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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 14

§14. Mappîq and Rāphè..

1. Mappîq, llke Dageš, also a point within the consonant, serves in the letters א ה ו י‎ as a sign that they are to be regarded as full consonants and not as vowel letters. In most editions of the text it is only used in the consonantal ה‎ at the end of words (since ה‎ can never be a vowel letter in the middle of a word), e.g. גָּבַהּ‎ gābháh (to be high), אַרְצָהּ‎ ʾarṣāh (her land) which has a consonantal ending (shortened from -hā), different from אַ֫רְצָה‎ ʾárṣā (to the earth) which has a vowel ending.

Rem. 1. Without doubt such a was distinctly aspirated like the Arabic at the end of a syllable. There are, however, cases in which this ה‎ has lost its consonantal character (the Mappîq of course disappearing too), so that it remains only as a vowel letter; cf. §91e on the 3rd fem. sing.

The name מַפִּיק‎ means proferens, i.e. a sign which brings out the sound of the letter distinctly, as a consonant. The same sign was selected for this and for Dageš, since both are intended to indicate a hard, i.e. a strong, sound. Hence Rāphè (see e) is the opposite of both.

2. In MSS. Mappîq is also found with א‎, ו‎, י‎, to mark them expressly as consonants, e.g. גּוֹיִ‎ (gôy), קָוִ‎ (qāw, qāu), for which וְ‎ is also used, as עֵשָׂוְ‎, &c. For the various statements of the Masora (where these points are treated as Dageš), see Ginsburg, The Massorah, letter א‎‎, § 5 (also Introd., pp. 557, 609, 637, 770), and ‘The Dageshed Alephs in the Karlsruhe MS.’ (where these points are extremely frequent), in the Verhandlungen des Berliner Orientalisten-Kongresses, Berlin, i. 1881, p. 136 ff. The great differences in the statements found in the Masora point to different schools, one of which appears to have intended that every audible א‎ should be pointed. In the printed editions the point occurs only four times with א‎‎ (אׄ‎ or אּ‎), Genesis 43:26, Leviticus 23:17, Ezra 8:18 and Job 33:21 (רֻאּוּ‎; where the point can be taken only as an orthophonetic sign, not with König as Dageš forte). Cf. Delitzsch, Hiob, 2nd ed., p. 439 ff.

2. Rāphè (רָפֶה‎ i.e. weak, soft), a horizontal stroke over the letter, is the opposite of both kinds of Dageš and Mappîq, but especially of Dageš lene. In exact manuscripts every בגדכפת‎ letter has either Dageš lene or Rāphè, e.g. מֶלֶךְֿ‎ mèlĕkh, תָּפַֿר‎, שָׁתָֿה‎. In modern editions (except Ginsburg’s 1st ed.) Rāphè is used only when the absence of a Dageš or Mappîq requires to be expressly pointed out.

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