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Hebrew Helps: 18-21
© 2010, T. Michael W. Halcomb Help 18: In biblical Hebrew, prepositions attach themselves to their governing nouns. It is something like taking the English preposition “out” and attaching it to the noun “strike” to form the word “strikeout.” One way to think of it is in terms of “compounding,” that is, the process of forming one word out of multiple words in English. This same type of phenomenon occurs in biblical Hebrew.

Help 19: In English, we use definite and indefinite articles to mark nouns. The definite article in English is “the” while the indefinite articles are “a” or “an.” Notice how “the” is specific while “a” or “an” is vague or general. In Hebrew, there is no indefinite article. Therefore, when the definite article is missing, the noun can either be read with or without “a / an” depending on the context. (We will talk more about the definite article in “Help 20.”) For example, the word word” while can either be translated as “word” or “a would be “the words.” would be “the word” and

Help 20: In “Help 19” we began touched on matters pertaining to the article. Here, we need to briefly acknowledge how the definite article works. Basically, the definite article (or article) is a prefix in Hebrew. This just means that it attaches itself to the beginning of the word to which it is identifying. The article consists of three parts: 1) He, 2) Pata , 3) Dagesh. Thus, it looks likes this:


Here are a few examples of words without and then with the article:

ְ ְ ְ


Help 21: Having reviewed the formation and function of the Hebrew article, we should note a few of its special uses (we will not even more in the following “Helps” !!!), for example, those that attach to temporal and nominal (names) words. When the article attaches to a “time” word, it can actually have a “demonstrative” force (e.g. “this” or “that”) to it. Thus, what looks like “the day” would literally be “this day” but translated as “today.” When occurring with names, we typically leave the article out so that “The God” is simply “God” and “The Satan” is just “Satan.”

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