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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 135

III. Syntax of the Pronoun.
§135. The Personal Pronoun.

1. The separate pronouns,—apart from their employment as the subject in noun-clauses (cf. §141a) and the idiom mentioned under d–h, —are used, according to §32b, as a rule, only to give express emphasis to the subject; e.g. Genesis 16:5, 2 Samuel 24:17 אָֽנֹכִי‎ i.e. I myself, so also אֲנִי‎ 2 Samuel 12:28, 2 Samuel 17:15 (after the verb), Ezekiel 34:15, Psalms 2:6;[1] but 1 Samuel 10:18, 2 Samuel 12:7, Isaiah 45:12 אָֽנֹכִי‎ I and none else; cf. also אֲנִי אֲנִי‎ I, I! Hosea 5:14, &c.; אַתָּה‎ Genesis 15:15, Judges 15:18, 1 Samuel 17:56 (as in 20:8, 22:18, Exodus 18:19, Deuteronomy 5:24, Judges 8:21, after the imperative); 1 Kings 21:7; אַתֶּם‎ Genesis 9:7, Exodus 20:19 (after the verb, Judges 15:12); fem. Genesis 31:6; הוּא‎ 1 Samuel 22:18; הִיא‎ Genesis 3:20, Judges 14:3; הֵ֫מָּה‎ Jeremiah 5:5.—Sometimes, however, the separate pronoun appears to be placed before the verb more on rhythmical grounds, i.e. in order to give the statement a fuller sound than that of the bare verbal form (cf. the similar use of the infinitive absolute, §113o). Thus Genesis 14:23, Psalms 139:2, and most clearly in such passages as Genesis 21:24, Genesis 47:30, Exodus 8:24, Judges 6:18, Judges 11:9, 1 Samuel 12:20, 2 Samuel 3:13, 2 Samuel 21:6, 1 Kings 2:18 (in solemn promises). The same explanation applies to אֲנִי‎ at the beginning of sentences, e.g. Genesis 24:45, Hosea 5:3, Hosea 10:11, Hosea 12:11, Psalms 39:11, Psalms 82:6, Job 5:3.[2]

Rem. 1. Different from this is the pleonastic addition of the separate pronoun immediately after the verb (according to Delitzsch on Song of Solomon 5:5 perhaps a trace of popular language), e.g. 1 Samuel 23:22(?), Song of Solomon 5:5, and (like other indications of the very late origin of the book) very frequently in Ecclesiastes, e.g. 1:16, 2:1, 11, 15, 3:17f. and thirteen other places; in Aramaic, Daniel 5:16.

2. Substantival subjects also are somewhat frequently resumed, and thus expressly emphasized, by the insertion of the corresponding separate pronoun of the 3rd person before the predicate is stated, e.g. Genesis 3:12 the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she (הִיא‎) gave me, &c.; 14:24 (הֵם‎); 15:4, 24:7, &c.; but הוּא‎ in Isaiah 7:14 after the predicate and subject is equivalent to he himself.[3]

2. Not infrequently the separate pronoun serves to give strong emphasis to a suffix of the same person which precedes (or sometimes even to one which follows), whether the suffix be attached to a verb (as accusative) or to a noun or preposition (as genitive). In English such an emphasis on the pronoun can generally be rendered only by laying greater stress upon it, or sometimes by repeating it; cf., on the contrary, the French mon livre à moi. The separate pronoun in such instances is not to be regarded as casus obliquus (accusative or genitive), but as the subject of an independent sentence, the predicate of which must in each case be supplied according to the context.

Examples of emphasis:—

(a) On a verbal suffix by means of אֲנִי‎ (אָ֫נִי‎) Genesis 27:34 בָּֽרֲכֵ֫נִי גַם־אָ֫נִי‎ bless me, even me also (prop. bless me, I also would be blessed); Zechariah 7:5; cf. also Ezekiel 6:3, Ezekiel 34:11, 20 הִנְנִי אָ֫נִי‎; by אַתָּה‎ (אָ֫תָּה‎) Proverbs 22:19 (but the text is most probably corrupt).—The separate pronoun precedes in Genesis 24:27 (אָֽנֹכִי‎); 49:8 (אַתָּה‎, not Judah, thou art he whom, but Judah thee, thee thy brethren shall praise!), and Ecclesiastes 2:15 גַּם אֲנִי‎.

(b) On a noun-suffix with a substantive, by means of אֲנִי‎ 2 Samuel 19:1, Proverbs 23:15; by אָ֑תָּה‎ 1 Kings 21:19 אֶת־דָּֽמְךָ גַּס־אָ֑תָּה‎ thy blood, even thine; by הוּא‎ 2 Samuel 17:5, Jeremiah 27:7, Micah 7:3; by אֲנַ֫חְנוּ‎ 1 Samuel 20:42, after שְׁנֵ֫ינוּ‎, but without special stress; Nehemiah 5:2 (?); by אַתֶּם‎ Numbers 14:32; by הֵם‎ Psalms 38:11 (without special stress), הֵ֫מָּה‎ Psalms 9:7.—The separate pronoun precedes in Job 21:4 (אָֽנֹכִי‎); Genesis 40:16, Isaiah 45:12, 1 Chronicles 28:2 (אֲנִי‎); Zechariah 9:11 (אַתְּ‎); Joshua 23:9 (אַתֶּם‎); Ezekiel 33:17 (הֵ֫מָּה‎).—In Psalms 89:48, where אֲנִי‎ might be taken as strengthening חלד‎ (equivalent in sense to חֶלְדִּי‎), we should read אֲדֹנָי‎ for אֲנִי‎, as in verse 51.

(c) On a suffix united with a preposition, 1 Samuel 25:24 בִּי אֲנִי‎ upon me, upon me; 1 Kings 1:26 לִי... אֲנִי‎; 2 Chronicles 35:21 לֹֹא־עָלֶ֫יךָ אַתָּה‎ not against thee; 1 Samuel 19:23 עָלָיו גַּם הוּא‎ upon him also; Deuteronomy 5:3 כִּי אִתָּנוּ אֲנַ֫חְנוּ‎ but with us, even us; Haggai 1:4 לָכֶם אַתֶּם‎ for you yourselves; Jeremiah 25:14 בָּם גַּם־הֵ֫מָּה‎.—The separate pronoun precedes in 1 Samuel 12:23 אָֽנֹכִי... לִי‎; 1 Kings 1:20 אַתָּה... עָלֶ֫יךָ‎; Micah 5:1 אַתָּה... מִמְּךָ‎, and 2 Chronicles 28:10 אַתֶּם עִמָּכֶם‎.

The same principle also explains Genesis 4:26 לְשֵׁת גַּם־הוּא‎ to Seth, to him also (not גַּם־לוֹ‎); cf. 10:21, and Exodus 35:34, Numbers 4:22. 3. The oblique cases of the personal pronouns expressed by means of a preposition (or the nots accus. את‎) with a suffix may be used either in a demonstrative or reflexive sense,[4] as לוֹ‎ to him, but also to himself, e.g. Judges 3:16 and Ehud made לוֹ‎ for himself a sword, cf. Genesis 33:17; so also לָהֶם‎ sibi, Isaiah 3:9; אֵלָיו‎ unto him, and Genesis 8:9 unto himself; אִתּוֹ‎ with him, and Genesis 22:3 with himself; עִמָּהּ‎ with her, and 1 Samuel 1:24 with herself; also apparently as a pleonastic dativus ethicus (see §119s), Job 12:11, Job 13:1.

Rarely, and only when marked emphasis is intended, is the accusative of the reflexive pronoun represented by the nota accusativi את‎ with a suffix (this being ordinarily expressed by the reflexive conjugations Niphʿal and Hithpaʿēl[5]); thus, אֹתָם‎ se ipsos, Exodus 5:19, Jeremiah 7:19 in sharp antithesis to הַֽאֹתִי‎; Ezekiel 34:2, 8, 10. Cf. § 57 at the end, together with note 2.

Rem. There is a similar emphasis in Isaiah 49:26 on בְּשָׂרָם‎ and דָּמָם‎ in the sense of their own flesh, their own blood. On the sometimes demonstrative, sometimes reflexive meaning of noun-suffixes of the 3rd person singular and plural, cf. § 91, p and q. For other circumlocutions to express the idea of self, see §139f.

4. The possessive pronouns are, according to §33c, expressed by the suffixes of the noun (in the genitive),[6] which may represent either a subjective genitive, or (like the genitives proper, §128h) an objective genitive, e.g. חֲמָסִי‎ the wrong done against me, Genesis 16:5, Jeremiah 51:35; cf. Genesis 9:2, Genesis 18:21, Genesis 27:13 (2 Samuel 16:12 Keth.); Genesis 30:23, Genesis 39:21 (cf. Exodus 3:21, &c.); 50:4, Exodus 20:20, Exodus 21:35, Judges 4:9, Judges 13:12 (מַֽעֲשֵׂ֫הוּ‎ the treatment of him); Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 9:7, Nahum 3:19, Proverbs 1:27, Proverbs 24:22, Job 20:29, Job 23:14, Job 34:6. Cf. also such pregnant expressions as Psalms 20:3 יִשְׁלַח עֶזְרְךָ‎ he will send thy help (help for thee), i.e. he will send thee help; Genesis 30:18, Genesis 39:21, Exodus 2:9, Isaiah 1:26 (and I will restore judges for thee); Ezekiel 37:15.

When several substantives are co-ordinated, the pronominal suffix must be attached to each singly, e.g. Genesis 36:6 and Esau took אֶת־נָשָׁיו וְאֶת־בָּנָיו וְאֶת־ בְּנֹתָיו‎ his wives and his sons and his daughters, &c.; 38:18, &c. In 2 Samuel 23:5 the text is hardly correct. 5. When the genitive, following a construct state, is used periphrastically to express the idea of a material or attribute (§128o and p), the pronominal suffix, which properly belongs to the compound idea (represented by the nomen regens and genitive), is, like the article (§ 127), attached to the second substantive (the genitive), e.g. הַר־קָדְשִׁי‎ prop. the hill of my holiness, i.e. my holy hill, Psalms 2:6, &c.; עִיר קָדְשְׁךָ‎ thy holy city, Daniel 9:24; אֱלִילֵי כַסְפּוֹ‎ his idols of silver, Isaiah 2:20, Isaiah 30:22, Isaiah 31:7;[7] cf. Deuteronomy 1:41, Isaiah 9:3, Isaiah 28:4, Isaiah 41:11, Ezekiel 9:1f., Psalms 41:10, 150:1, Job 18:7 צַֽעֲדֵי אוֹנוֹ‎ his steps of strength; 38:6; after an adjective as nomen regens, Isaiah 13:3 (Zephaniah 3:11) עַלִּיזֵי גַֽאֲוָתִי‎ my proudly exulting ones.—On the same analogy is the use of e.g. כְּלֵי מִלְחַמְתּוֹ‎ Deuteronomy 1:41 his weapons of war [cf. Isaiah 41:12]; Isaiah 56:7 בֵּית תְּפִלָּתִי‎ my house of prayer, although the genitive here does not convey the idea of an attribute.

Rem. 1. Through a weakening in the distinction of gender, which is noticeable elsewhere (cf. §110k, 144 a, 145 p, t, u) and which probably passed from the colloquial language[8] into that of literature, masculine suffixes (especially in the plural) are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives; thus a noun-suffix in the singular, Exodus 11:6, Exodus 25:19, Judges 11:34;[9] in the plural, Genesis 31:9, Genesis 32:16, Genesis 41:23, Exodus 1:21, Exodus 2:17, Numbers 27:7 (but the feminine suffix twice immediately after, and so the Samaritan also in verse 7); 36:6 (Samaritan אֲבִיהֶן‎, but also בְּעֵֽינֵיהֶם‎); Judges 19:24, Judges 21:22, 1 Samuel 6:7, 10b (בְּנֵיהֶם‎); 9:20, Isaiah 3:16, Ezekiel 23:45 ff. (alternating with הֶן‎); Amos 4:1 f. (but afterwards a feminine suffix); Job 1:14, Job 39:3 (חֶבְלֵיהֶם‎ in parallelism with יַלְדֵיהֶן‎); 42:15, Song of Solomon 4:2, Song of Solomon 6:6, Ruth 1:8 ff. (along with feminine suffixes); Daniel 1:5, Daniel 8:9. Verbal suffixes in the singular, Exodus 22:25; in the plural, Judges 16:3, Proverbs 6:21, Job 1:15. But Genesis 26:15, 18, 33:13, Exodus 2:17, 1 Samuel 6:10 a are to be explained according to §60h. On הֵ֫מָּה‎ as feminine, see §32n. On the use of the masculine in general as the prior gender, see §122g.

2. The suffix of the 3rd person singular feminine (as also the separate pronoun הִיא‎ Numbers 14:41, Joshua 10:13, Judges 14:4) sometimes refers in a general sense to the verbal idea contained in a preceding sentence (corresponding to our it); thus the verbal suffix, Genesis 15:6, Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 11:2, 1 Kings 11:12, Isaiah 30:8, Amos 8:10; cf. Genesis 24:14 (בָּהּ‎ thereby), 42:36, 47:26, Exodus 10:11 (אֹתָהּ‎ that), Isaiah 47:7. Elsewhere the suffix of the 3rd singular feminine refers to the plurals of things, e.g. 2 Kings 3:3 [but see Kittel; so 13:2, 6, 11; 10:26, but LXX מַצִּבַת‎], Jeremiah 36:23, Job 6:20 (if the text is correct), 39:15 (read תֵּחָמֵם‎ in v. 14), and to the plurals of names of animals, Isaiah 35:7, Ezra 11:5. Conversely, plural suffixes refer to collective singulars, e.g. in Genesis 15:13, Numbers 16:3, 1 Samuel 2:8, Zephaniah 2:7 [but read עַל הַיָּם‎]; and to a verbal idea contained in the preceding clause, in Ezekiel 33:18, Job 22:21 (בָּהֶם‎ thereby), Ezekiel 18:26, Ezekiel 33:19 (עֲלֵיהֶם‎ on that account, thereby).[10] But the suffix in נְתָנוֹ‎ Deuteronomy 21:10 refers to the collective idea contained in אֹֽיְבָ֫יךָ‎; in Jonah 1:3 עִמָּהֶם‎ refers to the sailors included in sense under the term אֳנִיָּה‎. In Joshua 2:4 read וַתִּצְפְּנֵם‎; in Isaiah 30:6 (מֵהֶם‎), 38:16, Psalms 19:5 (בָּהֶם‎) the text is most probably corrupt.

3. In a few examples the force of the noun-suffix or possessive pronoun has become so weak that the language appears to be almost entirely unconscious of it. Thus in אֲדֹנָי‎ my Lord, usually explained as being from the pluralis maiestatis אֲדֹנִים‎ (§124i) with the suffix of the 1st singular (always with Qameṣ to distinguish it from אֲדֹנַי‎ my lords, Genesis 19:2; but see note below), used exclusively of God, not only in addressing him (Genesis 15:2, Genesis 18:3, Psalms 35:23), but ultimately (see, however, the note below), without any regard to the pronoun, as equivalent to the Lord.[11] On אֲדֹנָי‎ as a Qerê perpetuum of the Masoretes for יהוה‎ see §17c and §102m.

A similar loss of vitality in the suffix is generally assumed in יַחְדָּו‎ prop. in his unitedness, i.e. he &c. together, e.g. כָּל־הָעָם יַחְדָּו‎ Exodus 19:8; then, without regard to the suffix, even after the 1st person אֲנַ֫חְנוּ יַחְדָּו‎ 1 Kings 3:18 in reference to two women; Isaiah 41:1, Job 9:32, Nehemiah 6:2, 7; after the 2nd person, Isaiah 45:20, &c. But the supposed pronominal suffix is perhaps rather to be explained, with Brockelmann, ZA. xiv. 344 f., as an old adverbial ending, which survives in the Arabic adverbs in u and in Assyrian.—Cf. further כֻּלָּם‎ prop. their entirety, but also after the 2nd person equivalent to all together, 1 Kings 22:28, Micah 1:2 (hear, ye peoples, all of you; cf. §144p), and even before the 2nd person, Job 17:10 (in 1 Samuel 6:4 read לָכֶם‎ with the LXX).—On the redundant suffix in הָֽעֶרְכְּךָ‎ Leviticus 27:23, cf. §127i.

  1. Also הוּא‎, הִיא‎ he himself, she herself (of persons and things), e.g. Isaiah 7:14 אֲדֹנָי הוּא‎ the Lord himself; Esther 9:1 הַיְּהוּדִים הֵ֫מָּה‎ the Jews themselves. In the sense of the same (ὁ αὐτός) or (one and) the same, הוּא‎ is used in Isaiah 41:4, Isaiah 43:10, 13, 46:4, 48:12 (always אֲנִי הוּא‎), Psalms 102:28 (אַתָּה הוּא‎), and probably also Job 3:19.—The position of הֵ֫מָּה‎, as an accusative of the object, before a perfect in 1 Chronicles 9:22, can at most be explained on the analogy of Aramaic (Ezra 5:12).
  2. As early as the Mêšaʿ inscription (line 21 ff.) אנך‎ frequently stands at the beginning of a new sentence after the dividing stroke.
  3. Analogous to this is the resumption of a noun dependent on a preposition, by means of a pronominal suffix united with the same preposition, e.g. Genesis 2:17, 2 Samuel 6:22, 2 Kings 22:18, or of an object by means of the nota accusativi את‎ with suffix, e.g. 1 Samuel 15:9 (where וְנִמְאֶ֫סֶת‎ is certainly to be read), Isaiah 8:13.
  4. As in Luther’s Bible jm (ihm), jr (ihr) for sich, and in our version him, her for himself, herself.
  5. Niphʿal according to §51e (like Hithpaʿēl according to §54f) may also include the dative of the reflexive pronoun.
  6. Like the substantival genitive, according to §129h, the possessive pronoun may also be paraphrased by a relative clause, e.g. Ruth 2:21 הַנְּעָרִים אֲשֶׁר לִי‎ the young men, which are to me, i.e. my young men; so especially, when the substantive, which should take a genitive suffix, is already followed by a genitive, e.g. 1 Samuel 17:40. In this case, however, the suffix also is sometimes attached pleonastically, e.g. Song of Solomon 1:6 כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי‎ my vineyard, which belongs to me. Cf. Song of Solomon 3:7, and the analogous pleonasms in 2 Samuel 22:2 (but see Psalms 18:2) and Psalms 27:2.
  7. On the other hand, more explicitly in prose, Genesis 44:2 אֶת־גְּבִיעִי גְבִיעַ הַכֶּ֫כֶף‎ my cup, the silver cup.
  8. According to Diehl (see the title at the head of §91a), who adduces numerous instances on pp. 44 ff., 54 ff., 67 f., many of these cases may be set down to corruption of the traditional text, while the sudden (and sometimes repeated) change of gender in suffixes is mainly due to the influence exercised on the copyists by the Mishnic and popular Aramaic dialects, neither of which recognizes such distinctions. Such influence, however, is insufficient to explain the large number of instances of this weakening, occurring even in the earlier documents.
  9. The Masora reckons six instances of מִמֶּ֫נּוּ‎, where מִמֶּ֫נָּה‎ would be expected (Judges 11:34, where, however, the text is most probably corrupt), Exodus 25:15 (?), Leviticus 6:8, Leviticus 7:18, Leviticus 27:9, Joshua 1:7; almost all these passages can, however, be easily explained in other ways.
  10. In 2 Kings 7:10 for שֹׁעֵר‎ (the LXX had שַׁ֫עַר‎) read שֹֽׁעֲרֵי‎.
  11. Cf. the same weakening of the force of the possessive pronoun in רַבִּי‎ prop. my master, from the second century a.d. onwards the master; so also in Syriac מרי‎ my lord, and ultimately as a title the lord; in Italian Madonna, French Madame, Notre Dame, Monsieur, Monseigneur, &c. It can, however, hardly be doubted that the regular distinction between אֲדֹנָי‎ as a holy name, and אֲדֹנִי‎ as an ordinary appellative is merely due to the practice of the later Rabbis. G. H. Dalman, Der Gottesname Adonaj und seine Geschichte (Berlin, 1889), in an exhaustive discussion, shows that apart from the book of Daniel and the eight critically doubtful passages, in which אדני‎ is used by God himself, there is nowhere any necessity to regard the suffix as entirely meaningless, since אדני‎ is always used either in an address to or (like אֲדֹנִי‎, which also is never a mere phrase or title) in reverent language about God—as the Lord of the speaker—like the Assyrian bēli-ia, my lord. Against any original distinction between אֲדֹנָי‎ and אֲדֹנִי‎ it may be urged especially that when unconnected with suffixes the singular אָדוֹן‎ is always used of God, and not the pluralis maiestatis presupposed by אֲדֹנָי‎.
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