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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 104

§104. Conjunctions.

1. The conjunctions serve to connect sentences, and to express their relations one to another. They may be either—

(a) Original pronouns, e.g. the demonstrative כִּי‎ that, because, for.

(b) Original substantives, which afterwards were reduced to the rank of pronouns, adverbs, or conjunctions; so perhaps אֲשֶׁר‎ (see § 36), which is sometimes used to express the general idea of relation, sometimes as a relative pronoun (properly a demonstrative), but in many cases stands simply for כִּי‎; also אַל־‎ (nothing), that not; פֶּן־‎ that not (the Greek μή of prohibition), &c. To these may be added the adverbial combination of substantives with prepositions, e.g. בְּטֶ֫רֶם‎ (in the not yet) earlier, before, for which מִטֶ֫רֶם‎ is also used. On the combination of two particles to express complex ideas (e.g. אַף־כִּי‎ added to this, that=much more), see the Syntax, §163f.

(c) Prepositions, which with the addition of the conjunction אֲשֶׁר‎ or כִּי‎ together form one single conjunction, e.g. יַ֫עַן אֲשֶׁר‎ because, prop. on account of the fact that; אַחַר אֲשֶׁר‎, and more frequently אַֽחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר‎, after that; כַּֽאֲשֶד‎ according as (with כְּ‍‎); עֵ֫קֶב כִּי‎ and עֵ֫קֶב אֲשֶׁר‎ in consequence of the fact that, for the reason that, because. Sometimes, however, the conjunction in such cases is omitted, and the preposition itself used as a conjunction, e.g. עַל־‎ (for עַל־אֲשֶׁר‎) although, Job 16:17.

So, at any rate, according to our linguistic principles. It would, however, be more correct to say, that instead of the intermediary אֲשֶׁר‎ the whole of the succeeding sentence is regarded as one substantival idea, under the immediate government of the preposition. In the same way, all prepositions governing the gerund in English may be paraphrased by conjunctions with the finite verb, see §§ 114 and 115, passim.

2. Besides those already mentioned, there are certain other small words now used as conjunctions, of which the derivation or original meaning is altogether obscure, thus אוֹ‎ or, אִם־‎ if (also or before the second member of a double question), אַף‎ also, וְ‎ and, and others.

Rem. The pointing of the וְ‎ (originally וַ‎, as still before Ḥaṭeph Pathaḥ and—with a following Dageš forte—in wāw consecutive of the imperfect; cf. §49f) is in many respects analogous to that of the prefixes בְּ‎, כְּ‍‎, לְ‎ (§102d–i), but as being a weak consonant, the wāw copulative has some further peculiarities:

(a) Usually it takes simple Še (וְ‎).

(b) Before words which begin with a guttural having a compound Še, it takes the vowel with which the Še is compounded (according to §28b), e.g. וַֽחֲכַם‎ and be thou wise, וַֽעֲבָדִים‎ and servants, וַֽעֱזוּז‎ and strength, וֶֽאֱכֹל‎ and eat thou, וָֽחֳלִי‎ and sickness. On וֵאֽלֹהִים‎, וֵאֽלֹהַי‎ &c., see §102d; on וַֽאדֹנַי‎, &c., see §102m; on such cases as וַעְצֹר‎ Job 4:2, cf. §28b.

(c) Before words with simple Še under the first consonant (except in the cases under f), the Wāw becomes the vowel û (cf. §26a), e.g. וּלְכֹל‎ and to all, so also (except in the case under g) before the cognate labials ב‎, מ‍‎, פ‎, hence וּמֶ֫לֶךְ‎. On the cases in which simple Še has become a Ḥaṭeph after וּ‎ copulative (e.g. וּֽזֲהַב‎ Genesis 2:12), cf. §10g.

(d) With a following יְ‎ the וְ‎ coalesces to form וִי‎ according to §24b, as וִיהִי‎ and let him be. On the peculiar punctuation of the wāw copulative before forms with initial Še from הָיָה‎ to be and חָיָה‎ to live (e.g. וִֽהְיִיתֶם‎ Joshua 8:4, וֶֽחְיֵה‎ Genesis 20:7), cf. §63q.

(e) Immediately before the tone-syllable it frequently takes Qameṣ, like בְּ‎, כְּ‍‎, לְ‎ (see §102f), but in most cases only at the end of a sentence or clause (but cf. also וָכֹא‎ 1 Kings 22:30), e.g. וָמֵ֖ת‎ Exodus 21:12 (on the other hand, in verse 20 וּמֵ֖תִ‎ is in closer logical connexion with what follows); 2 Kings 7:4 וָמַ֣הְנוּ שָׁ֔ם‎, וָמַ֑תָנוּ‎ and וָמָֽתְנוּ‎; Ruth 3:3 וָסַֹכְתְּ‎; Psalms 10:15 וָ֝רָֹע‎; 1 Samuel 9:4 וָאַ֔יִן‎; 2 Samuel 13:26 וָלֹ֔א‎; Ezekiel 47:9 וָחָ֔י‎; cf. also (with Ṭiphḥa) Genesis 33:13, 2 Samuel 15:12. The very frequent connexion of nouns expressing kindred ideas, by means of וָ‎, is due simply to considerations of rhythm, for even in such cases the Wāw must immediately precede the tone-syllable, which must be marked by a disjunctive accent, e.g. תֹּ֫הוּ וָבֹ֫הוּ‎ Genesis 1:2, יוֹם וָלַ֫יְלָה‎ Genesis 8:22 (see also the previous examples); Genesis 13:14 (thrice); Exodus 25:3 זָהָב נָכֶ֫סֶף‎; Psalms 96:7 כָּבוֹד וָעֹז‎; Psalms 76:7 וְרֶ֫כֶב וָסוּס‎; Genesis 7:13 וְשֵׁם־וְחָם וָיֶ֫פֶת‎; נֹחַ‎ 1 Kings 21:10 כֹּה וָכֹה ;אֱלֹהִים וָמֶ֑לֶךְ‎ thus and thus; Esther 1:8 אִישׁ־וָאִֽישׁ‎ at the end of the verse, but in Psalms 87:5 אִישׁ וְאִישׁ‎ in spite of the Deḥi with the second אִישׁ‎, because it is closely connected with the following predicate. Also with three words פַּ֫חַד וָפַ֫חַת וָפָ֑ה‎ Isaiah 24:17. On the other hand, the rapid pronunciation וְ‎ occurs before a conjunctive accent (and, when farther removed from the principal pause, even with the smaller disjunctives, in spite of a following tone-syllable), e.g. צֹאן וְעֶ֣בֶד‎ Genesis 32:6; cf. Genesis 31:40, Leviticus 7:23, Deuteronomy 2:21, and among the examples given above, Genesis 7:13 and Psalms 76:7. (Exceptions: וָקֵ֥דְמָה‎ Genesis 13:14, where evidently the וָ‎ is intended to ensure the slow and solemn recitation of the promise, but also וָזִ֥יף‎ Joshua 15:55, וָעֵ֣תֶר‎ Joshua 19:7, וָבֶ֥טֶן‎ Joshua 19:25, all immediately before the pause.) For the same rhythmical reason וְ‎ (not וָ‎) is used regularly with certain monosyllables which, by their nature, lean more closely upon the following word, thus וְזֶה‎, וְאֵת‎, וְגַם‎, וְלֹא‎ (to be distinguished from וָלֹ֔א‎ if not, with Zaqeph gadol, 2 Kings 5:17), and others.

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