Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, April 13th, 2024
the Second Week after Easter
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 130

§130. Wider Use of the Construct State.

The construct state, which, according to §89a, primarily represents only the immediate government by one substantive of the following word (or combination of words), is frequently employed in rapid narrative as a connecting form, even apart from the genitive relation; so especially—

(1) Before prepositions,[1] particularly in elevated (prophetic or poetic) style, especially when the nomen regens is a participle. Thus before בְּ‎, שִׂמְחַת בַּקָּצִיר‎ the joy in the harvest, Isaiah 9:2, 2 Samuel 1:21, Psalms 136:8f.; in participles, Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 9:1, Isaiah 19:8, Psalms 84:7, and especially often when בְּ‎ with a suffix follows the participle, e.g. Psalms 2:12 כָּל־חוֹסֵי בוֹ‎; cf. Nahum 1:7, Jeremiah 8:16 (Psalms 24:1); Psalms 64:9 (unless רֹאֶה‎ should be read); 98:7.[2]—Before לְ‎, Hosea 9:6 (but read probably מַתֲמַדֵּי כַסְפָּם‎); Psalms 58:5 (before לָמוֹ‎); Proverbs 24:9, Job 18:2, Lamentations 2:18 (before לָךְ‎); 1 Chronicles 6:55, 1 Chronicles 23:28; in participles, Ezekiel 38:11, Job 24:5; before לְ‎ with an infinitive, Isaiah 56:10, and again before לְ‎ with a suffix, Genesis 24:21, Isaiah 30:18, Isaiah 64:3;[3]—before אֶל־‎, Isaiah 14:19, Ezekiel 21:17; —before אֶת־‎ (with), Isaiah 8:6; —before מִן‎, Genesis 3:22, Isaiah 28:9 (a participle); Jeremiah 23:23, Ezekiel 13:2, Hosea 7:5; —before עַל־‎, Judges 5:10; —before בִּלְתִּי‎, Isaiah 14:6; —before the nota accus. את‎, Jeremiah 33:22; —before a locative (which in such cases also serves as a genitive), Exodus 27:13, Jeremiah 1:15.

(2) Before wāw; copulative, e.g. Ezekiel 26:10; but חָכְמַת‎ Isaiah 33:6, גִּילַת‎ 35:2, and שְׁכֻרַת‎ 51:21 may be cases of an intentional reversion to the old feminine ending ath, in order to avoid the hiatus (וָ‎)־ָה וְ‎.

(3) When it governs the (originally demonstrative) pronoun אֲשֶׁר‎; so especially in the combination מְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר‎, Genesis 39:20, Genesis 40:3, the place where (prop. of that in which) Joseph was bound; cf. §138g; or בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר‎ Leviticus 4:24, 33, 2 Samuel 15:21, 1 Kings 21:19, Jeremiah 22:12, Ezekiel 21:35, Hosea 2:1. We should expect הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר‎, בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר‎, as in Genesis 35:13, &c., at the place which..., cf. § 138; but אֲשֶׁר‎ is treated as a nomen rectum instead of as an attribute. Cf. also מִיּוֹם א׳‎ followed by a perfect in 1 Samuel 29:8, and יְמֵי א׳‎ Leviticus 13:46, Numbers 9:18.[4]

(4) When it governs independent sentences (cf. § 155), which virtually stand to the construct state (as nomen regens) in a sort of genitive relation, e.g. Exodus 4:13 בְּיַד־תְּשְׁלָח‎ prop. by the hand of him whom thou wilt send; Numbers 23:3 דְּבַר מַה־יַּרְאֵ֫נִי‎ the matter of that which he shall show me, i.e. whatever he shall; Isaiah 29:1 קִרְיַת חָנָה דָוִד‎ the city where David encamped; Jeremiah 48:36, Psalms 16:3 (if the text be right), 65:5 (Proverbs 8:32), Psalms 81:6, Job 18:21 the place of him that knoweth not God; Job 29:16, Lamentations 1:14 (if the text be right) into the hands of those against whom I cannot stand.[5] In Genesis 39:4 (כָּל־יֶשׁ־לוֹ‎) the כָּל־‎ takes after it a noun-clause, and in Exodus 9:4, still more boldly, a subst. with לְ‎.—Very often a time-determination governs the following sentence in this way; thus אַֽחֲרֵי‎ followed by a perfect, Leviticus 25:48, 1 Samuel 5:9; בְּיוֹם‎ Psalms 102:3 (before a noun-clause), Exodus 6:28, Numbers 3:1, Deuteronomy 4:15, 2 Samuel 22:1, Psalms 18:1, Psalms 59:17, Psalms 138:3 (in every case before a following perfect), Psalms 56:10 (before an imperfect); מִיּוֹם‎ followed by the perfect, Jeremiah 36:2; כָּל־יְמֵי‎ Leviticus 14:46, 1 Samuel 25:15, Job 29:2 (כִּימֵי‎ as in the days when...[6]; cf. כִּימוֹת‎ and שְׁנוֹת‎ before a perfect, Psalms 90:15); בְּעֵת‎ before a perfect, Jeremiah 6:15 (cf. 49:8, 50:31); before an imperfect, Job 6:17; תְּחִלַּת‎ before a perfect Hosea 1:2.

(5) Connected with a following word in apposition; certainly so in such cases as בְּתוּלַת בַּת־צִיּוֹן‎ the virgin, the daughter of Zion, Isaiah 37:22; cf. 23:12, Jeremiah 14:17; also 1 Samuel 28:7 אֵ֫שֶׁת בַּֽעֲלַת־אוֹב‎ a woman, possessor of a soothsaying spirit; cf. Deuteronomy 21:11.—Genesis 14:10, Judges 19:22 (but read probably אֲנָשִׁים‎ with Moore, as in Deuteronomy 13:14, Judges 20:13, 1 Kings 21:10); 2 Kings 10:6, 2 Kings 17:13 Qe; Jeremiah 46:9, Psalms 35:16 (?), 78:9, Job 20:17 b (unless נַֽהֲרֵי‎ or נַֽהֲלֵי‎ be a gloss).

Rem. Some of the above passages may also be explained by supposing that there exists a real genitive relation towards the preceding construct state, which has been, as it were, provisionally left in suspenso, in consequence of the insertion of some interrupting word, e.g. Isaiah 37:22, &c.; Job 20:17 a. Elsewhere (Deuteronomy 33:19, Psalms 68:34) the nomen regens probably governs the following construct state directly.[7] (6) The numeral אַחַד‎ one for אֶחָד‎ in close connexion, and even with small disjunctives, e.g. Genesis 3:22, Genesis 48:22, 1 Samuel 9:3, 2 Samuel 17:22, Isaiah 27:12, Zechariah 11:7.

The character of these passages shows that the numeral here cannot be in the construct state, but is merely a rhythmical shortening of the usual (tone-lengthened) form.

  1. Cf. König, ‘Die Ueberwucherung des St.-constr.-Gebrauchs im Semit.,’ ZDMG. 53, 521 ff.
  2. In Judges 8:11 the article is even used before a construct state followed by בְּ‎, in order to determine the whole combination שְׁכוּנֵי בָֽאֳהָלִים‎ tent-dwellers, taken as one word; cf., however, the remarks in §127f–i on similar grammatical solecisms.
  3. These are to be distinguished from the cases where לְ‎ follows a construct state, which in conjunction with מִן‎ (and the following לְ‎) has become a sort of preposition or adverb of place; thus, we have מִבֵּית־לְ‎ Exodus 26:33 (for which in Ezekiel 1:27 merely בֵּית לְ‎) meaning simply within; מִימִין לְ‎ (2 Kings 23:13, Ezekiel 10:3) on the right hand (i.e. south) of; מִצְּפוֹן לְ‎ (Joshua 8:11, 13, &c., Judges 2:9) on the north of; cf. also Joshua 15:21 and לִפְנֵי מִן‎ Nehemiah 13:4.
  4. In Deuteronomy 23:5 the construct state governs a sentence introduced by the conjunction אֲשֶׁר‎ (עַל־דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר‎ by reason of the fact that, i.e. because); so also in 1 Samuel 3:13.
  5. Probably Genesis 22:14 is also to be so explained (contrary to the accents), and certainly (contrary to the very unnatural division of the verses) 2 Chronicles 30:18, which should read on thus: יְהֹוָה הַמּוֹב יְכַפֵּר בְּעַד כָּל־לְבָבוֹ הֵכִין‎ the good Lord pardon every one that setteth his heart to seek God. [See Wickes’ Accontuation of the Twenty-one Prose Books of the Old Testament, p. 140.]
  6. Cf. Nahum 2:9 מִימֵי הִיא‎, usually explained to mean from the days that she hath been, but the text is evidently very corrupt.
  7. So also Isaiah 28:16 a corner stone of the preciousness (יִקְרַת‎ is a substantive not an adjective) of a fixed foundation, i.e. a precious corner stone of surest foundation.—In 2 Samuel 20:19 the text is wholly corrupt; in Psalms 119:128 read כָּל־פִּקּוּדֶ֫יךָ‎.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile