מּ ֶ שׁ רמוא שי ) : ב א לאומש
זט :( ב ֶ ל ֵ ח ַ ה םוֹיּ ַ כּ ןוּרי ִ ט ְ קַ י ר ֵ טּ ַ ק ומכ ע ַ שׁ ָ ה ן ֵ כ ְ ו ) ד ה ארקיו ( ע ַ ר ָ ה ְ ל .
ִ י אל הזו ן ֶ פּ ת ַ לּ ִ מ רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ ן ֵ כ ָ תּ , יווי ִ צ לכה קר , ַ חֹכּ ןיא יכ ונעדיו
ב ֵ לּ ַ ה ןמ ְ שׁ ַ ה ְ ל אי ִ ב ָ נּ ַ בּ , רובדב אוה קר , םיבר והומכו .
Translation of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 6:10
There are those who say that the word ן ֵ מ ְ שׁ ַ ה is an infinitive form
( ם ֵ שׁ ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ) like: I Samuel 2:16: “let them indeed make the fat to smoke
now” (where the word ר ֵ טּ ַ ק is Piel inf. abs. giving emphasis to the finite
Hiphil imperf. form ןוּרי ִ ט ְ קַ י) and likewise, ע ַ שׁ ָ ה (Hiphil: עעשׁ) has the
same form as the infinitive form ע ַ ר ָ ה ְ ל (Hiphil: עער) (Leviticus 5:4). But
this is not likely, because of the word “lest”. Only, these forms are all im-
peratives (יוויצ). We know that the prophet does not have the ability to
fatten the heart, but it is by way of speech, and there are many such exam-
ples.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 6:10
Ibn Ezra holds that these forms must be imperatives because infinitives
could not be the verbal form of a main clause followed by the subordinate
clause introduced by ן ֶ פּ = “lest”. Ibn Ezra implies that the people are being
deprived of the ability to repent as punishment for their sins.
5 Hosea 6:9
ְ גּ שׁי ִ֜ א י ֨ ֵ כּ ַ ח ְ כוּ ׃וּ ֽ שׂ ָ ע ה ֖ ָ מּ ִ ז י ֥ ִ כּ ה ָ מ ְ כ ֑ ֶ שׁ־וּח ְ צּ ַ רְ י ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ דּ םי ֔ ִ נ ֲ ה ֽ ֹכּ ר ֶ ב ֶ֚ ח םי ֗ ִ דוּד
And as troops waiting for a man is the company of priests; they murder on
the road to Shechem for they have planned wickedness.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 213
Comment of Ibn Ezra on י ֨ ֵ כּ ַ ח ְ כוּ
ויה " ה ת ַ ח ַ תּ ד " ע ַ שׁ ֶ פּ ַ ה א ֵ לּ ַ כ ְ ל ךרד לע א ) דכ ט לאינד ( אוה םג
לאב " ה תחת ף " א , ילעבּ ט ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ יכ ן ֵ ה תוֹר ָ ז תוֹלּ ִ מ םיתשׁ ַ ה ה ֶ לּ ֵ או
הה " תוֹכּ ַ ח ְ ל תוֹלּ ַ כ ְ ל ךוּמ ָ ס ְ בּ א .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The yod in ֵ כּ ַ ח ְ כוּ י replaces hey. Compare ע ַ שׁ ֶ פּ ַ ה א ֵ לּ ַ כ ְ ל (Daniel 9:24) =
“to finish the transgression”, in which case the ’aleph similarly replaces the
hey. Both of these words (י ֵ כּ ַ ח ְ כוּ and א ֵ לּ ַ כ ְ ל) are rare; for the proper form
of the inf. cstr. (when derived from) a lamed-hey verb is תוֹלּ ַ כ ְ ל (to finish),
תוֹכּ ַ ח ְ ל (to wait).
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra is explaining that the regular form of Piel inf. cstr. from the
lamed-hey root הכח would be תוֹכּ ַ ח (= waiting). Hence, י ֵ כּ ַ ח ְ כוּ is a
strange form, where one would have expected תוֹכּ ַ ח ְ כוּ. Similarly, the
regular Piel inf. cstr. form of the root הלכ would be תוֹלּ ַ כ ְ ל and from the
context, the form א ֵ לּ ַ כ ְ ל in Daniel 9:24 clearly means “to finish”, which
presupposes the Piel of the root הלכ and not אלכ. (For discussion of
relation between verbs lamed- ’aleph and lamed-hey, see GK 75nn-rr).
6 Isaiah 42:19,20
ר֖ ֵ וּ ִ ע ְ ו ם ֔ ָ לּ ֻ שׁ ְ מ ִ כּ ֙ ר ֵ וּ ִ ע י ֤ ִ מ ח֑ ָ ל ְ שׁ ֶ א י ֣ ִ כ ָ א ְ ל ַ מ ְ כּ שׁ ֖ ֵ ר ֵ ח ְ ו י ֔ ִ דּ ְ ב ַ ע־ם ִ א י ֣ ִ כּ ֙ ר ֵ וּ ִ ע י ֤ ִ מ
׃הֽ ָ והְ י ד ֶ ב ֥ ֶ ע ְ כּ ָ תי ִ א ָ ר ] תוֹ ֥ א ָ ר [ א ֥ ֹל ְ ו םִ י ֖ ַ נ ְ ז ָ א ַ חוֹ ֥ ק ָ פּ ר ֑ ֹ מ ְ שׁ ִ ת א ֣ ֹל ְ ו תוֹ ֖ בּ ַ ר
׃ע ֽ ָ מ ְ שִׁ י
Who is blind but My servant or deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who
is blind as he that is perfect and blind as the servant of the Lord? Seeing
214 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
many things but you do not take heed, opening the ears but he does not
hear.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on תוֹא ָ ר (Qere)
ד ָ ח ֶ א ְ בּ ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ י ֵ ל ְ ק ְ שׁ ִ מ י ֵ נ ְ שׁ תוּרבּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ ה ָ ר ָ ז ה ָ לּ ִ מ
ת ָ ר ְ כוּמּ ַ ה ) הֹ א ָ ר ( ךוּמ ָ סּ ַ הו ) תוֹא ְ ר ( , אוה ןכו , אלו םי ִ בּ ַ ר םי ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ וּא ְ רִ י
ן ִ י ַ ע ָ ה וא שׁ ֶ פ ֶ נּ ַ ה ם ֵ ר ְ מ ְ שׁ ִ ת , םוּר ְ גּ ְ סִ י אלו וּח ְ ק ְ פִ י םהי ֵ נ ְ ז ָ או , וּע ְ מ ְ שִׁ י אלו ,
ֵ מ ָ תּ הזו ַ הּ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
It is an irregular form; it is a combination of the two infinitives, the absolute
) הֹ א ָ ר ( and the construct ) תוֹא ְ ר ( . The meaning is: they will perceive many
words but their soul or eye will not retain them; they will open their ears
and will not close them, but they will not hear, and that is strange.
7 Genesis 11:6
תוֹ ֑ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ם֣ ָ לּ ִ ח ַ ה ה֖ ֶ ז ְ ו ם ֔ ָ לּ ֻ כ ְ ל ֙ ת ַ ח ַ א ה֤ ָ פ ָ שׂ ְ ו ֙ ד ָ ח ֶ א ם֤ ַ ע ן ֣ ֵ ה ה ָ֗ והְ י ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
ָ י ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ֛ ֹכּ ם ֶ֔ ה ֵ מ ר֣ ֵ צ ָ בִּ י־א ֽ ֹל ֙ ה ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו ׃תוֹ ֽ שׂ ֲ עַ ֽ ל וּ ֖ מ ְ ז
And the Lord said, ‘Behold one people and one language for them all, and
this is what they begin to do; and now nothing that they scheme to do will
be withheld from them’.
(ם ַ מ ָ ז = consider, purpose, devise > Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. וּ ֖ מ ְ ז ָ י for וּמֹּז ָ י; see
GK 67dd)
Rashi’s comment on ם֣ ָ לּ ִ ח ַ ה
ם ָ לּ ִ ח ַ ה : ומכ : ם ָ ר ְ מ ָ א , ם ָ תוֹשׂ ֲ ע – תושעל ם ֵ ה לי ִ ח ְ ת ַ ה ְ ל .
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 215
Translation of Rashi’s comment
ם ָ לּ ִ ח ַ ה is infinitive, like: ם ָ ר ְ מ ָ א ‘their speaking’; שׂ ֲ ע ם ָ תוֹ ‘their doing’ (i.e.
they speak, they do), so here – they begin to do.
Explanation of Rashi’s comment
Rashi points out that in the word ם ָ לּ ִ ח ַ ה (Hiphil inf. cstr. + sf. 3 m.pl.
ללח, “their beginning”), the suffix is subjective, (i.e. ‘they begin’) where the
suffix acts as the subject of the verb. This is comparable to ם ָ ר ְ מ ָ א ‘their
speaking’ and ם ָ תוֹשׂ ֲ ע ‘their doing’. Rashi’s clarification arises from the fact
that the suffix on an inf. cstr. form may be either subjective or objective.
That is, וֹל ְ ט ָ ק “his killing” may mean “slaughter committed by him” (sub-
jective) or the “slaughter of him by another” (objective). Only the suffix of
the 1st pers. sg. has two forms: י ִ נ ֵ ל ְ ט ָ ק ְ ל can mean only “to kill me”, while
the subjective use is always expressed by י ִ ל ְ ט ָ ק (Silbermann p 263, appen-
dix to p 45).
8 Exodus 29:46
םִ י ֖ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א ֵ מ ם ֛ ָ תֹ א י ִ תא֧ ֵ צוֹה ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ֶ֔ הי ֵ ה ֣ ל ֱ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י י֤ ִ נ ֲ א י ֣ ִ כּ וּ ֗ ע ְ דָ י ְ ו
ְ ב י֣ ִ נ ְ כ ָ שׁ ְ ל ם֑ ָ כוֹת
And they shall know that I am the Lord their G-d who brought them out
from the land of Egypt that I may dwell in their midst.
Comment of Rashi on י֣ ִ נ ְ כ ָ שׁ ְ ל
ם ָ כוֹת ְ ב י ִ נ ֲ א ןוֹכּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ת ָ נ ְ מ ל ַ ע .  
Translation of Rashi
in order that I may dwell in their midst.
216 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi clarifies that the 1st pers. sg. suffix on the Qal inf. cstr. + lamed,
י ִ נ ְ כ ָ שׁ ְ ל, has a subjective sense. Rashi also explains that the lamed before the
inf. cstr. expresses ‘purpose’; G-d brought them out of Egypt for the ex-
press purpose that they should lead such lives that He could dwell in their
midst.
9 II Kings 13:19
םי ֔ ִ מ ָ ע ְ פּ ֙ שׁ ֵ שׁ־וֹא שׁ ֤ ֵ מ ָ ח תוֹ ֨ כּ ַ ה ְ ל ה ֕ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו ה֑ ֵ לּ ַ כּ־ד ַ ע ם ֖ ָ ר ֲ א־ת ֶ א ָ תי ֥ ִ כּ ִ ה ז ֛ ָ א
ם ֽ ָ ר ֲ א־ת ֶ א ה֥ ֶ כּ ַ תּ םי ֖ ִ מ ָ ע ְ פּ שׁ ֥ ל ָ שׁ ׃
You should have smitten five or six times; then you would have smitten
Aram until annihilation; whereas now you will smite Aram only three times.
Comment of Rashi on תוֹ ֨ כּ ַ ה ְ ל
ך ְ ל הָ י ָ ה . םימעפ שש וא שמח םרא תא ָ תי ִ כּ ִ ה ָ תי ִ שׂ ָ ע ךכּ ם ִ א ז ָ א
ת ֶ שׁ ֶ קּ ַ ה לע ךידי י ִ תּ ְ ב ַ כּ ְ ר ִ ה ה ָ עוּשׁ ְ תּ ןמי ִ ס ְ ל י ֵ ר ֲ ה ֶ שׁ .
Translation of Rashi
You should have (smitten). Then, if you had done so, you would have
smitten Aram five or six times, for as a sign of victory did I make your
hands grasp the bow.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi supplies the missing הָ י ָ ה. See no 28 above where תוֹ ֨ כּ ַ ה ְ ל (Hiphil;
הכנ) was explained as the gerundive use of inf. cstr. with omission of הָ י ָ ה.
Rashi’s comment supports this analysis.
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 217
10 Genesis 34:15
׃ר ֽ ָ כ ָ ז־ל ָ כּ ם֖ ֶ כ ָ ל ל ֥ ֹ מּ ִ ה ְ ל וּנ ֔ ֹ מ ָ כ וּ ֣ י ְ ה ִ תּ ם ִ֚ א ם֑ ֶ כ ָ ל תוֹ ֣ א ֵ נ תא֖ ֹז ְ בּ־ך ַ א
But on this (condition) will we consent to you, if you will be like us, that
every male be circumcised.
Comment of Rashi on ל ֥ ֹ מּ ִ ה ְ ל
תויהל לוֹמּ ִ נ , וניא ןושל לוֹע ְ פ ִ ל א ָ לּ ֶ א ןושל ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ִ ה ְ ל .
Translation of Rashi
ל ֥ ֹ מּ ִ ה ְ ל means ‘to be circumcised’. It is not an active inf. cstr. (Qal) but a
passive inf. cstr. (Niphal).
Explanation of Rashi
We see from Rashi’s comment that he has no special term for the inf. cstr.
He labels the Qal inf. cstr. לוֹע ְ פ ִ ל and he labels the Niphal inf. cstr.
ל ֵ ע ָ פּ ִ ה ְ ל. ל ֥ ֹ מּ ִ ה ְ ל is the Niphal inf. cstr. + lamed prefix from the root לוּמ
(Niphal perf. לוֹמּ ִ נ – see GK 72ee). Note also תוֹ ֣ א ֵ נ – Niphal imperf. 1
c.pl. תוא “we will consent”.
11 Deuteronomy 1:16
ם ֣ ֶ תּ ְ ט ַ פ ְ שׁוּ ֙ ם ֶ כי ֵ ח ֲ א־ןי ֵ בּ ַ ע ֤ ֹ מ ָ שׁ ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל או ֖ ִ ה ַ ה ת ֥ ֵ ע ָ בּ ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ ט ְ פ ֣ ֹשׁ־ת ֶ א ֙ ה ֶ וּ ַ צ ֲ א ָ ו
ק ֶ ד ֔ ֶ צ
And I charged your judges at that time saying, ‘Hear (the claims) between
your brothers and judge righteously’.
218 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ַ ע ֤ ֹ מ ָ שׁ
ומכ ל ַ עֹ פּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ : ת ֶ א רוֹכ ָ ז - וא וּע ְ מ ִ שׁ ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ אוהו ת ָ בּ ַ שּׁ ַ ה םוֹי
ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ וּע ְ מ ִ שׁ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ is an infinitive form like: “Remember the Sabbath day” (Exodus
20:7), but (the meaning is as if it was written) “surely hear” or “hear surely”.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra compares ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ to רוֹכ ָ ז – both Qal inf. abs. forms used for
imperatives (“hear”, “remember”). However, Ibn Ezra construes such inf.
abs. forms as elliptical, that is, he suggests that the meaning is as if the inf.
abs. form either followed or came before the imperative form, i.e. וּע ְ מ ִ שׁ
ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ (“hear surely”) or ַ עֹ מ ָ שׁ וּע ְ מ ִ שׁ (“surely hear”). See GK 113bb.
12 Hosea 10:4
י ֥ ֵ מ ְ ל ַ תּ ל֖ ַ ע ט ֔ ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ֙ שׁאֹר ָ כּ ח ֤ ַ ר ָ פוּ תי ֑ ִ ר ְ בּ ת ֣ ֹר ָ כּ א ְ ו ֖ ָ שׁ תוֹ ֥ ל ָ א םי ֔ ִ ר ָ ב ְ ד וּ ֣ ר ְ בּ ִ דּ
׃י ֽ ָ ד ָ שׂ
They speak words, swearing falsely, they make covenants and justice
sprouts like a poisonous herb on the furrows of the field.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on תוֹ ֥ ל ָ א
ךוּמ ָ ס וֹני ֵ א ֶ שׁ ְ ו ךוּמ ָ סּ ַ ה ל ַ עוֹפּ ַ ה ם ֵ שּׁ ִ מ ת ֶ ב ֶ כּ ְ רוּמ ה ָ לּ ִ מּ ַ ה וּלי ִ א ְ כּ ה ָ ר ָ ז ך ֶ ר ֶ דּ
ןוֹר ָ גּ ַ ה תוֹא רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ ן ֵ כּ הָ י ָ ה וא .
PART TWO: THE INFINITIVES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 219
Translation of Ibn Ezra
תוֹ ֥ ל ָ א (= “swearing”) is a strange formation as if the word were a
combination of the inf. cstr. and the inf. abs. Or else it is so due to the
guttural letter (’aleph).
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
ה ָ ל ָ א = “swear, curse”. The Qal inf. abs. is generally vocalised with a qames
under the first letter of the verb. However, the ot ending in the word תוֹ ֥ ל ָ א
indicates that the infinitive here is construct and therefore the ’aleph should
be vocalised with a composite sheva, rather than a qamets (תוֹל ֲ א). The
correct form of the inf. abs. here would be as in Hosea 4:2: הל ָ א. The
confusion may have arisen because the letter ’aleph is a guttural and
therefore does not tolerate the sheva which is expected in a Qal inf. cstr.
form from a strong verb, such as: רוֹמ ְ שׁ from ר ַ מ ָ שׁ of which the inf. abs.
would be רוֹמ ָ שׁ.
221
PART THREE: SYNTAX
FINAL OR PURPOSE CLAUSES
Final or purpose clauses are clauses which express the purpose or aim of an
action. The main methods for expressing PURPOSE in Classical Biblical
Hebrew may be summarized as follows:
1 Vav Conjunctive + Imperf. or Cohortative
2 Inf. cstr. + lamed
3 ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א + imperf.
4 ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל + imperf.
5 ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל + inf. cstr.
6 ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א + imperf.
7 רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א + imperf. (less usual)
8 רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ + imperf.
9 רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ + inf. cstr.
The main methods for expressing “negative purpose” in classical Biblical
Hebrew may be summarized as follows:
1 י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + inf. cstr.
2 י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + imperf. (only twice)
3 ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א אֹל + imperf.
222 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
4 ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל ) ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ( אֹל + imperf.
Study the following biblical verses and discuss/analyse the various
methods for expressing “purpose” in Biblical Hebrew. See the
explanatory notes at the end of each verse.
I: Vav Conjunctive + Imperf./Cohortative
1 Genesis 24:14 (Eliezer praying to G-d, describing the impending
encounter with Rebekah)
ה ֔ ֵ ת ְ שׁ ה ֣ ָ ר ְ מ ָ א ְ ו ה ֔ ֶ תּ ְ שׁ ֶ א ְ ו ֙ ך ֵ דּ ַ כ א֤ ָ נ־י ִ טּ ַ ה ֙ ָ הי ֙ ֶ ל ֵ א ר ֤ ַ מֹ א ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֗ ָ ר ֲ ע ַ נּ ֽ ַ ה ה֣ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו
הּ֣ ָ בוּ ק ָ֔ ח ְ צִ י ְ ל ֣ ך ְ דּ ְ ב ַ ע ְ ל ֙ ָ תּ ְ ח ֙ ַ כֹה הּ ֤ ָ תֹ א ה ֑ ֶ ק ְ שׁ ַ א ךי ֖ ֶ לּ ַ מ ְ גּ־ם ַ ג ְ ו ָ תי ֥ ִ שׂ ָ ע־י ִ כּ ע ֔ ַ ד ֵ א
׃י ֽ ִ נֹד ֲ א־ם ִ ע ד ֶ ס ֖ ֶ ח
And it shall be, the maiden to whom I shall say, ‘please incline your jar that
I may drink’, and she shall say, ‘drink, and I will also water your camels’, she
is the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac and thereby I shall
know that You have shown kindness to my master.
ה ֔ ֶ תּ ְ שׁ ֶ א ְ ו “that I may drink” (note also: חכי > Hiphil: decide, adjudge,
appoint).
2 Genesis 27:4 (Isaac to Esau)
י ֨ ִ ל־ה ֵ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ו םי ֜ ִ מּ ַ ע ְ ט ַ מ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ י ִ תּ ְ ב ֛ ַ ה ָ א ה ָ אי ֥ ִ ב ָ ה ְ ו י ֖ ִ לּ ֑ ֵ כֹ א ְ ו ה ָ ל רוּ ֛ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ
֥ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ָ ב ְ תּ י ֖ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ם ֶ ר ֥ ֶ ט ְ בּ ׃תוּ ֽ מ ָ א
And make for me tasty food such as I like and bring (it) to me that I may
eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.
ה ָ ל֑ ֵ כֹ א ְ ו “in order that I may eat” (vav conjunctive + cohortative 1 sg.
pausal;
ל ַ כֹ א > ה ָ ל ְ כֹ א > ה ָ ל ֵ כֹ א)
PART THREE: SYNTAX 223
II: Infinitive Construct + lamed
3 I Kings 18:42 (after Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal
on Mount Carmel)
ר ֣ ַ ה ְ ג ִ יּ ַ ו ֙ ל ֶ מ ְ ר ַ כּ ַ ה שׁא ֤ ֹר־ל ֶ א ה ֨ ָ ל ָ ע וּה ֜ ָ יּ ִ ל ֵ֨ א ְ ו תוֹ ֑ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ְ ו ל ֣ ֹכ ֱ א ֶ ל ב ֖ ָ א ְ ח ַ א ה֥ ֶ ל ֲ עַ יּ ַ ו
ַ֔ א ה ָ צ ְ ר
And Ahab went up to eat and to drink and Elijah went up to the top of
Mount Carmel and crouched on the ground.
ל ֣ ֹכ ֱ א ֶ ל תוֹ ֑ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ְ ו “in order to eat and to drink”
4 Judges 3:1
ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ת ֶ א ם֖ ָ בּ תוֹ ֥ סּ ַ נ ְ ל ה ָ֔ והְ י ַ חי֣ ִ נּ ִ ה ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ םִ יוֹגּ ַ ה ה ֶ לּ ֤ ֵ א ְ ו ל ֑ ֵ א
And these are the nations that the Lord left to test Israel by them.
ם֖ ָ בּ תוֹ ֥ סּ ַ נ ְ ל “to that He might test by them”
III: ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל + imperf.
5 Genesis 18:19 (G-d is about to reveal to Abraham the impending
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah)
֣ ִ כּ ך ֶ ר֣ ֶ דּ ֙ וּר ְ מ ֽ ָ שׁ ְ ו וי ֔ ָ ר ֲ ח ַ א ֙ וֹתי ֵ בּ־ת ֶ א ְ ו וי֤ ָ נ ָ בּ־ת ֶ א ה ֶ֜ וּ ַ צְ י ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֩ ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל וי ֗ ִ תּ ְ ע ַ דְ י י
ת ֥ ֵ א ם ָ֔ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ל ַ ע ֙ ה ָ והְ י אי ֤ ִ ב ָ ה ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ְ ל ט֑ ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מוּ ה ֖ ָ ק ָ ד ְ צ תוֹ ֥ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ה ָ֔ והְ י
׃וי ֽ ָ ל ָ ע ר֖ ֶ בּ ִ דּ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א
For I have known him that he may instruct his children and his household
after him and they will keep the way of the Lord to do righteousness and
justice in order that the Lord may bring on Abraham what He has promised
him.
224 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
וי֤ ָ נ ָ בּ־ת ֶ א ה ֶ֜ וּ ַ צְ י ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֩ ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל “in order that he may instruct his children”
IV: ֩ ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל + imperf.
6 Genesis 12:13 (Abram to Sarai in Egypt)
׃ךֽ ֵ ל ָ ל ְ ג ִ בּ י ֖ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ה ֥ ָ תְ י ָ ח ְ ו ך ֔ ֵ רוּב ֲ ע ַ ב י ֣ ִ ל־ב ַ טי ֽ ִ י ֙ ן ַ ע ֙ ַ מ ְ ל ְ תּ ֑ ָ א י ִ ת ֣ ֹח ֲ א א֖ ָ נ־י ִ ר ְ מ ִ א
Please say that you are my sister that it may go well with me for your sake
and my soul will live because of you.
֙ ן ַ ע ֙ ַ מ ְ ל י ֣ ִ ל־ב ַ טי ֽ ִ י “in order that it may go well with me”
7 Genesis 27:25 (Isaac to Jacob)
י ֑ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ֖ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ֽ ָ ב ְ תּ ן ַ ע ֥ ַ מ ְ ל י ֔ ִ נ ְ בּ די֣ ֵ צּ ִ מ ֙ ה ָ ל ְ כ ֽ ֹ א ְ ו ֙ י ִ לּ ה ָ שׁ֤ ִ גּ ַ ה ר ֶ מא ֗ ֹיּ ַ ו
And he said, ‘bring (it) near to me and let me eat of my son’s game, that my
soul may bless you’.
י ֑ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ֖ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ֽ ָ ב ְ תּ ן ַ ע ֥ ַ מ ְ ל “in order that my soul may bless you”
V: ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל + inf. cstr.
8 Genesis 37:22 (Reuben to his brothers concerning Joseph)
ֵ ל ֲ א ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו ם֣ ֶ ה ֙ ה ֶ זּ ַ ה רוֹ ֤ בּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א וֹ ֗ תֹ א וּכי ֣ ִ ל ְ שׁ ַ ה ֒ ם ָ ד־וּכ ְ פּ ְ שׁ ִ תּ־ל ַ א ֮ ן ֵ בוּא ְ ר
וֹ ֖ בי ִ שׁ ֲ ה ַ ל ם ֔ ָ דָ יּ ִ מ ֙ וֹתֹ א לי ֤ ִ צּ ַ ה ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ְ ל וֹ ֑ ב־וּח ְ ל ְ שׁ ִ תּ־ל ַ א ד֖ ָ י ְ ו ר ָ֔ בּ ְ ד ִ מּ ַ בּ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א
׃וי ֽ ִ ב ָ א־ל ֶ א
And Reuben said to them, ‘do not shed blood, cast him into this pit which
is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him’, in order to save him
from their hand, to bring him back to his father.
ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ְ ל לי ֤ ִ צּ ַ ה ֙ וֹתֹ א “in order to save him” (לצנ; Hiphil)
PART THREE: SYNTAX 225
9 Amos 2:7
֥ ַ מ ְ ל ה ֔ ָ ר ֲ עַ נּ ֽ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ֙ וּכ ְ לֽ ֵ י וי ִ֗ ב ָ א ְ ו שׁי ֣ ִ א ְ ו ׃י ֽ ִ שׁ ְ ד ָ ק ם ֥ ֵ שׁ־ת ֶ א ל֖ ֵ לּ ַ ח ן ַ ע
A man and his father go to the (same) girl in order to profane My holy
name.
ן ַ ע ֥ ַ מ ְ ל ל֖ ֵ לּ ַ ח “in order to profane” (ללח; Piel)
VI: ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א +imperf.
10 Deuteronomy 4:10
֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ֑ ָ ר ָ ב ְ דּ־ת ֶ א ם֖ ֵ ע ִ מ ְ שׁ ַ א ְ ו ם ֔ ָ ע ָ ה־ת ֶ א ֙ י ִ ל־ל ֶ ה ְ ק ַ ה י ֗ ִ תֹ א ה ֣ ָ א ְ רִ י ְ ל ןוּ ֜ ד ְ מ ְ לִ י ר
Gather the people to Me that I may let them hear My words, in order that
they may learn to fear Me.
ןוּ ֜ ד ְ מ ְ לִ י ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א “in order that they may learn”. (Note ם֖ ֵ ע ִ מ ְ שׁ ַ א ְ ו “in order
that I may let them hear”; vav conjunctive + imperf. Hiphil עמשׁ + sf. 3
m.pl.).
11 Joshua 3:7
ל ֑ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ל ָ כּ י֖ ֵ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ ֔ ך ְ ל ֶ דַּ גּ ֙ ל ֵ ח ָ א ה ֗ ֶ זּ ַ ה םוֹ ֣ יּ ַ ה ַ ע ֔ ֻ שׁוֹהְ י־ל ֶ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃ך ֽ ָ מּ ִ ע ה֥ ֶ י ְ ה ֶ א ה ֖ ֶ שֹׁמ־ם ִ ע י ִ תי֛ ִ י ָ ה ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ י ֗ ִ כּ ןוּ ֔ ע ְ ד ֽ ֵ י ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א
And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘this day I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of
all Israel, so that they shall know that I will be with you as I was with
Moses.
֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ןוּ ֔ ע ְ ד ֽ ֵ י “so that they shall know”

226 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
VII: רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א + imperf. (less usual)
12 Genesis 27:10 (Rebekah to Jacob)
ְ ו ֥ ָ תא ֵ ב ֵ ה ךי ֖ ִ ב ָ א ְ ל ל֑ ָ כ ָ א ְ ו ר֛ ֻ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֖ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ָ בְ י י֥ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ׃וֹ ֽ תוֹמ
And you will bring (it) to your father and he will eat, in order that he may
bless you before he dies.
ר֛ ֻ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֖ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ָ בְ י “in order that he may bless you”
VIII: רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ + imperf.
13 Genesis 27:4 (Isaac to Esau)
רוּ ֛ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ה ָ ל֑ ֵ כֹ א ְ ו י ֖ ִ לּ ה ָ אי ֥ ִ ב ָ ה ְ ו י ִ תּ ְ ב ֛ ַ ה ָ א ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ םי ֜ ִ מּ ַ ע ְ ט ַ מ י ֨ ִ ל־ה ֵ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ו
׃תוּ ֽ מ ָ א ם ֶ ר ֥ ֶ ט ְ בּ י ֖ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ֥ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ָ ב ְ תּ
And make for me tasty food such as I like and bring (it) to me that I may
eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.
רוּ ֛ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ֥ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ָ ב ְ תּ י ֖ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ “so that my soul may bless you”
14 Exodus 19:9 (preparing for Mount Sinai)
רוּ ֞ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ֒ן ָ נ ָ ע ֽ ֶ ה ב֣ ַ ע ְ בּ ֮ ךי ֶ ל ֵ א א֣ ָ בּ י ֜ ִ כֹ נ ָ א ה ֨ ֵ נּ ִ ה ה ֗ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ה ָ֜ והְ י ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
ְ בּ ֙ ם ָ ע ָ ה ע ֤ ַ מ ְ שִׁ י ם֑ ָ לוֹע ְ ל וּני ֣ ִ מ ֲ אַ י ֖ ך ְ בּ־ם ַ ג ְ ו ך ֔ ָ מּ ִ ע י ֣ ִ ר ְ בּ ַ ד
And the Lord said to Moses, ‘behold I will come to you in a thick cloud, in
order that the people may hear when I speak with you and also in you will
they believe for ever’.
רוּ ֞ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ע ֤ ַ מ ְ שִׁ י ֙ ם ָ ע ָ ה “in order that the people may hear”

PART THREE: SYNTAX 227
IX: רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ + inf. cstr.
15 Exodus 9:16
ר ֥ ֵ פּ ַ ס ן ַ ע ֛ ַ מ ְ לוּ י ֑ ִ חֹכּ־ת ֶ א ֣ ך ְ תֹ א ְ ר ַ ה רוּ ֖ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ךי ֔ ִ תּ ְ ד ַ מ ֱ ע ֶ ה ֙ תאֹז רוּ ֥ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ם ֗ ָ לוּא ְ ו
׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א ָ ה־ל ָ כ ְ בּ י ֖ ִ מ ְ שׁ
Nevertheless I have caused you to stand for this purpose, in order to show
you My power and in order to recount My Name in all the land.
י ֑ ִ חֹכּ־ת ֶ א ֣ ך ְ תֹ א ְ ר ַ ה רוּ ֖ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ “in order to show you My power” (האר;
Hiphil). (note also
ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל + inf. cstr. Piel, ר ֥ ֵ פּ ַ ס ן ַ ע ֛ ַ מ ְ לוּ)
16 II Samuel 18:18
ו ָ יּ ַ ח ְ ב וֹ ֤ ל־ב ֶ צַּ יּ ַ ו ח ַ֗ ק ָ ל ם ֣ ל ָ שׁ ְ ב ַ א ְ ו ] ֙ וי ָ יּ ַ ח ְ ב [ ך ֶ ל ֔ ֶ מּ ַ ה־ק ֶ מ ֽ ֵ ע ְ בּ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ת ֶ ב ֙ ֶ צּ ַ מ־ת ֶ א
י ֑ ִ מ ְ שׁ רי ֣ ִ כּ ְ ז ַ ה רוּ ֖ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ן ֵ֔ ב י ֣ ִ ל־ןי ֽ ֵ א ֙ ר ַ מ ָ א י ֤ ִ כּ
And Absalom had taken, in his lifetime, and set up for himself the pillar
which is in the Valley of the King, for he said, ‘I have no son to keep my
name in remembrance’.
י ֑ ִ מ ְ שׁ רי ֣ ִ כּ ְ ז ַ ה רוּ ֖ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ “to keep my name in remembrance”
(note: בצנ > Hiphil: בי ִ צּ ִ ה = “set up” > n.f. ה ָ ב ֵ צּ ַ מ / ת ֶ ב ֶ צּ ַ מ = “pillar”)
X: Some rare usages in late biblical Hebrew
17 Ecclesiastes 3:14
ןי ֣ ֵ א ֙ וי ָ ל ָ ע ם ֔ ָ לוֹע ְ ל ה֣ ֶ י ְ הִ י אוּ ֚ ה ֙ םי ִ הל ֱ א ָ ה ה ֤ ֶ שׂ ֲ עַ י ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א־ל ָ כּ י ֠ ִ כּ י ִ תּ ְ ע ֗ ַ דָ י
ְ לּ ִ מ וּ ֖ א ְ ר ֽ ִ יּ ֶ שׁ ה ֔ ָ שׂ ָ ע םי ֣ ִ הל ֱ א ָ ה ְ ו ַ ע ֑ ֹר ְ ג ִ ל ןי ֣ ֵ א וּנּ ֖ ֶ מּ ִ מוּ ףי ִ֔ סוֹה ְ ל ׃ויֽ ָ נ ָ פ
228 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
I know that whatever G-d does it will be forever; one cannot add to it and
one cannot diminish it; and G-d has brought it to pass that (men) should
fear before Him.
ויֽ ָ נ ָ פ ְ לּ ִ מ וּ ֖ א ְ ר ֽ ִ יּ ֶ שׁ “that (men) should fear before Him”. ( ֶ שׁ + imperf.)
( ֶ שׁ is synonymous with ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א but in usage limited to late Hebrew and
passages with North Palestinian colouring; see BDB pp 979-80).
18 Ecclesiastes 7:14
֖ ָ ע ָ ר םוֹ ֥ י ְ בוּ בוֹ ֔ ט ְ ב ה֣ ֵ י ֱ ה ֙ ה ָ בוֹט םוֹ ֤ י ְ בּ ה ֣ ָ שׂ ָ ע ֙ ה ֶ ז־ת ַ מּ ֻ ע ְ ל ה֤ ֶ ז־ת ֶ א ם֣ ַ גּ ה ֑ ֵ א ְ ר ה
׃ה ָ מוּ ֽ א ְ מ וי ֖ ָ ר ֲ ח ַ א ם֛ ָ ד ָ א ֽ ָ ה א֧ ָ צ ְ מִ י א ֨ ֹלּ ֶ שׁ ת ֗ ַ ר ְ ב ִ דּ־ל ַ ע םי ִ֔ הל ֱ א ֽ ָ ה
In a day of prosperity be joyful, but in a day of adversity, reflect; G-d has
made the one corresponding to the other, to the end that man should find
nothing after Him. (i.e. so that man should find no fault with Him).
ם֛ ָ ד ָ א ֽ ָ ה א֧ ָ צ ְ מִ י א ֨ ֹלּ ֶ שׁ ת ֗ ַ ר ְ ב ִ דּ־ל ַ ע “so that man may not find”
( ל ַ ע ת ַ ר ְ ב ִ דּ ֶ שׁ + imperf.) (ה ָ ר ְ ב ִ דּ n.f. = cause, reason, manner).
XI: Negative purpose
19 Genesis 4:15
׃וֹ ֽ א ְ צֹ מ־ל ָ כּ וֹ ֖ תֹ א־תוֹכּ ַ ה י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל תוֹ ֔ א ֙ ן ִ י ֙ ַ ק ְ ל ה֤ ָ והְ י ם ֶ שׂ ֨ ָ יּ ַ ו
And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest anyone who found him should smite
him.
וֹ ֖ תֹ א־תוֹכּ ַ ה י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל “in order that (noone) should smite him”
(use of י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + inf. cstr. to express negative purpose. הכנ > Hiphil inf.
cstr. תוֹכּ ַ ה)
PART THREE: SYNTAX 229
20 Genesis 38:9 (Onan was unwilling to perform levirate duty for Tamar,
widow of his older brother, Er. Er, Onan and Shelah were sons of
Judah and Bat-Shua)
׃וי ֽ ִ ח ָ א ְ ל ע ַ ר ֖ ֶ ז־ן ָ ת ְ נ י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ה ָ צ ְ ר ַ֔ א ת ֣ ֵ ח ִ שׁ ְ ו ֙ וי ִ ח ָ א ת ֶ שׁ ֤ ֵ א־ל ֶ א א ָ֨ בּ־ם ִ א ה֞ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו
And it was, whenever he went in to his brother’s wife, he destroyed (his
seed) on the ground, so as not to give seed to his brother.
י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ע ַ ר ֖ ֶ ז־ן ָ ת ְ נ “so as not to give seed” (י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + inf. cstr. Qal; ןתנ)
21 II Kings 23:10 (reign of Josiah, a righteous king of Judah)
֣ ֵ ג ְ בּ ר ֖ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ֶ פ ֔ ֹ תּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א א֣ ֵ מּ ִ ט ְ ו י ֵ נ ְ ב י ] ־ן ֶ ב [ שׁי ִ֜ א רי ִ֨ ב ֲ ע ַ ה ְ ל י ֗ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ם ֑ ֹ נּ ִ ה
׃ך ֶ ל ֽ ֹ מּ ַ ל שׁ ֖ ֵ א ָ בּ וֹ ֛ תּ ִ בּ־ת ֶ א ְ ו וֹ ֧ נ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א
And he defiled Tophet which is in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so that no
one might cause his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
֗ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל רי ִ֨ ב ֲ ע ַ ה ְ ל י “so that no one might cause to pass through” (י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל +
inf. cstr. Hiphil + lamed; רבע). (Joseph Kara suggests that Tophet = “pit”.
It may also be from an Aramaic word, tepat = “fireplace”).
22 Exodus 20:17
א֖ ָ בּ ם ֔ ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א תוֹ ֣ סַּ נ ֙ רוּב ֲ ע ֽ ַ ב ְ ל י ֗ ִ כּ ֒ וּא ָ רי ִ תּ־ל ַ א ֮ ם ָ ע ָ ה־ל ֶ א ה ֣ ֶ שֹׁמ ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃וּא ֽ ָ ט ֱ ח ֶ ת י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל ם֖ ֶ כי ֵ נ ְ פּ־ל ַ ע וֹ ֛ ת ָ א ְ רִ י ה֧ ֶ י ְ ה ִ תּ רוּ ֗ ב ֲ ע ַ בוּ םי ֑ ִ הל ֱ א ָ ה
And Moses said to the people, ‘do not fear, for G-d has come in order to
test you and in order that the fear of Him should be on your faces, so that
you do not sin’.
וּא ֽ ָ ט ֱ ח ֶ ת י ֥ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל “so that you do not sin”. (י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל + imperf. only twice;
here + II Sam 14:14). (note also: תוֹ ֣ סַּ נ ֙ רוּב ֲ ע ֽ ַ ב ְ ל “in order to test”, Piel inf.
230 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
cstr. הסנ); וֹ ֛ ת ָ א ְ רִ י ה֧ ֶ י ְ ה ִ תּ רוּ ֗ ב ֲ ע ַ בוּ “and in order that the fear of Him
should be”).
23 Genesis 11:7
׃וּה ֽ ֵ ע ֵ ר ת ֥ ַ פ ְ שׂ שׁי ֖ ִ א וּ ֔ ע ְ מ ְ שִׁ י א ֣ ֹל ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ֑ ָ ת ָ פ ְ שׂ ם ֖ ָ שׁ ה֥ ָ ל ְ ב ָ נ ְ ו ה ֔ ָ ד ְ רֵ ֽ נ ה ָ ב ָ֚ ה
Come, let us go down and confound their speech there, so that they shall
not understand one another’s speech there.
וּ ֔ ע ְ מ ְ שִׁ י א ֣ ֹל ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א “so that they shall not undersand” (אֹל ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א + imperf.).
Note also ל ַ ל ָ בּ = mingle, mix, confuse > Qal imperf. 1 c.pl. ה ָ ל ְ ב ָ נ =
ה ָ לֹּב ָ נ. And for ה ָ ב ָ ה see BDB p 396, ב ַ הָ י “give” > Qal imperat. ב ַ ה >
emphatic imperat. ה ָ ב ָ ה = “come now”.
24 Exodus 24:26
ָ ע ֖ ך ְ ת ָ ו ְ ר ֶ ע ה֥ ֶ ל ָ גּ ִ ת־א ֽ ֹל ר ֛ ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ֑ ִ ח ְ בּ ְ ז ִ מ־ל ֽ ַ ע ת ֖ ל ֲ ע ַ מ ְ ב ה֥ ֶ ל ֲ ע ַ ת־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו ׃וי ֽ ָ ל
Do not ascent My altar by steps, that your nakedness may not be exposed
upon it.
ר ֛ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה֥ ֶ ל ָ גּ ִ ת־א ֽ ֹל ֖ ך ְ ת ָ ו ְ ר ֶ ע “that your nakedness may not be exposed”
( ר ֛ ֶ שׁ ֲ א א ֽ ֹל + imperf. הלג; Niphal imperf.).
25 Deuteronomy 20:18
ְ מּ ַ לְ י־א ֽ ֹל ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ְ ל ם ֔ ָ תֹב ֲ עוֹ ֽ תּ ֙ לֹכ ְ כּ תוֹ ֔ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ֙ ם ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א וּ ֤ ד
In order that they may not teach you to do according to all their
abominations.
ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ְ ל ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א וּ ֤ ד ְ מּ ַ לְ י־א ֽ ֹל ֙ ם ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א “in order that they may not teach you”.
( ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ְ ל ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א א ֽ ֹל + imperf.)
PART THREE: SYNTAX 231
26 Psalm 119:11
׃ךֽ ָ ל־א ָ ט ֱ ח ֽ ֶ א א ֣ ֹל ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ֝ ְ ל ך ֑ ֶ ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ א י ִ תּ ְ נ ֣ ַ פ ָ צ י ִ בּ ִ ל ְ֭ בּ
In my heart I have hidden Your word, in order that I might not sin against
You.
ךֽ ָ ל־א ָ ט ֱ ח ֽ ֶ א א ֣ ֹל ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ֝ ְ ל “In order that I might not sin against You”. ( ן ַ ע ֗ ַ מ ֝ ְ ל
א ֣ ֹל + imperf.)
The biblical origins of rabbinic Hebrew words for expressing
purpose.
In order to express ‘purpose’, both biblical Hebrew and post-biblical
Hebrew make use of lamed + infinitive. However, the various other
methods for expressing ‘purpose’ in biblical Hebrew were superseded in
rabbinic Hebrew by expressions such as:
י ֵ ד ְ כּ ְ ל + infinitive
ל ַ ע ת ָ נ ְ מ + infinitive
ֶ שׁ + imperfect
ֶ שׁ י ֵ ד ְ כּ
ֶ שׁ לי ִ ב ְ שׁ ִ בּ
ֶ שׁ ת ָ נ ְ מ ל ַ ע
The particle ֶ שׁ does appear in biblical Hebrew, as synonymous with ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א,
but in usage was limited to late biblical Hebrew and passages with North
Palestinian colouring (BDB pp 979-980).
232 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Study the following biblical verses in order to trace the biblical
origins of:
י ֵ ד ְ כּ / ל ַ ע ת ָ נ ְ מ / לי ִ ב ְ שׁ ִ בּ
1 Malachi 3:10
י ִ נוּ ֤ נ ָ ח ְ בוּ י ֔ ִ תי ֵ ב ְ בּ ֙ ף ֶ ר ֙ ֶ ט י ֥ ִ הי ִ ו ר ֗ ָ צוֹא ָ ה תי ֣ ֵ בּ־ל ֶ א ר ֜ ֵ שׂ ֲ ע ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ־ת ֶ א וּאי ִ֨ ב ָ ה
תוֹ ֣ בּ ֻ ר ֲ א ת ֵ֚ א ם ֗ ֶ כ ָ ל ח ֣ ַ תּ ְ פ ֶ א א ֧ ֹל־ם ִ א תוֹ ֑ א ָ ב ְ צ ה֣ ָ והְ י ר ֖ ַ מ ָ א תא ֔ ֹז ָ בּ ֙ א ָ נ
׃י ֽ ָ ד־י ִ ל ְ בּ־ד ַ ע ה֖ ָ כ ָ ר ְ בּ ם֛ ֶ כ ָ ל י ֥ ִ תֹקי ִ ר ֲ ה ַ ו םִ י ֔ ַ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה
Bring all the tithe into the storehouse and let there be food in My House
and put Me to the test with this, said the Lord of Hosts if I will not open
for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you blessing immeasurable
(lit. until there is not sufficiency).
(י ַ דּ is a substantive meaning “sufficiency, enough”, occurring here in pause.
It occurs in the absolute state only three times; see: Esther 1:18; II Chron
30:3. The construct state, י ֵ דּ , occurs five times and י ַ דּ + suffix occurs four
times; see below).
2 Exodus 36:7 (The building of the Tabernacle)
׃ר ֽ ֵ תוֹה ְ ו הּ ֑ ָ תֹ א תוֹ ֣ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ה֖ ָ כא ָ ל ְ מּ ַ ה־ל ָ כ ְ ל ם֛ ָ יּ ַ ד ה ֥ ָ תְ י ָ ה ה ֗ ָ כא ָ ל ְ מּ ַ ה ְ ו
For the material they had was sufficient for all the work to do it, and too
much.
(ם֛ ָ יּ ַ ד means literally “their sufficiency”. For י ַ דּ + suffix, see also: Jeremiah
49:9; Obadiah v 5; Proverbs 25:16). (Note also: רתי > Hiphil inf. abs.
ר ֽ ֵ תוֹה “shewed excess, had more than enough”).
PART THREE: SYNTAX 233
3 Deuteronomy 15:8 (Israelite warned against letting the approach of the
Jubilee Year hinder him from helping the poor)
ַ ח ֧ ֹ ת ָ פ־י ֽ ִ כּ ח ֛ ַ תּ ְ פ ִ תּ ֖ ך ְ דָ י־ת ֶ א וֹ ֑ ל ֙ ט ֵ ב ֲ ע ַ ה ְ ו וּנּ ֶ֔ טי ִ ב ֲ ע ַ תּ י ֵ֚ דּ וֹ ֔ רֹס ְ ח ַ מ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ר ֖ ַ ס ְ חֶ י
׃וֹ ֽ ל
But you shall open your hand wide to him and you shall surely lend him
sufficient for his need that he lacks.
(Construct י ֵ דּ occurs by itself five times; see also: Leviticus 5:7; 12:8; 25:28;
Isaiah 40:16. וֹ ֔ רֹס ְ ח ַ מ י ֵ֚ דּ means literally “the sufficiency of his need”. Note
also the Hiphil inf. abs. + Hiphil imperf. + suffix, וּנּ ֶ֔ טי ִ ב ֲ ע ַ תּ ֙ ט ֵ ב ֲ ע ַ ה ְ ו, a
denominative verb derived from
טוֹב ֲ ע n.m. = “pledge, article pledged”. The Hiphil verb means “cause to
give a pledge, lend”).
4 Leviticus 25:26 (redemption of land)
שׁי ִ֕ א ְ ו י ֛ ִ כּ א ֥ ֹל וֹ ֖ לּ־הֶ י ְ הֽ ִ י ל ֑ ֵ אֹ גּ ה ָ גי ֣ ִ שּׂ ִ ה ְ ו וֹ ֔ דָ י א֖ ָ צ ָ מוּ י ֥ ֵ ד ְ כּ ׃וֹ ֽ ת ָ לּ ֻ א ְ ג
If a man has no redeemer, but he has sufficient means, and he has acquired
enough for his redemption.
(וֹ ֽ ת ָ לּ ֻ א ְ ג י ֥ ֵ ד ְ כּ means literally “according to the sufficiency of his
redemption”. י ֵ ד ְ כּ = “according to the sufficiency of” occurs four times in
the Hebrew Bible; see the other three examples below. Note also: גשׂנ >
Hiphil: גי ִ שּׂ ִ ה = “reach, overtake” > וֹדָ י ה ָ גי ִ שּׂ ִ ה = “one’s hand has
reached”, i.e. one is able, has enough).
5 Deuteronomy 25:2 (against excessive punishment)
וֹ ֖ ת ָ ע ְ שׁ ִ ר י ֥ ֵ ד ְ כּ וי ֔ ָ נ ָ פ ְ ל וּה֣ ָ כּ ִ ה ְ ו ֙ ט ֵ פֹשּׁ ַ ה וֹ ֤ לי ִ פּ ִ ה ְ ו ע ֑ ָ שׁ ָ ר ָ ה תוֹ ֖ כּ ַ ה ן ֥ ִ בּ־ם ִ א ה֛ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו
׃ר ֽ ָ פּ ְ ס ִ מ ְ בּ
234 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And it shall be, if the guilty one is liable for flogging, the judge shall make
him lie down and one shall smite him in his presence in accordance with his
crime in number.
(וֹ ֖ ת ָ ע ְ שׁ ִ ר י ֥ ֵ ד ְ כּ means literally “according to the sufficiency of his
wickedness”).
6 Judges 6:5 (the Midianite oppression and call to Gideon)
֡ ִ כּ וּאֹבָ י ם ֶ֗ הי ֵ ל ֳ ה ָ א ְ ו וּ ֜ ל ֲ עַ י ם ֶ֨ הי ֵ נ ְ ק ִ מוּ ֩ ם ֵ ה י ] וּא֤ ָ בוּ [ ב ֔ ֹר ָ ל ֙ ה ֶ בּ ְ ר ַ א־י ֽ ֵ ד ְ כ
For they would come up with their livestock and their tents and they would
come like locusts for multitude. ( ֙ ה ֶ בּ ְ ר ַ א־י ֽ ֵ ד ְ כ ב ֔ ֹר ָ ל means literally
“according to the abundance of the locust in multitude”).
7 Nehemiah 5:8 (Nehemiah rebukes the creditors)
י ֣ ֵ ד ְ כּ ֙ םִ יוֹגּ ַ ל םי ֤ ִ ר ָ כּ ְ מ ִ נּ ַ ה םי ִ֜ דוּהְ יּ ַ ה וּני ֵ֨ ח ַ א־ת ֶ א וּני ִ נ ֠ ָ ק וּנ ְ ח֣ ַ נ ֲ א ם ֶ֗ ה ָ ל ה ֣ ָ ר ְ מֹ א ָ ו
וּנ ָ֔ ב
And I said to them, ‘we have bought (back) our Jewish brothers who were
sold to the nations according to our ability’. ( י ֣ ֵ ד ְ כּ וּנ ָ֔ ב = lit. “according to
the sufficiency of what is in us”).
8 Psalm 16:5
׃י ֽ ִ ל ָ רוֹגּ ךי ֥ ִ מוֹתּ ה ֗ ָ תּ ַ֝ א י ֑ ִ סוֹכ ְ ו י ֥ ִ ק ְ ל ֶ ח־ת ָ נ ְ מ ה ָ֗ והֽ ְ י
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup; you grasp
(uphold) my lot.
(ת ָ נ ְ מ n.f. = portion. ת ָ נ ְ מ occurs six times in the Hebrew Bible and always
= “portion”; see: Psalm 11:6; 63:11; II Chron 31:3,4: Jeremiah 13:25. See
GK 95n: “A few (aramaising) feminines from lamed-hey stems are found
PART THREE: SYNTAX 235
with the ending ath,” e.g. ת ָ צ ְ ק n.f. = “end”.) (Note also ךי ֥ ִ מוֹתּ instead of
ך ֵ מוֹתּ is an anomaly.)
9 Jeremiah 18:15
ֶ הי ֵ כ ְ ר ַ ד ְ בּ םוּ ֤ ל ִ שׁ ְ כַ יּ ַ ו וּר ֑ ֵ טּ ַ קְ י א ְ ו ֣ ָ שּׁ ַ ל י ֖ ִ מּ ַ ע י ִ נ ֥ ֻ ח ֵ כ ְ שׁ־י ֽ ִ כּ ת ֶ כ֣ ֶ ל ָ ל ם ֔ ָ לוֹע י֣ ֵ לי ִ ב ְ שׁ ֙ ם
׃הֽ ָ לוּל ְ ס א ֥ ֹל ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ דּ תוֹ ֔ בי ִ ת ְ נ
For My people have forgotten Me, they burn incense to Vanity and have
been made to stumble (lit. they make them to stumble) in their ways, the
ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, a way not levelled (lit. cast up).
(לי ִ ב ְ שׁ = “way, path”; occurs only twice in the Hebrew Bible; see also
Psalm 77:20).
Exercise: translate the following English sentences into fully pointed
biblical Hebrew.
The sentences contain ‘purpose’ clauses which should be rendered with as
great a variety of constructions as possible. Annotate your translations to
explain the constructions you have used. Suggested vocabulary and
translations will be found at the end.
1 They will come to Jerusalem to take possession of the land of
Abraham and live there for ever in safety.
2 He revealed to me a word that I might be comforted and showed me
visions that I might not again be sorrowful.
3 Let me be a little while so that I may beseech G-d that He might have
compassion and pity me, for I alone have sinned.
4 Give me from the tree of life that I might eat before I am cast out.
236 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Notes for ‘purpose’ sentences
1
וּאֹבָ י ה ָ מְ י ַ ל ָ שׁוּרְ י ת ֶ שׁ ֶ ר ָ ל ת ֶ א - ץ ֶ ר ֶ א ם ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ וּב ְ שֵׁ י ם ָ שׁ ם ָ לוֹע ְ ל
ח ַ ט ֶ ב ָ ל .
2 For “visions”, see BDB p 909: ה ָ א ְ ר ַ מ n.f. > pl. תוֹא ְ ר ַ מ = “visions”;
and see BDB p 302: ה ָ ז ָ ח > ןוֹי ָ זּ ִ ח n.m. > pl. תוֹנֹי ְ ז ֶ ח = “visions”; and
see Joel 3:1: ֙ ם ֶ כי ֵ נ ְ ק ִ ז תוֹ ֣ מל ֲ ח ןוּ ֔ מל ֲ חַ י ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ רוּ ֣ ח ַ בּ תוֹ ֖ נֹי ְ ז ֶ ח וּ ֽ א ְ רִ י ׃ “your
old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions”. For
“be sorrowful”, see BDB p 864: ר ַ ר ָ צ (I) = “be narrow etc” > Qal
imperf.+ vav consec. ר ֶ צֵ יּ ַ ו וֹל = “and it was narrow for him”, i.e. “he
was in distress”; and see Gen 32:8: ד ֖ ֹ א ְ מ ב ֛ ֹק ֲ עַ י א ֧ ָ רי ִ יּ ַ ו וֹ ֑ ל ר ֶ צ֣ ֵ יּ ַ ו “and
Jacob was greatly afraid and he was distressed”. See also BDB p 780:
ב ַ צ ָ ע = “hurt, pain, grieve”; see Gen 6:6: וֹ ֽ בּ ִ ל־ל ֶ א ב֖ ֵ צּ ַ ע ְ תִ יּ ַ ו “and he
was grieved to his heart” (see also Gen 34:7); and see I Chron 4:10:
֑ ִ בּ ְ צ ָ ע י ֣ ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל י “so that I should not be saddened”.
ה ָ ל ָ גּ ) ל ַ ג ְ י ַ ו ( י ִ ל ר ָ ב ָ דּ ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל ם ֵ ח ָ נּ ֶ א י ִ נ ֵ א ְ רַ יּ ַ ו תוֹנֹי ְ ז ֶ ח ) תוֹא ְ ר ַ מ ( י ִ תּ ְ ל ִ ב ְ ל
י ִ בּ ְ צ ָ ע דוֹע ) ן ַ ע ַ מל ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א אֹ ל ר ֶ צֵ י י ִ ל דוֹע .(
3 For “let me be”, see BDB p 951: ה ָ פ ָ ר = “sink, relax” > Hiphil: “let
drop, let go” > imperative m.sg. ה ֵ פּ ְ ר ַ ה / ף ֶ ר ֶ ה see Deut. 9:14; see also
BDB p 292: ל ַ ד ָ ח = “cease”, see Exod 14:12.
ף ֶ ר ֶ ה י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ ) ל ַ ד ֲ ח י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ ( ע ַ ג ֶ ר ) םוֹי וֹא םִ י ַ מוֹי ( ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל ן ֵ נּ ַ ח ְ ת ֶ א / ל ֵ לּ ַ פּ ְ ת ֶ א
ל ֶ א םי ִ קל ֱ א ָ ה ִ ו ם ֵ ח ַ רי י ִ תֹ א ) י ִ נ ֵ מ ֲ ח ַ רי ִ ו ( י ִ נ ֵ נּ ָ חי ִ ו י ִ כּ י ִ נ ֲ א י ִ דּ ַ ב ְ ל י ִ תא ָ ט ָ ח .
4 See BDB p 382: ם ֶ ר ֶ ט / ם ֶ ר ֶ ט ְ בּ (mostly + imperf.) = “not yet, before
that”; see, e.g. Gen 27:4; 37:18. ן ֵ תּ י ִ ל ץ ֵ ע ֵ מ םי ִ יּ ַ ח ַ ה ן ַ ע ַ מ ְ ל ל ַ כֹ א ם ֶ ר ֶ ט
שׁ ֵ ר ָ גּ ֶ א .
PART THREE: SYNTAX 237
ANTITHESIS IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
In English, antithesis and contrast are expressed by a variety of adversative
particles (but, yet, however, nevertheless, while, on the other hand). Biblical
Hebrew lacks this variety and often uses vav, although other conjunctions
are also used, as demonstrated below. (e.g. ם ָ לוּא ְ ו/ם ָ לוּא/ך ַ א/ and also י ִ כּ
and י ִ כּ ם ִ א after negation). There are, however, other devices in biblical
Hebrew which may contribute to the expression of antithesis and contrast,
as follows:
(i) Chiasmus (the reversal in the second clause of the word order in the
first clause).
(ii) Highlighting in initial position in each clause the two persons or
entities which are contrasted.
(iii) Use of antonyms (opposites).
(iv) Negation of first or second clause.
Study the following biblical verses and analyse the various methods
used to express antithesis and/or contrast; explanatory notes are
provided with each verse.
I: Chiasmus, antonyms and contrast (1-5)
1 Genesis 37:11
׃ר ֽ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ר ֥ ַ מ ָ שׁ וי ֖ ִ ב ָ א ְ ו וי ֑ ָ ח ֶ א וֹ ֖ ב־וּא ְ נ ַ קְ י ַ ו
And his brothers envied him, but his father guarded the matter.
Note the chiastic structure of this verse. In the first clause, the verb pre-
cedes the subject (BA), while in the second clause, the subject precedes the
verb (AB). The two clauses are connected by simple vav, which is best
translated by English “but”.
238 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
2 Genesis 41:54
וּ תוֹ ֔ צ ָ ר ֲ א ֣ ָ ה־ל ָ כ ְ בּ ֙ ב ָ ע ָ ר י ֤ ִ הְ י ַ ו ׃ם ֶ חֽ ָ ל הָ י ֥ ָ ה םִ י ֖ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א־ל ָ כ ְ ב
And there was famine in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was
bread.
Note the chiastic structure; the place of famine (“all the lands”) comes at
the end of the first clause, but the place of bread (“all the land of Egypt”)
comes at the beginning of the second clause. Note also the use of anto-
nyms, ֙ ב ָ ע ָ ר in the first clause and ם ֶ חֽ ָ ל in the second clause. Again, biblical
Hebrew simple vav may be translated as “but”.
3 Genesis 13:12
ר ֔ ָ כּ ִ כּ ַ ה י ֣ ֵ ר ָ ע ְ בּ ֙ ב ַ שָׁ י טוֹ ֗ ל ְ ו ן ַ ע֑ ָ נ ְ כּ־ץ ֶ ר ֽ ֶ א ְ בּ ב ֣ ַ שָׁ י ם ֖ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א
Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, while Lot dwelt among the cities of the
valley.
The two personages, Abram and Lot, are set in contrast by being high-
lighted in initial position in each clause. The meaning here is not completely
antithetical but rather contrastive, expressed by biblical Hebrew simple vav,
English “while”.
4 Proverbs 10:1
ת֥ ַ גוּתּ לי ִ֗ ס ְ֝ כּ ן ֥ ֵ בוּ ב ֑ ָ א־ח ַ מּ ַ שְׂ י ם ָ כ ָ֭ ח ן ֣ ֵ בּ ׃וֹ ֽ מּ ִ א
A wise son makes a father glad but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
Again, the contrasting elements are highlighted in initial position in each
clause (ם ָ כ ָ֭ ח ן ֣ ֵ בּ “a wise son” in the first clause, and לי ִ֗ ס ְ֝ כּ ן ֥ ֵ בוּ “a foolish
PART THREE: SYNTAX 239
son” in the second clause) and biblical Hebrew simple vav may be trans-
lated “but, whereas”.
5 Psalm 1:6
׃דֽ ֵ באֹתּ םי ֣ ִ ע ָ שׁ ְ ר ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ ד ְ ו םי ֑ ִ ק י ִ דּ ַ צ ך ֶ ר֣ ֶ דּ ה ָ והְ֭ י ַ ע֣ ֵ דוֹי־י ֽ ִ כּ
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked
shall perish.
In this verse, the two contrasting entities (antonyms) are םי ֑ ִ קי ִ דּ ַ צ ך ֶ ר֣ ֶ דּ
(“the way of the righteous”) and םי ֣ ִ ע ָ שׁ ְ ר ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ ד (“the way of the wicked”),
which are arranged in a chiastic structure, with ִ דּ ַ צ ך ֶ ר֣ ֶ דּ םי ֑ ִ קי coming at the
end of the first clause, and םי ֣ ִ ע ָ שׁ ְ ר ך ֶ ר ֖ ֶ ד at the beginning of the second
clause. Simple vav connects the two clauses and may be rendered “but”.
II: Antithesis by negation (after positive statement) (6-7)
6 Genesis 4:4,5
ע ַ שׁ֣ ִ יּ ַ ו ׃וֹ ֽ ת ָ ח ְ נ ִ מ־ל ֶ א ְ ו ל ֶ ב ֖ ֶ ה־ל ֶ א ה ָ֔ והְ י ה֑ ָ ע ָ שׁ א ֣ ֹל וֹ ֖ ת ָ ח ְ נ ִ מ־ל ֶ א ְ ו ן ִ י ֥ ַ ק־ל ֶ א ְ ו
And the Lord had respect to Abel and to his offering, but to Cain and to his
offering He had no respect.
The second clause is negated with אֹל and the antithesis is heightened by
the chiastic structure, with the verb coming at the beginning of the first
clause (ע ַ שִׁ יּ ַ ו) but at the end of the second clause (ה֑ ָ ע ָ שׁ א ֣ ֹל). The second
clause is introduced with biblical Hebrew simple vav, here rendered “but”.
7 Exodus 19:24
ת ֥ ל ֲ ע ַ ל וּ ֛ ס ְ ר ֶ הֶ ֽ י־ל ַ א ם ֗ ָ ע ָ ה ְ ו םי֣ ִ נ ֲ הֹכּ ַ ה ְ ו ך ֑ ָ מּ ִ ע ן ֣ ֹר ֲ ה ַ א ְ ו ה ֖ ָ תּ ַ א ָ תי ֥ ִ ל ָ ע ְ ו
240 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And you shall come up, you and Aaron with you, but let not the priests and
the people break through to come up.
Note the negation in the second clause and also the chiastic structure; in the
first clause, the verb ( ָ תי ֥ ִ ל ָ ע ְ ו) is followed by the subject, but in the second
clause, the subject comes before the verb (ת ֥ ל ֲ ע ַ ל וּ ֛ ס ְ ר ֶ הֶ ֽ י־ל ַ א). Again, the
second clause is introduced by biblical Hebrew simple vav, here rendered
“but”.
III: Antithesis after negation, introduced by vav (conjunctive or
consecutive) (8-10)
8 Exodus 5:18
׃וּנּ ֽ ֵ תּ ִ תּ םי֖ ִ נ ֵ ב ְ ל ן ֶ כ ֥ ֹ ת ְ ו ם֑ ֶ כ ָ ל ן ֣ ֵ ת ָ נּ ִ י־אֹל ן ֶ ב ֖ ֶ ת ְ ו
And straw will not be given to you, but the quantity (lit. measurement) of
bricks you shall deliver.
The first clause is negated by אֹל and the second clause is introduced by
simple vav, which may be rendered “but”. (ן ֶ כֹ תּ n.m. = “measurement”;
ה ָ נ ֵ ב ְ ל n.f. = “brick”).
9 Genesis 40:23
׃וּה ֽ ֵ ח ָ כּ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו ף ֖ ֵ סוֹי־ת ֶ א םי ֛ ִ ק ְ שׁ ַ מּ ַ ה־ר ֽ ַ שׂ ר֧ ַ כ ָ ז־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו
The chief butler did not remember Joseph but he forgot him.
The first clause is negated by אֹל and the second clause is introduced by
vav consecutive, which may here be rendered “but”.
10 Genesis 17:5
ם ָ֔ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ֙ ך ְ מ ִ שׁ ה֤ ָ י ָ ה ְ ו ם ֑ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ֖ ך ְ מ ִ שׁ־ת ֶ א דוֹ ֛ ע א ֥ ֵ ר ָ קִּ י־אֹל ְ ו
PART THREE: SYNTAX 241
Your name shall no longer be called Abram but your name shall be
Abraham.
The first clause is negated by אֹל and the second clause is introduced by
vav consecutive ( ְ ו ה֤ ָ י ָ ה ), here rendered “but”. (For use of ־ת ֶ א here, see
GK 117i).
IV: Antithesis after negation introduced by י ִ כּ / י ִ כּ ם ִ א (11-14)
11 Genesis 17:15
֙ םי ִ הל ֱ א ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו ֑ ָ ר ָ שׂ הּ ֖ ָ מ ְ שׁ־ת ֶ א א ֥ ָ ר ְ ק ִ ת־אֹל ֔ ך ְ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א י ֣ ַ ר ָ שׂ ם ָ֔ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ל ֶ א י
׃הּ ֽ ָ מ ְ שׁ ה ֖ ָ ר ָ שׂ י ֥ ִ כּ
And G-d said to Abraham, ‘as for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her
name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name’.
The first clause is negated by אֹל and the second clause is introduced by י ִ כּ
= “but”.
12 Genesis 45:8
ֽ ֹל ה ֗ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו םי ֑ ִ הל ֱ א ָ ה י ֖ ִ כּ ה ָ נּ ֵ֔ ה ֙ י ִ תֹ א ם ֤ ֶ תּ ְ ח ַ ל ְ שׁ ם ֞ ֶ תּ ַ א־א
And now it was not you who sent me here, but G-d.
The first clause is negated by אֹל and the second clause is introduced by י ִ כּ
= “but”.
13 Genesis 32:29
ְ מ ִ שׁ ֙ דוֹע ר ֥ ֵ מ ָ אֵ י ֙ בֹק ֲ עַ י א ֤ ֹל ר ֶ מא ֗ ֹיּ ַ ו ל ֑ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ם ִ א י ֖ ִ כּ ֔ ך
And he said, ‘your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel’.
242 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
The first clause is negated by אֹל and the second clause is introduced by י ִ כּ
ם ִ א = “but”.
14 Numbers 10:30 (Jethro to Moses)
֧ ִ כּ ך֑ ֵ ל ֵ א א ֣ ֹל וי ֖ ָ ל ֵ א ר ֶ מא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו ׃ךֽ ֵ ל ֵ א י ֖ ִ תּ ְ ד ַ לוֹמ־ל ֶ א ְ ו י ֛ ִ צ ְ ר ַ א־ל ֶ א־ם ִ א י
And he said to him, ‘I will not go, but to my (own) country and to my
kindred I will go’.
The first clause is negated by אֹל and the second clause is introduced by י ִ כּ
ם ִ א = “but”.
V: ם ָ לוּא / ם ָ לוּא ְ ו = “but, howbeit” (15-16)
This is a more pronounced adversative conjunction and need not follow a
negative.
15 Genesis 28:19
רי ֖ ִ ע ָ ה־ם ֵ שׁ זוּ ֥ ל ם֛ ָ לוּא ְ ו ל ֑ ֵ א־תי ֽ ֵ בּ אוּ ֖ ה ַ ה םוֹ ֥ ק ָ מּ ַ ה־ם ֽ ֵ שׁ־ת ֶ א א ֛ ָ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו
׃הֽ ָ נֹשׁא ִ ר ָ ל
And he called the name of that place Bethel, but Luz was the name of the
place at first.
16 Genesis 48:19 (Jacob to Joseph; Jacob was blessing Ephraim with his
right hand, but Manasseh was the elder)
וּ ֣ ה־ם ַ ג ְ ו ם֖ ָ ע ְ לּ־הֶ י ְ הִ י אוּ ֥ ה־ם ַ גּ י ִ תּ ְ ע ֔ ַ דָ י ֙ י ִ נ ְ ב י ֽ ִ תּ ְ ע ֤ ַ דָ י ֙ ר ֶ מא ֙ ֹיּ ַ ו וי ִ֗ ב ָ א ן ֣ ֵ א ָ מְ י ַ ו א
וּנּ ֔ ֶ מּ ִ מ ל֣ ַ דּ ְ ג ִ י ֙ ןֹט ָ קּ ַ ה וי ֤ ִ ח ָ א ם ֗ ָ לוּא ְ ו ל ֑ ָ דּ ְ ג ִ י
PART THREE: SYNTAX 243
And his father refused and said, ‘I know my son I know; he also shall be-
come a people and he also shall be great, but his younger brother shall be
greater than him.
VI: ך ַ א = however, but, yet (17-21)
The use of ך ַ א as an adversative must be distinguished from its use as an
asseverative (= “surely, certainly, indeed”; e.g. Gen 29:14; Ex 31:13) and
also from its use as a restrictive particle (= “only, except”; e.g. Numb 12:2;
22:20; I Sam 18:8).
17 Genesis 20:12 (Abraham to Abimelech)
׃ה ֽ ָ שּׁ ִ א ְ ל י ֖ ִ ל־י ִ ה ְ תּ ַ ו י ֑ ִ מּ ִ א־ת ַ ב א ֣ ֹל ך ֖ ַ א או ִ֔ ה ֙ י ִ ב ָ א־ת ַ ב י ֤ ִ תֹח ֲ א ה ֗ ָ נ ְ מ ָ א־ם ַ ג ְ ו
And also indeed she is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the
daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
This is the only biblical example where ך ַ א as an adversative introduces a
nominal clause. (ה ָ נ ְ מ ָ א adv. = “verily, truly, indeed”).
18 I Samuel 29:9
ך ֣ ַ א ְ ל ַ מ ְ כּ י֖ ַ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ ה ֛ ָ תּ ַ א בוֹ ֥ ט י ֣ ִ כּ י ִ תּ ְ ע ַ֕ דָ י ֒ד ִ ו ָ דּ־ל ֶ א ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו ֮ שׁי ִ כ ָ א ן ַ ע֣ ַ יּ ַ ו
ך֣ ַ א םי ֑ ִ הל ֱ א ׃ה ֽ ָ מ ָ ח ְ ל ִ מּ ַ בּ וּנ ֖ ָ מּ ִ ע ה֥ ֶ ל ֲ עַ י־א ֽ ֹל וּ ֔ ר ְ מ ֽ ָ א ֙ םי ִ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ְ פ י ֤ ֵ ר ָ שׂ
And Achish answered and said to David, ‘I know that you are good in my
eyes as an angel of G-d, but the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall
not go up with us in battle’.
ך ַ א here introduces a clause with a perfect verb ( ך ַ א — וּר ְ מ ָ א ). David had
fled to Achish, king of Gath, and had been forced to join the Philistine
army, with his men, but now they were afraid he would betray them, so he
was discharged.
244 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
19 Numbers 36:6
ה֣ ֶ ז ם ֖ ֶ הי ֵ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ בוֹ ֥ טּ ַ ל ר ֔ ֹ מא ֵ ל ֙ ד ָ ח ְ פ ָ ל ְ צ תוֹ ֤ נ ְ ב ִ ל ה ָ֗ והְ י ה֣ ָ וּ ִ צ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ר ָ֞ ב ָ דּ ַ ה
׃םי ֽ ִ שׁ ָ נ ְ ל ה ָ ני֥ ֶ י ְ ה ִ תּ ם ֖ ֶ הי ִ ב ֲ א ה ֥ ֵ טּ ַ מ ת ַ ח֛ ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ְ ל ך ַ֗ א םי ֑ ִ שׁ ָ נ ְ ל ה ָ ני֣ ֶ י ְ ה ִ תּ
This is the word which the Lord has commanded concerning the daughters
of Zelophehad, saying, ‘let them be wives to the one who is pleasing in their
eyes, but let them be wives (only) to the family of the tribe of their father.
ך ַ א here introduces a clause with an imperfect verb ( ך ַ א — ה ָ ני ֶ י ְ ה ִ תּ ).
20 I Kings 17:13 (The widow from Zarephat; Elijah asks her to give him
first from her sparse provisions).
ם ָ שּׁ ֠ ִ מ י ֣ ִ ל־י ִ שׂ ֲ ע ך֣ ַ א ך ֑ ֵ ר ָ ב ְ ד ִ כ י ֣ ִ שׂ ֲ ע י ִ א ֖ ֹבּ י ִ֔ א ְ רי ֣ ִ תּ־ל ַ א ֙ וּה ֙ ָ יּ ִ ל ֵ א ָ הי֤ ֶ ל ֵ א ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃הֽ ָ נֹר ֲ ח ַ א ָ בּ י ֖ ִ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ ך ֔ ֵ נ ְ ב ִ ל ְ ו ך֣ ָ ל ְ ו י ֔ ִ ל ְ תא֣ ֵ צוֹה ְ ו ֙ ה ָ נֹשׁא ִ ר ָ ב ה֤ ָ נּ ַ ט ְ ק ה ֨ ָ ג ֻ ע
And Elijah said to her, ‘do not fear, go do according to your word, but
make me a small cake from there first and bring it out to me, and for you
and your son, you shall make last’.
ך ַ א here introduces a clause with an imperative (י ִ שׂ ֲ ע ; Qal fem. sg. שׂע ה ).
21 II Samuel 3:13
֤ ך ְ תּ ִ א ֵ מ ל ֵ֨ אֹשׁ ֩ י ִ כֹ נ ָ א ד ָ֡ ח ֶ א ר֣ ָ ב ָ דּ ך֣ ַ א תי ֑ ִ ר ְ בּ ֖ ך ְ תּ ִ א ת ֥ ֹר ְ כ ֶ א י ֕ ִ נ ֲ א בוֹ ֔ ט ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And he said, ‘good, I will make a covenant with you, but one thing I ask of
you’.
ך ַ א here introduces a clause with a participle ( ֵ֨ אֹשׁ ל ; Qal m.sg. לאשׁ) (the
only such example). David’s words to Abner, about to request the return of
Michal.
PART THREE: SYNTAX 245
VII: ל ָ ב ֲ א in late biblical Hebrew (22-23)
It is only in Late Biblical Hebrew that ל ָ ב ֲ א has an adversative force =
“howbeit, but”.
22 Daniel 10:7
א ֥ ֹל י ֔ ִ מּ ִ ע וּ ֣ י ָ ה ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ םי ִ שׁ ָ נ ֲ א ָ ה ְ ו ה ָ֔ א ְ ר ַ מּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ֙ י ִ דּ ַ ב ְ ל לא֤ ֵ יּ ִ נ ָ ד י ֨ ִ נ ֲ א ֩ י ִ תי ִ א ָ ר ְ ו
׃א ֽ ֵ ב ָ ח ֵ ה ְ בּ וּ ֖ ח ְ ר ְ בִ יּ ֽ ַ ו ם ֶ֔ הי ֵ ל ֲ ע ה֣ ָ ל ְ פ ָ נ ֙ ה ָ לֹדְ ג ה ֤ ָ ד ָ ר ֲ ח ל ָ֗ ב ֲ א ה ֑ ָ א ְ ר ַ מּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וּ ֖ א ָ ר
And I Daniel alone saw the vision and the men who were with me did not
see the vision, but a great trembling fell on them and they fled into hiding.
23 II Chronicles 33:17
תוֹ ֑ מ ָ בּ ַ בּ םי ֖ ִ ח ְ בֹז ם ֔ ָ ע ָ ה דוֹ ֣ ע ֙ ל ָ ב ֲ א
But the people still sacrificed in the high places.
VIII: ל ָ ב ֲ א in older biblical Hebrew (24-25)
In older Hebrew ל ָ ב ֲ א has an asseverative force = “verily, of a truth”.
24 Genesis 42:21
וֹ ֥ נ ְ נ ֽ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ בּ וֹ ֛ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ת ֥ ַ ר ָ צ וּני ִ֜ א ָ ר ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֒ וּני ִ ח ָ א־ל ַ ע ֮ וּנ ְ ח ַ נ ֲ א ׀ םי ֣ ִ מ ֵ שׁ ֲ א ֮ ל ָ ב ֲ א
וּנ ְ ע ֑ ָ מ ָ שׁ א ֣ ֹל ְ ו וּני ֖ ֵ ל ֵ א
Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, that we saw the distress of his
soul when he besought us and we did not listen.
Rashi comments on ל ָ ב ֲ א here as follows:
וֹמוּגּ ְ ר ַ ת ְ כּ : א ָ ט ְ שׁוּק ְ בּ . בב י ִ תי ִ א ָ ר ְ ו " אוה ה ָ א ָ מוֹר ְ ד א ָ נ ְ שׁי ִ ל ר , ל ָ ב ֲ א =
ם ַ ר ְ בּ .
246 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
“It is to be understood as the Targum renders it: ‘in truth’. I have seen (a
statement in) Bereishit Rabbah that in the Roman language (Latin) ל ָ ב ֲ א =
ם ַ ר ְ בּ (verum) = ‘truly, indeed’.”
25 Genesis 17:19 (G-d to Abraham)
ן ֵ֔ בּ ֙ ך ְ ל ת ֶ ד֤ ֶ לֹי ֗ ך ְ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א ה ֣ ָ ר ָ שׂ ֙ ל ָ ב ֲ א
Indeed, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son.
Rashi comments on ל ָ ב ֲ א here as follows:
ל ָ ב ֲ א . ןושל ת ַ תּ ִ מ ֲ א םי ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ , ןכו ) תישארב במ אכ ( ֮ ל ָ ב ֲ א םי ֣ ִ מ ֵ שׁ ֲ א
֮ וּנ ְ ח ַ נ ֲ א׀ ) םיכלמ ב ד די ( ל ָ ב ֲ א ן ֵ בּ ןי ֵ א הּ ָ ל
“This word implies confirmation of a statement, as in Genesis 42:21; II
Kings 4:14.”
Exercise: translate the following English sentences into fully pointed
biblical Hebrew.
Each sentence contains a ‘contrastive’ or ‘antithetical’ construction. Anno-
tate your translation in each case to show how you have dealt with the con-
trast or antithesis; it may be possible to suggest more than one option per
sentence. Do not forget chiasmus! Suggested translations will be found at
the end.
1 Your name will no longer be called Jacob but it will be Israel.
2 Let us fall into the hand of the Lord; but let me not fall into the hand
of man.
3 And Adonijah called all his brothers and all the men of Judah, but
Nathan the prophet and the mighty men and Solomon his brother he
called not.
PART THREE: SYNTAX 247
4 Those who love G-d in truth will rejoice, and sinners and wrong-doers
will perish.
5 The son returned to his father’s house, but the slave drove him away.
6 They will rebuild the house of G-d, but not as it was before.
Suggested translations for sentences with contrast and antithesis.
1 אֹל א ֵ ר ָ קִּ י דוֹע ) ת ֶ א - ( ך ְ מ ִ שׁ בֹק ֲ עַ י י ִ כּ ם ִ א \ י ִ כּ ל ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ) הֶ י ְ הִ י ך ֶ מ ְ שׁ (
See: Gen 17:5, 15; 32:29. Antithesis after negation.
2 ה ָ ל ְ פּ ִ נ - ה דַ י ְ ב א ָ נּ ' ל ַ א ם ָ ד ָ א דַ י ְ בוּ - ה ָ לֹ פּ ֶ א :
See: II Sam 24:14. Negation after positive statement + chiasmus.
3
ת ֶ א וּהָ יּ ִ נֹד ֲ א א ָ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו - ל ָ כּ - ל ָ כ ְ לוּ וי ָ ח ֶ א - ת ֶ א ְ ו ה ָ דוּהְ י י ֵ שׁ ְ נ ַ א - אי ִ ב ָ נּ ַ ה ן ָ ת ָ נ
ת ֶ א ְ ו - ת ֶ א ְ ו םי ִ רוֹבּ ִ גּ ַ ה - א ָ ר ָ ק אֹל וי ִ ח ָ א הֹ מל ְ שׁ :
See: I Kings 1:9,10. Antithesis by negation after positive statement +
chiasmus.
4 ֹ א וּח ְ מ ְ שִׁ י י ֵ ב ֲ ה - ה ' ת ֶ מ ֱ א ֶ בּ
וּד ֵ באֹי םי ִ ע ְ שֹפוּ םי ִ א ָ טּ ַ ח ְ ו :
(ל ֶ ו ָ ע י ֵ שֹׂע Deut 25:16; םי ִ ע ְ שֹׁפ Isaiah 1:28)
Chiasmus + antonyms.
or:
י ֵ ב ֲ הֹ א ה ' ת ֶ מ ֱ א ֶ בּ וּח ְ מ ְ שִׂ י
248 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
וּד ֵ באֹי םי ִ ע ְ שֹפוּ םי ִ א ָ טּ ַ ח ְ ו :
Constrast: highlighting in initial position in each clause the two
persons/entities in opposition.
5 ב ָ שׁ ן ֵ בּ ַ ה תי ֵ ב ְ ל וי ִ ב ָ א ך ַ א שׁ ֵ ר ֵ גּ וֹתֹ א ד ֶ ב ֶ ע ָ ה :
6 וּנ ָ בוּ ת ֶ א - תי ֵ בּ םי ִ קל ֱ א ָ ה ם ָ לוּא ְ ו אֹל תִ י ַ בּ ַ כּ ןוֹשׁא ִ ר ָ ה :
CAUSAL AND EXPLICATIVE CLAUSES
Biblical Hebrew demonstrates the following methods of formulating causal
and explicative clauses:
1 With the simple juxtaposition of two clauses.
2 With vav.
3 With י ִ כּ (commonly used).
4 With ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א
5 With ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ עַ י / י ִ כּ ן ַ עַ י / ן ַ עַ י
6 With ב ֶ ק ֵ ע ) ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א /( ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ַ תּ
7 With other prepositions, e.g. ל ַ ע
Exercise: study the following biblical verses and discuss/analyse the
various methods of formulating causal and explicative clauses in
biblical Hebrew. See explanatory notes at the end of the exercise.
1 Genesis 17:14
ְ ו או ֖ ִ ה ַ ה שׁ ֶ פ֥ ֶ נּ ַ ה ה ֛ ָ ת ְ ר ְ כ ִ נ ְ ו וֹ ֔ ת ָ ל ְ ר ָ ע ר ֣ ַ שׂ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ֙ לוֹמִּ י־א ֽ ֹל ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ר ֗ ָ כ ָ ז ל ֣ ֵ ר ָ ע
׃ר ֽ ַ פ ֵ ה י ֖ ִ תי ִ ר ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ָ הי ֑ ֶ מּ ַ ע ֵ מ
PART THREE: SYNTAX 249
And the uncircumcised male, the flesh of whose foreskin is not circum-
cised, that soul shall be cut off from its people; (because) he has broken My
covenant.
2 Exodus 23:9
ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א ְ בּ ם ֖ ֶ תי ִ י ֱ ה םי ֥ ִ ר ֵ ג־י ֽ ִ כּ ר ֔ ֵ גּ ַ ה שׁ ֶ פ֣ ֶ נ־ת ֶ א ֙ ם ֶ תּ ְ ע ַ דְ י ם ֗ ֶ תּ ַ א ְ ו ץ ֑ ָ ח ְ ל ִ ת א ֣ ֹל ר֖ ֵ ג ְ ו
׃םִ י ֽ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ
And you shall not oppress a stranger; for (because) you know the soul of
the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
3 Genesis 3:14 (G-d to the serpent)
ה֑ ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה ת֣ ַ יּ ַ ח ל ֖ ֹכּ ִ מוּ ה ֔ ָ מ ֵ ה ְ בּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ ִ מ ֙ ה ָ תּ ַ א רוּ ֤ ר ָ א ֒ תאֹזּ ָ תי ֣ ִ שׂ ָ ע י ֣ ִ כּ
Because you have done this, you are more cursed than all the cattle and
than all the beasts of the field.
4 Genesis 8:9
םִ י ֖ ַ מ־י ִ כּ ה ָ֔ ב ֵ תּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ֙ וי ָ ל ֵ א ב ָ שׁ ֤ ָ תּ ַ ו הּ ֗ ָ ל ְ ג ַ ר־ף ַ כ ְ ל ַ חוֹ ֜ נ ָ מ ה ֨ ָ נוֹיּ ַ ה ֩ ה ָ א ְ צ ָ מ־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו
ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה־ל ָ כ י֣ ֵ נ ְ פּ־ל ַ ע
And the dove did not find rest for the sole of her foot and she returned to
him to the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole land.
5 Genesis 42:21
וֹ ֥ נ ְ נ ֽ ַ ח ְ ת ִ ה ְ בּ וֹ ֛ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ ת ֥ ַ ר ָ צ וּני ִ֜ א ָ ר ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֒ וּני ִ ח ָ א־ל ַ ע ֮ וּנ ְ ח ַ נ ֲ א םי ֣ ִ מ ֵ שׁ ֲ א ֮ ל ָ ב ֲ א
וּנ ְ ע ֑ ָ מ ָ שׁ א ֣ ֹל ְ ו וּני ֖ ֵ ל ֵ א
Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, who/because we saw the
distress of his soul when he besought us and we did not listen.
250 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
6 Genesis 30:18
א ֥ ָ ר ְ ק ִ תּ ַ ו י ֑ ִ שׁי ִ א ְ ל י ֖ ִ ת ָ ח ְ פ ִ שׁ י ִ תּ ֥ ַ ת ָ נ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ֔ ִ ר ָ כ ְ שׂ ֙ םי ִ הל ֱ א ן ֤ ַ ת ָ נ ה ָ֗ א ֵ ל ר ֶ מא ֣ ֹתּ ַ ו
׃ר ֽ ָ כש ָ שִּׂ י וֹ ֖ מ ְ שׁ
And Leah said, ‘G-d has given me my reward, because I gave my maiden to
my husband’ and she called his name Issachar.
7 Genesis 22:16,17
׃ך ֽ ֶ די ִ חְ י־ת ֶ א ֥ ךְ נ ִ בּ־ת ֶ א ָ תּ ְ כ ֖ ַ שׂ ָ ח א ֥ ֹל ְ ו ה ֔ ֶ זּ ַ ה ר֣ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ֙ ָ תי ֙ ִ שׂ ָ ע ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ עַ֚ י
֗ ך ְ כ ֶ ר ָ ב ֲ א ך ֣ ֵ ר ָ ב־י ֽ ִ כּ
Because you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your
only son, I will surely bless you.
8 Deuteronomy 1:36
הּ֖ ָ בּ־ך ַ ר ֽ ָ דּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ץ ֶ ר ֛ ָ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א ן ֧ ֵ תּ ֶ א־וֹ ֽ ל ְ ו ה ָ נּ ֶ֔ א ְ רִ י אוּ ֣ ה ֙ ה ֶ נּ ֻ פְ י־ן ֶ בּ ב֤ ֵ ל ָ כּ י ֞ ִ ת ָ לוּ ֽ ז
׃הֽ ָ והְ י י ֥ ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א א֖ ֵ לּ ִ מ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ ע֕ ַ י וי֑ ָ נ ָ ב ְ לוּ
Except Caleb the son of Yephunneh, he will see it, and to him I will give
the land which he has trodden on, because he has wholly followed the
Lord.
9 Numbers 20:12
י ִ נ ֔ ֵ שׁי ִ דּ ְ ק ַ ה ְ ל י ִ֔ בּ ם ֣ ֶ תּ ְ נ ַ מ ֱ א ֶ ה־אֹל ן ַ עַ֚ י ֒ןֹר ֲ ה ַ א־ל ֽ ֶ א ְ ו ה ֣ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ֮ ה ָ והְ י ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
֔ ֶ זּ ַ ה ל ֣ ָ ה ָ קּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ֙ וּאי ֙ ִ ב ָ ת א ֤ ֹל ן ֗ ֵ כ ָ ל ל ֑ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ י֖ ֵ ני ֵ ע ְ ל ץ ֶ ר ֖ ָ א ָ ה־ל ֶ א ה
׃ם ֽ ֶ ה ָ ל י ִ תּ ֥ ַ ת ָ נ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א
PART THREE: SYNTAX 251
And the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron, ‘because you did not believe in
Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall
not bring this congregation to the land which I gave to them’.
10 I Kings 21:29
י ִ ב ָ א־א ֽ ֹל י ֗ ַ נ ָ פּ ִ מ ע֣ ַ נ ְ כ ִ נ־י ֽ ִ כּ ן ַ ע֜ ַ י י֑ ָ נ ָ פ ְ לּ ִ מ ב ֖ ָ א ְ ח ַ א ע֥ ַ נ ְ כ ִ נ־י ֽ ִ כּ ָ תי ִ֔ א ָ ר ֽ ֲ ה ] אי ֤ ִ ב ָ א [
׃וֹ ֽ תי ֵ בּ־ל ַ ע ה֖ ָ ע ָ ר ָ ה אי ֥ ִ ב ָ א וֹ ֔ נ ְ ב י ֣ ֵ מי ִ בּ וי ֔ ָ מָ י ְ בּ ֙ ה ָ ע ָ ר ָ ֽ ה
Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has
humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, (but) in the
days of his son I will bring the evil on his house.
11 Jeremiah 5:14
ם ֥ ָ ע ָ ה ְ ו שׁ ֵ֗ א ְ ל ךי ֜ ִ פ ְ בּ י ֨ ַ ר ָ ב ְ דּ ֩ ן ֵ תֹ נ י֣ ִ נ ְ נ ִ ה ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה ר ֖ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ם ֔ ֶ כ ְ ר ֶ בּ ַ דּ ן ַ עַ֚ י ה֛ ֶ זּ ַ ה
׃ם ַ תֽ ָ ל ָ כ ֲ א ַ ו םי ֖ ִ צ ֵ ע
Because you speak this word, behold I will make My words in your mouth
as fire, and this people wood, and it (the fire) shall devour them.
12 Genesis 22:18
֖ ַ מ ָ שׁ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֶ ק ֕ ֵ ע ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה י֣ ֵ יוֹגּ ל ֖ ֹכּ ֔ ך ֲ ע ְ ר ַ ז ְ ב וּ ֣ כ ֲ ר ָ בּ ְ ת ִ ה ְ ו ׃י ֽ ִ לֹק ְ בּ ָ תּ ְ ע
And all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in your seed because you
have listened to My voice.
13 Numbers 25:13
וי ָ֔ הלאֽ ֵ ל ֙ א ֵ נּ ִ ק ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ֗ ַ תּ ם֑ ָ לוֹע ת֣ ַ נּ ֻ ה ְ כּ תי ֖ ִ ר ְ בּ וי ֔ ָ ר ֲ ח ַ א וֹ ֣ ע ְ ר ַ ז ְ לוּ ֙ וֹלּ ה ָ תְ י ֤ ָ ה ְ ו
ל ַ ע ר֖ ֵ פּ ַ כְ י ַ ו ׃ל ֽ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י֥ ֵ נ ְ בּ־
252 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And there shall be to him and to his seed after him a covenant of everlast-
ing priesthood, because he was zealous for his G-d and he made atonement
for the children of Israel.
14 II Samuel 12:6
ִ י ֑ ָ תּ ְ ע ַ בּ ְ ר ַ א ם֣ ֵ לּ ַ שְׁ י ה ֖ ָ שׂ ְ ב ִ כּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ְ ו ה ֔ ֶ זּ ַ ה ר֣ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ֙ ה ָ שׂ ָ ע ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֶ ק ֗ ֵ ע ם
׃ל ֽ ָ מ ָ ח־א ֽ ֹ ל ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל֖ ַ ע ְ ו
And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and
because he had no pity.
15 II Kings 22:16,17
ה֖ ֶ זּ ַ ה םוֹ ֥ ק ָ מּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ה֛ ָ ע ָ ר אי ֥ ִ ב ֵ מ י ֨ ִ נ ְ נ ִ ה ה ָ֔ והְ י ר ֣ ַ מ ָ א ה ֚ ֹכּ ת ֵ֚ א וי ֑ ָ ב ְ שֹׁ ֽ י־ל ַ ע ְ ו
׃ה ֽ ָ דוּהְ י ך ֶ ל ֥ ֶ מ א ֖ ָ ר ָ ק ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ר ֶ פ ֵ֔ סּ ַ ה י ֣ ֵ ר ְ ב ִ דּ־ל ָ כּ ֙ וּר ְ טּ ַ קְ י ֽ ַ ו י ִ נוּ ֗ ב ָ ז ֲ ע ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ֣ ַ תּ
םי ֔ ִ ר ֵ ח ֲ א םי ֣ ִ הלא ֵ ל
Thus says the Lord, ‘behold I will bring evil upon this place and upon its
inhabitants, all the words of the book which the King of Judah read,
because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods’.
16 II Samuel 12:10
ח ַ֗ קּ ִ תּ ַ ו י ִ נ ֔ ָ ת ִ ז ְ ב י ֣ ִ כּ ב ֶ ק ֵ֚ ע ם֑ ָ לוֹע־ד ַ ע ֖ ך ְ תי ֵ בּ ִ מ ב ֶ ר ֛ ֶ ח רוּ ֥ ס ָ ת־אֹל ה ֗ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו
֖ ך ְ ל תוֹ ֥ י ְ ה ִ ל י ֔ ִ תּ ִ ח ַ ה ה֣ ָ יּ ִ רוּא ֙ ת ֶ שׁ ֙ ֵ א־ת ֶ א ׃ה ֽ ָ שּׁ ִ א ְ ל
And now the sword will not depart from your house for ever, because you
despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.


PART THREE: SYNTAX 253
17 Deuteronomy 8:20
ְ שׁ ִ ת א ֣ ֹל ב ֶ ק ֵ֚ ע ןוּ ֑ ד ֵ באֹת ן ֖ ֵ כּ ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ נ ְ פּ ִ מ די ֣ ִ ב ֲ א ַ מ ֙ ה ָ והְ י ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם֗ ִ יוֹגּ ַ כּ ןוּ ֔ ע ְ מ
׃םֽ ֶ כי ֵ הל ֱ א ה֥ ָ והְ י לוֹ ֖ ק ְ בּ
As the nations whom the Lord destroys from before you, so shall you
perish, because you will not listen to the voice of the Lord your G-d.
18 Exodus 17:7
֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ בי ֣ ִ ר־ל ַ ע ה ֑ ָ בי ִ ר ְ מוּ ה ֖ ָ סּ ַ מ םוֹ ֔ ק ָ מּ ַ ה ם ֣ ֵ שׁ ֙ א ָ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו ם ֤ ָ תֹסַּ נ ל ֨ ַ ע ְ ו ל ֵ֗ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י
֙ ה ָ והְ י־ת ֶ א
And he called the name of the place Massah and Merivah because of the
strife of the children of Israel and because they tried the Lord.
19 II Samuel 3:30
֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֩ ל ַ ע ר֑ ֵ נ ְ ב ַ א ְ ל וּ ֖ ג ְ ר ָ ה וי ִ֔ ח ָ א י ֣ ַ שׁי ִ ב ֲ א ַ ו ֙ ב ָ אוֹי ְ ו ל ֧ ֵ אה ָ שׂ ֲ ע־ת ֶ א תי ֜ ִ מ ֵ ה ר
׃ה ֽ ָ מ ָ ח ְ ל ִ מּ ַ בּ ןוֹ ֖ ע ְ ב ִ ג ְ בּ ם ֛ ֶ הי ִ ח ֲ א
And Joab and Avishai his brother killed Abner because he had slain Asahel
their brother at Gibeon in war.
20 Genesis 39:9
֙ ֶ מּ ִ מ ך ֤ ַ שׂ ָ ח־א ֽ ֹל ְ ו ֒י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ ֮ ה ֶ זּ ַ ה תִ י ֣ ַ בּ ַ בּ לוֹ ֜ דָ ג וּנּ ֨ ֶ ני ֵ א ך ֖ ָ תוֹא־ם ִ א י ֥ ִ כּ ה ָ מוּ ֔ א ְ מ ֙ י ִ נּ
וֹ ֑ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א־ ְ תּ ַ א ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ בּ
There is none greater in this house than I, and he has not kept back
anything from me except you, because you are his wife.

254 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
21 Exodus 19:18
֥ ַ רָ י ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ֵ נ ְ פּ ֠ ִ מ וֹ ֔ לּ ֻ כּ ן ֣ ַ שׁ ָ ע ֙ י ַ ני ִ ס ר ֤ ַ ה ְ ו שׁ ֑ ֵ א ָ בּ ה֖ ָ והְ י וי ֛ ָ ל ָ ע ד
And the whole of Mount Sinai smoked because the Lord descended on it in
fire.
22 Judges 6:27
שׂ ַ ע֥ ַ יּ ַ ו ם ֖ ָ מוֹי תוֹ ֥ שׂ ֲ ע ֵ מ רי ֛ ִ ע ָ ה י ֥ ֵ שׁ ְ נ ַ א־ת ֶ א ְ ו וי ִ֜ ב ָ א תי ֵ֨ בּ־ת ֶ א ֩ א ֵ רָ י ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ י ִ֡ הְ י ַ ו
׃ה ָ לְ י ֽ ָ ל
And it was, since he feared his father’s household and the men of the city
from doing (it) by day, so he did (it) by night.
Explanatory notes to ‘causal and explicative clauses’
1 The last three words, ת ֶ א - ר ַ פ ֵ ה י ִ תי ִ ר ְ בּ “he has broken my covenant”,
constitute a causal clause, expressing the reason for the soul being cut
off. The causal clause is merely juxtaposed to the previous clause, with
no expressed syntactical link.
2 The first causal clause is introduced by simple vav ם ֶ תּ ְ ע ַ דְ י ם ֶ תּ ַ א ְ ו
“and you know”, i.e. “because you know”, while the second causal
clause is introduced by י ִ כּ, י ִ כּ - ם ֶ תי ִ י ֱ ה םי ִ ר ֵ גּ “for you were strangers”.
3 The causal clause is introduced by י ִ כּ, ִ כּ תאֹזּ ָ תי ִ שׂ ָ ע י , “Because you
have done this”.
4 The causal clause is introduced by י ִ כּ, י ִ כּ - ל ַ ע םִ י ַ מ - ל ָ כ י ֵ נ ְ פּ - ץ ֶ ר ָ א ָ ה ,
“for the waters were on the face of the whole land”.
5 The relative construction ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א can have a weak causal sense and in
this verse we see how such a development could arise, for the words -
וֹשׁ ְ פ ַ נ ת ַ ר ָ צ וּני ִ א ָ ר ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א וּני ִ ח ָ א ל ַ ע could be understood either as
PART THREE: SYNTAX 255
“concerning our brother whose distress we saw” (taking ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א as a
relative pronoun) or as “concerning our brother in that/because we
saw the distress of his soul—” (taking ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א as a causal conjunction).
6 ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א introduces a causal clause here, ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א - י ִ שׁי ִ א ְ ל י ִ ת ָ ח ְ פ ִ שׁ י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ
“because I gave my maiden”. (See also: Gen 34:13,27).
7 ן ַ עַ י ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א introduces a causal clause here, ָ תי ִ שׂ ָ ע ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ עַ י “because
you have done”; ן ַ עַ י ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א is used thirty-two times in the Hebrew Bi-
ble. ן ַ עַ י alone as a conjunction occurs twenty-three times and י ִ כּ ן ַ עַ י
occurs seven times. Use of י ִ כּ ן ַ עַ י/ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ עַ י /ן ַ עַ י denotes “a
stronger or more precisely causal nuance”(JM 170f), “for the reason of
(the fact that), because of (the fact that)” (ibid); “in fact almost all the
examples occur in texts evincing an elevated style (a divine or pro-
phetic speech).” (ibid).
8 ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ עַ י introduces a causal clause here, ה י ֵ ר ֲ ח ַ א א ֵ לּ ִ מ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ עַ י '
“because he has wholly followed the Lord”.
9 ן ַ עַ י introduces a causal clause here, אֹל ן ַ עַ י - י ִ בּ ם ֶ תּ ְ נ ַ מ ֱ א ֶ ה “because
you did not believe in Me”.
10 י ִ כּ ן ַ עַ י introduces a causal clause here, י ִ כּ ן ַ עַ י - י ַ נ ָ פּ ִ מ עַ נ ְ כ ִ נ “because he
has humbled himself before Me”.
11 ן ַ עַ י occurs here as a preposition with inf. cstr. (Piel) plus suffix 2 m.pl.
ם ֶ כ ְ ר ֶ בּ ַ דּ ן ַ עַ י lit. = “because of your speaking”, i.e. “because you
speak”.
12 ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֶ ק ֵ ע introduces a causal clause here, ָ שׁ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֶ ק ֵ ע י ִ לֹק ְ בּ ָ תּ ְ ע ַ מ
“because you have listened to My voice”, expressing the idea of re-
ward/recompense; see JM 170g: “for the special nuance of in recom-
pense for the fact that or in the pejorative sense of in punishment for
256 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
the fact that we use ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֶ ק ֵ ע and ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ַ תּ which are practically
synonymous”.
13 ת ַ ח ַ תּ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א introduces a causal clause here, ת ַ ח ַ תּ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א א ֵ נּ ִ ק
ֹלא ֵ ל ויָ ה “because he was zealous for his G-d”, expressing the idea of
reward/recompense. Pinchas ben Elazar, son of Aaron the priest, had
stabbed the Israelite man with the Midianite woman.
14 ב ֶ ק ֵ ע ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א introduces the first causal clause, expressing the idea of
punishment, ת ֶ א ה ָ שׂ ָ ע ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֶ ק ֵ ע - ה ֶ זּ ַ ה ר ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה “because he did this
thing”. The parallel second causal clause, also expressing the idea of
punishment, is introduced by the preposition ל ַ ע + ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א > ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ַ ע
+ finite verb, אֹ ל ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ַ ע ְ ו - ל ָ מ ָ ח “and because he had no pity”. ל ַ ע
is the most common preposition for causality. These are the words of
David to Nathan the Prophet in response to the parable in which the
rich man took the poor man’s lamb.
15 ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ַ תּ introduces a causal clause here, expressing the idea of
retribution, י ִ נוּב ָ ז ֲ ע ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ַ תּ “because they have forsaken Me”.
These are the words of Huldah the Prophetess during the reign of
Josiah, when the Book of the Law was found.
16 י ִ כּ ב ֶ ק ֵ ע introduces the causal clause, expressing the idea of punish-
ment, י ִ נ ָ ת ִ ז ְ ב י ִ כּ ב ֶ ק ֵ ע “because you despised Me”.
17 ב ֶ ק ֵ ע introduces the causal clause, expressing the idea of retribution,
ןוּע ְ מ ְ שׁ ִ ת אֹל ב ֶ ק ֵ ע “because you will not listen”.
18 The preposition ַ ע ל introduces two causal clauses in this verse. The
first causal clause is introduced by ל ַ ע + a noun, ל ַ ע - בי ִ ר “because of
the strife of”, and the second causal clause is introduced by ל ַ ע + inf.
cstr. (Piel) + suffix 3 m.pl. ם ָ תֹסַּ נ ל ַ ע ְ ו (lit.) “because of their try-
ing/testing”.
PART THREE: SYNTAX 257
19 The causal clause is introduced by ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ַ ע + perf. (תי ִ מ ֵ ה, Hiphil,
תומ), תי ִ מ ֵ ה ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ַ ע “because he had slain”. Compare use of ל ַ ע -
ר ַ ב ְ דּ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א in II Sam 13:22 and י ִ כּ ל ַ ע in Judges 3:12.
20 The nominal causal clause is introduced by ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ בּ, ְ תּ ַ א ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ בּ -
וֹתּ ְ שׁ ִ א “because you are his wife”.
21 ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ֵ נ ְ פּ ִ מ followed by Qal perf. 3 m.sg. ד ַ רָ י introduces the causal
clause.
22 Note the unusual use of ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ to introduce a causal clause,
א ֵ רָ י ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ
“since he feared”. Gideon destroyed the Baal altar and Asherah belonging
to his father.
Exercise: translate the following English sentences into fully pointed
biblical Hebrew.
The sentences contain causal clauses which should be rendered with as
great a variety of constructions as possible. Suggested translations will be
found at the end.
1 Because the king’s heart is haughty, I am hastening to accomplish this
thing.
2 And when Asenath had ceased making confession to the Lord, behold,
the morning star rose out of heaven in the east. And Asenath saw it
and rejoiced and said: ‘So the Lord G-d listened to my prayer, because
this star rose as a messenger and herald of the light of the great day’.
3 The judge acquitted him on the grounds that he was living in Egypt at
the time that his wife was murdered.
4 Because you have slain his anointed one, you also shall die.
258 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
5 They approached him and bowed down to the ground, for they feared
him greatly.
Suggested translations for sentences with causal clauses
1
ך ֶ ל ֶ מּ ַ ה ב ֵ ל הּ ַ ב ָ גּ ן ַ עַ י ) ְ ל םוּרָ י י ִ כּ ך ֶ ל ֶ מּ ַ ה ב ַ ב ( ת ֵ א תוֹשׂ ֲ ע ַ ל י ִ נ ֲ א ר ֵ ה ַ מ ְ מ
ה ֶ זּ ַ ה ר ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה :
(see: II Chron 26:16)
2
תוֹלּ ַ כ ְ כּ י ִ הְ י ַ ו ) ה ָ ל ְ ד ָ ח ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ( ה ַ ל תֹדּ ַ ו ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל ת ַ נ ְ ס ָ א ' ב ַ כוֹכּ ה ָ ל ָ ע ה ֵ נּ ִ ה
ת ַ נ ְ ס ָ א וֹתֹ א א ֶ ר ֵ תּ ַ ו ח ָ ר ְ ז ִ מּ ִ מ םִ י ַ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה ֵ מ ר ֶ קֹבּ ַ ה ) וּה ֵ א ְ ר ִ תּ ַ ו ( ח ַ מ ְ שׂ ִ תּ ַ ו
ר ַ מאֹתּ ַ ו : ה ע ַ מ ָ שׁ י ִ כּ ' ֱ א - ת ֶ א םי ִ הל - י ִ כּ י ִ ת ָ לּ ִ פ ְ תּ / ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א / ה ָ ל ָ ע ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ַ עַ י
לוֹד ָ גּ ַ ה םוֹיּ ַ ה רוֹא ר ֵ שּׂ ַ ב ְ מוּ ך ָ א ְ ל ַ מ ְ כּ ה ֶ זּ ַ ה ב ָ כוֹכּ ַ ה :
(see: Gen 41:45,50; Ezra 10:1; Exod 2:6)
3
ן ַ עַ י ט ֵ פֹשּׁ ַ ה וֹתֹ א קי ִ דּ ְ צ ִ ה / ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ל ַ ע / י ִ כּ ב ֶ ק ֵ ע / ֶ שׁ ֲ א ב ֶ ק ֵ ע םִ י ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ְ בּ ר ָ גּ ר
ת ֵ ע ְ בּ - ג ֵ ר ָ ה ֵ ה / ח ַ צ ָ ר ֵ ה וֹתּ ְ שׁ ִ א :
(see: Gen 38:27: ת ֵ ע ְ בּ הּ ָ תּ ְ ד ִ ל = “at the time of her giving birth”)
4 י ִ כּ / תוּמ ָ תּ תוֹמ ה ָ תּ ַ א ם ַ גּ וֹחי ִ שׁ ְ מ ת ֵ א ָ תּ ְ ג ַ ר ָ ה ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ַ ח ַ תּ :
5 ה ָ צ ְ ר ַ א םִ י ַ פּ ַ א וּו ֲ ח ַ תּ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו וי ָ ל ֵ א וּשׁ ְ גּ ִ יּ ַ ו ה ָ לוֹדְ גּ ה ָ א ְ רִ י וֹתֹ א וּא ְ רָ י י ִ כּ :
PART THREE: SYNTAX 259
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
Exercise: spot the ‘hey interrogative’ in the following biblical verses
and deduce the rules for the pointing of the ‘hey interrogative’;
explanatory notes are found at the end.
1 Genesis 4:9
י ֖ ִ ח ָ א ר ֥ ֵ מֹשׁ ֲ ה י ִ תּ ְ ע ֔ ַ דָ י א ֣ ֹל ֙ ר ֶ מא ֙ ֹיּ ַ ו ךי ֑ ִ ח ָ א ל ֶ ב ֣ ֶ ה י ֖ ֵ א ן ִ י ַ֔ ק־ל ֶ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃י ִ כֹֽ נ ָ א
And the Lord said to Cain, ‘where is Abel your brother?’ and he said, ‘I do
not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’
2 Genesis 18:17
י ֽ ַ ו ׃ה ֽ ֶ שֹׂע י ֥ ִ נ ֲ א ר ֖ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ָ֔ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ֵ ֽ מ ֙ י ִ נ ֲ א ה ֤ ֶ סּ ַ כ ְ מ ַ ֽ ה ר ֑ ָ מ ָ א הֹו ָ֖ ה
And the Lord said, ‘shall I hide from Abraham that which I am about to
do?’
3 Exodus 2:7
ן ֖ ִ מ ת ֶ ק ֔ ֶ ני ֵ מ ה ֣ ָ שּׁ ִ א ֙ ך ָ ל י ִ תא ֤ ָ ר ָ ק ְ ו ך ֗ ֵ ל ֵ א ַ ה ֒ הֹע ְ ר ַ פּ־ת ַ בּ־ל ֶ א וֹתֹ ח ֲ א ר ֶ מא ֣ ֹתּ ַ ו
֮
ִ ר ְ ב ִ ע ָ ה ׃ד ֶ לֽ ָ יּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ך֖ ָ ל ק֥ ִ ני ֵ ת ְ ו ת֑ ֹיּ
And his sister said to Pharoah’s daughter, ‘shall I go and call for you a
nursing woman from the Hebrews, that she may nurse the child for you?’
4 Job 1:9
֔ ָ נּ ִ ח ֽ ַ ה ר ֑ ַ מאֹיּ ַ ו ה֖ ָ והְ י־ת ֶ א ן ֛ ָ ט ָ שּׂ ַ ה ן ַ ע֧ ַ יּ ַ ו ׃םי ֽ ִ הל ֱ א בוֹ ֖ יּ ִ א א ֥ ֵ רָ י ם
And the Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘is it for nothing that Job fears
G-d?’
260 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
5 Numbers 11:23
י ֖ ִ ר ָ ב ְ ד ֥ ך ְ ר ְ קִ י ֲ ה ה ֛ ֶ א ְ ר ִ ת ה ֥ ָ תּ ַ ע ר֑ ָ צ ְ ק ִ תּ ה֖ ָ והְ י ד֥ ַ י ֲ ה ה ֔ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃א ֽ ֹל־ם ִ א
And the Lord said to Moses, ‘is the Lord’s hand too short? Now you will
see whether My word will befall you or not’.
6 Numbers 11:12
וּהי ֑ ִ תּ ְ ד ִ לְ י י ֖ ִ כֹ נ ָ א־ם ִ א ה ֔ ֶ זּ ַ ה ם֣ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כּ ת ֵ֚ א י ִ תי ֗ ִ ר ָ ה י ֣ ִ כֹ נ ָ א ֶ ה
Have I conceived all this people or have I begotten them?
7 Genesis 24:5 (Eliezer to Abraham about Rebekah)
ץ ֶ ר ֣ ָ א ָ ה־ל ֶ א י ֖ ַ ר ֲ ח ַ א ת ֶ כ֥ ֶ ל ָ ל ה ֔ ָ שּׁ ִ א ֽ ָ ה ה֣ ֶ באֹת־אֹל ֙ י ַ לוּא ד ֶ ב ֔ ֶ ע ָ ה ֙ וי ָ ל ֵ א ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃ם ֽ ָ שּׁ ִ מ ָ תא ֥ ָ צָ י־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ץ ֶ ר ֖ ָ א ָ ה־ל ֶ א ֔ ךְ נ ִ בּ־ת ֶ א ֙ בי ִ שׁ ָ א ב ֤ ֵ שׁ ָ ה ֽ ֶ ה תא֑ ֹזּ ַ ה
And the servant said to him, ‘perhaps the woman will not be willing to go
after me to this land; shall I indeed bring your son back to the land from
where you came out?’
Explanatory notes to ‘spot the hey interrogative’
For rules of ‘hey interrogative’ see: WHG p 80; GK 100k-n.
1 י ִ כֹֽ נ ָ א י ֖ ִ ח ָ א ר ֥ ֵ מֹשׁ ֲ ה “am I my brother’s keeper? Hey int. takes ḥateph-
pataḥ generally before non-gutturals with a firm vowel.
2 ה ֤ ֶ סּ ַ כ ְ מ ַ ֽ ה ֙ י ִ נ ֲ א “shall I hide?” Before a consonant with sheva (here ְ מ)
hey int. usually takes pataḥ without a following dagesh forte. Less fre-
quently, in about ten passages, pataḥ with a following dagesh forte (see
below).
PART THREE: SYNTAX 261
3 ך ֗ ֵ ל ֵ א ַ ה “shall I go?” Before gutturals not pointed with qamets or
ḥateph- qamets, hey int. takes pataḥ.
4 ם ֔ ָ נּ ִ ח ֽ ַ ה “is it for nothing?” See above, no 3.
5 ר֑ ָ צ ְ ק ִ תּ ה֖ ָ והְ י ד֥ ַ י ֲ ה “Is the Lord’s hand too short?”
Before non-gutturals hey int.takes ḥateph-pataḥ.
א ֽ ֹל־ם ִ א י ֖ ִ ר ָ ב ְ ד ֥ ך ְ ר ְ קִ י ֲ ה “Will My Word befall you or not?” Note the dis-
junctive question, introduced by ֲ ה in the first clause and by ם ִ א in the
second clause.(GK 150 c; JM 161e).
6 י ֣ ִ כֹ נ ָ א ֶ ה The hey int. takes segol before gutturals pointed with qamets
or ḥateph-qamets. Note the disjunctive question; י ִ כֹ נ ָ א ֶ ה — ם ִ א - י ִ כֹ נ ָ א
7 ֙ בי ִ שׁ ָ א ב ֤ ֵ שׁ ָ ה ֽ ֶ ה “Shall I indeed bring back?” Hey int. + inf. abs. Hiphil,
בוּשׁ. The hey int. takes segol before gutturals pointed with qamets or
ḥateph-qamets.
Exercise: analyse the use of ‘hey interrogative’ in the following
biblical verses.
Remember that before a consonant with sheva hey int. usually takes pataḥ
without a following dagesh forte. Less frequently, in about ten passages,
pataḥ with a following dagesh forte. (GK 100l). (Explanatory notes are pro-
vided at the end).
1 Numbers 13:18-20
֥ ָ ז ָ ח ֶ ה ָ הי ֔ ֶ ל ָ ע ב ֣ ֵ שֹׁיּ ַ ה ֙ ם ָ ע ָ ה־ת ֶ א ְ ו או ֑ ִ ה־ה ַ מ ץ ֶ ר ֖ ָ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א ם ֥ ֶ תי ִ א ְ רוּ ֙ אוּה ק
׃ב ֽ ָ ר־ם ִ א אוּ ֖ ה ט ֥ ַ ע ְ מ ַ ה ה ֔ ֶ פ ָ ר ֲ ה ה ֥ ָ בוֹט ֲ ה הּ ָ֔ בּ ב ֣ ֵ שֹׁי ֙ אוּה־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ץ ֶ ר ָ֗ א ָ ה ה ֣ ָ מוּ
ם ֥ ִ א םי֖ ִ נ ֲ ח ֽ ַ מ ְ בּ ַ ה ה ָ נּ ֵ֔ ה ָ בּ ב ֣ ֵ שׁוֹי ֙ אוּה־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א םי ֗ ִ ר ָ ע ֽ ֶ ה ה ֣ ָ מוּ ה֑ ָ ע ָ ר־ם ִ א או ֖ ִ ה
262 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
׃םי ֽ ִ ר ָ צ ְ ב ִ מ ְ בּ הּ ֥ ָ בּ־שֽׁ ֵ י ֲ ה ה ֗ ָ ז ָ ר־ם ִ א או ִ֜ ה ה ֨ ָ נ ֵ מ ְ שּׁ ַ ה ץ ֶ ר ָ א ֠ ָ ה ה ֣ ָ מוּ ן ִ י ַ֔ א־ם ִ א ֙ ץ ֵ ע
׃םי ֽ ִ ב ָ נ ֲ ע י ֥ ֵ רוּכּ ִ בּ י ֖ ֵ מְ י םי ֔ ִ מָ יּ ַ֨ ה ְ ו ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה י ֣ ִ ר ְ פּ ִ מ ם ֖ ֶ תּ ְ ח ַ ק ְ לוּ ם ֔ ֶ תּ ְ ק ַ זּ ַ ח ְ ת ִ֨ ה ְ ו
And you shall see the land, what it is; and the people who dwell in it,
whether they are strong or weak, few or many. And what the land is that
they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what are the cities in which
they dwell, whether in camps or in strongholds. And what the land is,
whether it is fertile or barren, whether there are trees in it or not, and you
shall strengthen yourselves and take from the fruit of the land, and the time
was the time of the firstripe grapes.
2 Genesis 17:17
ד ֔ ֵ ל ָ וּ ִ י ֙ ה ָ נ ָ שׁ־ה ֽ ָ א ֵ מ ן ֤ ֶ ב ְ לּ ַ ה וֹ ֗ בּ ִ ל ְ בּ ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו ק ֑ ָ ח ְ צִ יּ ַ ו וי֖ ָ נ ָ פּ־ל ַ ע ם ֛ ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ל ֧ ֹ פִּ יּ ַ ו
׃דֽ ֵ ל ֵ תּ ה֖ ָ נ ָ שׁ םי ֥ ִ ע ְ שׁ ִ תּ־ת ַ ב ֲ ה ה ֔ ָ ר ָ שׂ־ם ִ֨ א ְ ו
And Abraham fell upon his face and he laughed and he said in his heart,
‘shall a child be born to him that is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah,
who is ninety years old, give birth?’
3 Genesis 37:32 (Joseph’s brothers to Jacob concerning Joseph’s coat)
ֶ כּ ַ ה ׃א ֽ ֹל־ם ִ א או ֖ ִ ה ֛ ך ְ נ ִ בּ ת ֶ נ ֧ ֹ ת ְ כּ ַ ה א ֗ ָ נ־ר
Observe, is it your son’s coat or not?
4 I Samuel 10:24
ןי ֥ ֵ א י ֛ ִ כּ ה ָ֔ והְ י וֹ ֣ בּ־ר ַ ח ֽ ָ בּ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ֙ ם ֶ תי ִ א ְ רּ ַ ה ם ֗ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כּ־ל ֶ א ל ֵ֜ אוּמ ְ שׁ ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
ְ י וּ ֖ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו ם֛ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כ וּע ֧ ִ רָ יּ ַ ו ם֑ ָ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כ ְ בּ וּה ֖ ֹ מ ָ כּ ׃ך ֶ ל ֽ ֶ מּ ַ ה י ֥ ִ ח
PART THREE: SYNTAX 263
And Samuel said to all the people, ‘do you see him whom the Lord has cho-
sen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people
shouted and said, ‘Long live the King’.’
Explanatory notes to ‘analyse hey int. in biblical verses’
1 Numbers 13:18-20
Note five examples of disjunctive questions (see no 5 in preceding exercise
and GK 150 c):;
ם ִ א או ִ ה ה ָ בוֹט ֲ ה - ה ָ ע ָ ר , ם ִ א אוּה ט ַ ע ְ מ ַ ה - ב ָ ר , שֵׁ י ֲ ה - ם ִ א ץ ֵ ע הּ ָ בּ - ן ִ י ַ א ,
ו ִ ה ה ָ נ ֵ מ ְ שּׁ ַ ה ם ִ א א - ה ָ ז ָ ר , םי ִ ר ָ צ ְ ב ִ מ ְ בּ ם ִ א םי ִ נ ֲ ח ַ מ ְ בּ ַ ה ;
Note also two examples of hey int. with pataḥ with a following dagesh:
ה ֨ ָ נ ֵ מ ְ שּׁ ַ ה and םי֖ ִ נ ֲ ח ֽ ַ מ ְ בּ ַ ה. (GK 100 l).
2 Genesis 17:17
֙ ה ָ נ ָ שׁ־ה ֽ ָ א ֵ מ ן ֤ ֶ ב ְ לּ ַ ה Note that hey int. has pataḥ with following dagesh be-
fore consonant with sheva.
ה ֔ ָ ר ָ שׂ־ם ִ֨ א ְ ו Note disjunctive question.
ָ שׁ םי ֥ ִ ע ְ שׁ ִ תּ־ת ַ ב ֲ ה ה֖ ָ נ Note repetition of ֲ ה after ם ִ א ְ ו in a question which
implies disbelief (GK 150 g).
3 Genesis 37:32
ת ֶ נ ֧ ֹ ת ְ כּ ַ ה Hey int. has pataḥ with following dagesh before consonant with
sheva.
א ֽ ֹל־ם ִ א Note disjunctive question.

264 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
4 I Samuel 10:24
֙ ם ֶ תי ִ א ְ רּ ַ ה “Do you see?” Note hey int. with pataḥ before consonant with
sheva with a following dagesh forte, even in resh. (GK 100 l; see also: I Sam
17:25; II Kings 6:32).
Study the following biblical verses and discuss the formation of
interrogative sentences in biblical Hebrew.
I: Without any particle, by the mere tone of voice
(perhaps most common in animated speech)
a) II Samuel 18:29
םוֹ ֑ ל ָ שׁ ְ ב ַ א ְ ל ר ַ ע֖ ַ נּ ַ ל םוֹ ֥ ל ָ שׁ ך ֶ ל ֔ ֶ מּ ַ ה ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And the king said, ‘is the young man Absalom safe?’
b) Judges 14:16 (Samson to his wife about the riddle)
ִ ה א ֥ ֹל י ֛ ִ מּ ִ א ְ לוּ י ֧ ִ ב ָ א ְ ל ה ֨ ֵ נּ ִ ה ׃די ֽ ִ גּ ַ א ך֥ ָ ל ְ ו י ִ תּ ְ ד ֖ ַ גּ
Behold, I have not told my father and mother, but to you I should tell?
c) II Samuel 11:11
י ֨ ִ נֹדא ַ ו תוֹ ֗ כּ ֻ סּ ַ בּ םי ֣ ִ ב ְ שֹׁי ה ָ֜ דוּהי ֽ ִ ו ל ֵ֨ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ְ ו ןוֹר ָ א ֠ ָ ה ד ִ֗ ו ָ דּ־ל ֶ א ה ֜ ָ יּ ִ רוּא ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
ְ פּ־ל ַ ע י ֨ ִ נֹד ֲ א י ֤ ֵ ד ְ ב ַ ע ְ ו ב ָ֜ אוֹי ל ֥ ֹכ ֱ א ֶ ל י ֛ ִ תי ֵ בּ־ל ֶ א אוֹ ֧ ב ָ א י ֞ ִ נ ֲ א ַ ו םי ֔ ִ נֹח ֙ ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה י֤ ֵ נ
ר ֥ ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ה ֖ ֶ שׂ ֱ ע ֶ א־ם ֽ ִ א ך ֔ ֶ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ י ֣ ֵ ח ְ ו ֙ ך ֙ ֶ יּ ַ ח י ֑ ִ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א־ם ִ ע ב֣ ַ כּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ְ ו תוֹ ֖ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ְ ו
׃הֽ ֶ זּ ַ ה
And Uriah said to David, ‘the Ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths,
and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping out in the field;
PART THREE: SYNTAX 265
shall I then go into my house to eat and drink and to lie with my wife? By
your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing’.
(note use of ם ִ א after expression of oath to express a negative. GK 149).
II: The simple question is often expressed by hey interrogative.
Note also שֵׁ י ֲ ה = “is there?” and the negatives אֹ ל ֲ ה and ןי ֵ א ַ ה =
“is there not?”
a) Genesis 24:58
ֵ ת ֲ ה ָ הי ֔ ֶ ל ֵ א וּ ֣ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו ֙ ה ָ ק ְ ב ִ ר ְ ל וּ ֤ א ְ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה שׁי ֣ ִ א ָ ה־ם ִ ע י ֖ ִ כ ְ ל
And they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘will you go with this man?”
(י ֖ ִ כ ְ ל ֵ ת ֲ ה)
b) Genesis 24:23 (Eliezer to Rebekah)
׃ןי ֽ ִ ל ָ ל וּנ ֖ ָ ל םוֹ ֥ ק ָ מ ךי ֛ ִ ב ָ א־תי ֵ בּ שׁ֧ ֵ י ֲ ה
Is there room in your father’s house for us to lodge? ( ֧ ֵ י־־ ֲ ה שׁ )
c) Judges 14:3 (Samson’s marriage)
ה ֤ ָ תּ ַ א־י ֽ ִ כּ ה ֔ ָ שּׁ ִ א ֙ י ִ מּ ַ ע־ל ָ כ ְ בוּ ךי ֤ ֶ ח ַ א תוֹ ֨ נ ְ ב ִ בּ ֩ ןי ֵ א ַ ה וֹ ֗ מּ ִ א ְ ו וי ֣ ִ ב ָ א וֹ ֜ ל ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
םי ֑ ִ ל ֵ ר ֲ ע ָ ה םי ֖ ִ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל ְ פּ ִ מ ה ֔ ָ שּׁ ִ א ת ַ ח ֣ ַ ק ָ ל ֙ ך ֵ לוֹה
And his father and his mother said to him, ‘is there not a woman among the
daughters of your brothers or among all my people, that you go to take a
wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?’ ( ֩ ןי ֵ א ַ ה)
d) Genesis 13:9 (Abraham to Lot)
ךי ֔ ֶ נ ָ פ ְ ל ֙ ץ ֶ ר ֙ ָ א ָ ה־ל ָ כ א ֤ ֹל ֲ ה
266 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Is not all the land before you? (א ֤ ֹל ֲ ה)
III: The disjunctive or alternative question is put by hey
interrogative in the first clause and by ם ִ א / ם ִ א ְ ו in the second
clause (or ם ִ א אֹ ל if negative).
a) Genesis 27:21
׃א ֽ ֹל־ם ִ א ו ֖ ָ שׂ ֵ ע י ֥ ִ נ ְ בּ ה֛ ֶ ז ה ֥ ָ תּ ַ א ֽ ַ ה
Are you my son Esau or not? ( ַ ה — ם ִ א - אֹל )
b) Joshua 5:13 (Joshua to the captain of the host of the Lord)
׃וּני ֽ ֵ ר ָ צ ְ ל־ם ִ א ה ֖ ָ תּ ַ א וּנ ֥ ָ ל ֲ ה
Are you for us or for our adversaries? ( ֲ ה — ם ִ א )
c) I Kings 22:15
ה ֖ ָ מ ָ ח ְ ל ִ מּ ַ ל ד֛ ָ ע ְ ל ִ גּ ת ֥ ֹ מ ָ ר־ל ֶ א ך ֞ ֵ ל ֵ נ ֲ ה ֙ וּהְ י ֙ ָ כי ִ מ וי ֗ ָ ל ֵ א ך ֶ ל ֜ ֶ מּ ַ ה ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
ל ֑ ָ דּ ְ ח ֶ נ־ם ִ א
And the king said to him, ‘Micaiah, shall we go against Ramot Gilead to war
or shall we desist/leave off?’ ( ֲ ה — ם ִ א )
IV: The indirect question is made in the same way
a) Genesis 8:8
ח֥ ַ לּ ַ שְׁ י ַ ו ה֖ ָ נוֹיּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א וֹ ֑ תּ ִ א ֵ מ ֙ תוֹא ְ ר ִ ל וּלּ ֣ ַ ק  ֲ ה םִ י ֔ ַ מּ ַ ה ל ֖ ַ ע ֵ מ ֥ ֵ נ ְ פּ י ׃ה ֽ ָ מ ָ ד ֲ א ָ ֽ ה
And he sent forth the dove from him, to see if the waters had abated from
upon the face of the ground. (וּלּ ֣ ַ ק ֲ ה = “if (they) had abated”)

PART THREE: SYNTAX 267
b) Genesis 24:21 (Abraham’s servant encounters Rebekah)
ָ ל שׁי ֕ ִ ר ֲ ח ַ מ הּ֑ ָ ל ה ֖ ֵ א ָ תּ ְ שׁ ִ מ שׁי ֥ ִ א ָ ה ְ ו ׃א ֽ ֹל־ם ִ א וֹ ֖ כּ ְ ר ַ דּ ה֛ ָ והְ י ַ חי ֧ ִ ל ְ צ ִ ה ַ ֽ ה ת ַ ע ֗ ַ ד
And the man was gazing at her, keeping silence, to know whether the Lord
had made his way prosperous or not. ( ַ חי ִ ל ְ צ ִ ה ֲ ה — ם ִ א - אֹל )
V: Note use of ם ִ א ַ ה (twice only, see BDB p 50)
a) Numbers 17:28 (the people were in despair after so much death)
׃ ַ עֹֽ ו ְ ג ִ ל וּנ ְ מ ֖ ַ תּ ם ֥ ִ א ַ ה
Shall we ever have finished dying? [Note ם ַ מ ָ תּ = “be complete, finished” >
Qal perf. 1 pl. (here): וּנ ְ מ ֖ ַ תּ (for וּנוֹמּ ַ תּ see GK 67 dd: aramaizing form).]
b) Job 6:13
י ֑ ִ ב י ֣ ִ ת ָ ר ְ ז ֶ ע ןי ֣ ֵ א ם ִ֬ א ַ ה
(perhaps) “Is it that my help is not in me?” (see BDB p 50: “a forcible
means of expressing that that which might be thought impossible is never-
theless the case”).
VI: י ִ כּ adds force to the question
a) II Samuel 9:1 (David showed kindness to Mephiboshet, lame son of
Jonathan, son of Saul)
ד ֶ ס ֶ֔ ח ֙ וֹמּ ִ ע ה ֤ ֶ שׂ ֱ ע ֶ א ְ ו לוּ ֑ א ָ שׁ תי ֣ ֵ ב ְ ל ר ֖ ַ תוֹנ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א דוֹ ֔ ע־שֶׁ י י ֣ ִ כ ֲ ה ד ִ֔ ו ָ דּ ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
֖ ב ֲ ע ַ בּ ׃ן ֽ ָ ת ָ נוֹהְ י רוּ
And David said, ‘is there yet any that is left of the House of Saul, that I may
deal kindly with him for the sake of Jonathan?’ ( י ֣ ִ כ ֲ ה דוֹ ֔ ע־שֶׁ י )

268 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
b) II Samuel 13:28 (Absalom plotting murder of Amnon)
ֶ א י ִ תי ֣ ִ וּ ִ צ ֙ י ִ כֹ נ ֽ ָ א י ֤ ִ כּ אוֹ ֗ ל ֲ ה ם ֔ ֶ כ ְ ת
Is it not that I have commanded you? (י ֤ ִ כּ אוֹ ֗ ל ֲ ה)
VII: The interrogative particle may be strengthened by other particles
a) Genesis 18:13
י ִ תּ ְ נ ֽ ַ ק  ָ ז י ֥ ִ נ ֲ א ַ ו ד֖ ֵ ל ֵ א ם֛ ָ נ ְ מ ֻ א ף ֥ ַ א ַ ה ׃
Shall I indeed give birth although/seeing as I am old? ( ף ֥ ַ א ַ ה ם֛ ָ נ ְ מ ֻ א )
(ף ַ א = “also, yea”; BDB pp 64-65; > ף ַ א ַ ה = “indeed? really?”
ם ָ נ ְ מ ֻ א adv. = “verily, truly, indeed”; BDB p 53).
b) Genesis 18:23
׃ע ֽ ָ שׁ ָ ר־ם ִ ע קי ֖ ִ דּ ַ צ ה ֔ ֶ פּ ְ ס ִ תּ ף ֣ ַ א ַ ה
Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? (ף ֣ ַ א־־ ַ ה)
Study the following biblical verses and consider how answers to
questions are formulated in biblical Hebrew.
I: The answer is usually made by repeating part of the question, or
by the use of some word suggested by it.
a) Genesis 24:58
׃ךֽ ֵ ל ֵ א ר ֶ מא ֖ ֹתּ ַ ו ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה שׁי ֣ ִ א ָ ה־ם ִ ע י ֖ ִ כ ְ ל ֵ ת ֲ ה ָ הי ֔ ֶ ל ֵ א וּ ֣ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו ֙ ה ָ ק ְ ב ִ ר ְ ל וּ ֤ א ְ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו
And they called Rebekah and they said to her, ‘will you go with this man?’
And she said, ‘I will go’. (Question: י ֖ ִ כ ְ ל ֵ ת ֲ ה Answer: ךֽ ֵ ל ֵ א)

PART THREE: SYNTAX 269
b) Genesis 27:24 (Isaac to Jacob)
׃י ִ נ ֽ ָ א ר ֶ מא֖ ֹיּ ַ ו ו ֑ ָ שׂ ֵ ע י֣ ִ נ ְ בּ ה֖ ֶ ז ה ֥ ָ תּ ַ א ר ֶ מא ֕ ֹיּ ַ ו
And he said, ‘are you really my son Esau?’ And he said, ‘I am’.
(The question is by tone of voice: ו ֑ ָ שׂ ֵ ע י֣ ִ נ ְ בּ ה֖ ֶ ז ה ֥ ָ תּ ַ א and the answer י ִ נ ֽ ָ א
corresponds to the question).
c) Genesis 29:5 (Jacob asking about Laban in Aram)
׃וּנ ְ ע ֽ ָ דָ י וּ ֖ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו רוֹ ֑ ח ָ נ־ן ֶ בּ ן ֣ ָ ב ָ ל־ת ֶ א ם ֖ ֶ תּ ְ ע ַ דְ י ַ ה ם ֶ֔ ה ָ ל ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And he said to them, ‘do you know Laban son of Nahor?’ And they said,
‘we (do) know (him)’. (Question: ם ֖ ֶ תּ ְ ע ַ דְ י ַ ה Answer: וּנ ְ ע ֽ ָ דָ י)
d) II Samuel 9:2 (Ziba was servant to Mephiboshet, lame son of
Jonathan, son of Saul)
ך ֶ ל ֧ ֶ מּ ַ ה ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו ד֑ ִ ו ָ דּ־ל ֶ א וֹ ֖ ל־וּא ְ ר ְ קִ יּ ַ ו א ָ֔ בי ִ צ וֹ ֣ מ ְ שׁוּ ֙ ד ֶ ב ֙ ֶ ע לוּ ֥ א ָ שׁ תי ֵ֨ ב ְ לוּ
֥ ָ תּ ַ א ַ ה וי ֛ ָ ל ֵ א ׃ך ֽ ֶ דּ ְ ב ַ ע ר ֶ מא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו א ֖ ָ בי ִ צ ה
The House of Saul had a servant whose name was Ziba and they called him
to David and the king said to him, ‘are you Ziba?’ and he said, ‘your
servant’.
(Question: ה ֥ ָ תּ ַ א ַ ה א ֖ ָ בי ִ צ Answer: ך ֽ ֶ דּ ְ ב ַ ע)
e) II Kings 10:15 (Jehu to Jehonadab)
שׁ֖ ֵ י ָ ו שׁ֛ ֵ י ב ֥ ָ ד ָ נוֹהְ י ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו ך ֶ֔ ב ָ ב ְ ל־ם ִ ע ֙ י ִ ב ָ ב ְ ל ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ר ֗ ָ שָׁ י ֣ ך ְ ב ָ ב ְ ל־ת ֶ א שׁ֧ ֵ י ֲ ה
‘Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart?’ And Jehonadab said, ‘it
is’.
270 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
(Question: שׁ֧ ֵ י ֲ ה Answer: שׁ֛ ֵ י שׁ֖ ֵ י ָ ו )
f) Judges 4:20 (Sisera, captain of Canaanite host, to Yael, wife of Heber
the Kenite)
׃ן ִ י ֽ ָ א ְ תּ ְ ר ֥ ַ מ ָ א ְ ו שׁי ֖ ִ א ה ֥ ֹ פּ־שֽׁ ֵ י ֲ ה ר ֛ ַ מ ָ א ְ ו ך ֗ ֵ ל ֵ א ְ שׁוּ אוֹ ֜ בָ י שׁי ִ֨ א־ם ִ א ֩ הָ י ָ ה ְ ו
And it shall be, if anyone will come and ask you and say, ‘is anyone here?’
then you will say, ‘there is not’.
(Question: ה ֥ ֹ פּ־שֽׁ ֵ י ֲ ה Answer: ן ִ י ֽ ָ א)
II: The negative reply to a simple question may be אֹל = “no”. (see
BDB p 519: אֹ ל - “in answer to a question or request, to deny, or
decline”).
a) Judges 12:5
֥ ֹכּ ְ לִ יּ ַ ו י ֤ ֵ טי ִ ל ְ פּ וּ ֞ ר ְ מאֹי י ֣ ִ כּ הָ י ָ ה ֽ ְ ו םִ י ֑ ָ ר ְ פ ֶ א ְ ל ן ֖ ֵ דּ ְ רַ יּ ַ ה תוֹ ֥ ר ְ בּ ְ ע ַ מ־ת ֽ ֶ א ד֛ ָ ע ְ ל ִ גּ ד
ַ ו ה ָ תּ ֖ ַ א י ֥ ִ ת ָ ר ְ פ ֶ א ֽ ַ ה ד֛ ָ ע ְ ל ִ ג־י ֽ ֵ שׁ ְ נ ַ א וֹ ֧ ל וּר ְ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו ה ָ ר ֔ ֹב ֱ ע ֶ א ֙ םִ י ֙ ַ ר ְ פ ֶ א ר ֽ ֶ מא֥ ֹיּ ׃א ֽ ֹל
And Gilead captured the fords of the Jordan (which belonged) to Ephraim
and it was, whenever the fugitives of Ephraim would say ‘let me cross’, the
men of Gilead said to him, ‘are you an Ephraimite?’ And he said, ‘no’.
(Question: י ֥ ִ ת ָ ר ְ פ ֶ א ֽ ַ ה ה ָ תּ ֖ ַ א Answer: א ֽ ֹל)
b) Genesis 19:2 (Lot to the angels)
ֵ֨ בּ־ל ֶ א א ֠ ָ נ וּרוּ ֣ ס ם ֣ ֶ תּ ְ כ ַ ל ֲ ה ַ ו ם ֖ ֶ תּ ְ מ ַ כּ ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ ל ְ ג ַ ר וּ ֣ צ ֲ ח ַ ר ְ ו ֙ וּני ֙ ִ ל ְ ו ם֤ ֶ כ ְ דּ ְ ב ַ ע תי
׃ןי ֽ ִ לָ נ בוֹ ֖ ח ְ ר ָ ב י ֥ ִ כּ א ֔ ֹלּ וּ ֣ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו ם֑ ֶ כ ְ כּ ְ ר ַ ד ְ ל
PART THREE: SYNTAX 271
Please turn aside to the house of your servant, and stay the night and wash
your feet, and you shall rise up early and go on your way, and they said, ‘no,
but we will spend the night in the street’.
(אֹל is often followed by י ִ כּ = ‘no: for, but’; BDB p 519).
c) Haggai 2:12,13 (What was ceremonially holy hallowed what it touched
but not more. What was ceremonially impure infected not only the
person in contact with it, but whatever he touched as well. So with the
people; the wicked can easily infect the righteous, but the righteous
cannot so easily influence the wicked).
ן ֣ ֵ ה ־א ָ שִּׂ י ם ֶ ח ֨ ֶ לּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א וֹפ ָ נ ְ כ ֠ ִ בּ ע֣ ַ ג ָ נ ְ ו וֹ ֗ ד ְ ג ִ בּ ף ֣ ַ נ ְ כ ִ בּ שׁ ֶ ד ֜ ֹק־ר ַ שׂ ְ בּ שׁי ִ֨ א
םי֛ ִ נ ֲ הֹכּ ַ ה וּ ֧ נ ֲ עַ יּ ַ ו שׁ ֑ ָ דּ ְ קִ י ֲ ה ל֖ ָ כ ֲ א ַ מ־ל ָ כּ־ל ֶ א ְ ו ן ֶ מ ֛ ֶ שׁ־ל ֶ א ְ ו ן ִ י ֧ ַ יּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ְ ו די ֜ ִ ז ָ נּ ַ ה־ל ֶ א ְ ו
׃א ֽ ֹל וּ ֖ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו ה ֶ לּ ֖ ֵ א־ל ָ כ ְ בּ שׁ ֶ פ֛ ֶ נ־א ֵ מ ְ ט ע֧ ַ גּ ִ י־ם ִ א י ֔ ַ גּ ַ ח ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו וּ ֧ נ ֲ עַ יּ ַ ו א ֑ ָ מ ְ טִ י ֲ ה
׃א ֽ ָ מ ְ טִ י וּ ֖ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו םי֛ ִ נ ֲ הֹכּ ַ ה
‘If one carries holy meat in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt he
touches bread or pottage, or wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?’
And the priests answered and said, ‘No’. And Haggai said, ‘if one who is
unclean by a dead body touches any of these, will it become unclean?’ And
the priests answered and said, ‘it will become unclean’.
(Question: שׁ ֑ ָ דּ ְ קִ י ֲ ה Answer: א ֽ ֹל ; Question: א ֑ ָ מ ְ טִ י ֲ ה Answer: א ֽ ָ מ ְ טִ י)
(for ן ֵ ה see BDB p 243: sometimes = ה ֵ נּ ִ ה (but less common) and
sometimes = “if”).
III: The use of ן ֵ כּ in biblical Hebrew
(the common post-biblical usage of ן ֵ כּ = “yes” is only perhaps hinted at in
the Hebrew Bible; see below). (see BDB p 485: ן ֵ כּ adv. = “so, thus”).
272 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
a) Exodus 1:12
ץ ֑ ֹר ְ פִ י ן֣ ֵ כ ְ ו ה֖ ֶ בּ ְ רִ י ן ֥ ֵ כּ וֹ ֔ תֹ א וּ ֣ נּ ַ עְ י ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כ ְ ו
But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and increased.
( ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ — ן ֵ כּ lit. ‘according as—so, thus’).
b) Exodus 10:14
׃ן ֽ ֵ כּ־הֶ י ְ הֽ ִ י א ֥ ֹל וי ֖ ָ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ ו וּה ֔ ֹ מ ָ כּ ֙ ה ֶ בּ ְ ר ַ א ן ֤ ֵ כ הָ י ָ֨ ה־אֹל וי ָ נ ָ פ ֠ ְ ל
There was not before it locust like it and after it there will not be such.
( א ֥ ֹל ן ֽ ֵ כּ־הֶ י ְ הֽ ִ י — הָ י ָ֨ ה־אֹל ן ֤ ֵ כ “there was not such—there will not be
such”).
c) Numbers 13:33
׃ם ֽ ֶ הי ֵ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ וּני֖ ִ י ָ ה ן ֥ ֵ כ ְ ו םי ִ֔ ב ָ ג ֲ ח ַ ֽ כּ ֙ וּני ֙ ֵ ני ֵ ע ְ ב י ֤ ִ ה ְ נּ ַ ו
And we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes.
d) Joshua 2:4 (the two spies sent by Joshua)
ָ נ ֲ א ָ ה י֥ ֵ נ ְ שׁ־ת ֶ א ה ֛ ָ שּׁ ִ א ָ ֽ ה ח ֧ ַ קּ ִ תּ ַ ו ֙ י ַ ל ֵ א וּא֤ ָ בּ ן ֗ ֵ כּ ר ֶ מא ֣ ֹתּ ַ ו וֹ ֑ נ ְ פּ ְ צ ִ תּֽ ַ ו םי ֖ ִ שׁ
׃ה ָ מּ ֽ ֵ ה ן ִ י ֥ ַ א ֵ מ י ִ תּ ְ ע ֖ ַ דָ י א ֥ ֹל ְ ו םי ֔ ִ שָׁ נ ֲ א ָ ֽ ה
And the woman took the two men and hid them and she said, ‘yes, the men
came to me but I do not know from where they are’.
(It is possible that in this verse ן ֵ כּ = “yes”).
PART THREE: SYNTAX 273
(Note also וֹ ֑ נ ְ פּ ְ צ ִ תּֽ ַ ו = (lit) “she hid him”; i.e. m.sg. verbal suffix instead of
plural; see comment of Rashi for various explanations, e.g. she hid each one
by himself so that they would not be found.)
Note the use of ן ֵ ה in Genesis 30:34: ר ֶ מא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו ן ֖ ָ ב ָ ל ן ֑ ֵ ה וּ ֖ ל י ֥ ִ הְ י ׃ך ֽ ֶ ר ָ ב ְ ד ִ כ
“And Laban said, ‘all right, may it be like your word’.” See comment of
Rashi here:
ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ת ַ ל ָ בּ ַ ק םי ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ “language of acquiescence”.
Exercise: translate the following English interrogative sentences into
fully pointed biblical Hebrew; suggested translations will be
found at the end.
1 Will you build me a house?
2 Are they not written in the book?
3 Is the guilt mine or did I judge badly?
4 Will these things exist for us until the end? And will these things befall
us always?
Suggested translations for interrogative sentences
1 ה ֶ נ ְ ב ִ תּ ה ָ תּ ַ א ַ ה - תִ י ַ ב י ִ לּ
(see: II Sam 7:5)
2 ר ֶ פ ֵ סּ ַ בּ םי ִ בוּת ְ כּ ם ֵ ה אֹל ֲ ה
(see: I Kings 11:41 etc)
3 ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ם ִ א ְ ו י ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׁ ָ א י ִ כֹ נ ָ א ֶ ה ט - י ִ תּ ְ ט ַ פ ָ שׁ ל ֶ ו ָ ע ) י ִ תּ ְ ט ַ פ ָ שׁ ל ֶ ו ָ ע ם ִ א ְ ו (
(see: Psalm 82:2: י ֥ ַ ת ָ מ־ד ַ ע ל ֶ ו ֑ ָ ע־וּט ְ פּ ְ שׁ ִ תּ ) (see also BDB p 732: ל ֶ ו ָ ע n.m. =
injustice, unrighteousness).
274 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
4
וּי ְ הִ י ֲ ה וּנ ָ ל םי ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ ַ ה ה ֶ לּ ֵ א ָ ה ד ַ ע תי ִ ר ֲ ח ַ א ִ מָ יּ ַ ה םי ם ִ א ְ ו ה ָ ני ֶ ר ְ ק ִ תּ וּנ ָ ל
תוֹער ָ ה ה ֶ לּ ֵ א ָ ה די ִ מ ָ תּ ׃
( ה ָ ר ָ ק = ‘meet, encounter, befall’; see: Gen 42:29; 44:29; Numb 11:23)
Note the use of the conjunction וֹא = “or” in biblical Hebrew. (BDB pp
14-15).
Occasionally, the second member of a disjunctive question is introduced by
וֹא.
See: GK 150 g: “The second member is introduced by וֹא ‘or’ in 2 K 6:27,
Jb16:3, 38:28, 31:36, (Mal 1:8 וֹא ֲ ה ), in each case before מ, and hence no
doubt for euphonic reasons, to avoid the combination ם ִ א מ ”.
Note then the occurrence of וֹא to introduce the second member of a dis-
junctive clause in Malachi 1:8; this is the only such occurrence without the
euphonic reason explained in GK 150 g.
Malachi 1:8 (rebuke of priests)
ע ֑ ָ ר ןי ֣ ֵ א ה֖ ֶ לֹ ח ְ ו ַ ח ֥ ֵ סּ ִ פּ וּשׁי ֛ ִ גּ ַ ת י ֥ ִ כ ְ ו ע ֔ ָ ר ןי ֣ ֵ א ַ ח ֨ ֹבּ ְ ז ִ ל ר֤ ֵ וּ ִ ע ןוּ ֨ שׁ ִ גּ ַ ת־י ֽ ִ כ ְ ו
׃תוֹ ֽ א ָ ב ְ צ ה֥ ָ והְ י ר ֖ ַ מ ָ א ךי ֔ ֶ נ ָ פ א ֣ ָ שִּׂ י ֲ ה וֹ ֚ א ֙ ך ְ צ ְ רִ י ֲ ה ך ֗ ֶ ת ָ ח ֶ פ ְ ל א ֜ ָ נ וּה ֵ֨ בי ִ ר ְ ק ַ ה
And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if you offer a lame
or sick animal, is that not evil? Offer it now to your governor; will he be
pleased with you or will he show you favour? Says the Lord of Hosts.
( ֙ ך ְ צ ְ רִ י ֲ ה וֹ ֚ א א ֣ ָ שִּׂ י ֲ ה ךי ֔ ֶ נ ָ פ lit. “will he show you favour or will he lift up
your face?”
ֲ ה — וֹא — ֲ ה ).
275
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL
HEBREW
It is generally agreed that the two forms in Biblical Hebrew, which are tradi-
tionally called ‘Perfect’ and ‘Imperfect’, express not just ‘tense’ but also ‘as-
pect’ or ‘mood’. Thus, the ‘Perfect’, which has afformatives and is also
termed ‘Qatal’, may be used not only for the past, but also for the present
and even for the future; it may express the quality of an action as complete
and finished, and may identify a situation or event as static or at rest. See
below for examples of the uses of Qatal/Perfect for: English past; English
pluperfect; English present; English future perfect; the so-called ‘performa-
tive perfect’; ‘perfect of experience’; ‘perfect of certainty’ and ‘prophetic
perfect’.
The ‘Imperfect’, which has both preformatives and afformatives and is also
termed ‘Yiqtol’, may be used not only for the future, but also in the sphere
of the present and the past; it may express the quality of an action as in-
complete or unfinished, and identify a situation or event as fluid or in mo-
tion. See below for examples of the uses of Yiqtol/Imperfect for: contin-
ued/durative or repeated action in the sphere of past time; its use after cer-
tain particles for past action; its use in the sphere of present time for re-
peated or durative action or for the expression of general truths and truths
of experience; and its use in the sphere of future time, whatever the aspect.
276 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
USE OF PERFECT/QATAL
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, discuss/analyse uses of the
Perfect/Qatal.
I: Completed actions where English also uses past tenses
a) Genesis 22:1
ם ֑ ָ ה ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ת ֶ א ה ֖ ָ סִּ נ םי ִ֔ הל ֱ א ֣ ָ ה ְ ו ה ֶ לּ ֵ֔ א ָ ה םי ֣ ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ ַ ה ֙ ר ַ ח ַ א י ִ֗ הְ י ַ ו
And it was after these things that G-d tested Abraham.
ה ֖ ָ סִּ נ Piel, perf. 3 m.sg. ‘he tested’; action completed at a time indicated
by the narrative.
b) Genesis 4:6 (G-d to Cain)
ךיֽ ֶ נ ָ פ וּ ֥ ל ְ פ ָ נ ה ָ מּ֖ ָ ל ְ ו
And why has your face fallen?
וּ ֥ ל ְ פ ָ נ Qal perf. 3 c.pl. action finished in the past, but continuing its
effects into the present.
c) Genesis 2:2
֙ תֹבּ ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו םוֹ ֣ יּ ַ בּ י ֔ ִ עי ִ ב ְ שּׁ ַ ה וֹ ֖ תּ ְ כא ַ ל ְ מ־ל ָ כּ ִ מ ֲ א ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ׃ה ֽ ָ שׂ ָ ע
And He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
ה ֽ ָ שׂ ָ ע Qal perf. 3 m.sg. ‘had done’; the perfect is used to express the
English pluperfect, to indicate that one of two actions was completed
before the other. It is obvious from the context that the work of ‘doing’
was completed before G-d desisted from the work of creation.

PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 277
d) Genesis 31:32 (Jacob to Laban)
ה ֥ ָ מ ֛ ך ְ ל־ר ֶ כּ ֽ ַ ה וּני ֧ ֵ ח ַ א דֶ ג ֣ ֶ נ ֒ הֶ י ְ חֽ ִ י א ֣ ֹל ֮ ךי ֶ הל ֱ א־ת ֶ א א֣ ָ צ ְ מ ִ תּ ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ֠ ִ ע
א ֽ ֹל ְ ו ך֑ ָ ל־ח ֽ ַ ק  ְ ו י ֖ ִ ד ָ מּ ִ ע ם ַ ת ֽ ָ ב ָ נ ְ גּ ל ֖ ֵ ח ָ ר י ֥ ִ כּ ב ֔ ֹק ֲ עַ י ע֣ ַ דָ י־ ׃
With whoever you will find your gods, he shall not live; in front of our
brothers identify what of yours is with me and take (it); but Jacob did not
know that Rachel had stolen them.
ם ַ ת ֽ ָ ב ָ נ ְ גּ Qal perf. 3 f.sg. + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘she had stolen them’; English
pluperfect.
e) Judges 13:23 (the words of the wife of Manoah, father of Samson)
ה֣ ָ לֹע ֙ וּנ ֙ ֵ דָ יּ ִ מ ח ֤ ַ ק ָ ל־א ֽ ֹל ֙ וּנ ֙ ֵ תי ִ מ ֲ ה ַ ל ה֤ ָ והְ י ץ ֨ ֵ פ ָ ח ֩ וּל וֹ ֗ תּ ְ שׁ ִ א וֹ ֣ ל ר ֶ מא ֧ ֹתּ ַ ו
ה ָ֔ ח ְ נ ִ מוּ
And his wife said to him, ‘if the Lord desired to kill us, He would not have
taken from our hand a burnt offering and a meal offering’.
ץ ֨ ֵ פ ָ ח ֩ וּל ‘if He had desired’; ח ֤ ַ ק ָ ל־א ֽ ֹל ‘He would not have taken’.
The perf. is used here in both the protasis and the apodosis of a
hypothetical conditional sentence.
II: Completed actions where English uses the present
“expressing facts which were completed long before or conditions and at-
tributes which were acquired long before, but of which the effects still re-
main in the present” (GK 106 d)

278 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
a) Genesis 14:22 (Abram and Melchizedek)
ה֖ ֵ נֹק ןוֹ ֔ י ְ ל ֶ ע ל֣ ֵ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י־ל ֶ א י ֤ ִ דָ י י ִ ת ֨ ֹ מי ִ ר ֲ ה ם ֑ ֹד ְ ס ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מ־ל ֶ א ם ֖ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ר ֶ מא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א ָ ו םִ י ֥ ַ מ ָ שׁ
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I raise my hand to the Lord, Most
High G-d, possessor of Heaven and Earth’.
י ִ ת ֨ ֹ מי ִ ר ֲ ה Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. םוּר; lit. ‘I have raised’ > ‘I raise’; i.e. an action
completed in the immediate past.
b) Genesis 27:2
םוֹ ֥ י י ִ תּ ְ ע ֖ ַ דָ י א ֥ ֹל י ִ תּ ְ נ ֑ ַ ק ָ ז א֖ ָ נ־ה ֵ נּ ִ ה ר ֶ מא ֕ ֹיּ ַ ו ׃י ֽ ִ תוֹמ
Behold now I am old, I do not know the day of my death.
י ִ תּ ְ נ ֑ ַ ק ָ ז Qal perf. 1 c.sg. ‘I am old’; י ִ תּ ְ ע ֖ ַ דָ י Qal perf. 1 c.sg. ‘I do (not)
know’.
י ִ תּ ְ נ ֑ ַ ק ָ ז is a stative verb, i.e. it describes a mental or physical condition. The
primary meaning of stative verbs is that of the present, although the perf. of
stative verbs can also be used for the past (JM 112 a,b). English, by its pre-
sent tense, expresses the condition, while Hebrew expresses rather the act
which has resulted in it. Sometimes an active verb is treated like a stative
verb, i.e. when its meaning comes close to a stative meaning (JM 111h); the
verb עדי ‘know’ is very often treated like a stative verb (JM 112a).
c) Genesis 27:4 (Isaac)
֜ ִ מּ ַ ע ְ ט ַ מ י ֨ ִ ל־ה ֵ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ו י ִ תּ ְ ב ֛ ַ ה ָ א ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ םי
Make me tasty food as I love.
י ִ תּ ְ ב ֛ ַ ה ָ א Qal perf. 1 c.sg. ‘I love’; stative verb.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 279
d) Genesis 32:11 (Jacob praying before his meeting with Esau)
ך֑ ֶ דּ ְ ב ַ ע־ת ֶ א ָ תי ֖ ִ שׂ ָ ע ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ת ֔ ֶ מ ֱ א ֣ ָ ה־ל ָ כּ ִ מוּ ֙ םי ִ ד ָ ס ֲ ח ַ ה ל ֤ ֹכּ ִ מ י ִ תּ ְ נ ֜ ֹט ָ ק
I am too insignificant for all the kindnesses and all the truth which you have
performed with your servant.
י ִ תּ ְ נ ֜ ֹט ָ ק Qal perf. 1 c.sg. ‘I am small’; stative.
e) Numbers 11:5
֙ וּנ ְ ר ֙ ַ כ ָ ז ה ֔ ָ ג ָ דּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ל֥ ַ כאֹנ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א םִ י ֖ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ְ בּ ם֑ ָ נּ ִ ח
We remember the fish which we ate in Egypt for nothing.
֙ וּנ ְ ר ֙ ַ כ ָ ז Qal perf. 1 c.pl. ‘we remember’; רכז is treated like a stative verb.
(JM 112a).
f) Deuteronomy 26:3 (presentation of first-fruits at Sanctuary; declaration
to priest)
ַ ה־ל ֶ א ֙ ָ תא ָ בוּ ֙ םוֹיּ ַ ה י ִ תּ ְ ד ֤ ַ גּ ִ ה וי ֗ ָ ל ֵ א ֣ ָ תּ ְ ר ַ מ ָ א ְ ו ם ֑ ֵ ה ָ ה םי ֣ ִ מָ יּ ַ בּ ה֖ ֶ י ְ הִ י ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ן ֵ֔ הֹכּ
ת ֶ ת֥ ָ ל וּני ֖ ֵ תֹב ֲ א ַ ל ה֛ ָ והְ י ע֧ ַ בּ ְ שִׁ נ ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ץ ֶ ר ָ֔ א ָ ה־ל ֶ א ֙ י ִ תא ֙ ָ ב־י ִ כּ ךי ֶ֔ הל ֱ א ה֣ ָ והי ַ ל
׃וּנ ֽ ָ ל
And you will come to the priest who will be in those days and you shall say
to him, ‘I declare this day to the Lord your G-d that I have come to the
Land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us’.
י ִ תּ ְ ד ֤ ַ גּ ִ ה Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. דגנ; ‘I declare’; “The qatal is used for an
instantaneous action which, being performed at the very moment of the
utterance, is assumed to belong to the past. Hence this use of the perfect is
sometimes called ‘performative’ (JM 112f).
280 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
g) Deuteronomy 8:19
י ִ ת ֤ ֹד ִ ע ַ ה ֙ ם ֶ כ ָ ב םוֹ ֔ יּ ַ ה י ֥ ִ כּ ד ֖ ֹב ָ א ׃ןוּ ֽ ד ֵ באֹתּ
I testify against you today that you will surely perish.
י ִ ת ֤ ֹד ִ ע ַ ה Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. דוע; ‘I take as witness’; ‘performative’ perfect
(see f above).
h) Jeremiah 8:7
סוּס ְ ו ר ֤ ֹ ת ְ ו ָ הי ֔ ֶ ד ֲ עוֹ ֽ מ ֙ ה ָ ע ְ ד ֽ ָ י םִ י ֗ ַ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ב ה֣ ָ די ִ ס ֲ ח־ם ַ גּ ] ֙ סי ִ ס ְ ו [ ְ ו וּ ֖ ר ְ מ ָ שׁ רוּ ֗ ג ָ ע
׃הֽ ָ והְ י ט ֥ ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ת ֖ ֵ א וּ ֔ ע ְ ד ֽ ָ י א ֣ ֹל י ֕ ִ מּ ַ ע ְ ו ה ָ נ ֑ ָ אֹבּ ת֣ ֵ ע־ת ֶ א
Even the stork in heaven knows her appointed times and the turtle and the
swift and the crane observe the time of their coming; but My people do not
know the judgment of the Lord.
֙ ה ָ ע ְ ד ֽ ָ י Qal perf. 3 f.sg. ‘(she) knows’; וּ ֖ ר ְ מ ָ שׁ Qal perf. 3 c.pl. ‘(they)
observe’;
These verbs express actions of frequent occurrence which are proved by
experience. Therefore, this use of Qal perf. may be termed ‘perfect of
experience’.
III: Use of Perfect to express future actions
“When the speaker intends by an express assurance to represent them as
finished, or as equivalent to accomplished facts” (GK 106 m).
a) Genesis 23:11 (Ephron the Hittite to Abraham; Abraham bought the
Cave of Machpelah from Ephron)
ָ הי ֑ ִ תּ ַ ת ְ נ ֣ ך ְ ל וֹ ֖ בּ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה ֥ ָ ר ָ ע ְ מּ ַ ה ְ ו ך ֔ ָ ל י ִ תּ ֣ ַ ת ָ נ ֙ ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה י ִ נ ֔ ֵ ע ָ מ ְ שׁ י֣ ִ נֹד ֲ א־א ֽ ֹל
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 281
No, my lord, hear me; the field I (will) give to you, and the cave which is in
it, to you I (will) give it.
י ִ תּ ֣ ַ ת ָ נ Qal perf. 1 c.sg. ןתנ; “I (will) give”. The perfect is here used for
an action that belongs to the near future, in the context of making a
contract.
b) Genesis 15:18
֗ ך ֲ ע ְ ר ַ ז ְ ל ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל תי ֣ ִ ר ְ בּ ם ֖ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ת ֶ א ה֛ ָ והְ י ת ֧ ַ ר ָ כּ אוּ ֗ ה ַ ה םוֹ ֣ יּ ַ בּ ֙ י ִ תּ ֙ ַ ת ָ נ
׃ת ֽ ָ ר ְ פּ־ר ַ ה ְ נ ל ֖ ֹד ָ גּ ַ ה ר ֥ ָ ה ָ נּ ַ ה־ד ַ ע םִ י ֔ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ר ֣ ַ ה ְ נּ ִ מ תא ֔ ֹזּ ַ ה ץ ֶ ר ֣ ָ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א
On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham saying, ‘to your seed
I will give this land, from the river of Egypt to the Great River, the
Euphrates’.
֙ ַ ת ָ נ ֙ י ִ תּ Qal perf. 1 c.sg. ןתנ; “I will give”. Contrast this use of ֙ י ִ תּ ֙ ַ ת ָ נ
with its use in Gen 23:11 (see a, above), where the act of giving took place
almost immediately. Here, the act of giving is after a lapse of some time.
c) Numbers 17:27 (after Koraḥ’s rebellion)
׃וּנ ְ ד ֽ ַ ב ָ א וּנ ֥ ָ לּ ֻ כּ וּנ ְ ד ֖ ַ ב ָ א וּנ ְ ע֛ ַ ו ָ גּ ן ֥ ֵ ה ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל ה ֖ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ ֙ וּר ְ מאֹ ֽ יּ ַ ו
Behold, we (will) die, we (will) perish, we (will) all perish.
וּנ ְ ד ֖ ַ ב ָ א וּנ ְ ע֛ ַ ו ָ גּ Qal perf. 1 c.pl. עוג, דבא; “we (will) die/perish”; this use of
perf. is “to express facts which are undoubtedly imminent and therefore in
the imagination of the speaker already accomplished” (GK 106 n). This use
of perf. may be termed “perfect of certainty”.
d) Isaiah 5:13
׃א ֽ ָ מ ָ צ ה ֥ ֵ ח ִ צ וֹ ֖ נוֹמ ֲ ה ַ ו ב ֔ ָ ע ָ ר י ֣ ֵ ת ְ מ ֙ וֹדוֹב ְ כוּ ת ַ ע ֑ ָ ד־י ִ ל ְ בּ ִ מ י ֖ ִ מּ ַ ע ה֥ ָ ל ָ גּ ן ֛ ֵ כ ָ ל
282 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Therefore My people have gone into captivity (will go into captivity)
because they have no knowledge and their honoured (men) are men of
hunger and their multitude is parched with thirst.
ה֥ ָ ל ָ גּ Qal perf. 3 m.sg. lit. ‘has gone into captivity’ > ‘will go into cap-
tivity’; this use of the perf. may be termed ‘prophetic perfect’ (JM 112 h;
GK 106 n), since it occurs most frequently in the writings of the prophets,
where “the prophet so transports himself in imagination into the future that
he describes the future event as if it had been already seen or heard by
him”. (GK 106 n). “This prophetic perfect is not a special grammatical per-
fect, but a rhetorical device” (JM 112 h).
e) Isaiah 25:8
ת֣ ַ פּ ְ ר ֶ ח ְ ו םי֑ ִ נ ָ פּ־ל ָ כּ ל֣ ַ ע ֵ מ ה֖ ָ ע ְ מ ִ דּ ה֛ ִ והְ י י֧ ָ נֹד ֲ א ה ָ֨ ח ָ מוּ ח ַ צ ֔ ֶ נ ָ ל ֙ ת ֶ ו ֙ ָ מּ ַ ה ע֤ ַ לּ ִ בּ
ץ ֶ ר ָ֔ א ָ ה־ל ָ כּ ל֣ ַ ע ֵ מ ֙ רי ִ סָ י וֹ ֗ מּ ַ ע ׃ר ֽ ֵ בּ ִ דּ ה֖ ָ והְ י י ֥ ִ כּ
He will swallow up death for ever and the Lord G-d will wipe away tears
from upon all faces and the reproach of His people He will remove from
upon all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
ע֤ ַ לּ ִ בּ Piel perf. 3 m.s.g lit. ‘He has swallowed’, but the sense is clearly in
the future, a ‘prophetic perfect’. (see above, d)
f) Hosea 5:5
ל ֥ ַ שׁ ָ כּ ם ֔ ָ נֹו ֲ ע ַ בּ ֙ וּל ְ שׁ ֽ ָ כִּ י םִ י ֗ ַ ר ְ פ ֶ א ְ ו ל֣ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ְ ו וי֑ ָ נ ָ פ ְ בּ ל ֖ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־ןוֹ ֽ א ְ ג ה֥ ָ נ ָ ע ְ ו
׃ם ֽ ָ מּ ִ ע ה ֖ ָ דוּהְ י־ם ַ גּ
And the pride of Israel will testify in his face, and Israel and Ephraim will
stumble in their iniquity, Judah will also stumble with them.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 283
ל ֥ ַ שׁ ָ כּ Qal perf. 3 m.sg. lit. ‘he has stumbled’. However, ל ֥ ַ שׁ ָ כּ follows
the Niphal imperf. ֙ וּל ְ שׁ ֽ ָ כִּ י and the perf. + vav consec. ה֥ ָ נ ָ ע ְ ו and so the
narrative sequence plus context demonstrate that ל ֥ ַ שׁ ָ כּ is here a ‘prophetic
perfect’; ‘Judah will stumble’.
IV: Use of Perfect in sense of Future Perfect.
“to express actions or facts, which are meant to be indicated as existing in
the future in a completed state” (GK 106 o), that is, to indicate that an ac-
tion, though future, is finished in relation to another future action.
a) Genesis 24:19 (Rebekah’s words to Abraham’s servant)
ְ שׁ ַ ה ְ ל ל֖ ַ כ ְ תּ ַ ו ׃ת ֽ ֹ תּ ְ שׁ ִ ל וּ ֖ לּ ִ כּ־ם ִ א ד ֥ ַ ע ב ָ֔ א ְ שׁ ֶ א ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ לּ ַ מ ְ ג ִ ל ם֤ ַ גּ ר ֶ מא ֗ ֹתּ ַ ו וֹ ֑ תֹק
And she finished giving him to drink and she said, ‘for your animals also I
will draw (water) until they shall have finished drinking’.
ד ֥ ַ ע וּ ֖ לּ ִ כּ־ם ִ א Piel perf. 3 c.pl. הלכ; ‘until they shall have finished’
b) Isaiah 6:11
ב ֗ ֵ שׁוֹי ןי ֣ ֵ א ֵ מ םי ֜ ִ ר ָ ע וּ ֨ א ָ שׁ־ם ִ א ֩ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ד֣ ַ ע ר ֶ מא ֡ ֹיּ ַ ו י֑ ָ נֹד ֲ א י ֖ ַ ת ָ מ־ד ַ ע ר ֕ ַ מֹ א ָ ו
׃ה ֽ ָ מ ָ מ ְ שׁ ה ֥ ֶ א ָ שּׁ ִ תּ ה ֖ ָ מ ָ ד ֲ א ָ ה ְ ו ם ֔ ָ ד ָ א ןי ֣ ֵ א ֵ מ ֙ םי ִ תּ ָ בוּ
And I said, ‘how long Lord?’ And He said, ‘until cities will have crashed
into ruins without inhabitants, and houses without man, and the ground will
be ruined into a desolation’.
ד֣ ַ ע ֩ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א וּ ֨ א ָ שׁ־ם ִ א Qal perf. 3 c.pl. האשׁ; ‘until they will have
crashed into ruins’.
284 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
USE OF IMPERFECT/YIQTOL
Exercise: in the following biblical verses discuss/analyse use of Im-
perfect/Yiqtol
I: Sphere of past time
a) To express actions, events or states which CONTINUED
throughout a longer or shorter period (GK 107) (labelled ‘durative
action’, see JM 113f)
(i) Genesis 2:6 (description of earth before man)
׃ה ֽ ָ מ ָ ד ֲ א ֽ ָ ה־יֽ ֵ נ ְ פּ־ל ָ כּ־ת ֽ ֶ א ה ֖ ָ ק ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה־ן ִ מ ה֣ ֶ ל ֲ עֽ ַ י ד ֖ ֵ א ְ ו
A mist was constantly rising and watering the face of the whole earth.
ה֣ ֶ ל ֲ עֽ ַ י Qal imperf. הלע; ‘was (constantly) rising’
ה ֖ ָ ק ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו Hiphil perf. + vav consec. הקשׁ; ‘was watering’.
(ii) Genesis 37:7
׃י ֽ ִ ת ָ מּ ֻ ל ֲ א ַ ל ָןי֖ ֶ ו ֲ ח ַ תּ ְ שׁ ֽ ִ תּ ַ ו ם ֔ ֶ כי ֵ ת ֣ ֹ מּ ֻ ל ֲ א ֙ ה ָ ני ֙ ֶ בּ ֻ ס ְ ת ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו
And behold your sheaves were surrounding and bowed down to my sheaf.
֙ ה ָ ני ֙ ֶ בּ ֻ ס ְ ת Qal imperf. 3 f.pl. בבס; ‘were surrounding’
(iii) Exodus 1:12 (Israel in Egypt)
ץ ֑ ֹר ְ פִ י ן֣ ֵ כ ְ ו ה֖ ֶ בּ ְ רִ י ן ֥ ֵ כּ וֹ ֔ תֹ א וּ ֣ נּ ַ עְ י ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כ ְ ו
The more they afflicted him, the more he multiplied and spread abroad.
וּ ֣ נּ ַ עְ י Piel imperf. הנע; ‘they (continuously) afflicted’
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 285
ה֖ ֶ בּ ְ רִ י Qal imperf. הבר; ‘he (continuously) multiplied’
ץ ֑ ֹר ְ פִ י Qal imperf. ץרפ; ‘he (continually) spread abroad’
b) To express actions, events or states which were repeated in the
past, either at fixed intervals or occasionally (GK 107) (labelled
‘repeated action’, see JM 113e)
(i) Genesis 29:2 (Jacob reaches a well)
־ה ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ה ֗ ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ בּ ר ֣ ֵ א ְ ב ה֧ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו א ְ ר ֞ ַ יּ ַ ו ָ הי ֔ ֶ ל ָ ע םי ֣ ִ צ ְ בֹר ֙ ןאֹצ־י ֵ ר ְ ד ֶ ע ה ֤ ָ שׁל ְ שׁ ם ֞ ָ שׁ
םי ֑ ִ ר ָ ד ֲ ע ָ ה וּ ֖ ק ְ שַׁ י או ִ֔ ה ַ ה ר ֣ ֵ א ְ בּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ י ִ֚ כּ
And he looked and behold a well in the field and behold there were three
flocks of sheep lying by it, for from that well they would water the flock.
וּ ֖ ק ְ שַׁ י Hiphil imperf. הקשׁ; ‘they would water’
(ii) Exodus 33:7
ה ֔ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ֙ ק ֵ ח ְ ר ַ ה ה ֗ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּֽ ַ ל ץוּ ֣ ח ִ מ וֹ ֣ ל־ה ָ טֽ ָ נ ְ ו ל ֶ ה ֜ ֹ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א ח ֨ ַ קִּ י ֩ ה ֶ שֹׁמוּ
And Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, at a distance
from the camp.
ח ֨ ַ קִּ י Qal imperf. חקל; ‘he used to take’
ה ָ טֽ ָ נ ְ ו Qal imperf. + vav consec. ‘he used to pitch’
(iii) Numbers 9:18 (the fiery cloud upon the tabernacle)
ן ֧ ֹכּ ְ שִׁ י ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ֗ ֵ מְ י־ל ָ כּ וּ ֑ נ ֲ חַ י ה֖ ָ והְ י י ֥ ִ פּ־ל ַ ע ְ ו ל ֵ֔ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י֣ ֵ נ ְ בּ ֙ וּע ְ סִ י ה ָ֗ והְ י י ֣ ִ פּ־ל ַ ע
ַ ה־ל ַ ע ן ֛ ָ נ ָ ע ֶ ה ׃וּ ֽ נ ֲ חַ י ן ֖ ָ כּ ְ שׁ ִ מּ
286 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
According to the command of the Lord the children of Israel would jour-
ney and according to the command of the Lord they would encamp, all the
days that the Cloud would abide upon the Tabernacle, they would encamp.
֙ וּע ְ סִ י Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. עסנ; ‘they would journey’; וּ ֑ נ ֲ חַ י Qal imperf. 3
m.pl הנח; ‘they would encamp’; ן ֧ ֹכּ ְ שִׁ י Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. ןכשׁ; ‘(it) would
abide’.
c) Yiqtol with the value of Qatal
“There are some yiqtols with no iterative or durative aspect, and thus hav-
ing the value of qatal, which would be the expected form” (JM 113h). “Al-
most all instances belong to the elevated or poetic style” (ibid).
(i) Deuteronomy 32:10 (G-d’s care of Israel)
֙ וּה ֙ ֵ א ָ צ ְ מִ י ֣ ֶ א ְ בּ ץ ֶ ר ר ָ֔ בּ ְ ד ִ מ וּה ֖ ֹ ת ְ בוּ ל֣ ֵ לְ י ן ֑ ֹ מ ִ שְׁ י
He found him in a desert land and in a waste of howling of a desert (= in
the howling waste of a desert).
֙ וּה ֙ ֵ א ָ צ ְ מִ י Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.sg. אצמ; ‘he found him’.
(ii) Job 3:3
םוֹ ֖ י ד ַ בא֣ ֹי וֹ ֑ בּ ד ֶ ל֣ ָ וּ ִ א
May the day perish on which I was born.
ד ֶ ל֣ ָ וּ ִ א Niphal imperf. 1 c.sg. דלי; ‘I was born’.
(iii) Psalm 8:6
וּה ֣ ֵ ר ְ סּ ַ ח ְ תּ ַ ו ט ַ ע ְ֭ מּ םי ֑ ִ הל ֱ א ֵ מ דוֹ ֖ ב ָ כ ְ ו ר֣ ָ ד ָ ה ְ ו ׃וּה ֽ ֵ ר ְ טּ ַ ע ְ תּ
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 287
You have made him lack little of G-d and with glory and honour you have
crowned him.
וּה ֽ ֵ ר ְ טּ ַ ע ְ תּ Piel imperf. 2 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.sg. רטע; ‘you have crowned
him’.
Note the narrative sequence; the Yiqtol form follows a Vayiqtol form,
וּה ֣ ֵ ר ְ סּ ַ ח ְ תּ ַ ו.
(iv) Exodus 15:5,12,14
וּמ֑ ֻ י ְ ס ַ כְ י ֖ ֵ ע ָ ל ְ ב ִ תּ וֹמ ןוּ ֑ ז ָ גּ ְ רִ י
“(They) have covered them”; “(it) has swallowed them”; “(they) trembled”.
These verbs from the Song of the Sea (see detailed analysis in Part Five of
this book) are included by Jouon/Muraoka in the category of Yiqtol verbs
having the value of Qatal verbs, with no iterative or durative aspect (113h).
However, see GK 107b for a different analysis, according to which these
verbs (Ex. 15:6,12,14,15) are used in the sphere of past time “to express
actions etc which continued throughout a longer or shorter period”, i.e. GK
views these verbs as expressing durative or continuous action in the past.
d) Imperfects after certain particles (ז ָ א = “then”; ם ֶ ר ֶ ט = “before,
not yet”; ם ֶ ר ֶ ט ְ בּ = “before”; ד ַ ע = “until”). (JM 113i-k, view these
imperfects as part of the preceding category, c).
(i) Joshua 8:30
׃ל ֽ ָ בי ֵ ע ר ֖ ַ ה ְ בּ ל ֑ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י ֣ ֵ הל ֱ א ה֖ ָ והי ֽ ַ ל ַ ח ֵ֔ בּ ְ ז ִ מ ַ ע ֙ ֻ שׁוֹהְ י ה֤ ֶ נ ְ בִ י ז ֣ ָ א
Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord G-d of Israel on Mount Ebal.
ז ֣ ָ א ה֤ ֶ נ ְ בִ י “Then he built” (ה ֶ נ ְ בִ י Qal imperf. הנב). ז ָ א + imperf. used of
past action is even a little more common that ז ָ א + perf. (JM 113i); see I
288 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Kings 9:24 for same verb (הנב) in perf. after ז ָ א > ׃אוֹ ֽ לּ ִ מּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ה֥ ָ נ ָ בּ ז ֖ ָ א
“Then he built the Millo”. Compare e.g. Joshua 10:33: ה ָ ל ָ ע ז ָ א with II
Kings 12:18: ה ֶ ל ֲ עַ י ז ָ א both meaning “then he went up”. Jouon/Muraoka
(113i) conclude that this phenomenon (occurrence of same verb in both
perf. and imperf. after ז ָ א used of past action) suggests that this use of im-
perf. “is not conditioned by ז ָ א”. See, however, GK 107c: “The perfect is
used after ז ָ א when stress is to be laid on the fact that the action has really
taken place, and not upon its gradual accomplishment or duration in the
past, e.g. Gen 4:26: הֽ ָ והְ י ם ֥ ֵ שׁ ְ בּ א ֖ ֹר ְ ק ִ ל ל ַ֔ חוּה ז ֣ ָ א “then it was begun to call
on the name of the Lord”; Exod 15:15: םוֹ ֔ ד ֱ א י ֣ ֵ פוּלּ ַ א ֙ וּל ֲ ה ְ ב ִ נ ז ֤ ָ א “then the
chiefs of Edom were dismayed”.
See note on ז ָ א below, at end of section.
(ii) Genesis 19:4 (two angels came to Sodom to Lot’s house)
ן ֑ ֵ ק ָ ז־ד ַ ע ְ ו ר ַ ע֖ ַ נּ ִ מ תִ י ַ֔ בּ ַ ה־ל ַ ע וּבּ ֣ ַ סָ נ ֙ םֹד ְ ס י ֤ ֵ שׁ ְ נ ַ א רי ֜ ִ ע ָ ה י ֨ ֵ שְׁ נ ַ א ְ ו ֒ וּב ָ כּ ְ שִׁ י ֮ ם ֶ ר ֶ ט
Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded
the house, from young to old.
֒ וּב ָ כּ ְ שִׁ י ֮ ם ֶ ר ֶ ט ‘before they lay down’; ם ֶ ר ֶ ט + imperf. = ‘before’ is always
used for a past action.
(iii) Genesis 27:33 (Isaac to Esau)
אוֹ ֖ ב ָ תּ ם ֶ ר ֥ ֶ ט ְ בּ ל ֛ ֹכּ ִ מ ל֥ ַ כֹ א ָ ו וּה֑ ֵ כ ֲ ר ָ ב ֲ א ָ ו
And I ate from all before you came and I blessed him.
אוֹ ֖ ב ָ תּ ם ֶ ר ֥ ֶ ט ְ בּ ‘before you came’; ם ֶ ר ֶ ט ְ בּ + imperf. = ‘before’ is used of
past action.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 289
(iv) Genesis 24:45
֩ י ִ נ ֲ א ם ֶ ר ֶ֨ ט ה ֜ ֶ לּ ַ כ ֲ א ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל י ִ֗ בּ ִ ל־ל ֶ א ה ֨ ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ה ֤ ָ ק ְ ב ִ ר ֙ תא ֵ צֹי
I had not yet finished speaking to my heart and behold Rebekah was
coming out.
ה ֜ ֶ לּ ַ כ ֲ א ם ֶ ר ֶ֨ ט ‘I had not yet finished’; Piel imperf. 1 c.sg. הלכ; ם ֶ ר ֶ ט =
‘not yet’, almost always + imperf. (see Gen 24:15; I Sam 3:7 for ם ֶ ר ֶ ט +
perf.).
(v) Joshua 10:13 (the sun stood still to give the Israelites time to conquer
the Amorites)
וי ָ֔ בְ י ֽ ֹ א ֙ יוֹגּ ם ֥ ֹקִּ י־ד ַ ע ד ֗ ָ מ ָ ע ַ ח ֣ ֵ רָ י ְ ו שׁ ֶ מ ֜ ֶ שּׁ ַ ה ם ֨ ֹדִּ יּ ַ ו
And the sun was still and the moon stood until the nation had avenged
itself of its enemies.
֙ יוֹגּ ם ֥ ֹקִּ י־ד ַ ע ‘until (the) nation had avenged itself’; Qal imperf. םקנ; ד ַ ע
+ imperf. occasionally used for past action; here, “poetic, and perhaps nu-
ance of purpose” (JM 113k).
Note on use of ז ָ א = “then, at that time”
(whether temporally or logically, but not in the sense of ‘subsequently,
next’)
1) For ז ָ א without a verb for past time, see Gen 12:6.
2) For ז ָ א + perf. of past time, see: Gen 4:26; Exod 4:26.
3) For ז ָ א + imperf. of past time, see: Exod 15:1; Num 21:17; Deut 4:41;
Joshua 10:12; I Kings 3:16; I Kings 8:1.
290 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
4) For ז ָ א + imperf. of future time (usually where some emphasis is in-
tended), see: Isaiah 35:5; Micah 3:4.
5) For ז ָ א + imperf. of future time, with an accompanying logical force,
implying the fulfilment of a condition, see: Gen 24:41; Exod 12:48;
Joshua 1:8.
e.g. Genesis 24:41: ז ֤ ָ א ֙ ה ֶ ק ָ נּ ִ תּ י ֔ ִ ת ָ ל ֣ ָ א ֵ מ י ֥ ִ כּ אוֹ ֖ ב ָ ת י ֑ ִ תּ ְ ח ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ־ל ֶ א
“then (i.e. on condition that this has been done) you will be clear of my
oath, when you will come to my family”.
6) For ז ָ א expressing only logical sequence, see: Isaiah 58:13,14; II Kings
5:3.
II Kings 5:3 (Hebrew slave girl to Naaman’s wife)
ף ֥ ֹס ֱ אֶ י ז ֛ ָ א ןוֹ ֑ ר ְ מֹשׁ ְ בּ ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א אי ֖ ִ ב ָ נּ ַ ה י֥ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל י ֔ ִ נֹד ֲ א י֣ ֵ ל ֲ ח ַ א הּ ֔ ָ תּ ְ ר ִ ב ְ גּ־ל ֶ א ֙ ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹתּ ַ ו
ִ מ וֹ ֖ תֹ א ׃וֹ ֽ תּ ְ ע ַ ר ָ צּ
And she said to her mistress, ‘would that my lord was before the prophet
who is in Samaria; then he would gather him from his leprosy’.
וֹ ֖ תֹ א ף ֥ ֹס ֱ אֶ י ז ֛ ָ א “then he would gather/heal him”.
Note also י֣ ֵ ל ֲ ח ַ א from י ַ ל ֲ ח ַ א “my wish”; see BDB p 25.
Isaiah 58: 13,14
ת ָ֜ בּ ַ שּׁ ַ ל ָ תא ֨ ָ ר ָ ק ְ ו י ֑ ִ שׁ ְ ד ָ ק םוֹ ֣ י ְ בּ ךי ֖ ֶ צ ָ פ ֲ ח תוֹ ֥ שׂ ֲ ע ך ֔ ֶ ל ְ ג ַ ר ֙ ת ָ בּ ַ שּׁ ִ מ בי ֤ ִ שׁ ָ תּ־ם ִ א
ְ צ ְ פ ֶ ח אוֹ ֥ צ ְ מּ ִ מ ךי ֔ ֶ כ ָ ר ְ דּ תוֹ ֣ שׂ ֲ ע ֵ מ ֙ וֹתּ ְ ד ַ בּ ִ כ ְ ו ד ָ֔ בּ ֻ כ ְ מ ֙ ה ָ והְ י שׁוֹ ֤ ד ְ ק ִ ל ג ֶ נ ֗ ֹע ֖ ך
׃ר ֽ ָ ב ָ דּ ר ֥ ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ו ה ָ֔ והְ י־ל ַ ע ֙ ג ַ נּ ַ ע ְ ת ִ תּ ז ָ֗ א
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 291
If you will bring back your foot because of the Sabbath, from doing your
business on My holy day, and you will call the Sabbath a delight, holy of the
Lord, honoured, and (if) you honour it from doing your ways, from seeking
your desire and speaking a word; then you will delight in the Lord.
֙ ג ַ נּ ַ ע ְ ת ִ תּ ז ָ֗ א ‘then, (under those conditions), you will delight’
II: Sphere of present time
a) Durative action, to express actions events or states which are
continued for a shorter or longer time.
(i) Genesis 24:31 (Laban to Abraham’s servant)
ָ מּ֤ ָ ל ץוּ ֔ ח ַ בּ ֙ דֹ מ ֲ ע ַ ת ה
Why are you standing outside?
(ii) I Samuel 1:8
֣ ֹל ֙ ה ֶ מ֙ ָ ל ְ ו י ֗ ִ כּ ְ ב ִ ת ה ֶ מ֣ ָ ל ֙ ה ָ נּ ַ ח הּ ֗ ָ שׁי ִ א ה֣ ָ נ ָ ק ְ ל ֶ א הּ ֜ ָ ל ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו ה ֶ מ֖ ָ ל ְ ו י ֔ ִ ל ְ כא ֽ ֹת א
ך֑ ֵ ב ָ ב ְ ל ע ֣ ַ רֵ י
And Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Hannah, why are you weeping and
why do you not eat and why is your heart sad?’
b) Repeated action, to express actions, events or states which may
be repeated at any time or are customarily repeated.
(i) Deuteronomy 1:44
ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ם ֔ ֶ כ ְ ת ֶ א וּ ֣ פ ְ דּ ְ רִ יּ ַ ו ם ֔ ֶ כ ְ תא ַ ר ְ ק ִ ל ֙ אוּה ַ ה ר ֤ ָ ה ָ בּ ב ֨ ֵ שֹׁיּ ַ ה י ֜ ִ רֹ מ ֱ א ָ ה א ֨ ֵ צֵ יּ ַ ו
םי ֑ ִ רֹב ְ דּ ַ ה ה ָ ני ֖ ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ
292 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And the Amorites who dwell in that mountain came out to meet you and
pursued you as bees are accustomed to do.
ה ָ ני ֖ ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ Qal imperf. 3 f.pl. השׂע; ‘are accustomed to do’.
(ii) Genesis 32:33
ד֖ ַ ע ך ֔ ֵ רָ יּ ַ ה ף֣ ַ כּ־ל ַ ע ֙ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה ֗ ֶ שׁ ָ נּ ַ ה די ֣ ִ גּ־ת ֶ א ל ֵ֜ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י־יֽ ֵ נ ְ ב וּ ֨ ל ְ כאֹי־א ֽ ֹל ן ֡ ֵ כּ־ל ַ ע
ה֑ ֶ זּ ַ ה םוֹ ֣ יּ ַ ה
Therefore the children of Israel do not eat the sinew of the vein which is
upon the hollow of the thigh, until this day.
וּ ֨ ל ְ כאֹי־א ֽ ֹל Qal imperf. לכא; ‘they do not (customarily) eat’.
c) Truths of experience or general truths
(i) Exodus 23:8
ְ ק ִ פּ ר֣ ֵ וּ ַ עְ י ֙ ד ַ ח ֨ ֹשּׁ ַ ה י ֤ ִ כּ ׃םי ֽ ִ קי ִ דּ ַ צ י ֥ ֵ ר ְ ב ִ דּ ף֖ ֵ לּ ַ סי ֽ ִ ו םי ִ֔ ח
For the bribe blinds the clear-sighted and perverts the words of the
righteous.
ר֣ ֵ וּ ַ עְ י Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. רוע; ‘blinds’.
ף֖ ֵ לּ ַ סי ֽ ִ ו Piel imperf. 3 m.sg. + vav conj. ףלס; ‘perverts’.
(ii) Proverbs 15:20
֣ ֵ בּ ׃וֹ ֽ מּ ִ א ה֥ ֶ זוֹבּ ם ֗ ָ ד ָ֝ א לי ֥ ִ ס ְ כוּ ב ֑ ָ א־ח ַ מּ ַ שְׂ י ם ָ כ ָ֭ ח ן
A wise son makes a father glad but a foolish man despises his mother.
ח ַ מּ ַ שְׂ י Piel imperf. חמשׂ; ‘(he) makes glad’.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 293
III: Sphere of future time
a) From the standpoint of the speaker’s present time
(i) Exodus 6:1
ד֤ ָ י ְ ב י ֣ ִ כּ ה ֑ ֹע ְ ר ַ פ ְ ל ה ֖ ֶ שׂ ֱ ע ֶ ֽ א ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה ֶ֔ א ְ ר ִ ת ה ֣ ָ תּ ַ ע ה ֔ ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃וֹ ֽ צ ְ ר ַ א ֵ מ ם ֖ ֵ שׁ ְ ר ָ ג ְ י ה ָ֔ ק ָ ז ֲ ח ד֣ ָ י ְ בוּ ם ֵ֔ ח ְ לּ ַ שְׁ י ֙ ה ָ ק ָ ז ֲ ח
And the Lord said to Moses, ‘now you will see that which I shall do to
Pharoah, for with a strong hand he will let them go and with a strong hand
he will drive them out of his land’.
ה ֶ֔ א ְ ר ִ ת Qal imperf. האר; ה ֖ ֶ שׂ ֱ ע ֶ ֽ א Qal imperf. השׂע; ם ֵ֔ ח ְ לּ ַ שְׁ י Piel
imperf. + sf. 3 m.pl חלשׁ; ם ֖ ֵ שׁ ְ ר ָ ג ְ י Piel imperf. + sf. 3 m.pl. שׁרג.
(ii) I Kings 12:27 (Jeroboam I planning the calf worship)
ב֣ ֵ ל ב ָ שְׁ֠ ו ִ ם ֔ ַ ל ָ שׁוּ ֣ רי ִ בּ ֙ ה ָ והְ י־תי ֵ ב ְ בּ םי ֤ ִ ח ָ ב ְ ז תוֹ ֨ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ל ה ֗ ֶ זּ ַ ה ם֣ ָ ע ָ ה ה֣ ֶ ל ֲ עַ י־ם ֽ ִ א
ה ֑ ָ דוּהְ י ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מ ם֖ ָ ע ְ ב ַ ח ְ ר־ל ֶ א ם ֶ֔ הי ֵ נ ֣ ֹד ֲ א־ל ֶ א ֙ ה ֶ זּ ַ ה ם֤ ָ ע ָ ה
If this people will go up to perform sacrifices in the House of the Lord in
Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, to
Rehoboam.
ה֣ ֶ ל ֲ עַ י Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. הלע; ‘(it) will go up’.
b) To represent actions which may be regarded as future from some
standpoint in the past (corresponding to English: will, shall,
may, can, am to, would, should, might, could, was to).
(i) Genesis 43:7 (sons of Jacob speaking to Jacob)
׃םֽ ֶ כי ִ ח ֲ א־ת ֶ א וּדי ֖ ִ רוֹה ר ֔ ַ מאֹי י ֣ ִ כּ ע ֔ ַ דֵ נ ַ עוֹ ֣ דָ י ֲ ה
294 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Were we to know that he would say ‘bring down your brother?’
֣ ִ כּ ר ֔ ַ מאֹי י ‘that he would say’
(ii) II Kings 3:27 (when the King of Moab saw that the war with Israel
was going against him, he offered up his son for a burnt-offering)
וי ֗ ָ תּ ְ ח ַ תּ ך ֣ ל ְ מִ י־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א רוֹ ֜ כ ְ בּ ַ ה וֹ ֨ נ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ֩ ח ַ קִּ יּ ַ ו
And he took his eldest son who was to reign after him.
ך ֣ ל ְ מִ י־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ‘who was to reign’
(iii) II Kings 13:14
וֹ ֑ בּ תוּ ֖ מָ י ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א וֹ ֔ י ְ ל ָ ח־ת ֶ א ה֣ ָ ל ָ ח ֙ ע ָ שׁי ִ ל ֱ אֽ ֶ ו
And Elisha became sick with the illness of which he was to die.
וֹ ֑ בּ תוּ ֖ מָ י ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ‘of which he was to die’
c) Potential or permissive sense, to express what can or may
happen, or in a negative sense, what cannot or should not
happen.
(i) Genesis 2:16
׃לֽ ֵ כאֹתּ ל ֥ ֹכ ָ א ן ֖ ָ גּ ַ ה־ץ ֽ ֵ ע ל ֥ ֹכּ־־ ִ מ
From every tree of the garden, you may indeed eat.
ל ֥ ֹכ ָ א לֽ ֵ כאֹתּ Qal inf. abs. + Qal imperf. ‘you may indeed eat’.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 295
(ii) Genesis 42:37
וּנּ ֖ ֶ אי ִ ב ֲ א א ֥ ֹל־ם ִ א תי ֔ ִ מ ָ תּ ֙ י ַ נ ָ ב י֤ ֵ נ ְ שׁ־ת ֶ א ר ֔ ֹ מא ֵ ל וי ֣ ִ ב ָ א־ל ֶ א ֙ ן ֵ בוּא ְ ר ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו
ךי֑ ֶ ל ֵ א
And Reuben spoke to his father saying, ‘my two sons you may put to death
if I do not bring him to you’.
תי ֔ ִ מ ָ תּ Hiphil imperf. תומ; ‘you may put to death’.
(iii) Genesis 29:26
׃ה ֽ ָ רי ִ כ ְ בּ ַ ה י֥ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ה ֖ ָ רי ִ ע ְ צּ ַ ה ת ֥ ֵ ת ָ ל וּנ ֑ ֵ מוֹק ְ מ ִ בּ ן ֖ ֵ כ ה ֥ ֶ שׂ ָ עֵ י־אֹל ן ָ֔ ב ָ ל ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
And Laban said, ‘it ought not so to be done in our place, to give the
younger before the elder’.
ן ֖ ֵ כ ה ֥ ֶ שׂ ָ עֵ י־אֹל Niphal imperf. 3 m.sg. השׂע; ‘it ought not so to be done’.
(iv) Genesis 32:13 (Jacob reminds G-d of His promise to multiply
Abraham’s seed)
ָ סִּ י־אֹל ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ם ֔ ָ יּ ַ ה לוֹ ֣ ח ְ כּ ֙ ך ֲ ע ְ ר ַ ז־ת ֽ ֶ א י ֤ ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ ְ ו ׃בֹ ֽ ר ֵ מ ר֖ ֵ פ
And I shall place your seed as the sand of the sea which cannot be
numbered for multitude.
ר֖ ֵ פ ָ סִּ י־אֹל ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א Niphal imperf. רפס; ‘it cannot be numbered’.
(v) I Kings 8:27 (Solomon praying at the dedication of the Temple)
ם ֔ ָ נ ְ מ ֻ א ֽ ַ ה י ִ֚ כּ א ֣ ֹל ֙ םִ י ֙ ַ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה י ֤ ֵ מ ְ שׁוּ םִ י ֜ ַ מ ָ שּׁ ַ ה ה ֵ נּ ֠ ִ ה ץ ֶ ר ֑ ָ א ָ ה־ל ַ ע םי ֖ ִ הל ֱ א ב ֥ ֵ שֵׁ י
׃י ִ תי ֽ ִ נ ָ בּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה֖ ֶ זּ ַ ה תִ י ֥ ַ בּ ַ ה־י ֽ ִ כּ ף ַ֕ א ךוּ ֔ ל ְ כּ ְ ל ַ כְ י
296 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
For will G-d indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and the heaven
of heavens cannot contain You, how much less this house that I have built?
ךוּ ֔ ל ְ כּ ְ ל ַ כְ י א ֣ ֹל Polel imperf. 3 m.pl. + sf. 2 m.sg. לוכ; ‘(they) cannot
contain You’. (The English states the impossibility of the Heavens
containing G-d, whereas the Hebrew merely expresses the fact that they do
not habitually and there is no likelihood that they will contain Him).
VIEWS OF MEDIEVAL SCHOLARS ON USE OF PERFECT AND
IMPERFECT
1 Genesis 21:1
ה֛ ָ והיַ ֽ ו ד ֥ ַ ק ָ פּ ה ֖ ָ ר ָ שׂ־ת ֶ א ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ר ֑ ָ מ ָ א שׂ ַ ע֧ ַ יּ ַ ו ה֛ ָ והְ י ה ֖ ָ ר ָ שׂ ְ ל ַ כּ ׃ר ֽ ֵ בּ ִ דּ ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א
And the Lord had remembered Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did to
Sarah as He had spoken.
Comment of Rashi on ד ַ ק ָ פּ (Rashi recognizes the PLUPERFECT)
ך ַ מ ָ ס ה ָ שׁ ָ ר ָ פּ וֹז ך ְ ד ֶ מּ ַ ל ְ ל ל ָ כּ ֶ שׁ שׁ ֵ קּ ַ ב ְ מ ַ ה םי ִ מ ֲ ח ַ ר ל ַ ע ֲ ח וֹר ֵ ב אוּה ְ ו ךי ִ ר ָ צ
וֹתֹ א ְ ל ר ָ ב ָ ד , אוּה ה ֶ נ ֲ עַ נ ה ָ לּ ִ ח ְ תּ , ר ַ מ ֱ א ֶ נּ ֶ שׁ , ל ֵ לּ ַ פּ ְ תִ יּ ַ ו וגו ,' ך ַ מ ָ ס ְ ו הּי ֵ ל :
הו ' ד ַ ק ָ פּ ת ֶ א - ה ָ ר ָ שׂ , הּ ָ ד ָ ק ְ פּ ֶ שׁ ר ָ ב ְ כּ ך ֶ ל ֶ מי ִ ב ֲ א ת ֵ א א ָ פּ ִ ר ֶ שׁ ם ֶ דוֹק :
Translation of Rashi
(Scripture) juxtaposes (this section to the preceding one) to teach you that
whoever requests mercy for his fellow, when he needs the same thing, (his
prayer) is answered first, as it is said (Gen 20:17), ‘and Abraham prayed (for
Abimelech etc)’ and it juxtaposes ‘and the Lord had remembered Sarah’, for
He had already remembered her, before He healed Abimelech.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 297
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that ד ַ ק ָ פּ is a pluperfect; G-d had remembered Sarah, for G-
d remembered Sarah before He healed Abimelech and family.
2 Exodus 4:21 (Rashi recognises the Future-Perfect)
֙ םי ִ ת ְ פ ֽ ֹ מּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ ה ֵ֗ א ְ ר ה ָ מְ י ֔ ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ בוּ ֣ שׁ ָ ל ֙ ך ְ תּ ְ כ ֶ ל ְ בּ ֒ ה ֶ שֹׁמ־ל ֶ א ֮ ה ָ והְ י ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
ִ ל־ת ֶ א ק֣ ֵ זּ ַ ח ֲ א ֙ י ִ נ ֲ א ַ ו ה ֑ ֹ ע ְ ר ַ פ י֣ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ם ֖ ָ תי ִ שׂ ֲ ע ַ ו ך ֔ ֶ דָ י ְ ב י ִ תּ ְ מ ֣ ַ שׂ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א א ֥ ֹל ְ ו וֹ ֔ בּ
׃ם ֽ ָ ע ָ ה־ת ֶ א ח֖ ַ לּ ַ שְׁ י
And the Lord said to Moses, ‘when you go to return to Egypt, see all the
wonders which I shall have placed in your hand, and do them before
Pharoah, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go’.
Comment of Rashi on י ִ תּ ְ מ ֣ ַ שׂ
אֹל ל ַ ע של ָ שׁ תוֹתוֹא תוֹרוּמ ֲ א ָ ה ה ָ ל ְ ע ַ מ ְ ל , י ֵ ר ֲ ה ֶ שׁ אֹ ל י ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל הֹע ְ ר ַ פּ ה ָ וּ ִ צ
ם ָ תוֹשׂ ֲ ע ַ ל א ָ לּ ֶ א ינפל לארשי וּני ִ מ ֲ אַ יּ ֶ שׁ וֹל , אלו וּני ִ צ ָ מ ם ָ א ָ שׂ ֲ ע ֶ שׁ וי ָ נ ָ פ ְ ל ,
א ָ לּ ֶ א םי ִ ת ְ פוֹמ י ִ נ ֲ א ֶ שׁ די ִ ת ָ ע םוּשׂ ָ ל ך ְ דָ י ְ בּ םִ י ַ ר ְ צ ִ מ ְ בּ , וֹמ ְ כּ ) : תומש ז ט (
֩ י ִ כּ ר ֵ֨ בּ ַ דְ י ם֤ ֶ כ ֵ ל ֲ א ֙ הֹע ְ ר ַ פּ
ל ַ א ְ ו הּ ַ מ ְ ת ִ תּ לע ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א בי ִ ת ְ כּ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ , ן ֵ כּ ֶ שׁ וֹע ָ מ ְ שׁ ַ מ , ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ תּ ֶ שׁ ְ כּ
וֹמּ ִ ע ר ָ ב ְ כּ םי ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ ך ְ דָ י ְ בּ :
Translation of Rashi
Not concerning the three signs mentioned above (earlier in Exod 4), for He
had not commanded to do them before Pharoah, but before Israel, that
they should believe him, and we do not find that he did them before
Pharoah, but, (G-d meant) the wonders which I will have placed in your
hand in Egypt, like: (Exod 7:9): ‘when Pharoah will speak to you etc’, and
298 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
do not wonder that it is written ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א י ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ (Qal perf.), for this is what it
means: when you will speak with him (Pharoah), I shall have already placed
them in your hand.
Explanation of Rashi
The word י ִ תּ ְ מ ַ שׂ (Qal perf. 1 c.sg. םי ִ שׂ) is a future-perfect, ‘I shall have
put’. G-d was not referring to the signs already mentioned in Exod 4
(Moses’ rod became a serpent, his hand became leprous, the water of the
Nile turned to blood), because they were not performed before Pharoah,
but before Israel. Rather, G-d referred to signs which Moses had not yet
received; see Exod 7:9.
3 Isaiah 25:8 (Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Radak recognise the Prophetic Perfect)
ע֤ ַ לּ ִ בּ ֙ ת ֶ ו ֙ ָ מּ ַ ה ח ַ צ ֔ ֶ נ ָ ל ה ָ֨ ח ָ מוּ י֧ ָ נֹד ֲ א ה֛ ִ והְ י ה֖ ָ ע ְ מ ִ דּ ל֣ ַ ע ֵ מ םי֑ ִ נ ָ פּ־ל ָ כּ
He has swallowed (will swallow) death for ever and the Lord G-d will wipe
away tears from upon all faces.
Comment of Rashi on ע֤ ַ לּ ִ בּ
וּנּ ֶ סּ ַ כְ י וּנּ ֶ מי ִ ל ֲ עַ י ְ ו תי ִ מ ָ לוֹע ל ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ יּ ִ מ .
Translation of Rashi
He will cover it and hide it for ever from Israel.
Explanation of Rashi
ע ַ לּ ִ בּ is Piel perf. 3 m.sg. lit. = ‘he has swallowed’; however, the context
suggests a future meaning, as indicated by Rashi’s comment, where he uses
verbs in the future tense to explain the meaning of ע ַ לּ ִ בּ. Rashi also suggests
that G-d will destroy death only from Israel.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 299
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ע ַ לּ ִ בּ
ם ָ תֹ א ע ַ לּ ַ בְ י = “it will swallow them”.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra suggests that Death will destroy them, not that G-d will destroy
death. However, Ibn Ezra does confirm a future meaning.
Comment of Radak on ע ַ לּ ִ בּ
ת ֶ ו ָ מּ ַ ה ל ֵ טּ ַ בי ִ ו תי ִ ח ְ שַׁ י . ר " תי ִ ע ְ ב ִ ט ה ָ תי ִ מ אֹל תי ִ ר ְ ק ִ מ ה ָ תי ִ מ ל .
Translation of Radak
He will destroy and nullify death that is, accidental death, not natural death.
Explanation of Radak
Radak suggests that G-d will destroy only accidental death. He uses verbs in
the future to interpret ע ַ לּ ִ בּ.
4 I Samuel 2:19 (use of Yiqtol in sphere of past time to express repeated
action)
֙ הּ ָ תוֹל ֲ ע ֽ ַ בּ ה ָ מי ֑ ִ מָ י םי ֣ ִ מָ יּ ִ מ וֹ ֖ ל ה ֥ ָ ת ְ ל ַ ע ַ ה ְ ו וֹ ֔ מּ ִ א וֹ ֣ לּ־ה ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ ֙ ןֹט ָ ק לי ֤ ִ ע ְ מוּ
׃םי ֽ ִ מָ יּ ַ ה ח ַ ב֥ ֶ ז־ת ֶ א ַ ח ֖ ֹבּ ְ ז ִ ל הּ ֔ ָ שׁי ִ א־ת ֶ א
And his mother made him (used to make him) a little coat and she brought
it up to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer
the yearly sacrifice.
300 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Comment of Radak on וֹ ֣ לּ־ה ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ
וּהוֹמ ָ כּ םי ִ בּ ַ ר ְ ו ה ָ ת ְ שׂ ָ ע ְ ו וֹמ ְ כּ . וא לי ִ ע ְ מ וֹל ה ָ ת ְ שׂ ָ ע אל י ִ כּ ה ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ רמא
לי ִ ע ְ מ וֹת ָ דּ ִ מ ְ כּ ול ה ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ ן ֵ כּ ל ֵ ד ָ ג ְ ו ך ֵ לוֹה הָ י ָ ה ֶ שׁ וֹמ ְ כּ א ָ לּ ֶ א ד ַ ב ְ ל ד ָ ח ֶ א .
Translation of Radak
Like ‘she made’ (Qal perf.) and there are many (examples) like it. Or, he
used the imperf. because she did not make him only one coat, but as he
grew bigger, so she made him a new coat according to his size.
Explanation of Radak
ה ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ תּ is Qal imperf. 3 f.sg. = ‘she will make’. Radak offers two explana-
tions for the use of the imperf. here: either, it is simply the equivalent of the
perf. ה ָ ת ְ שׂ ָ ע = ‘she made’; or, it expressed repeated action in the past; she
made him a new coat every time he outgrew the old one. The latter explana-
tion is in line with that of modern grammarians (see above).
5 Psalm 1:1,2 (Ibn Ezra on ד ֵ מוֹע ן ַ מ ְ ז = ‘standing time’)
ד ֑ ָ מ ָ ע א ֥ ֹל םי ִ א ָ טּ ַ֭ ח ך ֶ ר֣ ֶ ד ְ בוּ םי ֥ ִ ע ֫ ָ שׁ ְ ר ת֪ ַ צ ֲ ע ַ בּ ֮ ך ַ ל ָ ה א ֥ ֹל ר ֤ ֶ שׁ ֲ א שׁי ִ֗ א ָ ה י ֵ ר ֽ ְ שׁ ֥ ַ א
וֹמ ְ בוּ ׃ב ֽ ָ שָׁ י א ֣ ֹל םי ֗ ִ צ ֝ ֵ ל ב ֥ ַ שׁ ה ֗ ֶ גּ ְ הֶ י וֹ ֥ ת ָ רוֹת ְ ב ֽ וּ וֹ ֥ צ ְ פ ֶ֫ ח ה ָ֗ והְ י ת ֥ ַ רוֹת ְ בּ ם ֖ ִ א י ֤ ִ כּ
׃ה ָ לְ י ֽ ָ ל ָ ו ם ֥ ָ מוֹי
Happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked and in
the way of sinners does not stand and in the seat of scorners does not sit;
but in the Law of the Lord is his delight and in His Law he meditates day
and night.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 301
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ה ֶ גּ ְ הֶ י ,ב ָ שָׁ י ,ד ָ מ ָ ע ,ך ַ ל ָ ה
ם ֵ ה ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ םי ִ ל ָ ע ְ פּ ַ ה ל ָ כ ְ ל תוֹא ן ַ מי ִ ס סי ִ נ ְ כ ַ ה ְ ל שׁ ֶ דֹקּ ַ ה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ט ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מוּ
ֲ ע םי ִ די ִ ת , ל ַ ע ָ פּ ן ִ מ וּר ְ מ ָ א – ל ַ ע ְ פִ י . ד ֵ מוֹע ן ַ מ ְ ז ל ַ ע ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל וּצ ְ רִ י ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כ ְ ו
=) הֶו וֹה ( די ִ ת ָ ע ֶ בּ ם ַ גּ ר ָ ב ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בּ וּר ְ בּ ַ דְ י , ומכ ) ד ו היעשי ( וּעֻ נ ָ יּ ַ ו
ן ָ שׁ ָ ע א ֵ ל ָ מִּ י תִ י ַ בּ ַ ה ְ ו א ֵ רוֹקּ ַ ה לוֹקּ ִ מ םי ִ פּ ִ סּ ַ ה תוֹמּ ַ א : ך ַ ל ָ ה אֹל ה ָ כ ָ כ ְ ו
ת ְ בוּ ה ֶ גּ ְ הֶ י וֹת ָ רוֹ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
It is the rule of the Holy Tongue to insert a sign to all verbs when they are
‘future’; ל ַ ע ָ פּ becomes ל ַ ע ְ פִ י and when they wish to speak in ‘standing
time’, they use either perfect or imperfect, as in Isaiah 6:4: “and the door-
posts shook at the sound of the one calling and the Temple was filled with
smoke”. Likewise, “who does not walk” and “in His Law he meditates”.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra explains that prefixes are placed before the verbal stem to indicate
the ‘future’ in Hebrew, i.e. ל ַ ע ָ פּ becomes ל ַ ע ְ פִ י . Moreover, either perfect
or imperfect may be used to express ‘standing time’, ד ֵ מוֹע ן ַ מ ְ ז , that is, to
express continuation, repetition, duration; in other words, for the expres-
sion of ‘standing time’ (also termed הֶ ו וֹה), the tenses are virtually inter-
changeable. This may be illustrated in Isaiah 6:4, which contains a descrip-
tion of the Temple during Isaiah’s vision; in the first half of the verse, the
verb is וּעֻ נ ָ יּ ַ ו (Qal imperf. + vav consec. ַ עוּנ; ‘and they shook’), while in the
second half of the verse, the ‘parallel’ verb, א ֵ ל ָ מִּ י is Niphal imperf. ‘was
being filled with’. Likewise, in Psalm 1:1, the verbs are Qal perf. ד ָ מ ָ ע ך ַ ל ָ ה
ב ָ שָׁ י while the ‘parallel’ verb in 1:2, with the same subject, שׁי ִ א ָ ה, is in the
imperfect (ה ֶ גּ ְ הֶ י). All these verbs express ד ֵ מוֹע ן ַ מ ְ ז, i.e. “happy is the man
who does not (habitually) walk—stand—sit, but—he meditates”.
302 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Ibn Ezra’s comment on Isaiah 6:4 makes the same point:
ן ָ שׁ ָ ע א ֵ ל ָ מִּ י ה ֵ נּ ִ הו ר ָ ב ָ ע ל ַ עוֹפּ וּעֻ נ ָ יּ ַ ו ר ַ מ ָ א ה ֵ נּ ִ ה ְ ו ) ןמז אוהו דיתע ל ַ עוֹפּ
דמוע ( שׁ ֶ דוֹקּ ַ ה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בּ ןי ֵ א ֶ שׁ רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ ט ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ הנהו ד ֵ מוֹע ן ַ מ ְ ז ל ַ ע ן ָ מי ִ ס
ם ֶ הי ֵ ר ְ ב ִ דּ ב ֵ ר ָ ע ְ ל םי ִ ר ְ ב ִ ע ָ ה .
“Behold, it says וּעֻ נ ָ יּ ַ ו (past tense) and behold ן ָ שׁ ָ ע א ֵ ל ָ מִּ י (future tense, i.e.
standing time), because in the Holy Tongue there is no specific way to
express ד ֵ מוֹע ן ַ מ ְ ז and it is the custom of the Hebrews to mix their words.”
(See also Ibn Ezra’s comments on: Isaiah 1:21; Hosea 6:1).
6 Genesis 29:3 (Rashi on הֶו וֹה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל)
֗ ִ ר ָ ד ֲ ע ָ ה־ל ָ כ ה ָ מּ ֣ ָ שׁ־וּפ ְ ס ֶ א ֶ נ ְ ו וּ ֖ ק ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו ר ֵ֔ א ְ בּ ַ ה י ֣ ִ פּ ֙ ל ַ ע ֵ מ ֙ ן ֶ ב ֙ ֶ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א וּ ֤ ל ֲ ל ָ ג ְ ו םי
׃הּ ֽ ָ מֹק ְ מ ִ ל ר ֖ ֵ א ְ בּ ַ ה י ֥ ִ פּ־ל ַ ע ן ֶ ב ֛ ֶ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א וּבי ֧ ִ שׁ ֵ ה ְ ו ןא ֑ ֹצּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א
And all the flocks were (customarily) gathered there and they would roll the
stone from upon the mouth of the well and they would water the sheep and
they would return the stone to the mouth of the well, to its place.
Comment of Rashi on ופסאנו/וללגו
ופסאנו . ף ֵ ס ָ א ֵ ה ְ ל וּי ָ ה םי ִ לי ִ ג ְ ר , הלודג ן ֶ ב ֶ א ָ ה ה ָ תְ י ָ ה ֶ שׁ י ִ פ ְ ל . וללגו .
םי ִ ל ְ לוֹג ְ ו , וֹמוּגּ ְ ר ַ תו : ְ דּ ְ נ ַ ג ְ מוּ ןי ִ ר . ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בּ ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל ה ָ נּ ַ תּ ְ שׁ ִ מ הֶו וֹה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ל ָ כּ
ר ָ ב ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בוּ די ִ ת ָ ע , די ִ ת ָ עו הָ י ָ ה ר ָ ב ְ כּ די ִ מ ָ ת הֶו וֹה ַ ה ר ָ ב ָ דּ ל ָ כּ ֶ שׁ י ִ פ ְ ל
תויהל .
Translation of Rashi
They were accustomed to being gathered there, because the stone was big.
And they used to roll (the stone). The Targumic rendering is ןי ִ ר ְ דּ ְ נ ַ ג ְ מוּ (a
participle). Frequentative action may be expressed differently in either fu-
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 303
ture (imperf.) or past (perf.), because all continuous action has already been
and will be in the future.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that the Niphal perf. + vav, וּפ ְ ס ֶ א ֶ נ ְ ו expresses the idea of
repeated or continuous action in the past and likewise וּל ֲ ל ָ ג ְ ו (Qal perf. +
vav). Rashi terms this usage הֶו וֹה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל and states that either perf. or im-
perf. may be used for הֶו וֹה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל. Rashi often applies the term הֶ ו וֹה to a
form in the perf., imperf., inf. abs. or participle, when Rashi deems such
forms to have the force of a frequentative or customary action, or to have
the force of long continuance. Compare Ibn Ezra’s explanation of ן ַ מ ְ ז
ד ֵ מוֹע (on Psalm 1:1,2).
7 Job 1:5 (Rashi on use of imperf. for repeated action in the past)
֮ ר ֶ קֹבּ ַ בּ םי ֣ ִ כּ ְ שׁ ִ ה ְ ו ם ֗ ֵ שׁ ְ דּ ַ קְ י ֽ ַ ו בוֹ ֣ יּ ִ א ח֧ ַ ל ְ שִׁ יּ ַ ו ה ֜ ֶ תּ ְ שׁ ִ מּ ַ ה י ֨ ֵ מְ י ֩ וּ ֽ פי ִ קּ ִ ה י ֣ ִ כּ י ִ֡ הְ י ַ ו
וּ ֥ כ ֲ ר ֵ בוּ י ֔ ַ נ ָ ב וּ ֣ א ְ ט ָ ח ֙ י ַ לוּא בוֹ ֔ יּ ִ א ר ֣ ַ מ ָ א י ִ֚ כּ ֒ ם ָ לּ ֻ כּ ר֣ ַ פּ ְ ס ִ מ ֮ תוֹלֹע ה֣ ָ ל ֱ ע ֶ ה ְ ו
׃םי ֽ ִ מָ יּ ַ ה־ל ָ כּ בוֹ ֖ יּ ִ א ה ֥ ֶ שׂ ֲ עַ י ה ָ כ֛ ָ כּ ם֑ ָ ב ָ ב ְ ל ִ בּ םי ֖ ִ הל ֱ א
And it was when the days of feasting had completed their circuit, Job sent
and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt
offerings according to the number of them all, for Job said, ‘perhaps my
sons have sinned and cursed G-d in their heart’. Thus Job used to do all the
days.
Comment of Rashi on ה ֶ שׂ ֲ עַ י
ה ֶ שׂוֹע הָ י ָ ה וֹמ ְ כּ . רי ִ ד ָ ת ְ ו הֶו וֹה ַ ה ר ָ ב ָ ד ְ בּ ב ַ ת ָ כּ ֶ שׁ ְ כּ ר ָ ח ָ מ , ַ ת ָ כּ ֶ שׁ םי ִ מ ָ ע ְ פּ ב
די ִ ת ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל םי ִ מ ָ ע ְ פוּ ר ָ ב ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל וֹבּ .
304 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Translation of Rashi
ה ֶ שׂ ֲ עַ י has the meaning of ה ֶ שׂוֹע הָ י ָ ה, ‘used to do’. When Scripture writes
after the event about a continuing or repeated action, at times it uses past
tense (perf./qatal) and at times, future (imperf./yiqtol).
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains that the imperf. ה ֶ שׂ ֲ עַ י expresses repeated action here and
that for this usage, either the perf. or the imperf. can be used.
8 Exodus 33:7 (Rashi on repeated action in the past)
ה ֔ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ֙ ק ֵ ח ְ ר ַ ה ה ֗ ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּֽ ַ ל ץוּ ֣ ח ִ מ וֹ ֣ ל־ה ָ טֽ ָ נ ְ ו ל ֶ ה ֜ ֹ א ָ ה־ת ֶ א ח ֨ ַ קִּ י ֩ ה ֶ שֹׁמוּ
And Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, at a distance
from the camp.
Comment of Rashi on ח ַ קִּ י
אוּה הֶו וֹה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל – ה ֶ נ ֲ ח ַ מּ ַ ל ץוּח ִ מ וּה ֵ טוֹנ ְ ו וֹל ֳ ה ָ א ַ ח ֵ קוֹל .
Translation of Rashi
ח ַ קִּ י is ןוֹשׁ ְ ל הֶו וֹה (used here of repeated action in the past). He used to
take his tent and pitch it outside the camp.
9 Genesis 23:11 (Ephron To Abraham) (Rashi on use of perf.)
ך ֔ ָ ל י ִ תּ ֣ ַ ת ָ נ ֙ ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה י ִ נ ֔ ֵ ע ָ מ ְ שׁ י֣ ִ נֹד ֲ א־א ֽ ֹל
No my lord, hear me, the field I (will give) (have given) to you.
Comment of Rashi on י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ
י ֵ ר ֲ ה אי ִ ה וֹמ ְ כּ ָ הי ִ תּ ַ ת ְ נּ ֶ שׁ ך ָ ל :
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 305
Translation of Rashi
See it is as though I have given it to you.
Explanation of Rashi
The verb י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ (Qal perf. ןתנ) is problematic in that Ephron has not yet
given over the field. Hence, Rashi comments that it is as though he has
given over the field. Modern grammarians suggest that we have here the use
of perfect to express future actions.
10 Genesis 23:13 (Abraham to Ephron) (Rashi on use of perf.)
י ִ נּ ֔ ֶ מּ ִ מ ח ֣ ַ ק ֙ ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה ף ֶ ס֤ ֶ כּ י ִ תּ ֜ ַ ת ָ נ
I have given/am about to give/am giving the money for the field.
Comment of Rashi on י ִ תּ ֜ ַ ת ָ נ
י ִ ל ְ צ ֶ א אוּה ן ָ כוּמ , ר ָ ב ְ כּ ך ָ ל י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ יא ַ ו ְ ל ַ ה ְ ו :
Translation of Rashi
The money is ready with me and I wish that I had already given it to you.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi explains the Qal perf. י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ as a wish, for it can hardly refer to the
past, since Abraham’s next words are ‘take (it) from me’.
11 Psalm 27:10 (Ibn Ezra on the interchangeability of the tenses)
׃י ִ נ ֽ ֵ פ ְ ס ַ אֽ ַ י ה֣ ָ והי ֽ ַ ו י ִ נוּ ֑ ב ָ ז ֲ ע י ֣ ִ מּ ִ א ְ ו י ֣ ִ ב ָ א־י ִ כּ
For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will gather
me (has gathered me).
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Comment of Ibn Ezra on י ִ נ ֽ ֵ פ ְ ס ַ אֽ ַ י
די ִ מ ָ תּ י ִ נ ַ תּ ְ פ ַ ס ֲ א ה ָ תּ ַ א ְ ו , דיתע ןושל אוה ם ִ או , ך ֶ ר ֶ ד ְ כּ ) גכ תישארב
גי ( י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ ח ַ ק ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה ף ֶ ס ֶ כּ י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ ) טי וק םילהתו ( וּשׂ ֲ עַ י - ב ֵ רֹח ְ בּ ל ֶ ג ֵ ע
ה ָ כ ֵ סּ ַ מ ְ ל וּו ֲ ח ַ תּ ְ שִׁ י ַ ו
Translation of Ibn Ezra
(י ִ נ ֵ פ ְ ס ַ אַ י has the meaning of ) ‘you have gathered me continually’, even
though it is imperf., like Gen 23:13, ‘I am about to give you the money of
the field’ and Psalm 106:19, ‘they made a calf at Horeb and bowed down to
a molten image’.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra explains that י ִ נ ֵ פ ְ ס ַ אַ י (Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 1 c.sg. ףסא)
expresses continuous action in the past, even though the imperf. is used.
The tenses thus seem to be used interchangeably, as in Gen 23:13, where
י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ (Qal perf. ןתנ) expresses near future and in Psalm 106:19, where
וּשׁ ֲ עַ י - ל ֶ ג ֵ ע ב ֵ רֹח ְ בּ means ‘they made a calf at Horeb’, that is, the Qal
imperf. וּשׁ ֲ עַ י is used of past action; this is quite clear from the context,
Psalm 106 being a historical psalm in which the psalmist gives an overview
of the early history of Israel.
12 Genesis 14:22 (Rashi on use of perf. for English present) (Abram and
Melchizedek)
֣ ֵ א ֙ ה ָ והְ י־ל ֶ א י ֤ ִ דָ י י ִ ת ֨ ֹ מי ִ ר ֲ ה ם ֑ ֹד ְ ס ך ֶ ל֣ ֶ מ־ל ֶ א ם ֖ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א ר ֶ מא֥ ֹיּ ַ ו ה֖ ֵ נֹק ןוֹ ֔ י ְ ל ֶ ע ל
׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א ָ ו םִ י ֥ ַ מ ָ שׁ
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I raise my hand to the Lord, most
High G-d, possessor of Heaven and Earth’.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 307
Comment of Rashi on י ִ ת ֨ ֹ מי ִ ר ֲ ה
ה ָ עוּב ְ שׁ ןוֹשׁ ְ ל . ןויל ֶ ע ל ֵ אל י ִ דָ י תא ינא םי ִ ר ֵ מ . ֵ כ ְ ו י ִ תּ ְ ע ַ בּ ְ שִׁ נ י ִ בּ ן
) זט בכ תישארב ( , י ִ נ ֲ א ע ָ בּ ְ שִׁ נ , י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ ח ַ ק ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה ף ֶ ס ֶ כּ י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ ן ֵ כו
) תישארב גי גכ ( הדשה ףסכ ךל ינא ן ֵ תוֹנ , י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ וּה ֵ ח ָ ק .
Translation of Rashi
י ִ תֹ מי ִ ר ֲ ה (Hiphil perf. 1 c.sg. םור = lit. ‘I have raised’) is an expression of
oath (to be understood as an English present), ‘I am raising my hand to G-d
Most High’. Similarly, ‘by Myself I have sworn’ (Gen 22:16), (to be
understood as an English present), ‘by Myself I do swear’. Similarly, (Gen
23:13), ‘I have given the money of the field, take from me’, (to be
understood as an English present), ‘I am giving the money of the field, take
from me’.
Explanation of Rashi
In all these examples, the perfect is used for the English present, as though
the act is already completed.
13 Genesis 4:23 (Ibn Ezra on interchangeability of tenses) (The War Boast
of Lemech)
י ֑ ִ ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ א ה ָ נּ֖ ֵ ז ְ א ַ ה ך ֶ מ ֔ ֶ ל י ֣ ֵ שְׁ נ י ֔ ִ לוֹק ן ַ ע ֣ ַ מ ְ שׁ ֙ ה ָ לּ ִ צ ְ ו ה ֤ ָ ד ָ ע וי ֗ ָ שׁ ָ נ ְ ל ך ֶ מ ֜ ֶ ל ר ֶ מא ֨ ֹיּ ַ ו
ְ ג ֙ ַ ר ָ ה שׁי ֤ ִ א י ֣ ִ כּ ׃י ֽ ִ ת ָ ר ֻ בּ ַ ח ְ ל ד ֶ ל֖ ֶ י ְ ו י ֔ ִ ע ְ צ ִ פ ְ ל ֙ י ִ תּ
And Lemech said to his wives, ‘Ada and Tsila, hear my voice, women of
Lemech, listen to my words, I would kill a man for (i.e. to avenge) my
wound, even a boy for my bruise’.
308 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ֙ י ִ תּ ְ ג ֙ ַ ר ָ ה
גוֹר ֱ ה ֶ א ת ַ רוּמ ְ תּ י ִ תּ ְ ג ַ ר ָ ה ת ַ לּ ִ מוּ . וּהוֹמ ָ כו ) גי גכ תישארב ( ף ֶ ס ֶ כּ י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ
ה ֶ ד ָ שּׂ ַ ה .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
The word י ִ תּ ְ ג ַ ר ָ ה (I killed) is in place of גוֹר ֱ ה ֶ א (I would kill), and likewise,
“I gave (would/will give) (Gen 23:13) the money of the field”.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra responds to a problem in the text. One might translate י ִ תּ ְ ג ַ ר ָ ה
(Qal perf.) as “I killed”, but why should Lemech boast of killing a child?
Rather, we should take י ִ תּ ְ ג ַ ר ָ ה as in place of גוֹר ֱ ה ֶ א (Qal imperf.) “I would
kill”, noting the crescendo effect in the parallel structure of the verse; “(not
only) would I kill a man for my wound, (but even) a boy for my bruise”. As
regards this interchangeability of tenses, Ibn Ezra again refers to Gen 23:13,
where the Qal perf. י ִ תּ ַ ת ָ נ means “I am about to give, I am giving” (see
above, nos 10, 11, 12).
14 Song of Songs 1:2 (Ibn Ezra on the interchangeability of tenses)
׃ן ִ י ֽ ָ יּ ִ מ ךי ֖ ֶ דֹדּ םי ֥ ִ בוֹט־י ֽ ִ כּ וּהי ֔ ִ פּ תוֹ ֣ קי ִ שׁ ְ נּ ִ מ ֙ י ִ נ ֙ ֵ ק ָ שִּׁ י
May he kiss me (according to Ibn Ezra, ‘he has kissed me’) with the kisses
of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on י ִ נ ֵ ק ָ שִּׁ י
א ָ ר ְ ק ִ מּ ַ ה ך ֶ ר ֶ דּ ן ֵ כ י ִ כּ ר ָ ב ָ ע ר ָ ב ָ ד ְ ל י ִ נ ֵ ק ָ שִּׁ י ר ַ מ ָ א ֶ שׁ רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ הּ ַ מ ְ ת ִ תּ ל ַ א ְ ו .
ה ֶ שֹׁמ רי ִ שָׁ י ז ָ א ) א וט תומש ( ב ֵ רֹח ְ בּ ל ֶ ג ֵ ע וּשׁ ֲ עַ י ) טי וק םילהת (
ר ָ ב ָ דּ ַ ה ך ֶ פ ֵ ה ְ ו , ) א טע םילהת ( רוֹ ֗ מ ְ ז ִ מ ם֨ ִ יוֹג וּא֤ ָ בּ םי ִ֡ הלֽ ֱ א ף ֥ ָ ס ָ֫ א ְ ל
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 309
׃םי ֽ ִ יּ ִ ע ְ ל ִ ם֣ ַ ל ָ שׁוּרְ י־ת ֶ א וּמ ֖ ָ שׂ ך ֑ ֶ שׁ ְ ד ָ ק ל֣ ַ כי ֵ ה־ת ֶ א וּא ְ מּ ִ֭ ט ך ֗ ֶ ת ָ ל ֲ ח ַ נ ֽ ְ בּ םי ִ בּ ַ ר ְ ו
וּהוֹמ ָ כּ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra
Do not be surprised that it says י ִ נ ֵ ק ָ שִּׁ י for a past action, for that is
characteristic of biblical language, e.g. ‘then sang Moses’ (Exod 15:1); ‘they
made a calf at Horeb’ (Ps 106:19); and the opposite, e.g. ‘A psalm of Asaph,
O G-d, nations have come (i.e. will come) into Your inheritance, they have
defiled (i.e. will defile) Your holy temple, they have made (i.e. will make)
Jerusalem (into) ruins’ (Ps 79:1). And many such examples.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra
Ibn Ezra understands י ִ נ ֵ ק ָ שִּׁ י (Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 1 c.sg. קשׁנ; lit. ‘he
will kiss me’) as referring to the past, and he compares Exod 15:1, where
רי ִ שָׁ י (Qal imperf. lit. ‘he will sing’) is understood as referring to the past,
‘then Moses sang’; Ibn Ezra also compares Ps 106:19, where וּשׁ ֲ עַ י (Qal
imperf. השׂע, lit. ‘they will make’) refers to a past action, ‘they made’. Ibn
Ezra also brings an example of the opposite phenomenon, whereby a per-
fect refers to the future, as in Ps 79:1, where the verbs וּא ָ בּ (Qal perf. אוב
lit. ‘they came’); ְ מּ ִ ט וּא (Piel perf. lit. ‘they defiled’) and וּמ ָ שׂ (Qal perf.
םי ִ שׂ lit. ‘they placed’) are all ‘prophetic perfects’, referring to the future,
since at the time of writing, Jerusalem has not yet been invaded and defiled.
15 Isaiah 42:16 (Rashi on the prophetic perfect) (The return of the exiles)
֩ םי ִ שׂ ָ א ם֑ ֵ כי ִ ר ְ ד ַ א וּ ֖ ע ְ דָ י־א ֽ ֹל תוֹ ֥ בי ִ ת ְ נ ִ בּ וּע ֔ ָ דָ י א ֣ ֹל ֙ ך ֶ ר ֙ ֶ ד ְ בּ םי ֗ ִ ר ְ ו ִ ע י ֣ ִ תּ ְ כ ַ לוֹה ְ ו
ְ ו ם ֖ ִ תי ִ שׂ ֲ ע םי ֔ ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ ַ ה ה ֶ לּ ֵ֚ א רוֹ ֔ שׁי ִ מ ְ ל ֙ םי ִ שּׁ ַ ק ֲ ע ֽ ַ מוּ רוֹ ֗ א ָ ל ם ֶ֜ הי ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ך ֨ ָ שׁ ְ ח ַ מ א ֥ ֹל
׃םי ֽ ִ תּ ְ ב ַ ז ֲ ע
310 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And I will lead the blind by a way they did not know, I will guide them in
paths they did not know, I will make darkness light before them, and
crooked places (into) a level plain; these are the things which I will do (lit.
have done them) and I will not forsake them (lit. have not forsaken them).
Comment of Rashi on ם ֖ ִ תי ִ שׂ ֲ ע
ה ֶ שׂ ֱ ע ֶ א . ן ֵ כּ ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ה ָ אוּב ְ נ ר ֵ בּ ַ ד ְ ל ל ַ ע די ִ ת ָ ע ֶ ה וּלי ִ א ְ כּ יוּשׂ ָ ע .
Translation of Rashi
I will do. Thus is the language of prophecy, to speak about a future action
as if it had already been done.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi has identified ם ִ תי ִ שׂ ֲ ע (Qal perf. 1 c.sg. + sf. 3 m.pl. השׂע) as a
‘prophetic perfect’ (see above, Use of Perfect to express future actions, III
d; see also JM 112h; GK 106n).
THE USE OF PARTICIPLES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
The main characteristics of the active participle are as follows:
1 The participle is often used to imply continuity.
2 The participle itself does not express time; the time setting is indicated
by the context in which the participle occurs, and this may be: past,
present or future.
3 Participles may function as: verbs, adjectives or nouns.
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 311
Exercise: identify the participle forms in the following biblical verses
and discuss their use and function.; explanatory notes are added.
I: verbal function (1-6)
1 Genesis 37:16 (Joseph to the man)
שׁ ֑ ֵ קּ ַ ב ְ מ י ֣ ִ כֹ נ ָ א י ֖ ַ ח ַ א־ת ֶ א
I am seeking my brothers.
שׁ ֑ ֵ קּ ַ ב ְ מ Piel part. m.s.g. verbal function, expressing continuous action in
the present.
2 I Samuel 1:12
׃ ָ הי ֽ ִ פּ־ת ֶ א ר ֥ ֵ מֹשׁ י ֖ ִ ל ֵ ע ְ ו ה֑ ָ והְ י י֣ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל ל֖ ֵ לּ ַ פּ ְ ת ִ ה ְ ל ה ֔ ָ ת ְ בּ ְ ר ִ ה י ֣ ִ כּ ֙ הָ י ָ ה ְ ו
And it was as she prayed much before the Lord, that Eli watched her
mouth.
֥ ֵ מֹשׁ ר Qal part. m.sg. verbal function, expressing continuity in the past.
3 Genesis 37:2
ןא ֔ ֹצּ ַ בּ ֙ וי ָ ח ֶ א־ת ֶ א ה֤ ֶ עֹר ה֨ ָ י ָ ה ֙ ה ָ נ ָ שׁ ה ֤ ֵ ר ְ שׂ ֶ ע־ע ֽ ַ ב ְ שׁ־ן ֶ בּ ף ֵ֞ סוֹי
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was tending the flock with his brothers.
ה֤ ֶ עֹר ה֨ ָ י ָ ה The verb הָ י ָ ה sometimes precedes the participle in its verbal
function to express continuous action in the past. See also, e.g. Gen 4:17; I
Sam 2:11.
4 Genesis 6:17
ץ ֶ ר ָ֔ א ָ ה־ל ַ ע ֙ םִ י ֙ ַ מ לוּ ֥ בּ ַ מּ ַ ה־ת ֶ א אי ִ֨ ב ֵ מ ֩ י ִ נ ְ נ ִ ה י ֗ ִ נ ֲ א ַ ו
312 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Behold I will bring the flood of waters upon the earth.
אי ִ֨ ב ֵ מ ֩ י ִ נ ְ נ ִ ה Hiphil part. m.sg. אוב; use of participle in its verbal
function to express imminent (Divine) action. See Driver S R: A Treatise on
the Use of Tenses in Hebrew and some other syntactical questions. OUP
1892. Eerdmans 1998, p 168: “The participle is used—of future time which
it represents as already beginning: hence, if the event designated can only in
fact occur after some interval, it asserts forcibly and suggestively the
certainty of its approach. In the latter case, however, its use is (naturally)
pretty much restricted to announcements of the Divine purpose.” For
further examples, see e.g.Gen 18:17; 19:13; 20:3.
5 Genesis 18:1
ֽ יּ ַ ה ם ֥ ֹח ְ כּ ל ֶ ה ֖ ֹ א ָ ה־ח ַ ת ֽ ֶ פּ ב ֥ ֵ שֹׁי אוּ ֛ ה ְ ו א ֑ ֵ ר ְ מ ַ מ י֖ ֵ נל ֵ א ְ בּ ה ָ֔ והְ י ֙ וי ָ ל ֵ א א ֤ ָ רֵ יּ ַ ו ׃םוֹ
And the Lord appeared unto him at the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat (lit.
and he was sitting) at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day.
ב ֥ ֵ שֹׁי אוּ ֛ ה ְ ו ‘and he was sitting’; i.e. ‘when, as, while he was sitting’.
This is an example of a circumstantial clause, which “expresses some cir-
cumstance or concomitant of the principal action or statement” (A B
Davidson, Hebrew Syntax, T & T Clark. p 186) “In such a clause the subj.
is naturally prominent, hence it stands first, the order being - vav, subj.,
pred. This simple vav may need to be rendered variously, as if, while, when,
seeing, though—.” For further examples, see, e.g. Gen 19:1; Isaiah 6:1. For
examples of circumstantial clauses with forms other than participles, see,
e.g. Gen 18:13; 24:56.
6 II Kings 17:32
ה֑ ָ והְ י־ת ֶ א םי ֖ ִ א ֵ רְ י וּ ֥ י ְ הִ יּ ַ ו
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 313
They were fearing the Lord.
םי ֖ ִ א ֵ רְ י וּ ֥ י ְ הִ יּ ַ ו ‘and they were fearing’. Qal part. m.pl. א ֵ רָ י and preceded by
the verb הָ י ָ ה in Qal imperf. + vav consec. Compare no 3 above, Gen 37:2.
See Driver S R ‘A Treatise on the Use of Tenses etc’; pp 169-170:
“Occasionally, the idea of duration conveyed by the ptcp. is brought into
fuller prominence, and defined more precisely, by the addition of the
substantive verb. —But altogether the more frequent use of the combination is
characteristic of the later writers - in the decadence of a language, the older
forms are felt to be insufficient, and a craving for greater distinctness
manifests itself: the rarer, however, its occurrence in the earlier books, the
more carefully it deserves notice.” Hence, there are many examples in II
Kings 17, which describes the mixed forms of worship in Israel after the
Assyrian exile in 722 BCE.
II: Adjectival function (7-8)
7 Deuteronomy 4:24
֣ ָ והְ י י ִ֚ כּ אוּ ֑ ה ה֖ ָ ל ְ כֹ א שׁ ֥ ֵ א ךי ֶ֔ הל ֱ א ה
For the Lord your G-d is a consuming fire.
שׁ ֥ ֵ א ה֖ ָ ל ְ כֹ א Active part. Qal f.sg. ל ַ כ ָ א qualifying the fem. noun, שׁ ֥ ֵ א
(agrees in number and gender).
8 Genesis 13:5
טוֹ ֔ ל ְ ל־ם ַ ג ְ ו ך֖ ֵ לֹה ַ ה ם ֑ ָ ר ְ ב ַ א־ת ֶ א ה֥ ָ י ָ ה ר ֖ ָ ק ָ בוּ־ןאֹצ ׃םי ֽ ִ ל ָ הֹ א ְ ו
And also to Lot, who went with Abram, there were flocks and herds and
tents.
314 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ך֖ ֵ לֹה ַ ה Qal part. + def. art. The part. + def. art. function as a relative clause,
“who went” (lit. ‘the one going’). This usage is common; see, e.g. Gen 35:3:
ֹע ָ ה י ֔ ִ ת ָ ר ֽ ָ צ םוֹ ֣ י ְ בּ ֙ י ִ תֹ א ה֤ ֶ נ “who answers me on the day of my “distress”.
III: Noun function (9-10)
9 Isaiah 19:20
׃םֽ ָ לי ִ צּ ִ ה ְ ו ב ֖ ָ ר ָ ו ַ עי ֥ ִ שׁוֹמ ם ֛ ֶ ה ָ ל ח֥ ַ ל ְ שִׁ י ְ ו םי ֔ ִ צ ֲ ח ֽ ל י֣ ֵ נ ְ פּ ִ מ ֙ ה ָ והְ י־ל ֶ א וּ ֤ ק ֲ ע ְ צִ י־י ֽ ִ כּ
For they will cry to the Lord because of (the) oppressors and He will send
them a saviour and will plead and will deliver them.
םי ֔ ִ צ ֲ ח ֽ ל Qal part. m.pl. ץחל; ‘oppressors’.
ַ עי ֥ ִ שׁוֹמ Hiphil part. m.sg. עשׁי; ‘a saviour’.
10 Jeremiah 18:6
֣ ַ י ְ בּ ֙ ר ֶ מ ֨ ֹח ַ כ ה֤ ֵ נּ ִ ה ׃ל ֽ ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י תי ֥ ֵ בּ י ֖ ִ דָ י ְ בּ ם ֥ ֶ תּ ַ א־ן ֵ כּ ר ֔ ֵ צוֹיּ ַ ה ד
Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house
of Israel.
ר ֔ ֵ צוֹיּ ַ ה ‘The potter’; Qal part. m.sg. רצי = ‘form, fashion’.
THE FORM AND USE OF THE JUSSIVE IN BIBLICAL HEBREW
The lengthened form of the imperfect is termed cohortative (usually occurs
only in 1st pers. sg. or pl. e.g. ה ָ ר ְ מ ְ שׁ ֶ א / ה ָ ר ְ מ ְ שִׁ נ ) and the shortened form
of the imperfect is termed jussive (usually occurs in 2nd or 3rd pers.). In the
strong verb, the form of the jussive is the same as that of the imperfect and
is therefore recognized only by its context, except in Hiphil (indicative:
לי ִ ט ְ קַ י; jussive: ל ֵ ט ְ קַ י). However, in weak verbs, the jussive often takes a
shortened form of the imperfect. The jussive is used to express a command
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 315
or a desire that something should/should not happen and is often strength-
ened with the addition of א ָ נ. It is often translated by English ‘may’, ‘let’.
e.g. Genesis 47:4: ׃ן ֶ שֹׁ ֽ גּ ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א ְ בּ ךי ֖ ֶ ד ָ ב ֲ ע א֥ ָ נ־וּב ְ שֽׁ ֵ י ה ֛ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו “And now please
let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen”. The negative before a
jussive is ל ַ א.
Exercise: identify the Jussive in the following biblical verses and ana-
lyse/discuss its function; explanatory notes are added.
1 Genesis 33:14 (Jacob to Esau)
וֹ ֑ דּ ְ ב ַ ע י֣ ֵ נ ְ פ ִ ל י֖ ִ נֹד ֲ א א֥ ָ נ־ר ָ ב ֲ עַ י
Please let my lord pass before his servant.
א֥ ָ נ־ר ָ ב ֲ עַ י Shortened form of רֹב ֲ עַ י (Qal imperf. רבע) due to makkef
and consequent loss of accent. Strengthened with א ָ נ. ‘Please let him pass’.
2 Genesis 41:33
׃םִ י ֽ ָ ר ְ צ ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ֥ ֶ א־ל ַ ע וּה ֖ ֵ תי ִ שׁי ִ ו ם֑ ָ כ ָ ח ְ ו ןוֹ ֣ ב ָ נ שׁי ֖ ִ א ה ֔ ֹע ְ ר ַ פ א ֣ ֶ רֵ י ֙ ה ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו
And now let Pharoah look out a discerning and wise man and set him over
the land of Egypt.
א ֣ ֶ רֵ י Shortened from ה ֶ א ְ רִ י Qal imperf. האר; ‘let him see’.
וּה ֖ ֵ תי ִ שׁי ִ ו Qal imperf. תי ִ שׁ + sf. 3 m.sg. + vav conj. ‘and let him put,
set him’ (same form as ordinary imperf. + sf.).
3 Genesis 44:18
ֶ בּ ַ דְ י ֒י ִ נֹד ֲ א י ֣ ִ בּ ֮ ר ֶ מאֹיּ ַ ו ה ֗ ָ דוּהְ י וי ֜ ָ ל ֵ א שׁ ֨ ַ גּ ִ יּ ַ ו י ֔ ִ נֹד ֲ א י֣ ֵ נ ְ ז ָ א ְ בּ ֙ ר ָ ב ָ ד ֤ ך ְ דּ ְ ב ַ ע א ֨ ָ נ־ר
ך֑ ֶ דּ ְ ב ַ ע ְ בּ ֖ ך ְ פּ ַ א ר ַ ח֥ ִ י־ל ַ א ְ ו
316 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
And Judah drew near to him and he said, ‘O my lord, please let your servant
speak a word in the ears of my lord, and let not your anger burn against
your servant’.
־ר ֶ בּ ַ דְ י א ֨ ָ נ Shortened from ר ֵ בּ ַ דְ י (Piel imperf. רבד) due to makkef and
strengthened with א ָ נ.
ר ַ ח֥ ִ י־ל ַ א ְ ו ר ַ חִ י is shortened from ה ֶ ר ֱ חֶ י (Qal imperf. ה ָ ר ָ ח = ‘burn, be
kindled’) and made negative with ל ַ א. ‘And let it not burn’.
4 Genesis 44:33
ֽ ֵ י ה ֗ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו ׃וי ֽ ָ ח ֶ א־ם ִ ע ל ַ ע֥ ַ י ר ַ ע֖ ַ נּ ַ ה ְ ו י֑ ִ נֹדאֽ ַ ל ד ֶ ב֖ ֶ ע ר ַ ע ֔ ַ נּ ַ ה ת ַ ח ֣ ַ תּ ֙ ך ְ דּ ְ ב ַ ע א֤ ָ נ־ב ֶ שׁ
And now please let your servant dwell instead of the lad as servant to my
lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.
א֤ ָ נ־ב ֶ שֽׁ ֵ י Shortened from ב ֵ שֵׁ י (Qal imperf. בשׁי) due to makkef. ‘Please
let him dwell’.
ל ַ ע֥ ַ י Shortened from ה ֶ ל ֲ עַ י (Qal imperf. ה ָ ל ָ ע); ‘let him go up’.
5 Numbers 6:25,26
׃ ָ ךּ ֽ ֶ נּ ֻ חי ֽ ִ ו ךי ֖ ֶ ל ֵ א וי֛ ָ נ ָ פּ ׀ ה֧ ָ והְ י ר ֵ֨ אָ י
׃םוֹ ֽ ל ָ שׁ ֖ ך ְ ל ם ֥ ֵ שָׂ י ְ ו ךי ֔ ֶ ל ֵ א ֙ וי ָ נ ָ פּ ׀ ה֤ ָ והְ י א ֨ ָ שִּׂ י
May the Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you; May
the Lord lift up His countenance to you and give you peace.
ר ֵ֨ אָ י Shortened from רי ִ אָ י (Hiphil imperf. רוא) ‘may He cause to shine”
ם ֥ ֵ שָׂ י ְ ו Shortened from םי ִ שָׂ י (Qal imperf. םי ִ שׂ + vav conj.) ‘may He
place/put’
PART FOUR: USE OF TENSES IN BIBLICAL HEBREW 317
(note that א ֨ ָ שִּׂ יand ָ ךּ ֽ ֶ נּ ֻ חי ֽ ִ ו have the forms of ordinary imperfs. but carry a
jussive meaning here.)
6 Deuteronomy 20:5
וֹ ֑ תי ֵ ב ְ ל ב ֣ ֹשָׁ י ְ ו ך֖ ֵ לֵ י וֹ ֔ כ ָ נ ֲ ח א ֣ ֹל ְ ו ֙ שׁ ָ ד ָ ח־תִ י ֽ ַ ב ה֤ ָ נ ָ בּ ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א שׁי ִ֞ א ָ ה־י ֽ ִ מ
Who is the man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let
him go and return to his house.
ך֖ ֵ לֵ י Qal imperf. ךלה; ‘he will go’, but here with jussive meaning, ‘let
him go’.
ב ֣ ֹשָׁ י ְ ו Shortened from בוּשָׁ י (Qal imperf. בוּשׁ + vav conj.) ‘and let him
return’.
7 I Samuel 1:23
ך ֛ ַ א וֹ ֔ תֹ א ך֣ ֵ ל ְ מ ָ גּ־ד ַ ע ֙ י ִ ב ְ שׁ ךִ י ֗ ַ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ בוֹ ֣ טּ ַ ה י ֧ ִ שׂ ֲ ע הּ ֜ ָ שׁי ִ א ה ֨ ָ נ ָ ק ְ ל ֶ א ֩ הּ ָ ל ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
וֹ ֑ ר ָ ב ְ דּ־ת ֶ א ה֖ ָ והְ י ם ֥ ֵ קָ י
And Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘do what is good in your eyes, stay
until you wean him, but may the Lord establish His word’.
ם ֥ ֵ קָ י Shortened from םי ִ קָ י (Hiphil imperf. םוק) ‘may He raise up,
establish’.
8 Psalm 27:9
ך ֥ ֶ דּ ְ ב ֫ ַ ע ף ַ֗ א ְ בּ־ט ַ תּ־ל ֽ ַ א ֮ י ִ נּ ֶ מּ ִ מ ׀ ךי ֨ ֶ נ ָ פּ ר ֬ ֵ תּ ְ ס ַ תּ־ל ַ א
Do not hide Your face from me and do not turn away Your servant in
anger.
318 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ַ א ר ֬ ֵ תּ ְ ס ַ תּ־ל ל ַ א + shortened imperf. (longer form > רי ִ תּ ְ ס ַ תּ Hiphil,
רתס) to express prohibition/negative command, ‘do not hide’.
ט ַ תּ־ל ֽ ַ א ט ַ תּ is shortened from ה ֶ טּ ַ תּ (Hiphil imperf. הטנ = ‘bend, turn,
incline’), ‘do not turn away’.
319
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED
STYLE
Bibliography:
Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Poetry. Basic Books Inc. New York.
1985.
Gillingham, S E. The Poems and Psalms of the Hebrew Bible. OUP. 1994.
Jouon Paul, Muraoka T. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. Editrice Pontificio
Istituto Biblico – Roma 1996. Part One, pp 11-12.
Kugel, James L. The Idea of Biblical Poetry. Parallelism and its History.
Yale Univ. Press. 1981.
Seow, C L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Abingdon Press Nashville,
1995. Excursus E, Poetic Hebrew, pp 157-159.
Introductory remarks
It is difficult to define what we mean by Biblical Hebrew poetry. It is true
that some parts of the Bible are traditionally regarded as ‘poetry’, such as
the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15) or the Song of Deborah (Judges 5), but it
is also the case that some features of ‘poetic’ or ‘elevated’ style may be
found in parts of the Bible normally considered to be ‘prose’. The main
grammatical features of ‘elevated style’ are the focus of this section and they
are presented here to facilitate the student’s grasp of the plain meaning of
the ‘poetic’ sections of the Hebrew Bible. A summary outline of these fea-
tures is followed by a more detailed treatment of some features. However,
this is a complex topic and the student is referred to the Bibliography for
further study.
320 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Finally, an analysis of some grammatical features of the Song of the Sea
(Exodus 15:1-18) is presented.
A SUMMARY OUTLINE OF THE GRAMMATICAL FEATURES OF
‘ELEVATED STYLE’.
1 Frequent absence of: definite article, relative pronoun (ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א) and
marker of definite direct object (ת ֵ א); none of these occur in the Song
of the Sea after verse one, i.e. Exodus 15:2-18.
2 Brevity and terseness of expression. For example: Psalm 8:5:
שׁוֹ ֥ נ ֱ א־ה ֽ ָ מ וּנּ ֑ ֶ ר ְ כּ ְ ז ִ ת־י ֽ ִ כּ ם ֗ ָ ד ָ֝ א־ן ֶ בוּ י ֣ ִ כּ ׃וּנּ ֽ ֶ ד ְ ק ְ פ ִ ת
‘What is man that You should remember him and (what is) the son of man
that You should visit him?’ The interrogative pronoun ה ָ מ in line one has
to be mentally repeated in line two.
3 Freedom in use of tenses. For example, Psalm 38:12:
י ַ֨ ב ֲ ה ֽ ֹ א י ֗ ַ ע ֵ ר ְ ו דֶ ג ֣ ֶ נּ ִ מ י ֣ ִ ע ְ ג ִ נ וּד ֑ ֹ מ ֲ עַ י י ַ֗ בוֹר ְ ק֝ וּ ק ֥ ֹ ח ָ ר ֵ מ ׃וּד ֽ ָ מ ָ ע
‘My lovers and my friends stand afar from my plague; and my kinsmen
stand at a distance’. Note the variation of tenses in two balancing lines,
imperf. וּדֹ מ ֲ עַ י in line one, and perf. וּד ֽ ָ מ ָ ע in line two.
4 Variable word order. For example, Numbers 23:7:
ם ֶ ד ֶ֔ ק־י ֵ ר ְ ר ַ ה ֽ ֵ מ ֙ ב ָ אוֹמ־ך ֶ ל ֽ ֶ מ ק֤ ָ ל ָ ב י ִ נ ֵ֨ ח ְ נ ַ י ם ָ ר ֠ ֲ א־ן ִ מ
‘From Aram Balak has guided me, the King of Moab from the mountains
of the East’. Line one has: circumstance + verb + subject; line two has:
subject + circumstance, with omission of verb, which has to be supplied
mentally.
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 321
5 Some vocabulary which is typical of poetry. For example,
שׁוֹנ ֱ א for ם ָ ד ָ א = ‘man’; ה ָ ז ָ ח for ה ָ א ָ ר = ‘see’; ה ָ ת ָ א for אוב = ‘come’.
6 Endings ḥireq-yod and vav-ḥolem (ḥireq compaginis, see below) on
nouns, adjectives and participles; longer forms of prepositions, e.g.
י ֵ ל ֱ א for ל ֶ א and י ֵ ד ֲ ע for ד ַ ע.
7 Longer pronominal suffixes, וֹמ / וֹמָ / וֹמ ֵ ◌ (see below).
8 Unassimilated energic nun (see below).
9 Use of: word-pairs, rhyming, repetition, alliteration and chiasmus.
(‘chiasmus’ is the reversal in the second line of the word-order in the first
line).
10 Parallelism – a feature which is concentrated in the ‘poetic’ books, but
in fact is to be found throughout the Bible. Parallelism of clauses
means that the second clause corresponds in some way to the first
clause; the second clause is a continuation of the first clause, often
“particularizing, defining, expanding or even contrasting with the
meaning” (Kugel, 1981, p 8). For example, Psalm 145:10: ה ָ והְ֭ י ךוּ ֣ דוֹי
׃ה ָ כוּ ֽ כ ֲ ר ָ בְ י ךי ֗ ֶ די ִ ס ֲ חַ֝ ו ךי ֑ ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ מ־ל ָ כּ; ךי ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ מ (‘Your works’) is parallel
to ךי ֶ די ִ ס ֲ ח (‘Your pious ones’) and ךוּדוֹי (‘they will praise You’) is
parallel to ה ָ כוּכ ֲ ר ָ בְ י (‘they will bless you’). Note also the chiasmus:
line A has verb + subject; line B has subject + verb (reversal of order).
The second line is not, however, a mere restatement of the first line in
different words. Rather, ךי ֶ די ִ ס ֲ ח refers to a smaller, more pious group
than ךי ֑ ֶ שׂ ֲ ע ַ מ־ל ָ כּ while ה ָ כוּכ ֲ ר ָ בְ י expresses a closer relationship to G-
d than ךוּדוֹי. This progression can be conveyed in English by
translating the conjunction vav as ‘but’; “O Lord, all Your works
praise You, but, Your pious ones bless You”.
322 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Genesis 21:1:
ה֛ ָ והיַ ֽ ו ד ֥ ַ ק ָ פּ ה ֖ ָ ר ָ שׂ־ת ֶ א ר ֣ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ר ֑ ָ מ ָ א שׂ ַ ע֧ ַ יּ ַ ו ה֛ ָ והְ י ה ֖ ָ ר ָ שׂ ְ ל ר ֥ ֶ שׁ ֲ א ַ כּ ׃ר ֽ ֵ בּ ִ דּ
‘And the Lord remembered Sarah as He had said and the Lord did for
Sarah as He had spoken’.
This is an example of parallelism in a ‘prose’ section of the Bible. The verb
ד ַ ק ָ פּ in line A is parallel to שׂ ַ ע֧ ַ יּ ַ ו in line B, but note the small chiastic
arrangement,   ָ פּ ה֛ ָ והיַ ֽ ו ד ֥ ַ ק subject + verb, ה֛ ָ והְ י שׂ ַ ע֧ ַ יּ ַ ו verb + subject.
ENERGIC NUN AND UNASSIMILATED ENGERGIC NUN (SEE
GK 58 I, K, L; WHG PP 130-131)
There are alternative forms of the verbal suffix on the singular imperfect
which have energic nun assimilated before the suffix. These forms give
greater emphasis to the verb and are especially frequent in pause. For ex-
ample, ‘he will guard me’ may be either י ִ נ ֵ ר ְ מ ְ שִׁ י (no energic nun) or
ִ י י ִ נּ ֶ ר ְ מ ְ שׁ where the energic nun is assimilated into the nun of the verbal
suffix, which therefore has dagesh forte. Note also that the tsere under the
resh has modified to segol under the influence of the tone. Likewise, ‘he
will guard you’ may be either ך ְ ר ָ מ ְ שִׁ י (no energic nun) or ָ ךּ ֶ ר ְ מ ְ שִׁ י with
dagesh forte in the final caph to indicate the assimilated energic nun and
segol under the resh due to the tone. The other forms are: ‘he will guard
him’, וּה ֵ ר ְ מ ְ שִׁ י (no energic nun) or וּנּ ֶ ר ְ מ ְ שִׁ י (with assimilated energic nun)
and ‘he will guard her’, ָ ה ֶ ר ְ מ ְ שִׁ י (no energic nun) or ה ָ נּ ֶ ר ְ מ ְ שִׁ י (with
assimilated energic nun). These contracted forms with energic nun (where
the nun is assimilated to the following consonant) are quite frequent even in
prose. However, there are also uncontracted forms, where the nun is not
assimilated and these forms are rare, occurring only in poetic or elevated
style. e.g. Psalm 72:15: ֗ יּ ַ֝ ה־ל ָ כּ ׃וּ ֽ ה ְ נ ֽ ֶ כ ֲ ר ָ בְ י םוֹ ‘all the day he will bless him’;
(instead of וּה ֵ כ ְ ר ָ בְ י without energic nun).
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 323
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, identify the verbal suffixes
with Energic Nun, both contracted and uncontracted.; explana-
tory notes are found at the end.
1 Leviticus 1:3
וּנּ ֑ ֶ בי ִ ר ְ קַ י םי ֖ ִ מ ָ תּ ר ֥ ָ כ ָ ז ר ָ֔ ק ָ בּ ַ ה־ן ִ מ ֙ וֹנ ָ בּ ְ ר ָ ק ה֤ ָ לֹע־ם ִ א
If his offering is a burnt-offering of cattle, he shall offer an unblemished
male.
2 Numbers 23:25
֔ ָ ע ְ ל ִ בּ־ל ֶ א ֙ ק ָ ל ָ בּ ר ֶ מא֤ ֹיּ ַ ו ׃וּנּ ֽ ֶ כ ֲ ר ָ ב ְ ת א ֥ ֹל ך ֖ ֵ ר ָ בּ־ם ַ גּ וּנּ ֑ ֶ ב ֳ קּ ִ ת א ֣ ֹל ב ֖ ֹק־ם ַ גּ ם
And Balak said to Balaam, ‘you shall indeed not curse him and you shall
indeed not bless him’.
3 Exodus 15:2
׃וּה ְ נ ֽ ֶ מ ְ מֹר ֲ א ַ ו י ֖ ִ ב ָ א י ֥ ֵ הל ֱ א וּה ֵ֔ ו ְ נ ַ א ְ ו ֙ י ִ ל ֵ א ה֤ ֶ ז
This is my G-d and I will adorn Him (or, build Him a dwelling), the G-d of
my father and I will extol Him.
4 Deuteronomy 32:10
וּה ְ נ ֖ ֶ ר ְ צִּ י וּה ֔ ֵ נ ְ נוֹ ֣ בְ י ֙ וּה ְ נ ֙ ֶ ב ְ ב ֽ ֹסְ י ן ֑ ֹ מ ִ שְׁ י ל֣ ֵ לְ י וּה ֖ ֹ ת ְ בוּ ר ָ֔ בּ ְ ד ִ מ ץ ֶ ר ֣ ֶ א ְ בּ ֙ וּה ֙ ֵ א ָ צ ְ מִ י
׃וֹ ֽ ני ֵ ע ןוֹ ֥ שׁי ִ א ְ כּ
He found him in a desert land, in the howling waste of a wilderness, He
encompassed him, attended him, kept him as the apple of His eye.
324 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
5 Jeremiah 5:22
֙ לוֹח י ִ תּ ְ מ ֤ ַ שׂ־ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א וּלי ִ֔ ח ָ ת א ֣ ֹל ֙ י ַ נ ָ פּ ִ מ ם ֤ ִ א הֹו ָ֗ הְ י־ם ֻ א ְ נ וּא ֜ ָ רי ִ ת־אֹל י ֨ ִ תוֹא ַ ה
ָ ח ם ֔ ָ יּ ַ ל לוּ ֣ ב ְ גּ וי ֖ ָ לּ ַ ג וּ ֥ מ ָ ה ְ ו וּל ֔ ָ כוּי א ֣ ֹל ְ ו ֙ וּשׁ ֲ ע ָ גּ ְ תֽ ִ יּ ַ ו וּה ְ נ ֑ ֶ ר ְ ב ַ עַ י א ֣ ֹל ְ ו ם֖ ָ לוֹע־ק
׃וּה ְ נ ֽ ֻ ר ְ ב ַ עַ י א ֥ ֹל ְ ו
Will you not fear Me? Says the Lord, Will you not tremble at My presence?
I have placed sand as a boundary for the sea, an everlasting statute and
none may pass it; its waves toss themselves, but cannot prevail, they roar,
but they cannot pass it.
Explanatory notes to exercise on energic nun
1 וּנּ ֑ ֶ בי ִ ר ְ קַ י Hiphil imperf. 3 m.sg. ברק + sf. 3 m.sg. assimilated energic
nun. The form without energic nun would be וּה ֵ בי ִ ר ְ קַ י ; ‘he shall offer
it’.
2 וּנּ ֑ ֶ ב ֳ קּ ִ ת Qal imperf. 2 m.sg. בבק + sf. 3 m.sg. assimilated energic
nun. Note that inf. abs. בֹק precedes the negative. ‘You shall curse
him’.
וּנּ ֽ ֶ כ ֲ ר ָ ב ְ ת Piel imperf. 2 m.sg. ךרב + sf. 3 m.sg. assimilated energic nun.
‘You shall bless him’.
3 וּה ְ נ ֽ ֶ מ ְ מֹר ֲ א ַ ו Polel imperf. 1 c.sg. םור + vav conj. + sf. 3 m.sg.
unassimilated energic nun. ‘I will extol/exalt Him’.
4 ֙ וּה ְ נ ֙ ֶ ב ְ ב ֽ ֹסְ י Polel imperf. 3 m.sg. בבס + sf. 3 m.sg. unassimilated
energic nun. ‘He encompasses/surrounds him’. (Note use of imperf.
for continuous action).
וּה ְ נ ֖ ֶ ר ְ צִּ י Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. רצנ + sf. 3 m.sg. unassimilated energic
nun. ‘He watches, guards, keeps him’.
Note also: ןיב = ‘discern’ > Polel (only here): ‘he attentively considers him’.
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 325
ןוֹשׁי ִ א n.m. = ‘pupil of eye’
ם ַ שָׁ י = ‘be desolate’ > ןוֹמי ִ שְׁ י n.m. ‘waste, wilderness’
ל ֵ לְ י n.m. = ‘howling’ (of beasts); lit: ‘in a waste of howling of a desert’
( ֹ ת ְ בוּ ןוֹמי ִ שְׁ י ל ֵ לְ י וּה )
5 וּה ְ נ ֑ ֶ ר ְ ב ַ עַ י Qal imperf. 3 m.sg. רבע + sf. 3 m.sg. unassimilated
energic nun. ‘He shall pass it’. Note also: וּה ְ נ ֽ ֻ ר ְ ב ַ עַ י Qal imperf. 3 m.pl.
רבע + sf. 3 m.sg. ‘they shall pass it’; see GK 60e: “Suffixes are also
appended in twelve passages to the plural forms in ןוּ” (for Paragogic
Nun, see GK 47m: “Instead of the plural forms in וּ there are, espe-
cially in the older books, over 300 forms with the fuller ending ןוּ (with
Nun paragogicum), always bearing the tone.”)
לוּח , לי ִ ח (BDB p 296) = ‘whirl, dance, writhe’
> Qal imperf. וּלי ִ ח ָ תּ ‘be in severe pain, anguish’
שׁ ַ ע ָ גּ = ‘shake, quake’ > Hithpael: ‘shake back and forth, toss’
ה ָ מ ָ ה = ‘murmur, growl, roar’
RARE FORMS OF PRONOMINAL SUFFIXES OF THE VERB AND
NOUN
With regard to rare forms of pronominal suffixes of the verb, see GK 58g:
“The forms וֹמ , וֹמָ , וֹמֵ occur 23 times, all in poetry (except Ex 23:31)”.
With regard to pronominal suffixes of the noun, see GK 91l: “The termina-
tion וֹמ ֵ ◌ like וֹמand ָ וֹמ , occurs with the noun (as with the verb 58g)
almost exclusively in the later poets—and cannot, therefore, by itself be
taken as an indication of archaic language. On the other hand there can be
no doubt that these are revivals of really old forms. That they are con-
sciously and artificially used is shown by the evidently intentional accumula-
326 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
tion of them, e.g. in Ex 15:5,7,9; Ps 2:3,5; 140:4,10, and also by the fact—
that in Ex 15 they occur only as verbal suffixes, in Dt 32 only as noun suf-
fixes.”
Exercise; in the following biblical verses, identify the rare forms וֹמ ,
וֹמָ , וֹמ ֵ ◌ of the pronominal suffixes of the verb (with the perf.
imperf. and imperat.); explanatory notes are added.
I: Examples with Perfect
a) Exodus 15:10
ם֑ ָ י וֹמ ֣ ָ סּ ִ כּ ֖ ך ֲ חוּר ְ ב ָ תּ ְ פ ֥ ַ שָׁ נ
You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them.
וֹמ ֣ ָ סּ ִ כּ Piel perf. 3 m.sg. הסכ + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘(it) covered them’.
b) Exodus 23:31
֣ ֵ תּ ֶ א י ֣ ִ כּ ׃ךיֽ ֶ נ ָ פּ ִ מ וֹמ ֖ ָ תּ ְ שׁ ַ ר ֵ ג ְ ו ץ ֶ ר ָ֔ א ָ ה י ֣ ֵ ב ְ שֹׁי ת ֵ֚ א ם ֗ ֶ כ ְ דֶ י ְ בּ ן
For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall
drive them out before you.
וֹמ ֖ ָ תּ ְ שׁ ַ ר ֵ ג ְ ו Piel 2 m.sg. שׁרג + sf. 3 m.pl. + vav consec. ‘and you will
drive them out’. Note that this is the only example in prose rather than
poetry.
c) Psalm 73:6
ה֑ ָ ו ֲ א ַ ג וֹמ ְ ת ֣ ַ ק ָ נ ֲ ע ן ֵ כ ָ֭ ל
Therefore pride is their necklace.
וֹמ ְ ת ֣ ַ ק ָ נ ֲ ע Qal 3 f.sg. קנע + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘(it) is necklace for them’ ( =
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 327
ה ָ ק ְ נ ָ ע ם ָ תֹ א ). Compare ְ מ ָ שׁ ה ָ ר ם ָ תֹ א = ם ַ ת ָ ר ָ מ ְ שׁ ‘she guarded them’, see
WHG p 123.
(The verb ק ַ נ ָ ע is a denominative from the masc. noun ק ָ נ ֲ ע = ‘neck’).
II: Examples with Imperfect
a) Exodus 15:7
׃שׁ ֽ ַ קּ ַ כּ וֹמ֖ ֵ ל ְ כאֹי ֔ ךְ נ ֣ ֹר ֲ ח ֙ ח ַ לּ ַ שׁ ְ תּ
You sent forth Your anger, it consumed them like stubble.
וֹמ֖ ֵ ל ְ כאֹי Qal 3 m.sg. לכא + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘(it) consumed them’.
b) Exodus 15:9
י ֔ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ וֹמ ֣ ֵ א ָ ל ְ מ ִ תּ ל֑ ָ ל ָ שׁ ק֣ ֵ לּ ַ ח ֲ א ׃י ֽ ִ דָ י וֹמ ֖ ֵ שׁי ִ רוֹתּ י ִ֔ בּ ְ ר ַ ח קי ֣ ִ ר ָ א
I will divide (the) spoil, my appetite will be full of them, I will draw my
sword, my hand will dispossess (destroy) them.
וֹמ ֣ ֵ א ָ ל ְ מ ִ תּ Qal 3 f.sg. א ֵ ל ָ מ + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘(it) will be full of them’
וֹמ ֖ ֵ שׁי ִ רוֹתּ Hiphil 3 f.sg. שׁרי + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘(it) will dispossess/destroy
them’.
c) Exodus 15:12
֣ ִ מְ י ֙ ָ תי ֙ ִ טָ נ ׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א וֹמ֖ ֵ ע ָ ל ְ ב ִ תּ ֔ ך ְ ני
You stretched forth Your right hand, the earth swallowed them.
וֹמ֖ ֵ ע ָ ל ְ ב ִ תּ Qal 3 f.sg. עלב + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘(it) swallowed them’.
328 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
d) Exodus 15:15
י֣ ֵ לי ֵ א ב ָ֔ אוֹמ וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י ד ַ ע ֑ ָ ר
As for the leaders of Moab, trembling seized them.
וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י Qal 3 m.sg. זחא + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘(it) seized them’.
e) Exodus 15:17
֔ ך ְ תֽ ָ ל ֲ ח ַ נ ר ֣ ַ ה ְ בּ ֙ וֹמ ֙ ֵ ע ָ טּ ִ ת ְ ו וֹמ ֵ֗ א ִ ב ְ תּ
You shall bring them and You shall plant them in the mountain of Your
inheritance.
וֹמ ֵ֗ א ִ ב ְ תּ Hiphil 2 m.sg. אוב + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘You will bring them’.
וֹמ ֙ ֵ ע ָ טּ ִ ת ְ ו Qal 2 m.sg. עטנ + sf. 3 m.pl. + vav conj. ‘and you will plant
them’.
f) Psalm 2:5
׃וֹמֽ ֵ ל ֲ ה ַ בְ י וֹ ֥ נוֹר ֲ ח ַ ב ֽ וּ וֹ ֑ פּ ַ א ְ ב וֹמי֣ ֵ ל ֵ א ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ דְ י ז ֤ ָ א
Then He will speak to them in His anger and in His wrath He will terrify
them.
וֹמֽ ֵ ל ֲ ה ַ בְ י Piel 3 m.sg. להב + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘he will terrify/dismay them’.
Note also the וֹמ suffix on the preposition ל ֶ א, hence, וֹמי֣ ֵ ל ֵ א for ם ֶ הי ֵ ל ֲ א =
“to them”.
See GK 103k: “The syllable ן ִ מ—in י ִ נוֹמ ַ כּ — is, in poetry, appended to the
three simple prefixes ְ בּ ְ כּ ְ ל even without suffixes, so that וֹמ ְ ל , וֹמ ְ כּ , וֹמ ְ בּ
appear as independent words, equivalent in meaning to ְ ל ְ כּ ְ בּ. Poetry is
here distinguished from prose by the use of longer forms.”
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 329
g) Psalm 22:5
׃וֹמ ֽ ֵ ט ְ לּ ַ פ ְ תּֽ ַ ו וּ ֗ ח ְ ט ָ֝ בּ וּני ֑ ֵ תֹב ֲ א וּ ֣ ח ְ ט ָ בּ ך ְ֭ בּ
Our fathers trusted in You, they trusted and You delivered them.
וֹמ ֽ ֵ ט ְ לּ ַ פ ְ תּֽ ַ ו Piel 2 m.sg. טלפ + vav consec. + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘and You
delivered them’.
III: Example with Imperative
a) Psalm 59:12
וֹמ֑ ֵ די ִ רוֹה ְ ו ך ְ לי ֵ ח ְ֭ ב וֹמ֣ ֵ עי ִ נ ֲ ה
Cause them to wander with Your might and bring them down.
וֹמ֣ ֵ עי ִ נ ֲ ה Hiphil imperat. m.sg. עונ + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘cause them to wander’.
וֹמ֑ ֵ די ִ רוֹה ְ ו Hiphil imperat. m.sg. דרי + sf. 3 m.pl. + vav conj. ‘and
bring them down’.
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, identify the rare forms וֹמ ,
וֹמָ , וֹמ ֵ ◌ of the pronominal suffixes with the noun.
Explanatory notes are added.
1 Psalm 2:3-5
3 ׃וֹמי ֽ ֵ תֹב ֲ ע וּנּ ֣ ֶ מּ ִ מ ה ָ כי ֖ ִ ל ְ שׁ ַ נ ְ ו וֹמי ֑ ֵ תוֹר ְ סוֹ ֽ מ־ת ֶ א ה ָ ק ְ תּ ַ נ ֽ ְ נ
4 ׃וֹמֽ ָ ל־ג ַ ע ְ לִ י י ֗ ָ נֹד ֲ֝ א ק ֑ ָ ח ְ שִׂ י םִ י ֣ ַ מ ָ שּׁ ַ בּ ב ֣ ֵ שׁוֹי
5 ׃וֹמֽ ֵ ל ֲ ה ַ בְ י וֹ ֥ נוֹר ֲ ח ַ ב ֽ וּ וֹ ֑ פּ ַ א ְ ב וֹמי֣ ֵ ל ֵ א ר֣ ֵ בּ ַ דְ י ז ֤ ָ א
Let us tear apart their bonds and let us cast from us their cords;
330 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord mocks them;
Then He will speak to them in His anger, and in His burning wrath He will
terrify them.
וֹמי ֑ ֵ תוֹר ְ סוֹ ֽ מ ‘their bonds’. ר ַ ס ָ א > ר ֵ סוֹמ n.m. (= ר ֵ סאֹמ) > pl. תוֹר ְ סוֹמ
וֹמי ֽ ֵ תֹב ֲ ע ‘their cords’. ת ַ ב ָ ע > תֹב ֲ ע n.m. & f. = twisted cord, rope
> pl. תֹ תֹב ֲ ע / םי ִ תֹב ֲ ע
וֹמֽ ָ ל = ם ֶ ה ָ ל ‘to them’ (GK 103k); note the rare suffix on prepositions as
well as nouns.
וֹמי֣ ֵ ל ֵ א = ם ֶ הי ֵ ל ֲ א ‘to them’; see GK 103k.
2 Deuteronomy 32:27,32,37,38
וֹמי ֵ רָ צ וּרְ כַּנְי־ןֶֽ פּ ֑ ֖ ֵ ב ְ נּ ִ ע ֙ וֹמ ֙ ֵ ב ָ נ ֲ ע ׃וֹמֽ ָ ל ת ֖ ֹרֹר ְ מ ת ֥ ל ְ כּ ְ שׁ ַ א שׁוֹ ֔ ר־י
׃וֹ ֽ ב וּי ֥ ָ ס ָ ח רוּ ֖ צ וֹמי ֑ ֵ הל ֱ א י ֣ ֵ א ר ֖ ַ מ ָ א ְ ו וּל ֔ ֵ כאֹי ֙ וֹמי ֙ ֵ ח ָ בְ ז ב ֶ ל ֤ ֵ ח ר ֨ ֶ שׁ ֲ א
Lest their adversaries misinterpret (lit. treat as foreign); their grapes are
grapes of poison, their clusters are bitter (lit. bitter clusters to them); and
He shall say, where are their gods, (the) rock in whom they trusted? who
would eat the fat of their sacrifices.
וֹמי ֑ ֵ ר ָ צ ‘their adversaries’ (= ם ֶ הי ֵ ר ָ צ); ר ַ צ n.m. = ‘adversary, foe’ > pl.
םי ִ ר ָ צ
֙ וֹמ ֙ ֵ ב ָ נ ֲ ע ‘their grapes’; ב ָ נ ֵ ע n.m. = ‘grape(s)’ > pl. םי ִ ב ָ נ ֲ ע > cstr. י ֵ ב ְ נּ ִ ע
Note dagesh forte dirimens in nun of י ֵ ב ְ נּ ִ ע and see GK 20 c: “a dagesh is
sometimes strengthened merely for the sake of euphony—”; GK 20 h:
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 331
“when a consonant with sheva is strengthened by dagesh forte dirimens to
make the sheva more audible.”
וֹמֽ ָ ל = ם ֶ ה ָ ל ‘to them’
וֹמי ֑ ֵ הל ֱ א = ם ֶ הי ֵ הל ֱ א ‘their gods’
֙ וֹמי ֙ ֵ ח ָ ב ְ ז = ם ֶ הי ֵ ח ְ ב ִ ז ‘their sacrifices’
For וּי ֥ ָ ס ָ ח = וּס ָ ח ‘they sought refuge’ (ה ָ ס ָ ח), see GK 75 Verbs ל " ה > GK
75 u: “The original yod sometimes appears even before afformatives begin-
ning with a vowel—.”
3 Psalm 89:18
ה ָ תּ ֑ ָ א וֹמ֣ ָ זּ ֻ ע ת ֶ ר ֣ ֶ א ְ פ ִ ת־י ֽ ִ כּ
For You are the glory of their strength.
וֹמ֣ ָ זּ ֻ ע ‘their strength’; זֹע n.m. = ‘strength’
ḤIREQ COMPAGINIS
See GK 90: Real and Supposed Remains of Early Case-endings; JM 93:
Paragogic vowels.
JM 93l: “The paragogic vowel י ִ ◌. This vowel is called ḥireq compaginis
(linking i) because it is usually found in nouns in the cst. state, and therefore
in close link with other nouns. Because of its ordinary use and of its origin
this י ִ ◌can be called i of the construct state. It is the י ִ ◌ which is found in
the cst. state of the biliteral nouns of kinship י ִ ב ֲ א י ִ ח ֲ א י ִ מ ֲ ח. This י ִ ◌ was
used in poetry in nouns, adjectives and especially participles, at first to ex-
press the construct state in the strict sense or in the loose sense, then as a
purely rhythmic vowel.”
332 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Exercise: in the following biblical verses, spot the Ḥireq Compaginis
in nouns, adjectives and participles. note also the instances
where a preposition is inserted between the cstr. state and its
genitive; explanatory notes are added.
1 Genesis 49:11 (Judah)
הֹרי ִ ע ֙ ן ֶ פ ֙ ֶ גּ ַ ל י ֤ ִ ר ְ סֹ א ] וֹ ֔ רי ִ ע [ וֹ ֑ נֹ ת ֲ א י֣ ִ נ ְ בּ ה ֖ ָ ק ֵ רֹשּׂ ַ ל ְ ו
Binding his foal to the vine and to the choice vine his ass’s colt.
י ֤ ִ ר ְ סֹ א Qal part. m.sg. ‘binding’. The regular form would be ר ֵ סֹ א.
See GK 90 m: “otherwise than in the cstr. state the ḥireq compaginis is only
found in participial forms, evidently with the object of giving them more
dignity”.
וֹ ֑ נֹ ת ֲ א י֣ ִ נ ְ בּ ‘the son (colt) of his ass’. י ִ נ ְ בּ instead of ן ֶ בּ, cstr. from ן ֵ בּ n.m.
2 Zechariah 11:17
ןא ֔ ֹצּ ַ ה י ֣ ִ ב ְ זֹע
‘that leaves the flock’.
י ֣ ִ ב ְ זֹע for ב ֵ זֹע (Qal part. m.sg.). See JM 93n: “In participles the י ִ ◌ of
the cst. state is rather frequent. This is because on the one hand a participle
preceding a substantive is often put in the cst., on the other hand because a
participle, for example ל ֵ טֹק, usually retains ֵ in the cstr. state: a form such
as י ִ ל ְ טֹק had thus the advantage of expressing the cst. state clearly”.
3 Deuteronomy 33:16
ה֑ ֶ נ ְ ס י֖ ִ נ ְ כֹשׁ ןוֹ ֥ צ ְ רוּ
And the good will of Him that dwells in the bush.
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 333
י֖ ִ נ ְ כֹשׁ for ן ֵ כֹשׁ ‘dwelling’.
4 Jeremiah 49:16
ע ַ ל ֶ֔ סּ ַ ה י֣ ֵ ו ְ ג ַ ח ְ בּ ֙ י ִ נ ְ כ ֽ ֹשׁ
Dwelling in the clefts of the rock.
֙ י ִ נ ְ כ ֽ ֹשׁ Note the cstr. state before a preposition.
5 Isaiah 22:16 (Isaiah denounces a powerful official of King Hezekiah,
Shebna, who was constructing for himself a rock sepulchre).
׃וֹ ֽ ל ן ֥ ָ כּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ע ַ ל ֖ ֶ סּ ַ ב י ֥ ִ ק ְ קֹ ח וֹ ֔ ר ְ ב ִ ק ֙ םוֹר ָ מ י ֤ ִ ב ְ צֹח
Hewing out his tomb on high, cutting in a dwelling place for himself in the
rock.
י ֤ ִ ב ְ צֹח Qal part. m.sg. for ב ֵ צֹח ‘hewing out’
י ֥ ִ ק  ְ קֹח Qal part. m.sg. for ק ֵ קֹח ‘cutting in’
6 Lamentations 1:1
ְ כּ ה ֖ ָ תְ י ָ ה ם ֔ ָ ע י ִ ת֣ ָ בּ ַ ר ֙ רי ִ ע ָ ה ד ֗ ָ ד ָ ב ה֣ ָ ב ְ שָׁ י ה֣ ָ כי ֵ א ם֗ ִ יוֹגּ ַ ב י ִ ת֣ ָ בּ ַ ר ה֑ ָ נ ָ מ ְ ל ַ א
׃ס ֽ ַ מ ָ ל ה ֖ ָ תְ י ָ ה תוֹ ֔ ני ִ ד ְ מּ ַ בּ ֙ י ִ ת ֙ ָ ר ָ שׂ
How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people, she has become like a
widow; she that was great among the nations and princess among the
provinces, she has become a vassal.
ם ֔ ָ ע י ִ ת֣ ָ בּ ַ ר ‘abounding in people’; י ִ ת ָ בּ ַ ר = ת ַ בּ ַ ר, fem. cstr. from adj.
ב ַ ר , ה ָ בּ ַ ר = ‘much, many, great’.
334 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ם֗ ִ יוֹגּ ַ ב י ִ ת֣ ָ בּ ַ ר ‘great among the nations’; note cstr. adj. with ḥireq com-
paginis before a preposition, which does not nullify the cstr. relation.
֙ י ִ ת ֙ ָ ר ָ שׂ תוֹ ֔ ני ִ ד ְ מּ ַ בּ ‘princess among the provinces’; י ִ ת ָ ר ָ שׂ = ת ַ ר ָ שׂ, cstr.
from ה ָ ר ָ שׂ n.f. = ‘princess’. Again, note the preposition between the cstr.
state and its genitive.
7 Genesis 31:39
׃ה ָ לְ י ֽ ָ ל י ֖ ִ ת ְ בֽ ֻ נ ְ גוּ םוֹ ֔ י י ֣ ִ ת ְ בֽ ֻ נ ְ גּ
Stolen by day or stolen by night.
י ֣ ִ ת ְ בֽ ֻ נ ְ גּ = ת ַ ב ֻ נ ְ גּ, which is cstr. from ה ָ בוּנ ְ גּ, pass. part. f.sg. בנג, = ‘stolen’.
See JM 93o: “There is a probable example of the passive participle in Gn
31:39—: this probably is the only example of paragogic י ִ ◌ in prose.”
8 Isaiah 1:21
ה ֥ ָ תּ ַ ע ְ ו הּ֖ ָ בּ ןי ֥ ִ לָ י ק ֶ ד֛ ֶ צ ט ֗ ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ י ֣ ִ ת ֲ א ֵ ל ְ מ ה֑ ָ נ ָ מ ֱ א ֶ נ ה֖ ָ י ְ ר ִ ק ה ֔ ָ נוֹז ְ ל ה ֣ ָ תְ י ָ ה ֙ ה ָ כי ֵ א
׃םי ֽ ִ ח ְ צּ ַ ר ְ מ
How the faithful city has become a harlot, she that was full of judgment,
righteousness lodged in her, and now murderers.
י ֣ ִ ת ֲ א ֵ ל ְ מ ט ֗ ָ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ‘full of judgment’; י ֣ ִ ת ֲ א ֵ ל ְ מ = ת ַ א ֵ ל ְ מ cstr. from ה ָ א ֵ ל ְ מ,
fem. of א ֵ ל ָ מ adj. = ‘full’.
9 Psalm 113:5,6,7,9
׃ת ֶ ב ֽ ָ שׁ ָ ל י ֥ ִ הי ִ בּ ְ ג ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה תוֹ ֑ א ְ ר ִ ל י ֥ ִ לי ִ פּ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה ל ֑ ָ דּ ר֣ ָ פ ָ ע ֵ מ י ֣ ִ מי ֽ ִ ק ְ מ
ֽ מ תִ י ַ֗ בּ ַ ה ת ֶ ר ֶ֬ ק ֲ ע י ִ֨ בי ִ שׁוֹ
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 335
Who dwells on high. Who makes low to see. Raises (the) poor from (the)
dust. He makes the barren of the house to dwell.
י ֥ ִ הי ִ בּ ְ ג ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה Hiphil part. m.sg. הּבג; י ֥ ִ לי ִ פּ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ֽ ַ ה Hiphil part. m.sg. לפשׁ;
י ֣ ִ מי ֽ ִ ק ְ מ Hiphil part. m.sg. םוק; י ִ֨ בי ִ שׁוֹ ֽ מ Hiphil part. m.sg. בשׁי.
See GK 90m: “We must distinguish, however, between passages in which
the participle nevertheless does stand in close connexion,—; and passages
in which the i added to the participle with the article merely serves as an
ornamental device of poetic style, e.g. in the late Psalms, 113:5,6,7,9; 114:8;
123:1.”
See also JM 93o: “The י ִ ◌ is simply incorrect in Ps 113:8 י ִ בי ִ שׁוֹה ְ ל (י ִ ◌
brought about by the preceding and following paragogic י ִ ◌).”
10 Genesis 1:24
שׂ ֶ מ ֛ ֶ ר ָ ו ה ֥ ָ מ ֵ ה ְ בּ הּ ֔ ָ ני ִ מ ְ ל ֙ הָ יּ ַ ח שׁ ֶ פ֤ ֶ נ ץ ֶ ר ָ֜ א ָ ה א ֨ ֵ צוֹתּ םי ִ֗ הל ֱ א ר ֶ מא֣ ֹיּ ַ ו
׃ן ֽ ֵ כ־י ִ הְ י ֽ ַ ו הּ֑ ָ ני ִ מ ְ ל ץ ֶ ר ֖ ֶ א־וֹתְ י ֽ ַ ח ְ ו
And G-d said, ‘let the earth bring forth living creature after its kind, cattle
and creeping things and animals of the earth, after its kind,’ and it was so.
See JM 93r: Paragogic Vowel ֹו: “This vowel is found only in a few nouns in
the construct state, notably הָ יּ ַ ח animal. —It is used in some cases in the
cst. state instead of י ִ ◌ for reasons unknown. Instead of י ִ נ ְ בּ (Gn 49:11) we
find רוֹפּ ִ צ וֹנ ְ בּ ‘son of Zipor’ (Num 23:18), רֹע ְ ב וֹנ ְ בּ ‘son of Beor’ (Num
24.3,15). (poetic and archaic texts). —Finally we find וֹתְ י ַ ח 7 times (one of
which occurs in a prose passage).
In Gn. 1:24 ץ ֶ ר ֖ ֶ א־וֹתְ י ֽ ַ ח ְ ו—the poetic form may have been chosen to avoid
תַ יּ ַ ח - ץ ֶ ר ֶ א , which may have been thought too harsh (but vs 25:
336 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
תַ יּ ַ ח ץ ֶ ר ָ א ָ ה with the article); cf. Ps 79.2 וֹתְ י ַ ח ְ ל - ץ ֶ ר ֶ א .”
11 Psalm 114:8
רוּ ֣ צּ ַ ה י ֣ ִ כ ְ פֹה ַ ה ׃םִ י ֽ ָ מ־וֹנ ְ י ְ ע ַ מ ְ ל שׁי ֗ ִ מ ָ לּ ַ֝ ח םִ י ֑ ָ מ־ם ַ ג ֲ א
Who turns the rock into a pool of water, (the) flint into a fountain of water.
י ֣ ִ כ ְ פֹה ַ ה ‘who turns’ = ך ֵ פֹה ַ ה (Qal part. m.sg.)
םִ י ֽ ָ מ־וֹנ ְ י ְ ע ַ מ ְ ל Note paragogic ֹו. But see JM 93r: “Instead of םִ י ֽ ָ מ־וֹנ ְ י ְ ע ַ מ ְ ל
Ps 114:8 one should phps read the plural י ֵ נ ְ י ְ ע ַ מ ְ ל (cf. LXX, Pesh., Vulg.).”
PARAGOGIC NUN
See JM 44e,f; GK 47m.
JM 44e: “Added to the sufformative וּ of the 3rd pers. pl. m. and 2nd pl. m.
וּל ְ ט ְ קִ י , וּל ְ ט ְ ק ִ תּ we often find a ן called paragogic nun, i.e. added Nun. In
reality the ן belongs to primitive forms and is found in Ugaritic, Arabic,
Aramaic etc. The total of 305 examples are pretty widely spread in the Old
Testament;—. The reasons for the presence of a form with ןוּ can be the
antiquity of a text, a deliberate archaism, Aramaic influence, and metre. But
the usual reason seems to be preference for a fuller and more emphatic
form. This explains why one finds forms with ןוּ especially in pause (in ma-
jor and intermediate pauses).”
Exercise: study the occurrence of Paragogic Nun in the following
biblical verses, noting its occurrence with and without the pause,
in both prose and poetic texts; explanatory notes are added.
1 Exodus 15:14
ןוּ ֑ ז ָ גּ ְ רִ י םי ֖ ִ מּ ַ ע וּ ֥ ע ְ מ ֽ ָ שׁ
The people hear and quake.
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 337
ןוּ ֑ ז ָ גּ ְ רִ י Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. זגר; this form occurs in pause and the pausal
vowel of the 2nd syllable (qamets) is retained. i.e. וּז ְ גּ ְ רִ י > וּז ָ גּ ְ רִ י > ןוּז ָ גּ ְ רִ י
2 Psalm 104:28
ן ֣ ֵ תּ ִ תּ ם ֶ ה ָ֭ ל ןוּ ֑ טֹק ְ לִ י ח ֥ ַ תּ ְ פ ִ תּ ֗ ך ְ ד ֽ ָ י ןוּ ֥ ע ְ בּ ְ שִׂ י ׃בוֹ ֽ ט
You give to them, they gather in, You open Your hand, they are sated with
good.
ןוּ ֑ טֹק ְ לִ י Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. טקל; this form occurs in pause and the
pausal vowel of the 2nd syllable (holem) is retained. i.e. וּט ְ ק ְ לִ י > וּטֹק ְ לִ י >
ןוּטֹק ְ לִ י
ןוּ ֥ ע ְ בּ ְ שִׂ י Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. עבשׂ; not in pause.
3 Deuteronomy 4:10
׃ןוּ ֽ ד ֵ מּ ַ לְ י ם ֖ ֶ הי ֵ נ ְ בּ־ת ֶ א ְ ו
And their sons they will teach.
ןוּ ֽ ד ֵ מּ ַ לְ י ׃ Piel imperf. 3 m.pl. דמל; וּד ְ מּ ַ לְ י > וּד ֵ מּ ַ לְ י (in pause) > ןוּד ֵ מּ ַ לְ י
(retention of pausal vowel + paragogic nun).
4 Genesis 18:28
ה ֔ ָ שּׁ ִ מ ֲ ח ֙ ם ִ קי ִ דּ ַ צּ ַ ה םי ֤ ִ שּׁ ִ מ ֲ ח ןוּ ֞ ר ְ ס ְ חַ י י ַ לוּ ֠ א
Perhaps the fifty righteous ones will lack five.
ןוּ ֞ ר ְ ס ְ חַ י Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. ר ֵ ס ָ ח; not in pause.
5 Genesis 18:29
םי ֑ ִ ע ָ בּ ְ ר ַ א ם ֖ ָ שׁ ןוּ ֥ א ְ צ ָ מִּ י י ֛ ַ לוּא
338 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Perhaps forty will be found there.
ןוּ ֥ א ְ צ ָ מִּ י Niphal imperf. 3 m.pl. אצמ; not in pause.
6 Numbers 16:29
ה ֶ לּ ֵ֔ א ןוּ ֣ ת ֻ מְ י ֙ ם ָ ד ָ א ֽ ָ ה־ל ָ כּ תוֹ ֤ מ ְ כּ־ם ִ א
If these shall die like the death of any man.
ןוּ ֣ ת ֻ מְ י Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. תומ; some examples may be due to euphonic
reasons, here to avoid a hiatus before ’aleph (GK 47m).
7 Isaiah 26:11
ה֛ ָ והְ י ה ָ מ ֥ ָ ר ֖ ך ְ דָ י ןוּ ֑ י ָ ז ֱ חֶ י־ל ַ בּ וּ ֤ ז ֱ חֶ י ֙ וּשׁ ֨ ֹבֵ י ְ ו ם ֔ ָ ע־ת ַ א ְ נ ִ ק
O Lord, (when) Your hand is lifted up, they will not see; they will see and
be ashamed (Your) zeal for (the) people.
ןוּ ֑ י ָ ז ֱ חֶ י־ל ַ בּ ‘they will not see’; Qal imperf. הזח; retention of archaic yod
of ל " ה verbs; paragogic nun in pause.
וּ ֤ ז ֱ חֶ י without paragogic nun in the same verse but not in pause sug-
gests that it was “the pause especially which exerted an influence on the
restoration of this older and fuller termination”. (GK 47m).
8 Ruth 2:8
י ֽ ָ תֹר ֲ ע ַ נ־ם ִ ע ןי ֖ ִ ק ָ בּ ְ ד ִ ת ה ֥ ֹכ ְ ו
But stay close to my maidens.
ןי ֖ ִ ק ָ בּ ְ ד ִ ת Qal imperf. 2 f.sg. קבד; see JM 44f: “Similarly, to the
sufformative י of the second pers. sg. f. one sometimes adds a paragogic
Nun.” Note the retention of the pausal vowel. י ִ ק ְ בּ ְ ד ִ תּ > י ִ ק ָ בּ ְ ד ִ תּ >
ןי ִ ק ָ בּ ְ ד ִ תּ
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 339
A GRAMMATICAL OVERVIEW OF THE SONG OF THE SEA
(EXODUS 15:1-18)
(based on both medieval and modern scholarship)
Nahum Sarna (The JPS Torah Commentary, p 75) suggests that the Song of
the Sea “may be the oldest piece of sustained poetry in the Hebrew Bible”
and it certainly contains a concentration of grammatical features of
“elevated” or “poetic” style.
This section will present a verse-by-verse analysis of these grammatical
features but will not encompass a complete analysis of all the literary
features which characterize biblical “poetry”, for which other works may be
consulted. A number of these grammatical features have already been dealt
with separately in Parts Four and Five of this book, but will be explained
again or the student will be referred back to the relevant section.
Exodus 15:1
ֽ ַ ל ֙ תאֹזּ ַ ה ה ֤ ָ רי ִ שּׁ ַ ה־ת ֶ א ל ֵ֜ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י י ֨ ֵ נ ְ בוּ ֩ ה ֶ שֹׁמ־רי ֽ ִ שָׁ י ז ֣ ָ א ײ ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל וּ ֖ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו
ַ ֽ ל ה ָ רי ֤ ִ שׁ ָ א ײ ה ָ֔ א ָ גּ ה ֣ ֹ א ָ ג־י ֽ ִ כּ
׃םֽ ָ יּ ַ ב ה ֥ ָ מ ָ ר וֹ ֖ ב ְ כֹר ְ ו סוּ ֥ ס
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to the Lord and they
spoke, saying, ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He is surely exalted, horse and its
rider He has cast into the sea’.
רי ֽ ִ שָׁ י ז ֣ ָ א “Then (Moses) sang”; for use of imperf. in sphere of past
time, imperf. after certain particles and note on use of ז ָ א, see Part Four of
this grammar book.
340 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
ה ֣ ֹ א ָ ג ה ָ֔ א ָ גּ Qal inf. abs. + Qal perf. 3 m.sg. ה ָ א ָ גּ = ‘rise up, be lifted up,
exalted’.
ה ָ מ ָ ר Qal perf. 3 m.sg. = ‘cast, shoot’.
Notice the ‘parallelism’ of clauses (see summary outline of the grammatical
features of ‘elevated style’, Part Five of this grammar book).
Views of medieval scholars on רי ֽ ִ שָׁ י ז ֣ ָ א
1 Comment of Ibn Ezra in his longer commentary on the Pentateuch
ז ָ א ת ַ לּ ִ מ ם ִ ע ר ָ ב ָ ע ת ַ ח ַ תּ די ִ ת ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ר ַ מוֹל שׁ ֶ דוֹקּ ַ ה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ט ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ .
Translation of Ibn Ezra:
It is the custom of the Holy Language to use imperfect instead of perfect
after the word ז ָ א
2 Comment of Ibn Ezra in his shorter commentary on the Pentateuch
׃ה ֶ שׁמ רי ִ שָׁ י ז ָ א י ִ ע ָ צ ְ מ ֶ א ָ ה ן ַ מ ְ זּ ַ ה אוּה ֶ שׁ י ִ תּ ְ ע ַ דּ ל ַ ע ְ ו ר ָ ב ָ ע ת ַ ח ַ תּ די ִ ת ָ ע
ן ָ מי ִ ס שׁ ֶ דֹקּ ַ ה ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בּ ןי ֵ א ְ ו די ִ ת ָ ע ְ ו ר ָ ב ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בּ וּר ְ מאֹי ן ֵ כּ ל ַ ע וי ָ ל ָ ע
Translation of Ibn Ezra
Then sang Moses. Imperfect instead of perfect. It is my opinion that it is
י ִ ע ָ צ ְ מ ֶ א ָ ה ן ַ מ ְ זּ ַ ה and there is no method (to express) it in the Holy Lan-
guage, therefore they use past or future.
Explanation of Ibn Ezra’s comments
י ִ ע ָ צ ְ מ ֶ א ָ ה ן ַ מ ְ זּ ַ ה
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 341
another term used by Ibn Ezra for ‘standing time’, ד ֵ מוֹע ן ַ מ ְ ז – see Part
Four, views of medieval scholars on use of perf. and imperf., no 5, where
Ibn Ezra’s comments on Psalm 1:1,2 are presented and the concept of ן ַ מ ְ ז
ד ֵ מוֹע is explained. i.e. either perfect or imperfect may be used to express
‘standing time’, that is, to express continuation, repetition, duration.
3 Comments of Rashi
׃ה ֶ שׁמ רי ִ שָׁ י ז ָ א ה ָ רי ִ שׁ רי ִ שָׁ יּ ֶ שׁ וֹבּ ִ ל ְ בּ ה ָ ל ָ ע ס ֵ נּ ַ ה ה ָ א ָ ר ֶ שׁ ְ כּ ז ָ א --- וּנ ְ ד ַ מ ָ ל
ה ָ ר ְ מ ֶ א ֶ נ ה ָ ב ָ שׁ ֲ ח ַ מּ ַ ה ם ֵ שׁ ל ַ ע ד״וֹיּ ַ ה ֶ שׁ ֵ שּׁי ַ י ְ ל וּה ֶ ז וֹטוּשׁ ְ פּ ב וֹשׁ ָ ר ְ ד ִ מ ל ָ ב ֲ א
ה ָ רוֹתּ ַ ה ן ִ מ םי ִ ת ֵ מּ ַ ה תַ יּ ִ ח ְ ת ִ ל ז ֶ מ ֶ ר ןא ָ כּ ִ מ ל״ז וּני ֵ תוֹבּ ַ ר וּר ְ מ ָ א
Translation of Rashi
Then sang Moses. Then, when he saw the miracle, it arose in his heart that
he would sing a song—we learn that the yod (i.e. future tense) indicates the
intention; that is the plain meaning. But (according to) the midrashic
explanation, our rabbis of blessed memory said, from here there is an
allusion in the Torah to the revival of the dead.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi suggests that ז ָ א here indicates the thought/intention to sing, fol-
lowed by the actual uttering of the song, expressed by ר ֑ ֹ מא ֵ ל וּ ֖ ר ְ מאֹיּ ַ ו i.e.
“Then Moses intended/decided to sing—and they spoke, saying—.” Ac-
cording to the midrashic interpretation brought by Rashi, the use of the
imperf. here indicates the Messianic era, the time of the revival of the dead,
“then, in the future, Moses will sing—.” Rashi argues that רי ִ שָׁ י ז ָ א is not
an imperf. indicating continuous action (for which a past or future may be
used), for רי ִ שָׁ י ז ָ א expresses an action that happened once only.
RAMBAN (see glossary) criticizes Rashi and points out that there are future
forms which refer to past actions which happened only once (e.g. Psalm
342 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
106:19: ב ֵ רֹח ְ בּ ל ֶ ג ֵ ע וּשׂ ֲ עַ י ‘they made a calf at Horeb’). Ramban seems to
conclude that the tenses are interchangeable; the narrator places himself at
the point of time he desires in order to convey the event realistically; this is
usual in prophecy.
Exodus 15:2
י֤ ִ זּ ָ ע ֙ ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ ז ְ ו הּ֔ ָ י י ֖ ִ ל־י ִ הְ י ֽ ַ ו ה֑ ָ עוּשׁי ֽ ִ ל
וּה ֵ֔ ו ְ נ ַ א ְ ו ֙ י ִ ל ֵ א ה֤ ֶ ז
׃וּה ְ נ ֽ ֶ מ ְ מֹר ֲ א ַ ו י ֖ ִ ב ָ א י ֥ ֵ הל ֱ א
Translation according to interpretation of Rashi
The strength and the vengeance of G-d has become to me a salvation; this
is my G-d and I will adorn Him (or, build Him a dwelling), the G-d of my
father and I will extol Him.
Translation according to interpretation of Ibn Ezra
G-d is my strength and the song of (my strength) and has become to me a
salvation, this is my G-d and I will build Him a dwelling, this is the G-d of
my father and I will extol Him.
זֹע n.m. = ‘strength, might’; the usual form of זֹע + sf. 1 c.sg. is י ִ זּ ֻ ע (see
Jeremiah 16:19). The form with qamets-ḥateph י֤ ִ זּ ָ ע occurs only here and in
the same phrase in Isaiah 12:2 and Psalm 118:14.
ה ָ ר ְ מ ִ ז n.f. ‘song, melody’; the expected form in cstr. state would be ת ַ ר ְ מ ִ ז
(pataḥ under resh, not qamets). The form with sf. 1 c.sg. would be י ִ ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ ז
(ḥireq yod at end) = ‘my song’. Hence, ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ ז is a strange form, although
rarer fem. endings do include תָ , see GK 80g and see II Chron 31:3, ת ָ נ ְ מוּ
ך ֶ ל ֶ מּ ַ ה.
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 343
IBN EZRA states that there is no difference between י ֤ ִ זּ ָ ע and י ִ זּ ֻ ע and that
י֤ ִ זּ ָ ע = ‘my strength’. He also takes ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ ז as a fem. noun in cstr. state =
‘song of’ and he regards הּ֔ ָ י ֙ ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ ז ְ ו י֤ ִ זּ ָ ע as elliptical, suggesting that we
need to understand the word י֤ ִ זּ ָ ע a second time, i.e. הָּ י י ִ זּ ָ ע ת ַ ר ְ מ ִ ז ְ ו י ִ זּ ָ ע ‘G-
d is my strength and the song of my strength’.
See Ibn Ezra’s following comment:
ְ צ ַ ע ת ֶ כ ֶ שׁוֹמ י ִ זּ ָ ע ת ַ לּ ִ מּ ֶ שׁ י ִ תּ ְ ע ַ ד י ִ פ ְ לוּ ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ט ַ פּ ְ שׁ ִ מ ְ כּ הּ ָ מּ ִ ע ת ֶ ר ֶ ח ַ א ְ ו הּ ָ מ
הָּ י י ִ זּ ָ ע ת ַ ר ְ מ ִ ז ְ ו י ִ זּ ָ ע בוּת ָ כּ וּלי ִ א ְ כּ שׁ ֶ דֹקּ ַ ה
“And in my opinion, the word י ִ זּ ָ ע pulls itself and another with it (i.e. is
understood twice over) according to the custom of the Holy Language, as if
it was written, ‘my strength and the song of my strength’.
RASHI takes an altogether different view, suggesting that although י ִ זּ ֻ ע
(with qibbus) is noun + sf., י ִ זּ ָ ע (with qamets-ḥateph) is a noun without a
suffix, but with an extra ḥireq-yod י ִ ◌ (see above, Ḥireq Compaginis). Rashi
also takes ת ָ ר ְ מ ִ ז as a noun in cstr. state, but connects it with a different
root רמז = ‘trim, prune’ (see Levit 25:4 and BDB p 274). Rashi then un-
derstands the verse: “the strength of and the vengeance of G-d has become
to me a salvation”.
וּה ֵ֔ ו ְ נ ַ א ְ ו can be understood in two different ways:
(i) based on הונ (I) – only found in Hiphil = ‘beautify, adorn’
> “I will beautify/adorn Him” (BDB p 627)
(ii) based on הונ (II) – a denominative derived from ה ֶ ו ָ נ n.m. = ‘abode of
shepherd, habitation’ > “I will build Him a dwelling” (BDB p 627).
344 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
RASHI brings both views, while IBN EZRA brings only the latter view,
which is derived from the Aramaic Targum.
וּה ְ נ ֽ ֶ מ ְ מֹר ֲ א ַ ו םור; Polel imperf. 1 c.sg. + vav conj. + sf. 3 m.sg. with
unassimilated Energic Nun (see Energic Nun, Part Five, above); these
forms are rare, occurring only in poetic or elevated style (GK 58 i,j,k,l).
וּה ְ נ ֽ ֶ מ ְ מֹר ֲ א ַ ו י ֖ ִ ב ָ א י ֥ ֵ הל ֱ א וּה ֵ֔ ו ְ נ ַ א ְ ו ֙ י ִ ל ֵ א ה֤ ֶ ז
Note the terseness of expression typical of poetic style; the reader is left to
deduce the climactic ascent in the parallel structure here; the second line
adds something:
“(Not only) is He my G-d and I will adorn Him, (but also) He is the G-d of
my father and I will extol Him”; i.e. not only is He my G-d, but also my
father’s G-d; not only will I adorn Him, but also I will extol Him. Note also
the ellipsis of the word ה ֶ ז, which must be understood a second time, ‘This
is my G-d—and (this is) my father’s G-d—.’ The ellipsis is pointed out by
Ibn Ezra: ר ֵ ח ַ א רוּב ֲ ע ַ בּ ת ֵ ר ָ שְׁ י ה ֶ ז ‘this serves a second time’.
Exodus 15:4
ם֑ ָ יּ ַ ב ה ֣ ָ רָ י וֹ ֖ לי ֵ ח ְ ו ה ֛ ֹע ְ ר ַ פּ ת ֥ ֹב ְ כּ ְ ר ַ מ
׃ףוּ ֽ ס־םַ י ְ ב וּ ֥ ע ְ בּ ֻ ט וי ֖ ָ שׁ ִ ל ֽ ָ שׁ ר ֥ ַ ח ְ ב ִ מוּ
The chariots of Pharoah and his army He threw into the sea, the choicest of
his officers were sunk in the Reed Sea.
ה ֣ ָ רָ י ‘throw, shoot, cast’; ר ָ ח ְ ב ִ מ n.m. ‘choicest, best’;
שׁי ִ ל ָ שׁ n.m. ‘officer’;
ע ַ ב ָ ט ‘sink’ > Pual perf. 3 c.pl. וּ ֥ ע ְ בּ ֻ ט ‘they were sunk’.
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 345
Exodus 15:5
וּמ֑ ֻ י ְ ס ַ כְ י ת ֖ ֹ מֹה ְ תּ
ֶ ב ֽ ָ א־וֹמ ְ כּ ת ֖ לוֹצ ְ מ ִ ב וּ ֥ ד ְ רָ י ׃ן
The depths covered them, they sank in the deep like stone.
םוֹה ְ תּ n.f. (& m) ‘deep, sea’ (usu. poetic)
לוצ > ה ָ לוּצ ְ מ n.f. ‘depth, deep’
וֹמ ְ כּ (BDB p 455) functioning here as a poetic synonym of ְ כּ = ‘like, as’
ְ י וּמ֑ ֻ י ְ ס ַ כ Piel imperf. 3 m.pl. הסכ with retention of original yod (see GK
75u: verbs lamed-hey were originally either lamed-vav or lamed-yod and
“the original yod sometimes appears even before afformatives beginning
with a vowel”). Note also the וּמ ending instead of the rare suffix וֹמ and
see GK 58g: “The forms וֹמ וֹמָ וֹמ ֵ ◌ occur 23 times, all in poetry (except
Ex. 23:31)”. RASHBAM suggests that the וּמ form is due to assonance with
the ֻ sound earlier in the verse.
Comment of Rashi on וּמ֑ ֻ י ְ ס ַ כְ י
וֹמ ְ כּ ך ַ כ ְ בּ תוֹא ָ ר ְ ק ִ מ ך ֶ ר ֶ דו וֹב ה ָ רי ֵ תְ י תי ִ ע ָ צ ְ מ ֶ א ָ ה ד״ויּ ַ הו םוּסּ ַ כְ י וֹמ ְ כּ
ן ֔ ֻ י ְ בּ ְ רִ י ֙ ך ְ נא ֽ ֹצ ְ ו ֤ ך ְ ר ֽ ָ ק ְ בוּ ) גי ח םי ִ ר ָ ב ְ דּ (
ך ֑ ֶ תי ֵ בּ ן ֶ שׁ֣ ֶ דּ ִ מ ן ֻ י ְ ו ְ רִ֭ י ) ול םי ִ לּ ִ ה ְ תּ ט (
ָ מ ְ שׁ ַ מּ ֶ שׁ ה ָ נוֹשׁא ִ ר ָ ה ד״ויהו םַ י ְ ב וּע ְ בּ ֻ ט ׃וּה ֵ שׁ ְ ר ָ פּ ך ַ כּ די ִ ת ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל הּ ָ ע
וּר ְ ז ְ חַ יּ ֶ שׁ י ֵ ד ְ כּ ףוּס ן ָ תוֹא וּסּ ַ כי ִ ו םִ י ַ מּ ַ ה
346 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Translation and Explanation of Rashi
Like םוּסּ ַ כְ י (Piel imperf. 3 m.pl. + sf. 3 m.pl. ‘they will cover them’, הסכ)
and the middle yod is superfluous; this is typical of Biblical Hebrew, like:
Deut 8:13: ‘your cattle and your sheep will multiply’ ( ן ֔ ֻ י ְ בּ ְ רִ י = וּבּ ְ רִ י Qal
imperf. 3 m.pl. ה ָ ב ָ ר but has retained the archaic yod and also has paragogic
nun), and Psalm 36:9: “they are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of
Your house” ( ן ֻ י ְ ו ְ רִ֭ י = וּו ְ רִ י, Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. הור, but has retained the
archaic yod and also has pargogic nun). And as for the first yod (i.e. the fact
that the verb is imperf.) explain it thus: ‘they were sunk in the Reed Sea in
order that the waters should return and cover them’. (i.e. Rashi has joined
the beginning of v 5 to the end of v 4 in a relation of effect and cause; this
accords with the notion that biblical Hebrew poetry is characterized by
terseness, which leads to ellipsis of thematic connections, and consequently,
Rashi makes explicit the thematic connection which is not expressed in the
biblical text in actual words). (Rashi’s explanation also accounts for the fact
that וּמ֑ ֻ י ְ ס ַ כְ י is imperf. while all the other verbs in vv 4-5 are perf. – ה ָ רָ י
וּע ְ בּ ֻ ט וּד ְ רָ י ).
Exodus 15:6
֣ ך ְ ני ֽ ִ מְ י ײ ַ ח ֑ ֹכּ ַ בּ י ֖ ִ ר ָ דּ ְ א ֶ נ
֥ ך ְ ני ֽ ִ מְ י ײ ׃בֽ ֵ יוֹא ץ ֥ ַ ע ְ ר ִ תּ
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in strength, Your right hand, O Lord,
crushes (the) enemy.
י ֖ ִ ר ָ דּ ְ א ֶ נ Niphal part. m.sg. רדא ‘majestic, glorious’; for the ḥireq
compaginis, see above, Part Five of this book. Note the preposition
inserted between the cstr. state and its genitive ( ַ ח ֑ ֹכּ ַ בּ י ֖ ִ ר ָ דּ ְ א ֶ נ ‘glorious in
strength’).
ץ ַ ע ָ ר ‘shatter’ (only Exod 15:6 and Judges 10:8)
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 347
ןי ִ מָ י n.f. ‘right hand’ (also n.m. see Ezekiel 2:9)
The words ַ ח ֑ ֹכּ ַ בּ י ֖ ִ ר ָ דּ ְ א ֶ נ could be taken in two possible ways:
(i) as addressed to G-d > ‘Your right hand, O Lord, You who are glori-
ous in power, Your right hand, O Lord, shatters (the) enemy’. (This is the
view of Ibn Ezra and it accords with a pattern of repetitive parallelism
found elsewhere, e.g. Psalm 92:10; 93:3; 94:3).
(ii) alternatively, ַ ח ֑ ֹכּ ַ בּ י ֖ ִ ר ָ דּ ְ א ֶ נ refers back to ֣ ך ְ ני ֽ ִ מְ י ‘your right hand’, since
ןי ִ מָ י is also found as masculine (Ezekiel 2:9), i.e. ‘Your right hand, O Lord,
is glorious in power, Your right hand, O Lord, shatters (the) enemy’.
Exodus 15:7
ְ נוֹא ְ גּ ב ֥ ֹר ְ בוּ ֖ ך
י ֑ ֶ מ ָ ק ס ֣ ֹר ֲ ה ַ תּ ך
֣ ֹר ֲ ח ֙ ח ַ לּ ַ שׁ ְ תּ ֔ ךְ נ
׃שׁ ֽ ַ קּ ַ כּ וֹמ֖ ֵ ל ְ כאֹי
And in the greatness of Your majesty, You overthrew those who rose up
against You, You sent forth Your burning anger, it consumed them like
stubble.
Note the assonance created by the repetition of ך, perhaps drawing atten-
tion to G-d’s supreme power. Note also use of imperf. in all the verbs to
express repetition and continuity, and use of the rare suffix form וֹמ ֵ ◌ in
וֹמ֖ ֵ ל ְ כאֹי = ם ֵ ל ְ כאֹי (imperf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.pl.) (GK 58g). ה ָ ר ָ ח > ןוֹר ָ ח
n.m. = ‘burning (of anger)’; שׁ ַ ק n.m. = ‘stubble’; ס ַ ר ָ ה = ‘throw down,
break, tear down’.
348 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Exodus 15:8
םִ י ֔ ַ מ וּמ ְ ר ֶ ע֣ ֶ נ ֙ ךי ֙ ֶ פּ ַ א ַ חוּ ֤ ר ְ בוּ
םי ֑ ִ ל ְ זֹ נ ד֖ ֵ נ־וֹמ ְ כ וּ ֥ ב ְ צּ ִ נ
׃םֽ ָ י־ב ֶ ל ְ בּ ת ֖ ֹ מֹה ְ ת וּ ֥ א ְ פ ֽ ָ ק
And with the breath of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, the floods
stood upright like a heap, the depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
ם ַ ר ָ ע > Niphal: ‘be heaped up’; דֵ נ n.m. ‘heap’ (of waters); ב ַ צ ָ נ > Niphal
perf. ו ֥ ב ְ צּ ִ נ ‘stood upright’; ל ַ ז ָ נ > Qal part. םי ֑ ִ ל ְ זֹ נ = ‘waters, floods’; א ָ פ ָ ק =
‘thicken, congeal’.
Exodus 15:9
ל֑ ָ ל ָ שׁ ק֣ ֵ לּ ַ ח ֲ א גי ֖ ִ שּׂ ַ א ף ֥ ֹדּ ְ ר ֶ א ב֛ ֵ יוֹא ר ֥ ַ מ ָ א
׃י ֽ ִ דָ י וֹמ ֖ ֵ שׁי ִ רוֹתּ י ִ֔ בּ ְ ר ַ ח קי ֣ ִ ר ָ א י ֔ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ וֹמ ֣ ֵ א ָ ל ְ מ ִ תּ
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide (the) spoil; my
appetite will be full of them, I will draw (lit. empty out) my sword, my hand
will dispossess (destroy) them’.
Note alliteration of letter ’aleph (ק֣ ֵ לּ ַ ח ֲ א גי ֖ ִ שּׂ ַ א ף ֥ ֹדּ ְ ר ֶ א ב֛ ֵ יוֹא ר ֥ ַ מ ָ א) and
three parallel clauses all ending in י ִ ◌ ( י ֔ ִ שׁ ְ פ ַ נ י ִ֔ בּ ְ ר ַ ח י ֽ ִ דָ י ). Note also two
occurrences of the וֹמ ending: וֹמ ֣ ֵ א ָ ל ְ מ ִ תּ Qal imperf. + sf. 3 m.pl. א ֵ ל ָ מ;
וֹמ ֖ ֵ שׁי ִ רוֹתּ Hiphil imperf. 3 f.sg. + sf. 3 m.pl. שׁרי.
קי ִ ר > Hiphil = ‘empty out’; גשׂנ > Hiphil = ‘reach, overtake’
Exodus 15:10
ם֑ ָ י וֹמ ֣ ָ סּ ִ כּ ֖ ך ֲ חוּר ְ ב ָ תּ ְ פ ֥ ַ שָׁ נ
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 349
׃םי ֽ ִ רי ִ דּ ַ א םִ י ֖ ַ מ ְ בּ ת ֶ ר ֔ ֶ פוֹעֽ ַ כּ ֙ וּל ֲ ל ֽ ָ צ
You blew with Your wind, (the) sea covered them, they sunk like lead in the
mighty waters.
Note וֹמ ending on וֹמ ֣ ָ סּ ִ כּ ‘(it) covered them; Piel perf. 3 m.sg. + sf. 3 m.pl.
הסכ.
ת ֶ ר ֔ ֶ פוֹע n.m. = ‘lead’.
Exodus 15:11
ה ָ כ ֤ ֹ מ ָ כ־י ֽ ִ מ ֙ ם ִ ל ֵ א ֽ ָ בּ ײ
שׁ ֶ ד ֑ ֹקּ ַ בּ ר֣ ָ דּ ְ א ֶ נ ה ָ כ ֖ ֹ מ ָ כּ י ֥ ִ מ
׃א ֶ ל ֽ ֶ פ ה ֵ שׂ ֥ ֹע ת ֖ ל ִ ה ְ ת א ֥ ָ רוֹנ
Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, majestic in
holiness? Fearful in praises, doing wonders. (א ָ רוֹנ > Niphal participle,
א ֵ רָ י).
Notice the repetition ( י ִ מ - ה ָ כֹ מ ָ כ ה ָ כֹ מ ָ כּ י ִ מ ), typical of ‘poetry’.
Exodus 15:12
׃ץ ֶ ר ֽ ָ א וֹמ֖ ֵ ע ָ ל ְ ב ִ תּ ֔ ך ְ ני ֣ ִ מְ י ֙ ָ תי ֙ ִ טָ נ
You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them.
Note that ֙ ָ תי ֙ ִ טָ נ is perf. (Qal הטנ), while וֹמ֖ ֵ ע ָ ל ְ ב ִ תּ is imperf. (Qal עלב +
sf. 3 m.pl. rare form, וֹמ), demonstrating the customary variation of tenses
in ‘poetry’.
See GK 107d: “Also those actions etc which might be regarded in them-
selves as single or even momentary are, as it were, broken up by the imper-
350 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
fect into their component parts, and so pictured as gradually completing
themselves. Hence, וֹמ֖ ֵ ע ָ ל ְ ב ִ תּ represents the Egyptians in a vivid, poetic
description, as being swallowed up one after another.”
Exodus 15:13
׃ך ֽ ֶ שׁ ְ ד ָ ק ה֥ ֵ ו ְ נ־ל ֶ א ֖ ך ְ זּ ָ ע ְ ב ָ תּ ְ ל ֥ ַ ה ֵ נ ָ תּ ְ ל ֑ ָ א ָ גּ וּ ֣ ז־ם ַ ע ֖ ך ְ דּ ְ ס ַ ח ְ ב ָ תי ֥ ִ ח ָ נ
You, in Your mercy, have led (the) people whom You have redeemed, You
have guided (them) in Your strength to Your holy habitation.
Comment of Ibn Ezra on ָ תי ֥ ִ ח ָ נ
די ִ ת ָ ע ר ָ ב ָ דּ אוּה ֶ שׁ םי ִ שׁ ְ ר ָ פ ְ מּ ַ ה ל ָ כּ ת ַ ע ַ דּ ל ַ ע ׃ך ְ דּ ְ ס ַ ח ְ ב ָ תי ִ ח ָ נ , ר ָ ב ְ כוּ
די ִ ת ָ ע ת ַ ח ַ תּ ר ָ ב ָ ע ןוֹשׁ ְ ל ִ בּ םי ִ אי ִ ב ְ נּ ַ ה וּר ְ בּ ַ דְ י ה ָ מ ָ ל י ִ תּ ְ ר ַ כּ ְ ז ִ ה . ם ַ ע ַ טּ ַ ה ְ ו
ֵ ח ְ נ ַ י ם ֵ שּׁ ַ ה ֶ שׁ שׁ ֶ דוֹק ה ֵ ו ְ נ אוּה ֶ שׁ םִ י ַ ל ָ שׁוּרְ י ל ֶ א ם ֵ אי ִ בְ יּ ֶ שׁ ד ַ ע ם . ןוֹכ ָ נּ ַ ה ְ ו
ה ָ נ ְ תּ ִ נ ם ָ שׁ ְ ו ם ֵ שּׁ ַ ה ת ֵ א וּד ְ ב ַ עַ י ם ָ שּׁ ֶ שׁ י ַ ני ִ ס ר ַ ה אוּה שׁ ֶ דוֹקּ ַ ה ה ֵ ו ְ נּ ֶ שׁ י ַ ני ֵ ע ְ בּ
ל ֵ א ָ ר ְ שִׂ י ְ ל ה ָ רוֹתּ
Translation of Ibn Ezra
You have led/will lead in Your lovingkindness: it is the opinion of all the
commentators that this verb refers to the future, and I have already
mentioned why the Prophets use the perfect to refer to the future. The
meaning here is that G-d will guide them until He brings them to Jerusalem,
which is the Holy Habitation. And it is correct in my eyes that the Holy
Habitation is Mount Sinai, where they will serve G-d, and there the Torah
was given to Israel.
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 351
Explanation of Ibn Ezra’s comment
Ibn Ezra has clearly understood the verb ָ תי ִ ח ָ נ (Qal perf. 2 m.sg. החנ =
‘lead, guide’) as a Prophetic Perfect, which is characteristic of prophetic,
elevated style.
Note also: ָ תּ ְ ל ֑ ָ א ָ גּ וּ ֣ ז־ם ַ ע “the people whom You have redeemed”; see BDB
p 262 and GK 138g. וּז is a pronoun used in ‘poetic’ language; it can be:
(i) a demonstrative. e.g. Habakkuk 1:11: וֹחֹכּ וּז ‘this his strength’
(ii) a relative. e.g. Exod 15:13 (here) and Exod 15:16: ‘the people whom
You have acquired’ ָ תי ֽ ִ נ ָ ק וּ ֥ ז־ם ַ ע. See also: Isaiah 42:24. See also Seow
p 157, 1b: “The relative particle ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א is absent from the oldest poetic
texts and is uncommon in standard poetry. Instead, one finds asyn-
detic (unmarked) relative clauses, and וּז וֹז ה ֶ ז used in its place”. e.g.
Psalm 74:2: ןוֹ ֗ יּ ִ֝ צ־ר ַ ה ה֤ ֶ ז ׀ ָ תּ ְ נ ֬ ַ כ ָ שׁ וֹ ֽ בּ ‘Mount Zion wherein You
dwell’.
(להנ) in Piel: lead, guide (to a watering-place) > perf. 2 m.sg. ָ תּ ְ ל ֥ ַ ה ֵ נ – here,
parallel to ָ תי ִ ח ָ נ and therefore also prophetic perfect.
Exodus 15:14
ןוּ ֑ ז ָ גּ ְ רִ י םי ֖ ִ מּ ַ ע וּ ֥ ע ְ מ ֽ ָ שׁ
׃ת ֶ שֽׁ ָ ל ְ פּ י ֖ ֵ ב ְ שֹׁי ז ַ֔ ח ָ א לי ֣ ִ ח
The people heard and quaked, trembling took hold of the inhabitants of
Philistia.
לי ִ ח n.m. writhing, anguish
ז ַ ג ָ ר be agitated, quiver, quake > ןוּ ֑ ז ָ גּ ְ רִ י (Qal imperf. 3 m.pl. +
paragogic nun; see above and GK 47m; JM 44e,f.). Note retention of pausal
352 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
vowel in second syllable. וּז ְ גּ ְ רִ י > ָ גּ ְ רִ י וּז > ןוּז ָ גּ ְ רִ י Note also variation of
tenses, וּ ֥ ע ְ מ ֽ ָ שׁ ןוּ ֑ ז ָ גּ ְ רִ י
Exodus 15:15
םוֹ ֔ ד ֱ א י ֣ ֵ פוּלּ ַ א ֙ וּל ֲ ה ְ ב ִ נ ז ֤ ָ א
ד ַ ע ֑ ָ ר וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י ב ָ֔ אוֹמ י֣ ֵ לי ֵ א
׃ן ַ עֽ ָ נ ְ כ י ֥ ֵ ב ְ שֹׁי ל ֖ ֹכּ וּג ֕ ֹ מ ָ נ
Then the chiefs of Edom were terrified,
the leaders of Moab, trembling took hold of them,
all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.
Note variation of tenses: ֙ וּל ֲ ה ְ ב ִ נ (Niphal perf. להב); וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י (Qal imperf.
זחא); וּג ֕ ֹ מ ָ נ (Niphal perf. גומ).
Note also rare suffix form וֹמ on וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י = lit. ‘it will take hold of them’.
ז ֤ ָ א ֙ וּל ֲ ה ְ ב ִ נ see GK 107c for ז ָ א + perf. (see note on ז ָ א in Part Four of
this book, use of imperf. in sphere of past time).
ד ַ ע ֑ ָ ר וֹמ֖ ֵ ז ֲ חאֹ ֽ י ב ָ֔ אוֹמ י֣ ֵ לי ֵ א Note use of extrapolation; instead of
י ֵ א ז ֵ חאֹי ד ַ ע ַ ר ב ָ אוֹמ י ֵ ל ‘trembling took hold of the leaders of Moab’
i.e. subject + verb + object,
the text has first the extrapolated object (ב ָ֔ אוֹמ י֣ ֵ לי ֵ א) followed by verb +
suffix (referring back to the extrapolated object) followed by subject. The
effect is to juxtapose י ֣ ֵ פוּלּ ַ א םוֹ ֔ ד ֱ א and י֣ ֵ לי ֵ א ב ָ֔ אוֹמ .
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 353
Finally in 15:15, note the climactic ascent in the parallel structure, plus the
ellipsis of the thematic connection (compare 15:5).
“Not only were the chiefs of Edom terrified,
but even the leaders of Moab trembled,
in fact, all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.”
Exodus 15:16
ד ַ ח ֔ ַ פ ָ ו ֙ ה ָ ת ֙ ָ מי ֵ א ם ֤ ֶ הי ֵ ל ֲ ע ל ֨ ֹ פּ ִ תּ
ן ֶ ב ֑ ָ א ָ כּ וּ ֣ מ ְ דִּ י ֖ ך ֲ עוֹר ְ ז ל ֥ ֹד ְ ג ִ בּ
֙ ך ְ מּ ַ ע ר ֤ ֹב ֲ עַ י־ד ַ ע ײ
ם ַ ע ר ֖ ֹב ֲ עַ י־ד ֽ ַ ע ׃ ָ תי ֽ ִ נ ָ ק וּ ֥ ז־
Fear and dread will fall upon them,
in the greatness of Your arm they will be silent like stone,
until, O Lord, Your people pass,
until the people pass, whom You have acquired
For the form ֙ ה ָ ת ֙ ָ מי ֵ א ‘fear, terror’, see JM 93c-i: Paragogic vowel
ָ֫ ◌ ה .“This unstressed vowel, formerly thought to be a vestige of the old
determinate accusative, is no longer so considered in the light of Ugaritic,
which also attests to a form such as arsh “to the ground”, where the final
letter is not a mater lectionis, but a consonant. It is mainly used to indicate
direction towards, or destination to, a place.” (93c) “Sometimes the הָ no
longer has its original force; its use is purely rhythmic. In poetry sometimes
it could have been used out of metrical necessity:—This is rather frequent
354 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
in the feminine, where we have the ending ה ָ תָ . In some cases this form
seems to have been chosen to avoid the contact of two stressed syllables:—
.” (93i) as in ֙ ה ָ ת ֙ ָ מי ֵ א ד ַ ח ֔ ַ פ ָ ו from the fem. noun ה ָ מי ֵ א. (see also GK 90c-
g). Compare, e.g. ה ָ ת ֣ ָ ר ְ ז ֶ ע ‘help’ (= ה ָ ר ְ ז ֶ ע) (Ps 44:27); ה ָ ת ֔ ָ עוּשְׁ י ‘salvation’
(= ה ָ עוּשְׁ י) (Ps 3:3)
Note the repetition: ר ֤ ֹב ֲ עַ י־ד ַ ע—ר ֖ ֹב ֲ עַ י־ד ֽ ַ ע
The Song of the Sea divides naturally into three sections:
vv 1-6; vv 7-11; vv 12-16 + conclusion, vv 17-18.
A repetition marks the conclusion of each section:
v 6 ך ְ ני ִ מְ י ײ — ך ְ ני ִ מְ י ײ
v 11 י ִ מ ה ָ כֹ מ ָ כ — י ִ מ ה ָ כֹ מ ָ כ
v 16 ר ֖ ֹב ֲ עַ י־ד ֽ ַ ע— ר ֖ ֹב ֲ עַ י־ד ֽ ַ ע
And there is a simile before each repetition, exhibiting parallelism of
thought.
v 5 וֹמ ְ כּ - ן ֶ ב ָ א ‘like stone’
v 10 ת ֶ ר ֶ פוֹע ַ כּ ‘like lead’
v 16 ן ֶ ב ָ א ָ כּ ‘like stone’
Exodus 15:17
֔ ך ְ תֽ ָ ל ֲ ח ַ נ ר ֣ ַ ה ְ בּ ֙ וֹמ ֙ ֵ ע ָ טּ ִ ת ְ ו וֹמ ֵ֗ א ִ ב ְ תּ
ָ פּ ֛ ך ְ תּ ְ ב ִ שׁ ְ ל ןוֹ ֧ כ ָ מ ָ תּ ְ ל֖ ַ ע ײ
שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ ײ ׃ךי ֽ ֶ דָ י וּ ֥ נ ְ נוֹכּ
PART FIVE: POETIC HEBREW/ELEVATED STYLE 355
You will bring them in and You will plant them in the mountain of Your
inheritance, (in) (the) establishment, O Lord, (which) You have made for
Your dwelling, (in) (the) Sanctuary, O Lord, (which) Your hands have
established.
Note that the relative pronoun (‘which’, ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א) and the definite article
(‘the’) have to be supplied in translation; their omission is characteristic of
biblical Hebrew poetry.
RASHI’s comments on this verse supply the word ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א twice, as follows:
׃ך ְ תּ ְ ב ִ שׁ ְ ל ןוֹכ ָ מ ל ֶ שׁ א ֵ סּ ִ כּ דֶ ג ֶ נ ְ כּ ן ָ וּ ֻ כ ְ מ ה ָ טּ ַ מ ל ֶ שׁ שׁ ָ דּ ְ ק ִ מ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א ה ָ ל ְ ע ַ מ
ָ תּ ְ ל ַ ע ָ פּ .
׃ײ שׁ ָ ד ֕ ְ קּ ִ מ וי ָ ר ֲ ח ַ א ְ לּ ֶ שׁ ם ֵ שּׁ ַ ה ת ַ בי ֵ תּ ִ מ וֹדי ִ ר ְ פ ַ ה ְ ל לוֹדָ גּ ף ֵ ק ָ ז וי ָ ל ָ ע ם ַ ע ַ טּ ַ ה
׃ײ ךי ֶ דָ י וּנ ְ נוֹכּ ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א שׁ ָ ד ְ קּ ִ מּ ַ ה
Translation of Rashi
The Sanctuary below is placed exactly opposite ( ן ָ וּ ֻ כ ְ מ ד ֶ ג ֶ נ ְ כּ ) the (Divine)
Throne above, which (ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א) You have made. The accent on the word
שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ is zakeph gadol, to separate it from the Divine Name after it. i.e.
The Sanctuary which (ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א) Your hands have established, O Lord.
Explanation of Rashi
Rashi takes ןוֹכ ָ מ as ן ָ וּ ֻ כ ְ מ (exactly opposite), referring to ‘the mountain of
Your inheritance’ ֲ ח ַ נ ר ַ ה ך ְ ת ָ ל i.e. Mt Moriah, the site of the Temple, which
is exactly opposite G-d’s dwelling on High (ך ְ תּ ְ ב ִ שׁ ְ ל) which (to be sup-
plied) ‘You (G-d) have made’ ( ָ תּ ְ ל ַ ע ָ פּ).
Rashi notes that the accent on the word שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ is disjunctive, meaning that
שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ is not in cstr. state (indicated also by qamets under the dalet, not
356 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
pataḥ) and therefore the sense is not ‘the sanctuary of the Lord’, but ‘Lord’
is vocative (‘O Lord’) and one must supply the relative pronoun ר ֶ שׁ ֲ א be-
fore וּנ ְ נוֹכּ.
וֹמ ֵ֗ א ִ ב ְ תּ Hiphil imperf. 2 m.sg. אוב + rare sf. form 3 m.pl.
֙ וֹמ ֙ ֵ ע ָ טּ ִ ת ְ ו Qal imperf. 2 m.sg. עטנ + rare sf. form 3 m.pl. + vav conj.
Note the dagesh forte dirimens in the koph of שׁ ָ֕ ד ְ קּ ִ מ “to make the sheva
more audible”
(GK 20h)

357
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Driver, G. R. Canaanite Myths and Legends (Edinburgh: T & T Clark,
1956).
Alter, Robert The Art of Biblical Poetry. (New York, Basic Books Inc.
1985).
Brown, F. Driver, S.R. Briggs, C.A. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the
Old Testament. (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1951). (BDB).
Chomsky, William, David Kimhi’s Hebrew Grammar (Mikhlol) systemati-
cally presented and critically annotated. (New York, Dropsie College
for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, Bloch Publishing Company, 1952).
Davidson, A.B. Hebrew Syntax 3
rd
edition. (Edinburgh, T & T Clark, 1901).
Davidson A.B. An Introductory Hebrew Grammar. Twenty-fourth edition.
Revised by John McFadyen. (Edinburgh, T & T Clark, 1932).
Driver, S.R. A Treatise on the Use of Tenses in Hebrew and Some Other
Syntactical Questions, edition with new Introduction by W. Randall
Garr (Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1998).
Fernandez, M.P. An Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew.
Translated by John Elwolde. (Brill, 1999).
Gesenius, W. Hebrew Grammar. As edited and enlarged by the late E.
Kautzsch. Second English Edition. Revised in accordance with the
twenty-eighth German edition by A.E. Cowley. (Oxford, the Claren-
don Press, 1910. (GK).
Gibson, J.C.L. Davidson’s Introductory Hebrew Grammar – Syntax.
Fourth Edition. (Edinburgh, T & T Clark, 1994).
Gillingham, S.E. The Poems and Psalms of the Hebrew Bible. (Oxford
University Press, 1994).
358 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Hertz, J.H. ed. The Pentateuch and Haftorahs. Hebrew text, English trans-
lation and commentary. Second Edition. (London, Soncino Press,
1969).
Hirsch, H. Literary History of Hebrew Grammarians and Lexicographers.
(London, Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press. 1926).
Jouon, P.S. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. 2 Volumes. Translated and
Revised by T.Muraoka. (Roma, Subsidia Biblica – 14/1. Editrice Pon-
tificio Istituto Biblico. 1996.) (JM).
Kelley, Page H. Biblical Hebrew, An Introductory Grammar. (Grand
Rapids, Michigan, William B Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1992).
Kugel, James L. The Idea of Biblical Poetry. Parallelism and Its History.
(Yale University Press, 1981).
Lambdin, T.O. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. (London, Darton, Long-
man and Todd, 1973).
Martin, James D. Davidson’s Introductory Hebrew Grammar. Twenty-
seventh edition. (Continuum, T & T Clark. 1993).
Pratico, Gary D. and Van Pelt, Miles V. Basics of Biblical Hebrew
Grammar. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 2001, 2007).
Sarna, N.M. ‘Hebrew and Bible Studies in Medieval Spain’ in The Sephardi
Heritage. Essays on the History and Cultural Contribution of the Jews
of Spain and Portugal. ed. Barnett R.D. vol. I: The Jews in Spain and
Portugal before and after the Expulsion of 1492: 323-366. (London,
Vallentine, Mitchell 1964).
Sarna, N.M. The JPS Torah Commentary Exodus. The Traditional Hebrew
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(Philadelphia, The Jewish Publication Society. 1991).
Segal, M.H. A Grammar of Mishnaic Hebrew. (Oxford, Clarendon Press.
1926).
Seow, C.L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Revised Ed. (Nashville,
Abingdon Press, 1995).
BIBLIOGRAPHY 359
Siebesma, P.A. The Function of Niphal in Biblical Hebrew. (Studia Semitica
Neerlandica. Van Gorcum. 1991).
Silbermann, A.M. ed. Rosenbaum, M. Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos,
Haphtaroth and Rashi’s Commentary, translated into English and an-
notated. 5 vols. (Jerusalem, the Silbermann Family by arrangement
with Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. 1929).
Waltke, Bruce K. O’Connor, Michael. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew
Syntax. (Winona Lake, Ind. Eisenbrauns. 1990). (WHG).
Weingreen, J. A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew. Second Edition.
(Oxford, Clarendon Press. 1959). (WHG).

361
INDEX
accent (conjunctive, disjunctive,
retraction of), 72, 73, 148, 154,
157, 201, 314, 355
Accusative (object), 52, 58, 81, 89,
90, 116, 117, 119, 120, 125, 134,
137, 138, 142, 145, 158, 163, 178,
186, 187, 188, 199, 200, 205, 320,
332, 352
Amidah, 156
Amos, 20, 22, 23, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32,
33, 42, 64, 65, 69, 73, 169, 196,
225
Aphel, 89
Arabic, 67, 158, 159, 160, 336
Aramaic, 30, 55, 89, 93, 158, 229,
336, 344
Brown, Driver, Briggs (BDB), ix, 31,
36, 37, 42, 56, 58, 59, 95, 100,
119, 120, 122, 130, 143, 180, 181,
182, 187, 228, 230, 231, 236, 267,
268, 270, 271, 273, 274, 290, 325,
343, 345, 351, 357
Case-endings, 331
causal clause, 188, 190, 254, 255,
256, 257, 258
Causative, 49, 109
Chiasmus/chiastic structure, 237,
238, 239, 240, 247
Chomsky, 33, 155, 156, 357
Christian France, 67
Cohortative, 221, 222
compensatory lengthening, 25, 73,
74, 92, 137, 179
Completed action, 276, 277
Continuity/continuance, 179, 180,
206, 303
Contrast/contrastive, 84, 100, 142,
145, 238, 246, 281
dagesh (weak, strong, forte,
dirimens), 25, 58, 59, 72, 73, 74,
76, 87, 92, 120, 137, 143, 144,
150, 151, 179, 260, 261, 263, 264,
322, 330, 356
Davidson, 50, 111, 188, 204, 312,
357, 358
Declarative, 80, 85, 110
Denominative, 85
Dictionary, 160
Durative action, 291
Ecclesiastes, 35, 36, 45, 47, 80, 135,
172, 184, 227, 228
Ellipsis/elliptical, 185, 218, 343
Esther, 39, 40, 70, 75, 79, 93, 121,
173, 196, 232
Estimative, 85
Ezekiel, 22, 30, 63, 121, 151, 347
Factitive, 79, 85
final root letter, 109
first root letter, 25, 26, 56, 59, 75,
129, 140, 143
Frequentative action, 302
Genitive, 199, 200
Gerundial, 196
Gerundive, 194, 203
GK (Gesenius), ix, 27, 29, 30, 33, 40,
41, 55, 61, 62, 63, 74, 76, 78, 81,
82, 87, 91, 93, 99, 111, 113, 116,
125, 126, 129, 130, 138, 140, 142,
145, 147, 149, 150, 152, 154, 155,
178, 181, 185, 204, 210, 213, 214,
217, 218, 234, 241, 260, 261, 263,
264, 265, 267, 274, 277, 280,
281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 287, 288,
310, 322, 325, 328, 330, 331, 332,
335, 336, 338, 342, 344, 345, 347,
349, 351, 352, 354, 356, 357
Hammershaimb, E., 183
362 FURTHER BIBLICAL HEBREW
Ḥayyūj, Judah ibn, 67, 158
Hey interrogative, 260, 261, 263, 264
Hiphil imperative, 107, 108, 211
Hiphil imperfect, 107, 119, 126
Hiphil participle, 114, 119, 125
Hithpael imperative, 131, 147
Hithpael imperfect, 129, 130, 131,
137, 139, 140, 142, 145
Hithpael participle, 129, 130, 144,
148
Hithpael perfect, 40, 130, 137
Hithpolel, 92, 93, 148
holem, 337
Hophal imperfects/imperfects of
hophal, 152
Hosea, 16, 23, 31, 33, 103, 105, 107,
109, 174, 189, 212, 218, 219, 282,
302
Ibn Barun, 156, 160
Ibn Ezra (Abraham), 36, 56, 57, 60,
62, 65, 66, 86, 87, 90, 91, 116,
117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 139,
141, 143, 147, 150, 153, 156, 157,
158, 159, 160, 206, 207, 208, 212,
213, 214, 218, 219, 298, 299, 300,
301, 302, 303, 305, 306, 307, 308,
309, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 347,
350, 351
Imperfect, 105, 275, 284, 327, 340
infinitive absolute, 42, 60, 63, 64, 75,
77, 108, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181,
182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 207,
208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 218, 219,
232, 233, 261, 294, 302, 324, 340
infinitive construct, 40, 58, 66, 77,
85, 87, 95, 96, 108, 112, 115, 146,
181, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205,
206, 209, 210, 213, 215, 216, 217,
219, 221, 224, 227, 228, 229, 230,
255, 256
Intensive, 77, 84
Inwardly transitive, 111
Isaiah, 17, 24, 26, 32, 42, 44, 45, 46,
47, 61, 66, 70, 74, 76, 82, 90, 94,
95, 96, 97, 98, 100, 101, 106, 111,
113, 123, 124, 125, 126, 134, 136,
138, 147, 149, 157, 161, 169, 176,
183, 190, 193, 195, 208, 211, 212,
213, 233, 247, 281, 282, 283, 290,
298, 301, 302, 309, 312, 313, 333,
334, 338, 342, 351
Isaiah of Trani, 125, 126
Ithpael, 55
Janaḥ, Jonah ibn, 159
Jeremiah, 16, 17, 19, 25, 27, 28, 33,
34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 58, 62, 63, 75,
114, 128, 130, 150, 165, 168, 172,
173, 174, 175, 192, 193, 232, 234,
235, 251, 280, 314, 324, 333, 342
JM (Jouon/Muraoka), ix, 72, 79, 81,
84, 106, 149, 154, 156, 163, 180,
187, 210, 255, 261, 278, 279, 282,
284, 285, 286, 287, 289, 310, 331,
332, 334, 335, 336, 338, 351, 353,
358
Job, 50, 84, 85, 113, 117, 127, 130,
134, 137, 150, 151, 194, 259, 267,
286, 303
Joseph Kara, 159, 229
Jussive, 105, 314
Keri, 120, 138
Ketiv, 120
Lambdin, 52, 79, 85, 123, 133, 134,
137, 145, 358
Lamed, 75, 76
Lamed-hey, 75, 76
Lamentations, 39, 40, 44, 66, 102,
104, 108, 109, 333
maqqef, 72, 201, 205
medieval scholars, ix, 52, 85, 115,
116, 133, 137, 138, 139, 149, 155,
158, 206, 296, 340, 341
Metathesis, 147
Micah, 24, 32, 41, 65, 127, 129, 290
middle root letter, 26, 58, 72, 73, 74,
76, 87, 92, 93, 137, 143, 150
negative purpose, 205, 221, 228
Negative purpose, 228
INDEX 363
Niphal, 15
Niphal imperative, 28, 29, 58, 59, 63
Niphal imperfect, 120
Niphal infinitive absolute, 27
Niphal infinitive construct, 27
Niphal participle, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32,
40, 48, 67, 185, 349
Niphal perfect, 26, 62
Nithpael, 54, 140
Nun (energic, paragogic), 74, 322,
323, 325, 336, 338, 344
Old French, 55, 157
Parallelism (of clauses), 322, 340,
347, 354
Passive, 47, 48, 155, 156
patach/patah (hateph, furtive), 155
pause (pausal vowel), 72, 232, 322,
336, 337, 338, 352
Perfect, 72, 275, 276, 280, 283, 297,
298, 310, 326, 351
permissive hiphil, 123
Piel imperative, 74
Piel infinitive construct, 87, 137
Piel participle, 35, 36, 74, 76, 84, 85,
88, 151
Piel perfect, 26, 80
Poetic Hebrew, 319
Polal, 92, 93
Polel, 76, 92, 93, 97, 99, 100, 295,
324, 344
Privative, 81
Pual perfect/perfects of pual, 149,
155
Purpose, 188
Qal imperative, 34, 187
Qal infinitive absolute, 92
Qal passive, 66, 152, 154, 155
qamets (hateph), 25, 40, 41, 73, 92,
99, 100, 137, 143, 149, 150, 154,
155, 200, 205, 209, 210, 219, 261,
337, 342, 343, 355
Qatal, 275, 276, 286, 287
qibbus, 343
Radak (David Kimhi), 33, 61, 63, 64,
65, 66, 124, 125, 145, 146, 155,
157, 160, 210, 298, 299, 300
Ramban (Nahmanides), 161, 342
Rashbam, 58, 59, 159
Rashi, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60,
62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 86, 88, 89, 92,
120, 122, 123, 124, 133, 136, 137,
140, 141, 142, 144, 148, 157, 159,
160, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211,
214, 215, 216, 217, 245, 246, 273,
296, 297, 298, 302, 303, 304, 305,
306, 307, 309, 310, 341, 342, 343,
345, 346, 355, 359
Reciprocal, 45, 132
Reflexive, 43, 131, 133, 137, 144, 145
Repeated action, 291
Rubinstein, A., 182, 183, 184
Ruth, 39, 40, 49, 199, 338
Saruq, Menaḥem ibn, 67, 158
segol, 25, 72, 73, 201, 261, 322
Shadal (Luzzatto), 157, 161
Siebesma, 50, 51, 359
Song of Deborah, 319
Targum, 55, 57, 89, 246, 344, 359
third root letter, 40, 59, 93, 200
Tolerative, 45, 62, 63, 64
triconsonantal, 67, 158, 159
tsere, 25, 58, 59, 72, 73, 74, 92, 201,
322
Ugaritic, 336, 353
Vav (consonantal, medial,
conjunction, conjunctive,
consecutive), 185, 221, 222
virtual doubling, 26, 74, 92
Yiqtol, 185, 275, 284, 286, 287, 299

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