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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 118

§118. The Looser Subordination of the Accusative to the Verb.

1. The various forms of the looser subordination of a noun to the verb are distinguished from the different kinds of the accusative of the object (§ 117) by their specifying not the persons or things directly affected by the action, but some more immediate circumstance under which an action or an event takes place. Of such circumstances the most common are those of place, time, measure, cause, and finally the manner of performing the action. These nearer definitions are, as a rule, placed after the verb; they may, however, also precede it.

Rem. That the cases thus loosely subordinated to the verb are to be regarded as accusatives is seen first from the fact that in certain instances the nota accusativi (את‎) is prefixed; secondly from the fact that in one form of the casus loci a termination (־ָה‎) is employed, in which (according to §90c) the old accusatival ending is preserved; and finally from the consistency with which classical Arabic puts these nearer definitions in the accusative (which may be recognized by its form) even under circumstances in which one would be rather inclined to expect a nominative in apposition.

The relation subsisting between the circumstantial accusative and the accusative of the object is especially apparent when the former (as e.g. in a statement of the goal after a verb of motion) is immediately connected with its verb. But even the more loosely connected circumstantial definitions are certainly to be regarded as originally objects of a governing word habitually omitted, only that the consciousness of this closer government was at length lost, and the accusative more and more acquired an independent value as a casus adverbialis.

2. The accusative serves to define more precisely the place (accus. loci), either (a) in answer to the question whither? after verbs of motion,[1] or (b) in answer to the question where? after verbs of being, dwelling, resting, &c. (but also after transitive verbs, see the examples), or finally (c) to define more precisely the extent in space, in answer to the question how far? how high? how much?, &c.

Instead of the simple accusative, the locative (see above, §90c) [2] is frequently found in the cases mentioned under f (sometimes also in those under g) or the preposition אֶל־‎,[3] especially before persons as the aim of the movement, or בְּ‎, usually, to express being at a place.

Examples of (a): נֵצֵא הַשָּׂדֶה‎ let us go out into the field, 1 Samuel 20:11; cf. Genesis 27:3, Genesis 31:4, Job 29:7; לָלֶ֫כֶת תַּרְשִׁישׁ‎ to go to Tarshish, 2 Chronicles 20:36; cf. Genesis 10:11, Genesis 13:9, Genesis 24:27, Genesis 26:23, Genesis 31:21, Exodus 4:9, Exodus 17:10, Judges 1:26, 2 Kings 11:19, Nahum 1:8 (?), Psalms 134:2; with לָקַח‎ Numbers 23:14; with נָתַן‎ Joshua 6:24; with the accus. loci emphatically preceding (cf. Driver on 1 Samuel 5:8), 1 Kings 2:26, Isaiah 23:12, Jeremiah 2:10, Jeremiah 20:6, Jeremiah 32:5; with בּוֹא‎ (in the sense of aggredi, equivalent to עַל־ בּוֹא‎, cf. §117a, note 2) the personal aim also is poetically added in the accusative, Ezekiel 32:11, Ezekiel 38:11, Proverbs 10:24, Proverbs 28:22, Job 15:21, Job 20:22; but in the last passage it is better taken as an accusative of the object (cf. the German einen ankommen, überkommen). See also Numbers 10:36 (where שׁוּב‎ can hardly be transitive); Judges 11:29, 1 Samuel 13:20 (where, however, אֶל־‎ has probably fallen out after ישראל‎; so Strack).—Finally, cf. also the use of אֲשֶׁר‎ for אֲשֶׁר ... שָׁ֫מָּה‎ whither, Numbers 13:27.—The accus. loci occurs after a passive, e.g. Genesis 12:15.

Examples of (b): Genesis 38:11 remain a widow בֵּית אָבִיךְ‎ in thy father’s house; cf. Genesis 24:23, 1 Samuel 17:15, 2 Samuel 2:32, Isaiah 3:6, Hosea 12:5, Micah 6:10, 2 Chronicles 33:20; פֶּ֫תַח הָאֹ֫הֶל‎ in the tent door, Genesis 18:1, 10, 19:11, and frequently. As observed by Driver on 1 Samuel 2:29, accusatives of this kind are almost without exception (but cf. 1 Kings 8:32, Isaiah 16:2, Isaiah 28:7, 2 Chronicles 33:20) connected with a noun in the genitive. In all the above examples, however, the accusative may have been preferred to the natural construction with בְּ‎ (which is not rare even with בֵּית‎ and פֶ֫תַח‎) for euphonic reasons, in order to avoid the combination of such sounds as בְּב׳‎ and בְּפ׳‎; cf., moreover, Genesis 2:14, Genesis 4:16, Exodus 18:5, Leviticus 6:8 (הַמִּזְבֵּחַ‎ instead of the usual הַמִּזְבֵּ֫חָה‎ Exodus 29:13, &c.); Deuteronomy 1:2, 19,[4] 2 Samuel 17:26, 1 Kings 7:8, Proverbs 8:3, Proverbs 9:14. On Isaiah 1:30 see §116i; on יָּשַׁב‎, with the accus. loci, see §117bb. On the other hand, in Deuteronomy 6:3, according to the LXX, a verb of giving has dropped out before אֶ֫רֶץ‎.

Examples of (c): Genesis 7:20 fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; Genesis 31:23, Genesis 41:40 רַק הַכִּסֵּא אֶגְדַּל מִמֶּ֫ךָּ‎ only in the throne will I be greater than thou; Deuteronomy 1:19 we went (through) all that great and terrible wilderness; cf. Job 29:3. Of the same kind also are such cases as Exodus 16:16 (according to the number of your persons, for which elsewhere לְמִסְפַּר־‎ is used); 1 Samuel 6:4 (with the accus. preceding); 6:18, 2 Samuel 21:20, Job 1:5.—A statement of weight is put in the accusative in 2 Samuel 14:26.

3. The accusative is employed to determine more precisely the time (accus. temporis), (a) in answer to the question when? e.g. הַיּוֹם‎ the day, i.e. on the day (in question), at that time, but also on this day, i.e. to-day, or finally by day, equivalent to יוֹמָם‎, like עֶ֫רֶב‎ at evening, לַ֫יְלָה‎ noctu, בֹּ֫קֶר‎ in the morning, early, Psalms 5:4, &c., צָֽהֳרַ֫יִם‎ at noonday, Psalms 91:6; יוֹם אֶחָד‎ on one and the same day, Genesis 27:45; שֵׁנָא‎ in sleep, Psalms 127:2; תְּחִלַּת קְצִיר שְׂעֹרִים‎ (Qe בִּתְ׳‎) at the beginning of barley harvest, 2 Samuel 21:9; in stating a date, Genesis 11:10, Genesis 14:4 in the thirteenth year.

(b) In answer to the question how long? e.g. Genesis 3:14, &c., כָּל־יְמֵי חַיֶּ֫יךָ‎ all the days of thy life; 7:4 forty days and forty nights; 7:24, 14:4, 15:13, 21:34, 29:18, Exodus 20:9 (for six days); 23:15, 31:17; עֽוֹלָמִים‎ for ever, 1 Kings 8:13; also with the accusative made determinate, Exodus 13:7 אֵת שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים‎ throughout the seven days in question, mentioned immediately before; cf. Judges 14:17, Deuteronomy 9:25.

4. The accusative is sometimes used of abstract ideas to state the reason (accus. causae), e.g. Isaiah 7:25 thou shalt not come thither יִרְאַת שָׁמִיר‎ for fear of briers.

5. Finally the accusative is used very variously (as an accus. adverbialis in the narrower sense), in order to describe more precisely the manner in which an action or state takes place. In English such accusatives are mostly rendered by in, with, as, in the form or manner of ..., according to, in relation to, with regard to. For more convenient classification we may distinguish them as—

(a) Adjectives expressing state, placed after the verb to describe more accurately some bodily or other external condition, e.g. Isaiah 20:2 walking עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף‎ naked and barefoot; cf. verse 3, 8:21, Genesis 15:2, Genesis 33:18 (שָׁלֵם‎), Judges 8:4, Micah 1:8, Psalms 107:5 (but in 15:2 תָּמִים‎ is rather a substantive directly dependent on הוֹלֵךְ‎ = he that walketh in uprightness; cf. §117r, note); Job 30:28. After an accusative, e.g. Deuteronomy 15:18; to specify some mental state, e.g. Genesis 37:35 (אָבֵל‎).—Before the verb (and then with a certain emphasis), Amos 2:16, Job 1:21, Ecclesiastes 5:14; Leviticus 20:20, Job 19:25, Job 27:19, Job 31:26 (unless יָקָר‎ be a substantive); Ruth 1:21 (מְלֵאָה‎ parallel with the adverb רֵיקָם‎). In Micah 2:7 the text is clearly corrupt.

Those examples are especially instructive in which the adjective expressing a state, although referring to several, is nevertheless used in the singular, e.g. Job 24:10 עָרוֹם הִלְּכוּ‎ naked, i.e. in the condition of one naked, they go about; cf. verse 7 and 12:17. In Isaiah 20:4 the singular occurs after a plural object, and in Isaiah 47:5 the masc. after the 2nd sing. fem. imperative, which clearly proves that the term expressing the state is not conceived as being in apposition, but as an indeclinable adverb.

(b) Participles, again either after the verb, Numbers 16:27, Jeremiah 2:27, Jeremiah 43:2, Psalms 7:3, Job 24:5, Song of Solomon 2:8, or before it, Genesis 49:11, Isaiah 57:19, Ezekiel 36:35, Psalms 56:2, Psalms 92:14, Proverbs 20:14; cf. also the substantival use of the participles Niphʿal נֽוֹרָאוֹת‎ in a fearful manner (Psalms 139:14) and נִפְלָאוֹת‎ in a wonderful manner, Job 37:5, Daniel 8:24.—Also participles in connexion with genitives, as מִתְהַלֵּךְ‎ Genesis 3:8 (cf. also בָּאָה‎ 1 Kings 14:6), are to be regarded as expressing a state and not as being in apposition, since in the latter case they would have to take the article.—In 2 Samuel 13:20, 1 Kings 7:7 and Habakkuk 2:10 the explicative Wāw (equivalent to and that too) is also prefixed to the participle. In Psalms 69:4 for מְיַחֵל‎ read מִיַּחֵל‎.—On 1 Kings 11:8, 2 Kings 10:6, 2 Kings 19:2, Haggai 1:4, cf. the note on §131h.

(c) Substantives[5] in the most varied relations: thus, as describing an external state, e.g. Micah 2:3 וְלֹא תֵֽלְכוּ רוֹמָה‎ neither shall ye walk haughtily (as opposed to שְׁחוֹחַ‎ Isaiah 60:14); Leviticus 6:9 (accus. before the verb=as unleavened cakes), Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 4:11, Judges 5:21, Isaiah 57:2, Proverbs 7:10, Job 31:26, Lamentations 1:9; as stating the position of a disease, 1 Kings 15:23 he was diseased אֶת־רַגְלָיו‎ in his feet (2 Chronicles 16:12 בְּרַגְלָיו‎), analogous to the cases discussed in §117ll and §121d (d); as describing a spiritual, mental, or moral state, e.g. Numbers 32:14, Joshua 9:2 (פֶּה אֶחָד‎ with one accord, 1 Kings 22:13; cf. Exodus 24:3, Zephaniah 3:9), 1 Samuel 15:32, 2 Samuel 23:3, Isaiah 41:3 (unless שָׁלוֹם‎ is adjectival, and the passage is to be explained as in n); Jeremiah 31:7, Hosea 12:15, Hosea 14:5, Psalms 56:3, Psalms 58:2, Psalms 75:3, Proverbs 31:9, Job 16:9, Lamentations 1:9; Leviticus 19:16, &c., in the expression הָלַךְ רָכִיל‎ to go up and down as a tale-bearer; also בֶּ֫טַח‎ unawares, Genesis 34:25, Ezekiel 30:9; מֵֽישָׁרִים‎ uprightly, Psalms 58:2, Psalms 75:3 (in both places before the verb); as stating the age, e.g. 1 Samuel 2:33 (if the text be right) יָמ֫וּתוּ אֲנָשִׁים‎ they shall die as men, i.e. in the prime of life; cf. 1 Samuel 2:18 (נַ֫עַר‎), Isaiah 65:20, and Genesis 15:16; as specifying a number more accurately, Deuteronomy 4:27, 1 Samuel 13:17, 2 Kings 5:2, Jeremiah 31:8 [in Jeremiah 13:19 שְׁלוֹמִים‎ wholly (?) is corrupt; read גָּלוּת שְׁלֵמָה‎ with LXX for הָגְלָת שׁ׳‎]; as stating the consequence of the action, Leviticus 15:18, &c.

The description of the external or internal state may follow, in poetry, in the form of a comparison with some well-known class, e.g. Isaiah 21:8 וַיִּקְרָא אַרְיֵה‎ and he cried as a lion; cf. Psalms 22:14, Isaiah 22:18 (כַּדּוּר‎ like a ball); Isaiah 24:22, Zechariah 2:8, Psalms 11:1 (unless צִפּוֹר‎ be vocative); 58:9 b (unless the force of the preceding כְּ‍‎ is carried on, as in Psalms 90:4); Psalms 144:12, Job 24:5 (פְּרָאִים‎, before the verb); 41:7 shut up together as with a close seal.[6]

6. To the expressions describing a state belong finally those nouns which are introduced by the comparative particle כְּ‍‎,[7] since the כְּ‍‎ is to be regarded as originally a substantive[8] in the sense of amount, kind (instar), standing in the accusative (so that כְּ‍‎ is equivalent to as a kind of, after the manner of, according to), while the following noun represents a genitive governed by the כְּ‍‎. From this, which is the proper meaning of the כְּ‍‎, may be explained its power of representing a great many pregnant relations, which in English can only be rendered by the help of prepositions.[9] Thus the comparison may refer to—

(a) The place, e.g. Isaiah 5:17 כְּדָבְרָם‎ after the manner of, i.e. as in their pasture; 23:15 as (it is said) in the song of the harlot; 28:21, 29:7 כּֽחֲלוֹם‎ as in a dream.

(b) The time, especially in the combination כְּיוֹם‎ after the manner of the day, equivalent to as in the day, Isaiah 9:3, Hosea 2:5; כִּימֵי‎ as in the days of ..., Isaiah 51:9, Hosea 2:17, Hosea 9:9, Hosea 12:10, Amos 9:11; cf. moreover, Leviticus 22:13, Judges 20:39, Isaiah 17:6, Job 5:14, Job 29:2, and the expressions בְּיוֹם בְּיוֹם‎ as day by day=as in the former days, 1 Samuel 18:10; כְּפַ֫עַם בְּפַ֫עַם‎ as at other times, 1 Samuel 3:10, &c.; כְּשָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה‎ as in former years, 2 Kings 17:4; cf. §123c. Of a different character is the use of כְּ‍‎ as a simple particle of time, e.g. Genesis 18:10 כָּעֵת חַיָּה‎ at this time (not about the time), when it lives again, i.e. at the end of a year; כָּעֵת מָחָר‎ to-morrow at this time; cf. Isaiah 23:5, and the frequent connexion of כְּ‍‎ with the infinitive construct to express a definite time (in the sense of a pluperfect), Genesis 12:14, Genesis 27:34, Exodus 9:29, &c.

(c) The person, e.g. Genesis 34:31 should he deal with our sister as with a harlot?

(d) The thing, e.g. Isaiah 10:14, Psalms 33:7, Job 28:5 כְּמוֹ־אֵשׁ‎ as a fire, i.e. as it were by fire (cf. Isaiah 1:25 כַּבֹּר‎ as with lye); Job 29:23 כַּמָּטָר‎ as for the rain (they waited for me); Job 38:14 (as in a garment); 38:30 כְּאֶבֶן‎ as to stone (the waters are solidified in freezing).

Rem. According to the earlier grammarians, כְּ‍‎ is sometimes used pleonastically, i.e. not to indicate a similarity (as in Leviticus 14:35 as it were, i.e. something like), but simply to introduce the predicate (Kaph veritatis), e.g. Nehemiah 7:2 for he was כְּאִישׁ אֱמֶת‎ a faithful man; cf. 1 Samuel 20:3 כְּפֶשַׂע‎, Lamentations 1:20 כַּמָּ֫וֶת‎. Such a pleonasm is of course out of the question. At the most a Kaph veritatis can only be admitted in the sense that the comparison is sometimes introduced by כְּ‍‎ with a certain emphasis (equivalent to in every respect like); thus כְּאִישׁ אֱמֶת‎ in Nehemiah 7:2 means simply of the nature of a faithful man, i.e. as only a faithful man can be; cf. Numbers 11:1, Isaiah 1:7, Isaiah 13:6, Hosea 4:4, Hosea 5:10, Obadiah 1:11, Job 24:14, Job 27:7, Lamentations 1:20, Lamentations 2:4; also כִּמְעַט‎ in such passages as Psalms 105:12 yea, very few; but e.g. in Isaiah 1:9 only just, a very small...

  1. So commonly in Sanskrit; in Greek only poetically, e.g. Iliad i. 317 κνίση δ᾽ οὐρανὸν ἷκεν: in Latin, e.g. rus ire, Romam proficisci.
  2. Hence e.g. in 1 Samuel 9:26 the Masora requires הַגָּ֫גָה‎ instead of the Keth. הַגָּג‎.
  3. So in Judges 19:18 for אֶת־בֵּית י׳‎ the better reading is אֶל־בּ׳‎.
  4. In Psalms 2:12 דֶּ֫רֶךְ‎ is not to be taken as an accus. loci (on the way), but as an accus. of respect (with regard to the way); see below, m.
  5. Cf. above, §100c, on certain substantives which have completely become adverbs; and §113h and k on the adverbial use of the infinitive absolute.
  6. It is, as a matter of fact, permissible to speak of the above examples as comparatio decurtata, but it must not be assumed that the comparative particle כְּ‍‎, which is otherwise regularly prefixed (see s), has actually dropped out.
  7. On the use of כְּ‍‎ as a prefix, cf. §102c.
  8. Schwabe (כְּ‍‎ nach seinem Wesen und Gebrauch im alttestam. Kanon gewürdigt, Halle, 1883) contests this explanation (which is defended especially by Fleischer and is certainly indisputable). He, with Gesenius and Ewald, places כְּ‍‎ as a preposition on the same footing as בְּ‎ and לְ‎, and believes it to be probably connected with the stem כּוּן‎ as well as with כִּי‎ and כֵּן‎. The above view of כְּ‍‎ as a substantive of course does not imply that the language as we have it is still in every case conscious of the substantival meaning.—On כְּ‍‎ in numerical statements, in the sense of about, nearly, see the Lexicon.
  9. It would be altogether unsuitable here also (see above, note 2 on r) to assume a loss of the preposition. Such examples as Isaiah 1:26 (כְּבָרִֽאשֹׁנָה‎ and כְּבַתְּחִלָּה‎), Leviticus 26:37 (כְּמִפְּנֵי‎) are to be explained from the fact that here the preposition and substantive had already become simply one word before the כְּ‍‎ was prefixed. We find also כְּעַל‎ Isaiah 59:18, Isaiah 63:7, Psalms 119:14, and 2 Chronicles 32:19; cf. Driver on 1 Samuel 14:14 (כְּבַֽחֲצִי‎), where the text is wholly corrupt.
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