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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 131

§131. Apposition.

1. Apposition in the stricter sense is the collocation of two substantives in the same case in order to define more exactly (or to complete) the one by the other, and, as a rule (see, however, below, under g), the former by the latter. Apposition in Hebrew (as in the other Semitic languages[1]) is by no means confined to those cases in which it is used in English or in the classical languages. It is not infrequently found when either the subordination of one substantive to the other or some more circumstantial kind of epexegetical addition would be expected.

2. The principal kinds of apposition in Hebrew are:—

(a) The collocation of genus and species, e.g. אִשָּׁה אַלְמָנָה‎ a woman (who was) a widow, 1 Kings 7:14; נַֽעֲרָה בְתוּלָה‎ a damsel (that is) a virgin, Deuteronomy 22:23, 28, Judges 4:4, Judges 19:1, Judges 21:12, 1 Samuel 30:17, 1 Kings 1:2; cf. Genesis 13:8, Genesis 21:20 (where, however, קַשָּׁת‎ is probably an explanatory gloss); Exodus 24:5 (1 Samuel 11:15), 2 Samuel 15:16, 1 Kings 3:16, 1 Kings 5:29 (but probably סֵ֫בֶל‎ should be read instead of סַבָּל‎); Isaiah 3:24 (unless מַֽעֲשֵׂה‎ is to be read), Jeremiah 20:1. Perhaps also כֹּחֵן הָרֹאשׁ‎ the priest (who is) the chief man, 2 Kings 25:18, &c.; others take כֹּהֵן‎ as constr, st.—In 2 Samuel 10:7 read כָּל־צְבָא הַגִּבּ׳‎ with the LXX, as in the parallel passage 1 Chronicles 19:9 for כָּל־צָבָא הַגּ׳‎, which is evidently meant to refer to the reading in 2 S.

(b) Collocation of the person or thing and the attribute, e.g. Job 20:29 (27:13) זֶה חֵ֫לֶק־אָדָם רָשָׁע‎ this is the portion of a man, (who is) a wicked man (but רָשָׁע‎ might also be an adject.); cf. Proverbs 6:12.—Leviticus 6:13, Leviticus 16:4 (where, however, קֹ֫דֶשׁ‎ is probably a gloss); Proverbs 22:21 אֲמָרִים אֱמֶת‎ words (which are) truth; (immediately after אִמְרֵי אֱמֶת‎) cf. 1 Samuel 2:13, Micah 1:11 (where, however, בּ֫שֶׁת‎ is most probably a gloss on עֶרְיָה‎); Zechariah 1:13 (=comfortable words); Psalms 45:5 (?) 68:17 (cf. verse 16). In a wider sense this includes also such cases as Psalms 60:5 יַ֫יִן תַּרְעֵלָה‎ wine which is staggering (intoxicating drink), which causes staggering[2]; 1 Kings 22:27, 2 Chronicles 18:26 מַ֫יִם לַ֫חַץ‎ (in Isaiah 30:20 parallel with לֶ֫חֶם צַר‎) water which is affliction, drunk in trouble (imprisonment). Still more boldly, 1 Kings 5:3 בָּקָר רְעִי‎ oxen which were taken out of the pastures, and 1 Kings 6:7 undressed stones which come from the quarry, probably a corruption of מִמַּסָּע‎. A person and a condition are in apposition in Ezekiel 18:6 (unless בְּנִדָּתָהּ‎ is to be read).—In 1 Samuel 4:1 read אֶ֫בֶן הָע׳‎, as in 1 Samuel 5:1, 1 Samuel 7:12.

(c) Collocation of the person (Deuteronomy 28:36) or thing (form) and material,[3] or of the place or measure and its contents, e.g. 1 Chronicles 15:19 נְה֫שֶׁת בִּמְצִלְתַּ֫יִם‎ with cymbals which were brass, i.e. of brass; cf. Exodus 26:25, Daniel 11:8, 1 Chronicles 28:15, 18 (?); Exodus 28:17 four rows, namely stones (for which 39:10 has טוּרֵי אָ֑בֶן‎); cf. 2 Chronicles 4:13, Leviticus 6:3 (see, however, §128d); 2 Kings 7:1 סְאָה סֹ֫לֶת‎ a seah of fine flour; cf. 2 Kings 7:618, Genesis 18:6, Exodus 16:33, Leviticus 5:11, Ruth 2:17, 1 Kings 16:24, 2 Kings 5:23 כִּכְּרַ֫יִם כֶּ֫סֶף‎ two talents of silver;[4] cf. 5:17, Exodus 39:17, Ezekiel 22:18 (if the text be right). With the material placed before the measure, Exodus 30:23 f..—A period of time and its contents are placed in apposition חֹ֫דֶשׁ יָמִים‎ a month of days, i.e. a month’s time=for a whole month, Genesis 29:14, Numbers 11:20, 21, cf. Deuteronomy 21:13, 2 Kings 15:13, and שְׁנָתַ֫יִם יָמִים‎ two years’ time, i.e. two full years, Genesis 41:1, 2 Samuel 13:23, 2 Samuel 14:28, Jeremiah 28:311, Daniel 10:2.

Finally, under this head may be included all the cases in which a numeral (regarded as a substantive) is followed by the object numbered in apposition, e.g. שְׁלשָׁה בָנִים‎ trias sc. filii, §97a and §134b.

(d) Collocation of the thing and the measure or extent, number, &c., e.g. Numbers 9:20 יָמִים מִסְפָּר‎ days, (a small) number, i.e. only a few days; כֶּ֫סֶף מִשְׁנֶה‎ money, repetition, i.e. twice as much money, Genesis 43:12 (unless כֶּ֫סֶף‎ be constr. st.); מַ֫יִם בִּרְכָּ֑יִם‎ water which was of the measure of the knees, which reached to the knees, Ezekiel 47:4 (also מֵי מָתְנָ֑יִם‎ water that was to the loins, in the same verse). This likewise includes the cases in which a noun is followed in apposition by a numeral (see §134c) or an adverb, originally conceived as a substantive, e.g. Nehemiah 2:12 אֲנָשִׁים מְעַט‎ men, a few, i.e. some few men; 1 Kings 5:9 תְּבוּנָה הַרְבֵּה‎ understanding, much-making, i.e. much understanding, unless הַרְבֵּה‎ is to be taken as an adverb with וַיִּתֵּן‎, as in 2 Samuel 8:8 with לָקַה‎. (e) Collocation of the thing and its name, e.g. בְּהַֽרֲרָם שֵׁעִיר‎ in their mountainous district, Seir (perhaps only a later gloss), Genesis 14:6; הָאָ֫רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן‎ the land Canaan (כנען‎ probably only a later gloss), Numbers 34:2; cf. Ezra 9:1, 1 Chronicles 5:9 (see under g below).—For examples of nouns in the construct state before a noun in apposition, see §130e.

Rem. 1. Only in certain combinations does the noun of nearer definition come first, e.g. הַמֶּ֫לֶךְ דָּוִד‎, הַמֶּ֫לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה‎ king David, king Solomon (less frequently דָּוִד הַמֶּ֫לֶךְ‎ as in 2 Samuel 13:39, 1 Kings 2:17, 1 Kings 12:2, 2 Kings 8:29, 2 Kings 9:15, and in late Hebrew, Haggai 1:1, 15 [cf. the Aramaic order דריוש מלבא‎], and often in Chron.).—A chiasmus occurs in Isaiah 45:4, the name standing after the defining noun in the first part of the verse, and before it in the parallel clause.

2. When the nota accusativi (אֵת‎, אֶת־‎) or a preposition precedes the first substantive, it may be repeated before the noun in apposition, e.g. Genesis 4:2, Genesis 22:2, Genesis 24:4, Genesis 47:29, Isaiah 66:21; this usually occurs when the nearer definition precedes a proper name. As a rule, however, the repetition does not take place (Deuteronomy 18:1, Jeremiah 33:18, 1 Samuel 2:14). A noun in apposition is made determinate, even after a noun with a prefix, in the ordinary way, e.g. 2 Chronicles 12:13 בִּירֽוּשָׁלַ֫יִם הָעִיר‎ in Jerusalem, the city which, &c.[5]

3. Sometimes a second adjective is used in apposition to a preceding adjective, in order to modify in some way the meaning of the first, e.g. Leviticus 13:19 בַּהֶ֫רֶת לְבָנָה אֲדַמְדָּ֑מֶת‎ a white-reddish (light red) bright spot.

4. Permutation is to be regarded as a variety of apposition. It is not complementary like apposition proper (see a above), but rather defines the preceding substantive (or pronoun, see below), in order to prevent any possible misunderstanding. This includes cases like Genesis 9:4 with the life thereof (which is) the blood thereof; Exodus 22:30, Deuteronomy 2:26, 1 Samuel 7:9, 2 Kings 3:4 an hundred thousand rams, the wool, i.e. the wool of the rams; Jeremiah 25:15 this cup of the wine, that is of fury (but הַֽהֵמָה‎ is probably a gloss); Isaiah 42:25 he poured upon him fury, namely his anger;[6] but especially the examples in which such a permutative is added to a preceding pronoun, viz.—

(a) To a separate pronoun, e.g. Exodus 7:11; with regard to the vocative, cf. §126f.

(b) To an accusative suffix, e.g. Exodus 2:6 she saw him, the child (unless אֶת־הַיּ׳‎ be a later gloss); Exodus 35:5, Leviticus 13:57 b, 1 Kings 19:21 (where, indeed, הַבָּשָׂר‎ appears to be a late gloss); 21:13, 2 Kings 16:15 Keth., Jeremiah 9:14, Jeremiah 31:2, Ezekiel 3:21, Ecclesiastes 2:21 (according to Delitzsch rather a double accusative).[7]

(c) To a noun-suffix, e.g. Ezekiel 10:3 בְּבֹאוֹ הָאִישׁ‎ when he went in, the man; 42:14; cf. Proverbs 13:4 (?), Ezekiel 3:12; so also after a preposition with suffix, e.g. Ecclesiastes 4:10 אִי לוֹ הָֽאֶחָד‎ woe to him, the one alone; with a repetition of the preposition, Numbers 32:33, Joshua 1:2 לָהֶם לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל‎ to them, to the children of Israel; Judges 21:7, Jeremiah 51:56, Ezekiel 42:5 (?), Daniel 11:11, 1 Chronicles 4:42, 2 Chronicles 26:14.[8]—Cf. finally, Song of Solomon 3:7, where the suffix precedes the genitive periphrastically expressed by שֶׁלּ׳‎, as in Ezekiel 9:1, where the genitive is expressed by לְ‎.[9]

Of a different kind are the cases in which the permutative with its proper suffix follows as a kind of correction of the preceding suffix, e.g. Isaiah 29:23 when he (or rather) his children see, &c. (but יְלָדָיו‎ is clearly a gloss); cf. Psalms 83:12; in Job 29:3 read בַּֽהֲהִלּוֹ‎ (infin. Hiph.) or at least its syncopated form בַּהִלּוֹ‎.

5. Cases of apposition in a wider sense are those in which the nearer definition added to the noun was originally regarded as an adverbial accusative; on its use with the verb and on the relative correctness of speaking of such an accusative in Hebrew, cf. §118a and m. Owing to the lack of case-endings, indeed, it is in many instances only by analogies elsewhere (especially in Arabic) that we can decide whether the case is one of apposition in the narrower or in the wider sense; in other instances this must remain quite uncertain. However, the following are probably cases of apposition in the wider sense:—

(a) Such phrases as מִשְׁנֶה כֶ֫סֶף‎ a double amount in money, Genesis 43:15; cf. Jeremiah 17:18; 1 Samuel 17:5 five thousand shekels in brass, but this might also be taken (as in d) shekels which were brass; certainly such cases as Jb 15l0 older than thy father in days, and the expression of the superlative by means of מְאֹד‎ (originally a substantive), e.g. טוֹב מְאֹד‎ very good, Genesis 1:31 (cf. also Ecclesiastes 7:16 צַדִּיק הַרְבֵּה‎ righteous over much), and the very frequent הַרְבֵּה מְאֹד‎ prop. a much-making exceedingly, i.e. exceedingly great, Genesis 15:1, Genesis 41:49, also Proverbs 23:29 פְּצָעִים חִנָּם‎ wounds without cause,[10] perhaps also Genesis 34:25 (בֶּ֫טַח‎).

(b) A few examples, in which an epexegetical substantive is added to a substantive with a suffix; thus, Ezekiel 16:27 מִדַּרְכֵּךְ זִמָּה‎ of thy conduct in lewdness (but it is also possible to explain it (as in c) of thy conduct, which is lewdness); cf. Ezekiel 24:13, 2 Samuel 22:33 מָֽעוּזִּי חָ֑יִל‎ my fortress in strength, i.e. my strong fortress (cf., however, Psalms 18:33); Habakkuk 3:8, Psalms 71:7. While even in these examples the deviation from the ordinary usage of the language (cf. §135n) is strange, it is much more so in חֲבֹֽלָתוֹ חוֹב‎ Ezekiel 18:7, i.e. according to the context his pledge for a debt; Ezra 2:62 כְּתָבָם הַמִּתְיַֽחֲשִׂים‎, i.e. their register, namely of those that were reckoned by genealogy (but perhaps הַמִּתְי׳‎ is in apposition to the suffix in כְּתָבָם‎), also the curious combinations (mentioned in §128d) of בְּרִיתִי‎ with a proper name (Leviticus 26:42), and in Jeremiah 33:20 with הַיּוֹם‎.[11] 6. In Deuteronomy 33:4 (מֽוֹרָשָׁה‎, perhaps מוֹר׳ לִקְהִלַּת‎ is to be read), 33:27 (מְעֹנָה‎), Judges 7:8 (צֵדָה‎), the absolute state appears to be used instead of the construct to govern a following logical genitive; this, however, cannot be explained either as a special kind of apposition, or (with Hitzig) as a peculiarity of the dialect of Northern Palestine, but is merely a textual corruption. On the other hand, in Job 31:11 עָוֹן‎ is evidently intended to combine the readings עֲוֹן פְּלִילִים‎ and עָוֹן פְּלִילִי‎ (as in verse 28).—The remarkable combination אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת‎ in Psalms 80:8, 15 is due to the fact that in ψψ 42–83 אֱלֹהִים‎ has almost throughout been subsequently substituted by some redactor for the divine name יחוה‎; on יהוה צְבָאוֹת‎ cf. §125h. In Psalms 59:6, Psalms 80:5, 20, and 84:9 יהוה‎ has been reinstated in the text before אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת‎.[12]

7. Lastly, the nearer definition (qualification) of a noun may be effected by means of a preposition (either with a suffix or with an independent noun), but must then be distinguished from the cases in which the preposition is dependent on a verb or verbal idea, e.g. Genesis 3:6 and she gave also לְאִישָׁהּ עִמָּהּ‎ unto her husband with her (= her husband who was with her); in Genesis 9:16 (that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh) and other places, the qualification of the noun is itself also qualified.

  1. On certain uses of apposition peculiar to the Semitic languages, cf. the exhaustive discussion by Fleischer, ‘Ueber einige Arten der Nominalapposition im Arab.’ (Kleine Schriften, ii. 16); [and see also Driver, Tenses, Appendix IV.]
  2. Unless it is to be translated thou gavest us intoxication to drink as wine (and so in 1 Kings 22:27 give him affliction to eat as bread, &c.); cf. Psalms 80:6 and the analogous examples of apposition in the form of a second accusative in §117kk. Moreover, having regard to יַ֫יִן הָרֶ֫קַח‎ spiced wine, Song of Solomon 8:2, and עַ֫יִד פֶּ֫רֶא‎ a wild ass’s colt, Job 11:12 (in which passages יַ֫יִן‎ and עַ֫יִר‎ must certainly be in the construct state) we cannot but ask whether the Masora does not intend the יַ֫יִן‎ in Psalms 60:5 to be taken as construct state (for which elsewhere יֵין‎).
  3. Cf. also the examples treated above in §127h.
  4. On the anomalous form כִּכְּרַ֫יִם‎ (instead of כִּכָּרַ֫יִם‎; cf. כִּכָּרָ֑יִם‎ immediately before), see §88b.
  5. In 1 Kings 11:8 participles after לְכָל־נָשָׂיו‎, as in 2 Kings 10:6 after אֶת־גְּדֹלֵי הָעִיר‎, in 19:2 after a determinate accusative, and in Haggai 1:4 after בְּבָֽתֵּיכֶם‎, are used without the article; these, however, are probably to be explained not as in apposition, but according to §118p.
  6. But מַ֫יִם‎ Genesis 6:17 (cf. 7:6) is to be regarded as a later gloss upon the archaic מַבּוּל‎.
  7. For וַיְשַׁנּוֹ‎ 1 Samuel 21:14 either’ וַיְשַׁנֶּה‎ is to be read or the Kethîbh is to be explained according to §75b, note. Also יִלְכְּדֻנוֹ‎ Proverbs 5:22 has hardly preserved the correct form.
  8. But in Isaiah 17:6 we should certainly divide the words differently and read בִּסְעִפֵי הַפֹּֽרִיָּה‎, in Jeremiah 48:44 read אֵלֶּה‎ for אֵלֶ֫יהָ‎, and in Proverbs 14:13 אַֽחֲרִית הַשִּׂמְחָה‎; in Genesis 2:19 נֶ֫פֶשׁ חַיָּה‎ is a late gloss upon לוֹ‎, and in Ezekiel 41:25 אֶל־דַּלְתוֹת הַֽהֵיבָל‎ a gloss on אֲלֵיהֶן‎.
  9. Some of the examples given above are textually (or exegetically) doubtful, whilst in the case of others, especially those from the later Books, we cannot help asking whether such a prolepsis of the genitive by means of a suffix (as e.g. Ezekiel 10:3) is not due to the influence of Aramaic, in which it is the customary idiom; cf. Kautzsch’s Gramm. des Biblisch-Aram., §81e and § 88.
  10. In Psalms 69:5 חִנָּם‎ (like שֶׁ֫קֶר‎ in a false way, falsely, Psalms 35:19 and 38:20) is used as an adverbial accusative with a participle; cf. §118q.
  11. But in Numbers 25:12 שָׁלוֹם‎ may also be explained, according to c, as really in apposition. Cf. on the whole question Delitzsch, Psalmen, 4th ed., p. 203, note 1.
  12. Without this assumption it would be inconceivable that יהוה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת‎ should not have been written; that the anther of these Psalms regarded צְבָאֹוֹת‎ already as an independent name of God (so Gesenius and Olshausen) is out of the question.
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